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Energy Update: December 17, 2021

In the States

GA: Governor Brian Kemp announced that electric car maker Rivian will invest $5 billion in a new battery and assembly plant near Atlanta, the largest economic development announcement in Georgia’s history. Kemp, who has touted his economic stewardship of Georgia as he faces a competitive primary and general election, said the plant was likely to employ 7,500 workers and produce 400,000 vehicles per year. The facility could eventually grow to 10,000 workers, making it one of the largest auto assembly plants in the United States. Rivian was recently valued at $95 billion, more than General Motors or Ford. Rivian employs a similar sales model to Tesla, selling cars direct to consumers and bypassing dealerships. This likely will prompt efforts to alter Georgia laws which typically mandate vehicle sales through dealerships. "My administration's more recent emphasis on innovation and development in the electric mobility ecosystem has equipped our state with a new tool in the tool box to deliver big wins for hardworking Georgians,” Governor Kemp said in a press release. – Governor Kemp announces Rivian to build $5 billion facility AP                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

IA: Governor Kim Reynolds criticized the Biden administration’s plan to reduce ethanol production targets. As ethanol prices have hit record highs, the EPA has proposed lowering the amount of ethanol that must be blended into gasoline. The EPA reduced by almost 2 billion gallons (roughly 10%) the amount of ethanol that must be blended into oil refined in 2022, a significant reduction from current levels. The move by the administration reflects an attempt to reduce gasoline prices, which have skyrocketed in recent months. Refiners are required to purchase ethanol credits on the market if they fail to meet blending requirements. Governor Reynolds called the decision a “a slap in the face to Iowa farmers and renewable fuel producers and a direct contradiction of multiple campaign promises made by President Biden.” Iowa is a major corn producing state, and elected officials from the state have historically backed stronger ethanol blend mandates for gasoline. - EPA’s New Biofuel Blending Targets Spark Controversy  KCCI Des Moines     


IL: Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm toured a U.S. Department of Energy quantum computing lab known as Fermilab alongside Governor J.B. Pritzker, as part of an effort to promote clean energy innovations and the new federal infrastructure law. This was Secretary Granholm's first visit to Illinois in her current role, and she used the opportunity to highlight the importance of clean energy, including nuclear power, to hasten the energy transition. The cutting edge federal lab uses quantum computing technology to develop solutions in diverse areas such as the financial and medical industries, and weather forecasting. Governor Pritzker praised the administration for enacting the federal infrastructure bill, touting its future benefits for electric grid reliability, electric vehicles and clean energy. "What this allows us to do is to not only use those federal dollars to accelerate what we've been planning, but also to extend that so much of what we do." - Energy Secretary Tours Fermilab to Highlight Clean Energy ABC 7                                                    

PA:. Governor Tom Wolf’s attempt to set a statewide price on carbon through administrative action encountered another hurdle as an agency responsible for publishing the regulation refused to do so. The Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau, which reports to the state’s GOP controlled legislature, has so far refused to publish the Governor’s regulation imposing a price on emissions from fossil fuel fired power plants. House and Senate leaders have argued they have more time under the statute to vote on the proposed rule, a claim rejected by Pennsylvania’s Environmental Protection Secretary who wrote the Legislature demanding the regulation’s publication. Publishing the regulation in the Pennsylvania bulletin (issued by the Legislative Reference Bureau) gives it immediate effect. Republicans ultimately will be unable to block the regulation, a move which requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the Pennsylvania legislature. - Governor’s Carbon Pricing Plan Encounters Obstacle  AP


President Biden ordered federal buildings and vehicles to use renewable energy by the year 2050. In a series of executive orders, the President directed the federal government’s fleet of 600,000 cars and trucks to become electric. He also imposed a federal government-wide goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 and a requirement that federal buildings source power from renewable energy. The executive orders lay out a detailed time-table for the transition, with federal building power being sourced from renewable power by 2030 and all newly purchased cars required to be electric by 2035. The federal government is a major purchaser of electric power, consuming 1.5% of all energy in the United States and higher percentages in states such as California and Virginia with large federal presences. Exempted from the order is procurement for the Department of Defense, a large portion of federal expenditures.   - Biden orders federal vehicles and buildings to use renewable energy by 2050  NY Times

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