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Energy Update, May 3

In the States

AZ – Governor Jan Brewer joined industry representatives to tour the Arlington Valley Solar Energy II power plant, a solar power farm that when completed later this year will be among the largest solar power plants in the world. The Arlington, Arizona solar power plant is being built by LS Power of New York, and has created approximately 400 construction jobs in the region. When finished, the plant will have more than 600,000 solar panels and a 127 megawatt capacity with the potential to power almost 32,000 Arizona homes. The solar power farm’s electricity will be purchased by San Diego Gas & Electric for 25 years. “These are the jobs that get Arizonans back to work,” Governor Brewer said. New Arlington Valley solar site packs powerThe Arizona Republic

 MA – Governor Deval Patrick’s administration set a new goal for solar energy installations in Massachusetts after the State reached its initial 10-year target four year early. Massachusetts’s original goal was to install 250 megawatts of solar power, or enough to power almost 40,000 homes, by 2017. The new goal will be set at 1,600 megawatts of solar energy by 2020, or enough electricity to power almost 250,000 homes per year. “We're eager to see the solar market grow,” said Dwayne Breger, director of renewable energy at the State Department of Energy Resources, “It's brought a tremendous amount of business and jobs to Massachusetts.” Incentives help Mass. hit Gov. Deval Patrick’s solar energy goal 4 years early Mass Live – The Republican

 MS – Governor Phil Bryant signed into law several energy-related bills, including tax breaks and incentives for alternative-fuel vehicles. HB 844, for example, exempts sales tax on energy used in manufacturing while HB 1685 establishes a $2.75 million fund to allow municipalities and school districts to borrow money without interest to purchase natural gas vehicles or to convert existing vehicle fleets. Governor Bryant also signed legislation instructing a state agency to report the State’s energy usage, to develop energy management plans, and to promote Mississippi as a leader in energy development, research, and job creation. “Energy-sector economic development is a primary focus of my administration,” said Governor Bryant, “and the passage of these laws will increase Mississippi’s competitiveness when attracting and recruiting new industries.” Governors signs a slew of energy billsThe Jackson Clarion-Ledger

National and Federal

The National Governors Association (NGA) released a 2012 update to its State Clean Energy Actions report. The report and database are intended to help identify emerging policy trends in clean energy, new models that may be replicable elsewhere, and policy actions Governors can take to advance clean energy. The cumulative report covers activities between 2008-2012, while the update is based on activities from September 2011 through October 2012. Activities are broken into seven categories, including energy efficiency, clean electricity, alternative fuels and vehicles, greenhouse gas emissions, clean energy research, and clean energy economic development. An NGA press release noted that “states expanded or enhanced their clean energy programs” while “Governors also were looking to diversify energy source and reduce emissions.”

 The bipartisan leadership of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee introduced a bill to execute a U.S.-Mexico energy agreement. Signed in 2012 by American and Mexican officials, the Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement seeks cooperation in the extraction and development of oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico. The Senate bill’s language omits a House-passed provision, which exempts Securities and Exchange Commission-listed oil companies from disclosing payments to foreign governments as required under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation signed into law in 2010. Some industry groups are worried the disclosure requirements will burden US companies with additional costs and stifle their competitiveness. Senate bill on US-Mexico drilling lacks Dodd-Frank exemptionThe Hill

 Several of the 29 states with renewable portfolio standards are considering legislation to limit or reduce their mandates thanks to a decrease in price and an increase in supply of natural gas. The Energy Department estimates 16 states, ranging from North Carolina to Colorado, are pursuing statutory changes to decrease wind and solar energy use, potentially reducing costs for the country’s largest coal mining companies and utilities. Some renewable energy advocates believe the current efforts will eventually lead to a full repeal of renewable portfolio standards in several states. The North Carolina legislature is currently debating a bill that would gradually decrease utilities’ required renewable energy purchases and eliminate the mandate by 2021. U.S. States turn against renewable energy as gas plunges Bloomberg

 The Department of the Interior has revised its estimates of oil and gas resources in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. According to the modified figures, the Three Forks formation and the Bakken shale formation could now produce at least 7.4 billion barrels of oil, 6.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 0.53 billion barrels of natural gas liquids – triple the amount originally estimated by the Interior Department in 2008. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the formations “contain even more energy resource potential than previously understood, which is important information as we continue to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of oil.” A bipartisan group of lawmakers continue to pressure President Barack Obama to open more federal lands to oil and gas drilling, highlighting the Bakken and Three Forks formations as models for an economic recovery. Interior Department boosts estimates of oil-and-gas resources in North DakotaThe Hill

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