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Blog posts : "kentucky"

Energy Update, August 24, 2012

August 28, 2012

In the States

IA – Governor Terry Branstad, joined by Alliant Energy’s chief executive officer and several state energy officials, announced the launch of a $345 million project upgrade for the Ottumwa Generating Station. The new emissions-reduction system at the south central Iowa plant is projected to reduce sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions by 90 percent thanks to a series of high-tech filters that curtail pollution. Governor Branstad, who predicts an increase in the use of such technology, called the project “a long-term investment in Iowa’s economy and environment.” Officials Tout $345 Million System at Ottumwa Generating StationThe Ottumwa Courier

KY – Governor Steve Beshear announced the opening of a $20.7 million facility committed to the research and development of renewable energy and energy storage technologies. The Kentucky-Argonne Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center is an advanced manufacturing facility that will help researchers study and create new energy technologies, including biofuels and electrochemical devices such as batteries and capacitors. “This amazing facility, which includes one of the first federal battery manufacturing laboratories in the United States,” said Governor Beshear, “is more proof that Kentucky is now a leader in developing the energy and automotive technologies of the future." Gov. Beshear Announces Opening of $20.7 Million FacilityToday’s Energy Solutions and University of Kentucky Opens $20.7 Million Research LabThe Lexington Herald Leader

 Federal News

 The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 to strike down an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule to control air pollution at power plants. The regulation, known as the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, targeted coal-fired plants and was projected to cost the utility industry $2.4 billion in pollution-control upgrades over several years. The EPA’s rule sought to require cleanup according to the cost of the reductions in pollution rather than “apportion the reductions according to the amount of pollution that each upwind state was contributing.” Ruling that the EPA had overstepped its authority, the Court’s majority stated the EPA had used a section of the Clean Air Act “to impose massive emission’s reduction requirements on upwind States without regard to the limits imposed by the statutory text.” Experts say a new rule may take years to draft. Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Obama Air Pollution RuleThe Washington Post and Court Blocks E.P.A. Rule on Cross State PollutionThe New York Times

 The Department of Energy released a new report noting the strong growth in the U.S. wind energy market in 2011. The wind energy market, according to the report, accounted for 32 percent of all new electric capacity additions last year, roughly $14 billion in new investment. The report also found the nation’s wind power capacity has reached 47,000 megawatts, or enough to provide power to approximately 13 million homes annually. "This report shows that America can lead the world in the global race to manufacture and deploy clean energy technologies," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. U.S. Wind Power Capacity IncreasingUnited Press International

 The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted 2-1 to require American oil and mining companies to disclose taxes and other fees that they pay to foreign governments. The rule, which derives its authority from a section of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, will apply to approximately 1,100 companies and mandates the reporting of payments made in excess of $100,000 beginning in fiscal year 2014. Industry groups maintained the rule will allow foreign, state-owned companies to discover the proprietary business information and strategy of their American competitors, thereby potentially forcing a decrease of American business in countries where foreign companies do not have to make such disclosures or are prohibited from doing so. In support of the new requirements, Luis Aguilar, an SEC commissioner, quoted former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis by stating, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” U.S. Oil and Mining Companies Must Disclose Payments to Foreign GovernmentsThe New York Times

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Energy Update, March 11, 2011

March 11, 2011

In the States

OR – In a speech to an audience of 700 at a luncheon in Portland, Governor John Kitzhaber provided his vision for the future of Oregon, including some new energy policies and projects.  One of these is the “Cool Schools” project, which would utilize energy savings bonds to weatherize older schools and increase their energy efficiency and replace inefficient boilers with new biomass-burning models.  The bonds would be repaid with energy cost savings realized by the schools over time.  Governor Kitzhaber’s allies in the legislature are confident that the measure will receive bipartisan support.  Kitzhaber: Oregon needs sweeping changesPortland Business Journal and Oregon hashes out green schools planSustainable Industries

State of the State Addresses

Nearly all of this year’s State of the State addresses have now been delivered.  Most Governors did not propose new energy policies during their addresses and about half did not even mention energy at all.  In almost every case, any mention of energy came in the context of jobs or the economy.

Florida Governor Rick Scott and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn praised companies that produce energy or manufacture energy-producing parts that moved to or started operations in their States.  Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said that her State is “helping to power our nation with the extraction of oil and gas and by harnessing the wind,” while Texas Governor Rick Perry said that while energy is an important part of his State’s economy, its “strength is built on a much broader base” than just energy.  

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear praised the development of fossil fuels in their Commonwealths while Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley promoted offshore wind energy.  Governor Corbett spoke about the need to develop the Marcellus Shale – and keep that development free of new taxes – in order to create new jobs.  Governor Beshear said that coal has allowed Kentucky to grow a manufacturing sector and that he would “fight” the federal government to ensure the continued mining and use of coal.  Governor O’Malley asked his legislature to pass the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act, saying that it would create thousands of manufacturing and servicing jobs through offshore wind farms.  

Links to all of the Governors’ addresses can be found at the State of the State Speeches Calendar on Stateline.org

National News

The Obama Administration is considering opening a portion of the strategic oil reserves (SPR) in the event that oil supplies are disrupted as a result of an ongoing conflict in Libya.  Selling some of the reserves could lead to lower crude oil prices – and gasoline prices – in the short term, which have been rising quickly in recent weeks.  Three House Democrats have written to the President asking him to “consider utilizing the SPR now” in order to “counter supply disruptions and combat crippling price hikes in the short term.”  Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman agreed that it “would make sense for the President to begin selling oil from the SPR.”  The Administration has said that any decision it makes will not be due to simply to the price of oil – though that may be part of it – but also whether the flow of oil is significantly interrupted, an issue that may be offset by an increase in supply from Saudi Arabia in response to the shortage from Libya.  Democratic lawmakers urge Obama to tap oil reserveWashington Post

 

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Energy Update, October 22, 2010

October 22, 2010

In the States

CA – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is calling on voters to defeat Proposition 23, framing the initiative as a choice between big out-of-State oil companies and the environment.  The Proposition would delay the implementation of a 2006 law that will mandate emissions restrictions beginning in 2012.  The Governor asked that voters soundly defeat the measure in order to send a message that a new national energy policy is necessary.  Schwarzenegger urges voters to protect climate lawABC News

KY – Governor Steve Beshear is the second Governor to direct his State to sue the US Environmental Protection Agency over its regulations that limit mountaintop removal.  Governor Beshear called the regulations “arbitrary and unreasonable,” adding that they “threaten to end the responsible mining of coal and eliminate the jobs of an estimated 18,000 Kentucky miners.”  The suit was originally filed in US District Court by the Kentucky Coal Association, and was soon joined by the Governor’s Energy and Environment Cabinet.  EPA sued by Kentucky Governor Beshear, coal industryMiami Herald

MA – Governor Deval Patrick’s administration has successfully pushed to secure a lease for what could be the first offshore wind farm in the US, to be constructed off the coast of Cape Cod.  US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently signed a 28-year lease agreement with Cape Wind Associates for 130 wind turbines that will operate over  25 square miles of water in Nantucket Sound about 5 miles from the Cape Cod shoreline.  The project will generate up to 468 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 200,000 homes.  New Bedford will host a $35 million terminal onshore where the turbines will be built, and which will create about 200 jobs.  The Cape Wind project itself is expected to cost $2.5 billion and create a total of 600 – 1,000 new jobs during the construction and manufacturing phases, with an estimated completion date in late 2012.  The project has been a source of controversy due to concerns about visual and environmental impacts as well as its cost and potential impact on electricity rates.  Salazar signs cape wind lease, first for US watersBloomberg BusinessWeek and Cape Wind backers blew right by costBoston Globe and Mass. city chosen for offshore wind farm siteBloomberg BusinessWeek

RI – Governor Donald Carcieri says that Rhode Island still may be the first State to host an offshore wind farm, despite the recent approval of a lease agreement for Massachusetts’ Cape Wind project.  The Governor said that plans for an offshore wind power site off Block Island at Quonset Point are on schedule for fall 2011 (although no offshore lease with the U.S. Department of Interior has yet been signed).  The Governor also announced that a State ocean management plan has been completed, pushing the project forward.  Carcieri looks beyond Cape WindWJAR

VA – Governor Bob McDonnell convened an energy conference in Virginia with a speech about the future of energy in the State.  The Governor said that uncertainty about offshore drilling is hampering the State’s ability to produce more of its own energy, and called for federal environmental regulations to be loosened.  Governor McDonnell said that he hopes the State “will be an offshore energy leader” despite the regulations, and called for a strategy that relies on fossil fuels, nuclear energy, and renewable energy such as wind power, which he said was in abundance in Virginia, but that "what we've got to do is find a way to harness it in a commercially practicable way."  State’s energy future lies offshore, McDonnell saysVirginian-Pilot

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released its fourth annual Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which ranks States on their efforts to increase and sustain energy efficiency pursuits.  While the results are not markedly different from previous Scorecard reports, they do show that States have nearly doubled their total energy efficiency budgets from $2.5 billion to $4.3 billion since the initial Scorecard report was released in 2007.  The five States with the highest marks for energy efficiency are relatively the same as last year, including California, Massachusetts, Oregon, New York, and Vermont.  The most improved States include Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Alaska.  ACEEE 2010 State Energy Efficiency ScorecardACEEE and 2010 ACEEE Energy Efficiency Scorecard Cites State LeadersEERE News

National News

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has approved the first solar project on public land in Nevada, a decision which will result in a 50-megawatt photovoltaic array 40 miles south of Las Vegas mad possible in part through federal tax credits in ARRA.  The project is the first of a long list of such proposals to gain approval after passing through the Bureau of Land Management’s extensive environmental review process.  Power from the solar panels will be sold in Nevada and should power up to 15,000 homes.  A 350-megawatt expansion of the plant is already proposed, but will require additional review before permits are issued.  Interior Department approves first solar project on Nevada public landsEERE News

According to a new report from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, “US offshore winds have a gross potential generating capacity four times greater than the nation’s present electric capacity,” without taking “siting constraints and stakeholder inputs” into account.  The study also showed that the US could obtain as much as 20% of its electricity needs from offshore wind as soon as 2030, creating 43,000 jobs, and that offshore resources would generate more electricity than land-based resources since wind speeds increase with distance from land.  Upon the study’s release, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that "clean, renewable energy development that capitalizes on the nation's vast offshore wind and water resources holds great promise for our clean energy future and our economy."  Study: Offshore wind could generate all US electricityUSA Today and Large-scale offshore wind power in the United States: Assessments of opportunities and barriers [pdf]National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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Energy Update, July 10, 2009

July 10, 2009

In the States

CO – Governor Bill Ritter says that 150 green collar jobs will be created when construction begins on a new 6,000 acre wind farm.  The farm will produce three percent of the power utility Tri-State’s electric output, which is ahead of the company’s state government-mandated schedule to produce 10% of its power from renewable sources by 2020.  Tri-State announces sprawling wind farm near BurlingtonState Bill Colorado

KY – Governor Steve Beshear has announced a plan that would use federal stimulus funds to help grow the state’s burgeoning renewable energy and energy efficiency industry as well as deploy those technologies within the state.  The Governor has proposed using $52.5 million to create 600 jobs from energy efficiency activities and the development of clean technologies, including advanced transportation batteries.  His plan also includes establishing a loan fund for energy efficiency projects, exploring implementation of a smart grid, a program to help assess and improve home energy efficiency, new tools for increasing the energy efficiency of industrial and commercial facilities, and a program that will make schools more energy efficient while helping educate students about energy efficiency and conservation.  Governor Beshear also announced that Glendale, Kentucky has been chosen by NAATBatt, a consortium of 50 organizations and corporations, as the site for a $600 million facility to manufacture advanced lithium-ion batteries.  This advances Kentucky’s position as a hub for advanced energy technologies such as batteries and other alternative energy products.  A bevy of new business in the Bluegrass StateBusiness Facilities

NH – Fully 25% of the New Hampshire state government’s energy needs are now being met by wind power.  Governor John Lynch said the state, which has a goal of receiving 25% of all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025, is “leading by example” with a $4 million deal to deliver wind energy from around the country to its buildings.  New Hampshire has also established a green jobs initiative that will train workers and provide loans to businesses with RGGI pollution credit auctions and federal stimulus funds.  State signs wind power deal to boost alternative energy - New Hampshire Union Leader

Regional and National News

Up to 1,000 square miles in six Western states have been opened up for lease by the Interior Department for development of utility-scale solar energy.  The availability of the solar energy zones in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah should help spur new alternative energy investment and clears a bottleneck of applications that had previously overwhelmed the Department.  Six western states named solar-energy hotbedsChristian Science Monitor

The US Environmental Protection Agency has released a guide designed to help individual states save money on energy by implementing energy efficiency solutions.  The “Clean Energy Lead By Example Guide” was created by the EPA’s State Climate and Clean Energy Program and can help individual states identify potential strategies, resources, and tools for that state.  More information and the guide can be found here:  EPA’s clean energy guidebook targets statesEnvironmental Protection Online

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Energy Update, August 8, 2008

August 8, 2008
In The States

FL – Florida Power & Light’s Sunshine Energy Program, ostensibly designed for ratepayers to voluntarily fund alternative energy projects, has been shut down by the State’s Public Service Commission after an audit revealed that only 20% of contributions went towards its purported goal. Regulators and lawmakers expressed outrage at the program, claiming that its spending did not meet the wishes of its contributors. State shutters FPL ‘green’ programMiami Herald and Florida PSC terminates FPL’s Sunshine Energy ProgramRenewable Energy World

KY – Governor Beshear has ordered regulations to be written that would allow small, low-speed electric vehicles to be operated on public roads in Kentucky. The move is expected to help attract an electric car manufacturing company to build a plant in the state. Beshear authorizes electric cars on state roadsLouisville Courier-Journal

MA – Governor Patrick signed legislation which exempts cellulosic ethanol from the State’s gasoline excise tax and increases the amount of biodiesel required to be blended in with regular diesel at all of the diesel pumps and heating oil in Massachusetts. Massachusetts enacts advanced biofuels billRenewable Energy World

MD – Several measures are being taken in Maryland with the goal of creating a more sustainable transportation infrastructure. Specifically, Governor O’Malley announced the construction of four new E-85 pumps which will allow consumers to burn less fossil fuel, a mandate for the state’s vehicle fleet to use a blend of 5% biodiesel and more ethanol, a request for guidelines which will allow for more electric vehicles more quickly, and a public awareness campaign for public transit. State announces plans for more sustainable transportation fuel systemSouthern Maryland Online

ME – Maine’s State Solar Incentive Program, which provides $500,000 annually in rebates to rate-payers who install solar power and solar hot water systems on their homes, ran out of money on June 20. There will be no more money available for rebates for the next two years under the current plan. The owner of a solar energy company in Maine has suggested that a new solar rebate plan be added into a proposal to spend $3 billion over 10 years to insulate Maine’s homes. Mainers go solar, snap up systems that make heat as the sun shinesPortland Press Herald

TX – A proposal by NRG Energy Inc to build a coal-fired power plant in Texas is no longer being opposed by environmental groups after the company offered a compromise. In exchange for the groups not continuing their fight against the plant, NRG has agreed to either capture or offset half of its carbon emissions. The company will also support either a large-scale solar energy project or an energy efficiency program in the state. Green groups drop opposition to Texas coal plantReuters.com

WI - Governor Doyle expressed support for the Midwest Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, a plan involving nine States and two Canadian provinces which would impose a cap-and-trade system on greenhouse gases. The Governor cited inaction on the federal government’s part to stem climate change as motivation to move forward with the plan. The group could begin reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2012. Doyle advocates regional emissions planMilwaukee Journal Sentinel

Regional News

The Western Climate Initiative (WCI), which includes seven States and four Canadian provinces, has released a draft on how it plans to implement a regional cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions. The draft plan would begin monitoring emissions in 2010, capping industrial emissions in 2012, and would add other emissions in 2015. Unlike the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the Northeastern US that regulates only electric utilities, the WCI would regulate greenhouse gasses from several sources. Under the current plan, individual states would decide whether to hand out or auction off credits and polluters could write off up to 10% of their emissions by investing in offsets such as planting trees. Group proposes climate-saving strategySeattle Post-Intelligencer and U.S.-Canada carbon trading group eyes 2012 startReuters and Western states, provinces put together an emissions strategyOregonian

Despite the dramatic increase in talk of offshore oil drilling recently, there is little chance that such drilling would occur on the West Coast, even if Congress were to lift its ban on the process. The Governors of California, Oregon, and Washington have signed on to an action plan for the Pacific which opposes offshore drilling and promotes the health of the waters on the coast. 3 West Coast Governors oppose new offshore drillingLos Angeles Times

National News

The presidential candidates have been both touting their own and condemning each others’ energy plans recently. John McCain has called for the construction of 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030; Barack Obama has also called for more nuclear energy, but not without first studying how to deal with security of the fuel and disposal of waste. Sen. McCain recently reversed his earlier opinion and now enthusiastically endorses offshore oil drilling. Sen. Obama expressed doubts that it would help gas prices but that he is willing to compromise on the issue if a drilling bill also included alternative energy production and other green programs. Sen. Obama also proposed tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to tamp down gas prices in the short term. McCain at nuclear plant highlights energy issueNew York Times and Obama, in new stand, proposes use of oil reserveNew York Times

For the fourth time this year, Congress has failed to pass legislation providing $18 billion tax credits for the production of alternative energy and energy efficiency products. The bill passed the House in May and most Senators agree with the tax credits. The National Governors Association sent a letter to Congress signed by all 50 Governors expressing support for a five-year extension of the credits. However, disagreements over how to pay for it have prevented it from going to the Senate floor for debate. Republicans disagree with the Democrats’ plan to offset the costs by postponing a tax break for multinational companies and preventing hedge fund managers from deferring some overseas profits. The alternative energy industry has expressed to Congress that if the bill was not passed this time, many projects would halt due to uncertainty in funding. President Bush has threatened a veto if the bill is passed with the Democrats’ offsets. Solar, wind tax credits stalledSan Jose Mercury News and GOP blocks action on tax, renewable energy packageAssociated Press and Stalling our energy futurePolitico and 50 out of 50 Governors call for a renewable energy tax credit extensionIndustry Week

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Energy Update, July 25, 2008

July 25, 2008
In the States

CA – Due to Governor Schwarzenegger’s guidance to the California Building Standards Commission, that body unanimously passed new building standards. Starting in 2010, every new commercial and residential building in the state will use up to 50% less water and 15% less energy. California adopts nation’s first statewide “green” building code (pdf)California State and Consumer Services Agency and California establishes statewide green building standardsUS DOE EERE

KY – Governor Beshear has called on his Energy and Environment Cabinet to create a plan for energy self-sufficiency. In a press release, the Governor said that the time has come to change the way the state creates and uses energy. The Governor also said that the plan will reduce consumption and carbon emissions, produce and use more coal and alternative energy, and create more jobs. Beshear wants Kentucky to become ‘Energy Capital of the World’Business First of Louisville

MA – Governor Deval Patrick has signed the Green Communities Act, which should lower electricity rates and reduce the amount of energy used to create that electricity. The law applies primarily to utility companies, and includes a requirement for mandatory long term contracts with renewable energy companies, purchases of some energy efficiency products (and rebates for ratepayers to do the same), and favorable rates for buying solar or wind energy from consumers. Massachusetts Governor signs comprehensive energy reform billClean Edge

PA – Governor Ed Rendell has signed into law two provisions that should increase the amount of biofuels produced and consumed in the State. One new law will institute an annual subsidy of $5.3 million for the State’s biofuel industry. Once more biofuels are made, the other new law will take effect, requiring the sale of biofuel blends in the place of pure gasoline or diesel at the state’s fuel pumps. One difference between these and similar laws passed in other states is that the ethanol produced and sold in the state is to be cellulosic ethanol, which does not use food products to make the fuel. The use of corn and other foods to create ethanol has been blamed by some public officials and groups as the cause of higher food prices. Rendell signs legislation to increase the production of biofuels statewideConshy Recorder

TX – Texas is the state with the highest production of wind power in the United States, producing 4.296 GW of energy in 2007, or enough to power as much as 3 million homes. The state is also planning to spend $4 billion – $5 billion to construct power lines, which will transmit more than four times as much wind power than it does now to power-hungry cities. Ratepayers will see an increase of about $4 per month to fund the project. Texas goes from ‘Oil Capital USA’ to wind leaderDailyTech and State supports $4.9 billion wind power planThe Statesman

National Governors Association Centennial Meeting

During the NGA plenary session that focused on problems associated with energy, Robert Malone, Chairman and President of BP America, called for a more for a more a balanced national energy program that would include: increased domestic drilling offshore and in Alaska; increased use of nuclear power; energy conservation; alternative energy projects such as wind and solar, and some form of carbon reduction program. Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran, Correspondent for The Economist and co-author of the new book Zoom: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future cited three “pillars of instability”: poverty; the environment; and geopolitics. He called for a paradigm shift toward market liberalization (for greater innovation), environmentalism, and a confluence of new technologies. Securing a Clean Energy Future Tops Agenda as Governors Meet in Philadelphia (Press Release)National Governors Association and Governors say they’d like more federal helpPhiladelphia Inquirer

National News

The U.S. Senate agreed almost unanimously this week that oil speculation should be curbed, but the effort stalled when the parties could not agree on how many amendments would be allowed. Republicans specifically want to add amendments which would lift the current federal ban on offshore oil drilling, while Democrats are trying to avoid voting on such an such an amendment. An amendment package from Sen. Bingaman would increase the amount of leases where drilling is already allowed, increase fuel economy in vehicles, and improve building codes. Standoff over amendments keeps energy speculation bill on holdCQ Politics

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