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Energy Update: May 30, 2023

In the States

AK: Governor Mike Dunleavy of Alaska signed a bill permitting the state's entrance into carbon credit markets during the second annual Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference. The law, known as Senate Bill 48 or the "trees bill", aims to generate revenue through the sale of carbon offset credits to polluters in exchange for preserving carbon-absorbing natural areas. Despite uncertainties regarding the potential revenue and concerns about leasing land for carbon credit purposes, Dunleavy believes this law will open global discussions on carbon markets. "This bill is going to allow us to have conversations worldwide with individuals that are involved in the carbon markets," said Governor Dunleavy. The law also authorizes carbon management projects, leases state lands for carbon management, and allows for underground carbon dioxide sequestration. Dunleavy signs carbon ‘trees’ bill at sustainable energy conference—Juneau Empire


CA: Governor Gavin Newsom of California is pushing for rapid progress in construction projects across the state by expediting the permitting process. He aims to streamline the bureaucratic journey to greenlighting projects, some of which include solar, wind and battery storage, reducing the time to resolve environmental lawsuits to a maximum of nine months. This move, aimed at accelerating several specific projects, has been met with criticism from environmental groups. Still, Newsom maintains that California has substantial funds for infrastructure development that need to be utilized efficiently. His reforms could potentially fast-track projects, shaving off over three years in bureaucratic delays. Senate President Toni Atkins praised the proposal, saying “the climate crisis requires that we move faster to build and strengthen critical infrastructure.” California governor seeks to speed up water, clean energy projects delayed by lawsuits, permits—AP


CO: Governor Jared Polis of Colorado has signed a series of laws intended to greatly diminish greenhouse gas emissions, automate local solar energy permitting, promote geothermal heating and cooling, and incentivize the adoption of electric vehicles. One of the laws promises to inject $200 million in tax incentives to promote purchases of electric bicycles, cars, trucks, and the application of clean energy initiatives in industrial sectors. Despite its ambitious climate agenda, the package has found some support from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. The legislation also encourages the use of geothermal energy, with Governor Polis noting, "When we had our January and February (energy) bills, who wouldn't want a low-cost reliable alternative that doesn't fluctuate in cost because of the global commodities market?" The laws are in line with the state's new climate objectives, which include eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Gov. Jared Polis signs “enormous package” of green energy and climate change bills—Denver Post


TN: Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has signed an executive order forming the Tennessee Nuclear Energy Advisory Council to bolster nuclear energy development and innovation. The 15-member council will consist of representatives from the governor's administration, the Tennessee General Assembly, the state's congressional delegation, and industry stakeholders. Their mandate will include identifying legislative, policy, and budgetary changes to aid nuclear energy expansion, finding funding opportunities, examining storage and waste practices, and fostering federal agency partnerships. "Tennesseans will have access to opportunity they didn't have before. It's good for Tennessee. It's good for the country," stated Governor Lee. The initiative aligns with the state's push towards next-generation small nuclear reactors, which promise to be safer, more economical, and smaller than current models. Bill Lee works to position Tennessee as America's leader in new nuclear energy—Knox News



President Biden vetoed a bill which sought to reimpose tariffs on solar panels imported from Chinese companies located in Southeast Asia, which have been found to be breaching trade rules. The resolution had been passed narrowly by the Senate, with some Democrats voicing their support, contradicting Biden's decision last year to pause the tariffs for two years. Biden argued that the reinstatement of tariffs would destabilize efforts to encourage the broader adoption of solar energy in the US and create uncertainty for American businesses and workers in the solar industry. Critics of the tariff suspension claim it fails to protect American workers and solar manufacturers from the influx of cheaper products. Despite this, the administration suggests importing solar panels from China in the short term is necessary for achieving climate change objectives. Biden vetoes legislation that would reinstate tariffs on some solar panels—NY Times

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