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Energy Update: June 8, 2018

 

In the States

HI – Governor David Ige signed three energy- and climate-focused bills into law. The first bill, HB 2182, seeks to make Hawaii carbon neutral by 2045 and establishes a state task force on Greenhouse Gas Sequestration. The second bill, HB 1986, which was passed by the state legislature unanimously, crafts a framework for a carbon capturing, offsetting, and crediting program while the third bill, HB 2106, requires a sea level rise analysis in environmental impact statements before projects can be approved. “Climate change is real,” said Governor Ige, “and we’re seeing its impacts right now in our island state. Taken together, this suite of bills establishes policies and programs that acknowledge and address this reality.” Governor Ige signs three bills combating climate changeThe Honolulu Star-Advertiser

 

IL – Several bills focused on solar energy development, notably the standardization of requirements for solar installations on farmland, await Governor Bruce Rauner’s signature. One bill, SB 486, determines how property taxes are calculated for land with ground-mounted commercial solar systems while another measure, SB 2591, requires the same agricultural impact requirements for wind farms to apply to solar projects with 500 kilowatts or more of generation. Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, which worked on the bills, said “the trio of solar energy bills passed in Illinois by a strong bipartisan majority reflects the growing progress of solar energy development. There’s now sufficient development growing and moving forward that it makes sense to flesh out the policy framework.” Illinois bills for solar on farmland await Rauner actionEnergy News

 

NM – Testifying before a House subcommittee in support of four energy bills, Governor Susana Martinez urged  Congress to to reduce bureaucratic red tape in federal review of energy projects. Noting that oil and gas revenue are critical for funding education, healthcare, and other public services, the Governor pressed for streamlining the federal permitting process. According to Governor Martinez and Secretary of Energy, Minerals, and Naturals Resources Ken McQueen, who also testified, “the average time it takes federal land managers to approve a drilling permit application is 250 days, [which] can amount to a potential loss of $2 million a day for the state.” Two of the bills are sponsored by Representative Steve Pearce of New Mexico who is running succeed the Governor in this year’s gubernatorial election. “Each backlogged permit represents New Mexicans losing out on good paying jobs and rural communities losing out on economic growth. We need a solution that will streamline layers of bureaucratic requirements and expedite the approval process,” Martinez said. Red tape slows oil and gas projects, New Mexico Governor saysThe Salt Lake Tribune

 

NJ – Governor Phil Murphy signed a measure to subsidize three nuclear power plants in the Garden State. The legislation requires ratepayers to “spend more than $300 million a year to rescue [the plants] run by Exelon and Public Service Enterprise Group. The Governor also signed bills that mandate that half of the state’s electricity is generated from renewable energy sources by 2030. “To reach our clean energy goals, we will need to keep these plants open and safely operating,” Governor Murphy said at the bill signing. He also noted that New Jersey’s nuclear plants support almost 6,000 jobs. Nuclear plants play pivotal roles in New Jersey’s economy and environment, and Governor Murphy is to be commended for signing into law today a Zero Emissions Credit program to help preserve these critical energy assets,” said Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute. NJ Governor signs law to save nuclear plantsThe Washington Examiner

 

PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced his administration would more strictly enforce air pollution standards for the state’s natural gas industry, which has boomed in recent years thanks to the development of the Marcellus Shale’s natural gas deposits. The Wolf administration is planning, through the deployment of new permits, to require the exploration industry “to use more advanced equipment to reduce methane emissions and other air pollutants, control emissions from a broader array of sites, and check for leaks more frequently along pipelines and connections.” Applying to new well sits and compression, processing, and transmission stations along pipelines, the permits will take effect in August. “We are uniquely positioned to be a national leader in addressing climate change while supporting and ensuring responsible energy development, while protecting public health and our environment,” Governor Tom Wolf said. Pennsylvania sets methane requirements on natural gas wellsStateImpact Pennsylvania NPR

 

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Energy Update: May 18, 2018

 

In the States

CA – The California Energy Commission (CEC), on a unanimous vote of 5-0, approved regulations to require all newly-constructed single-family houses to have solar panels. The new regulation also applies to multifamily buildings with three stories or less. Beginning in 2020, the new requirement, which does not require approval from the state legislature, is expected to decrease consumers’ costs through reduced utility bills. According to an analysis by the CEC, “monthly mortgage payments should rise by an average of $40, but utility bills should fall by $80.” Currently, only 20% of new single-family houses in California have solar panels and the new requirement may make homes, on average, more expensive to build. "The cash flow position of the homeowners is actually improved in these homes," said Commissioner Andrew McAllister of the new regulation. Following the publication of the mandate, the California Building Standards Commission is expected to review and also approved the regulations. Regulators approve mandate for solar panels on new homesThe Los Angeles Times

 

CT – Energy and environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s approved budget that allows the transfer of $175 million in energy conservation program funding to be redirected towards the state’s budget deficit. The funds from the energy conversation programs in question are generally collected through fees on residents’ utility bills. The two-year budget was approved back in October and sought to take $127 million from the state’s Energy Efficiency Fund, $28 million from Connecticut’s Green Bank, and $20 million from the state’s share of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. “This should come as a surprise to no one,” said Governor Dan Malloy. “I have long maintained that these shortsighted sweeps would increase energy costs for consumers and businesses and cause untold harm to our green energy economy.” Federal lawsuit filed to block state from using energy conservation funds to solve budget deficitThe Hartford Courant

 

NJ – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a 45-day extension to decide what to do on a contentious pipeline crisscrossing central New Jersey. The proposed 26.8-mile Northeast Supply Enhancement of Tulsa-based Williams’ Transco Pipeline is estimated to be a $926.5 million project that would transport natural gas through  Old Bridge, Sayreville, and the Raritan Bay and eventually to a compression station in Franklin Township. The DEP has until June 23 to approve four permits associated with the pipeline, and any extension granted by FERC would begin from the date supplemental material is received from Williams. Christopher Stockton, a company spokesman, said, “It is normal to issue what are known as ‘data requests’ any time they need additional information from the applicant. It doesn’t mean there is a problem with the application. It’s actually a normal part of the exchange of information during the review.” Transco protests continue as state asks feds for permit extensionMy Central Jersey

 

UT – Governor Gary Herbert unveiled his updated energy blueprint for Utah at his 7th Annual Governor’s Energy Summit, which featured former Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. The Summit focused mostly on creating jobs and expanding energy production in Utah, and notably a list of coal and solar power projects that Governor Herbert would like completed before his term ends. Overall, Governor Herbert would like Utah to increase energy production by 25 percent by the end of 2020. When discussing challenges, Governor Herbert, cited the difficulties in renewable energy storage as one potential barrier to additional solar and wind energy capacity. “We have people in other departments [of the Trump administration] who, again, whether they’re governors or not,” said Governor Herbert, “have a respect for the sovereignty of the states and are trying to give us more flexibility to find our solutions that are unique to the respective states.” Herbert releases 10 goals in Utah ‘Energy Action Plan’ KSL

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Energy Update: April 27, 2018

In the States

NH – Governor Chris Sununu released his plan to transform New Hampshire’s energy resources and priorities, titled the New Hampshire 10-Year State Energy Strategy, in coordination with the Governor’s Office of Strategic Initiatives. The new plan seeks to “inform decisions about [the state’s] energy challenges and energy future” whole updating the last state energy strategy, which was released in 2014. Noting that New Hampshire energy prices are among the highest in the United States, the Energy Strategy seeks to prioritize cost-effective energy policies utilizing all resources, encourage market-selection of those resources, and improve energy infrastructure. The plan further recommends an increase in the use of natural gas-fired and nuclear power generation, as well as a rewriting of the state’s renewal energy portfolio standards. The Governor’s Energy Strategy also notes the state will reconsider net metering policies for solar power. "Electricity touches every aspect of the economy, and New Hampshire's costs are among the highest in the region,” said Governor Sununu, and “our 10-year  strategy provides direction and leadership to our state's policymakers that is squarely aimed at helping our ratepayers.” NH energy strategy shifts from subsidizing renewables to lowering ratesThe New Hampshire Union Leader

 

Regional and National

Three Appalachian state Governors – Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, John Kasich of Ohio, and Jim Justice of West Virginia – extended an interstate memorandum of understanding to generate investments focused on their energy resources, arrange partnerships between their universities and the private sector, as well as offer technical training for careers in the oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors. Known as the Tri-State Shale Coalition, the agreement seeks to “transform the Appalachian Basin into a global energy hub on par with Texas and Louisiana” while making “the region as a whole more attractive [for] midstream and downstream investments.” All three states contain substantial energy formations known as the Marcellus and Utica shales and account for roughly 29 percent of the United States’ natural gas output. “The shale gas resources in the Appalachian Basin represent enormous economic opportunity not just for Pennsylvania, but for the region as a whole,” Governor Wolf said. “I’m proud to continue our successful collaboration with Ohio and West Virginia to ensure that we are doing everything we can to support additional development.” The agreement, which was originally signed in 2015, will now be extended through 2021. Appalachia markets itself as global energy hubU.S. News

 

According to a new study from the consulting firm Analysis Group, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state emissions-capping program, has “generated $4 billion in net economic activity,” finding the money produced more than offset the cost of the program. Under RGGI, power plants pay states to exceed the caps on emissions and the funds generated are spent on renewable energy and efficiency programs, electricity bill rebates, and other energy-related state priorities. RGGI includes all the New England states, as well New York and Delaware. New Jersey is planning to rejoin the interstate group after leaving in 2012, while Virginia is expected to join, too. “Rather than being an economic drag on the RGGI states, it’s actually providing economic benefits,” said Paul Hibbard, one of the study’s authors. RGGI spurs $4 billion in economic activity, study findsThe Baltimore Sun

 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released its latest Energy Infrastructure Update, noting that wind and solar power accounted for 98 percent of all new power generation capacity so far in 2018. While 12 units of wind power was created generating 1,568 megawatts, solar power accounted for 40 new units generating 565 megawatts of power in the first two months of 2018. The new FERC report predicts that renewable energy will continue “to dominate new power generation capacity installed over the next several years.”

 

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Energy Update: April 6, 2018

In the States

MA – Governor Charlie Baker filed legislation recently to require properties up for sale to include a home energy and efficiency rating. If lawmakers approve the bill, Massachusetts would become the first state with such a mandate. Some cities, including Berkeley, California and Portland, Oregon have similar requirements. Supporters of the legislation said the bill could help increase home modernizations, improve insulations, and lead to installing high-tech HVAC systems. Matthew Beaton, Baker’s energy and environmental affairs secretary, said “this is a market-based incentive to give the consumers a reason…to make an investment, [to make] a unified score that is digestible and understandable, that the general public would grow familiar with.” Mr. Beaton also said he hopes the bill will lead to lower carbon emissions thanks to a spurring of energy-efficiency and clean energy improvements the bill would help encourage. Home sellers would either be required to hire an energy assessor, the Mass Save program, or a local utility for an energy audit of their home’s insulation, air sealing, heating and cooling system, LED light bulbs, and programmable thermostats. Governor seeks to mandate energy efficiency scores for homesThe Boston Globe

 

MO – Clean Line Energy Partners, a Houston-based company, enlisted former Governor Jay Nixon to help overturn a decision by the Public Service Commission (PSC) blocking the construction of a proposed 780-mile power line to transport energy generated from wind turbines. Nixon, now a practicing private attorney, will argue before the Missouri Supreme Court that “utility regulators he appointed wrongly rejected the power line while relying on an incorrect ruling written by a judge whom Nixon also appointed.” If the PSC decision is overturned, the 2.3 billion high-voltage transmission line project, known as the Grain Belt Express, would transport wind-generated energy from western Kansas across Missouri and Illinois to Indiana. "I think it's a great opportunity for our state and an important one policy-wise" for the nation, Nixon said in an interview. Clean Line transmission project turns to ex-Missouri GovernorAssociated Press

 

NH – Addressing an audience of clean energy advocates, Governor Chris Sununu announced that he is soon planning to release a “New Hampshire First” energy policy. In his announcement, the Governor encouraged a comprehensive approach to energy and a move away from a zero-sum game he currently sees playing out in the states. The Governor also noted New Hampshire should thoughtfully help subsidize solar, wind, hydro, and biomass power development, and maintained his commitment to regional and multi-state initiatives to curb emissions, notably the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Sununu plans to release ‘NH First’ energy policyNHPR 

 

NJ – In response to Governor Phil Murphy’s executive order directing the Board of Public Utilities to cultivate 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, EDF Renewable Energy announced, as a first step to growing its business in the New Jersey market, that it will revive an agreement with Fisherman’s Energy to purchase a 24 megawatts wind project off the coast of Atlantic City. Another company, Danish offshore wind energy leader Ørsted, is planning to develop a 250 square mile area for its wind farm called Ocean Wind. “We cannot allow for stagnation in this growing sector of our energy economy and we cannot lose sight of the tremendous opportunity for offshore wind,” said Governor Murphy. “With this executive order, we begin the process of making New Jersey a leader in offshore wind, a critical step toward achieving our clean energy goals.” Another east coast Governor signs up for offshore wind and EDF sees stalled NJ project as opening to fast-growing marketOffshore Wind Journal

 

NM – The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission approved, by a unanimous vote, the construction of two wind farms along the border between New Mexico and Texas. The $1.6 billion project by Xcel Energy, a Minneapolis, Minnesota utility holding company, is part of Xcel’s plan to double its wind energy portfolio by the end of 2021 by adding a dozen wind farms in seven states, or about 3,700 megawatts of new wind capacity. David Hudson, president of the company’s operations in New Mexico and Texas, called the vote historic, noting “these wind facilities will power the regional economy with energy from our abundant, fuel-free wind resource and save customers hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs for decades to come.” Additional wind farms, with the potential to power more than 440,000 homes, are planned for Hale County, Texas, as well as the area immediately northeast of Roswell, New Mexico. New Mexico regulators OK massive wind farms near TexasAssociated Press

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Energy Update: March 16, 2018

In the States

WA – Governor Jay Inslee’s proposal to impose a tax on carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels failed to gain enough traction in the Democratic-controlled state legislature. If the legislature had passed a carbon tax, where the policy was a few votes short according to officials, Washington would have been the first state to impose a straight tax on greenhouse gas emissions. Other states like California and some in the northeast employ a cap-and-trade system to shrink carbon dioxide pollution. The legislation would have imposed a $12 per metric ton of carbon emissions on the sale or use of fossil fuels, and was projected to raise nearly $800 million in two years. Despite the legislature’s inaction, Governor Inslee said “I would consider this a sea change in the climate fight. It’s come a long way from where we’ve been. We’ve basically shown that carbon policy is within reach.” The Governor also vowed to continue pressing for action on climate change issues. Washington’s carbon tax bill dies in legislatureAssociated Press

 

WY – East of the state capital of Cheyenne, EOG Resources announced its intent to withdraw an application to craft an injection well for fracking natural gas and oil. The application was withdrawn by the Houston-based company due to local concerns over the proposed well’s proximity to a drinking water aquifer. EOG announced it will continue to seek approval for injection wells in other parts of the state, notably in Laramie County and the Denver Basin in the southeastern part of the state. Both the federal Environmental Protection Agency as well as the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, said they were waiting to receive updated application information from EOG. In Laramie County alone, there are close to 5,000 permits pending to drill for oil and gas, noted Shannon Anderson, an environmental lawyer. “That’s a huge number, and there is a large waste stream associated with those wells,” Ms. Anderson said. “There are traumatic impacts to aquifers for the drilling of those wells.” Company withdraws application for controversial well near CheyenneThe Casper Star Tribune

 

 

 

Regional and National

Governor Phil Scott of Vermont was elected the new chair of the nonpartisan Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG), which encourages intergovernmental cooperation among states in the northeast and New England. Scott, a first-term Governor, was unanimously selected by his colleagues in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island. Governor Scott announced his chairmanship will focus on high energy costs in the region. Noting that “in Vermont, I’ve committed to making the state more affordable, which includes addressing energy costs that have been growing faster than wages.” Governor Scott added that “high energy costs impact our entire region, and our ability to create more and better paying jobs, so this is a goal that the CONEG governors have coalesced around because we know it will help to improve the economic security of the residents in each of our states.” Scott elected chair of CONEGVermont Business

 

During his recent testimony before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke noted that President Donald Trump’s plan to expand offshore leasing may not work on the west coast as California, Oregon, and Washington have “no known resources of any weight for energy companies to extract.” The Secretary, who also acknowledged the Maine was in a similar situation, did not state whether these states would be granted an exemption from the President’s proposal, as Florida was given. Also, during his testimony, Secretary Zinke acknowledged the resistance to the President’s plan from the states in the northeast, and said these concerns would be “reflected in the next draft of the [President’s] plan.” Zinke: Oil, gas exploration off Pacific coast might not happenThe Washington Post

 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently released its list of nuclear energy facilities requiring increased oversight by the federal agency. The NRC’s 2018 list includes a dozen or so nuclear energy plants that need routine oversight and additional assessments, focused on safety for example, including the Columbia Generating Station in Washington State. Rounding out the bottom of the NRC’s list includes two reactors in Arkansas and one in Massachusetts. NRC nuclear power plan review puts Columbia under extra federal scrutinyThe Tri-City Herald

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Energy Update: February 23, 2018

 

In the States

CO – Following a fatal gas explosion last year, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) is set to update the state’s pipelines regulations. The new rules come after Governor John Hickenlooper called for a review of oil and gas operations and six months after a task force was created to study the issue. Under the new rules, companies must inform  state regulators about where current pipelines exist and the location of older pipelines at risk for leakages Major pipelines at risk must be reported within 24 hours. A new task force will also explore inspection technology the private sector deploys to detect leaks and locate pipelines. "Our work with operators last spring and summer to identify, quantify and test all flowlines near residential areas was a significant start," COGCC Director Matt Lepore, said in a statement. "These rules - and additional actions ordered by the governor that are still unfolding - continue to keep our focus on this work." In a statement, the Governor said “We believe these new rules are another important step in the aftermath of the Firestone tragedy.” Colorado toughens oil, has rule to try to prevent future Firestone disasterThe Denver Post

 

ME – Governor Paul LePage issued a moratorium on new offshore wind energy projects. The Governor’s decision immediately sparked several lawsuits by advocacy and environmental groups to overturn the moratorium, which they generally argue is an unconstitutional violation of separation of powers since the legislature has passed laws for offshore permitting. The state’s permitting process to date has allowed the construction of over 370 wind turbines as well as investments reaching more than $1 billion. Some Maine residents have complained, however, about the noise emanating from the turbines. In sum, the Governor’s moratorium  mirrors prior legislation he backed  to expand “from 8 to 40 miles the area around turbines that could be subject to visual impact studies,” thereby making it more difficult to encourage wind energy projects and developments. Environmental group sues LePage, says wind farm ban is unconstitutionalThe Portland Press Herald

 

NJ – A bill to subsidize nuclear energy plans continues to move through the state legislature. The legislation, which also includes ratepayer-funded incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, has come under scrutiny for potentially seeking to raise rates for utility customers while subsidizing two profitable nuclear plants in Salem County. The Public Service Enterprise Group, which partially own the plants, said they may be unprofitable in 2020 and may eventually close without the subsidies. The legislation is estimated to increase electric bills “by $31 a year while larger and industrial energy users could see costs increase over $1 million a year.” Controversial nuclear energy bill advances, now with subsidiesNorth Jersey News

 

PA – The Commonwealth’s Department of Environmental Protection announced Sunoco, a petroleum and petrochemical manufacturer headquartered in Texas, “agreed to pay $12.6 million over problems with a massive natural gas pipeline project.” Work on the 250-mile pipeline project, which will transport liquid natural gas from the Marcellus Shale to a terminal in Philadelphia, will continue under a consent agreement. The 20-inch pipeline, known as the Mariner East 2, is expected to be completed by the summer, and will cost approximately $2.5 billion. “Sunoco has demonstrated that it has taken steps to ensure the company will conduct the remaining pipeline activities in accordance with the law and permit conditions, and will be allowed to resume,” Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a statement. “DEP will be monitoring activities closely to ensure that Sunoco is meeting the terms of this agreement and its permits.” Massive gas pipeline project to resumeThe Associated Press

 

VA – Governor Ralph Northam is working “to restore state regulation of electric utility rates” while encouraging investments in the Commonwealth’s electricity grid and renewable energy projects. The legislation, sponsored by the Governor, would reverse a General Assembly-approved bill in 2015 to freeze rates, which mostly impacted Virginia’s largest utility, Dominion Energy. Under the new plan , rates proposed by Dominion and the Commonwealth’s other utility, Appalachian Power, would once again be reviewed by the State Corporation Commission. The state’s Attorney General, Mark Herring, however disagrees with the Governor’s work on this issue, and believes the legislation would result in a “bad deal for ratepayers.” General Herring believes the measure, in the current draft, could instead allow “utilities to charge ratepayers twice for the same expense.” The bill continues to advance through the General Assembly’s legislative process. Northam, Herring disagree over bill to regulate utilitiesThe Washington Post

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Energy Update: February 2, 2018

In the States

AZ – A member of the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) proposed a “clean energy overhaul that would put the state at the front of the pack” among other clean energy-focused states. Developed by ACC member Andrew Tobin, the Energy Modernization Plan seeks an 80 percent clean energy target by 2050 in addition to a 3,000 megawatt energy storage target for 2030 – both goals, in essence, would put Arizona ahead of California and New York, which currently lead all states in terms of renewable energy and storage targets. Tobin has asked for the ACC to consider his plan during their next meeting on February 6. "We’re not trying to get on the train; we're trying to be the engine in the train," said Tobin. "This is Western people doing things and setting lofty goals and reaching them." If Tobin’s plan is voted on and accepted by the ACC, staff will begin a formal year-long rulemaking and stakeholder engagement process. AZ regulator proposes biggest storage, clean energy targets yetGTM

 

IA – NextEra Energy, a Florida-based company, announced it may shutter Iowa’s only nuclear power plant by the end of 2025. NextEra officials believes it main customer, Alliant Energy, will not renew its purchasing contract from NextEra’s Duane Arnold Energy Center in Palo, which is located northwest of Cedar Rapids. Alliant’s current contract goes through 2025, though the Energy Center is licensed to operate until 2034. The Energy Center current employs 600 people and started operations in 1975. “The cost of wind energy right now has really dropped as well as the cost of natural gas to be at levels where they are competitive and have never been before. We are continuing to pursue different options for our customers to make sure that they get the best value,” said an Alliant spokesman. Iowa nuclear plant may close in 2025The Gazette

 

NJ – Governor Phil Murphy announced his plans for New Jersey to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional cap-and-trade program that includes nine northeast states. The Governor signed an executive order to rejoin the pact after former Governor Chris Christie exited RGGI in 2011. The executive order directs state officials to “immediately begin negotiations with RGGI member states, and the Department of Environmental Protection will start determining the rules and guidelines needed to rejoin RGGI within 30 days.” According to the Governor’s office, the state lost almost $300 million in revenue by not participating in RGGI. “Pulling out of RGGI slowed down progress on lowering emissions and has cost New Jerseyans millions of dollars,” said Governor Murphy, “[funds] that could have been used to increase energy efficiency and improve air quality in our communities.” Murphy direct NJ to rejoin RGGIThe Observer

 

NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo released his plan to develop a $6 billion offshore wind industry. The Governor, by 2030, would like New York to have ocean-based wind farms producing 2.4 gigawatts of electricity, roughly the equivalent of about five fossil fuel-burning power plants. The Governor’s offshore wind industry roadmap focuses on a 16,000 square-mile section of the Atlantic Ocean. The state will seek offers from wind farm developers beginning this year, first with an offering for projects totaling 800 megawatts. The funding for the projects will be derived from fees, known as compliance obligations, imposed on nuclear power plant owners. Governor Cuomo also announced his plans to use $15 million for workforce training programs related to the offshore wind energy plan. "We are encouraged by this development opportunity for New York's independent power generators, but the details matter," said Gavin Donohue, president and CEO of the Independent Power Producers of New York. State sees 5K jobs from offshore wind farm pushThe Albany Times-Union

 

WA – Governor Jay Inslee officially rejected proposals to build an oil-by-rail terminal for the Port of Vancouver. Concurring with the unanimous decision of the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, Governor Inslee said the project increases “the risk of a catastrophic earthquake, oil spills in the Columbia River, and fires or explosions.” The project, which was to be developed by Vancouver Energy, was slated to serve as a transfer point for up to 360,000 barrels of crude oil daily while creating several hundred temporary and permanent jobs. “When weighing all of the factors considered against the need for and potential benefits of the facility at this location, I believe the record reflects substantial evidence that the project does not meet the broad public interest standard necessary for the Council to recommend site certification,” Governor Inslee said. Vancouver Energy has 30 days to appeal the Governor’s decision. Inslee rejects Port of Vancouver oil terminalPortland Business Journal

 

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Energy Update: January 12, 2018

In the States

MD – Governor Larry Hogan joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, which was formed last June after President Donald Trump decided to withdraw the international Paris climate agreement. Maryland is the 15th state to join the coalition, which includes two other Republican Governors, Phil Scott of Vermont and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts. In a letter to the Alliance written this week, Governor Hogan said “As long as the U.S. Climate Alliance adds value, shows true bipartisanship, and avoids Washington D.C.’s politics-as-usual, corrosive tactics and distractions, we will gladly invest our time and energy with state colleagues for this cause.” Governor Hogan also noted the state’s progress towards lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 and that he is currently working on a more comprehensive goal of lowering emissions by 40 percent by 2030. Maryland’s GOP Governor commits to AllianceThe Washington Post

 

NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to invest at least $200 million “to encourage development of better storage technology for renewable energy produced by solar and wind power.” The Governor’s announcement follows an earlier articulated goal of creating 1,500 megawatts of clean energy storage by 2025. In the same announcement, the Governor said New York will seek to generate 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 while cutting carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Without methods to store the energy and dispatch it when and where it is needed, New York will face challenges integrating and maximizing the benefits of these clean resources," Governor Cuomo said. Governor pushed green agendaThe Albany Times-Union

 

WA – Governor Jay Inslee announced his plan to tax carbon emissions in Washington beginning July 2019, urging state lawmakers to adopt his proposal during this year’s legislative session. Governor Inslee recommended a $20 per ton tax on emissions generated by power plants and transportation fuels, excluding airplane jet fuel, with annual increases of about three percent plus inflation. The Inslee administration estimates “the proposal would generate $3.3 billion over the next four years ... [that could be] channeled into a variety of funds to be invested in clean energy programs.” If approved, Washington would join California in taxing emissions on the west coast. Several state legislatures, including Democratic leadership who recently took control of the state Senate, were skeptical of the Governor’s proposal and questioned whether it could pass during this year’s short 60-day session. Governor rolls out carbon tax, Republicans balkThe Bellevue Reporter

 

Regional and National

President Donald Trump proposed to open large sections of the country’s coastline to offshore oil and natural gas exploration and drilling. Before the announcement, prior administrations had only allowed production in the Gulf of Mexico. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said up to 9 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf “will be under consideration for oil and gas lease sales beginning [in 2019] and extending through 2024.” With the exception of Governor Paul LePage of Maine, who currently chairs the OCS Governors Coalition that supports offshore drilling, nearly every coastal state Governor where drilling is currently not allowed opposes the administration’s plan, including Florida’s Rick Scott who asked for and received a waiver from the Trump administration. Several other Governors are expected to request a waiver from the Trump administration following the Florida decision. Governors oppose Trump’s drilling proposalCNN

 

Led by Representatives Elise Stefanik (R) of New York and Jim Langevin (D) of Rhode Island, a bipartisan group of more than 100 House lawmakers sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him “to recognize climate change as a threat to the United States” in the administration’s National Security Strategy. The letter was sent in response to a Pentagon document this year omitting the Obama administration’s description of climate chance as a geopolitical and national security threat. The letter to the Trump administration also quotes Defense Secretary James Mattis’ view on climate change, which aligns with the former administration’s perspectives. “Failing to recognize this threat,” said the Representatives, “represents a significant step backwards on this issue and discredits those who deal in scientific fact.” Make security strategy include climate again, lawmakers urge TrumpReuters

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Energy Update: December 15, 2017

In the States

NV – Angela Dykema, Governor Brian Sandoval’s Energy Office director, and former U.S. Senator Harry Reid, along with Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak helped to dedicate two new solar projects – Switch Stations 1 and 2 – just north of Las Vegas. The new solar farms can generate a combined 179 megawatts of energy, or enough electricity to power 46,000 homes and displace close to 265,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. The plants, which employ five full-time workers, at one point had more than 1,300 construction workers building the project’s 1.98 million solar panels over close to 2,000 acres of lands. “With each of these projects we move closer to our goal in leading the nation in clean and renewable energy,” said Ms. Dykema. “Projects like these are the perfect example of what we can achieve with the commitment the state of Nevada has shown to growing our renewable energy economy and attracting emerging industries and forward thinking businesses to our state.” 2 new solar plants boost Switch operationsThe Las Vegas Sun

 

UT – Governor Gary Herbert’s Office of Energy Development sent a letter of support to Active Energy focused on the company’s efforts to enhance biomass-based renewable energy and other initiatives to provide affordable energy alternatives for the state’s residents. Active Energy is on schedule to complete a five-ton-per-hour biomass fuel plant, known as CoalSwitch, next month. The project, which “will provide proof-of-concept testing” for future efforts to find alternatives to coal, will directly support the state’s utility company, Rocky Mountain Power. Michael Rowan, Active Energy’s chairman, said he was happy about the Governor’s support and that “[our] environmental credentials are being recognized across the board and we are extremely excited about the future, especially as we expect to deliver our first commercial quantities to partners, including Rocky Mountain Power.” Active Energy welcomes support from Governor Herbert on CoalSwitchProactive Investors

 

VA – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced $300,000 in grant funding to Tazewell County in southwestern Virginia “to provide assistance to coal industry-related businesses.” The grant funding will assist the Heart of Appalachia Collaborative Economic Transition or HEART Project by providing “direct counseling, training, mentoring, business service plan development and other targeted technical assistance to approximately 58 coal industry-related businesses.” The funding is projected to help retain 200 jobs in the southwest while also creating 10 new businesses and 30 new jobs. The funds stem from the federally-funded Community Development Block Grant Program, which the Commonwealth administers via its Department of Housing and Community Development. Grant money awarded to help transition coal businesses in southwest VirginiaThe Associated Press

 

WY – Wyoming signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with North Dakota, Montana, and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan to study, collaborate, and share information on carbon capture technology. Wyoming, which is home to the “largest open-pit coal mines in the country,” has spent several years investing in carbon capture and utilization strategies while Saskatchewan has the first large scale carbon capture facility attached a commercial coal plant, North Dakota and Montana both have research centers devoted to carbon capture. Jason Begger, the executive director of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority, heralded the MOU, noting that “if you look at any credible energy analysis or projection over the next few decades, they all flat out say that coal will be a smaller, but large part of the energy mix for the foreseeable future. [And so,} if you care about carbon mitigation, coal technology needs to be a part of that.” Wyoming signs partnership for coal researchThe Casper Star Tribune

 

Regional and National

Governors Larry Hogan of Maryland and John Carney of Delaware sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) urging it to “expedite [a] review of the $278 million Artificial Island transmission line project” that would benefit both states’ ratepayers, if a proper cost allocation methodology is employed. In their letter, the Governors disagree with PJM Interconnection’s original cost allocation methodology, which they said would burden ratepayers with “more than 90% of the cost, [but] will receive just 10% of the project’s benefits.” Governors Hogan and Carney believe FERC should instead employ two alternative methodologies, which would “produce a result that better represents the regional benefits to be obtained” from the project. Under the alternative methodologies, ratepayers would only fund about seven to 10 percent of the project costs. “We remain optimistic that FERC will consider a financing plan for this project that will not unfairly burden businesses and families on the Delmarva Peninsula,” said Governor Carney. “Thank you to FERC commissioners for considering our request to expedite their review. And thank you to Governor Hogan for his continued partnership, and leadership on this issue.” Governors seek speedier review of power line projectDE Business

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Energy Update: November 22, 2017

In the States

CO – The state’s largest oil and gas producer, Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum, announced it plans to invest almost $1 billion in the Denver-Julesburg Basin to build and maintain several oil and natural gas wells. The investment, which will support five exploration rigs and three completion crews, is an increase of close to $500 million over this year’s budgeted amount, and will help the company increase sales volume by 30 percent. In comparison to the other investments by the company, the Denver-Julesburg Basin ranks second behind deepwater operations in the Gulf of Mexico,  but in front of the Delaware Basin exploration in Texas close to the New Mexico border. Anadarko Petroleum says it will up investment in 2018The Denver Post

 

MN – Governor Mark Dayton ordered state agencies to adopt new sustainability goals, including lowering carbon emissions, water usage, and overall energy consumption. Specifically, the Governor called for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2027, water usage by 25 percent by 2025, a 90 percent recycling rate within the Capitol complex, and a 30 percent reduction in fossil fuel consumption by state-owned vehicles. “This executive order will build on that work — reducing energy use, eliminating waste, and saving money,” Governor Dayton said. “By meeting these targets, we can improve environmental outcomes and make state government work better for Minnesotans.” Governor Dayton issues new targetsThe Star Tribune

 

NE – The state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) voted 3 to 2 to give final approval to an alternate routing of the Keystone XL pipeline through Nebraska. TransCanada, the pipeline’s owner, however stated it does not favor the state-approved 63-mile detour routing, which it says will increase project delays and expenses, most notably the need for new “right of way contracts” with landowners. TransCanada instead prefers a routing parallel to the existing mainline, which it put into operation in 2010. Opponents of the project view the PSC’s decision favorably, noting it will continue to delay the project’s construction thanks to the new legal issues stemming from the alternate route approval. Governor Pete Ricketts said the pipeline would “on balance” be good for the state, mostly because of its tax and job generation. The PSC approval comes days after the existing Keystone mainline ruptured in South Dakota, though Nebraska law prohibits regulators from considering spills in its decision-making. Controversial Keystone XL pipeline route across Nebraska is approved, hurdles remainThe Omaha World-Herald

 

NV – The Governor’s Office of Energy pledged $1 million this week in an effort “to land a national [federal] geothermal laboratory near Fallon, near the Lahontan Valley. The site near Fallon is competing with one other location in nearby Utah for the Department of Energy’s geothermal research center, which is expected to be chosen early next year. In brief, geothermal energy projects use the heat generated by and trapped beneath the Earth’s surface to generate electricity. The funds distributed by the Governor’s Office come from the state’s Renewable Energy Account, which according to the Governor’s Office Director, Angie Dykema, was financed via property taxes on renewable projects. “It’s an enormous gift to this project,” said Doug Blankenship, a researcher at Sandia National Laboratories, the lead organization for the Fallon project. “[New geothermal technology] is a golden ring that deserves to be looked at and Nevada is the best place to be doing that.” Governor’s office pushes for federal geothermal research labThe Elko Daily Free Press

 

Regional and National

According to a new joint analysis by the non-partisan Climate Policy Initiative and Energy Innovation Policy & Technology groups, the Trump’s administrations plans to subsidize coal and nuclear energy development “would cost taxpayers about $10.6 billion a year” while supporting some of the oldest power plants in the nation. The new rule, which was issued in late September, calls for paying plants for the electricity they produce as well as the “reliability they provide to the grid,” with Energy Secretary Rick Perry noting the subsides would assist the country in times of power outages or increase demand during natural disasters. Brendan Pierpont, energy finance consultant at Climate Policy Initiative, said the new rule “would serve to keep a lot of uneconomic plants in the market that currently can’t compete with the changing dynamics of cheap gas and the falling cost of renewables.” While the administration’s plan must be approved by the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), two of the three FERC commissioners were appointed by President Donald Trump. Subsidy plan for coal and nuclear plants to cost $10.6 billion a yearThe Guardian

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Energy Update: October 27, 2017

In the States

ME – A state legislative committee is planning to review legislation to create local microgrids, or local energy grids that are able to operate autonomously. The measure, sponsored by Representative Michael Devin, would allow municipalities to create electricity distribution systems independent of the central power network. Representative Devin argues that his bill would assist localities to become energy self-sufficient, noting that Vermont recently passed legislation to create microgrids that saved one town approximately $200,000. Governor Paul LePage’s Energy Office is still reviewing the legislation, and has questioned whether the measure would increase overall electrical costs while the state’s largest utility, Emera, has yet to take a position on the bill. Jim Cohen of Emera said ““The question is at what point in time, and in what situations, will they be cost-effective — and who should pay for those benefits that are location specific or even customer specific.” Maine legislative committee to consider community microgridsMicrogrid Knowledge

 

PA – In a letter to President Donald Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, Governor Tom Wolf requested a waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard’s renewable volume obligations, expressing concern over the extraordinarily high renewable identification number prices that “are undermining the viability of the oil refining sector in the Northeast.” The Governor asked for the waiver to be effective until market prices deflate, noting that Philadelphia Energy Solutions and Monroe Energy have been negatively impacted in recent weeks. In response to the Governor’s letter, Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dineen said “the RFS has actually helped, not harmed, the economy,” noting that the utilities mentioned by the Governor couldn’t compete with the “newer, more efficient refineries that have better access to lower-priced, lighter crude oil sources.” Wolf asks Trump for RFS waiver, RFA respondsEthanol Producer Magazine

 

VA – Governor Terry McAuliffe joined officials from Dominion Energy to celebrate the company’s first solar farm in Fauquier County. The solar panels, about 236,000 in total, are spread out across 125 acres, cost approximately $46 million to construct, and are projected to generate enough electricity to power 5,000 homes. The solar farm will begin operating October 1, adding about 20 megawatts (MWs) to Dominion’s more than 700 MW solar generating capacity in the Commonwealth. Governor McAuliffe, in his comments at the dedication ceremony, focused on the importance of renewable energy to the importance of business development to Virginia, saying ““This means high paying jobs in the Commonwealth of Virginia. You cannot recruit Microsoft [or] Amazon if you can’t provide them with renewable energy.” 20-megawatt Remington solar farm goes on the gridFauquier Now

 

WA – A company owned by Utah-based Lighthouse Resources is suing the state’s Department of Ecology following a denial of the company’s permit to export coal to Asia. Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview, in its suit, claims the Department “violated federal and state laws when it denied the project a water quality certification last month,” and additionally noted the denial was based on “biased and prejudiced decision-making.” The company’s facility, if approved, would have managed up to 44 million tons of coal per year, including coal from Montana and Wyoming. Millennium CEO and President Bill Chapman said it has invested about $15 million in the permitting process, noting that the permit that was denied is one of 23 the project needs. Ecology Department Director Maia Bellon said in a statement that “there are simply too many unavoidable and negative environmental effects for the project to move forward.” Coal-export terminal backer sues state over permit denialThe Washington Post

 

Regional and National

The Donald Trump administration announced plans to make nearly 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately equivalent to the size of the State of New Mexico, available for oil and gas exploration leases. All available un-leased areas on the Gulf’s Outer Continental Shelf adjacent to the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida will be part of this offering. The Obama administration had proposed a similar but smaller lease sale covering 66 million acres. While this part of the Gulf was the site of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill of 215 million gallons of crude in 2010, Interior Department officials believe the new leases can be administered without harming the environment. “American energy production can be competitive while remaining safe and environmentally sound,” said Vincent DeVito, Interior’s counselor for energy policy. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant was one of 12 public officials whose support was cited in the U.S. Department of Interior’s announcement of the sale. “Mississippi welcomes Secretary Zinke’s action to carry out the residents’ vision for American energy dominance,” Governor Bryant said. Trump to auction off a vast swath of the Gulf of Mexico to oil companies – The Washington Post

 

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Energy Update: October 13, 2017

In the States

CA – Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 546, which encourages the siting of energy storage projects. The bill, which was passed unanimously by both state legislative chambers, requires cities with more than 200,000 residents to publish online application documents related to the siting for certain energy storage projects by 2019. It also standardizes process and permit fees across multiple local jurisdictions. In addition, the legislation allows the Governor’s office to “provide guidance on energy storage permitting and best practices,” as well as provide localities potential factors to consider when establishing such projects. California energy storage siting bill signed into law -- UtilityDIVE

 

ID – Governor Butch Otter presented the State of Idaho Awards for Excellence in Industrial and Commercial Energy Efficiency to nine organizations, including the Idaho branch of Brigham Young University. The winning organizations, nine in total, were recognized for their “actions in implementing energy efficiency measures and reducing their environmental impact.” According to the Governor’s Office of Energy and Mineral Resources, “Projects implemented by these nine recipients in 2016 would save enough energy to power more than 1,200 Idaho homes for a year.” Other awardees include the City of Idaho Falls and Ketchum as well as Boise Towne Square Mall, among several other private companies and local agencies. BYU-Idaho receive Governor’s energy efficiency awardThe Rexburg Standard Journal

 

NV – The state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) as well as the Governor’s Committee on Energy Choice is reviewing Ballot Question 3, which will allow Nevada residents, businesses, and other entities to choose the provider of its electric utility service, potentially restructuring the entire energy industry in the state. The PUC, specifically, is examining possible impacts related to the potential implementation timeline, changes required to state law, policies, or programs, and options to construct the new energy system, should Question 3 be approved by voters. Question 3, which is supported by an organization called Nevadans for Affordable, Clean Energy Sources and is opposed by the state’s AFL-CIO union, while the state’s dominant utility, NV Energy, has not taken a position. Nevada utility regulators investigating energy choice ballot measureThe Las Vegas Review-Journal

OR – A major priority for the next legislative session, according to state officials, will be to pass Governor Kate Brown’s “cap and invest” proposal, which seeks to limit greenhouse gas emissions and charge fees for certain corporations depending on their carbon dioxide emissions. Some officials believe the Governor’s proposal could raise close to $1.4 billion per biennium, but lawmakers have yet to specify, if the proposal is taken up, how the funds would be expended or whether requirements to reduce carbon would be tied to the use of these proceeds. According to the state legislature’s nonpartisan legal office, any proposal to “cap and invest” would not require a legislative three-fifths supermajority since it was determined to be an energy policy issue. Under the state’s constitution, any proposal to raise taxes requires a supermajority. "This isn't about me, this is about my grandkids and their kids," said Senator Lee Beyer, who supports the proposal. "There does become a point where the scientists tell us there'd be a point of no return. I don't think we're there, but we're going up the hill pretty fast." Oregon Democrats’ $1.4B carbon pricing plan looms over 2018 sessionThe Oregonian

 

Regional and National

Governors Steve Bullock of Montana, John Hickenlooper of Colorado, and Matt Mead of Wyoming will headline the 21st Century Energy Transition Symposium on October 30-31 at Colorado State University. The moderator of their discussion and the events keynote speaker will be Bill Ritter, a former Colorado Governor and director of the Center for the New Energy Economy. According to the invitation, the Governors will “discuss how they can inspire nonpartisan collaborations and regional cooperation in a complex world of energy innovations, demands and challenges.”

 

At a recent multi-state meeting hosted by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, chair of the National Governors Association (NGA), seven states are planning to collaborate to create an electric vehicle (EV) corridor. The meeting was the first of several conferences centered on Governor Sandoval’s NGA chair initiative, called “Ahead of the Curve: Innovation Governors.” The states, including Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to construct a regional electric vehicle plan (REV) that traverses more than 5,000 miles of highway. The MOU additionally calls for the states to create best practices and procedures for EVs, create minimum standards for EV charging stations, and incorporate EV charging stations within local planning and development processes. “As chair of the NGA, I am pleased to announce the REV plan in the West with governors from both sides of the political spectrum,” Governor Sandoval said. “The plan shines a spotlight on how governors across the country are implementing innovative policies for the people of their states.” Governors to invest in EV charging network across seven statesThe Denver Post

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Energy Update: September 29, 2017

In the States

IL – Governor Bruce Rauner is proposing to replace regulations and limits on the rate of pollution from individual coal plants in the state with annual caps on the tons of emissions released by the entire group of facilities. The eight affected coal plants, which are based in central and southern Illinois, are all owned by Dynegy, a Houston-based company. The Rauner administration said “the goal is to keep the financially struggling coal plants open by giving…more flexibility to operate individual generating units, several of which are not equipped with modern pollution controls.” State Attorney General Lisa Madigan has questioned the Governor’s move, noting that the “proposed pollution caps are set so high that the state would end up encouraging Dynegy to pollute more” by operating its older plants more frequently. Alec Messina, director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, disagrees with General Madigan’s assertions and said this was the first time Illinois was placing a global cap on the entire fleet of coal plants in the state. Pollution could increase as Rauner EPA moves to rescue coal plantsThe Chicago Tribune

MS – Governor Phil Bryant was nominated to serve a second term as chairman of the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB), a nonpartisan interstate compact organization founded in 1960 and composed of 16 southern states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The SSEB is charged with guiding regional energy policy while also informing national perspectives. This is Governor Bryant’s second tour as chairman following his 2013 leadership during which he also unveiled Mississippi’s Energy Roadmap program. "Mississippi is an energy state, and it is good to help lead one of the nation's most influential and effective organizations for energy promotion," Governor Bryant said in a written statement. "America cannot only be energy independent but energy dominant." Governor Bryant is succeeding Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas. Bryant gets second stint chairing energy boardThe Clarion-Ledger

ND – Energy Transfer Partners, a Texas-based company that is building the Dakota Access pipeline, sent the State of North Dakota $15 million “to help pay law enforcement bills related to months of sometimes violent protests over the project’s construction” on federal lands earlier this year. The $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline began transporting oil from the state to an Illinois distribution plant on June 1, despite ongoing federal lawsuits by American Indian tribes. North Dakota also recently received a $10 million grant from the Department of Justice to cover some of its policing expenses. In a statement, Governor Doug Burgum said, “We remain committed to pursuing all available avenues to ensure that North Dakota taxpayers alone don’t bear the enormous costs of law enforcement, life safety, and other resources expended on the protests.” Dakota Access developer gives $15M toward security costsAssociated Press

Regional and National

Governor Andrew Cuomo, co-founder of the U.S. Climate Alliance, announced the organization’s members “are collectively on track to meet and possibly exceed their portion of the U.S. commitment under the Paris Agreement” while simultaneously releasing the group’s annual report. The U.S. Climate Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of 14 states and Puerto Rico that was founded in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the international accord. Member states – CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, MA, MN, NY, NC, OR, PR, RI, VT, VA, and WA – have committed to advancing the goals of the Paris Agreement, track and reporting on their process, and accelerating new and existing policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while promoting clean energy development. “While the federal government abdicates its responsibility on climate change,” said Governor Cuomo, “Governors do not have the luxury of denying a scientific reality, and it is more important than ever for states to take collective, common sense action.” Cuomo touts growing climate alliance with fellow GovernorsPolitico

Four Governors – Brian Sandoval of Nevada, John Kasich of Ohio, Jerry Brown of California, and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts – are set to take the stage as the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas in mid-October. The Governors will lead a discussion on clean energy economic development and their states’ efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Governor Sandoval, the current chair of the National Governors Association, is hosting the event along with former United States Senator Harry Reid. Governors meeting Las Vegas to discuss clean energy initiativesThe Las Vegas Sun

Governors John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, and Roy Cooper of North Carolina sent a letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission in opposition to imposing tariffs on solar panel products. The Governors noted such tariffs could cost the United States at least 88,000 jobs and “inflict a devastating blow on our states’ solar industries.” Additionally, the Governors cited a study by GTM Research that found a tariff would lead to a 50% drop in utility-scale and consumer-installed solar installations. Hickenlooper, three other Governors against tariffs on solar productsThe Denver Post

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Energy Update: September 15, 2017

In the States

MD – A group of clergy, solar and wind energy companies, and environmentalists recently launched a campaign calling for half of all the state’s electricity to be derived from renewable sources by 2030. Maryland’s current goal is to derive 25 percent of its electricity by 2020 through renewable sources. The coalition believes a new goal will continue to attract clean energy jobs to Maryland and will promote “environmental and social justice” by attracting those jobs to low-income, economically-depressed areas of the state. The coalition, however, is not seeking to require utilities to directly purchase renewable power but rather certificates that represent a megawatt of renewable power, similar to credits employed currently in Maryland and in other states. Governor Larry Hogan, when asked, did not offer a position on the new proposal, though his spokeswoman said the Governor “strongly supports efforts to combat climate change,” including statewide greenhouse gas reduction goals, Maryland’s participation in a regional cap-and-trade system for Northeast power plants’ carbon emissions, and incentives for use of electric vehicles. New campaign seeks to require half of Maryland energy to come from renewable sourcesThe Baltimore Sun

MO – According to a report released by the Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs, employment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and related fields grew by nearly six percent between 2015 and 2016 with actual number of employees totaling 55,500. The reports estimates more than 25,000 of those jobs are based in St. Louis, one of the state’s main urban areas. More than 70 percent of the total jobs are focused on energy efficiency and more than half are clean energy construction jobs. “Previous surveys indicate that 80 percent of businesses working in clean energy in Missouri employ fewer than 25 individuals, illustrating the importance of small businesses in the clean-energy sector,” the report said. Missouri sees strong growth in ‘clean energy’ jobsSt. Louis Post-Dispatch

NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to increase the use of biodiesel in heating oil, mandating certain downstate counties to blend at least five percent biodiesel into all home heating oil sold by July 1, 2018. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has designated biodiesel, which is often developed from a mix of recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, as an advanced biofuel that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent compared to petroleum. “New York has long been a leader in recognizing the environmental, public health and economic benefits of biodiesel, not only in transportation applications but in the heating oil market as well,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell Rehagen. NY governor signs bill requiring biodiesel in heating oilBiodiesel Magazine

WV – State environmental regulators, in a recent letter, decided to rescind approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The project, was estimated to cost at least $3.5 billion, would have transported natural gas, beginning in 2018, from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations under the Appalachian Mountains through the central part of the state for 195 miles. "This decision will allow the agency to re-evaluate the complete application to determine whether the state's certification is in compliance with Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act," wrote Scott Mandirola, director of the state’s Division of Water and Waste Management under the Department of Environmental Protection. EQT, the pipeline’s main developer, also has an application pending for approval with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. West Virginia withdraws approval of Mountain Valley PipelineWV Public Broadcasting/AP

Regional and National

The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) held a two day summit on energy policy, smart cities, and energy technologies. About 20 mayors from across the country gathered to share best practices and listen to the latest data on renewable energy use. The Mayors also discussed how to create a new energy economy, energy preparedness in the face of natural disasters, and private sector partnerships. USCM Executive Director Tom Cochran said the organization and several mayors will participate in Climate Week in New York City, further arguing that local officials should have a role in federal and state policy discussions. Piscataway, New Jersey Mayor Brian Wahler echoed that sentiment, stating “You know you have governors, and members of the legislature, or members of Congress coming up with policy initiatives that just aren’t workable at the local level and it defeats the whole purpose of what they’re trying to do.” Many other Mayors participating in the summit focused on how to attract innovation and investments to their cities, including Shane Bemis, Mayor of Gresham, Oregon, who said Mayors’ could still achieve the mission of the Paris Climate Accord through investments in green energy technologies. USCM wraps up renewable energy summitNew Bedford News

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Energy Update: September 1, 2017

In the States

AZ – The Kayenta Solar Facility started producing electricity for the Navajo Nation, one of the largest Native American tribes, near Arizona’s Monument Valley. The new facility, which is the first utility-scale solar project on native lands, has the capacity to produce enough electricity to power 13,000 Navajo homes and is owned by the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority. The Kayenta Solar Facility comes online just as the Navajo community’s coal-fired generation station near Page, Arizona is beginning the process of shutting down by December 2019. Deenise Becenti, a spokeswoman for the tribal utility, said the $60 million cost for the solar plant was largely offset by federal solar investor tax credits and a two-year power purchase and energy credit agreement with the Salt River Project, Arizona’s largest utility. Navajo solar plant breaks new groundThe San Francisco Chronicle

CA – State lawmakers are considering a proposal, Senate Bill 100, which allows only for electricity produced via renewable energy to be transferred across the state’s grid. Additionally, lawmakers are considering updating the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard by requiring utilities to obtain 60 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045, up from the current standard of 50 percent by 2030. If passed, California would become the second states behind Hawaii to set such a target. The measure, which was passed by the Senate, requires the Assembly’s approval before heading to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for his consideration. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who authored the legislation, said “[This is] the type of opportunity we have today, right here in California, with clean energy,” noting his belief that the state can meet the legislation’s goals. California’s goal: an electricity grid moving only clean energyThe Los Angeles Times

DE – Governor John Carney signed an executive order to establish the state’s Offshore Wind Working Group, which will submit recommendations to the Governor on short- and long-term strategies to develop an offshore wind energy industry. The 17-member Working Group has until December 15th to submit its report, which must also examine “possible environmental, economic and job-creation benefits as well as any barriers that may exist.” The Working Group may also examine state laws and regulations and recommend changes, including amendments to the Delaware Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Act, to Governor Carney. “We must look for ways to participate in the development of alternative energy sources," Governor Carney said. "It's the right decision for our environment, but the development of new sources of energy is also good for our economy and for the creation of good-paying jobs.” Carney launches effort to explore offshore wind in DelawareThe News Journal

NJ – The state’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) announced it will examine the widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and its potential impacts on the state’s electricity distribution system. Members of the BPU believe widespread adoption of electric vehicles in nearing, and so, according to BPU President Richard Mroz, "we realize that regulations may need to change since EVs are quickly emerging while utility distribution systems are becoming more adaptive and flexible.” Regulators directed their staff to create a stakeholder group and to prepare a draft report within 180 days on “potential EV infrastructure policies and recommendations on any tariff revisions or updates that may be needed.” NJ regulators to study impacts of widespread EV adoptionUtilityDIVE

Regional and National

A coalition of 13 states and seven cities and counties sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Acting General Counsel asking the EPA to rescind its guidance to states about complying with the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). In their letter, the coalition argues EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is and was seeking “to delay or repeal the CPP without going through the full regulatory or legal process to do so” in a March 30 letter sent to Governors letting them know they did not have to comply with the CPP. Before leading the EPA, Administrator Pruitt served as Oklahoma’s attorney general and sued the Obama administration over its decision to implement the CPP. In a related statement, New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said “Scott Pruitt cannot simply wish away the facts by giving governors bad legal advice. We’ll continue to fight to ensure that the federal government fulfills its legal responsibility to New Yorkers’ health and environment.” States say EPA’s climate rule guidance is ‘legally incorrect’The Hill

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Energy Update: August 4, 2017

In The States

CA – Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program, which provides the private sector with incentives to pollute less and requires “oil refineries, power plants, food processors and other facilities to buy permits to release greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.” The new law also requires certain industrial facilities to upgrade their old equipment with more modern technology by 2023. The Governor extended the program, which was slated to expire in 2020 and is viewed as the central feature of California’s environmental and climate change advocacy, to 2030. “California is leading the world in dealing with the principal existential threat that humanity faces,” said Governor Brown during the signing ceremony, which his predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the first cap-and-trade bill into law in 2016, also attended. Governor Brown signs law to extend cap and trade, securing the future of California’s key climate programThe Los Angeles Times

 

CT – Governor Dan Malloy ordered state agencies to review “the economic viability of Dominion Energy’s Millstone nuclear power plant,” one of several nuclear plants at risk of closing thanks to a surplus of cheap natural gas. Virginia-based Dominion Energy noted it had tried for months to find a solution to keep the plant operating while opponents, including other energy generating companies, argue that Millstone’s associated costs exceed its benefits and production. "We must objectively and thoroughly review and evaluate the relevant information and market conditions of the Millstone facility...in the context of reducing costs for consumers and moving our clean energy strategy forward," Governor Malloy said in a statement. "The time for a study without action has passed," Paul Koonce, chief executive of Dominion Energy Power Generation Group, said in a rebuttal. "Without action this year, prospects for continued operation of Millstone diminish.” CT Governor orders review of Millstone nuclear plant viabilityReuters

 

NY – As part of the statewide “Solarize” campaign, Governor Andrew Cuomo said 850 solar projects have been installed or are in development in New York. The Solarize program, according to the Governor, is “an important component in supporting the state’s Clean Energy Standard,” which was recently updated to require renewable sources to generate 50% of the state’s electricity by 2030. The hyper-local Solarize campaigns are public-private partnerships managed by community and elected officials and the private sector in order to educate and simplify the process by which consumers install clean energy generating systems. “New York continues to see unprecedented growth in the solar energy industry across the state, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing jobs, and driving economic growth," Governor Cuomo said. "By helping residents and businesses install solar energy panels, we are reducing costs for consumers and fueling the clean energy economy in New York for years to come." 850 solar projects announced across New York StateSolar Novus Today

Regional and National

Energy Secretary and former Governor of Texas Rick Perry announced $40 million in awards for the “the establishment of four DOE Bioenergy Research Centers, which will provide the scientific breakthroughs for a new generation of sustainable, cost-effective bioproducts and bioenergy.” The Centers, each of which will be led by a Department of Energy laboratory or a university, awarded the grants include the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center; the Center for Bioenergy Innovation; the Joint BioEnergy Institute, and; the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation. “The revolution of modern biology has opened up vast new opportunities for the energy industry to develop and utilize products derived from biomass as a sustainable resource,” said Secretary Perry.  “These centers will accelerate the development of the basic science and technological foundation needed to ensure that American industry and the American public reap the benefits of the new bio-based economy.” DOE provides $40 million in grants to bioenergy research centers

Governors Kim Reynolds of Iowa and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska testified during the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) hearing on the proposed volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), urging the EPA to increase the amount of advanced biofuels and cellulosic ethanol to be blended into the country’s gasoline supply. The EPA recently set ethanol levels for 2018 at about 40 million gallons below the 2017 levels and cut cellulosic biofuel requirements to 238 million gallons. “When you’re talking about the advanced biofuels, I think it’s a mistake to go backwards with regards to those targets,” said Governor Ricketts. While highlighting the impact of the cuts on jobs and the greater economy in Iowa, Governor Reynolds said “the near term future for cellulosic is much brighter than the proposed obligations.” Ricketts, Reynolds testify at EPA hearing, urge greater federal support for advanced biofuelsThe Omaha World-Herald

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Energy Update: July 21, 2017

In the States

AK – The state legislature voted to end its cash payment subsidies to oil companies with less than 50,000 barrels of daily oil production. Instead, these oil companies will now be allowed to claim state tax deductions instead of cash and those deductions will be reduced over time by 10 percent annually after seven years if a project is producing oil or after 10 years if the project hasn’t produced oil. The cash-subsidy program was created a decade ago to encourage new companies to develop oil fields in Alaska. According to its projections, the state owes more than $1 billion in cash subsidies to the oil companies by the end of 2018. Alaska Legislature passes last-minute oil tax deal, but capital budget is still pendingThe Alaska Dispatch News

MN – The University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab released a report finding that “adding energy storage is becoming a cost effective way to meet electricity demand in the state.” The report found that Minnesota’s natural gas, solar, and wind energy projects could all benefit from the development of energy storage facilities. For example, on turbine farms, “if energy supply exceeds demand, wind turbine blades are adjusted so that the turbines don't generate as much electricity” whereas batteries could keep the turbines running at normal operation. The report also found that the state has very little energy storage, though some companies, such as Connexus, are building megawatt storage systems and facilities. The report was submitted to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, as well as a group of energy stakeholders, who recommended the state pursue energy storage projects. Report: solar plus storage can beat natural gas in MinnesotaMPR News

NC – Governor Roy Cooper announced he opposes efforts by President Donald Trump’s administration to allow drilling for natural gas and oil off the state’s coast, calling it a “threat to the state’s beaches and tourism economy.” The Governor’s statement comes as the Trump administration requested comments from elected officials on its plan to allow companies to perform seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean in search of natural gas and oil deposits. “There is a threat looming over this coastline that we love and the prosperity it brings, and that's the threat of offshore drilling," Governor Cooper said. Additionally, he noted: “There is little evidence that offshore drilling would be a financial boon for our state.” The Governor doesn’t believe that drilling will produce a lot of jobs or revenue sharing and that changes to federal regulations could increase  environmental risks. NC Governor on Trump drilling plan: ‘Not off our coast’AP

NH – Governor Chris Sununu allowed Senate Bill 129, which requires utilities to increase the percentage of renewable sources in their energy portfolio to 25 percent by 2025, to become law without his signature. The new law, known as the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2017, also requires utilities to pay into a Renewable Energy Fund (REF) if they do not meet the new Renewable Portfolio Standard’s threshold. Of the funds collected by the REF, 15 percent are to be disbursed to low-income solar projects. Additionally, the new law raises the amount of money utilities pay for biofuel-generated energy, which supporters note will support the state’s timber industry and lead to more individuals employing wood-burning electric generators. In a statement, Governor Sununu called it “important to balance a smart renewable energy portfolio and economic growth in New Hampshire’s North Country with potential costs to ratepayers,” adding: “As we strive for an energy portfolio that is efficient, effective, and affordable, it is critical that we study the long-term viability of generation resources, particularly those that rely on mandated ratepayer support.” Clean energy bill becomes law without Governor’s signatureNew Hampshire Business Review

NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his administration will support the construction of 78 miles of power transmission infrastructure to “[strengthen] the reliability of the New York State electric power grid and [enable] more upstate renewable energy to connect to the power system throughout the state.” Called the Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability project, the new $441 million transmission line will also help the state meet the Governor’s clean energy mandate of deriving 50% of New York’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 by transporting additional upstate energy to high demand areas downstate. The project, slated to begin construction in 2019, is expected to create approximately 2,000 full-time jobs during its development. "This critical upgrade will help strengthen our clean energy economy in every corner of the state, and help New York reach its nation-leading clean energy standard," Governor Cuomo said. "By investing in the long-term sustainability of our state's energy infrastructure today, we are helping to ensure New Yorkers will have access to a cleaner, greener future for years to come.” Cuomo announces plan to build 78 miles of power transmission infrastructureNorth County Public Radio

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Energy Update: January 27, 2017

In the States

NH – Eversource, New Hampshire’s largest utility company, filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court in hopes of overturning a ruling by the Public Utilities Commission to block the extension of a natural gas pipeline expansion project. Eversource estimates the pipeline project, known as the Access Northeast and Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline, would lead to “significant customer savings” while also decreasing overall operating costs. The project, which was to be financed in part by electricity ratepayers over a long-term contract, was disallowed by the PUC since an earlier court ruling stated “utilities can't pass on to ratepayers the costs of financing new natural gas pipelines.” Bill Quinlan, New Hampshire operations president for Eversource, said ““Expanding the supply of gas into New England is one of the necessary actions that must occur as part of the effort to reduce energy costs and ensure reliability. We believe it’s important that proposals like this one have the opportunity to be fully considered.” Eversource takes pipeline case to New Hampshire Supreme CourtThe New Hampshire Union Leader

VT – While showcasing the construction of a new solar power project in Montpelier called a Solar Canopy, Governor Phil Scott announced his support for the state’s existing renewable energy mandate requiring that  90 percent of its energy be derived from renewable sources by 2050. Governor Scott said the renewable energy goal contributes positively to his focus on economic development and “creates jobs that keep young people from leaving the state.” The Governor also maintained that local communities should play a greater role in determining renewable energy project siting, one of his campaign pledges. Solar Canopy, which was erected by Waterbury-based SunCommon, was founded in 2012 and employs about 70 people. "Companies like SunCommon, and many others who are creating jobs and innovating here in Vermont, are exactly what we need to reach these (economic development) goals," Governor Scott said. Vermont’s new governor sticking with renewable energy goalAssociated Press

WY – Six state lawmakers proposed assessing a penalty on utilities if they make use of wind or solar energy to generate electricity for their customers. According to the legislation, Senate File 71, utilities would have a year to comply with the measure, if enacted, and would be restricted to utilizing six resources to generate electricity. Additionally, the state’s utilities would have to derive 100 percent of their Wyoming-sold energy from these six resources, which include coal and natural gas, by 2019.  Shannon Anderson of the Powder River Basin Resource Council, called the law unsound, noting “It would be very difficult to implement, difficult to regulate, since it goes against longstanding precedent to choose least-cost resources, and [since] it ignores the reality of a multi-state grid.” Bill would penalize utilities for wind-generated electricity for Wyoming customersThe Casper Star-Tribune

Regional and National

President Donald Trump selected Cheryl LaFleur to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), an independent agency which regulates the nation’s power markets and pipelines, among other responsibilities under the Department of Energy. Ms. LaFleur, a Democrat and former utility executive, replaces Norman Bay, who has led the agency since April 2015, as acting chairman. “LaFleur’s appointment signals that Trump is hearing congressional Republicans’ complaints about FERC being too heavy handed to the markets,” said Katie Bays, a Washington-based energy analyst for Height Securities. Ken Irvin, a Washington-based partner at Sidley Austin LLP who represents energy marketers and traders, said “She has a very informed knowledge of the energy business and how to be an effective regulator. She’s very in tune with our markets.” Trump names LaFleur acting head of federal energy regulator – Bloomberg

Reversing a decision by his predecessor, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to construct the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. President Trump, in so doing, promised to renegotiate the terms of the cross-border Keystone XL pipeline so the federal government can receive  a portion of the pipeline’s profits. TransCanada said it remains committed to building the pipeline, though noted it would still require approval from the states the pipeline crosses as well as the U.S. Department of State. Meanwhile, the Dakota Access pipeline, which has been the subject of numerous protests by environmental groups as well as the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, faces several legal challenges that allege the proposed pipeline poses a danger to the tribe’s water supply. Trump signs executive actions to advance Keystone, Dakota Access pipelinesPolitico

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Energy Update: October 21, 2016

In the States

UT – Governor Gary Herbert’s Office of Energy Development hosted the second annual Utah Air and Energy Symposium to discuss the state’s air quality challenges vis-à-vis future energy development, which is set to be a key topic studied by the state legislature during next year’s 45-day legislative session. Much of the discussion at the Symposium focused on alternative fuel vehicles, air quality regulations for the oil and gas industry, and methane leaks, which the state’s Department of Environmental Quality is currently studying. Jon Goldstein of the Environmental Defense Fund spoke in favor of increased regulations, noting that neighboring Colorado was able to achieve a 75 percent reduction in methane leaks by implementing new rules on the state’s energy producers. In another session, state Representative Stephen Handy (R) discussed his work to secure Utah’s part of the settlement under Volkswagen’s violation of diesel emissions and his hope that the state will utilize the funds to replace diesel school buses. Utah air quality, energy event draws diverse crowdKSL Salt Lake City

VA – At an event showcasing the installation of a new solar system for public schools in Albemarle County, Governor Terry McAuliffe released an update to his 2014 Virginia Energy Plan, titled the “Energy in the New Virginia Economy,” which outlines his administration’s work on the Commonwealth’s strategic energy priorities. The update to the energy plan, which is required by statute, focuses on the Governor’s four priorities: strategic growth in the energy sector, best in class infrastructure, alternative fuels and advanced vehicles technology, and workforce development. Some of the achievements highlighted by the Governor include the construction of a 80 megawatt solar farm in Accomack County, the creation of the Commonwealth’s first Green Community Program, and the use of over 200 alternative fuel vehicles by the state government. “Today's installation is the perfect venue to formally unveil an update on the progress we are making toward making Virginia a leader in the global energy economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The clean energy sector has been a central part of our efforts to build a new Virginia economy and that effort has paid off as revenue in the sector has grown four-fold to $2 billion.” At Monticello High School, McAuliffe touts solar panels, energy planThe News & Advance

VT – Iberdrola Renewables, a Spanish energy company, is seeking to build the state’s largest wind energy project, which would consist of 24 turbines almost 500 feet tall generating close to 90 megawatts of power, or enough electricity for 42,000 homes annually. The project, which would be built in a private forest near the towns of Windham and Grafton, is on the ballot this fall for voters to approve or disapprove. Under increasing pressure and scrutiny from local officials and residents who are concerned the proposed project will generate noise and lower property values, and sensing the voters would reject the proposed wind farm, Iberdrola offered to pay “a total of $565,000 a year to the 815 registered voters in both towns, or $14.1 million over 25 years,” for their support. The project, which is supported by outgoing Governor Peter Shumlin, has become a key issue in the race to succeed him with Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott (R) opposing the project and Sue Minter (D), a former transportation secretary under Governor Shumlin, supporting it. “There’s nothing I’m more proud of than my legacy of having helped to get Vermont off of oil and coal and moved us more aggressively than any other state in the nation to renewables,” Governor Shumlin said. Vermont wind project needs support, so company offers to pay votersThe New York Times

Regional and National

The National Governors Association (NGA) published two papers focused on enhancing energy assurance planning and response and strategies for states to develop advanced energy storage. Both publications were developed by the NGA’s Center for Best Practices Environment, Energy, and Transportation Division, which “provides information, research, policy analysis, technical assistance, and resource development for governors and their staff.” The first paper summarizes the NGA’s findings from a 2015 project in which NGA and New Jersey state officials worked with six other states – Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island – “to understand and apply lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy” while the second paper explores how states can use incentives, regulations, and policy to boost energy storage.

The United States Navy announced its purchasing renewable energy from a new 150-megawatt solar farm in Arizona, or what is soon to be the largest procurement of renewable energy by the federal government, according to federal officials. The solar facility, called the Mesquite Solar Complex, is owned by Sempra U.S. Gar & Power and will supply a third of the electricity needs of the Navy’s installations in California, including the San Diego naval base and the Marines’ Twentynine Palms and Camp Pendleton bases The Navy’s purchase will support over 800 temporary construction and permanent jobs. “It’s going to be reliable, it’s going to be cheaper than what we’re paying for brown power, and it just diversifies our energy sources for these bases,” said Dennis McGinn, the assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment. U.S. government makes biggest clean energy purchase everThe Washington Post and Tonopah solar farms to supply energy to military basesThe Arizona Republic

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Energy Update: October 7, 2016

In the States

AL – The Alabama Power Company, the state’s largest utility, posted a request for proposals (RFP) for renewable energy projects, hoping to bring more solar, wind, and geothermal energy generation to Alabama. The company, which has already announced more than 90 megawatts of solar power projects since last year, received approval from the Alabama Public Service Commission “to develop up to 500 megawatts of renewable energy projects,” including several projects at military installations across the state. In addition to solar, wind, and geothermal energy, the RFP calls for projects focused on tidal or ocean current energy, gas derived from waste or landfills, hydrogen obtained from renewable sources, and biomass energy. "Alabama Power supports renewable energy, where it makes sense for our customers," John Kelley, the utility’s director of forecasting and resource planning, said. "Renewable markets change a lot, and this proposal gives us a chance to see what may be out there in the 2017 and 2018 time frame." Alabama Power eyes future renewable energy projectsThe Huntsville Times

CT – Governor Dan Malloy discussed the importance of renewable energy generation with 26 local chambers of commerce, the Connecticut Green Bank, and officials from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. After the meeting, nearly a dozen of the local chambers present pledged to work with the Green Bank to “inform their businesses about affordable, long-term financing options” for clean energy projects and programs. Several other chambers also inquired about the state’s new Comprehensive Energy Strategy, which seeks reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will be released at some point this fall. “Local chambers of commerce play an important role in helping Connecticut continue to prosper from the growing economic development opportunities of cleaner, cheaper, more reliable energy,” said Governor Malloy. Governor, 26 local chambers show strong interest in clean energyChamber Innovation

ND – Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem sent a letter to Energy Transfer Partners, a Texas-based company developing the Dakota Access pipeline, to explain why it purchased 7,000 acres of land recently for an undisclosed amount. The company, which must respond within 30 days, must describe how its purchase complies with the state’s Depression-era anti-corporate farming law, which bars certain corporations from owning or leasing farmland and engaging in farming. Energy Transfer Partners continues to face public scrutiny over its proposed $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile pipeline that would carry approximately 450,000 barrels of oil per day from the Bakken oilfields to a hub in Illinois. The project’s construction has been delayed due to several lawsuits by local Native American tribes, which claim the company’s “bulldozers disturbed ancestral burials and other sacred sites.” General Stenehjem said "We'll treat this just like we do every case.” Stenehjem gives Dakota Access 30 days to explain land purchaseThe Jamestown Sun

Regional and National

The Governors’ Wind & Solar Energy Coalition, which counts Governors from 20 states as members, sent a letter to President Barack Obama seeking his administration’s support to quickly site wind projects, both on land and offshore. The letter notes that offshore wind energy could “create thousands of jobs in businesses ranging from R&D and engineering to manufacturing and marine construction.” Additionally, the Governors would like the administration to streamline the leasing and permitting process as well as to improve permitting collaboration between the states and the federal government. The Governors also noted their hope that the administration and its agencies continue working with the private sector, conservation groups, and states on final rules impacting wind and solar energy development. American Wind Energy Association CEO Tom Kiernan, who thanked the Governors for their support, said “These Governors are leading. They’re attuned to economic development needs and deployment challenges in their states, and they’re looking to the federal agencies to help rather than hinder.” Tax credits aren’t enough to spur renewables, Governors sayAgriPulse

According the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), which is part of the Department of Energy, Hurricane Matthew may cause problems for East Coast energy infrastructure.  The storm, which led four Governors to declare states of emergency, may affect product terminals, possibly reducing energy imports. EIA also published map highlighting energy disruptions, links for consumers to determine fuel availability during the storm, and made available its real-time information on electricity demand.

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