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Energy Update: September 11, 2020

In the States

IL: Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a comprehensive energy plan aiming to make utilities more accountable, further the development of renewable energy, promote electric transportation, and to improve energy efficiency. The Governor’s 57-point plan, called “Putting Consumers and Climate First,” groups policy proposals into eight key areas with a primary focus on public accountability. Some points of the plan include requiring utilities to disclose communications with regulators, restricting utilities’ ability to automatically set rates, tightening tax rules for utilities attempting to write off charitable contributions, clarifying regulations on wind and solar developments, and establishing new incentives for electric vehicle manufacturers and infrastructure developers. The plan will serve as a blueprint for legislators formulating new energy policy as working groups resume their meetings. "When it comes to clean energy innovation, Illinois is a leader in the Midwest, and by working together, we can build on that progress to protect consumers and the climate," said Governor Pritzker. Governor Pritzker’s full energy plan can be found here. Pritzker Energy Plan Focuses on Ethics, RenewablesJournal Star. Gov. Pritzker Announces 8 Principles for a Clean and Renewable Illinois EconomyWAND 17 Local News

 

IN: Governor Eric Holcomb signed a proclamation recognizing the week of September 21 through September 25 as “Clean Energy Week” in the State of Indiana. The proclamation aims to recognize the clean energy industry’s contributions to economic growth in Indiana, noting the creation of 86,000 clean energy jobs in the state. The proclamation also encourages future clean energy development, calling clean energy “part of America’s energy future”. “[W]e must harness the power of Indiana entrepreneurs and small businesses and ensure government collaboration to assert American energy leadership and dominance in the global marketplace and assure low-cost reliable energy here at home,” states the Governor’s proclamation. Governor Signs Clean Energy Week ProclamationIndiana Environmental Reporter.

 

LA: Governor John Bel Edwards signed an executive order establishing a new goal to bring Louisiana to net-zero greenhouse gas emission by 2050. To achieve this goal, the executive order calls for the creation of a task force to  “develop strategies for curtailing Louisiana's greenhouse gas emissions in a manner that fully recognizes the state's extreme climate vulnerabilities as well as the characteristics of its energy-intensive economy." The executive order also sets intermittent emissions goals, aiming for a 26-28% reduction of economy-wide emissions by 2025 and a 40-50% reduction by 2030. Some clean energy advocates believe this new executive order could speed the development of renewable energy in Louisiana and help curb the effects of climate change, while potentially also driving down the cost of electricity in regional markets. Louisiana Governor Puts State on Path to Net-Zero Emissions by 2050Utility Drive

 

WY: Governor Mark Gordon, in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new measures aimed at providing a lifeline for Wyoming’s struggling coal power plants. As part of these measures, the EPA will roll back a rule promulgated under the previous administration limiting the volume of pollutants coal plants can emit into waterways and grant the State of Wyoming regulatory authority to over injecting carbon dioxide underground for permanent storage. The state will also pursue a new public-private plan to demonstrate geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide at the Dry Fork Station power plant in northeast Wyoming, and help fund efforts to oppose the closure of coal plants in other states. While Governor Gordon remains optimistic about the potential of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technology, some utility companies planning the closure of coal plants are more skeptical. Some utility companies, including PacifiCorp, joined environmental advocates in casting doubt on the federal Department of Energy’s recent study on the efficacy of CCUS in Wyoming. Gov, EPA Outline Plans to Boost Carbon Capture, Delay Plant ClosuresWyoFile

 

National

Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Tom Carper (D-DE), and John Kennedy (R-LA) announced they reached a deal over the phasing down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), overcoming a major stumbling block for Senate Bill 2657 (S. 2657). S. 2657, a comprehensive energy bill pertaining to the research and development of geothermal energy, was stalled for months as committee members debated HFC restrictions. Senator Barrasso insisted the bill not allow states to set stricter requirements on HFCs than federal standards, prompting disagreement from environmentalists. Senators Barrasso, Carper, and Kennedy’s deal will be introduced as an amendment to S. 2657; under their compromise, usage of HFCs will be reduced by 85%, but states and localities will be forbidden from writing rules stricter than federal standards. The deal was cheered by Senators on both sides of the aisle, as well as by industry advocates and environmental groups. Although there is now broad agreement over the bill, it is unclear if S. 2657 will pass before Congress adjourns. New Path Emerges for Senate Energy Bill - Politico

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