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Energy Update: October 10, 2020

In the States

AK: Governor Mike Dunleavy, historically a strong supporter of the fossil fuel industry in Alaska, recently expressed his interest in renewable energy projects. The Governor said falling costs associated with renewable energy could “open up some new and tremendous possibilities” for the state. While Governor Dunleavy still supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, he recently approached climate activists about a new hydroelectric power project at Eklutna Lake near Anchorage, and oversaw the expansion of wind energy in the state. “I know there’s a view, on the part of some, that a Republican governor that is supportive of Alaska’s resource extraction industries, including those around fossil fuels, would not want anything to do with renewables,” Governor Dunleavy said. “That’s not the case.” Clean energy advocates said the Governor’s interest in renewable energy reflects a growing political consensus on the benefits of renewables. Pro-oil Alaska Governor also Backs Renewable Energy IdeasAssociated Press

 

CO: Governor Jared Polis announced a draft plan to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state of Colorado. The Governor’s plan aims to cut greenhouse gas pollution by at least 25% below 2005 levels in the next five years, and achieve a 50% reduction by 2030. To achieve this goal, the plan calls for a faster shift to electric vehicles and buses, major reductions of methane emissions by the fossil fuel industry, and a minimum 80% drop in emissions from electricity generation. The plan also calls for “close to 100%” of vehicles on Colorado’s roads to be electric by 2050. “From day one, my administration has prioritized a swift transition to renewable energy and bold climate action, and this roadmap is a significant step forward to continue to reduce pollution for the benefit of the health and well-being of our communities and our economy,” Governor Polis said in a statement. Currently, the full draft energy plan is available for public viewing and comment on the Colorado Energy Office website. The Energy Office will accept public comment until November 1, and then the plan will be finalized and published by the end of the year. Colorado’s Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gases Calls for More Electric Cars, Cuts to Oil and Gas EmissionsThe Denver Post

 

KS: Governor Laura Kelly announced that power generation development company Invenergy will build a new express transmission line in Kansas, creating about 1,000 new permanent jobs and attracting an estimated $8 billion in total new investments. The project, called the Grain Belt Express, will deliver up to 4,000 megawatts of clean wind energy from western Kansas to Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. “Kansas is uniquely positioned to be a regional and national leader in the development and expansion of clean and renewable energy,” said Governor Kelly. “My administration is committed to rebuilding our foundation and supporting key investments that will continue to boost economic development, recruit businesses, foster a healthy workforce, and produce sustained growth.” Gov. Laura Kelly Announces Nearly 1,000 Permanent Jobs, $8 Billion of Total Investment to KansasHigh Plains Journal

 

VT: Governor Phil Scott signed Senate Bill 337, legislation creating programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Under S. 337, Vermont’s utilities will utilize energy efficiency funds to support the electrification of Vermont’s transportation industry and develop new initiatives to reduce emissions from thermal energy generation. S. 337 was passed with bipartisan support, and Governor Scott commended legislators for their collaboration. “Vermont has long understood the need to address climate change.  To this end, we have worked together productively to achieve a cleaner – and more affordable – energy future for Vermont,” said Governor Scott. Governor Phil Scott Signs S. 337 which Directs Funding to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Thermal Energy and Transportation SectorsVT Digger

 

National

The House of Representatives passed the Clean Energy and Jobs Innovation Act, a broad energy package that aims to improve efficiency and support the development of renewable energy sources in an effort to fight climate change. The bill creates new research and development programs for renewable energy, establishes more rigorous building codes, sets new energy efficiency requirements, and contains several other provisions related to fighting climate change. Currently, the Senate is considering their own similar energy innovation package as Senators reached a deal on that bill’s restriction of hydrofluorocarbons last month. While there are some key differences between the House and Senate bill, a senior House Democratic aide believes that if the Senate passes its bill, House and Senate leaders will be able to reach a compromise and get legislation signed into law. Still, the Clean Energy and Jobs Innovation Act was met with a mixed response; some House Republicans criticized the bill for being too expensive and prescriptive, while some environmentalists supported the bill for its promotion of renewable energy but criticized it for its support of the fossil fuel industry by investing in carbon capture technology. House Passes Sweeping Clean Energy BillThe Hill  

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