Blog posts : "maine"
State of the State Addresses
Of the 30 Governors who have given their State of the State addresses this year, 17 have specifically discussed energy issues, much of the time in the context of job creation and retention. California Governor Jerry Brown, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin said that renewable energy would bring green jobs to their states, while Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell, and West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin each said that their states’ fossil fuel resources would bring more jobs. Governor Tomblin praised recent oil, coal, and natural gas investments and the jobs they will bring while promising that “I will do everything in my power to make sure that West Virginia is positioned to take full advantage of this opportunity” to build an ethane cracker facility, which he said would bring thousands of manufacturing jobs. Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Maine Governor Paul LePage said that new jobs would arise from low energy costs, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez said that the key to economic growth and environmental protection is “sensible, predictable regulations” on energy production, and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal proposed eliminating a sales tax on energy used for manufacturing as a way to retain their business.
In the face of the slow economic recovery, several Governors have proposed ideas that require no state funds or attract new private investment. For example, Hawaii Governor Neal Abercrombie proposed legislation to incentivize companies to invest in energy infrastructure that would integrate more renewable energy into the grid, saying that “there is no legislation more critical to our future." New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed several new initiatives, including attracting $2 billion in private investment for grid infrastructure and a program to increase energy efficiency in State buildings to be paid for with savings in energy costs. Utah Governor Gary Herbert proposed creating an “energy research triangle” that would pair universities and industry to research energy production technologies. Maine Governor Paul LePage proposed lifting a restriction on the amount of hydroelectric power produced.
Governors commonly reflect on the previous year in their State of the State addresses to evaluate the progress that has been made. California Governor Jerry Brown said that his State’s goal of producing 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020 was ahead of schedule and that billions of private clean energy investments had been made. Delaware Governor Jack Markell said that hundreds of jobs were created in his State last year due to upgrades and conversions of power plants to lower emissions. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick cited his State’s policies on renewable energy in discussing that industry’s seven percent growth in 2011. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin referenced signing an agreement with other states to work with automakers on converting their vehicle fleets to run on natural gas. Governor Hickenlooper also noted an agreement between energy companies and environmental groups to disclose materials used in the hydraulic fracturing process.
Some Governors used their speeches to urge federal government action on energy issues. Utah Governor Gary Herbert said that the federal government needed to continue working with the State on siting and permitting of energy development. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell called on President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress to accelerate the timetable for allowing oil and gas drilling off Virginia’s coast. West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said that he would continue to fight against attempts to increase regulation of coal and other energy resources.
The State of the State addresses announced a range of other proposals, including:
- Washington Governor Christine Gregoire proposing a $1.50-per-barrel tax on oil produced in Washington that would be used to improve infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
- Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber stating that his administration will adopt a ten-year energy plan this year.
- Maine Governor Paul LePage proposing giving ratepayers a choice of whether to purchase renewable or traditional energy.
- Missouri Governor Jay Nixon stating his intention to work with farmers to improve their energy efficiency in order to make the State’s agriculture industry more competitive.
- Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin proposing an increase in the amount of renewable energy required in the State’s renewable energy portfolio to 75% by 2032.
Links to all of the Governors’ addresses can be found at the State of the State Speeches Calendar on Stateline.org
President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address included an overview of his energy agenda for 2012, which he began to unveil in more detail after his speech. In his remarks, President Obama announced that he is opening 75 percent of potential offshore oil and gas reserves to development and opening enough federal land to renewable energy development to power 3 million homes. The Defense Department will purchase much of that new renewable energy. He also said that his administration would help develop domestic natural gas resources and separately called on Congress to pass legislation to provide production tax credits for renewable energy. In addition, The President called for the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing on federal lands and proposed providing energy-efficiency incentives to manufacturers. Since the speech, President Obama has released a “blueprint” detailing these proposals, which he calls an “all-of-the-above strategy,” and has gone on a nationwide tour to promote it. The blueprint includes a proposal to incentivize greater use of natural gas as a transportation fuel and calls for doubling the country’s clean energy output by 2035. State of the Union Address Transcript – White House and Energy Blueprint Fact Sheet – White House and Obama pitches ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy – National Public Radio
In the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels criticized the President for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline proposal, which he said was “perfectly safe” and “would employ tens of thousands.” Governor Daniels called for a free-market approach to energy, with lower taxes and fewer loopholes, fewer regulations, and maximizing domestic energy production. He also characterized the President’s energy policies as “pro-poverty” for increasing consumers’ costs while not improving public health or the environment. Full text of GOP’s State of the Union response – McClatchy
In the States
CA – Governor Jerry Brown has proposed using half of the estimated $1 billion in revenues from the State’s cap-and-trade auctions to reduce California’s $9.2 billion deficit. Funds from the cap-and-trade program are required to be spent on projects related to greenhouse gas emissions; the Governor has said that the money sent to the general fund will pay for existing greenhouse gas-related projects. Some business groups oppose the move, saying that it is not authorized by the cap-and-trade law, and have said they will challenge the State in court if a budget passes in which auction proceeds pay for general fund projects. Brown sees $500 million cap-and-trade fees for California budget – Bloomberg and Gov. Brown’s cap-and-trade spending plan angers businesses – Los Angeles Times
ME – In remarks to wood product industry representatives, Governor Paul LePage expressed his support for a proposed natural gas pipeline into central Maine. Governor LePage said that while the State "is not in a position where it can help fund a pipeline," he assured companies interested in investing in the project that he would help streamline the approval process. "There is a lot we're doing to try to encourage some natural gas here," he said. During an earlier radio address, Governor LePage also said he does not endorse a citizens’ initiative to strengthen the State’s renewable energy portfolio, saying “It’s not good and I’m going to be fighting it all year.” Governor LePage also vetoed a bill that passed the House and Senate unanimously that would have tightened energy efficiency standards for new state buildings; the veto, however, was later sustained. LePage pledges to tackle energy costs to improve business climate – Bangor Daily News and LePage supports natural gas project – Portland Press Herald and Maine Senate sustains LePage vetoes – Lewiston Sun Journal
VA – Governor Bob McDonnell has unveiled his 2012 energy policy agenda that he says will help the State become the “Energy Capital of the East Coast.” One of his proposals would direct $500,000 to wind energy research to help companies develop offshore wind farms when the federal government leases areas off the coast. Another proposal would help fund conversion of some State vehicles to alternative fuels. Other initiatives include strengthening oversight of wells and pipelines and increased investment in energy efficiency programs. The Governor also called on the federal government to open up offshore areas to oil and gas exploration and drilling. Va. Gov. McDonnell outlines energy agenda; slams U.S. limits on off-coast oil, gas exploration – Washington Post
WV – Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s office announced his administration is focusing on promoting the development of natural gas and coal resources rather than state initiatives to begin or expand renewable energy projects. The Governor’s Chief of Staff, Rob Alsop, said that the Governor believes that natural gas will not only be a good source for energy, but its by-products will reinvigorate the manufacturing sector as well. On wind power, Alsop said that it can be successful only with federal tax incentives and that state programs have little effect. Governor’s office: State energy focus on gas and coal – State Journal
President Barack Obama has signed a bill into law that will increase regulations on pipelines, following a series of pipeline bursts that have killed and injured people as well as caused environmental and property damage. The new law, passed with bipartisan support, will require automatic valves where “feasible,” increase the number of pipeline inspectors, and increase the maximum fine for safety violations from $1 million to $2 million. Obama signs pipeline safety law - UPI
In the States
AZ – Governor Jan Brewer has taken the final steps to withdraw Arizona from the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), the regional cap-and-trade agreement entered into by her predecessor, former Governor Janet Napolitano. The director of the State’s Department of Environmental Quality, Henry Darwin, said that rather than subscribe to the cap-and-trade program, Arizona will join North America 2050, a group of states that will consider greenhouse gas emissions issues, but let each member State decide what emissions reduction policies make sense economically and environmentally. Governor Brewer’s administration has also begun to eliminate rules that would have required reductions in carbon dioxide emissions in autos starting next year. In both cases, administration officials cited new and proposed federal environmental regulations that they believe lessen the need for States to take separate action on climate and pollution issues. Brewer withdraws Arizona from climate initiative – Arizona Daily Sun
ME – Governor Paul LePage has said that he would like to halve the percentage of homes reliant on heating oil in Maine from 80 percent to 40 percent by the end of his current term in 2014. The Governor’s plan involves increasing access to natural gas in urban areas where the population is dense enough to make installing pipelines cost-effective, and wood pellets in more rural areas. While some lawmakers and experts think that the goal is ambitious, most agree with the idea of diversifying fuel sources for home heating. LePage wants heating oil use cut in half by 2014 – Bangor Daily News
A group of 15 Governors has sent a letter to the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committee leadership urging them to fund the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2012 at the same level as FFY 2011. The letter said that the encroaching cold weather coupled with higher oil and propane costs make such funding timely and critical. Under the temporary appropriations bill that funds the government through December 16, LIHEAP is cut by more than half, from $4.7 billion to $2 billion. Signatories of the letter include Governors Hickenlooper (CO), Malloy (CT), Markell (DE), Quinn (IL), LePage (ME), O’Malley (MD), Patrick (MA), Dayton (MN), Lynch (NH), Cuomo (NY), Perdue (NC), Chafee (RI), Shumlin (RI), Tomblin (WV), and deJongh (VI). Gov. Patrick calls on Congress to fund winter fuel assistance – Milford Daily News and Letter to Congress [pdf] – Fifteen Governors
Governors Hickenlooper of Colorado, Fallin of Oklahoma, Corbett of Pennsylvania, and Mead of Wyoming have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to encourage the production of affordable natural gas-powered vehicles for their fleets and for public consumption. The MOU announces the States’ intentions to issue a joint request for proposal (RFP) “that aggregates annual State fleet vehicle procurements” in order to boost demand for the vehicles and help incentivize their design and manufacture. The Governors also wrote that they will solicit support from other Governors prior to the issuance of the RFP. Wyoming Governor Matt Mead’s policy director, Shawn Reese, said that “by working with other states and Wyoming’s cities, towns and counties, we can show automakers in Detroit that there is a large enough market for replacement vehicles for them to manufacture natural gas fleets that can be sold back to the public at prices comparable to traditional vehicles.” Wyoming Gov. Mead joins multistate effort to push for affordable natural gas vehicles – Wyoming Star-Tribune and Memorandum of Understanding [pdf] – Four Governors
The Governors Wind Energy Coalition, a bipartisan group of 23 Governors, has written Congress urging them to extend the production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy that is set to expire at the end of 2012, specifically endorsing H.R. 3307, the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act. The Governors note that wind energy projects are beginning to slow down due to uncertainty over whether they will be eligible for the credits in coming years, and expect that if the credits are not renewed, “there will be negative impacts on the high-tech manufacturing jobs that the industry has brought to or created in our states.” Governors urge prompt extension of wind energy tax exemption – REVE and Letter to Congress [pdf] – Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition
President Barack Obama’s administration has announced that the decision on whether to allow construction of the 1700-mile Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will be delayed until after the 2012 election. The State Department, which has the authority to issue or deny permits on the project, says that it will review alternative routes that would avoid certain environmentally vulnerable areas, delaying the decision until early 2013. Prior to the announcement of the delay, TransCanada, the company that would build the pipeline, suggested changing the route to avoid crossing an aquifer in Nebraska. President Obama and the State Department had come under pressure from environmental groups who generally oppose the project, Nebraska state officials who oppose the proposed route of the pipeline because of the potential impact of a spill on environmentally sensitive areas of that state, and oil companies, labor unions, and the Canadian government who support the pipeline because of its economic and job creation potential. U.S. delays decision on pipeline until after election – New York Times and Keystone pipeline builder proposes changing Nebraska Route – Los Angeles Times
In the States
ME – Governor Paul LePage and members of his administration are questioning whether the State policy should dictate increase renewable energy use. The Governor has proposed replacing the State’s renewable energy standard, which currently requires a one-percent increase in renewable energy use each year, with an option for individual customers to choose whether to purchase up to 100% clean energy for their own homes. While critics of the proposal have noted that $1 billion has been invested in alternative energy since the renewable energy standard was enacted four years ago, Governor LePage believes most of the new “green jobs” are temporary and the that the state mandate will result in a net loss of jobs and increase electricity costs. The Governor’s administration is also skeptical of some of the claims made by proponents of a massive offshore wind energy proposal, specifically that the project would reduce dependence on foreign oil. Since the vast majority of homes in the State use heating oil – and cars use gasoline – rather than electricity, consumers would need to transition to heating systems and vehicles powered by wind-generated electricity in order to decrease oil use, an expensive and logistically difficult prospect. LePage urges rollback of renewable energy requirement – Bangor Daily News and LePage administration questions feasibility of offshore wind power – Bangor Daily News
MN – Governor Mark Dayton has vetoed a bill that would have allowed more electricity produced by coal-fired power plants to be sold in Minnesota. In his veto message, Governor Dayton said “Minnesota must continue on a path of progress to a sustainable, clean, and safe energy future, rather than increasing our already heavy reliance upon coal-fired electricity, which threatens our health and climate." As an alternative to new coal plants, the Governor said the State’s utilities should focus on natural gas, hydroelectric, and renewable sources. Governor Dayton, however, signed a bill that will allow electricity to be sold in Minnesota created by a new coal plant on the North Dakota border, which will avoid a lawsuit with the neighboring state. He also signed a bill that will allow an existing coal plant to convert to natural gas. Gov Dayton signs, vetoes variety of bills – DL-Online and Looser restrictions on coal power vetoed by Dayton – Stamford Advocate and Minnesota Governor vetoes bill supporting more coal-fired generation – Platts
NJ – Governor Chris Christie has vowed to take New Jersey out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a 10-state cap-and-trade organization designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions, by the end of the year. Governor Christie said that the program is not effective because it “does nothing more than tax electricity, tax our citizens, tax our businesses, with no discernible or measurable impact upon our environment.” RGGI Inc., the nonprofit in charge of the program, has said that while emissions have been reduced 30% since 2005, half of which is due to the program, New Jersey’s ratepayers will save about $3.38 per year on average due to the State’s withdrawal from the program. Although Governor Christie’s administration used $65 million in RGGI revenues to help balance the State’s budget, other revenues allowed the State to provide loans to companies to help install enough renewable energy technology to power 19,600 homes. The Governor also acknowledges that human activity contributes to climate change, has said he will not allow another coal plant to be built in the State, and is supportive of increased natural gas and nuclear energy production. Gov. Christie declares regional cap-and-trade initiative ineffective, ‘gimmicky’ partnership – NJ.com and Christie to pull N.J. out of cap-and-trade energy program – NorthJersey.com
VT – Governor Peter Shumlin has signed a bill into law that is designed to greatly reduce the administrative burdens usually encountered with the installation of small scale solar systems on residential or small business buildings. Prior to when the bill goes into effect in January, local ordinances, building and electric codes, zoning laws, the processes for permitting and inspections, and other requirements have varied widely, even between neighborhoods in the same town, so that one installation may cost twice as much as another. Governor Shumlin said in a statement regarding the new law that “there is a fiscal and environmental urgency for Vermont to move off fossil fuels and toward sustainable sources of power.” The Governor also signed an omnibus energy bill that will make it easier for homeowners to finance residential renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and another bill that will increase the amount of excess renewable energy that homeowners can put back on the grid and charge utilities. Vermont streamlines small-scale solar power – Huffington Post and Governor to sign Vermont energy bill – Bloomberg BusinessWeek
The federal government has agreed to a $45.6 million loan guarantee for a solar power project near Las Vegas, Nevada. The plant will consist of 90,000 solar modules mounted on panels that will track the sun and produce enough power for 4,700 homes in the area. The project will employ 250 construction workers. While a senior official for the company behind the project cited high infrastructure, labor, and material costs as reasons for the need for a loan guarantee, one solar analyst questioned the need for the loan guarantee. Solar power firm wins federal loan guarantee – San Francisco Chronicle and Federal loan guarantee for Nevada solar project raises questions – Forbes
Special 2010 Election Edition
In the States
This edition of In the States features a change from the usual format. Rather than a selection of updates on State energy policy, this version includes a brief summary of each of the winning gubernatorial candidate’s positions on energy policy, especially as they relate to renewable, nuclear, and fossil fuel energy, as well as climate change and cap-and-trade policies.
Alabama: Governor-elect Robert Bentley (R)
State Representative and Governor-elect Robert Bentley made energy an important campaign issue in his successful election bid, focusing on the relationship between energy costs and business interests in the State. In his campaign policy document, the Governor-elect stated his belief that lower energy costs for businesses would spur economic growth and reduce unemployment, and that the economic success of southern States is directly related to “reliable and affordable power sources.” The Governor-elect also opposed a cap-and-trade approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, writing that proposed federal legislation would “serve as a death sentence for economic expansion in Alabama,” though he has also said that “carbon emissions, I do think, probably play a role in climate changes” and suggested that carbon emissions should be reduced. Governor-elect Bentley’s proposed approach is to further develop and diversify the State’s energy resources, including fossil fuels such as natural gas, methane, and coal, but also nuclear energy and alternative energy such as hydro and biomass. Putting Alabamians back to work [pdf] – Robert Bentley for Governor and The race for Alabama Governor: Sparks, Bentley views similar on environment – Birmingham News
Alaska: Governor Sean Parnell (R)
Governor Parnell has been involved with energy issues in the private and public sectors for more than 15 years, and since energy development is a major part of Alaska’s economy, it’s no surprise that energy is an important State issue. Governor Parnell supports the oil and gas industry and has proposed increasing development, lowering taxes, and increasing tax credits for the production of oil and gas resources. He also supports sending more oil and gas out of the State and increasing hydro, geothermal, and other renewable power, having signed one of the most ambitious renewable energy standards in the country – requiring 50% renewable energy by 2025, and a 15% improvement in energy efficiency by 2020. Governor Parnell’s administration, however, is one of several suing the U.S .Environmental Protection Agency to block it from imposing new regulations on greenhouse gases. Governor Candidate Q/A: Gov. Sean Parnell (R) – News Tribune and Energy Page – Parnell-Treadwell 2010 and State challenges EPA – Parnell Press Release and Governors candidates spar, joust at Anchorage forum – Alaska Journal of Commerce and Alaska emerges as unlikely renewable energy pioneer – BusinessGreen
Arizona: Governor Jan Brewer (R)
Incumbent Governor Jan Brewer has pushed for creating new jobs and economic growth through increasing renewable energy use. She has signed several executive orders intended to help develop strategies to attract solar manufacturers and promote solar energy within the State and also signed a law to provide tax credits and other incentives to solar companies in Arizona. While Governor Brewer actively opposed repeal of a 2006 law that mandates a renewable energy standard of 15% by 2025, she also signed an executive order pulling the State out of the cap-and-trade portion of the Western Climate Initiative, expected to go into effect in 2012. Arizona quits Western climate endeavor – Arizona Republic and Gov. Brewer signs Arizona solar jobs bill – Phoenix Sun and Executive Order 2010-06, Governor’s Policy on Climate Change – Office of Governor Jan Brewer and Remarks by Gov. Jan Brewer [pdf] – Office of Governor Jan Brewer
Arkansas: Governor Mike Beebe (D)
Governor Mike Beebe has said that he wants as many energy companies to move to Arkansas as possible, which he believes will foster economic growth and help address the State’s fiscal concerns. The Governor is especially interested in bringing nuclear and wind companies to Arkansas to manufacture and ship products from the State. Another one of his goals is to increase production of gasoline from wood chips, a product abundant in Arkansas. Governor Beebe also would like to work with neighboring States on developing compressed natural gas infrastructure for vehicles. Governor Beebe has stated that although he believes global warming is a threat, individual States lack the ability to sufficiently alter greenhouse gas emissions, and any carbon reduction program should be nationally managed. Beebe wants part of potential nuclear energy resurgence – City Wire and Beebe high on wood chips – City Wire and Beebe on global warming: “We didn’t listen!” – The Arkansas Project
California: Governor-elect Jerry Brown (D)
Former Governor and Attorney General and current Governor-elect Jerry Brown has a record of opposing offshore oil drilling and supporting restrictions on vehicle emissions. As Attorney General, the Governor-elect defended California’s auto emissions requirements, which were later expanded nationwide, and was a part of the successful lawsuit against the U.S. EPA that resulted in a Supreme Court ruling that greenhouse gases are subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act. The Governor-elect has proposed a renewable energy jobs plan that includes building 20,000 megawatts of solar and other renewable energy projects on public and private land, as well as and transmission lines to distribute this newly generated electric power. Governor-elect Brown also supports “feed-in tariffs” for small private renewable energy projects, expediting clean energy permits, energy efficiency retrofits for existing buildings, and tightened efficiency standards for new construction. Environment Page and Clean Energy Jobs Page – Jerry Brown for Governor
Colorado: Governor-elect John Hickenlooper (D)
Denver Mayor and Governor-elect Dan Hickenlooper believes “there is no single solution to energy supply or demand,” and that he is “agnostic about the fuel source” that powers vehicles and heats homes. He proposed an energy plan that includes using abundant energy sources in Colorado, including solar, wind, natural gas, coal, as well as energy efficiency measures. The Governor-elect has also said that although climate change is an important factor in energy policy, other factors such as the environment, national security, and the economy must be taken into account as well. Governor-elect Hickenlooper also supports the State’s new 30% renewable energy standard by 2030, saying it’s “ambitious” but “doable” with the help of solar, wind, and geothermal energy sources. Energy Page – Hickenlooper for Colorado and Hickenlooper-McInnis Debate Transcript – Colorado Energy News and Colorado: Denver mayor and guv candidate talks bike-sharing, light rail, and coal – Grist
Connecticut: Governor-elect Dan Malloy (D)
Former Stamford Mayor and Governor-elect Dan Malloy’s energy policy focuses on creating and keeping jobs in Connecticut while cutting greenhouse gases through greater use of renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. The Governor-elect plans to add thousands of green jobs in the State by leveraging federal tax incentives and the State’s bonding authority to spur private investment in clean energy that will be developed and used in Connecticut. Governor-elect Malloy also believes that focusing on keeping rates for new clean energy low will be essential to attracting and keeping business in Connecticut. He has not specified which sources of energy his administration will focus on, but has supported the State’s existing 20% renewable energy standard by 2020. As Mayor of Stamford, he provided businesses with a year of free single-stream recycling in exchange for adopting sustainability measures and promoted other solar and energy efficiency projects. Energy Page – Dan Malloy for Governor and Environment Page – Dan Malloy for Governor and Foley and Malloy: A clear difference on climate change – Connecticut Mirror and Municipal initiatives to address climate change – Connecticut Office of Legislative Research
Florida: Governor-elect Rick Scott (R)
Governor-elect Rick Scott supports increasing energy independence for economic and national security reasons. He also supports increased offshore oil drilling, but says he will “ensure that any future offshore drilling does not negatively impact Florida’s beaches.” In addition, he favors expanding nuclear energy production and the use of alternative fuels. The Governor-elect signed a pledge for Americans for Prosperity that he will “oppose legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue,” and also endorsed FreedomWorks’ “Contract from America,” which calls for candidates to “reject cap & trade.” Governor-elect Scott has also expressed skepticism about scientific findings on global warming. Energy Independence Page – Rick Scott for Governor and Contract from America – FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity Applauds Florida Gubernatorial Candidate Rick Scott [pdf] – Americans for Prosperity and Rick Scott doesn’t believe in global warming – St. Petersburg Times
Georgia: Governor-elect Nathan Deal (R)
As a U.S. Representative, Governor-elect Nathan Deal voted against federal legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions, tax incentives for renewable energy, removing subsidies for oil and gas exploration, a moratorium for offshore oil drilling, and raising fuel efficiency standards. He voted against tax incentives for renewable energy and for a temporary repeal of the 4.3 cent gas tax. As a member of the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, he expressed his support for using biomass as an alternative fuel source, but not solar or wind energy. Nathan Deal on Energy and Oil – On the Issues and Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucuses – Environmental and Energy Study Institute and Sparks fly at Georgia’s gubernatorial debate – Atlanta Examiner
Hawaii: Governor-elect Neil Abercrombie (D)
Former U.S. Congressman and Governor-elect Neil Abercrombie has said that making Hawaii energy independent is the State’s “most important economic enterprise,” and is “critical to protect our environment from the pollutant risks and climate change impacts associated with fossil fuels.” As a U.S. Representative, Congressman Abercrombie voted to cap greenhouse gas emissions, provide tax incentives for renewable energy, raise vehicle efficiency standards, and end oil and gas exploration subsidies. The Governor-elect proposes to create the Hawaii Energy Authority, which would combine policy oversight and regulatory authority to fast-track renewable energy projects. He has also proposed rewarding utilities for meeting or exceeding the State’s clean energy goals, using federal money to support green jobs and retrofit public buildings, and expanding wind, solar, geothermal, ocean wave, and biofuel technology use. Energy Page – Abercrombie for Governor and Environment and Natural Resources Page – Abercrombie for Governor and Hawaii Gov. candidates want clean energy faster – WKRG and Neil Abercrombie on Energy and Oil – On the Issues
Idaho: Governor Butch Otter (R)
When Governor Butch Otter won the gubernatorial election in 2006, he ran on an energy platform that promoted the use of nuclear and hydroelectric power and he has consistently pursued the development of these forms of energy in Idaho. As Chairman of the Western Governors’ Association, Otter also signed a letter urging Congress to increase nuclear loan guarantees. The Governor has increasingly promoted other renewable energy sources including wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, even filming a campaign commercial promising to make the State’s efforts on alternative energy research a “top priority” and pushing for State funding for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies at the Idaho National Laboratory, which supports research on nuclear and alternative energy. Governor Otter also helped steer federal stimulus funds toward an initiative to install solar panels on schools. Election 2010: Gov. Otter targets green voters – Idaho Statesman and New nuclear power plant development urged by Governors – PowerGen Worldwide and Otter: Idaho is “rapidly developing” an energy industry – Idaho Statesman
Illinois: Governor Pat Quinn (D)
Governor Quinn has made clean energy a focus of his administration by signing several pieces of legislation that promote the use of wind and other renewables through tax incentives and allow local authorities to finance green projects. According to the U.S. EPA, Illinois became the second-highest clean-energy-purchasing State, obtaining 33% of the State government’s electricity from renewable sources in 2009. Governor Quinn supports a renewable energy standard of 25% by 2025 and a diverse energy portfolio of wind, ethanol, biodiesel, and clean coal. Governor Quinn signs legislation to encourage investment in renewable energy – Press Release and Green Power Purchasing Awards – U.S. EPA Green Power Partnership and Environment and Green Energy Page – Quinn/Simon for Illinois
Iowa: Governor-elect Terry Branstad (R)
While energy policy was not a top issue in this year’s Iowa gubernatorial race, Governor-elect Branstad, who previously served four terms as Governor of Iowa, has differentiated himself from incumbent Governor Chet Culver by strongly supporting the construction of new coal power plants. The Governor-elect has also supported reducing dependence on foreign oil sources by expanding wind, ethanol, and biodiesel energy use. In addition, Governor-elect Branstad has expressed support for building a 400,000-barrel-per-day tar sands oil refinery on the South Dakota border, which Governor Culver and several environmental groups oppose. Branstad, Reynolds attack Culver in Marshalltown – Times-Republican and Proposed oil refinery the center of political debate – Iowa Independent
Kansas: Governor-elect Sam Brownback (R)
U.S. Senator and Governor-elect Sam Brownback’s record in the U.S. Senate and as a member of the Natural Resources Committee reflect support for increased domestic energy production and reduced oil and gas imports. During his tenure, he sponsored a number of bills – often with bipartisan support – to increase the use of renewable fuels, reduce dependency on foreign oil by 50%, increase offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and establish a national renewable electricity standard of 15% by 2021. Governor-elect Brownback also worked with Democrats when they were trying to pass energy and climate legislation in 2010; he supported a renewable electricity standard as part of the bill at the same time he opposed a cap on greenhouse gas emissions. Sam Brownback – Council on Foreign Relations and Energy Page – Senator Brownback’s Webpage and Brownback joins bipartisan group seeking U.S. renewable electricity standard – Kansas City Business Journal and Brownback not a lock for new climate bill – McPherson Sentinel
Maine: Governor-elect Paul LePage (R)
Governor-elect Paul LePage’s approach to energy focuses on lowering prices for consumers and he has said that his administration “will welcome any energy that can compete on price.” However, he has also expressed the view that on- and off-shore wind and tidal power are not yet viable. Instead, the Governor-elect prefers increasing the number of natural gas power plants and expanding hydroelectric power, nuclear power, and offshore oil drilling. He also has said that while he does not believe global warming is a “myth” he’s unsure about the severity of the problem and how human activity has contributed to it. LePage outlines vision for welfare, education, energy – Portland Press Herald and Energy Independence and Efficiency Page – LePage 2010 and Maine and New England stew over climate and energy projects – New York Times and Forum clarifies candidates’ divide – Kennebec Journal and Maine Democrats attack LePage on nuclear power – Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Candidates speaking at UMaine forum – Morning Sentinel
Maryland: Governor Martin O’Malley (D)
Governor Martin O’Malley supports greater use of renewable energy such as solar and wind as a way to create as many as 100,000 jobs in the State. As Governor, he has supported legislation designed to generate more solar energy, create wind power offshore, and provide tax credits for renewable energy generation and electric vehicles. Governor O’Malley has signed an executive order creating the Maryland Commission on Climate Change, legislation reducing energy consumption and more than doubling the State’s renewable energy standard (requiring that 20% percent of Maryland’s power come from renewable sources by 2022) , and a memorandum of understanding adding Maryland to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley Highlights 2010 clean energy agenda – Gov Monitor and Maryland Commission on Climate Change – Maryland Climate Change Advisory Group and Maryland Governor signs energy efficiency and climate change legislation – Pew Center on Global Climate Change and Environment Page – Friends of Martin O’Malley and Jobs Page – Friends of Martin O’Malley and Second Amendment to Memorandum of Understanding [pdf] – Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Massachusetts: Governor Deval Patrick (D)
A major issue in Governor Deval Patrick’s campaign for re-election was the Governor’s support for the proposed Cape Wind project, which is likely to be the first offshore wind farm in the United States and create as many as 1,000 jobs. The Governor also supports the State’s renewable energy standard, which will require 25% of its energy to come from renewable sources by 2020, and energy efficiency programs that will invest $2 billion over three years to save ratepayers $6.5 billion in future years. The State is a part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and has experienced an increase in the use of both wind and solar power under Governor Patrick’s tenure. Accomplishments [pdf] – Deval Patrick for Governor and Rivals clash with Patrick over vision for cleantech – Boston Business Journal and Patrick leads celebration of New Bedford’s Cape Wind coup – South Coast Today and Program Design – Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Michigan: Governor-elect Rick Snyder (R)
Energy was not a major issue in Governor-elect Rick Snyder’s campaign, since he and his opponent, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, generally agreed on the issue. The Governor-elect has shown support for outgoing Governor Jennifer Granholm’s agenda of promoting wind, solar and other clean energy as one solution to the State’s persistent economic woes. Governor-elect Snyder has also indicated support for building a new coal plant “when it’s clean coal replacing old coal,” and offered support for “smart growth” of mass transit and less sprawl. He also supports the State’s existing renewable energy standard. Governor-elect Snyder received the endorsement of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. Rick Snyder says he supports Michigan’s renewable energy law – AnnArbor.com and Rogers City, Holland coal plant denials spark lawsuits – Michigan Land Use Institute and Environment Page – Office of Governor-elect Rick Snyder
Minnesota: Mark Dayton (D) or Tom Emmer (R)
The Minnesota gubernatorial race may not be decided for months due to a mandatory recount and potential legal battles. However, both candidates have proposed energy plans, which are summarized below.
Former U.S. Senator Mark Dayton has said that “clean, renewable energy is one of the most promising growth industries for our State and our nation.” His campaign plan included drawing developers of wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric power to the State, and creating 50,000 jobs by retrofitting older government buildings to increase energy efficiency. As Senator, Mr. Dayton co-sponsored bipartisan cap-and-trade legislation, voted to ban drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, voted to increase vehicle fuel efficiency standards, and consistently supported the ethanol industry. Clean Energy Page – Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota and Dayton Votes for Passage of Senate Energy Bill - But Cautions it will not Remedy America's Dependence on Foreign Oil [archived press release] – Project Vote Smart and Mark Dayton – On the Issues
As a State Representative, Tom Emmer sponsored legislation that would have repealed the State’s existing renewable electricity standard of 25% by 2025, adding that more should be done to develop fossil fuels, and has said that green jobs are a “fancy marketing campaign.” Representative Emmer also introduced legislation that would have repealed the Next Generation Energy bill that allows Minnesota to participate in the regional cap-and-trade program of the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, signed by Governor Tim Pawlenty. Emmer visits area, says he wants more power shifted to cities and counties – AllBusiness and Rep. Emmer moves to repeal cap-and-trade law [press release] – State Representative Tom Emmer
Nebraska: Governor Dave Heineman (R)
Governor Heineman has actively promoted alternative fuels and renewable energy within Nebraska. The Governor signed a bill making it easier for utilities operating in the State to access federal incentives that have greatly expanded wind energy use in neighboring States consistent with his goal of making Nebraska one of the top ten wind energy producing States by 2020. During his re-election campaign, Governor Heineman also highlighted the economic and security benefits that stem from the State’s production of ethanol and biodiesel. Although the Governor endorsed adoption of a national renewable energy standard requiring 25% of all energy to come from renewable sources by 2025, he also signed a letter asking the U.S. Congress to pass a law to stop the EPA from unilaterally issuing regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions as a substitute for comprehensive, economically-friendly energy legislation. Wind energy bill signed – Omaha World-Herald and Dave Heineman on Energy and Oil – On the Issues and Nebraska celebrates groundbreaking for wind farm – Edison International and Update on Wind Development in Nebraska – Office of Governor Dave Heineman
Nevada: Governor-elect Brian Sandoval (R)
Governor-elect Brian Sandoval has stated that he believes renewable energy will play an important role in the State’s economic recovery, and specifically supports developing the State’s “unique and valuable” energy resources including solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric. He does not support a renewable energy standard or other mandates on renewable energy use on the grounds that they are harmful to businesses. Gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval answers questions on issues – Nevada News Bureau
New Hampshire: Governor John Lynch (D)
As Governor of New Hampshire, John Lynch has pushed for greater use of renewable energy and greater energy efficiency. He signed a bill into law requiring nearly 25% of the State’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2025, and another authorizing its participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade program for Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States. The Governor has cited concerns about climate change and energy independence as reasons for increasing renewable energy use and energy efficiency in New Hampshire. Governor Lynch’s 25 x ’25 renewable energy initiative – New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning and Governor Lynch signs law joining Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Office of Governor Lynch and New Hampshire Governor says renewables are a priority – RenewableEnergyWorld.com
New Mexico: Governor-elect Susanna Martinez (R)
Governor-elect Susana Martinez’s energy platform in the 2010 gubernatorial race included loosening regulations on energy production, including gas wells, and ending New Mexico’s participation in the Western Climate Initiative’s regional cap-and-trade program. She believes these actions will help protect and create jobs in the State. The Governor-elect has said that “the more diverse our energy portfolio, the stronger we will be as a State and a nation,” and said she supports “creating incentives that encourage coal power plants to invest in new technology that will help coal burn more efficiently and reduce our carbon footprint.” She has also said that she is “not sure the science completely supports” the idea that human activity plays a role in climate change. New Mexico’s economic recovery – Susana Martinez for Governor and GOP candidates knock global warming – Politico and Press room – Susana Martinez for Governor
New York: Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo (D)
Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo published a series of policy books detailing his governing agenda on several subjects, including energy and climate change issues. The Governor-elect wrote that he would like to see the State move more quickly toward achieving the goals of reducing energy use and increasing renewable energy, but that energy must also be made more affordable to consumers. He also supports promoting solar energy, as well as on- and off-shore wind energy projects, and closing aging nuclear power plants without replacing them. In addition, Governor-elect Cuomo supports drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, provided it is done in an environmentally safe way that does not impact the water supply. Power NY [pdf] – Cuomo 2010 and New York gubernatorial candidate issues plan to increase solar – Solar Home and Business Journal
Ohio: Governor-elect John Kasich (R)
Former U.S. Congressman and Governor-elect John Kasich opposes federal cap-and-trade legislation, saying that limiting greenhouse gas emissions “will be immensely harmful to our State, kill Ohio's low-cost coal power, and cripple our manufacturing jobs.” Instead, he believes the State should encourage clean coal technology, nuclear energy, energy efficiency, and increased use of renewables. The Governor-elect said that he would seek repeal of the State’s existing renewable energy standard that requires 25% of power to come from renewable sources by 2025 if he “were to determine that it is unrealistic and would drive up prices,” but that he does not oppose it now and has no immediate plans to repeal it. As a Congressman, Governor-elect Kasich called the division between economic and environmental interests “a false and dangerous dichotomy,” and said that State and local governments should take the lead on environmental concerns. Strickland, Kasich offer their answers to questions – Marietta Times and Strickland accuses Kasich of turning back the clock on energy policy – Dayton Daily News and John Kasich on Environment – On the Issues
Oklahoma: Governor-elect Mary Fallin (R)
Governor-elect Mary Fallin is a former Lieutenant Governor and U.S. Representative with a record of supporting traditional energy sources and opposing climate change bills and renewable energy legislation. The Governor-elect signed a pledge for Americans for Prosperity in which she promised to “oppose legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.” She has also said that her “goal as governor would be to stimulate the oil and gas industry in the State and support the Legislature for incentives for oil and gas production." However, Governor-elect Fallin has also said she supports federal incentives for solar, wind, nuclear, and biofuels “in the long term” as a part of an “all of the above” approach that would include increased domestic drilling for oil and gas as a way to reduce dependence on foreign fuels. Askins, Fallin speak at OIPA conference – Tulsa World and Americans for Prosperity applauds Congresswoman Mary Fallin – Office of Congresswoman Mary Fallin and In the fight to end the recession, the energy industry is our ally (Rep. Fallin Op-Ed) – Townhall.com and At Congressional field hearing, Fallin evaluates national energy policy in Oklahoma – Office of Congresswoman Mary Fallin
Oregon: Governor-elect John Kitzhaber (D)
Governor-elect Kitzhaber’s campaign included setting a plan for the State to meet its established renewable energy standard and carbon emissions reduction goals while also promoting energy independence, saving money for consumers, and producing green jobs. The Governor-elect’s plan suggested increased energy efficiency efforts to lower demand, developing and exporting renewable energy technologies, as well as loan guarantees, grants and tax incentives for renewable energy production. Governor-elect Kitzhaber supports wind, solar, ocean wave, biomass, and geothermal energy, as well as developing technologies such as micro-hydro, small-scale wind, algae-based biofuels, and gas generation through waste. He opposes offshore oil drilling and has said that he believes climate change is a major issue, which is why he supports a regional cap-and-trade program, either through the existing Western Climate Initiative or new State alliance. Energy and Environment Plan [pdf] – John Kitzhaber for Governor and Dudley vs. Kitzhaber: On global warming, energy, and land use – Ecotrope
Pennsylvania: Governor-elect Tom Corbett (R)
Governor-elect Tom Corbett’s energy policy focuses on the importance of affordability of energy and independence from foreign oil. In Pennsylvania, drilling is beginning to occur in the Marcellus Shale, a large underground reserve of natural gas. Unlike his immediate predecessor, Democratic Governor Ed Rendell, Governor-elect Corbett does not support a drilling tax on natural gas wells, believing that such a tax would “reduce the potential for new jobs, tax revenues and other economic benefits associated with development of the Marcellus Shale.” In addition to his support for natural gas, Governor-elect Corbett also supports greater use of coal-to-liquids and gas-to-liquids technologies, biodiesel, and nuclear power. The Governor-elect also supports the State’s current renewable energy standard and says that the marketplace will “effectively incentivize alternative energy investments.” In addition, Governor-elect Corbett supports tax credits for infrastructure improvement, more smart meters and other grid improvements, and energy regulatory reform. Economic Plan [pdf] – Tom Corbett for Governor and Energy Plan [pdf] – Tom Corbett for Governor and Pennsylvania Republican offers big tax break to oil and gas industry – The Guardian
Rhode Island: Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee (I)
Former U.S. Senator and Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee has a Senate voting record that includes opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and strengthened fuel standards for consumer vehicles. He also co-sponsored cap-and-trade legislation and supported federal funding to encourage the purchase of alternative fuel vehicles. The Governor-elect has said that there is no one single policy option that will solve energy and climate issues, but promotes using more renewable energy and reducing oil usage as solutions. Energy and Environment Page – Chafee for Governor and Lincoln Chafee on Energy & Oil – On the Issues
South Carolina: Governor-elect Nikki Haley (R)
The campaign for South Carolina’s next governor did not include much discussion about the future of energy use in the State. However, Governor-elect Nikki Haley’s campaign has said that she supports drilling for oil off the State’s coast, and has criticized the Obama administration for stopping work on Yucca Mountain, which has caused uncertainty about where South Carolina’s nuclear waste will be permanently stored. Nuclear energy accounts for more than half of South Carolina’s energy consumption, with most of the remainder produced by coal plants. South Carolina GOP hopeful Haley supports offshore drilling – CNN.com and Haley wants nuclear waste out of SC – The State and Haley touts SC’s nuclear potential, promises to fight Obama on Yucca – Nikki Haley for Governor
South Dakota: Governor-elect Dennis Daugaard (R)
Governor-elect Dennis Daugaard has said that he believes wind, ethanol, and biofuel energy production are beneficial to South Dakota in terms of the environment and the economy. However, he does not support a cap-and-trade policy or a renewable energy standard, opting to promote wind energy through tax incentives, reduced regulation, increased transmission capacity, and expanded use of ethanol in gasoline through EPA regulations that increase the ratio of ethanol allowed for use in consumer vehicles fuels. The Governor-elect also supports additional research on creating cellulosic ethanol from wood, grass, and other non-edible plant matter. Energy Page – Daugaard for South Dakota and Daugaard unveils economic plan for South Dakota – Capital Journal and On energy, candidates for Governor vow to be strong voice – Argus-Leader
Tennessee: Governor-elect Bill Haslam (R)
Former Knoxville Mayor and Governor-elect Bill Haslam has said that his top priority as Governor will be to bring jobs to Tennessee, especially renewable energy and energy-efficiency jobs. He has also said that he supports the Tennessee Valley Authority’s goal of increasing the State’s renewable energy usage to 50% by 2020 (including nuclear and hydroelectric energy). While the Governor-elect served as Mayor of Knoxville, the City was designated as a Solar America City by the U.S. Department of Energy for its efforts to promote solar energy. The Governor-elect has also said he wants to “foster an environment of collaboration between business and environmental interests” and that he rejects “the false choice that pits the environment versus job growth.” Bill Haslam’s Answers [pdf] - Tennessee Clean Water Network Questionnaire and Knoxville, TN – U.S. Department of Energy, Solar America Cities
Texas: Governor Rick Perry (R)
Governor Rick Perry has opposed many of the Obama Administration’s energy policies – for instance, suing the Administration over greenhouse gas regulations and the offshore oil drilling moratorium and calling federal cap-and-trade “an economic disaster” – and is “not convinced” that climate change should be a policy issue. To meet Texas’s own energy needs, the Governor has signed bills mandating greater renewable energy use and has pushed to fast-track new coal burning power plants. He supports an energy portfolio that includes coal, natural gas, nuclear energy, and renewables. Texas sues to stop EPA from regulating greenhouse gases – Austin American-Statesman and Gov. Perry: Waxman-Markey will negatively impact Texas families – Governor Perry Press Release and Perry’s strong views on climate change can be muted at home – Austin American-Statesman and Texas increases its renewable portfolio standard – Pew Center for Global Climate Change and Despite pollution worries, Texas builds coal plants – Texas Tribune and Issues Page – Texans for Rick Perry
Utah: Governor Gary Herbert (R)
While Governor Gary Herbert has expressed skepticism that climate change is occurring due to greenhouse gas emissions – he has said emissions are “probably irrelevant” – his administration has developed an outline of State energy objectives that will serve as a baseline for a 10-year energy plan to diversify energy sources for security reasons. The Governor also held a series of public meetings that were attended by State residents, oil and gas companies, and environmental activists to discuss this objective and a range of options for achieving this goal, which include increased use of renewable energy, coal, gas, oil, and nuclear energy. Governor Herbert will release a more formal plan in December 2010 after months of public comment on the State’s plan. Herbert challenges reality of global climate change – Deseret News and Utah Gov. Herbert outlines energy initiative goals – Yahoo Finance and Gov. Gary Herbert’s 3rd energy hearing brings diverse ideas – Deseret News
Vermont: Governor-elect Peter Schumlin (D)
Governor-elect Schumlin has cited climate change as an issue that triggered his return to politics and as the “number one issue” when he was elected as State Senate Pro Tem in 2006. The Governor-elect wants Vermont to “lead the nation” in the move toward renewable energy production, which he believes will provide “huge economic and job creation opportunities for Vermont” as well as reduce the effects of climate change. Governor-elect Schumlin has fought to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, which is currently scheduled to go offline in 2012, and said he will set a goal of reducing energy use by 3% each year through energy efficiency measures. Schumlin said WHAT??? – Freyne Land and Energy Page – Peter Schumlin for Governor and Gubernatorial candidates Dubie and Schumlin talk energy – WCAX and Senator Peter Schumlin – Responses to the VT LCV questionnaire – Vermont League of Conservation Voters and Schumlin: Yes to clean energy; no to Enexus – Peter Schumlin for Governor
Wisconsin: Governor-elect Scott Walker (R)
Governor-elect Walker says that he supports removing the State’s moratorium on building nuclear power plants, calling nuclear a “clean energy option,” and that the State “must diversify our energy supply” while balancing cost and environmental impact. During the campaign, the Governor-elect wrote an open letter to President Obama, critical of his administration’s “radical environmental policies” and opposed legislation supported by current Governor Jim Doyle that would set a renewable energy standard for the State. The Governor-elect also signed the climate pledge from Americans for Prosperity vowing that he would not support climate legislation that would include any increase in State revenue. Jobs Page – Friends of Scott Walker and Scott Walker letter to President Obama [pdf] – Friends of Scott Walker and Scott Walker statement on global warming legislation – Friends of Scott Walker and Americans for Prosperity applauds Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker [pdf] – Americans for Prosperity
Wyoming: Governor-elect Matt Mead (R)
Governor-elect Matt Mead has said he supports developing clean energy technologies to meet growing energy demands to supplement coal, oil, and natural gas resources available within Wyoming. However, he has said he is “unconvinced that climate change is man-made.” He strongly opposes any cap-and-trade legislation, including the proposals considered by Congress, and instead supports increased drilling for fossil fuels, construction of new nuclear power plants supplied by uranium from Wyoming, and an excise tax on wind power. Energy Page [cached] – Matt Mead for Governor
Preparing for the pending Republican takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives, many political figures are touting their positions on energy policy and their views on how or even whether to confront climate change in the 112th Congress.
Congressman John Boehner (R-OH), the presumed next Speaker of the House, has said that he does not believe that the climate is changing due to greenhouse gas emissions and has been a steadfast opponent of cap-and-trade legislation. In addition, 50% of the new Republican legislators in Congress don’t believe climate change is a real issue, while 86% have pledged their opposition to any climate change legislation that increases government revenue. Some House Republicans are hoping to use their new majority to slow governmental action on climate change, including Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who would prefer to keep the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming in place in order to “put a tall hurdle in the path” of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to move forward on regulations to limit greenhouse gases. Sensenbrenner: Keep climate panel alive so I can investigate EPA – Politico.
Meanwhile, just this week, the U.S. EPA released a guidance document for State and local officials on how to issue permits for power plants when EPA’s climate change rules take effect next year. The guidance emphasizes the importance of energy efficiency as a strategy for reducing the use of carbon-intensive fuels. It also promotes the use of biomass as a way to reduce emissions on the grounds that carbon dioxide that is released when plant material is burned for fuel can be removed from the atmosphere by new replacement plants. While State and local officials are gearing up to comply with the new requirements, some concerns are already being raised about the length of the permitting process under EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions rules. EPA Issues Guidelines for States' Permitting for Greenhouse Gases - NYTimes.com – New York Times
President Obama has tempered his support of climate control legislation considered in the current Congress by saying: “Cap-and-trade was just one way of skinning the cat; not the only way.” He has instead proposed working with the new Congress on a number of issues that he believes Republicans can support, including development of electric vehicles, converting heavy trucks to run on natural gas, incentives for energy efficiency, and more emphasis on renewables and nuclear energy. Obama to face new foes in global warming fight – New York Times
The lack of agreement on federal legislation to address climate change also has international implications. European officials believe that other large countries with growing economies, such as China and India, will have little incentive to sign onto an enforceable emissions-reduction pact unless the U.S. government takes decisive action on this issue. Under a nonbinding accord agreed to at a U.N.-sponsored summit in Copenhagen last year, the President Obama pledged to cut U.S. emissions by 17% by 2020 and contribute $100 billion to help developing countries reduce their emissions. White House officials point to other measures being taken at the federal and State level as an indication that progress is still being made. Chilly wind blows against global climate pact – Washington Times
In the States
ID – Governor Butch Otter participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for what will be Idaho's largest wind farm project, called the Oregon Trail Wind Farm. The project, which includes a total of 11 different wind farms, will consist of 122 wind turbines that will power nearly 40,000 homes, and is expected to create 175 jobs. In addition to the sizable investment in wind energy, Idaho lawmakers are hoping to lure geothermal investment to the area. A geothermal power plant could serve as a baseline energy source for when the wind is not blowing enough to create any electricity; a bill that would lower lease rates for geothermal developers is expected to be considered in the legislature in 2011. Lawmakers highlight legislation aimed at developing renewable energy – Twin Falls Times-News
IL – Governor Pat Quinn has signed two bills into law that are designed to increase the amount of solar energy produced in the State. The “Solar Ramp-Up Bill” will require a gradual increase in the proportion of solar energy that must be purchased by the State's utility companies from 0.5% in 2012 to 6% from 2015 on. Homeowners associations will not be allowed to prohibit the installation of solar panels on members' roofs under the Homeowners' Solar Energy Act. The Governor said the new laws will promote renewable energy development, create jobs, and lessen dependence on fossil fuels for meeting electricity demand within the State. Illinois ramps up solar development – Epoch Times
ME – Ocean Renewable Power Company has installed the largest ocean energy power plant to date off the eastern coast of Maine. The 60 megawatt tidal energy generator prototype has met or exceeded expectations in tests thus far, and will be used to charge a battery and provide power to a Coast Guard station in Eastport, Maine. The company's CEO hopes to have a 150 megawatt version connected to the electric grid in late 2011. Governor John Baldacci praised the company's success in his weekly radio address, and called for more renewable energy development that he said would lead to more jobs and less dependency on foreign oil. Maine company says underwater turbine is a success – Bangor Daily News and Baldacci touts renewable power in Maine – Bangor Daily News
NJ – Governor Chris Christie has signed a bill into law that uses two approaches to help build a wind power sector in the State. One approach is to provide financial assistance and $100 million in tax credits to companies that participate in building offshore wind farms. The other approach is to provide a steady market by requiring utilities to purchase 1,100 megawatts from wind power producers, which will not only create demand, but also help secure financial backing for wind power projects. Governor Christie signed the bill at a vacant chemical plant on the Delaware River that will be converted into a production and assembly site for wind turbines and components. Christie signs law encouraging offshore wind turbines – Philadelphia Inquirer
A report released by the US Department of Energy shows that the US as a whole used less energy in general but more energy from renewable sources in 2009 than in 2008. Total energy consumption declined by 4.6% from from 2008, while production of wind energy increased 44% from .51% to .74% of total energy production. Other modes of energy production from renewable sources rose as well, including solar, hydrothermal, and geothermal energy. The reduction in energy usage and increase in renewable energy production corresponds with a decrease in the use of fossil fuels to create energy; coal, natural gas, and petroleum all declined in use in 2009. Several factors contributed to the drop in energy consumption including higher-efficiency appliances and vehicles as well as the economic downturn, which resulted in less production and consumption in general. The White House has also issued a report which claims that the stimulus has put the US on track toward achieving three major energy goals: cutting the cost of solar power in half by 2015, cutting the cost of batteries for electric vehicles 70% by 2015, and doubling the amount of energy created by renewable sources by 2012. Americans using less energy, thanks to recession, technology – Christian Science Monitor and Annual Energy Review 2009 [pdf] – US Energy Information Administration and White House report: US on track to double renewable energy output – Wall Street Journal and The Recovery Act: Transforming the American economy through innovation [pdf] – The White House
The US Department of Energy has released $120 million to 120 private companies, nonprofits, universities, local governments, and national organizations in order to expand existing, successful weatherization programs and to fund new, innovative approaches to weatherizing low-income single and multifamily homes. The awards will allow grant recipients to install renewable energy systems (such as solar panels, wind turbines, and tank-less water heater systems), incorporate other services such as improving indoor air quality and lead abatement, and leverage private sector investment. DOE announces nearly $120 million to advance innovative weatherization projects, highlight progress in the program nationally – EERE News
In the States
FL – Governor Charlie Crist has called a special session of the State legislature to begin next week. The sole purpose of the session is to pass a constitutional amendment banning offshore oil before August 4, which would put the amendment on the ballot this November. Offshore drilling is already banned in Florida, but the Governor has expressed concern that future legislators might overturn the existing ban, which they could not do to a constitutional amendment. Crist calls for special session to ban offshore oil drilling near Florida – The Ledger
MO – Governor Jay Nixon has signed a bill into law that will make it easier for residents to pay for energy efficiency upgrades on their homes. Under the new law, cities and counties will be able to issue low-interest bonds to homeowners for home improvements such as new windows or insulation. The loans would be paid back to the State through a special 20-year assessment on property taxes. Mo. Gov. signs bills on energy efficiency, KC zoo – Bloomberg Business Week
OH – Governor Ted Strickland has announced the new Northwest Ohio Solar Energy Hub, a conglomeration of colleges, universities, and career centers aimed at promoting solar energy and related jobs and businesses. A $250,000 grant has been awarded to the hub, which will allow collaboration between these entities, the solar industry, and the manufacturing sector on a plan for urban economic development and revitalization. Governor announces Ohio solar energy hub – Solar Novus Today
UT – Governor Gary Herbert testified at a Republican House and Senate Western Caucus hearing in Washington, DC about the challenge of developing energy resources in Western States. He said that his goal is to streamline the process for energy companies interested in developing resources in the State and that uncertainty about the Obama administration’s policies on energy development on public lands is “spooking” companies considering investments in Utah. The Governor also said that Congressional Republicans and Democrats need to work together on these issues, that he thinks “it is foolish for us to fight and rant and rave,” and that he is working to build a relationship with the Obama administration. Gov. Gary Herbert urges cooperation with Obama administration on issues of the West – Deseret News
Governors from both parties in eleven States on the East Coast have signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) against a proposed electric transmission line from the Midwest to the East Coast. The proposed line would allow Midwestern States to send renewable energy produced there to the Eastern States. The Governors disapprove of the line because they would like to create their own alternative energy rather than import it from other States, and because they believe ratepayers in the Eastern States would shoulder the costs, estimated at $16 billion. Signatories include Governors M. Jodi Rell (R-CT), Jack Markell (D-DE), John Baldacci (D-ME), Martin O’Malley (D-MD), Deval Patrick (D-MA), John Lynch (D-NH), Chris Christie (R-NJ), David Paterson (D-NY), Donald Carcieri (R-RI), Jim Douglas (R-VT), and Bob McDonnell (R-VA). Eastern Governors protest Midwest wind transmission line – Des Moines Register
Six New England Governors and five Eastern Canadian Premiers participated in a conference to discuss energy goals. In the end, the leaders agreed to reduce energy use in buildings 20% by 2020 through higher standards in building codes, examine implementing a low carbon fuel standard, and promote solar power by establishing a regional usage standard. The Governors separately agreed to petition the US government to establish a high efficiency standard on furnaces in New England. Massachusetts promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy goals – GovMonitor
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said that he will bring energy and climate legislation to the Senate floor by the end of July. The legislation is still a rough draft and will be the subject of intense negotiations in the coming weeks, but Senator Reid has said it will contain a section on reducing greenhouse gas emissions that would apply only to electric utilities rather than the entire economy. A number of Senators from both parties have expressed skepticism that the bill will pass the procedural phase, with liberal Democrats saying it is too weak, moderate Democrats weary of costly new federal requirements, and Republicans opposed to the process being used to move he bill forward and certain elements of the legislation, including proposed limits on carbon emissions. Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) has already said that he will not vote for a motion to proceed, forcing Senator Reid to secure at least two Republican votes for cloture, though potential supporters of a more comprehensive approach such as Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) have signaled that they will not support the legislation if it caps greenhouse gas emissions in any way. In a move to build support for the measure, Senator John Kerry (D-MA), a key supporter, is set to meet with the main electric utility trade group on possible concessions on existing Clean Air Act regulations, causing some environmental groups who say they may withdraw support if the concessions are too great. Reid warms to July climate vote – Politico and Clock winding down on Senate’s carbon cap efforts – New York Times and Nelson says no to climate vote – Politico and Utilities, signaling support for carbon caps, want ‘relief’ from other air pollutants – New York Times
In the States
AK – Governor Sean Parnell has signed a pair of bills into law into law that offer companies tens of millions of dollars in tax incentives to drill for natural gas in Cook Inlet and make it cheaper and easier to build gas storage facilities. Demand for natural gas grows in the winter, when the need for heat is greatest, and slowing production from existing wells will need to be supplemented by either importing gas from elsewhere or increased domestic drilling. While some companies have existing leases to drill, the incentives are meant to prompt them into drilling sooner than later and store supplies for later use. Legislature’s incentives may draw gas rig to Inlet – Anchorage Daily News
HI – Hawaii has been chosen to be one of the first States to help launch the new all-electric car from Nissan, the LEAF, which is powered by lithium-ion batteries and produces zero tailpipe emissions. Governor Linda Lingle recently spoke at event announcing Nissan’s decision and said that the car “will build on Hawaii's progress to end our state's over-reliance on imported fossil fuels and increase our energy security.” The State has set a goal of obtaining 70% of its energy from clean sources by 2030. Residents can now reserve the car, which is eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, and costs more than 60% less per mile to drive than the average gasoline-powered car. Hawaii selected as an early launch State for Nissan LEAF vehicle – Reliable Plant
ME – Governor John Baldacci has signed five energy bills into law that will make generating and transmitting wind energy easier in the future. Included in the new laws is the creation of “energy corridors” or new transmission lines along major highways, steering funds to energy efficiency and alternative energy projects, as well as a smart grid and other infrastructure to allow energy efficient use of electric vehicles. Home and business owners will be allowed to tack upfront costs of energy efficiency projects onto their property tax bill for 10 to 20 years, and energy companies will be required to provide at least $4,000 in community benefits per wind turbine. Another bill institutes the Ocean Energy Task Force recommendations by creating a permit system, clarifying the leasing process, and setting energy goals for offshore wind and tidal energy systems. Baldacci signs energy bills aimed at cutting oil consumption – Maine Public Broadcasting Network and Energy bills smarten up State policy – Bangor Daily News
NJ – Governor Chris Christie and the State’s Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner, Bob Martin, have filed a petition with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to require a coal-fired power plant 500 feet across the border in Pennsylvania to reduce its emissions. According to the Commissioner, the plant in question emits three times as much as all seven coal power plants in New Jersey, but residents on both sides of the river are susceptible to the pollution. The plant is already the subject of a federal EPA lawsuit, though the plant’s owners say they are fully compliant with all Pennsylvania permit limitations. NJ Gov. Chris Christie, DEP chief seek reduced pollution from coal-burning plant in PA – The Star-Ledger
WI – Governor Jim Doyle is promoting the collaboration of two large university research consortia with private companies to research and develop clean energy solutions, saying “it is crucial that Wisconsin develop and maintain a leadership role in these emerging energy technologies.” Under the plan, the Center for Renewable Energy Systems in Madison and the Southeastern Wisconsin Energy Technology Research consortium in Milwaukee will combine into a single statewide group and provide energy research services for industry in the State. Wisconsin makes a play for clean energy – CivSource
Governor Doyle has also signed a bill that will make burning garbage for energy count as “renewable” and help the State realize its goal of obtaining 10% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015. Also listed as “renewable” is the Apollo light pipe, a small glass skylight dome that reflects daylight inside a building and reduces energy use. The skylight system is manufactured in Wisconsin. The Governor also vetoed a bill that would have required State buildings to become more energy efficient. Governor Doyle said that he vetoed the measure because the way it was written would have delayed current maintenance projects and would have created “chaos” for the State’s building construction program. Disputed renewable power bill signed – Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel
Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman publicly released their climate change and energy legislation in the company of both utility company executives and environmental advocates, but without the bill’s other original co-author, Senator Lindsey Graham. Climate provisions include a cap and trade policy that would cap utility, oil, and heavy industry emissions (following a temporary exemption), but not as broadly as the as the economy-wide House plan passed last year. Greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 17% by 2020 and 83% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels. Permits would initially be given away to utilities and coal burning power plants would receive more permits than natural gas power plants. In the wake of the ongoing Gulf oil leak, the legislation has been amended to scale back some the expansion of offshore oil drilling. States will now be able to stop certain plans to drill for oil off the coast of neighboring States. Nuclear plant operators would also receive loan guarantees under the proposed legislation. The nuclear power industry and utility companies generally embraced the plan, while some oil companies also voiced support. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, however, did not endorse the bill. Senator Graham issued a separate statement on the bill in which he predicted the bill would not gain bipartisan support given immigration politics and the recent oil spill in the Gulf. Climate bill’s fate down to business – Politico and Senate gets a climate and energy bill, modified by a Gulf spill that still grows – New York Times
The Georgetown Climate Center has produced an overview of the legislation’s State-related provisions.
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 has announced that up to 400 high-paying jobs will go to Arizona residents as a result of the State’s renewable energy tax incentive program. The Chinese solar energy company Suntech will begin operations in the State in January when the incentives go into effect with an initial investment of between $13 and $17 million, and continue to build facilities in the next few years. The Governor also said she is in talks with other large-scale renewable energy companies who have expressed interest in starting operations in the State. Brewer: addition of Chinese solar firm shows impact of tax credits – AZCapitolTimes.com
CA – The State of California has taken a big step toward implementing a broad-based State cap-and-trade program ahead of any potential action by the US Congress on federal climate change legislation. Draft rules issued this week by the California Air Resources Board would require major sources of air pollution, including power plants, refineries, and concrete factories to being reducing emissions in 2012. The State’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Beginning in 2015, emissions from industrial and transportation fuels would also be subjected to reductions. The draft rule does not specify how to allocate permits allowing companies to emit carbon dioxide and other GHGs, which is one of the most contentious issues being debated at the federal level. The chairwoman of the Air Resources Board, Mary D. Nichols, has stated that her preference is for all permits to be auctioned. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has said the new rules will help California address a serious environmental problem while allowing companies flexibility in meeting the State’s clean-air goals. California takes step to limit emissions – New York Times
ME – Governor Jon Baldacci was present at the dedication of three new offshore wind turbines that are now producing power for communities on the Fox Islands off the coast of Maine. The project is the largest community-owned wind production facility on the east coast and the largest off-shore wind farm in New England. The turbines were welcomed by the communities, who currently pay twice the national average for electricity sent from the mainland, but now have a cleaner, more affordable method of energy production. New England community wind project goes online, begins powering islands off Maine – Clean Edge News
OR – Governor Ted Kulongoski is seeking recommendations from two State agencies on the efficacy of the Business Energy Tax Credit after the Oregonian newspaper determined that some lawmakers had downplayed the cost of this incentive before its passage in 2007. The Governor’s office has expressed concern over the cost, saying that the State should only be as generous with the tax credits as is necessary to encourage growth in the clean energy sector, which is the goal of the credits. State legislators will take up the issue again in the next legislative session after a previous measure, a much lower cap on the tax credits, was vetoed by the Governor earlier this year. Governor orders review of Oregon energy tax credits – The Oregonian
Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) announced he will not support cap-and-trade legislation in its current form and unveiled a climate bill he authored with Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Senator Webb expressed disapproval of the cap-and-trade concept and the burdens such an approach might impose on US business vis-à-vis China. Instead of imposing restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions and establishing a market for pollution credits as the current bill would, the Webb-Alexander bill would provide up to $100 billion in loan guarantees for clean energy production, mainly to nuclear power plants, as well as $750 million per year for alternative fuel research and development. US Senators unveil bill to double nuclear power – Reuters and Jim Webb bails on cap-and-trade – Politico
The US Department of Energy has announced $683 million in new stimulus money for clean energy programs. The newly announced funds will provide $620 million to support 16 regional smart grid demonstration projects in 21 states and 16 utility-scale projects to help store renewable energy, $45 million for a new facility that will be able to test the next generation of wind turbines (expected to be too big for current domestic facilities), and $18 million in grants to support small business innovation in clean energy technology. The DOE and USDA have also announced $28.4 million in continued investment to increase the yield and efficiency of biomass and other biofuels. DOE Awards $620 Million for Smart Grid and Energy Storage Projects – EERE News and Secretary Chu Announces $45 Million to Support Next Generation of Wind Turbine Designs – EERE News and Recovery Act Announcement: DOE to Invest $18 Million in Small Business Clean Energy Innovation Projects – EERE News and USDA-DOE Make Available $4 Million for Biomass Genomics Research – US Department of Agriculture and DOE and USDA Select Projects for more than $24 Million in Biomass Research and Development Grants – US Department of Energy
In the States
GA – The State is deploying two economic development teams to compete nationally and globally to attract alternative energy companies. Competition for such businesses among States is strong in the current economy because the industry is currently growing and the jobs they produce typically pay higher wages. One of the teams will seek companies that will develop Georgia’s own energy resources such as biofuels, and the other will seek companies that make materials such as wind or solar products that Georgia could manufacture for use in other States. State chasing alternative energy projects – Atlanta Business Chronicle
KS – Governor Mark Parkinson called on Congress in general – and the Kansas delegation in particular – to pass a federal renewable energy standard that would require a percentage of the nation’s energy to be produced from renewable sources such as wind or solar. He also advocated the indefinite extension of the renewable energy production credit, saying that short-term extensions cause uncertainty among investors. Parkinson calls for federal RES – Topeka Capital-Journal
ME – Governor John Baldacci proposed ideas on how to increase production of energy from wind power in a speech to wind power proponents. The Governor said he is interested in replicating ideas he saw in Europe on a trade mission, such as transforming manufacturing sites into factories for wind turbines and an offshore wind farm. Governor Baldacci also called for a “participatory debate and discussion” at which all parties could voice their opinion, but stressed that “we need to take action.” Baldacci touts wind potential – Bangor Daily News
Regional and National News
Twenty-six out of 35 States have met or are on track to meet their renewable energy goals, according to research done by USA Today. Some States have found the goals elusive due to regulatory issues, an outdated electric grid, or the economic downturn. States’ experiences with renewable energy requirements could prove enlightening to the federal government as Congress is debating whether to impose a renewable energy standard nationwide. States not meeting renewable energy goals – USA Today
The US Department of Energy is hosting a webinar for State and local officials on how to best implement feed-in tariffs to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on Wednesday, October 28 from 3:00pm to 4:15pm. Participants must register in advance online at this site, after which they will be provided with a link and a password to attend the webinar. More information can be found here. DOE webcast October 28 for State and local officials: Feed-in tariffs – EERE News
In the States
ME – Governor Baldacci has signed a new law that will establish a six-year pilot program that will allow individuals and groups to sell renewable power to the Public Utilities Commission at a fixed rate for up to 20 years, with the goal of encouraging small renewable energy projects. The law also allows for energy to be bought in blocks by investors and consumers. Baldacci signs law prompting smaller energy – Kennebec Journal
OR – The state’s legislature has passed some – but not all – of the energy-related legislation that was on the agenda for this session. A bill that would create a low-carbon standard for fuel sold in Oregon has passed, but a bill that would guarantee that emissions will be 10% below 1990 levels by 2020 has not. Some pending bills would reverse existing clean energy legislation, such as a bill that would decrease tax credits for alternative energy producers that easily passed the House, though Governor Kulongoski’s office has said that the Governor will not “allow any rollback.” Many green-friendly bills don’t make the cut in Oregon – Oregonian and Update: Bill to cut carbon emissions from gasoline, diesel fuel, gains approval - Oregonian
SD – South Dakota currently produces 237 megawatts of electricity with wind power and has some of the greatest potential for more, but only if transmission lines are upgraded to carry more alternative energy. The state’s electricity grid has not been updated since the 1970s. The Obama administration has designated $11 billion in stimulus funds to upgrade the nation’s electric grid and private companies have invested billions more to build the needed transmission lines. While these improvements will allow more wind power to be created in South Dakota’s rural areas and used in populated centers, as well as lessen the chances for interruptions in the power supply, much more investment is needed to sufficiently expand transmission capacity. Wind power blocked by ‘glass ceiling’ – Argus Leader
Regional and Federal News
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative completed its fourth auction, selling 30.8 million pollution allowances for $3.23 each for a total of $104 million. The 10 states in the Initiative have so far sold over 110 million allowances for a total of $366.5 million that will be used to weatherize homes, perform energy efficiency audits, help small businesses lower energy usage, and other uses. Auction raises $104 M for renewable energy – Rutland Herald
Automakers Ford, Nissan, and Tesla will receive a total of $8 billion in order to retool their factories to build electric vehicles and battery packs and increase fuel efficiency. Business leaders say tens of thousands of jobs will be created by the loans, which are part of the $25 billion in loans approved for automakers by Congress in 2007. The cap-and-trade legislation currently being discussed in Congress contains a provision to double the loans to $50 billion. The Energy Department is working with GM and Chrysler, who must get out of bankruptcy before being eligible for the loan. 3 automakers get loans to build more efficient cars – Washington Post
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has voted 15-8 to pass what has been called a compromise between Republicans and Democrats on energy and climate change policy. The legislation would require that utilities obtain 15% of their energy from renewable energy by 2021, but would not put a cap on the amount of greenhouse gases polluters could emit. The bill would also allow drilling for oil within 45 miles of coastlines, provide incentives for carbon capture and storage, expand the national petroleum reserves, and increase funding for clean energy technology and training. Senate panel approves energy bill – New York Times
American Clean Energy and Security Act
On Friday, June 26, the House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, written by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and promoted by President Obama by a vote of 219-212. The legislation would limit emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. Additional language was added the night before the vote, including additional emission allowances for rural electric cooperatives, authority for the US Department of Agriculture to determine agricultural offsets for farmers, and a number of other provisions benefiting specific industries.
During the debate, one point of contention between parties was the cost of the bill to rate-payers. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average household will pay an additional $80-$111 per year by 2020, while the Congressional Budget Office estimates the average household will pay an additional $175 per year by 2020, with those in lowest-income homes saving $40 per year due to rebates. Republicans estimated that the average household would pay an additional $3,100 per year.
Another issue revolved around the efficacy of the provisions. Supporters of the bill claimed that up to 1.7 million jobs would be created through the creation of clean energy infrastructure while opponents claimed millions of jobs would be lost in closing small businesses and manufacturers that cannot afford the additional costs. Supporters also asserted that the reductions in emissions would stem or reverse global climate change, while opponents generally questioned the effectiveness of the legislation in the absence of international cooperation and the degree to which climate change poses a near-term threat.
MT – It’s been three years since Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission applied for permits to build a coal-fired power plant in
MT – A compromise has been reached by regulators in the decision of who should pay for “regulating reserve power” or the power the utility would have to produce to make up for lost power when wind turbines are not turning. The utility company said the wind company should pay for the energy, while wind companies maintained they were being overcharged. The Public Service Commission decided that the wind companies should pay a discounted rate to the utility companies. Montana regulators decide wind integration charges – Houston Chronicle
NJ – New Jersey is contemplating building a new nuclear plant in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The project is in its earliest stages of studying sites and reviewing permits. Environmental groups have already expressed opposition to the Governor’s energy plan which includes the construction of more nuclear plants. New Jersey weighs building another nuclear plant, first since 1973 – New York Times
OH – As part of a comprehensive energy bill, Ohio lawmakers have agreed to change the incentive system for power companies. Until now, utilities have been encouraged by the state to produce as much power as possible. The new law would require the companies to produce less power next year, and a small rate hike, which would fund energy efficiency programs. The bill would also require 12.5% of the energy in the state’s portfolio to come from renewable sources with benchmarks for each year in between. Lawmakers push energy efficiency – Toledo Blade and Group says wind an economic boon – Toledo Blade
National and Regional
Five governors gathered at Yale University's Conference of Governors on Climate Change along with state officials from other states and signed a declaration that the states will continue to fight global warming and that Congress and the next president should work with them on establishing a new national policy. Eighteen governors have signed the declaration. Governors convene at Yale to fight global warming – Hartford Courant and Sub-national action on climate change – Yale University