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Energy Update, Oct. 5

October 5, 2012

In the States

AK – Governor Sean Parnell took his second state-sponsored trip to Asia to promote Alaskan natural gas and to advance a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project that would allow for exports to the Pacific Rim. Convinced that a market exists in Asia, namely in Japan and South Korea, Governor Parnell has asked Alaskan officials, producers, and industry experts to remain committed to the future development of a major gas pipeline. Touting a decades-old trading partnership with Asia, Governor Parnell stated he will continue to meet with higher-level Japanese and South Korean officials and businessmen to champion Alaska as a source of supply. “My goal is simply to work to grow demand for Alaskan gas in Japan by opening their eyes to the opportunity that can come with LNG from Alaska,” said the Governor. Parnell travels to Asia to promote Alaska natural gasThe Anchorage Daily News

 CA – Hoping to increase the State’s renewable energy usage while cutting costs, Governor Jerry Brown recently signed several energy-related bills, including the Energy Security Coordination Act of 2012. The law requires California to coordinate the implementation of state energy security strategies and environmental policies with the U.S. Department of Defense. The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research will directly work with several state energy agencies to ensure military involvement and collaboration in the development of renewable energy technologies. “The health of the environment, job creation and indeed, the security of the nation, depends on how we end America’s dangerous addiction to foreign oil,” said Governor Brown. Jerry Brown OKs bills to expand renewable energy in CaliforniaThe Los Angeles Times and Calif. Governor signs the Energy Security Coordination Act of 2012California Newswire

Regional News

The Southern States Energy Board has selected Governor Phil Bryant as its chairman. Governor Bryant, who will serve in this position for one year, will take over the chair’s responsibilities for Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, whose one-year term recently expired. A bipartisan, interstate nonprofit organization comprised of 16 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, the Southern States Energy Board seeks to promote economic development in the South through innovations in energy and environmental policy and programs. “For our nation to become more energy independent,” said Governor Bryant in a press release, “we must recognize the importance of a forward-thinking approach to energy, and continue to develop a comprehensive energy policy that works.” Governor Bryant’s selection as chairman was announced days before his Governor’s Energy Summit, which brought together industry experts to discuss Mississippi’s energy future. Gov. Bryant appointed to chair bipartisan energy boardThe Clarion-Ledger

 Twenty-two states have now joined the coalition led by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to spur the production and the purchase of vehicles that run on compressed natural gas (CNG). Earlier in July, the Governors met with American auto manufacturers in Detroit, Michigan to announce the coalition’s intent to purchase thousands of CNG vehicles. The preliminary results of the multistate request for proposals were released yesterday, with dealerships representing Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, and Honda submitting more than 100 bids. Governor Hickenlooper announced he expects the partnership to purchase as many as 5,000 to 10,000 vehicles annually. According to the coalition, whereas approximately 10 million CNG vehicles run worldwide, no more than 200,000 operate in the United States. Colorado Gov: States willing to buy up to 10,000 natural gas vehicles annuallyThe Detroit News and Okla., Colo. Govs. Report on 22-state CNG PlanThe Denver Post

 National News

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved Alliance Pipeline’s plan to build a 79.3 mile pipeline to carry natural gas from North Dakota to the Chicago, Illinois market. The new lateral pipeline, which will connect to a larger main line, is projected to deliver up to 10 million cubic feet of natural gas per day when completed. According to the North Dakota Department of Commerce, the State’s natural gas production represents 1% of total natural gas production in the nation. "We are very pleased to obtain regulatory approval for this pipeline, which will help address North Dakota's need for natural gas transportation infrastructure," said Mike McGonagill, Chief Operating Officer for Alliance. North Dakota gas pipeline approvedUnited Press International

 Citing national security concerns, President Barack Obama ordered a Chinese company to remove all property, installations, and any interests in an Oregon wind farm project. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an interagency committee headed by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, recommended the President prohibit the acquisition of the wind farm by Ralls Corporation, a company owned by two Chinese executives affiliated with a large Chinese machinery manufacturer. The wind farm site is located near a restricted naval training facility where drones and other weaponry is tested. Stating it was not a political issue, President Obama, who is being sued by the company, said he was not “interested in triggering an all-out trade war that would damage both economies.” Chinese-owned company sues Obama over wind farm project Bloomberg

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Energy Update, June 18, 2010

June 18, 2010

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 2025KTVA 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 billUSA Today and Gov. Strickland signs wind energy bill into lawTimes 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 winsNew 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 limboPolitico and President Obama’s Oval Office address on BP oil spill & energyThe 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

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