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Energy Update: July 10, 2020

In the States

ME: Governor Janet Mills announced a $170 million deal with Hydro-Quebec to provide 500,000 megawatts of discounted electricity through Central Maine Power’s recently-approved transmission corridor, the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC). According to the Governor’s office, the agreement will provide enough discounted power to supply approximately 70,000 homes or 10,000 businesses. The deal also addresses some critics’ initial concerns about the NECEC who worry that the new project would only benefit Massachusetts residents. “I have heard people say that the NECEC will deliver power directly to Massachusetts but not to Maine,” Governor Mills said. “With this new commitment, we ensure that Maine consumers access power directly from the line at a discounted price.” The announcement of Governor Mills’ deal was cheered by leaders in business, energy, and labor, but some consumer advocates argue that it will not provide much benefit to residential ratepayers. Some environmental critics who oppose the project argue that the NECEC will destroy some of Maine’s wilderness and are pursuing a citizen referendum this fall to stop the project. Maine Secures Deal for Discounted Energy from Hydro-QuebecU.S. News

 

NC: After a years-long debate, Governor Roy Cooper and the state’s Republican-controlled legislature reached an agreement on appropriating a portion of the state’s share of Volkswagen’s multibillion-dollar settlement fund resulting from its diesel emissions violations. Under their agreement, lawmakers appropriated one of three installments from Volkswagen — about $31 million — on replacing older school and transit buses with more efficient and zero-emissions models. Some funds will also be set aside for investments in infrastructure for electric vehicles. The Cooper administration will announce awards next month and begin the process of working with the legislature to appropriate the other two installments, totaling about $61 million. North Carolina lawmakers’ dispute over VW funds is finally settled — for nowEnergy News Network

 

VA: Governor Ralph Northam announced the beginning of a new initiative, titled Clean Energy Virginia, which aims to spur investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency by educating businesses owners, investors, and energy stakeholders. As part of the initiative, the State will host five webinars educating participants about recent clean energy legislation, connecting them with educational resources and tools, and informing them about opportunities for clean energy businesses to expand or locate in Virginia. The initiative is part of Governor Northam’s environmental agenda to help the Commonwealth meet the targets set out in his Executive Order Forty-Three. “Our new Clean Energy Virginia initiative builds on the historic progress we achieved during the recent legislative session, helping ensure the Commonwealth remains a national leader in clean energy innovation, creates the jobs of the future, and meets the urgency of the climate, health, and economic challenges we are facing,” said Governor Northam. Governor Northam Launches “Clean Energy Virginia” Initiative to Drive Investment in Renewable Energy, Support Jobs of the FutureFairfax County Times

 

WY: Wyoming’s State Loan and Investment Board unanimously voted to submit a bid to purchase land and mineral rights from Occidental Petroleum. The bid, estimated at $1 billion, is now being considered by Governor Mark Gordon’s office. In a statement, the Governor emphasized that the bid is “non-binding”, and said he would only move forward with the deal if his office assessed it would be a good investment for  Wyoming. The proposed purchase is being considered in hopes of securing a crucial revenue-generating asset in the midst of deepening financial troubles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and falling oil and gas prices. “This is a unique and substantial opportunity to invest in Wyoming-based revenue-generating assets,” Gordon said in the release. “We owed it to the people of Wyoming to properly evaluate its potential, listen to their concerns and weigh carefully whether this investment would benefit Wyoming’s portfolio. That is our fiduciary responsibility to our state — to make sure we get the highest rate of return for the citizens of Wyoming.” Wyoming Governor: 10% Cuts Submitted, 10% More to FollowRocketMiner.com, Wyoming Officials Vote to Submit Bid to Purchase Occidental Petroleum Land and Minerals, Oil City News

 

National

A federal judge from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling shutting down the Dakota Access Pipeline, pending an environmental review. The Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.8 billion large-scale oil pipeline stretching from North Dakota to Illinois, first gained national attention as local tribes clashed with the federal government at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation over the protection of water, land, and spiritual sites that were disrupted by the pipeline. This ruling from the district court comes as a major victory for the tribes and environmental groups who opposed the pipeline, and a major setback for the pipeline’s investors and the fossil fuel industry. U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette also expressed his concerns that the pipeline’s closure could have adverse effects on the American economy. Energy Transfer announced their intent to challenge the ruling, but the energy consultancy Rapidan Energy estimates the court-ordered shutdown could last at least 10-12 months, or permanently if President Trump does not win reelection. Dakota Access Pipeline now in ServiceThe Hill, Court Orders Dakota Pipeline Shut in Latest Blow to U.S. Fossil Fuel ProjectsReuters

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