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Energy Update: September 24, 2021

In the States

DE: Governor John Carney signed Senate Bill 2 (SB 2), a bill aimed at promoting community-based solar arrays in the state. SB 2 creates a legal framework for community ownership of solar arrays whereby residents of Delaware communities can subscribe to a centrally-located community solar project and receive a credit on their electric bill instead of installing solar panels on their own properties. The framework allows for various ownership, management, and contract models for developing each solar array. To ensure an equitable distribution of the benefits from each solar project, SB 2 also requires all community solar projects to serve Delawareans from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition to SB 2, Governor Carney also signed two other environmentally-focused bills pertaining to improving charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and establishing fines for littering helium balloons; all three pieces of legislation were sponsored by Senator Stephanie Hansen (D-10th District), chair of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. “It is my pleasure to finish the great work of Senator Stephanie Hansen, members of the General Assembly and advocates across the state, and sign these important pieces of legislation to protect our state’s environment for future generations,” said Governor Carney in a press release. Governor signs community solar, electric vehicle charging, balloon release billsDelaware Business Now

 

MA: Governor Charlie Baker signed an executive order establishing the nation’s first Commission on Clean Heat. The Commission will advise the Baker Administration on methods for reducing emissions released by heating systems to further Governor Baker’s goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Commission will be led by Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides or her appointee, and will include up to 22 additional members from a variety of stakeholder backgrounds. “Recognizing the urgent challenge presented by climate change and the need to reduce emissions, our Administration is convening this first-of-its-kind commission to help the Commonwealth meet our emissions reduction goals,” said Governor Baker. “By soliciting the expertise of leaders with a variety of perspectives, including the affordable housing community, we can ensure that the strategies and policies we pursue to reduce emissions from heating fuels will be innovative, affordable, and equitable.” Governor Baker signs executive order establishing First-in-the-Nation Commission on Clean HeatWWLP 22 News

 

NY: 31 state and local officials in New York sent a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul urging her to review a state commission decision to hike energy rates to pay for a new natural gas pipeline and a number of other energy infrastructure upgrades. The natural gas pipeline at the center of the debate, called the Metropolitan Reliability Project pipeline, is nearly complete, with four of five of its segments already operational. However, the final segment that runs through Brooklyn has drawn criticism from local advocates voicing their concerns about the pipeline’s environmental impacts and the potential negative impacts it could have on economically disadvantaged communities in Brooklyn. “Climate change is immediately harming us right now — we saw that a couple weeks ago. In 2021, you cannot be building new fossil fuel infrastructure,” said Lee Ziesche, a community engagement coordinator for the Sane Energy Project. Karen Young, a spokesperson for National Grid (the utility developing the Metropolitan Reliability Project) defended the pipeline, arguing it will help improve energy affordability and reliability and pave the way for new programs to accelerate decarbonization. New York officials call on governor to revisit rate hike tied to controversial Brooklyn pipelineEnergy News Network

 

National

A bipartisan group of governors representing 26 states issued proclamations recognizing September 20-24 as National Clean Energy Week. In their proclamations, governors discussed the positive environmental and economic impacts of clean energy and promoted clean energy achievements in their respective states. "New Hampshire is an environmentally-driven state that has brought together stakeholders to develop strategic approaches that deliver environmental wins, including our recent expansion of net metering, all while protecting the ratepayer with an eye towards reducing overall costs," said New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R) in his proclamation. "I have made it a top priority throughout my administration to ensure that Pennsylvania addresses climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which will improve our environment, spur quality jobs, and benefit consumers through reduced energy costs," said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D). "Clean Energy Week is an opportunity to highlight the meaningful environmental and economic benefits of the industry while renewing our commitment to a cleaner, greener environment." Twenty-Six States Recognize and Celebrate National Clean Energy Week (NCEW) with Governor ProclamationsPR Newswire

 

The House Oversight Committee called on executives at Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the United States Chamber of Commerce to testify before Congress next month, widening its investigation into the oil and gas industry’s role in spreading disinformation about the effect of fossil fuels on global warming. Letters sent to these executives expressed “concern” that the fossil fuel industry “led a coordinated effort to spread disinformation to mislead the public and prevent crucial action to address climate change”. Bethany Aronhalt, a spokesperson for API, said that API “welcomes the opportunity to testify” and highlighted API’s commitment to carbon pricing and methane regulation. BP made a similar statement. The Committee’s inquiry tees up a faceoff within the Democratic Party as progressives within the party press for sweeping action on climate change while moderate Dems argue for more incremental policy measures that preserve jobs and the economic benefits of fossil fuels. House Panel Expands Inquiry Into Climate Disinformation by Oil GiantsThe New York Times

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