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Energy Update: July 31, 2020

In the States

KS: Governor Laura Kelly reaffirmed a 2004 moratorium on wind energy development at the Tallgrass Heartland region of the Flint Hills, an area covering 12 Kansas counties. Initially issued by former Governor Kathleen Sebelius and expanded to its current size by former Governor Sam Brownback in 2011, the region contains two-thirds of the world’s remaining tallgrass prairie. “Wind power will continue to be a key part of Kansas’ energy future,” Governor Kelly said. “We can and should seek both to expand the development of clean energy like wind and solar while protecting the ecosystem and natural beauty of our tallgrass prairies for future generations.” About 15 percent of the state’s electricity is derived from renewable energy sources, and Kansas is considered to have the second largest wind power potential of any U.S. state. Kelly Reaffirms Wind MoratoriumThe Kansan

 

NH: Governor Chris Sununu vetoed Senate Bill 124, a measure that would have expanded New Hampshire’s Renewable Portfolio Standard and required utilities to provide a greater share of electricity through solar power generation. In his veto message, Governor Sununu called the bill “a direct handout to politically well-connected industries,” arguing that the bill increases costs for ratepayers. Governor Sununu also raised concerns about the environmental impact of the land required to meet the solar energy benchmarks proposed in SB 124. Some Democrats criticized the Governor’s veto, arguing that the Governor aimed to block clean energy expansion and that New Hampshire’s current Renewable Portfolio Standard is currently the lowest-set standard of any New England state. Sununu Blocks Bill to Expand N.H.’s Required Renewable Energy Use, Now Lowest in New EnglandNew Hampshire Public Radio. Governor’s Veto Message Regarding Senate Bill 124Office of the Governor.

 

NY: Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his office is soliciting bids for large-scale renewable energy projects to fight climate change. In a press release, the Governor said his office is seeking proposals to add up to 4,000 megawatts of renewable energy generation capacity through offshore wind and other land-based renewable energy projects, including solar development and land-based wind farms. The new solicitation includes a “multi-port strategy“ requiring offshore wind developers to partner with 11 prequalified New York ports to construct wind farms and coordinate operations and maintenance activities. According to the Governor’s office, these new clean energy solicitations are expected to create approximately $7 billion in direct investments and about 4,500 jobs. “During one of the most challenging years New York has ever faced, we remain laser-focused on implementing our nation-leading climate plan and growing our clean energy economy,“ said Governor Cuomo, “not only to bring significant economic benefits and jobs to the state, but to quickly attack climate change at its source by reducing our emissions.” New York Issues Solicitations for 4,000 MW of Clean Energy ProjectsDaily Energy Insider

 

PA: In his response to a letter sent by State Senator Joe Pittman, Governor Tom Wolf suggested his office would pursue the federal government’s Coal FIRST initiative to advance carbon capture utilization and storage research. “We know from repeated global energy scenario reports that carbon capture utilization and storage will be necessary to meet the economy-wide emission reductions required if we are to have a chance at achieving a two-degree climate mitigation goal,” said Governor Wolf. Although Governor Wolf and Senator Pittman agreed on the benefits of carbon capture utilization and storage technology, the Governor did not address Senator Pittman’s concerns about Governor Wolf’s clean energy agenda, including his decision to join the Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Debate over the best path forward for state energy policy continues between Governor Wolf and members of the Republican-controlled legislature, which recently passed a bill to require Governor Wolf to seek legislative approval for joining the RGGI. Governor Wolf is expected to veto the bill. Wolf Responds to Pittman LetterThe Indiana Gazette, Pennsylvania Lawmakers Take up Fight against Governor’s Climate StrategyThe Philadelphia Inquirer

 

National

Energy use in the United State fell to its lowest level in 30 years, primarily driven by the economic slowdown associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), less economic activity caused less demand for coal used for electricity generation and oil used for gasoline and jet fuel, leading to an overall drop in energy consumption. Similar trends emerged around the globe as other countries wrestled with the economic consequences of COVID-19-related lockdowns. While these energy usage trends are beginning to rebound as commercial activity resumes,  some effects of low energy usage remain; some energy companies have already had to file for bankruptcy protection as they saw their profits dip, and the EIA projected an 11% decline in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions as a result of the slowdown. As economic activity tenuously continues, the EIA projects overall energy consumption will increase for the rest of 2020 but remain below 2019 levels. US energy use hit 30-year low during pandemic shutdownsThe News & Advance

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