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Energy Update: July 2, 2021

In the States

FL: Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 919 into law, a bill that prevents city and county governments from placing restrictions on what energy sources utility companies can use to supply electricity. The bill explicitly prohibits any “municipality, county, special district, or other political subdivision of the state” from enacting or enforcing any “resolution, ordinance, rule, code, [or] policy” that places restrictions on the types of fuel sources used by utilities, with the exception of utilities owned and operated by municipalities or other local government entities. The bill also voids any existing local government policy that places restrictions on utilities’ fuel sources. In effect, according to some opponents, the bill allows the state government to monopolize the power to regulate the fuel sources of utilities operating in Florida. The bill was introduced in response to increasing efforts by local governments to ban locally operating utilities from utilizing fossil fuels. Supporters of the bill, including the interest group Americans for Prosperity Florida, argued that HB 919 would “prevent unnecessary restrictions on utility services.” U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL-14), however, issued a statement in which she criticized Governor DeSantis for signing the bill, calling HB 919 “anti-consumer, anti-clean energy” and suggesting the new law would worsen climate change.  Local Florida governments can’t restrict ‘dirty energy’ usage under new law signed by DeSantisNBC Florida

 

ME: Maine Governor Janet Mills signed into law new legislation that sets statewide energy storage goals. LD 528: An Act to Advance Energy Storage in Maine, signed by the Governor last week, sets state goals for energy storage development of 300 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity by the end of 2025, and 400MW of installed capacity by the end of 2030. Supporters of the bill argued that these new targets will help Maine reach its environmental goals while improving the cost-effectiveness and reliability of the state’s power grid. “Exploring and investing in energy storage will help Maine take better advantage of renewable energy sources. It will also increase the overall stability of our energy grid and support more jobs that come with our growing green energy industry,” said Senator Eloise Vitelli (D-Arrowsic), the sponsor of LD 528. With the adoption of these new goals, Maine now becomes the ninth U.S. state to have adopted a deployment goal for energy storage, joining other Northeastern states including Connecticut and Massachusetts. Maine becomes 9th US state to adopt energy storage deployment targetEnergy Storage News

 

NJ: New Jersey’s Senate and Assembly passed a pair of bills aiming to speed the development of offshore wind power in the state. S3926 and its companion bill, A5894, grant state regulators the authority to seize property and grant easements for power lines transmitting electricity from offshore windmills. The bills also would grant the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities authority to supersede “certain local governmental powers upon petition from offshore wind project[s],” if necessary. S3926 and A5894 now move to Governor Phil Murphy’s desk, where they likely will be signed, given that Governor Murphy has historically supported offshore wind energy development and set a goal of generating 7,500MW of electricity from windmills in the state by 2035. Bill meant to speed development of offshore windmills heads to governor’s deskNJ.com

 

WY: Governor Mark Gordon announced that $12 million of funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will be allocated for a second round of funding for the Energy Rebound Program, an initiative introduced by the Governor in 2020 to buoy Wyoming’s struggling oil and gas industry. Last year, the Energy Rebound Program provided critical capital infusions for unfinished oil and gas projects. This latest round of funding will be used to target projects that the Governor’s office expects will improve job growth and revenue in the state, or provide environmental benefits. “The Energy Rebound Program successfully provided opportunities for oil and gas industry employees who lost jobs when drilling ceased last year. This program will continue to provide economic benefits to this important industry, their workforce and the entire state of Wyoming,” said Governor Gordon in a press release. Governor using CARES funds to relaunch Energy Rebound ProgramRocket Miner

 

National

President Joe Biden appears to have secured a pathway for a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package after striking a deal with a bipartisan group of Senators. The package includes funding for several projects aimed at improving the energy infrastructure of the United States, including $73 billion for modernizing power grid infrastructure and authorities and $15 billion for the expansion of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and public transportation. The bill would also create a new “Infrastructure Financing Authority” with the power to allocate billions of dollars for the expansion of clean energy and transportation. President Biden had initially hinged his support for the bipartisan agreement on the condition that a multi-trillion dollar Democratic budget reconciliation bill containing funding for a variety of Democratic policy priorities, including a national clean energy standard, reach his desk in tandem with the infrastructure bill. President Biden has since walked back his stance, earning him the Republican support necessary to overcome the Senate filibuster and clearing a pathway for the passage of the bill. President Biden has said he will continue to fight for the reconciliation bill, even without Republican support, and an advisor to the President commented saying he was confident both bills would reach the President’s desk. Bipartisan infrastructure deal back on track after walk-backAssociated Press

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