Viohl & Associates

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Energy Update: May 18, 2018


In the States

CA – The California Energy Commission (CEC), on a unanimous vote of 5-0, approved regulations to require all newly-constructed single-family houses to have solar panels. The new regulation also applies to multifamily buildings with three stories or less. Beginning in 2020, the new requirement, which does not require approval from the state legislature, is expected to decrease consumers’ costs through reduced utility bills. According to an analysis by the CEC, “monthly mortgage payments should rise by an average of $40, but utility bills should fall by $80.” Currently, only 20% of new single-family houses in California have solar panels and the new requirement may make homes, on average, more expensive to build. "The cash flow position of the homeowners is actually improved in these homes," said Commissioner Andrew McAllister of the new regulation. Following the publication of the mandate, the California Building Standards Commission is expected to review and also approved the regulations. Regulators approve mandate for solar panels on new homesThe Los Angeles Times


CT – Energy and environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s approved budget that allows the transfer of $175 million in energy conservation program funding to be redirected towards the state’s budget deficit. The funds from the energy conversation programs in question are generally collected through fees on residents’ utility bills. The two-year budget was approved back in October and sought to take $127 million from the state’s Energy Efficiency Fund, $28 million from Connecticut’s Green Bank, and $20 million from the state’s share of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. “This should come as a surprise to no one,” said Governor Dan Malloy. “I have long maintained that these shortsighted sweeps would increase energy costs for consumers and businesses and cause untold harm to our green energy economy.” Federal lawsuit filed to block state from using energy conservation funds to solve budget deficitThe Hartford Courant


NJ – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a 45-day extension to decide what to do on a contentious pipeline crisscrossing central New Jersey. The proposed 26.8-mile Northeast Supply Enhancement of Tulsa-based Williams’ Transco Pipeline is estimated to be a $926.5 million project that would transport natural gas through  Old Bridge, Sayreville, and the Raritan Bay and eventually to a compression station in Franklin Township. The DEP has until June 23 to approve four permits associated with the pipeline, and any extension granted by FERC would begin from the date supplemental material is received from Williams. Christopher Stockton, a company spokesman, said, “It is normal to issue what are known as ‘data requests’ any time they need additional information from the applicant. It doesn’t mean there is a problem with the application. It’s actually a normal part of the exchange of information during the review.” Transco protests continue as state asks feds for permit extensionMy Central Jersey


UT – Governor Gary Herbert unveiled his updated energy blueprint for Utah at his 7th Annual Governor’s Energy Summit, which featured former Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. The Summit focused mostly on creating jobs and expanding energy production in Utah, and notably a list of coal and solar power projects that Governor Herbert would like completed before his term ends. Overall, Governor Herbert would like Utah to increase energy production by 25 percent by the end of 2020. When discussing challenges, Governor Herbert, cited the difficulties in renewable energy storage as one potential barrier to additional solar and wind energy capacity. “We have people in other departments [of the Trump administration] who, again, whether they’re governors or not,” said Governor Herbert, “have a respect for the sovereignty of the states and are trying to give us more flexibility to find our solutions that are unique to the respective states.” Herbert releases 10 goals in Utah ‘Energy Action Plan’ KSL

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