Blog posts : "barack obama"
In the States
AZ – Governor Jan Brewer, speaking to the Algal Biomass Organization, heralded plans for the Arizona Center for Algae Technologies and Innovations, a new research center for algae-based fuels to be built at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus. It is to be constructed with $2 million in federal stimulus funds and $2 million in private investment bundled by the university and the Science Foundation, a public/private partnership created to diversify Arizona’s research and development initiatives. The Governor said that the facility “will expand Arizona’s potential as a national global leader in research and production in algae fuel,” which she said could produce billions of dollars in investments and millions of gallons of fuel that would be used to power vehicles and aircraft. Brewer announces investment in algae fuels research – Arizona Republic
OH – A 500-acre section of land on a decommissioned coal strip mine in southeast Ohio – a piece of land comparable in size to a small airport – will soon be home to a 50-megawatt solar farm capable of providing electricity to 25,000 homes. Governor Ted Strickland, who signed a 2008 law requiring 12.5% of electricity to be renewable, said “the future has recognized Ohio” and that the venture would bring 600 jobs to the area, 300 of them permanent. Isofoton, the Spanish solar panel maker behind the project, passed over other States, in part due to State and federal tax credits, loan guarantees, and a grant. Twenty megawatts will be installed in about two years with the rest completed in about four years. Huge solar panel farm coming to southeast Ohio – Cleveland Plain Dealer
TX – Governor Rick Perry spoke to academic and industry professionals at the Sixth Annual Clean Carbon Policy Summit and Project Expo this week. In his speech, the Governor outlined the progress Texas has made toward diversifying the sources from which it obtains energy, cleaning the air Texans breathe, and growing the State’s economy. Governor Perry also said that “technology and innovation could propel us into a world of cleaner, more efficient energy generated from all sources, and where the United States could be much less dependent on foreign countries for energy.” Texas continues to lead way toward US energy independence – Gov Monitor
WV – In response to regulations from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that restrict mountaintop removal – a process in which mountaintops are blasted off in order to more easily reach coal, and which releases toxic chemicals into nearby streams – Governor Joe Manchin directed his State to sue the US EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. Governor Manchin called the regulations “attempts to destroy our coal industry and way of life in West Virginia,” and said that only two of the 23 applications for permits that were pending last year – when the regulations went into effect – have been approved. West Virginia sues US over mining restrictions – New York Times
According to a new report released by the National Governors Association, every State and territory in the US has worked to increase its use of clean energy in some way. The report identified seven categories of clean energy enhancements, ranging from energy efficiency to alternative fuels to green economic development, and found that States are undertaking these initiatives for environmental reasons, to save in energy costs, and to create jobs. The report says that 49 States changed policies on clean electricity, 47 expanded energy efficiency, and 39 promoted clean energy as an economic growth strategy. Report: States’ actions are promoting green energy – American City & County
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has approved proposals to build the first solar farms on over 6,500 acres of federal land in California, and is expected to approve several similar projects soon. More than 750 megawatts of electricity will be generated by the approved projects, enough to power over 550,000 homes, with more than three times that much capacity in the pending projects. A new transmission line has also been approved to get the electricity into homes, but it is being challenged in court. A portion of the approved solar farms will be financed with federal stimulus funds and federal loan guarantees. Solar power plants to rise on US land – New York Times
The Obama Administration has released four scenarios in a notice of intent outlining proposed requirements for fuel economy in cars and light trucks between 2017 and 2025. Raising the fuel economy requirements three percent per year – the most modest increase – would result in a mileage standard of 47 miles per gallon by 2025, an increase from 34.1 in 2016, while the most ambitious proposal would increase fuel efficiency six percent per year, ending at 62 miles per gallon in 2025. While more detailed proposals are due out in November, a point of contention with the proposals is how emissions from electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will be calculated. Since they do not produce any emissions themselves when powered by electricity, but do utilize electricity generated by coal and natural gas burning power plants, an alternative measure, such as grams of carbon emissions per mile, could be used to develop comparable emissions ratings. Fuel economy will be, um, better – New York Times
In the States
FL – A $14 million program that provides rebates to homeowners and businesses for installing solar panels and equipment has proven so popular that it has run out of money ahead of schedule. Those who purchased a solar system are still eligible for a 30% federal tax credit. Although the State Energy Department made it clear that the program would need more funds to satisfy demand, the legislature, under budgetary constraints during a prolonged economic downturn, did not appropriate the needed funding. Residents who went solar won’t get their rebates – Fort Myers News-Press
MI – Three wind farms that will soon be built in Michigan are expected to boost the State’s wind energy capacity by over 60%, generating enough electricity for 84,000 households. Governor Jennifer Granholm praised the projects, saying that “we intend to lead the nation in making our nation energy independent” in a speech at the Michigan Energy Fair. Senator Debbie Stabenow, who also spoke at the event, talked about the importance of manufacturing clean energy products domestically. The new wind farms, along with a new power plant that will use gases from a landfill to create electricity, will allow a utility company, Consumers Energy, to increase the percentage of power it obtains from renewable sources from 4% to 6.2%. Three wind farms to open in Michigan – Detroit Free Press
RI – A new law signed by Governor Donald Carcieri will require the State’s Public Utilities Commission to revisit a proposed contract between Deepwater Wind, a company that is planning an offshore wind farm, and National Grid, the utility company that would deliver the electricity generated by the proposed wind farm. A contract between the companies was unanimously rejected by the Commission earlier this year for being “commercially unreasonable” in that the wind power would cost rate-payers an additional $400 million. Governor Carcieri said the project “holds the key to Rhode Island’s economic future” and that it will lead to the creation of thousands of jobs. While he and a majority of legislators support moving forward with the project, some State officials say the project is not worth the costs and the process is unfair to rate-payers. Carcieri signs wind farm legislation – Block Island Times
Governors from several Western States focused on the need to streamline the process by which new interstate transmission lines will be built during the Western Governors Association Annual Meeting. While the Governors are in favor of increasing electricity produced from renewable sources that are abundant in their States, the infrastructure to transmit that energy from the source of production to distant population centers needs to be designed and built. The Governors acknowledged that objections raised by private landowners and environmental groups, as well as requirements for permits, often affect the siting and construction of new transmission lines, but also see new transmission lines as a critical to the development of alternative energy. Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer stated his belief that, “we don’t develop any of the alternative sources until you get transmission,” echoing Washington Governor Christine Gregoire’s concern that, “if we can’t get it anywhere, what good does it do?” Governors see need for transmission lines – Billings Gazette
President Barack Obama invited 23 Senators to the White House recently in an attempt to bridge divergent opinions on the best way to move forward on comprehensive energy legislation. Accounts from the meeting suggest that little progress was made in reaching a consensus. During the meeting, the President and many Democratic Senators insisted on some kind of cap on carbon emissions while Republican Senators pledged opposition to any such plan. Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman, co-authors and enthusiastic supporters of climate change legislation, left the meeting saying that they were willing to compromise on some parts of the bill, and that some unnamed Republicans expressed interest in a scaled-back version of their bill that would regulate only power plants rather than entire sectors of the economy. Republican Senators, upon leaving the meeting, reiterated their opposition to a carbon cap and called for more domestic oil production. One idea not promoted by Senators from either party was increased offshore oil drilling. White House energy session changes no minds – New York Times and Democrats, Obama willing to scale back energy and climate change bill – Politico
The US Department of Energy has announced $24 million in funding for three companies to perform research on how to make algae-based biofuels commercially viable. These awards are part of the $800 million in biofuels funding made available through economic stimulus legislation passed last year. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 set a goal of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be produced by 2022, including 21 billion gallons of advanced biofuels, such as algae-based fuels. A roadmap released by the US Department of Agriculture reveals that achieving that goal will require this type of research as well as large investments in infrastructure and other technology, but could create many jobs, mainly in the Southeast and Central-Eastern regions. Obama funds research into algae-based biofuels – USA Today and New USDA report provides roadmap for US biofuels energy goals – EERE News
In the States
AK – Governor Sean Parnell has signed two energy bills designed to spell out how Alaska will obtain energy in the coming years. One new law mandates that the State obtain 50% of its electricity from renewable sources within 15 years. The other law promotes energy efficiency through the creation of an Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund and a requirement that the least efficient 25% of State buildings undergo weatherization. The new law also requires that State Transportation Department vehicles be powered by compressed natural gas and contains some incentives for non-renewable resources as well. State goal: 50 percent renewable energy sources by 2025 – KTVA TV
CO – Governor Bill Ritter signed The Community Solar Gardens Act, which allows groups of individuals, who may not be able to install solar panels on their rooftops, to collectively own a solar array, enabling them to tap into potential benefits from the State's net-metering laws and tariffs. The amount they will be paid will depend upon the size of their ownership shares of the solar garden, the performance of the solar array, and their own monthly electricity usage. Washington, Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts already have laws on the books to support community solar energy and Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) is sponsoring a community solar bill in the US Senate. Colorado Governor signs community solar gardens act into law – Ecopolitology (blog)
OH – Governor Ted Strickland has signed an energy bill that will provide tax breaks to companies that produce renewable energy and jobs in Ohio. To qualify, companies must begin construction before 2012 and produce energy by 2013 or 2017, depending on the type of energy produced. Counties have the option to decide whether to cooperate in relieving energy businesses from the tangible personal property tax, which could affect whether renewable energy companies invest in particular areas. Ohio Governor to sign advanced energy tax bill – USA Today and Gov. Strickland signs wind energy bill into law – Times Bulletin
Regional and National News
The primary elections currently taking place around the country could profoundly affect the outcome of deliberation over federal climate change legislation. To date, many of the Democratic and Republican primary winners have staunchly opposed cap-and-trade measures at the State and federal level. If a climate bill is not passed in this Congress, a new set of Senators, elected in part through these primaries, will have the opportunity to influence the direction of any such legislation. Similarly, the primaries will determine gubernatorial candidates who will not only help to shape State policies affecting the future use of fossil fuels and alternative energy, but who also will be making their views known to policymakers in Washington. Climate bubbles below the surface of primary wins – New York Times
President Barack Obama addressed the nation on June 15 on the subject of the BP oil spill, now in its ninth week, as well as potential energy and climate change legislation. The President did not specifically lay out his administration’s agenda on cap-and-trade or other controversial energy measures, opting instead to focus on the need to act and to consider all proposals. The lack of specifics has left the fate of energy legislation without real direction. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he is unsure of which energy legislation to move forward, while other Senators used the occasion to promote their or others’ energy bills or rally behind or criticize the President. With regard to how to best regulate greenhouse gas emissions, there is little cohesion among Senators, including within the Democratic caucus, with arguments ranging from legislation with no climate change measures, to only regulating power plants, to regulating many sources of pollution such as transportation. President Obama speech has energy bill in limbo – Politico and President Obama’s Oval Office address on BP oil spill & energy – The White House
As electric cars gain in popularity and two major auto manufacturers, General Motors and Nissan, plan to release plug-in models later this year, federal regulators are struggling to determine a definition of auto efficiency for these non-gasoline powered vehicles. Mike Duoba, a research engineer at Argonne National Laboratory, said, "The language we have been speaking -- mpg -- isn't sophisticated enough." The onset of electric vehicles "will require new metrics to effectively convey information to consumers," according to an EPA statement, though researchers predict it will be difficult to find one measurement to convey a car’s efficiency in terms of both electricity and gas without making too many assumptions about consumer driving habits. The new metrics are expected to change the way fuel-economy estimates are calculated and displayed and will shape consumer choices that, in the aggregate, could profoundly affect smog and carbon emissions. The EPA is scheduled to propose a rule by August. More electric cars means finding new standards to measure fuel efficiency – The Washington Post
In the States
DE – Governor Jack Markell has proposed an extension and expansion of existing law that would increase the use of renewable energy within the State. Current law dictates that Delmarva Power must obtain 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2019; the proposed changes would require that other utilities comply, that 30% of electricity come from renewable sources by 2029, that preference be given to renewable energy producers within Delaware, and other minor changes. The Governor hopes these changes will prompt more “green” jobs in the State as well as more home-based solar power production. Markell pushes for renewable energy in Delaware – The News Journal
VA – Governor Bob McDonnell has signed legislation that endorses the Federal government allowing oil and gas drilling off Virginia’s coastline. The plan that Governor McDonnell endorsed would funnel royalties to the State, though some of this funding would be directed to the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium, a partnership between industry, government, and universities to research and develop renewable energy. McDonnell signs offshore energy bills – Virginian Pilot and Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium
WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal has signed three bills into law that will centralize control over wind farm development and impose a new tax on electricity produced by wind. The new laws will require a tax of $1 per megawatt of wind power, place a moratorium on using eminent domain laws to take private land for power lines, and extend permitting authority for the State over those power lines. The Governor praised the legislature for passing the bills, saying that the wind energy industry is welcome in the State, but only if it pays its way. Gov signs 3 wind bills into law – Cheyenne Tribune
Regional and National News
Two Democratic Governors joined a group of 18 Republican Governors in sending a letter to the Congressional leadership asking that Congress keep the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from imposing regulations on greenhouse gases. The Governors wrote that the EPA is unable to fully consider the economic effects of the regulations, which the Governors believe would place heavy administrative burdens on state environmental agencies, prove costly to consumers, and have a devastating impact on state economies and jobs. The EPA has responded to the Governors, dismissing the premise that regulatory action would necessarily weaken the economy. Several pieces of legislation, introduced in Congress by members of both parties, would delay or eliminate the ability of EPA to regulate greenhouse gases; those in favor of a delay have been encouraged by the Governors’ letter, while supporters of the EPA have been relatively silent on the matter. US Governors ask Congress to stop EPA Rules – Wall Street Journal and Governors’ letter to Congressional leadership – Gulf Coast News and EPA defends greenhouse gas caps – Politico
Four Democratic Senators have called for a halt to stimulus spending on wind farm projects on the grounds that too much of the money has been sent outside the United States. The Senators specifically cited a potential project by a company that has not yet applied for stimulus funds, but has signaled that it might install wind turbines manufactured in China. Union leaders have supported the Senators’ position, while the Obama Administration has disputed it, as has the project manager for the referenced wind initiative, who said at least 70% of each turbine would be fabricated and assembled in the United States. The American Wind Energy Association has also disputed the claims of the Senators, saying that 53%-63% of the value of equipment bought with stimulus funds has come from within the United States, and that 50,000 jobs would be lost if grants were suspended. Four Democratic Senators aim to halt stimulus wind project – Washington Post
President Barack Obama met with several members of his administration and a bipartisan group of 14 Senators to discuss concerns about a potential energy bill that would include caps on carbon emissions. The President offered concessions on nuclear power and drilling for oil and gas while emphasizing the importance of capping carbon emissions. The Senators attending the meeting represented diverse viewpoints. Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, for example, made it clear that any proposal must include safeguards for coal and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio remarked on the importance of job creation. Senator LeMieux of Florida dismissed the possibility of supporting a cap on carbon, focusing instead on promoting nuclear power, and Senator Lugar of Indiana, who also said he was unlikely to support putting a price on carbon emissions, announced he has begun drafting legislation to promote nuclear power and clean coal technology, as well as stricter auto fuel efficiency standards. Obama, key Senators make their pitch for climate and energy bill – New York Times
In the States
AZ – Governor Jan Brewer has announced that Arizona will no longer fully participate in the Western Climate Initiative, citing potential higher costs for consumers. The Governor signed an executive order effectively withdrawing the State from the planned cap-and-trade system and ordering the Department of Environmental Quality to review a plan to place more regulations on vehicle emissions. Although these two programs will not be implemented, the State is not fully withdrawing from the Initiative, and will continue to work with other States to promote solar energy, limit pollution by setting smart growth policies, and taking steps to adapt to climate change. The State is also continuing a program to make its entire state vehicle fleet hybrid, low-emission, or alternative fuel by 2012. Arizona quits Western climate endeavor – Arizona Republic
MA – Governor Deval Patrick’s recently announced new plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions. When combined with measures he and others have already put into place, these proposals would result in an 18.6% decrease in emissions from 1990 levels by 2020, according to a new draft report by the Eastern Research Group. The Global Warming Solutions Act, signed by the Governor in 2008, requires Massachusetts to lower greenhouse gas emissions 10% to 25% by 2020. The Governor cited the move toward reducing emissions as good for the environment and the economy, saying “[o]ur investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy are creating jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions dramatically.” Mass. to meet gas reduction target – Boston Globe and Draft Report to Climate Protection and Green Economy Advisory Committee [pdf] – Eastern Research Group
WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal is proposing stricter regulations on the wind power industry, including an excise tax of $3 per megawatt hour, and more restrictions on land use and zoning that would make building wind turbines and producing wind energy more expensive. The Governor said that the wind energy industry “remains a profit-oriented business that should be treated the same as other energy producers." Gov.: Tax wind power – Star-Tribune
State of the States – Most Governors have given a State of the State address, and many of them have included energy issues in their speeches. Some of these are highlighted below. The full text and summaries of all of the State of the State addresses can be found on the Stateline.org website.
CT – Governor M. Jodi Rell proposed eliminating the sales tax on “machines, equipment, tools, materials, supplies, and fuels used in renewable energy and green technology” in her annual State of the State address. She also proposed a loan forgiveness program for students who get certain degrees related to renewable energy or health and choose to stay and work in the State.
MI – Governor Jennifer Granholm said the Federal economic stimulus has helped the State make investments in clean energy and “take us from the rust belt to the green belt” in her State of the State address. The Governor also said that several billion private sector dollars have been invested in building electric cars, batteries, wind turbines, and solar cells resulting in the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs.
NV – In his State of the State address, Governor Gibbons said that his office is working to promote solar, wind, and geothermal energy as well as research and development for new green technologies. The Governor noted economic and environmental benefits, saying these industries would create long-term high-paying jobs.
President Barack Obama met with a bipartisan group of 11 Governors recently to discuss the future of energy. While the President underscored the need to produce more biofuels, especially ethanol, and cleaner coal, Governor Gregoire of Washington expressed interest in nuclear power, Governor Rounds of South Dakota asked for help in developing biofuels resources in the Midwest, and Governor Beshear of Kentucky praised Obama’s interest in clean coal and expressed concern over cap-and-trade proposals. Also in attendance were Governors Riley of Alabama, Baldacci of Maine, Schweitzer of Montana, Strickland of Ohio, Bredesen of Tennessee, Douglas of Vermont, Manchin of West Virginia, and Freudenthal of Wyoming. Governors talk energy with Obama – Stateline.org and Wash. Gov. says nuclear energy must be considered – Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Rounds says he pushed for SD in energy meeting – KTIV.com and Kentucky Gov. Beshear praises Obama clean-coal initiative – Courier-Journal
More than 200 companies, including some major energy companies, have combined efforts to promote the passage of a Senate climate change bill this year. Leaders from the companies and business groups have cited the need to compete with China, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and reduce carbon emissions as all worthy goals that can be achieved through climate change legislation. In the Senate, Senators Kerry, Lieberman, and Graham are working together to craft legislation that will attract Republicans and Democrats. President Obama has also shown a willingness to compromise to pass a bill this year: he proposed allowing more nuclear power in his State of the Union address, requested more Federal loans to build nuclear power plants in his FY2011 budget, and asked Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to address the issue of nuclear fuel and waste. Coming together on climate bill – Politico
In the States
State of the States – More than half of all Governors have given their State of the State addresses, and a many of them have included energy issues in their speeches. Some of these are highlighted below. The full text and summaries of all of the State of the State addresses can be found on the Stateline.org website.
AK – Governor Sean Parnell gave his first State of the State speech, in which he advocated drilling for more oil and natural gas, saying that drilling would contribute to a “more secure, domestic energy future.” The Governor specifically promoted drilling in the outer continental shelf and in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.
HI – Governor Linda Lingle focused on energy in her State of the State speech, calling the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative “one of our most successful collaborations.” The Governor cited clean energy as important for the environment, the economy, and security, while introducing new tax incentives, bonds, and a ban on power plants that burn fossil fuels as ideas to achieve the State’s clean energy goals.
IN – In his State of the State address, Governor Mitch Daniels cited the fact that Indiana has been “the fastest growing State in wind power” over the past two years as proof of the State’s strength, and said that “within weeks, you’ll see us explode onto the solar power landscape.” He also said that the State’s goal is to become the capital of the electric vehicle industry, a “potentially massive industry of tomorrow.”
ME – A large portion of Governor John Baldacci’s State of the State Address focused on the future of energy in Maine. In terms of energy production, the Governor focused on the potential for offshore wind power generation, biofuels, and tidal energy. Governor Baldacci also focused on energy efficiency and conservation efforts such as rebates to homeowners for weatherization and grants to businesses for energy reductions.
MS – Governor Haley Barbour touted forthcoming projects in his State of the State address, including coal-to-liquids and coal-to-gas power plants, carbon capture technologies, and creating fuel from waste products such as pet coke and wood waste. Governor Barbour also promoted the expansion of nuclear, biofuel, and natural gas industries, saying that “as long as I am Governor, Mississippi will have an energy policy; and it’s more affordable, American energy.”
OH – Governor Ted Strickland opened his State of the State address with an overview of recent energy programs and investments in Ohio before announcing his new energy proposals. Specifically, the Governor advocated a new “Energy Gateway Fund” that would invest $40 million in State and federal money into solar, wind, fuel cells, energy storage, and other alternative energy projects, and restructuring tax incentives to promote more wind and solar energy production.
UT – In his State of the State address, Governor Gary Herbert unveiled the Utah Energy Initiative, which will develop a ten-year plan to ensure the use of modern technology combined with local inexpensive fuels to create jobs and economic opportunity. The Governor also touted the State’s abundance of energy resources, including wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric, as well as a number of specific alternative energy projects.
WI – Governor Jim Doyle used his State of the State speech to propose new alternative energy initiatives that would increase energy production within the State. Currently, Wisconsin spends $16 billion per year on energy coming from outside its borders. The Governor supported the Clean Energy Jobs Act that would expand the State’s requirement for alternative energy use to 25% by 2025 and reduce total energy consumption by 2% by 2015. Governor Doyle also announced a new “Wisconsin Gold to Green Fund,” a $100 million revolving loan to allow manufacturers to reduce energy costs.
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama expressed his continued support for climate change legislation and prodded the Senate to pass its version of the bill after passing jobs and financial regulation legislation. The President called upon opponents of climate change legislation to engage in negotiation by offering concessions on oil and gas drilling and some other issues, and received a standing ovation from both parties when he endorsed building more nuclear power plants. The call to action generated mixed reactions from Representatives and Senators. Climate change bill advocates Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer expressed optimism that a bill would be passed, while some other Democrats were skeptical of the bill’s chances or the President’s commitment to the issue, and some Republicans dismissed the bill’s chances altogether. Obama holds firm on climate bill, but most Senators shrug – New York Times
In giving the Republican response to the State of the Union, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell criticized the Obama administration for delaying offshore production, hindering nuclear energy, and for proposing what he described as “job-killing cap-and-trade energy taxes.” The Governor also said that Virginia may be the first State to explore for and produce oil and gas off the shore of the East Coast. McDonnell’s response for GOP focuses on jobs – Richmond Times-Dispatch
In the States
AZ – Governor Jan Brewer discussed her ideas on the future of energy in Arizona at a business conference in Phoenix, calling for more wind, solar, and nuclear energy production. The Governor said she is a “strong advocate for the development of more nuclear energy in Arizona,” calling the energy source “the cornerstone of our clean energy future.” She also said she is “committed to making Arizona the solar capital of the world,” proposed adding incentives and easing regulations, and signed two executive orders to help promote solar energy. Brewer pushes for nuclear as key part of energy goals – Arizona Republic
MD – As the session begins in the State general assembly, Governor Martin O’Malley is preparing to push for a low-cost plan to increase solar energy, offshore wind development, and electric cars. The Governor is proposing smaller changes to comply with the legislature’s existing goal of generating 20% of Maryland’s energy from renewable sources by 2022, and a need to cut $2 billion from the State budget. Examples include streamlining the process to allow transmission lines from offshore wind farms and a tax break on new electric vehicles. O’Malley to press for legislation on renewable energy – Baltimore Sun
NM – Governor Bill Richardson has signed an executive order instructing several state agencies to coordinate efforts to promote the growth of green jobs and renewable energy. The agencies are tasked with improving the electrical grid, commercializing new clean energy technologies, attracting renewable energy companies to the state, streamlining the permit process for alternative energy projects, and promoting commercial-scale geothermal energy. Richardson orders new steps to build green economy – New Mexico Business Weekly
WV – In his State of the State address, Governor Joe Manchin praised the energy sector and defended the coal industry. The Governor stressed balancing the economy and the environment, heralding both increased wind energy development and new technologies that will allow more drilling for oil and natural gas. His speech also focused on supporting the coal industry by noting the fuel’s ubiquity and low cost, praising an upcoming project to control greenhouse gas emissions at a power plant, and criticizing efforts to “villainize this resource that helped us win two world wars and built the greatest country in the world.” West Virginians urged to ‘stand up for our coal miners’ – Charleston Gazette
President Barack Obama has announced $2.3 billion in tax credits that is expected to leverage an additional $5 billion in private investment, help complete 183 clean energy projects, and create more than 17,000 new jobs. The credits will be provided for a wide variety of projects, including solar, wind, and geothermal energy production, fuel cells, electric cars, carbon capture and sequestration technology, and energy efficiency products. White House awards $2.3 billion in tax credits for clean energy developers – New York Times
In the States
AK – Governor Sean Parnell is attempting to boost the state’s economy through increased traditional energy production. He has met with Interior Secretary Salazar and other officials about drilling for fossil fuels offshore, which the Governor says could create 35,000 jobs. He is also working on a $30 billion natural gas pipeline that would send fuel to the lower 48 states and create thousands of more jobs. Palin successor focuses on energy agenda – Wall Street Journal
CA – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed two solar renewable bills into law. One new law will require utilities to pay consumers for any excess electricity produced by a home alternative energy installation such as a solar panel. Utilities must begin paying such consumers a rate to be determined by the Public Utilities Commission in early 2011. The other law requires utilities to pay higher rates for electricity generated from small alternative energy producers, also known as a feed-in tariff. Both of these measures are expected to help the state achieve its goal of obtaining 33% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. California passes feed-in tariff for solar energy – Cooler Planet and California expands its rules for feed-in tariffs and net metering – EERE News
CO – As the debate over national energy legislation continues, the role of nuclear energy has emerged as a major concern. Electricity produced with nuclear energy is virtually carbon-free which makes it attractive as an alternative to the more expensive renewable options such as solar or wind. Governor Bill Ritter and other state officials have said that they support nuclear power and increased mining for uranium, of which Colorado is a major producer, as long as it is done in a manner that is safe for both mine workers and the environment. Colorado in crosshairs of nuke boom if climate bill sparks uranium revival – Colorado Independent
WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal talked with lawmakers from other western States this week to discuss energy issues particular to the region. In response to a suggestion from some representatives that there be more cooperation between States regarding permitting and siting of interstate power lines, the Governor pointed out that such cooperation runs counter to the foundation of interstate relations, namely competition for economic development and human and natural resources. He also expressed frustration that Wyoming creates power for other States from coal and natural gas while at the same time some of these States are touting new restrictions on carbon emissions. Wyo. governor talks energy with Western lawmakers – Idaho Statesman
Regional and National News
President Barack Obama has announced the largest-ever investment in the American energy grid, $3.4 billion in grants to 100 electric companies, which will be used to upgrade the grid to be more dependable and efficient. Specifically the funds will, when combined with $4.7 billion in private investment, purchase 2.5 million smart meters, one million in-home energy displays, hundreds of thousands of smart devices for homes, 200,000 smart transformers, as well as hundreds of grid sensors and substations. Combined, these improvements to the grid will allow rate-payers to save energy and money, operators to better monitor and administer electricity, and utilities to respond to outages more quickly, while creating tens of thousands of jobs needed for manufacturing and installing the new products. US electrical grid gets $3.4 billion jolt of stimulus funding – Washington Post and President Obama announces $3.4 billion to spur smart electric grids – EERE News
The Senate Environment and Public Works committee conducted hearings this week on the cap-and-trade bill sponsored by Senators Kerry and Boxer (S.1733) that would lower emissions from power plants and other polluters more than 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer has pledged to hold a markup on the bill next Tuesday while Republican committee members, who have said the process is moving too hastily, have pledged to boycott such a meeting, effectively preventing it from beginning. Republican committee members have said they would like more information from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Congressional Budget Office before holding a markup. According to one already completed EPA analysis, the Senate cap-and-trade bill is “quite similar” to the House version, varying only slightly in the amount of allowed pollution and costs. Senate climate markup set for Tuesday but will any Republicans show? – New York Times and Economic impacts of S.1733: The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act of 2009 – Environmental Protection Agency
In the States
DE – Governor Jack Markell has signed two bills into law that he says will spur new green collar jobs. The new laws will require more energy efficient homes and office buildings, encourage zero net energy buildings, and require utilities in the state to reduce energy consumption by 15% in just five years, by 2015. Governor Markell signed legislation earlier this year promoting home solar and wind energy. Markell signs landmark energy legislation – Delaware Business Ledger
OR – Governor Ted Kulongoski has signed several climate change bills that will lower greenhouse gas emissions in the state. The new laws require that new power plants be at least as clean as natural gas, new buildings are more energy efficient, and emissions are reported by more polluters. They also authorize a low carbon fuel standard, and grants for energy efficiency projects. Governor signs climate change legislation – Portland Business Journal
The nation’s Governors agreed to support a goal of requiring new and renovated buildings to be carbon-neutral by 2030 at the National Governors Association Annual Meeting. The goal is promoted by the American Institute of Architects and endorsed by the US Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties. Governors call for carbon-neutral buildings by 2030 – New York Times
Regional and National News
The Cash for Clunkers program, which provides car-buyers with $3,500 to $4,500 in incentives to trade in gas-guzzlers for cars with much better gas mileage, is running out of its $950 million in stimulus funds. The House and Senate have passed a $2 billion extension of the program to keep it going. $2B in clunkers cash on way, senators say – Detroit Free Press and “Cash for Clunkers” gets a $2 billion boost – New York Times
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the chairs of five committees have agreed to get a cap-and-trade bill out of committee by September 28. Senators have cited several impediments to quick passage of the bill, though, including the complexity of the pending health reform legislation, negative impacts on coal- and manufacturing-heavy states, and spending any additional money after the stimulus and health reform. Some Senators have stated that it is unlikely that the bill will be passed this year, and will only be harder to push next year as difficult votes are harder to make in election years. Climate bill may fall by the wayside – Politico
President Obama and other administration officials traveled throughout the country on August 5 to announce the recipients of $2.4 billion in stimulus grants for the development of battery powered vehicles. The President visited Indiana and Vice President Biden was in Michigan – those two states received the majority of the funds – while other cabinet members traveled to North Carolina, Florida, and Pennsylvania to announce grants in those states. The grants will fund 50 projects in 25 states. Obama back in Indiana with message and aid – New York Times and Electric cars get plug from Obama – Charlotte News and Observer
At a two-day meeting between the Obama administration and Chinese officials, the US and China entered into an agreement that states each country’s desire to deal with the climate issue, though no real specifics emerged. The memorandum of understanding cited climate change as a challenge to be combated by transitioning to a low-carbon economy through “domestic action and international cooperation.” At the meeting, both countries said their relationship on the subject would be positive and mutually beneficial. US, China end talks with smiles but no progress on climate change – Los Angeles Times and US-China memorandum of understanding to enhance cooperation on climate change, energy and the environment – US Department of State