Contact Us

444 N. Capitol St. NW
Washington, DC 20001


Phone: 202-624-1478
Fax: 202-624-1475

Blog posts : "fuel economy"

Energy Update, October 8, 2010

October 8, 2010

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 researchArizona 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 OhioCleveland 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 independenceGov 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 restrictionsNew 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 energyAmerican City & County

National News

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 landNew 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, betterNew York Times

Go Back

Energy Update, April 9, 2010

April 9, 2010

In the States

NM – Governor Bill Richardson heralded the arrival of a solar energy company this week, calling it “a great investment for New Mexico.”  Green2V will manage the entire solar energy producing process from making solar cells to financing, and plans to hire 1,500 to 3,000 people in the next several years.  The company joins at least two more large-scale solar power companies that have begun operations in New Mexico recently.  Solar business to build headquarters in NMBusinessWeek

OH – Governor Ted Strickland says that he would like Ohio to be the first State to produce offshore wind energy.  Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. is currently organizing a $100 million project to build several wind turbines three to five miles off the coast of Ohio.  The Governor is advocating for the elimination of the tangible personal property tax on equipment used to create solar or wind power.  Wind turbines planned for Erie Akron Beacon Journal

VA – Governor Bob McDonnell says he would like to make Virginia a national energy power and is pushing for more wind and fossil fuel energy production in Virginia, especially offshore, while also withdrawing from the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition.  The Governor signed several pieces of legislation last week that will promote production of wind energy offshore, create tax credits for green jobs, and create a state-university based alternative fuels research and development foundation, along with some other initiatives.  Governor McDonnell also praised the Obama administration’s decision to allow drilling for natural gas and oil off Virginia’s coast and is seeking 37.5% in royalties from oil sales to finance transportation projects.  The Governor also recently withdrew from the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition after the group sent a letter to Congressional leaders calling for a mandatory renewable energy standard without first getting his approval for this position or the use of his name.  Virginia Gov. McDonnell signs green energy bills – BusinessWeek and McDonnell hails ‘breakthrough’ on offshore drillingRichmond Times-Dispatch and McDonnell withdraws from energy coalitionWashington Post

WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal will host the first of several town-hall style meetings on the topic of wind energy in Wyoming starting later this month.  The Governor said the event will be a “straightforward conversation on what we can all agree are difficult, sometimes polarizing issues, wind development opportunities and transmission line siting.” The meeting is scheduled for April 27.  Governor to host session on wind projects and power transmissionCowboy State Free Press

National News

States could benefit from efforts to expand offshore drilling as part of negotiations over federal climate change legislation.  President Obama’s recent decision to consider off shore drilling leases along the Atlantic Coast has led to more discussion by members of Congress of the pros and cons of giving states a greater role in determining where offshore drilling can occur and whether more states should receive a share of revenues for drilling in federal waters.  Currently, only Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas are eligible for revenue-sharing.  Energy incentives for states are in the works  -- Houston Chronicle

The US Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency have finalized new rules that will phase in greater fuel efficiency and set limits on greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light trucks staring in 2012.  By 2016, all vehicles must get an average of 35.5 miles per gallon.  The change is estimated to increase the cost of a car by just under $1,000 but save drivers about $4,000 in gas costs over the life of the vehicle.  The National Resources Defense Council estimates that the new rules will save consumers $65 billion, reduce oil consumption by 1.3 million barrels per day, and eliminate 220 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 alone.  The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is also in favor of the new rules, calling them “a clear roadmap for future fuel economy increases.”  Emissions limits, greater fuel economy for cars, light trucks made officialWashington Post

The Obama administration is instituting new rules on mountaintop mining for coal that will slow if not completely stop the practice.  The process, in which miners blast the top off a mountain and send the rubble and waste into valleys, has been shown to introduce toxins into streams.  The National Mining Association said the new rules are “tantamount to saying the intent is to strictly limit coal mining in Appalachia while the West Virginia Coal Association said they “represent a grim, crippling picture” for the economy.  While the rules will make the process more difficult, they do not ban it outright; coal companies have options available that will require storing the rubble away from streams and other measures to avoid poisoning the water.  Environmental regulations to curtail mountaintop miningWashington Post

Go Back

Energy Update, December 11, 2009

December 11, 2009

In the States

MA – The first phase of Governor Deval Patrick’s plan to install 250 megawatts of solar-generating capacity by 2017 was so successful that it ran out of money more than a year ahead of schedule and allowed for the installation of more solar panels than originally anticipated.  The $68 million program called Commonwealth Solar provided homeowners and businesses with nearly half the funds to purchase and install solar systems.  The program exhausted its funds in just less than two years and allowed for the purchase of solar panels that can generate 29 megawatts of electricity.  $68m in solar rebates goes fastBoston Globe

MD – A law passed last year at the urging of Governor Martin O’Malley requires the State of Maryland requires utilities to obtain 20% of their electric power from renewable sources.   The sale of two alternative energy projects to utility companies should help them achieve this goal.  Constellation Energy will take over a $140 million, 28-turbine wind farm project that already has received state approval, while CPV Renewable Energy Company will install a solar energy facility next to a natural gas power plant.  Garrett, Charles to get wind, solar power plants Baltimore Sun

MT – Governor Brian Schweitzer’s goal of increasing the State motor fleet’s gas mileage to 30 miles per gallon has already been achieved, more than a year ahead of schedule.  The fleet’s mileage stands at 31.6 miles per gallon and will be increased to at least 34.2 miles per gallon in the coming year due to increases in hybrid vehicles.  Montana’s large size and rural nature requires state officials to travel long distances, so raising mileage requirements has a substantial budgetary impact.  State on track to surpass fuel goalBillings Gazette

OR – Governor Ted Kulongoski says that the subsidies offered to the wind and solar energy industries should be phased out after vetoing a similar measure earlier this year.  The Governor changed his mind after commissioning and receiving a report by two department directors who determined the most generous subsidies of up to $10 million for wind and $20 million for solar projects are no longer required in order to keep alternative energy companies investing in the State.  The State legislature is expected to explore phasing out the subsidies when it begins a special session in February.  Kulongoski changes course, supports phase-out of wind energy tax creditThe Oregonian

Regional and National News

Climate change legislation – Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman have released an outline of the “tripartisan” legislation that the three of them have been working on for the past month.  The outline says that the plan should reduce pollution to “in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels” in the “near term” and “approximately 80 percent below 2005 levels” would be “a long term target.”  The outline suggests the way to do this is to drill and refine more domestic oil and natural gas, establish a national regulatory system for reducing carbon emissions, encourage nuclear and clean coal development, and create incentives for green jobs for blue-collar workers, and maintaining carbon offsets for farmers.  Senators release ‘basic framework’ of climate billCQ Politics and Letter to President Obama and Framework for Climate Action and Energy Independence in the US SenateSenators John Kerry, Joseph Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham

The Senate Energy Subcommittee held a hearing this week on nine energy- and climate-related bills that could create more funding for the Department of Energy’s efforts to develop more advanced alternative energy.  Five of these bills have already passed the House and would authorize $3 billion in funds for vehicle technologies (HR 3246), $2 billion for solar energy research and development (HR 3585), $200 million for a wind energy research program (HR 3165), $20 million for research parks at which scientists can perform energy-related research (HR 2729), and grants for training designers to incorporate energy efficiency into buildings (HR 957).  The four remaining Senate bills would provide loans for manufacturers to increase energy efficiency or produce clean energy technology (S 1617), authorize $500 million for wind energy research and development (S 2773), expand current ethanol research and development programs (S 737), and provide a monetary prize for researchers that develop a way of taking carbon dioxide out of the air (S 2744).  Research panel to take up carbon capture, biofuels, research billsNew York Times

Governors Donald Carcieri (R-RI) and Jack Markell (D-DE) recently told attendees at a wind energy conference that they support offshore wind projects in their states.  Governor Carcieri said land-based and offshore wind power should be expanded and   the federal government should strengthen its renewable energy policy.  He also said  his state is moving as fast as it can to get an offshore wind project off the ground, and that “a failure to invest in renewable resources ... in today’s economic climate would verge on irresponsibility.”  Governor Markell spoke about efforts in Rhode Island to promote alternative energy, praised the Obama administration for its promotion of wind energy, and said a “steady stream of projects year after year” is needed to ensure the viability of the industry.  Seize the breeze: Carcieri urges speed in development of offshore wind projectsProvidence Journal

Go Back

Energy Update, September 18, 2009

September 18, 2009

In the States

CA – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed an executive order that will require 33% of electricity consumed in the state to come from renewable sources by 2020.  He prefers this approach to a bill recently passed by the state legislature that would require the same reduction, but also mandate that much of the renewable energy be produced in the state.  The Governor indicated he plans to veto this bill and said, “I am totally against protectionist policies.”  California will now have one of the country’s strictest renewable energy requirements. The state has an existing goal of obtaining 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2010, but that goal may be difficult to meet within the prescribed timeline.  Schwarzenegger orders renewables goalNew York Times

HI – Geothermal, wind, and other renewable sources are already producing nine percent of Hawaii’s electricity, which Governor Linda Lingle intends to greatly increase under the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative she unveiled last year.  The plan states that by 2030, renewable sources should produce 40% of the energy in the state, which has heretofore relied on imported oil for most of its electricity needs.  Several issues must still be resolved before that goal can be met.  Backup and storage systems must be devised and constructed, an underwater cable will be needed to connect the state’s six separate power grids, agreements must be developed between the power demands of urban areas and the rights of native populations, and environmental concerns for land use and plants and animals must be addressed.  Hawaii tries green tools in remaking power gridsNew York Times

KS – In a speech to the Kansas Wind Working Group, Governor Mark Parkinson noted the decline in construction of wind turbines in 2009 and called on the federal government to create a renewable energy standard to drive the market for wind power.  Statehouse Live: federal renewable standards, transmission needed for more wind development, officials sayLawrence Journal-World

MI – A Ford assembly plant in Wixom is being redeveloped into a renewable energy industrial park that will produce solar panels and storage batteries.  Governor Jennifer Granholm is strongly in favor of the $725 million project saying that it is “symbolic of the Michigan that we are to become.”  The new park will employ 4,000 highly trained workers and use local resources and existing infrastructure when it begins operations in about two years. Ford and Granholm cheer Wixom plant redevelopment planDetroit Free Press  

Regional and National News

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department have released details on a plan for eventually raising fuel economy standards for passenger cars, light duty trucks, and medium duty passenger vehicles.  Carmakers will need to increase fuel economy in these models to an average of 35.5 miles per gallon – four years sooner than Congress mandated in a 2007 law – and limit carbon dioxide emissions to 250 grams per mile under the new regulations.  White House rolls out details of auto fuel economy, emissions standardNew York Times

The US Department of Energy has recently announced nearly $430 million in energy-related stimulus spending for weatherization, water power technology development, and energy efficiency and conservation projects.  Most of the funds will be delivered to states, but the water power projects funds will go to companies to study potential and cost of hydrokinetic power and improved traditional hydropower.  DOE and Treasury have announced that $502 million in stimulus funds have been released in lieu of tax credits for alternative energy projects and USDA released another $13 million for rural clean energy projects.  DOE also unveiled a new program called “Retrofit Ramp-Up” that will provide $454 million in stimulus funds to improve energy efficiency in residential, commercial, and public buildings.  DOE delivers $60 million in recovery act funds for weatherizationEERE News and DOE awards 14.6 million to develop water power technologiesEERE News and DOE delivers more than $354 million for energy efficiency and conservation projects in 22 statesEERE News and DOE and US Treasury award $502 million for renewable energy projectsEERE News and DOE to offer $454 million for “Retrofit Ramp-ups” in energy efficiencyEERE News and USDA awards $13million for rural clean energy projects – EERE News

The US House of Representatives has passed a bill that would establish a $9 million two-phase three-year program for research and development of heavy-duty hybrid and plug-in hybrid trucks.  The House Science Committee’s Ranking Republican member, Ralph Hall (TX), noted that while trucks use more fuel than passenger vehicles few federal dollars have been expended to research the potential of hybrid technology in heavy duty trucks.  Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate.  House passes bill to encourage hybrid trucksCQ Politics

Go Back

4 blog posts