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Energy Update: October 11, 2019

In the States

MA  At a State Senate oversight hearing, Judith Judson, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy, said Governor Charlie Baker’s administration wants to expand the Commonwealth’s new solar incentive program, SMART, by an additional 800 megawatts (MW). The SMART program, launched last November, was originally intended to incentivize a 1,600 MW expansion in renewable energy. Since its launch, demand for incentives quickly outpaced supply, precipitating a need for a greater expansion. Still, some critics, including solar energy advocates, think the administration’s planned 800 MW expansion is too small and would prefer a much larger 3,200 MW expansion. State Senator Marc Pacheco from Taunton also argued in favor of a larger expansion, saying that the administration needs to stop fixating so heavily on the reliability of the grid and the price of power and take the threat of climate change more seriously. Administration officials, however, are still focused on carefully managing the challenges of expansion, including a power grid not constructed to absorb power from small solar generators, the high cost of connecting those generators to the grid, and the need to move cautiously with rapidly changing technology. Baker’s latest solar goal called too smallCommonWealth Magazine

 

NM  At a climate talk with other Governors in New York, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that New Mexico will set its own fuel economy and pollution standards for cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs, just as the Trump administration is seeking to revoke states’ authority to set these standards. New state restrictions on vehicle emissions will start with model-year 2022 vehicles, and statewide fuel economy standards will increase to an average of 52 miles per gallon by 2025. “To combat climate change, to keep New Mexico’s citizens safe, to protect the air we all breathe, it’s essential we adopt more stringent clean car standards that increase fuel economy and reduce emissions,” Governor Lujan Grisham said. “It is environmentally and economically counterproductive to stall fuel economy standards as contemplated by the proposed federal rollbacks.” New Mexico enters fray over vehicle emission standardsAssociated Press

 

NJ  The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) recently took an initial step toward developing an electric vehicle (EV) incentive program by approving a Request for Quotation (RFQ) to hire a consultant to create and administer the program. The program will help fulfill Governor Phil Murphy’s pledge to achieve 330,000 EVs on the road by 2025 and help meet the goals of New Jersey’s Global Warming Response Act, passed in July. The transportation sector accounts for 46 percent of New Jersey’s greenhouse gas emissions, making it the largest emissions source in the state. “Launching the search for an industry expert consultant marks a major step in enacting a truly informed, impactful statewide incentive program that will put New Jersey at the forefront of EV adoption,” BPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso said. “As we work toward achieving the Governor’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050, electric vehicles will be an integral part of our efforts to combat climate change.” New Jersey Board of Public Utilities takes first step toward establishing electric vehicle incentive programDaily Energy Insider

 

VA  Governor Ralph Northam announced that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued permits for the construction and operation of four new solar projects across the Commonwealth. The new projects are expected to generate 192 megawatts (MW) of electricity, which will offset carbon dioxide emissions by 459 million pounds. “Virginia is adopting solar technology at record rates, and we are building an economy that is cleaner and greener as a result,” said Governor Northam. “These four projects will strengthen our solar energy infrastructure and help to sustainably power thousands of homes and businesses across Virginia.” These new solar projects are part of the Northam administration’s ongoing effort to ensure at least 3,000 MW of solar and onshore wind are under development by 2020, as outlined in the Governor’s Executive Order Forty-Three. Governor Northam Announces Four New Solar ProjectsWebsite for Virginia Governor Ralph S. Northam

 

National

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced the selection of 35 projects totaling $73 million for bioenergy research and development. These projects aim to reduce the price of drop-in biofuels, lower the cost of biopower, and enable high-value products from biomass or waste resources. “The main goal of DOE’s bioenergy R&D is to produce affordable biofuels that are compatible with existing fueling infrastructure and vehicles across a range of transportation modes, including renewable-gasoline, -diesel, and -jet fuels,” said Secretary Rick Perry. “These projects will… enable high-value products from biomass or waste resources, while creating American jobs and strengthening our economy and energy security.” Department of Energy Announces $73 million for 35 Projects for Bioenergy Research and DevelopmentEnergy.gov

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