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Energy Update: October 23, 2020

In the States

CA: Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new executive order directing state agencies to conserve 30% of all state land and coastal water by 2030. By ordering the conservation of California’s land and coastal waters, Governor Newsom says he aims to fight climate change by preserving carbon-storing trees and promoting biodiversity. In addition to conserving lands, the Governor’s order also directs state agencies to pursue strategies and partnerships that promote healthy soil management, wetland restoration, forest management, and green infrastructure. “It’s an audacious goal, and it’s an achievable goal,” said Governor Newsom. Governor Newsom’s executive order gained praise from public lands and environmental interest groups, including the Center for Western Priorities and the Center for Biological Diversity. However, some Republicans in the California legislature criticized the executive order, calling it an “overreach.” Nearly a Third of California Land Must be Conserved Under a New Order Signed by Gavin NewsomThe Sacramento Bee


VA: Governor Ralph Northam announced the formation of Virginia’s first offshore and onshore wind workforce training collaborative, called the Mid-Atlantic Wind Training Alliance. The new program will offer programs for technicians to gain required certifications for the operation and maintenance of wind projects. Programs will range from providing specific certifications to year-long career programs. Currently, the Alliance’s participants include the New College Institute, Centura College, and the Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy. “Building a strong wind energy workforce will give the Commonwealth a significant competitive advantage in attracting onshore and offshore wind projects,” said Governor Northam. The Alliance plans to begin offering programs in early 2021. Northam announces Mid-Atlantic Wind Training Alliance to build wind energy workforce in VirginiaChannel 10 WAVY Local News


WV: Governor Jim Justice announced that a site in Pleasants County has been selected for a new $350 million methanol plant. The new plant, which will be operated by West Virginia Methanol, is expected to create 30 new high-paying jobs and produce on a daily basis approximately 900 metric tons of methanol, a natural gas product used for fuels, solvents, and antifreeze.. Final investment decisions on the site are expected to be completed in early 2021, and the plant may be operational as soon as mid-2023, according to the Governor’s news release. “We have an incredible manufacturing base and a great workforce training program that’s going to produce a lot of good for our beautiful state,” Justice said. “I want to thank West Virginia Methanol for coming up with this plan to bring high-paying jobs to Pleasants County and for making a commitment to be an outstanding addition to our petrochemical and energy industries.” Site in Pleasants County Picked for $350 Million Methanol Plant, Gov. Jim Justice SaysWCHS 8 ABC Local News




Five Northeast Governors, including Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Maine Governor Janet Mills, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, and Vermont Governor Phil Scott issued a statement calling for reforms to ISO-New England, the independent system operator for the New England power grid. In the statement, the Governors call for changes to market design, transmission planning, and governance necessary to achieve their states’ goals for clean and affordable energy. Specifically, they call for ISO-New England to proactively develop market-based mechanisms facilitating growth in clean energy, conduct system planning activities that address the states’ clean energy needs, ensure grid resiliency and reliability, and maintain a high degree of accountability and transparency. Decarbonization of the Northeast power grid is another important component of the statement.  “Through ongoing collaboration with all interested parties, our States are committed to realizing long-lasting, functional, and transparent market-based solutions that will truly facilitate New England’s clean energy future,” reads the Governors’ statement. Scott, NE Governors Call for Modernization of Regional Electricity SystemVermont Biz



The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) proposed a new policy statement effectively encouraging further exploration into carbon pricing. Under the Federal Power Act, FERC is able to regulate the sale and transmission of electrical energy in interstate commerce; utilizing this authority, FERC’s policy statement “clarifies its jurisdiction” over wholesale electricity market regulators and encourages “efforts to incorporate a state-determined carbon price in regional transmission organization/independent system operator markets”. According to the policy statement, FERC hopes that carbon pricing could “improve the efficiency and transparency of the organized wholesale markets by providing a market-based method to incorporate state efforts to reduce GHG [(greenhouse gas)] emissions.” A 30-day public comment period is currently open for the policy statement. FERC Proposes Policy Statement Encouraging RTOs/ISOs to Develop Rules Incorporating State Determined Carbon PricesThe National Law Review  

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