Blog posts : "kentucky"
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 Station – The 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 Facility – Today’s Energy Solutions and University of Kentucky Opens $20.7 Million Research Lab – The Lexington Herald Leader
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 Rule – The Washington Post and Court Blocks E.P.A. Rule on Cross State Pollution – The 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 Increasing – United 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 Governments – The New York Times
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 changes – Portland Business Journal and Oregon hashes out green schools plan – Sustainable 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
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 reserve – Washington Post
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 law – ABC 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 industry – Miami 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 waters – Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Cape Wind backers blew right by cost – Boston Globe and Mass. city chosen for offshore wind farm site – Bloomberg 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 Wind – WJAR
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 says – Virginian-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 Scorecard – ACEEE and 2010 ACEEE Energy Efficiency Scorecard Cites State Leaders – EERE 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 lands – EERE 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 electricity – USA Today and Large-scale offshore wind power in the United States: Assessments of opportunities and barriers [pdf] – National Renewable Energy Laboratory
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 Burlington – State 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 State – Business 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 hotbeds – Christian 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 states – Environmental Protection Online