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Energy Update: June 21, 2019

In the States

ME – Governor Janet Mills signed a bill into law that requires the Public Utilities Commission to approve a demonstration project to advance the use of floating offshore wind energy in the United States. The project is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for $39.9 million and will deploy floating turbines. The bill was sponsored by Senator David Woodsome, a Republican who is enthusiastic about how this bill can help Maine take the lead in research that could have worldwide implications. Governor Mills also announced that Maine has joined a regional task force led by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which will seek to identify potential opportunities for renewable energy leasing and development in the Gulf of Maine. Governor Mills said, “Offshore wind represents a great opportunity for Maine’s energy future and our economy”.  Maine Governor takes action to advance offshore wind developmentWind Power Engineering & Development

 

NY – On June 20th the New York State Assembly passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which is headed to the Governor Andrew Cuomo for his expected signature. The legislation requires at least 70% of electric generation to come from renewable sources by 2030, and provides needed funding to assist low-income residents with this transition. This legislation was agreed to by leaders of both the State Senate and the State Assembly and Governor Cuomo earlier in the week. The bill also sets a requirement for local distributed solar energy production of 6 gigawatts by 2025, which a report released earlier this year estimated would sustain more than 11,000 jobs between now and 2025. New York sets goal for enough solar to power 1 million homes by 2025Solar Power World

 

PA – Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania has asked Republican leaders in the state legislature to work with him to bring Pennsylvania into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). This consortium requires members to set a price and cap on all gas emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. If they do enter the program, the price paid by power plant owners to emit carbon dioxide would bring in hundreds of millions of dollars for the state government. Owners of power plants would have to buy credits for every ton of carbon dioxide they emit, which incentivizes them to lower their emissions. Governor Wolf is working with Republican leaders on a compromise with the hope of avoiding a court challenge if he were to act unilaterally. Republican leaders in the House and Senate have indicated their willingness to reach an agreement, but it’s unlikely a deal will be completed before the legislative session ends for the summer. Republicans are predicting that the commonwealth will join the RGGI no earlier than 2021. Wolf wants power plant emission plan to fight climate changePocono Record

 

OR – Oregon House Bill 2020, or the Oregon Climate Action Program, passed the House of Representatives earlier this week by a vote of 35-24. Under this legislation, greenhouse gas emissions will be capped each year to keep emissions below the 1990 level by 45% by 2035 and by at least 80% by 2050 through a market-based cap and trade program. Oregon would become the second state after California to adopt this approach if it is enacted into law. Republican members of the House assert the legislation will raise gas prices and damage rural economies.  While Governor Kate Brown has said that she would sign the bill, Republican members of the State Senate have gone into hiding to prevent the necessary quorum needed for a vote in that body. Oregon House approves ‘cap and trade’ legislationKTVZ News 21 / Oregon Republicans go missing to avoid climate change vote; governor sends police to find themCBS News

 

MN – Governor Tim Walz has announced a plan to renew his push for an ambitious clean energy bill. The plan would require electric companies in the state to switch to 100% clean energy in the next 30 years and prevents them from replacing or setting up new power generators with fossil-fuel power sources unless there’s no reliable or affordable carbon-free power available. He and his Democratic-Farmer-Labor party allies in the legislature attempted to pass the legislation this year, but failed to gain traction in the midst of debate over other important spending and policy bills. Opponents to the plan have compared it to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, portraying it as unrealistic.  Republican leaders have suggested that they would be willing to come to the table to find a compromise on the Governor’s plan, but are unlikely to do so until next year’s legislative session. Walz renews push for 100% clean energy planThe Daily Journal

 

National

A bipartisan group of U.S. House and Senate members, including Reps. Elaine Luria and Denver Riggleman have co-sponsored the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act, which would create a national strategy for nuclear energy, demonstrate advanced nuclear reactor concepts, and make initial supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium fuel available. The bill, which was introduced simultaneously with a Senate bill, shows some degree of bipartisan congressional enthusiasm for nuclear legislation. Congresswoman  Luria said that “when we talk about climate change and cutting CO2 emissions, it’s important that we recognize the impacts of having nuclear as one of those energy sources”. While the bill’s referral to both the House energy and science committees will require an extra step to gain passage, supporters are hopeful that the introduction of a single bill will expedite the process.  Bipartisan House Members Introduce Nuclear Energy Leadership ActMorning Consult

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