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Energy Update: February 8, 2019

 

In the States

CO – Xcel Energy officials indicated in a meeting with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission that they may file a case on rates for public, fast charging stations, stations handling vehicle fleets, and another case that would address providing part of the infrastructure for charging stations. However Colorado Senators Kevin Priola and Angela Williams, and Representative Chris Hansen have created a piece of legislation that would, “allow investor owned utilities to own and operate charging stations as part of their regulated services,” thus allowing a return on their investment. It would essentially remove a block on all utilities, including Xcel, from owning and operating charging stations. The legislation, Senate Bill 19-088, would allow companies like Xcel and the Public Utilities Commission to work together and build infrastructure that would boost electric vehicle usage.  Xcel  Energy,  Colorado  regulators  weigh  utility’s  role  in  electric -vehicle market – The Denver Post

 

KY – In 2015, $2 million was taken from the funds of twenty-seven coal counties in Eastern Kentucky in favor of the Kentucky Communications Network Authority (KCNA) for initiatives benefitting community broadband readiness and public computer access. KCNA completed these initiatives with only $800,000. Governor Bevin has now announced that the surplus funds given to KCNA will be returned to the Single County Coal Severance accounts in the twenty- seven counties they were taken from.  Gov. Bevin Announces Recovery of $1.3 Million in Coal Severance Funds –Kentucky.gov

 

MI – Governor Whitmer issued an executive order to get rid of industry-backed environmental review panels that the previous governor put in place. The move received mixed reviews; gaining praise from environmentalists but criticism from business groups. The panels, known to environmentalists as “polluter panels,” are made of government-appointed members and business representatives. While these panels intended to provide state-level review of

 

proposed environmental regulations and permits, Governor Whitmer believes they may be in violation of the federal Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. In response, members of the House Republican leadership went on record saying that while they had no problem with the parts of Governor Whitmer’s order that would restructure Michigan’s top environmental agency, they would not accept abolishing the panels. The House voted 58-51 against Governor Whitmer’s order, sending the resolution to the Senate. If the Senate also rejects the order, it would be killed.  Michigan ’s GOP House moves  to  void Dem  governor’s  decision  on Environmental Panels – The Hill

National and Regional

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward Markey officially introduced the Green New Deal on February 6th. The legislation, which calls for the elimination of the United States’ carbon footprint by 2030,has received mixed reviews. The scope of the plan is immense, and not only calls for an increased use of renewable energy, but also a broader

effort to expand economic opportunity. Specifically, it calls for, “a fair and just transition for all communities and workers.” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defended the legislation, saying, “All great American programs, everything from The Great Society to The New Deal, started with a vision for our future.” However, this future seems unattainable to some. Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said, “I’m afraid I just cannot see how we could possibly go to zero carbon in a ten year time frame,” and goes on to call the plan, “impractical.” To some, the Green New Deal doesn’t go far enough. Nicole Ghio, Senior Fossil Fuel Program Manager at Friends of the Earth, said the, “resolution doesn’t quite get us there,” when discussing the challenge of the climate crisis. In contrast, the federal policy director for the Climate & Clean Every Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Aliyah Haq, thinks, “It is a breath of fresh air to see leaders in Congress discussing climate solutions that rise to the scale of the challenge.” The Green New Deal is still in preliminary stages.  Despite Few Details and Much Doubt, the Green New Deal Generates Enthusiasm – NPR

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