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Energy Update, June 1, 2012

June 1, 2012

In the States

MD – Governor Martin O’Malley has signed three bills into law that are designed to increase the usage of solar energy and geothermal heating and cooling.  The new geothermal law makes Maryland the only state to count geothermal heat pumps toward its renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS), which requires utilities to obtain 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2022.  Governor O’Malley also enacted laws that will increase tax breaks for solar and geothermal projects and move up the deadline on the solar energy RPS, which will now require two percent of the state’s energy to come from solar by 2020 rather than the original 2022.  Maryland Gov. signs geothermal heat pump billContracting Business and O’Malley signs hundreds of bills that will tint Maryland a deeper shade of blueWashington Post and Maryland Legislation To Accelerate Solar Carve-Out Signed Into LawSolar Industry

NC – Governor Bev Perdue has issued an executive order mandating the creation of a workgroup to make recommendations on regulations concerning hydraulic fracturing.  Governor Perdue said that the workgroup should define regulations that allow for energy development while protecting water resources and citizens’ health.  "If done safely, fracking can be part of a larger energy solution to create jobs and help lower energy costs," the Governor said.  State House and Senate Republicans favor a bill that would create a board comprised of House, Senate, and Gubernatorial appointees to develop regulations and lift the moratorium on drilling, but expressed optimism that the Governor is taking action on drilling regulation.  Gov. Bev Perdue issues order to develop fracking rules for North CarolinaFayetteville Observer

OH – Governor John Kasich has said that he will sign a bill into law that will require new regulations on construction of new oil and gas wells, greater disclosure of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, and water testing within 1,500 feet of hydraulic fracturing water wells.  The energy bill, which passed with overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate, also requires that the amount of time between drilling and capping of wells be tracked, that well owners purchase insurance, and that waste water imported from other states be disclosed.  Ohio legislature OKs bill on energy fracking rulesChicago Tribune

National News

Senators James Inhofe (R-OK) and Christopher Coons (D-DE) have founded a working group with other Senators designed to examine the renewable fuels standard in an effort to determine which of its provisions are working and which are not.  The group will dedicate 20 – 30 staff members to a “seed-to-wheel examination” of the standard, which will take into account its affect on markets, the environment, food prices, feedstock, and consumers.  The group’s intent is to bring biofuels and the renewable fuels standard up for discussion in the next Congress, following this year’s elections.  US Senate group starts up “seed to wheel” review of US Renewable Fuel StandardBiofuels Digest

The U.S. Commerce Department has issued a preliminary ruling that will impose a 13.7 to 26 percent duty on wind turbine towers manufactured in China on the grounds that the companies building the towers have received unfair government subsidies.  The ruling comes not long after the Department issued a similar ruling on Chinese solar panels based on unfair subsidies.  After that ruling, the Department also ruled that Chinese companies manufacturing solar panels were “dumping” in the American market and subjected them to additional tariffs.  Wind turbine towers may also face additional duties due to dumping charges in the coming weeks.  Reactions to the rulings among businesses have been mixed.  Steelworkers are in favor of the rulings, as are U.S. solar panel and wind tower manufacturers; solar panel installers say that the higher prices will slow their business.  A lawyer for the coalition of U.S.-based wind turbine tower manufacturers that brought the complaint to the Department said that the decision is a “positive step” and is “where we expected it to be,” while a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that “resorting to protectionism will not solve these frictions.” U.S. imposes duties on Chinese wind tower makersNew York Times and U.S. sets duties as high as 26% on wind towers from ChinaBloomberg BusinessWeek

 

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Energy Update, March 23, 2012

March 23, 2012

In the States

NC – Governor Bev Perdue has said that she believes hydraulic fracturing can be done safely in North Carolina if it is properly regulated, following an unannounced trip to Pennsylvania to examine the process.  The State’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources came to a similar conclusion shortly after the Governor’s announcement, when the Department released a study conducted with the Department of Commerce that was mandated by the legislature last year.  The study notes that there are likely unknown consequences of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, requiring effective regulatory oversight of the process.  Governor Perdue highlighted the potential economic benefits of energy resource development, saying that it is “something that can help America and North Carolina be globally competitive," but that much of that potential depends on “whether the folks who live in this community are willing to move forward.”  Perdue says “fracking” can be done safely in NCNews & Record and DENR: With safeguards, fracking is OK in North CarolinaCharlotte Observer

PA – Royal Dutch Shell has decided to locate its petrochemical plant, also known as an ethane cracker, near Pittsburgh, and Governor Tom Corbett has said that while the deal is the “first pitch in a nine-inning game” – the site must meet environmental and other requirements – it would “have the potential to be the single largest industrial investment in the region in at least a generation.”  Construction of the plant is expected to create 10,000 jobs, while another 10,000 workers will be needed to operate the plant itself, as well as for jobs at suppliers and businesses that will use the products made at the plant.  Corbett: Shell decision the first pitch in the gamePittsburgh Business Times and Corbett says “cracker” plant a job provider to State’s studentsPittsburgh Post-Gazette 

SD – Governor Dennis Daugaard has vetoed a bill that would have cut construction taxes in half on wind farm development projects and environmental upgrades to existing power plants over $50 million.  The bill was passed by the legislature to provide incentives to companies to invest in major wind projects and to help power plants conform to new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations.  Governor Daugaard said in a statement about the veto that he did not disagree with providing incentives for in-state energy development, but felt that the legislature should wait to pass any new incentives until after a November vote on an initiative that would offer incentives to a wider variety of construction projects.  The Governor also said that such a program should include incentives for construction projects under $50 million, citing a $40 million wind farm project within the State that would be ineligible for benefits under the vetoed legislation.  South Dakota governor vetoes tax breaks for wind farms as untimely, discriminatoryThe Republic

 National News

The number of new photovoltaic solar panels installed in the United States more than doubled between 2010 and 2011 according to a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association.  In 2010, 887 megawatts of photovoltaic solar capacity was installed; that total increased by 109 percent in 2011 when 1,855 megawatts of solar capacity was installed.  Part of the reason for the increase in installations is a reduction of prices for photovoltaic panels, which in 2011 dropped nearly 50 percent.  California installed the most solar capacity of any state in 2011 -- in part due to the State’s 33 percent renewable energy standard that must be met by 2020 -- followed by New Jersey, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Nevada.  Solar installations doubled last year, with California leading the wayMiami Herald

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Energy Update, February 10, 2012

February 10, 2012

State of the State Addresses

Ten more Governors have given their State of the State addresses in the last two weeks, and the majority of them discussed energy issues, mostly in the context of attracting or retaining jobs in their respective states.  Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett noted the jobs available in natural gas production and said that he is working to attract a natural gas processing plant to the Commonwealth, while Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said that he would like to permanently abolish the tax on natural gas in order to boost his State’s ability to compete for jobs.  Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin called energy “the back bone of our economy” and said that an agreement Oklahoma entered into with nine other states would lead result in the State purchasing thousands of vehicles for its vehicle fleet each year, which would help support jobs in Oklahoma’s natural gas industry.  Ohio Governor John Kasich said that lower energy costs would promote business development. 

Some Governors expressed their belief that increasing renewable energy and reducing energy use are also important goals.  Governor Fallin asked the legislature to pass a bill that would reduce energy consumption in State buildings and higher education facilities 20 percent by 2020.  Governor Kasich proposed using waste heat as an energy source and said he supports greater use of renewable energy so long as it does not raise energy costs.  New Hampshire Governor John Lynch said that he supports renewable energy, including hydroelectric power, though he opposes a transmission line bringing hydroelectric power from Canada if it does not have sufficient local support.  Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley said he supports the work that has been done to build an offshore wind farm, and noted a settlement with an energy company that requires an investment in solar and wind energy. 

Governors also highlighted some of the advancements made on energy issues over the past year.  Governor Corbett said that natural gas development has lowered prices by 40 percent in the past year.  Governor Lynch noted that many residents and businesses have benefitted from the State’s energy-efficiency fund, new production of wind turbines and biomass plants, as well as successful business expansions under the State’s Green Launching Pad program.  Governor Quinn said that Illinois has the most wind turbines of any state and that universities and government facilities have been working together on creating energy-efficient batteries.

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

In the States

MO – Governor Jay Nixon has added his voice in support of a proposed 600-mile oil pipeline from Illinois to Oklahoma.  "We believe this proposal has tremendous potential to boost Missouri's economy, create construction jobs across our State and brighten America's energy future," Governor Nixon said.  Since the pipeline would not cross an international border, it does not need the same federal approvals as the proposed Keystone XL project.  Enbridge Inc., the Canadian company behind the pipeline, estimates that as many as 3,400 workers would be needed to build the pipeline and as many as 400 would be employed at related facilities like pump stations.  Missouri Governor backs plans for new pipelineCBS

UT – Governor Gary Herbert has announced an initiative that would ask residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their emissions.  The Governor said that “All of us can do something to improve Utah’s air quality,” but that it should not be done with “the heavy hand of government.”  Currently, the initiative, known as Utah Clean Air Partnership, or U-CAIR, involves a website where visitors can sign a pledge to improve air quality by changing habits such as using a push lawn mower and keeping solvents in air-tight containers.  While environmental activists were hoping the initiative would mandatory requirements rather than recommendations, Governor Herbert said “I think it’s better to do this voluntarily.”  Governor announces clean air initiativeDeseret News

WV – Governor Earl Ray Tomblin criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a statement after it was announced that three of the State’s oldest and most polluting coal-fired power plants will be retired this year due in part to new EPA regulations limiting mercury and other toxic emissions.  In his statement, Governor Tomblin said, "I urge the EPA to respectfully and accurately review the entire impact of their decisions -- from environmental to economical -- because individuals, families, and communities are forever changed by their short-sighted decisions."  FirstEnergy, the company that owns the plants, said that 105 employees will be affected by the shutdown, but that some of these workers will be considered for positions at other plant locations.  FirstEnergy to snuff Albright, Rivesville, Willow Island plantsState Journal and EPA causes power company to close plantsLegal Newsline

National News

U.S. Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar said that his department is “moving full-steam ahead to accelerate the siting, leasing, and construction of new” offshore wind farms.  The agency within Interior that is responsible for offshore leases, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, has cleared the way for companies to bid for and lease parcels for wind farms in designated areas off the coasts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey after an assessment from that agency concluded that the wind farms would have no significant socioeconomic or environmental effects.  Obama administration renews offshore wind power pushWall Street Journal MarketWatch

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has granted a license to The Southern Company to build two new nuclear reactors in Georgia, the first new start for a nuclear reactor since 1978.  The $14 billion project will be built at an existing nuclear facility near Augusta and will begin operating in 2016 or 2017.  New safety features will be incorporated into the design that should simplify emergency operations in the event of a malfunction, and the reactors will be built to withstand earthquakes and plane crashes.  Some anti-nuclear organizations oppose the new reactors because they believe that safety issues that surfaced in the recent Fukushima meltdown in Japan have note been adequately addressed.  The NRC voted 4-1in favor granting the license; the lone dissenter was the Commission’s chairman, Gregory Jaczko, who opposed the license on the basis that not all requested safety features may be in place before operations begin.  Federal regulators approve two nuclear reactors in GeorgiaNew York Times

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Energy Update, January 27, 2012

January 27, 2012

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

National News

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 TranscriptWhite House and Energy Blueprint Fact SheetWhite House and Obama pitches ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategyNational 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 responseMcClatchy

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 TranscriptWhite House and Energy Blueprint Fact SheetWhite House and Obama pitches ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategyNational 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 responseMcClatchy

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Energy Update, December 30, 2011

December 30, 2011

In the States

CO – A new rule approved by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission requires companies that engage in hydraulic fracturing, often called “fracking,” to disclose the chemicals and the concentrations of each that is used in the fluid pumped into the ground to extract gas.  The rule had been vigorously debated, and eventually Governor John Hickenlooper stepped in to help settle the issue of how to handle trade secrets.  Environmental groups and industry representatives are generally pleased with the rule, which requires companies to disclose the chemicals on a website and provide nearby residents information on fracking.  Colorado approval of fracking fluids’ full disclosure came after long negotiations and nudge from GovernorDenver Post

CT – Under a new competitive bidding program, the State’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection selected two companies out of 21 applicants to build two solar power plants that will generate a total of 10 megawatts, enough to power 10,000 homes.  The plants will help to meet a state mandate passed this year that requires 30 megawatts of new renewable energy projects.  Governor Dannel Malloy praised the competitive bidding program, saying the number of applicants shows that “entrepreneurs and clean technology innovators are excited about the new approach Connecticut has taken.”  The remaining 20 megawatts of renewable energy will be developed by utilities.  Largest-ever solar projects approved by StateHartford Courant

MS – At Governor Haley Barbour’s request, the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) has issued a set of regulations that could allow oil and natural gas drilling in State waters near barrier islands within the next year.  Environmental groups and tourism industry leader united several years ago to oppose legislation that allowed drilling in coastal areas, citing concern over environmental and economic effects of a potential spill.  The legislation that eventually passed kept some areas of the Gulf off limits to drilling but gave the MDA the authority to issue and regulate oil and gas leases in State waters.  However, Hurricane Katrina and last year’s Gulf oil spill delayed further consideration of the issue.  Earlier this year, Governor Barbour asked the MDA to work on the rules so they could be completed before his term ends.  The MDA estimates that the State will gain between $250 million and $500 million in royalties from drilling.  Miss. moves toward offshore oil and gas leasingHattiesburg American and State agency revives offshore drilling effortsSun Herald

NJ – Governor Chris Christie has signed a bill into law that will allow solar panels and wind turbines to be installed on closed landfills and quarries.  Lawmakers in favor of the new law said it would benefit the environment and the economy by creating renewable energy and jobs.  The bill was originally passed in January but was vetoed by Governor Christie due to a technical issue that was later corrected and returned to the Governor for his signature.  Solar power legislation now law in NJNorthJersey.com and Bill to promote solar energy facilities signed into lawNJToday.net

Regional News

Four states will receive a total of $60 million in a settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) after a multi-year lawsuit in which the states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and three environmental groups alleged that the TVA’s coal-fired power plants had spread pollution across the southeast.  The settlement directs the money to be spent on energy efficiency and environmental projects and requires the TVA to shutter 18 coal plants by 2017, close or convert an additional 16 by 2019, and spend $5 billion on emission control equipment for remaining power plants.  The states are currently planning how to spend the funds, which will paid out over the next five years.  States receive energy windfallChattanooga Times Free Press

Federal News

New rules released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will require power plants that generate electricity with coal or oil to greatly reduce emissions of 84 different toxins including mercury, arsenic, nickel, selenium, and cyanide.  The rules, which implement clean air mandates enacted by Congress over two decades ago and comply with a court order for federal action, are estimated by the EPA to prevent 11,000 premature deaths and hundreds of thousands of ailments each year.  Within as little as four years, all coal- and oil-fired power plants must meet or exceed the emission rates of the cleanest 12 percent of such plants.  At the current time, about 40 percent of the nation’s plants have no emissions controls in place.   An analysis by the Associated Press concluded that between 32 and 68 coal-fired power plants may close as a result of the new rules.  Utility groups have said that the rules will cost as many as a million jobs over the next decade, though the EPA estimates that it expects only a small change in employment.  EPA rules target mercury pollution, toxics from power plantsUSA Today and EPA forces dirtiest power plants to clean up toxic air pollution but gives leeway on timingWashington Post

A provision in the payroll tax cut extension legislation recently signed into law by President Barack Obama will require the White House to make a decision on whether to allow construction of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline by February 21, 2012.  The President has said previously that a decision would not be made until 2013.  The provision requires the President to approve the pipeline within 60 days of passage unless he declares it to not be in the country’s “national interest.”  Several executive branch officials have indicated that a Congressionally-imposed 60-day timeline would result in a rejection of the proposal since there is not enough time to complete the review process and the route has not yet been finalized.  If the pipeline is rejected, its developer, TransCanada, would need to submit another application and start from the beginning with more hearings and reviews, a process that has taken three years to date.  Obama signs payroll tax bill that requires speedy decision on Keystone pipelineThe Hill and Politics stamps out oil sands pipeline, yet it seems likely to endureNew York Times

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced federal approval of two renewable energy projects on public land in the Southwest that he says “will produce the clean energy equivalent of nearly 18 coal-fired power plants.”  The projects include a solar energy facility southwest of Phoenix, AZ that will power about 90,000 homes and a wind farm east of San Diego, CA that will power up to 65,000 homes.  These two are the latest renewable energy projects approved for construction on public land; there are currently 25 such projects that, when completed, will power 2.2 million homes.  The Obama Administration is also attempting to promote the installation of wind turbines off the east coast, though a lack of investment and expiring tax credits are hampering those efforts.  Obama admin pushes renewable energy on 2 coastsAssociated Press and Obama Administration approves 2 huge renewable energy projectsCleanTechnica

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Energy Update, October 21, 2011

October 21, 2011

In the States

CA – After an eight hour hearing that consisted of passionate speeches both in support and in opposition, the California Air Resources Board unanimously created the nation’s first statewide cap-and-trade program.  A controversial part of the landmark climate change legislation passed in 2006, AB 32, the cap-and-trade program will be phased in beginning in 2013 with the State’s largest greenhouse gas emitters and will expand in 2015 to include almost all emission sources.  The cap-and-trade program was instituted in order to help the State reach the goal mandated by AB 32 of returning greenhouse gas levels emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.  The second largest cap-and-trade program in the world has support from both Governor Jerry Brown and former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  California becomes first state to adopt cap-and-trade programLos Angeles Times and California adopts limits on greenhouse gasesNew York Times and California moves ahead with cap-and-trade, adopts final rulesFox Business News

OK – Governor Mary Fallin has been unanimously elected to as Chair of the Southern States Energy Board, an organization of Governors and legislators from 16 states and two territories to encourage innovation in energy programs and policies.  Responding to her election, Governor Fallin said she was “honored to be elected” to the group that “has an excellent reputation for its powerful support of the traditional energy resources that are needed and used by Oklahoma and other states every day.”  She also said “we must build our energy infrastructure base and support American made energy” by “fully exploiting the United States’ reserves of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing as well as improving the technology needed to capture and store carbon dioxide for use in advanced oil recovery.”  Board elects Governor Fallin as chairmanTulsa Today

VA – Governor Bob McDonnell spoke to about 400 people at his second annual Governor’s Conference on Energy and critiqued the federal government’s energy policies.  The Governor said the federal government had impeded the development of fossil fuels and had not pushed hard enough for more nuclear energy.  "We unfortunately have erected too many impediments, too many roadblocks at the federal level," Governor McDonnell said.  He said that in order to create jobs and provide for the expected increase in energy demand, "We've got to have a comprehensive, red-white-and-blue American energy policy," which he said would be an “all-of-the-above approach” including fossil fuels, nuclear, and renewable energy as well as increased conservation.  The Governor also called for increased offshore oil and gas drilling as an economic development tool.  The three-day conference also included discussions and speeches by energy executives.  McDonnell chides federal government for hindering energy developmentRichmond Times-Dispatch and Va. energy conference begins 3-day run MondayBloomberg BusinessWeek

Federal News

The number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. has nearly doubled in the past year according to a survey of oil and gas rigs conducted by oil services firm Baker Hughes and represents a record high since they began tracking the data 24 years ago.  Nearly 1,100 oil rigs are currently drilling around the country this week, with the spike in production mainly due to technological advancements such as hydraulic fracturing that allow shale oil to be extracted in an economically viable way.   The states that contain more unconventional oil fields, such as North Dakota and Texas, have experienced most of the increases.  U.S. oil rig count hits recordReuters

The White House has identified 14 infrastructure projects that it intends to fast-track through environmental and permitting processes, as well as other regulatory requirements, including two new wind farms.  A 15-turbine wind farm to be built in southern Vermont is included on the list of expedited projects, as is a 52-turbine facility in the San Bernardino National Forest in California.  The Vermont wind farm should receive a full environmental impact statement by the end of this year and the timeline for the review process for the California wind farm should be cut in half, from three years to 18 months.  14 U.S. infrastructure projects get federal fast-trackingAtlantic Cities and Obama Administration announces selection of 14 infrastructure projects to be expedited through permitting and environmental review processWhite House

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Energy Update, October 7, 2011

October 7, 2011

In the States

GA – Governor Nathan Deal attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new $98 million factory in Gainesville, GA that will produce 16-ton gearboxes for wind turbines.  Governor Deal said that while Georgia is not an ideal place for generating electricity from the wind, “we certainly are pleased that we can be part of the process that will allow us to harness wind energy.”  The new factory, which will be operated by ZF Wind Power, and which Governor Deal described as representing “cutting-edge technology,” is expected to employ 250 workers and will be in full production mode next year.  ZF Wind Power plant opens in GainesvilleGainesville Times

KS – Governor Sam Brownback held an economic development summit this week that focused on generating and transmitting energy.  During the summit, an announcement was made of a new project that will become the State’s largest wind farm.  This 66,000 acre, $800 million facility, called Flat Ridge 2, will span four counties and create 419 megawatts of wind power, 500 construction jobs, and 30 operations jobs.  At the gathering, Governor Brownback said “I love wind energy.  It’s a fabulous industry that fits our State well.”  The Governor also said the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) is “key for the State of Kansas if we want to continue to develop wind energy.”  The summit’s agenda also included traditional energy production; Governor Brownback said that Kansas must create an “all of the above” portfolio, that the State “can’t walk away from any” type of energy production, and noted growth in oil and gas drilling and ethanol production.  Citing a need to reduce importation of energy resources, the Governor said “We need renewable energy.  We need coal.  We need oil and gas.  We're in the top 10 states in each of these fields, and we need to grow all of them.”  $800 million wind farm planned across 66,000 acres in KansasKansas City Star and Brownback brings heat to energy policy – Topeka Capital-Journal and Brownback asks energy industries to cooperate for growthWichita Eagle

MD – The solar energy industry in Maryland is growing rapidly – the amount of photovoltaic generating capacity installed in the second quarter was four times as much as the first quarter – due in part to State grants, tax breaks, a mandate for solar energy production, and innovative financing options from businesses.  The mandate, which requires an increasing amount of solar energy per year until 2022 when 2% of the State’s electricity must come from solar power, was cited by the Maryland Energy Administration’s director of energy market strategies, Kevin Lucas, as helping to create demand for solar panels.  In order to meet the 2022 mandate, 30 to 40 times more solar power must be harnessed than is currently produced.  Industry officials also cited the importance of a 30 percent federal tax credit,  local property tax breaks, and a State grant system that provides up to $10,000 to homeowners for installing a solar system paid for by the permits sold under a regional cap-and-trade system.  In addition, some companies are offering leasing options for solar systems, which allow consumers to pay little or no up-front costs, but benefit from lower electric bills and pay a monthly fee to the leasing company.  In the second quarter of this year, Maryland ranked eighth in the nation in solar installations, ahead of some sunnier states, and much higher than a few years ago when the State generated virtually no solar energy.  Solar home business shining in MarylandBaltimore Sun and Number of solar energy installations up in StateGazette.net

OH – Governor John Kasich recently held a two-day energy summit that brought together over 1,000 energy sector business leaders and government officials.  Part of Governor Kasich’s message to the summit was that “the pursuit of clean alternative, renewable, and advanced energy sources and their supportive technologies is the pursuit of the future, and our commitment to them shouldn’t waiver despite the fact that their costs aren’t yet where we want them to be.”  Governor Kasich also said that he does not support a full repeal of the State’s renewable energy standard (but would support some changes to it) and he would like to allow national oil and gas companies to develop fossil fuels from shale rock.  He described the potential shale development as an economic opportunity, saying, “if we do it right, Ohio’s new gas finds hold the potential to restore hope and prosperity to struggling regions of our State.”  Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he supports renewable energyCleveland Plain Dealer and Kasich talks of renewable energy’s value but hints at tweaking State rules – Columbus Dispatch

Regional News

Governors Robert Bentley of Alabama, Haley Barbour of Mississippi, and Bob McDonnell of Virginia all appeared at the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB) Governors Energy Summit to discuss regional and state energy issues.  Governor Bentley noted last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but said that while we should learn lessons from the spill, oil drilling should proceed.  Governor Bentley also said that “if we’re going to take the responsibility of having to clean up our coasts and having to lose money because of any spill, then we ought to be able to get money from” federal revenues collected from offshore energy production.  Governor Haley Barbour said that he would like to see a second nuclear power plant built in his State, saying “we don’t have ‘not in my backyard,’ we have ‘please, in my backyard.’”  Governor Bob McDonnell called for the federal government to allow more offshore oil drilling along the East Coast and also expressed support for more nuclear energy development.  Governor McDonnell said he believed in an all-of-the-above approach to energy development, including renewable energy, but focused his comments on coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy development.  While Governor McDonnell said he did not expect any major changes in Washington, he did say that the SSEB would entertain three proposed policy statements at the group’s annual meeting later this month that would urge the Obama administration to loosen current regulations to allow more offshore oil drilling.  Gov. Robert Bentley: Oil spill shows need for state revenue from drilling in federal watersAL.com and Gov. Haley Barbour: ‘We’d love to have another nuclear power plant’GulfLive.com and McDonnell blasts Obama at energy summitWashington Examiner and Governors asked to help revive offshore leasing at energy summitOil & Gas Journal

Federal News

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has committed to obtaining 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025 and expanded its funding for renewable energy from $400 million in 2006 to $1.2 billion in 2009.  This goal does not apply to vehicles operated in theaters of military operations such as tanks.  The Pentagon has offered economic and security concerns as reasons for the shift, but not environmental.  For every one dollar added to the price of a barrel of oil, DoD spends an additional $30 million per year, so diversifying energy sources is being employed as a cost containment strategy.  With regard to security issues, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who says that renewable energy sources will make the Navy and Marines “better war fighters,” cited the statistic that one Marine is either wounded or killed for every 50 fuel convoys that supplies the war in Afghanistan.  When asked about greenhouse gas emissions, Secretary Mabus said “it’s a good byproduct, but it’s a byproduct.”  Not all fuel sources in the military will be cut equally or on the same schedule; for example, fossil fuel use in non-combat vehicles operated by the Navy and Marines will be cut 50 percent by 2015, but fuel consumption on ships will be cut by 15 percent by 2020.  Military spearheads clean-energy driveWashington Post

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Energy Update, September 23, 2011

September 23, 2011

In the States

AK – In a speech to oil and gas industry representatives, the Alaska Oil and Gas Congress, Governor Sean Parnell strongly argued for less federal oversight of drilling activities and the continuation of federal subsidies to oil and gas companies.  Governor Parnell also called for an end to “political games” and said the Obama administration needs to do more to help streamline oil and gas drilling permits and other regulations, saying “we need the agency staff to timely make decisions and to work cooperatively to make these decisions.”  The article notes that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar came to Alaska in August and during his visit said that President Obama is an advocate for increased drilling in Alaska, but that he believes it must be done safely, and also highlighted the working group established by the President to better coordinate regulatory oversight through collaboration among different agencies in the environmental review and permitting processes.  During his remarks, Governor Parnell also said he is working with the legislature to pass a bill that would lower taxes on oil and gas companies.  Parnell tells oil and gas companies he wants cuts in State taxes – Anchorage Daily News

CT – A newly reconstituted and strengthened State Authority that will invest in clean energy innovation and use within Connecticut is nearly ready to get to work, according to Governor Dannel Malloy.  The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) will leverage state and private sector funds to finance projects that help increase clean energy use by making it more affordable and also help improve energy efficiency.  The Authority is made up of Executive and Legislative appointees as well as related State agency and department heads.  The Governor said that “this group will work to more aggressively expand the state’s opportunities to improve energy efficiency and renewable energy usage through more flexible methods, helping Connecticut maintain its position as a leader in clean energy.”  Malloy appoints members to CEFIA – StamfordPlus

IN – Global Blade Technology, a maker of wind turbine parts, is moving into a 45,000 square foot facility in Evansville formerly used for assembling refrigerators.  The $17.6 million project will benefit from up to $2.8 million in performance-based tax credits awarded through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, and up to $200,000 in training grants if the company creates 400 jobs by 2014.  The City of Evansville offered the company additional tax credits and access to its revolving loan fund.  Governor Mitch Daniels has said that Indiana is one of the fastest growing states in terms of wind power added, with estimates from the wind power industry saying that the State’s wind power production grew tenfold in 2009 and 2010.  Turbine blades manufacturer to build factory in Indiana – EcoSeed

RI – Governor Lincoln Chafee signed four new renewable energy bills into law at a press conference held at an eco-friendly housing complex in Tiverton where he toured a construction site where a wind turbine will soon be built to provide power for the local community as a direct result of the legislation.  One law generally limits net metering to renewable energy that is connected to a meter and is located in the same place that the energy is used; this restriction is designed to protect the local utility company from having to pay a higher net metering rate to developers who deliberately oversized their renewable energy projects.  Another new law allows smaller renewable energy generators to connect to the grid and enter into contracts with the utility at set prices based on the volume and type of production method.  The remaining two laws speed up the process for connecting renewable energy projects to the grid and set up the Renewable Energy Coordinating Board to develop a statewide strategy on related plans.  Gov. Chafee signs renewable energy laws – North Kingstown Patch and Chafee signs bills on clean power – Providence Journal

Federal News

Solyndra, a solar energy company that received a $535 million federal loan guarantee in 2009 as part of the stimulus package as well as a smaller loan guarantee in 2005, has laid off nearly all of its employees and filed for bankruptcy.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Inspector General at the Department of Energy have each launched investigations into the company, the Treasury Department is investigating the Federal Financing Bank, through which the money was lent to Solyndra, and House Oversight Committee Chairman Daniel Issa has vowed to start an investigation as well.  Some Congressional Republicans have alleged that the administration did not exercise due diligence over the loan guarantee, with some asserting that the company received the loan due to the company’s largest investor’s ties to a donor to President Obama’s campaign.  Darrell Issa to probe government loan programs after Solyndra collapse – Los Angeles Times

A dispute over the amount of funds that should be available for disaster relief and whether those funds should be offset by a loan subsidy program offered to auto and auto parts manufacturers to build more fuel efficient cars could delay the passage of a continuing resolution that would keep the government running until mid-November.  Both the Republican House leadership and the Democratic Senate leadership say they want to provide more funding to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is scheduled to run out of disaster relief funds in a few days.  Last week, the Senate passed a bipartisan bill that would provide $6.9 billion to FEMA.  A bill offered by House Republicans that would provide the agency only $3.65 billion and offsets $1.5 billion of this amount with a cut to the loan subsidy program, and $100 million from the loan guarantee program that funded Solyndra, passed the House but was tabled in the Senate.  FEMA’s funding is due to run out on Monday and the government would shut down on October 1 unless Congress passes and the President signs an appropriations extension.  Shutdown a step closer as senate blocks House bill – New York Times and Senate likely to reject House-passed spending bill – Washington Post and Senate delays spending bill, leaving FEMA at risk – Wall Street Journal

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Energy Update, August 26, 2011

August 26, 2011

In the States

WY – Governor Matt Mead, in a speech to the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, said that he rejects the notion that environmental protection and energy development are mutually exclusive.  The Governor said that “we need a global approach to environmental concerns” and that the U.S. already has many controls in place to protect the environment.  And while Governor Mead also made the point that energy development is a national security issue, he cited a study showing that $160 million in revenue per year was lost by oil and gas companies doing business in the State due to requirements for environmental studies and permits.  Mead says Wyo. can have energy and conservation – Wyoming Business Report

A bipartisan coalition of Governors from 24 States recently sent a letter to President Obama urging him to focus on wind energy development.  The letter, which was signed by the coalition’s chair, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, and Vice Chair, Terry Branstad of Iowa, said that the production tax credit and investment tax credit programs for renewable energy should be extended for seven years.  It also called for the creation of a state-federal task force, greater state collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), accelerated development of offshore wind power, identification of transmission priorities, and a release of U.S. DOE renewable energy information.  24 Governors urge White House to focus on wind power development – SustainableBusiness.com and Letter to President Obama – Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition

Federal News

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has cut its estimate of how much recoverable natural gas is available in the Marcellus Shale by nearly 80 percent.  Earlier this year, the EIA, which is responsible for estimating oil and gas deposits underground, said it believed 410 trillion cubic feet of the fuel was available in the rock formation that stretches from New York to Virginia.  But the agency revised that number to 84 trillion as a result of a new U.S. Geological Survey study that relied on the expertise of geologists whom the EIA considers to be “the experts on this matter.”  The large discrepancies between the estimates have caused some business leaders and members of Congress to question the accuracy of such studies.  A 2002 study by the Geological Survey estimated that two trillion cubic feet could be extracted from the Marcellus Shale, but that was before advancements in extraction technology made much more natural gas available for extraction.  Geologists sharply cut estimate of shale gas – New York Times

The U.S. Interior Department has opened an area off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island to leasing for wind farm developments.  Energy companies are now submitting proposals to the Interior Department, which will use the proposals to conduct coordinated reviews of the proposals and streamline the leasing process.  Environmental reviews would still need to be conducted on the proposed developments.  Similar areas were designated for offshore wind farms earlier this year off the coasts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey, and leasing is expected to begin as early as next year.  In contrast, it took 10 years to obtain permits for the Cape Wind project in Massachusetts.  U.S. seeks offshore wind bids in Rhode Island, Massachusetts – San Francisco Chronicle

 

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Energy Update, May 20, 2011

May 20, 2011

In the States

IN – Governor Mitch Daniels has signed into law a statewide renewable energy portfolio that sets a voluntary goal of 10% of the electricity used in the State to come from renewable sources by 2025 with half of that energy to come from utilities located in Indiana.  The new law also provides incentives for utilities to participate in the program and for investment in wind, solar, nuclear, clean coal, and hydroelectric power.  Wind energy industry leaders applauded the law and the Governor and legislators who created the bipartisan measure.  Wind industry praises Indiana’s clean energy lawBrighter Energy

MA – Governor Deval Patrick spoke at the dedication of the State’s first wind farm, a ten-turbine system that will produce 15 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 6,000 homes.  The Governor’s Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan said that the project involved 20 companies and employed 50 people.  The wind farm almost doubles the amount of wind energy produced in the State, which Secretary Sullivan said was a step toward achieving the State’s goal of 25 percent fewer carbon emissions by 2025.  After hailing the benefits of the wind farm to Massachusetts residents, Governor Patrick said “There is an opportunity here for us to grow a whole new industry, and make the world our customer, and the jobs that come from it."  Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick dedicates Berkshires wind farmWAMC

National News

President Barack Obama has announced several changes in his administration that are aimed at increasing oil and gas drilling in the U.S., a policy shift his administration says demonstrates the President’s commitment to increasing domestic oil production in order to reduce imports and to signal flexibility to political opponents who seek increased oil and gas drilling.  Included in the reforms are an annual lease auction for parcels in the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve, an environmental review on the possibility of drilling off the southern and central Atlantic coast, and an extension in the offshore leases that have been off-limits to drilling under the moratorium in place since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will still not be allowed under the new policies.  The changes were received favorably by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and did not receive much opposition from environmental groups or praise from Republicans.  Obama shifts to speed oil and gas drilling in the U.S.New York Times

 

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Energy Update, May 6, 2011

May 6, 2011

In the States

IA – In a speech to a renewable energy symposium, Governor Terry Branstad praised the wind energy industry in the State, saying that wind power could help achieve his stated goals of creating 200,000 jobs and increasing family income by 25 percent within five years.  The Governor also said “I think that Iowa has the potential to be the leader of renewable energy.” Branstad talks alternative energyDaily Iowan

MO – In the two years since Governor Jay Nixon signed an executive order requiring State agencies to use less energy, Missouri’s government has cut electricity use by 3% and propane and natural gas use by 15%.  Following the Governor’s executive order, agencies replaced windows, upgraded lighting, and adjusted thermostats.  The overall cut in energy usage by State agencies was 5.5 percent.  Mo. Gov. says State cut energy use by 5.5 percentBloomberg BusinessWeek

NH – Governor John Lynch, in a press conference with U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu and University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston, announced the six companies that won a second round of funding from the State’s Green Launching Pad, which provides federal stimulus funds to clean energy companies in an effort to foster innovative energy technologies and create more jobs.  Companies receiving the funds focus on a range of technologies, including clean energy storage, and hydroelectric and solar power.  Governor Lynch called the first round of the project “a tremendous success,” and that he is “focused on making sure that we are growing the jobs and companies of the future right here in New Hampshire” through the Green Launching Pad.  Green Launching Pad winners announcedNew Hampshire Business Review and ‘Green’ firms in Granite State get helpNashua Telegraph

WA – Governor Christine Gregoire has signed a bill that will phase out the State’s only existing coal-fired power plant and ban coal plants from the State in the future.  Under the new law, the plant’s owner, TransAlta, must take one boiler at the power plant offline by 2020 and the other by 2025, and establish a $30 million fund for economic development in the county that houses the plant.  TransAlta’s CEO, Steve Snyder, said the company plans to build a new gas-fired plant that will open by 2020.  TransAlta may also build a wind farm elsewhere in the State and does not plan to eliminate any jobs during the transition.  At the bill signing, Governor Gregoire said “Coal power was a part of our past.  Our prosperity now depends on our ability to move forward with a clean energy future.”  In Centralia, Gov. Gregoire signs bill that ends TransAlta’s coal use by 2025Olympian

WY – During a speech at an energy development conference, Governor Matt Mead said that rising oil prices are “a tax on all of us” and that the profitable extraction of energy resources in Wyoming is essential to furthering clean energy goals.  Governor Mead said that energy development is vital to the State’s economy, but that it can be done without degrading the environment, saying “we want a clean environment, we want energy development, and those two are not mutually exclusive.”  The Governor also said that “there’s just no question” that development must be done “in a timely and efficient manner.”  Wyoming Governor Mead insists energy can be developed safely, quicklyStar-Tribune

 

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Energy Update, April 22, 2011

April 22, 2011

In the States

CA – Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the country’s strongest renewable energy standard that will require electric utilities in the State to generate 33 percent of their electricity from renewable sources in less than nine years.  Although the new law limits the amount of rate hikes due to the new requirements, opponents of the measure cite studies showing that rates may increase by 7-19 percent.  The Governor cited reliance on foreign oil, economic instability, and climate issues in expressing his support for the law while other supporters said it would keep investment strong in the renewable energy industry.  Calif. sets nation’s most aggressive goal for renewable energy as critics say rates will soarWashington Post

OK – Governor Mary Fallin has signed a new law that will expand the allowed length of horizontal drilling into shale reservoirs, easing investment costs for companies to drill for oil and natural gas.  Proponents said that the new law allows for increased production while protecting mineral owners’ rights, and modernizes regulations to account for technological advances that have made it possible to extend drilling longer than was previously possible.  Drilling bill modernizes state oil and gas statutesEnid News & Eagle and Oklahoma’s Gov. Mary Fallin signs energy reform billThe Oklahoman

OR –  Speaking at a conference on the future of energy, Governor John Kitzhaber announced he is developing a 10-year plan for Oregon that will emphasize renewable energy as a way to rebuild the State’s post-recession economy.  During his remarks, one example he cited was the possibility of retrofitting homes with energy-saving materials as a way to replace economic activity previously generated by the housing construction industry.  He also said that he and Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington State had recently discussed forming a three-state coalition with California focused on creating green energy jobs and reducing carbon emissions.  Kitzhaber says it's time for a 10-year plan on clean energy in Oregon – The Oregonian

National News

The U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture have announced $30 million in spending on projects that will support research and development in advanced biofuels, much of which will be in rural areas in the Midwest.  These funds come from the Biomass Research and Development Initiative and could help rural communities become less reliant on fossil fuels.  They will now be able to produce much of the fuel they use for heating and electricity locally, lessening dependence on foreign oil.  The home-grown fuel can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, since burning biomass creates no more pollution that the decomposition process that occurs naturally.  U.S. expands seeding of biomassNew York Times

The U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Duke Energy and the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit utility consortium, to test its first electricity-related invention.  The new product is an energy storage device that may allow electric power generated by wind turbines to be stored and then used when needed.  It may also have applicability to solar power.  Electric power would be used to pump air into an underground cavern.  When more energy is needed, this compressed air would flow through a generator, at 70-75% efficiency.  ARPA-E provided $750,000 to General Compression, the company that makes the device, which then attracted $12 million in private investments.  ARPA-E is poised to put products on the gridNew York Times

The U.S. Supreme Court appears likely to dismiss a case in which six States are suing five energy companies to limit their greenhouse gas emissions.  While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun regulating emissions from new and modified industrial sources, the States are seeking to apply Federal and State laws to regulate existing plants.  Justices listening to oral arguments in the case expressed skepticism about the States’ claim that the costs and benefits of emissions standards can be evaluated by courts rather than determined through the regulatory process administered by federal agencies.  U.S. Supreme Court signals rejection of State climate-emissions lawsuitsBloomberg

Three U.S. States – New York, Minnesota, and California – have joined with 11 utility companies and two environmental groups as a coalition to ask the U.S. EPA to allow States to choose the best approach for meeting federal greenhouse gas emissions standards.  Specifically, the coalition seeks permission to regulate greenhouse gases through existing regional or statewide cap-and-trade programs or renewable energy standards as an alternative to plant-specific limitations.  Some power companies that use more fossil fuels than those taking part in the coalition did not join and are continuing to raise general objections to new restrictions on plant emissions.  States, utilities ask EPA to boost regional cap-and-trade programs

 

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Energy Update, March 25, 2011

March 25, 2011

In the States

AR – In delivering the keynote address to a wind power workshop in Little Rock, Governor Mike Beebe said that States’ investments in wind energy would create jobs, improve the environment, and strengthen national security and made a case for States to increase wind energy production.  Governor Beebe said that while Arkansas may not be the ideal candidate for wind farms compared to the rest of the country, it can still be involved through manufacturing wind power products.  Mike Beebe: Wind energy important to Arkansas jobs, economyArkansas Business

UT – After consulting with academic, industrial, environmental, and governmental experts, as well as receiving public input, Governor Gary Herbert issued a 10-year energy plan for Utah.  Among the goals Governor Herbert set in the plan are “a balanced use of fossil fuels and alternatives and renewable resources” that also balances economic and environmental interests, promotes energy efficiency, and increases partnerships with universities and communities to “address future energy challenges and opportunities.”  The Governor’s plan also calls for seriously debating the use of nuclear energy in the State as a way to provide baseload energy capacity.  Gov. Gary Herbert’s energy plan includes nuclearDeseret News and Energy Initiatives and Imperatives: Utah’s 10-Year Strategic Energy Plan [pdf]Governor Gary Herbert

WY – Governor Matt Mead applauded the leasing of federal land to mining companies for the extraction of up to 750 million tons of coal during a news conference with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.  The leases are estimated to be worth between $13.4 billion and $21.3 billion in revenue, with roughly half this amount going to the State.  More than a dozen similar leases will be granted over the next three years.  Governor Mead said “We need the energy.  We need the jobs that come with the energy.”  Federal lands in Wyoming opened to coal miningNew York Times

Nuclear Power

The nuclear crisis in Japan that followed the devastating earthquake and tsunami has brought renewed scrutiny of the use and expansion of nuclear energy industry in the United States.  For example, spent fuel located in the Japanese plant overheated, causing some government officials here in the U.S. to renew calls for the opening of Yucca Mountain, the federally designated nuclear waste storage facility, or another similar site.  Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley and Senate President Therese Murray wrote in a letter to federal Energy Department officials that "the events in Japan show that a breach can occur," and called for a central nuclear repository.  Former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and current member of a panel advising the Obama on nuclear waste storage, Richard Meserve, said that "There may be some things about the vulnerability of spent fuel pools that will be learned as a result of the Japanese accident that will cause us to rethink what we do in the U.S."  Storage of nuclear waster gets new scrutinyWall Street Journal

Additionally, the push for more nuclear power may face new obstacles due to the issues raised by the current nuclear crisis in Japan.  While President Barack Obama has not backed down from seeking $36 billion in loan guarantees for nuclear plants, and his Energy Department says that nuclear is a “low-cost, carbon-free” fuel that will spur job growth and protect the environment, the industry, its backers, and pro-environment groups are preparing for a long battle over the future role of nuclear power in the United States.  Lobbyists’ long effort to revive nuclear industry faces new testNew York Times

EPA Regulations

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson has proposed rules that would drastically cut the amount of toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants.  The plan to reduce mercury, acid gas, sulfur dioxide, and 81 other pollutants has been delayed for 20 years, and if approved, would still not take effect for five more years.  Affected plants would need to utilize a variety of methods to reduce the emissions, which are expected to cost a total of $10.9 billion per year nationwide, or about $3 – $4 per month per electric bill.  EPA estimates that as many as 17,000 deaths, an additional 11,000 heart attacks, and 120,000 cases of asthma per year would be prevented every year under the new rules.  EPA proposes toxic emissions rules for power plantsNew York Times

 

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Energy Update, March 11, 2011

March 11, 2011

In the States

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

State of the State Addresses

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

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

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

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

National News

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

 

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Energy Update, February 11, 2011

February 11, 2011

In the States

MO – The Missouri legislature has passed legislation that keeps the voter-approved requirement that 15% of Missouri’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2021, but eliminates the requirement that utilities purchase energy from producers located in the state or directly from sources outside Missouri.  Governor Jay Nixon has not commented on whether he will sign or veto the measure, which would allow utilities to instead purchase renewable energy “credits” rather than require them to obtain energy from renewable projects.  Proponents of the bill say that loosening restrictions gives utilities greater flexibility to meet the renewable standard, while opponents say the legislation will result in the same rates for electricity, but none of the environmental or economic benefits from requiring the utilities to obtain a portion of their power generation from renewable sources.  Missouri General Assembly kills two rules on renewable energy sourcesKansas City Star

NH – Governor John Lynch has written a letter in opposition to a bill in the New Hampshire State House that would end the State’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the Northeast’s cap-and-trade system.  The bill, which was introduced in the House Committee on Science, Technology, and Energy, says that the permits required by RGGI have “increased consumer costs for electricity, fuel, and food.”  Governor Lynch wrote that prices would not fall after withdrawing from the program since rates are set regionally, but that the State would lose all income from the sale of the permits, about $12 million per year.  New Hampshire Governor backs Northeast’s carbon dioxide marketBloomberg and Governor Lynch opposes RGGI repealOffice of Governor John Lynch

WI – Legislators will not take up a bill proposed by Governor Scott Walker that would have increased property setback requirements where wind turbines are built.  However, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules is holding a hearing on a rule that would allow property owners to build wind turbines only 1,250 feet from their property line, as previously proposed by the State’s Public Service Commission.  This rule could either move forward or be blocked by a vote of the legislature.  Governor Walker’s bill proposed that turbines be set back by at least 1,800 feet and he has said he wants “to see the wind industry, like every other industry, be effective here in the state of Wisconsin,” but that promoting this industry must also be balanced with property rights.  Legislature won’t take up Walker’s wind-siting billMilwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Some States, facing record deficits for the past few years, are seeking to ensure that no revenue is lost due to technological and environmental advances.  Since owners of electric cars use the same roads as gas-powered cars, but do not pay a gas tax that funds those roads, lawmakers in Oregon and Washington have introduced legislation that would charge drivers of electric vehicles either a flat fee or a mileage tax in order to make up for this lost revenue.  Oregon’s bill would impose a per-mile tax of 0.6 cents or about $90 per 15,000 miles driven (about the equivalent of the gas taxes paid for a hybrid), while the bill in Washington would impose a flat fee of $100 when registering an electric car with the State.  Proposal would charge drivers of electric carsRegister-Guard and Electric car owners might face $100 State feeSeattle Times

National News

In an effort to support President Obama’s stated goal of deriving 80% of electricity from renewable sources by 2035, the Departments of Energy and Interior released a joint plan to spur quick development of offshore wind farms, which includes up to $50.5 million of funding incentives.  The funding will be allocated over the next five years and split into three separate initiatives: developing better tools to study and implement offshore wind systems; improving the design of drivetrains inside wind turbines; and removing barriers to the marketplace.  The plan also identifies 911 square nautical miles off the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia that will undergo early environmental reviews to expedite the process of approving offshore wind development.  U.S. selects zones in four States to accelerate offshore wind energyBloomberg and Salazar, Chu announce major offshore wind initiativesEERE News

Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lisa Jackson testified for more than two hours before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power, in part to defend her agency’s actions in regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.  Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), who is sponsoring a draft bill that would revoke the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases, said that "Congress intends to reassert itself in the statutory and regulatory process at EPA and specifically the Clean Air Act."  Administrator Jackson said that the Clean Air Act and scientific evidence of global climate change compelled her agency to move forward with regulating greenhouse gases and that the proposed legislation “would eliminate portions of the landmark law that all American children and adults rely on to protect them from harmful air pollution." Global warming heats up Republican attacks on EPAWashington Post

 

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Energy Update, January 31, 2011

January 31, 2011

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 policiesMinnesota 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 rulesNew 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

National News

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” pushPolitico 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 saysNew York Times

 

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Energy Update, December 10, 2010

December 10, 2010

In the States

NC – A recent report by the National Wildlife Federation says that North Carolina has the greatest potential for wind energy of any Atlantic Coast State, which was welcome news to Governor Bev Perdue.  The Governor supports offshore wind development and would like to see one or two companies building turbines off the State’s coast in the next two years, provided “it can be developed cost-effectively and safely,” according to her spokeswoman.  The Governor also said that she still supports offshore oil drilling, so long as it is done safely, protects the State’s natural resources, and provides some revenue sharing.  Wind companies have already taken notice of the State and have applied for offshore leases that would allow construction of as many as 500 turbines offshore, enough to power up to 550,000 homes.  Drilling banned; eyes turn to windCharlotte Observer

VT – Governor-elect Peter Shumlin has written a letter to the Vice President of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant asking that the plant restart the process of extracting water contaminated with radioactive tritium from onsite wells.  A leak of the radioactive material was discovered a year ago, and the plant extracted the water in an effort to contain the material until November when the project ended.  One of the Governor-elect’s advisors, a nuclear engineer, is worried that tritium could reach the public’s water supply if more of the affected water is not extracted.  Shumlin urges Vermont Yankee to extract tainted waterBurlington Free Press

In the face of high unemployment and record deficits, States are turning to new revenue sources.  At least three States have used a portion of proceeds from the sale of carbon pollution credits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)  to help balance their budgets.  The RGGI agreement binds States to use at least 25% of the proceeds for such programs as alternative energy, energy efficiency, and consumer benefits, and all States combined have applied about 80% to these purposes.  In New Jersey, where legislation has been introduced to withdraw from the RGGI, $65 million of carbon credit proceeds has been used to help fill the State’s budget gap.  If the RGGI program is eliminated, however, such funding will no longer be available.  States diverting money from climate initiativeNew York Times

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of an Appeals Court ruling that allowed a suit brought by eight States and New York City against five coal-burning utilities to move forward.  In the suit, the States claim that the plants operated by the utilities are a “public nuisance” in that they contribute to global climate change.  The Obama Administration urged the Supreme Court to hear the appeal because it contends the States’ claim could interfere with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.  The utilities support the appeal, but for a different reason – they argue the matter should be addressed by Congress rather than the courts.  The States involved – California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin – urged that the appeal be rejected.  Justices to rule on States’ emissions caseNew York Times

National News

The Obama Administration has postponed implementation of U.S. EPA regulations on emissions of ozone until July 2011 and of mercury and other pollutants until April 2012, citing the need for further study on the effects of the pollutants.  The rules would have affected several hundred cities and 200,000 industrial boilers, heaters, and incinerators.  Environmental groups voiced opposition to the rule delay, while manufacturers and Republican congressional leaders praised it, with some calling on the EPA to do away with the rules altogether.  EPA delays tougher rules on emissionsNew York Times

President Barack Obama has reinstated a ban on offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico as well as the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar issued a statement on the ban citing the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as a reminder to exercise caution when deciding whether or not to drill offshore.  News of the ban was welcomed by Florida Senator Ben Nelson and Environment America, but opposed by the oil industry.  Obama reinstates ban on offshore oil drillingTrade Only Today

The Republican Steering Committee has voted on who will chair the House committees in the 112th Congress.  The Energy and Commerce Committee will be chaired by Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan who favors an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy production and who has said he will scrutinize the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to regulate greenhouse gases.  Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington State, who will be the next chair of the Natural Resources committee, supports increased domestic energy production and his party’s “all-of-the-above” energy position.  Rep. Upton expected to cross final hurdle to Energy gavel with GOP caucus vote todayNew York Times and Hastings loses bid to consolidate energy jurisdictionThe Hill

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Energy Update, November 24, 2010

November 24, 2010

In the States

HI – Almost three years after State officials signed a general agreement with the Federal government to develop a cleaner energy future, Hawaii is making progress in diversifying its energy sources.  A State law passed last year requires Hawaii’s electric utility company, Hawaiian Electric, to use renewable sources for 40 percent of its power by 2030.  At the same time, it must cut projected electricity consumption by 30 percent.  This past September, State regulators ruled that the utility will be paid a guaranteed amount no matter how much energy it sells.  The new financial model will allow Hawaiian Electric to become more of a power distributor than power producer.  Another regulatory change will allow individuals to get paid by the utility for producing their own power.  An expansion of smart-grid technologies is also underway and will help Hawaii increase the use of renewable power generated from available wind, solar and geothermal resources.  Another project could link wind farms proposed for the islands of Lanai and Molokai with “power-hungry” Oahu through an undersea cable.  In describing Hawaii’s need to change course to meet its energy needs, outgoing Governor Linda Lingle gave an interview in which she said, “We had to be transformational.  It couldn’t be incremental any longer.”  State lays groundwork for more clean energy -- Maui News

MO – Governor Jay Nixon has endorsed a plan that would allow utilities to charge customers for early costs of developing a new nuclear power plant, a practice currently prohibited by State law.  Missouri utilities have expressed interest in expanding the State’s only current nuclear plant, but have not yet decided whether to build it.  If the proposal is approved, the utilities will pass on to consumers the $40 million in site permits required to determine the viability of the project.  Nixon endorses idea of second Callaway County power plantNews Tribune 

NJ – Governor Chris Christie has filed a motion to stop a proposed offshore natural gas terminal and a 50-mile pipeline from being constructed.  Governor Christie said that he “will not subject our state’s shore and economy to the environmental risks that are inseparable from such a project.”  The terminal is one of three proposed liquefied natural gas terminals to which the Governor expressed opposition earlier this year; the other two plans were withdrawn.  Gov. Christie opposes proposed natural gas facility off Asbury ParkThe Star-Ledger

National News

The U.S. Department of the Interior has announced a new initiative – Smart From the Start – intended to help identify and pre-approve appropriate locations along the Atlantic Coast for offshore wind turbines.  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar introduced the new program at a public event at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland and said it was the result of “a lesson learned” from the Cape Wind project in Massachusetts.  The site for that project was approved in April, but construction has been stalled by opponents who have brought legal challenges.  Interior officials are hoping the new site selection process will allow new leases to be granted as early as 2011.Administration wants to speed up process for windmills in AtlanticWashington Post

The New York Times recently ran a special energy section outlining recent changes in the world’s energy sources and consumption, along with the roles politics and economics have played in those changes. Although Republicans generally favor nuclear energy and have now gained the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, a “nuclear renaissance” may not happen quickly because of Republican opposition to carbon pricing that could help make nuclear power more competitive.  While coastal States slow or halt building new coal power plants, retiring plants in the South, Midwest, and Mountain regions are likely to be replaced with coal, and the developers are hoping to use new technologies to lower or capture greenhouse gas emissions.  Solar gardens are being built on the edges of some towns to capture energy without requiring trees to be cut down for roof installations, while biologists ensure that minimal impact is made on large solar projects in the desert.  And though two years ago, experts were warning that oil and gas supplies were being depleted, new-found deposits and new technologies to obtain it have extended that timeline for several decades, though with predictable downsides, such as the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  G.O.P. gains on Capitol Hill may not advance nuclear power and In the heartland, still investing in coal and There will be fuel and The benefits of solar with the beauty of trees and Concerns as solar installations join a desert ecosystemNew York Times

Other News

At the World Mayors Summit on Climate in Mexico City, a group of 138 Mayors from around the world signed an agreement to lower greenhouse gas emissions in their cities.  The cities will post their commitments and progress on the carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR), a website that allows uniform reporting tracking.  Signatories to the pact include some major world cities, such as Vancouver, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, and Jakarta, and also include four U.S. cities: Burnsville, MN; Des Moines, IA; Los Angeles, CA; and North Little Rock, AR.  Calgary, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Mexico City, and Nagpur have already entered their data onto the website.  The agreement was meant to be a sign of the willingness of Mayors and cities to work on climate issues and as a catalyst for action at the upcoming global climate change summit in Cancun.  Mayors flaunt resolve in advance of CancunNew York Times and Mayors sign global pact to tackle urban emissionsCNN International and cCCR Signatory Cities [pdf]cCCR and cCCR PioneerscCCR

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Energy Update, November 12, 2010

November 12, 2010

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 environmentBirmingham 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 PageParnell-Treadwell 2010 and State challenges EPAParnell Press Release and Governors candidates spar, joust at Anchorage forumAlaska Journal of Commerce and Alaska emerges as unlikely renewable energy pioneerBusinessGreen

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 endeavorArizona Republic and Gov. Brewer signs Arizona solar jobs billPhoenix Sun and Executive Order 2010-06, Governor’s Policy on Climate ChangeOffice 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 resurgenceCity Wire and Beebe high on wood chipsCity 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 PageJerry 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 PageHickenlooper for Colorado and Hickenlooper-McInnis Debate TranscriptColorado Energy News and Colorado: Denver mayor and guv candidate talks bike-sharing, light rail, and coalGrist

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 PageDan Malloy for Governor and Environment PageDan Malloy for Governor and Foley and Malloy: A clear difference on climate changeConnecticut Mirror and Municipal initiatives to address climate changeConnecticut 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 PageRick 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 warmingSt. 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 OilOn the Issues and Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucuses – Environmental and Energy Study Institute and Sparks fly at Georgia’s gubernatorial debateAtlanta 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 PageAbercrombie for Governor and Environment and Natural Resources PageAbercrombie for Governor and Hawaii Gov. candidates want clean energy fasterWKRG and Neil Abercrombie on Energy and OilOn 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 votersIdaho Statesman and New nuclear power plant development urged by GovernorsPowerGen Worldwide and Otter: Idaho is “rapidly developing” an energy industryIdaho 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 energyPress Release and Green Power Purchasing AwardsU.S. EPA Green Power Partnership and Environment and Green Energy PageQuinn/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 MarshalltownTimes-Republican and Proposed oil refinery the center of political debateIowa 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 BrownbackCouncil on Foreign Relations and Energy PageSenator Brownback’s Webpage and Brownback joins bipartisan group seeking U.S. renewable electricity standardKansas City Business Journal and Brownback not a lock for new climate billMcPherson 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, energyPortland Press Herald and Energy Independence and Efficiency PageLePage 2010 and Maine and New England stew over climate and energy projectsNew York Times and Forum clarifies candidates’ divideKennebec Journal and Maine Democrats attack LePage on nuclear powerBloomberg BusinessWeek  and Candidates speaking at UMaine forumMorning 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 agendaGov Monitor and Maryland Commission on Climate ChangeMaryland Climate Change Advisory Group and Maryland Governor signs energy efficiency and climate change legislationPew Center on Global Climate Change and Environment PageFriends of Martin O’Malley and Jobs PageFriends 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 cleantechBoston Business Journal and Patrick leads celebration of New Bedford’s Cape Wind coupSouth Coast Today and Program DesignRegional 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 lawAnnArbor.com and Rogers City, Holland coal plant denials spark lawsuitsMichigan Land Use Institute and Environment PageOffice 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 PageMark 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 DaytonOn 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 countiesAllBusiness 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 signedOmaha World-Herald and Dave Heineman on Energy and OilOn the Issues and Nebraska celebrates groundbreaking for wind farmEdison International and Update on Wind Development in NebraskaOffice 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 issuesNevada 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 initiativeNew Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning and Governor Lynch signs law joining Regional Greenhouse Gas InitiativeOffice of Governor Lynch and New Hampshire Governor says renewables are a priorityRenewableEnergyWorld.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 recoverySusana Martinez for Governor and GOP candidates knock global warmingPolitico and Press roomSusana 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 solarSolar 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 questionsMarietta Times and Strickland accuses Kasich of turning back the clock on energy policyDayton Daily News and John Kasich on EnvironmentOn 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 conferenceTulsa World and Americans for Prosperity applauds Congresswoman Mary FallinOffice 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 OklahomaOffice 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 useEcotrope

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 PageChafee for Governor and Lincoln Chafee on Energy & OilOn 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 drillingCNN.com and Haley wants nuclear waste out of SCThe State and Haley touts SC’s nuclear potential, promises to fight Obama on YuccaNikki 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 PageDaugaard for South Dakota and Daugaard unveils economic plan for South DakotaCapital 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, TNU.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 gasesAustin American-Statesman and Gov. Perry: Waxman-Markey will negatively impact Texas familiesGovernor Perry Press Release and Perry’s strong views on climate change can be muted at homeAustin American-Statesman and Texas increases its renewable portfolio standardPew Center for Global Climate Change and Despite pollution worries, Texas builds coal plantsTexas Tribune and Issues PageTexans 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 changeDeseret News and Utah Gov. Herbert outlines energy initiative goalsYahoo Finance and Gov. Gary Herbert’s 3rd energy hearing brings diverse ideasDeseret 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 PagePeter Schumlin for Governor and Gubernatorial candidates Dubie and Schumlin talk energyWCAX and Senator Peter Schumlin – Responses to the VT LCV questionnaireVermont League of Conservation Voters and Schumlin: Yes to clean energy; no to EnexusPeter 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 PageFriends of Scott Walker and Scott Walker letter to President Obama [pdf]Friends of Scott Walker and Scott Walker statement on global warming legislationFriends 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

National News

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 EPAPolitico.

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.comNew 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 fightNew 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 pactWashington Times

 

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Energy Update, October 22, 2010

October 22, 2010

In the States

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

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

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

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

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

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

National News

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

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

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