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Energy Update: June 11, 2021

In the States

NC: Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order to establish offshore wind development goals and instruct state agencies to designate personnel to oversee the expansion of offshore wind energy. The Governor’s order sets goals of generating 2.8 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, and 8 gigawatts by 2040. The order also directs the state’s Commerce Department to designate a leader for a new offshore wind energy task force, and orders the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to designate “offshore wind coordinators”. According to the Governor’s office, this planned expansion of offshore wind energy will power approximately 2.3 million homes by 2040 and secure nearly $140 billion in offshore wind energy investments. “Offshore wind power will help North Carolina create jobs and generate economic development while helping us transition to a clean energy economy,” said Governor Cooper in a press release. Governor Cooper Commits State to Offshore Wind Power WITN

 

ND: At the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, Governor Doug Burgum set a new environmental goal for the state of North Dakota: to be fully carbon-neutral by 2030. To achieve this goal, the Governor said the state is pursuing new innovations in carbon-reducing technologies, such as produced water recycling, a process where contaminated water created as a by-product during the drilling process is treated, decontaminated, and reused, rather than discarded. The Governor also highlighted ongoing research into carbon capture and storage technologies at the University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental Research Center. Governor Burgum remained optimistic that the state’s efforts to become carbon-neutral could drive economic growth in the state. At the conference, Governor Burgum said that the challenge to become carbon neutral “is driving investment and consumer demand for products and services that have no or low-carbon footprints across every single industry.” His goal represents an ambitious step for the state, as North Dakota is the United States’ second-largest oil producing state. North Dakota Governor Sets Carbon-Neutral Goal by 2030Natural Gas Intelligence

 

NV: Nevada’s state legislature recently passed SB 448, a sweeping energy infrastructure reform bill aimed at helping the state reach its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. The bill directs NV Energy to invest $100 million into electric vehicle infrastructure, authorizes financial support for the installation of rooftop solar panels, and orders the building of two 525-kilowatt transmission lines across the north and east regions of the state to complete the “Greenlink Nevada” power grid. Supporters of the bill said that these infrastructure upgrades will allow the state to generate and transport power from clean energy sources to rural areas and other underserved communities. Opponents of the bill, however, voiced their concerns that these new projects could raise electricity rates or disrupt local ecosystems. SB 448 now moves to Governor Steve Sisolak’s desk, awaiting his signature. Massive Energy Overhaul Bill Awaits Nevada Governor SignatureKTNV Las Vegas  

 

TX: After a winter weather crisis that left thousands of Texans without power during freezing temperatures, Governor Greg Abbott signed two bills that aim to reform the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and weatherize the Texas power grid. SB 2 issues new policies for ERCOT, reducing the number of ERCOT board members from 16 to 11 and establishing a new committee, selected by Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dade Phelan, to choose members for ERCOT’s board (previously, board members were appointed by “industry leaders”). SB 3 requires power companies and some natural gas companies to upgrade their facilities and infrastructure to withstand extreme weather, and directs regulators to create an emergency alert system to notify Texans about expected severe weather and power outages. "During the winter storm, too many Texans were left without heat or power for days on end, and I immediately made reforming ERCOT and weatherizing the power system emergency items," said Governor Abbott in a press release. “These laws will improve the reliability of the electric grid and help ensure these problems never happen again.” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs bills to reform ERCOT and weatherize the power gridKVUE

 

National

After 16 years of ongoing controversy and legal battles, TC Energy has officially cancelled its efforts to construct the Keystone XL oil pipeline. In a statement, TC Energy said it decided to terminate the project after consulting with the government of Alberta, Canada, although the company had already suspended construction of the pipeline after President Joe Biden revoked their permit to build in the United States. Though the Keystone XL project was formally cancelled, large segments of the pipeline have already been built throughout the U.S. and Canada. Industry experts estimate that these segments, in combination with two new large oil pipelines that are under construction, will provide oil sands producers with more than enough capacity for crude oil exports. However, environmental advocates still argue that shutting down the Keystone pipeline marks a major shift in environmental policy and political relations on environmental issues. “The era of building fossil fuel pipelines without scrutiny of their potential impact on climate change and on local communities is over,” declared Anthony Swift, director of the Canada Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council. While environmentalists celebrated shutting down the Keystone pipeline as a victory, proponents of the pipeline, including Congressional Republicans and oil industry stakeholders, criticized the Biden administration’s role in the decision. The Keystone XL Pipeline Has Officially Been Canceled After Opposition from Biden Administration – TIME

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