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Energy Update: October 12, 2018

In the States

KS – Outgoing Governor Jeff Colyer hosted the annual Governor’s Energy Conference in Manhattan, Kansas. Topics included biofuel, energy storage, transportation innovations and alternatives, community initiatives, and how to improve solar and wind energy generation. “Energy is a top issue for the state of Kansas,” said Governor Colyer. “The diversity of our economy is dependent on a great energy system. We are one of the leading oil and gas states but we’re also a leading wind state and a leading ethanol state.” Kansas energy leaders gather for Governor’s Energy ConferenceWIBW

 

MA – Governor Charlie Baker’s administration awarded more than a half million dollars in grants to cities and towns across Massachusetts to help develop clean energy projects. The 41 Municipal Energy Technical Assistance (META) grants awarded were distributed to several localities participating in the Commonwealth’s “Green Communities” program or currently in the designation process, which is administered by the Department of Energy Resources. META grants help fund expert consultants and contractors to help localities with their clean energy projects and goals. “Our administration is proud to provide our municipal and regional partners with the tools they need to achieve our shared clean energy goals of reducing energy, emissions and costs,” said Governor Baker. “These grants deliver technical expertise on the local level that is essential to paving the way for innovative clean energy projects.” Governor awards grants for municipal clean energy projectsCape Cod Today

 

VA – Governor Ralph Northam released the Commonwealth’s updated 2018 Virginia Energy Plan, which helps to set Virginia’s strategic energy goals for the next decade. The Governor’s plan mostly focuses on modernizing the electric grid and promoting new technologies, in addition to reemphasizing the Commonwealth’s targets for renewable energy, electric vehicle deployment, and energy efficiency. The updated plan also includes benchmarks for expanding solar energy purchase options for corporations and small businesses and evaluating energy storage options. Virginia state agencies are also recommended to meet a 16% renewable energy procurement target as well as a 20% energy efficiency target. “The clean energy sector has the power to create new business opportunities, expand customer access to renewable energy, and spark the high-demand jobs of the 21st century,” said Governor Northam. “Virginia can shift to a more modern electric grid that is reliable, affordable, resilient, and environmentally responsible — and the Commonwealth can lead this critical industry as a result. This plan sets an ambitious path forward for Virginia, and I am confident we will charge ahead towards progress over the course of my administration.” Governor unveils modified 2018 Virginia energy planAlexandria News

 

WV – Governor Jim Justice and energy industry leaders gathered at the Greenbrier Resort during the state’s Chamber of Commerce Annual Business Summit to discuss economic changes and renewable energy in West Virginia. Dominion Energy’s Bob Orndorff believes the state “needs to make a quantum leap,” and consider wind and solar power’s appeal to the private sector in terms of potential future investment. “If we are to recruit companies to work in West Virginia,” he said, “to invest in West Virginia, we need to meet their needs,” which often include renewable energy. Appalachian Power President Chris Beam agreed, noting his company is open to renewable energy power sources as long as they are “economical for customers.” In his remarks, Governor Justice focused on the state’s improvements recently, including a declining unemployment rate and an easing of regulations at the state and federal levels of government. “It’s a miracle from God to look at how the numbers have changed,” Governor Justice said during his speech at his family-owned resort. Energy officials point to renewables at business summit highlighting coal ‘comeback’The Charleston Gazette-Mail

 

National and Regional

President Donald Trump nominated Bernard McNamee, director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Policy, to fill a vacancy on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which regulates, monitors, and investigates the transmission of electricity and its sources in interstate commerce. The seat was vacated by former Commissioner Robert Powelson, a critic of the Trump administration’s plans to financially support cash-strapped coal and nuclear power plants. McNamee has previously voiced support for fossil fuels, including subsidizing the coal industry. The Senate will need to approve McNamee’s nomination, and until then, the FERC has four members – two Democrats and two Republicans – which may result in several deadlock votes on key matters before the commission, including the approval of major pipelines and natural gas projects. Trump’s FERC pick could tip balance in favor of coal bailoutBloomberg News

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