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Energy Update, February 26, 2010

In the States

CA – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill into law that doubles the amount of electricity utilities must purchase from homeowners with solar panels or wind turbines under a net metering arrangement, calling it “great for the environment and great for our economy.”  Net metering allows homeowners with alternative energy generators like solar panels to receive credits for electricity they do not use, but feed to the grid.  These credits can then be used when more electricity is needed than a home system can provide, such as when it is less sunny in the winter.  Prior to the new law, utilities were required to issue net metering credits for 2.5% of electricity generated by the utility; the new law doubles that percentage to 5%.  Gov. Schwarzenegger signs bill to raise net-metering limitSunpluggers.com and California doubles net-metering cap on wind and solar to 5% Treehugger.com

FL – Governor Charlie Crist’s energy office is “trying to encourage energy efficiency, water conservation, and recycling” by implementing a program in which consumers will be eligible for an additional $75 rebate for replacing their inefficient appliances with new Energy Star rated ones.  Florida residents already receive up to $100 in rebates for purchasing efficient appliances, so the additional $75 per appliance will substantially increase the amount consumers will save.  The program only runs April 19-25 and consumers must produce a receipt from a certified disposal facility confirming the destruction of the old appliance to be eligible.  Florida sweetens deal for clunker appliancesMiami Herald

Regional and National News

The Federal government and 11 Atlantic Coast states have taken initial steps towards forming a Wind Consortium to help coordinate offshore wind permitting processes and electric transmission planning.  Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar participated in a news conference in Washington DC announcing the initiative, along with Maine Governor John Baldacci, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.  Offshore wind projects are currently in the planning or permitting processes off the coasts of several of these states.  Feds plan offshore wind consortium with 11 Atlantic States – Environment News Service

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson recently sent a letter to eight coal-state Democratic Senators who had sought a moratorium on new emissions regulations.  In her letter, Administrator Jackson assured the Senators that only the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions would be subject to any limitations before 2013, with limits placed on smaller entities beginning in 2016.  The group of Senators, led by John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, had argued that significant decisions about energy, the economy, and the environment should be left to Congress.  In addition to the concerns of these Senators, Republican members of Congress, industry groups, and officials from Texas, Alabama, and Virginia have challenged EPA’s proposed regulation of industrial emissions.  EPA plans to phase in regulation of emissionsNew York Times

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