Blog posts : "military"
In the States
IL – Governor Pat Quinn has signed a bill into law that paves the way for a coal gasification facility to be built in southern Illinois just miles from where coal will be mined for its operation. The facility will convert coal into synthetic natural gas and remove and store more than 90% of carbon emissions. At the bill signing, Governor Quinn said that the plant will “help revive the coal industry in southern Illinois while ensuring that Illinois remains a leader in the development of state-of-the-art clean energy facilities.” The new law should also help to stabilize the price of the resulting natural gas, provide other consumer protections, and create over 1,600 jobs, 550 of which will be permanent. Governor Quinn also recently signed other energy legislation, including a bill to study the potential for offshore wind energy in Lake Michigan, and another bill to allow counties to establish districts for wind farms. Governor Quinn signs law to advance clean energy project – Decatur Tribune and Southern Illinois coal-gasification plant will bring hundreds of jobs – Evansville Courier-Press and Quinn signs bill to study offshore wind energy – Chicago Tribune
NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill into law that will change the way power plants are built, the oversight of smaller energy development projects, and the manner by which energy efficiency projects are paid for by homeowners and businesses. The new law reinstates a process for approving new power plants that had expired in 2003. Governor Cuomo said this streamlined process will provide a “faster, easier, more expeditious, and more predictable” way to approve new plants. This approval process will apply to all fuel types, traditional as well as renewable. The new law also creates a seven-person board to oversee development of all power plants over 25 megawatts in size; a previous law only required State oversight of plants over 60 megawatts in size, leaving local communities to oversee those projects, which can include wind farms and battery storage facilities. Under the new law, homeowners and businesses will also be able to finance energy-efficiency projects through additional payments on utility bills. The law has the support of the power industry, environmental groups, and consumer groups. Gov. Cuomo approves power plant siting bill – Ithaca Journal
PA – As the debate over whether to impose a tax or fee on gas retrieved from the Marcellus shale continues, Governor Tom Corbett has offered a potential solution to the question of what to do with the potential revenues, which may impact lawmakers’ decisions on the matter. Governor Corbett has suggested using some of the revenues to cap the more than 100,000 abandoned shallow wells, some of which date back to the mid-1800s, and which can lead to a range of consequences, including the leaking of new wells the explosion of nearby buildings. Currently no funding exists to properly cap the aging wells, many of which do not currently have a known or fiscally solvent owner. The proposal has been endorsed by both drilling companies and the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Corbett: Shale gas fee could cap wells – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
The Obama administration has unveiled new rules that will, for the first time, require heavy-duty trucks and buses, including tractor trailers, to comply with fuel efficiency and emissions control guidelines that will cut fuel use 23% below 2010 levels by 2018. U.S. officials estimate that the new regulations will increase the cost of a new tractor trailer by over $6,000, but will save the owner an estimated $73,000 over the life of the vehicle in reduced fuel costs. The new regulations were issued jointly by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and were welcomed by engine manufacturers, the trucking industry, and environmental groups, who all appear to agree that the rules allow sufficient time for full compliance while effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions and save money on fuel. Fuel efficiency rules set for heavy-duty trucks and buses – Washington Post
The U.S. Army is aiming for a target of 25% of its electricity use to come from renewable sources by 2025. In an effort to achieve this goal, the Army will spend as much as $7.1 billion through a task force that will work with developers to build renewable energy power plants that will produce about 10 megawatts each at bases in the U.S. Army Secretary John McHugh said that the renewable energy goal is “the right thing to do for the environment in this era of diminishing resources and the right thing to do for federal taxpayers.” Army forms unit to manage development of renewable power plants – Bloomberg
In the States
MN – Several bills have been drafted that would repeal, to differing degrees, a 2007 bipartisan law that bans new coal-fired power plants and the importing of coal-powered electricity until carbon offsets or a plan to lower emissions are in place. Sponsors are saying that the law places unnecessary burdens on industry, slowing economic recovery once the recession is over. Governor Mark Dayton has not said yet indicated whether he will veto any particular repeal bill, but he did campaign in part on maintaining a moratorium on new nuclear power plants that is a part of the same law. Minn. Republicans hope to undo clean energy policies – Minnesota Public Radio
NM – A State Supreme Court ruling has reversed an order by Governor Susana Martinez that blocked publication of regulations aimed at reducing emissions from utilities and dairies within the State. One of the regulations requires a three percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions every year. The Court ruled that the regulations must be published in the State’s register, but opponents of the regulations plan to work with the Governor and the State legislature to change the rules. Court reverses New Mexico Governor on environmental rules – New York Times
State of the State Addresses
While approximately half of the Governors have given their State of the State or State of the Commonwealth addresses, the realities imposed by the financial downturn caused most Governors to focus their speeches on addressing fiscal difficulties and job creation rather than energy issues. Still, some Governors incorporated energy plans tied to job creation and retention.
Several Governors cited recent energy business investments that would help lead their States to better fiscal times, including South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, and Delaware Governor Jack Markell, all of whom who noted recent increased renewable energy investments or improvements. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said that Nordic Windpower USA’s new plant will create 200 jobs, and proposed to create more through the construction of a new nuclear power plant. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour noted several investments in his State, including coal, oil, nuclear, LNG, solar, ethanol, coal-to-liquids, and carbon capture projects.
A few Governors called for increased domestic renewable energy production. For example, Hawaii Governor Neal Abercrombie expressed support for accelerating renewable energy projects in his State, and improving Hawaii’s energy security. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval called for more renewables on federal lands, saying, “I support all efforts to make Nevada the renewable energy capital of the country.”
Some Governors discussed a mix of fossil fuels and renewable energy resources available to their states. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said he hoped to make Virginia the “Energy Capital of the East Coast” by investing, in part, in solar, wind, waste-to-energy, and biomass, and promoting offshore wind by leasing offshore parcels for wind energy production and serving as headquarters for the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium. But he also called for increasing oil, coal, gas, and nuclear energy production. While Alaska Governor Sean Parnell said that investments in hydroelectric power and renewable energy grants in his State would create jobs and help the State meet his goal of 50% renewable power by 2025, he also wants to lower taxes on oil production in order to create more jobs. Wyoming Governor Matt Mead discussed “value-added” projects such as combing wind power with gas-fired turbines, as well the manufacturing of wind turbine components. In addition, he supports continued use of coal while making it a cleaner fuel through carbon capture and sequestration, and also advocates greater use of carbon injection technologies for enhanced oil extraction, as well as coal gasification.
In discussing his State’s abundant fossil fuel resources, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said he will aggressively pursue the State’s lawsuit against the U.S. EPA over mountaintop removal regulations, and that he supports development of the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia and carbon capture and sequestration.
Links to all of the Governors’ addresses can be found at the State of the State Speeches Calendar on Stateline.org
President Barack Obama gave his annual State of the Union speech to Congress last week, during which he issued a challenge of producing 80% of electricity from clean energy sources by 2035. President Obama said that all forms of energy production are needed to meet this goal, and mentioned nuclear power, clean coal, and natural gas in addition to wind and solar. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, who gave the Republican response to the State of the Union, emphasized the need for less government spending and a more limited government rather than new investments. Several high-ranking Democrats expressed support for the idea of a broader clean energy mandate while most Republicans remained skeptical about incentivizing one energy type over another or imposing mandates on the private sector. Senators laud “clean energy” push – Politico and State of the Union (Transcript) – White House and State of the Union Response (Transcript) – House Budget Committee
According to a new report commissioned by the federal government as required in the 2009 Defense Authorization Act, the United States military would not receive any significant benefit from greater use of alternative fuels. The study, performed by the RAND Corporation, said that focusing on energy efficiency would have a greater impact on lowering greenhouse gases. The report received criticism from Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy for the Navy Thomas W. Hicks, who said he was not consulted by RAND, and that the report ignores energy security issues, and from environmental groups, biofuels proponents, the Algal Biomass Organization, and others. RAND says that while the military is a major consumer of liquid fuels, it still only uses two percent of the country’s daily intake, and since some biofuels are still in their infancy, the money spent on alternative fuels in the military would have a small effect on greenhouse gas emissions. Alternative fuels don’t benefit the military, a RAND report says – New York Times