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Energy Update: January 15, 2021

In the States

CO: Governor Jared Polis announced that Black Hills Energy, a major energy supplier for the state, has filed a Clean Energy Plan as part of its upcoming Electric Resource Plan, joining all other major utilities across Colorado in committing to reducing emissions. This signifies a major step towards meeting Governor Polis’s goal of meeting 100 percent of Colorado’s energy needs through renewable sources since Black Hills Energy and other major utilities in Colorado are responsible for 99% of fossil-fired generation. As part of their Clean Energy Plan, Black Hills Energy aims to reduce their air pollution and emissions by at least 80 percent by 2030. To help achieve this goal, the energy company will create its first utility-scale solar project, a 200 megawatt facility located in Pueblo County. According to the company, this clean energy effort will also deliver more than $66 million in savings for their customers over 15 years. “Colorado is well on our way to achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2040 and will continue to win lower rates along with the health and environmental benefits of green energy,” said Governor Polis. “I’m proud of the work the state has championed thus far and appreciate the private sector and climate advocates working together to meet the bold goals and demands of this generational challenge.” Governor Polis Celebrates a Major Step Closer to Achieving 100% Renewable EnergyFox 21 Local News

 

KS: Governor Laura Kelly announced that Kansas was recognized by Business Facilities Magazine as a national leader in wind energy. According to the publication, Kansas was ranked first in percentage of energy generated by wind and fourth in installed wind power capacity. Business Facilities Magazine also noted the contributions of the Grain Belt Express, an ambitious energy transmission project undertaken by Governor Kelly last year that is projected to bring $8 billion in economic investment to the state. “I'm pleased that these national accolades have confirmed what Kansans have known to be true – our state is a driving force when it comes to wind power expansion, development and innovation in our country,” said Governor Kelly. Governor Laura Kelly Announces Kansas Receives National Recognition for Wind Energy Production, CapacityKRSL Kansas Local News

 

NY: In his State of the State speech, Governor Andrew Cuomo called for a package of new energy projects to fight climate change and help create jobs after COVID-19. The Governor plans to build new green energy power facilities, a wind turbine manufacturing plant at the Port of Albany, several large-scale offshore wind projects in the Atlantic, three new “green energy” transmission lines in eastern New York, and a facility on Long Island to train renewable energy technicians. Governor Cuomo estimated that these projects could create 50,000 jobs and power six million homes in the state. While environmental advocates cheered the announcement, some skeptics questioned how these projects would affect costs for ratepayers and the quality of life for residents of the towns where facilities will be built. Residents of Orleans County voiced their opposition to Governor Cuomo’s plan to build a new 200-megawatt solar plant there. Cuomo Promotes New Efforts to Expand Renewable Energy in New YorkThe Buffalo News

 

WY: Governor Mark Gordon expressed his concerns about the incoming Biden administration’s plans to regulate the energy sector and pledged to fight any federal regulations that would hinder the development of fossil fuels and other nonrenewable energy resources. Wyoming’s economy is heavily reliant on the production and development of oil, natural gas and coal, and was impacted negatively by the drop in fossil fuel prices throughout 2020. As a result of this downturn Governor Gordon made deep budget cuts, slashing agency spending by 10 percent and now proposes a supplemental budget that cuts agency spending by an additional 5 percent. Still, Governor Gordon’s statements reflected a cautious optimism that a balance can be struck between environmental regulation and the development of energy resources crucial to the state. "There is good reason to be concerned the actions of the next administration will further dampen the economic outlook for energy here in Wyoming," said Governor Gordon, "on the other hand, we're hopeful the next administration recognizes that energy independence and domestic production of vital resources are central to our nation's security and prosperity”. Wyoming governor: State will fight any Biden regulations on energyBillings Gazette

 

National

The Department of Energy (DOE) is expected to play a crucial role in the incoming Biden administration’s economic plan as President-elect Biden prepares to leverage clean energy investments as a way to stimulate the economy and fight climate change. The DOE currently has $40 billion in unused loan authority that was awarded under the Obama administration’s 2009 stimulus, which President-elect Biden plans on instructing the DOE to use for investments in clean energy infrastructure. While the $40 billion available is only a small fraction of the trillions of dollars needed to meet the President-elect’s goals of achieving net-zero emissions on the power grid by 2035 and economy-wide by 2050, environmental advocates say there is still a lot that can be done with $40 billion. These advocates also argue that the Biden administration could tweak the DOE loan program’s language to make it the backbone of a government-wide clean lending bank that finances the rapid deployment of new clean energy technologies. As potential investments, DOE is expected to explore new battery technology and offshore wind power generation. Biden Set to Supercharge Clean Energy Push with $40B Stash - Politico

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