Menu

Viohl & Associates

A Government Relations Firm

header photo

Blog posts : "wind"

Energy Update, September 24, 2010

In the States

ALGovernor Bob Riley has signed off on a plan submitted by TORP Technology to build a closed-loop liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal off the coast of Alabama.  In recent years, Governor Riley has rejected several proposals that would have relied on a less environmentally-friendly open-loop system that would have required the use of seawater from the Gulf to warm up imported LNG.  The company must also pay $25 million for a fund that will protect the marine environment, and will be administered by the State’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  A large local environmental group said that its concerns had been alleviated by the Governor, who praised the proposal, saying “with this agreement, we’re able to protect the environment, improve our economy with 250 new jobs, and provide an important alternative source of natural gas for Alabama.”  Gov. Riley approves “closed loop” LNG facilityWNCF

MI – In a speech to an energy symposium, Governor Jennifer Granholm stressed that the wind energy sector is a key element in the State’s economic future.  The Governor said that the State’s strategy is to use federal funds, tax incentives, renewable energy Renaissance Zones, and a consortium of universities, national labs, and the State to boost both the manufacturing of wind power generators such as turbines and the use of wind power in the State.  So far the strategy has created 5,300 jobs and leveraged as much as $58 million in federal investment.  Wind energy critical for Michigan clean energy economyGovMonitor

NJ – As a consequence of Governor Chris Christie’s prioritization of developing brownfields into solar farms, and strong incentives for renewable energy production, solar businesses that have been searching for large, undeveloped tracts of land in the State are working with the Department of Environmental Protection to procure landfills.  The Department is helping utilities and other companies navigate the federal and State regulatory landscape in order to convert unused properties into revenue- and energy-generating land.  Local governments, facing budgetary problems of their own, are hoping that developers will use the sites in order to generate more revenue as well.  As solar power developers search for sites, NJ tries to cash inNewark Star-Ledger

UT – Governor Gary Herbert gathered a large crowd for the third in a series of public hearings on Utah’s energy future.  Groups representing environmental, conservation, State, and coal interests were given an audience by the Governor, who said that “there has been a healthy difference of opinion on what we should be doing when it comes to energy” and said that all types of energy production will be considered when developing the State’s ten-year energy policy.  Gov. Gary Herbert’s 3rd energy hearing brings diverse ideasDeseret News

VA – Governor Bob McDonnell has announced that he will hold the State’s first energy conference in October 2010, and that T. Boone Pickins, a Texas oilman who campaigns for energy independence, will be headlining the event.  Governor McDonnell stressed the need to utilize all forms of energy production, including “traditional, alternative, and renewable sources” such as “wind, coal, solar, nuclear, biomass, oil, and natural gas.”  “By fully developing our domestic energy resources we can provide reliable, low-cost power that will lead our country closer toward energy independence,” the Governor said.  T. Boone Pickins to speak at Virginia’s first energy conferenceWashington Post

National News

In the waning days of the current Congress, Senate Democrats are hopeful that they can pass a renewable electricity standard (RES) bill by the end of the year that would require 15% of electricity in the country to come from renewable sources by 2021.  Several Senate Democrats including Barbara Boxer, Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are strongly in favor of moving forward with the bill.  Although Republican Senator Sam Brownback is a cosponsor of the legislation, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s spokesman says he “does not support” the measure, with other Republicans also expressing similar opposition.  Democrats warm to last-ditch energy pushPolitico

Eighty percent of States will be prepared to issue greenhouse gas permits in compliance with US Environmental Protection Agency regulations starting January 2 or shortly thereafter according to a report by the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA).  While some States are fully prepared to comply, many others still need to change their laws in order to allow the permitting process to begin.  Still other States will not be incompliance with the regulations, and some of these still actively oppose them.  A rule issued last month would allow the EPA to take over the permitting process for noncompliant States, drawing criticism from some officials in States that do not plan to comply.  Report: 80% of States on track for greenhouse gas permitting, enforcementNew York Times and States moving full speed ahead on greenhouse gas permitting [pdf]National Association of Clean Air Agencies

Go Back

Energy Update, August 27, 2010

In the States

ID – Governor Butch Otter participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for what will be Idaho's largest wind farm project, called the Oregon Trail Wind Farm. The project, which includes a total of 11 different wind farms, will consist of 122 wind turbines that will power nearly 40,000 homes, and is expected to create 175 jobs. In addition to the sizable investment in wind energy, Idaho lawmakers are hoping to lure geothermal investment to the area. A geothermal power plant could serve as a baseline energy source for when the wind is not blowing enough to create any electricity; a bill that would lower lease rates for geothermal developers is expected to be considered in the legislature in 2011. Lawmakers highlight legislation aimed at developing renewable energyTwin Falls Times-News

IL – Governor Pat Quinn has signed two bills into law that are designed to increase the amount of solar energy produced in the State. The “Solar Ramp-Up Bill” will require a gradual increase in the proportion of solar energy that must be purchased by the State's utility companies from 0.5% in 2012 to 6% from 2015 on. Homeowners associations will not be allowed to prohibit the installation of solar panels on members' roofs under the Homeowners' Solar Energy Act. The Governor said the new laws will promote renewable energy development, create jobs, and lessen dependence on fossil fuels for meeting electricity demand within the State. Illinois ramps up solar developmentEpoch Times

ME – Ocean Renewable Power Company has installed the largest ocean energy power plant to date off the eastern coast of Maine. The 60 megawatt tidal energy generator prototype has met or exceeded expectations in tests thus far, and will be used to charge a battery and provide power to a Coast Guard station in Eastport, Maine. The company's CEO hopes to have a 150 megawatt version connected to the electric grid in late 2011. Governor John Baldacci praised the company's success in his weekly radio address, and called for more renewable energy development that he said would lead to more jobs and less dependency on foreign oil. Maine company says underwater turbine is a successBangor Daily News and Baldacci touts renewable power in MaineBangor Daily News

NJ – Governor Chris Christie has signed a bill into law that uses two approaches to help build a wind power sector in the State. One approach is to provide financial assistance and $100 million in tax credits to companies that participate in building offshore wind farms. The other approach is to provide a steady market by requiring utilities to purchase 1,100 megawatts from wind power producers, which will not only create demand, but also help secure financial backing for wind power projects. Governor Christie signed the bill at a vacant chemical plant on the Delaware River that will be converted into a production and assembly site for wind turbines and components. Christie signs law encouraging offshore wind turbinesPhiladelphia Inquirer

National News

A report released by the US Department of Energy shows that the US as a whole used less energy in general but more energy from renewable sources in 2009 than in 2008. Total energy consumption declined by 4.6% from from 2008, while production of wind energy increased 44% from .51% to .74% of total energy production. Other modes of energy production from renewable sources rose as well, including solar, hydrothermal, and geothermal energy. The reduction in energy usage and increase in renewable energy production corresponds with a decrease in the use of fossil fuels to create energy; coal, natural gas, and petroleum all declined in use in 2009. Several factors contributed to the drop in energy consumption including higher-efficiency appliances and vehicles as well as the economic downturn, which resulted in less production and consumption in general. The White House has also issued a report which claims that the stimulus has put the US on track toward achieving three major energy goals: cutting the cost of solar power in half by 2015, cutting the cost of batteries for electric vehicles 70% by 2015, and doubling the amount of energy created by renewable sources by 2012. Americans using less energy, thanks to recession, technologyChristian Science Monitor and Annual Energy Review 2009 [pdf]US Energy Information Administration and White House report: US on track to double renewable energy outputWall Street Journal and The Recovery Act: Transforming the American economy through innovation [pdf]The White House

The US Department of Energy has released $120 million to 120 private companies, nonprofits, universities, local governments, and national organizations in order to expand existing, successful weatherization programs and to fund new, innovative approaches to weatherizing low-income single and multifamily homes. The awards will allow grant recipients to install renewable energy systems (such as solar panels, wind turbines, and tank-less water heater systems), incorporate other services such as improving indoor air quality and lead abatement, and leverage private sector investment. DOE announces nearly $120 million to advance innovative weatherization projects, highlight progress in the program nationallyEERE News

Go Back

Energy Update, August 13, 2010

In the States

MI –There are currently 17 new vehicle battery plants in production, under construction, or approaching groundbreaking in Michigan, which may be attributed in part to the $2.4 billion provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to encourage development of a domestic industry to make lighter, more energy-dense lithium-ion batteries to power electric vehicles.  The State has also played a large role in encouraging development by studying various industrial sectors around which to build a new economic strategy focusing on clean energy, especially battery production, for the next generation of energy-efficient vehicles.  Governor Granholm helped to persuade the legislature to approve $1 billion in tax credits for companies involved in developing advanced energy storage systems for electric vehicles and told a conference of engineers and battery developers in Detroit on July 27, “Michigan intends to lead the way in clean energy manufacturing.”  A bet on clean energy in the automotive StateNew York Times 

OR – Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. has signed a Settlement Agreement (SA) that will allow development of a wave energy power project that could generate enough electricity to power 1,000 homes.  The SA represents a major step towards the first license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for this type of project.  The SA includes a plan to identify and implement required environmental studies, and to provide a blueprint for the application of this information as development progresses.  Governor Ted Kulongoski said, "The Settlement Agreement is a groundbreaking document that demonstrates the State's commitment to partnering with the private sector and coastal communities to explore how we can tap into the renewable resource of ocean waves to power our communities.  The manufacture of the first buoy has already created dozens of green-energy jobs in Oregon and when the 10-buoy wave power project is built, a whole new industry will be created to benefit our coastal communities.”  Ocean Power Technologies Signs Historic Stakeholder Agreement for Oregon Wave Energy ProjectBusinessWire and Oregon on track to get utility scale wave farmCNET News

RI – A new law signed by Governor Don Carcieri has brought the possibility of an offshore wind farm one step closer to being built.  The Public Utilities Commission blocked an arrangement between Deepwater Wind, a wind power developer, and National Grid, a utility company, because costs to ratepayers were too high in March. Consequently, the legislature passed, and the Governor signed, legislation requiring the commission to make decisions based on economic and environmental benefits as well as rates, and to do so within 45 days.  Under the new rules, the Commission approved the plan 2-1.  RI energy commission OK’s wind farm agreementAssociated Press

VT – Governor Jim Douglas and Lt. Governor Brian Dubie attended the signing of a contract between two Vermont utilities and Hydro-Quebec, which supplies hydro-electric power from Canada.  The contract will allow Hydro-Quebec to provide the utilities with enough power for 200,000 Vermont homes for 26 years at competitive market rates, and replaces a similar long-term contract that will phase out over the next several years.  After watching the signing, Governor Douglas held a press conference in which he said he was “grateful” that the companies “have negotiated an agreement that will benefit customers” and that the agreement will “provide stable renewable power at a competitive price” and “help Vermont’s power supply remain arguably the nation’s cleanest.”  Vermont and Quebec reach new energy agreementMarketWatch

National News

A new report from the US Department of Energy says that 2009 set a record for the amount of new wind energy capacity and for the amount of investment in wind energy, despite the lingering economic downturn.  Ten gigawatts of wind energy was installed in 2009 and $21 billion was invested, resulting in a 40% increase in the amount of wind energy capacity.  For the fifth year in a row, the report says, the growth of wind energy capacity was second only to that of natural gas, supplying 39% of the new energy in the country last year.  Twenty-nine States installed new wind energy capacity, with a plurality of that capacity in Texas, followed by Indiana and Iowa in a distant second and third.  2009 a year of growth, challenge for US wind power: ReportEERE News

A plan to build the world’s first clean coal power plant that was approved in 2003 and shelved in 2008 has been revived.  The US Department of Energy has awarded $1 billion to the project, now called “FutureGen 2.0”, which will be used to retrofit an existing coal-fired power plant in Illinois to capture and sequester its carbon emissions.  The new plan abandons the technique in the original plan called coal gasification, and will instead use a mixture of oxygen and carbon dioxide to burn the coal, then send the resulting gas underground to natural geological formations that can accommodate 50 million tons of carbon dioxide per year for 50 years.  Clean-coal project advances with $1 billion in fundingWall Street Journal

Go Back

Energy Update July 30, 2010

In the States

CA – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has written to the chair of the California Air Resources Board asking her to postpone a vote on creating a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) of 33% by 2020 that was expected to happen before July 31.  The Governor vetoed legislation last year that would have created the same RPS on the grounds that it did not the State’s regulatory process to speed up the introduction of renewable forms of energy and did not sufficiently allow for electricity produced from  renewable energy sources located outside California.  Soon after that, the Governor signed an executive order requiring the Board to vote on an RPS with regulatory reforms and out-of-state electricity measures in place.  He has asked for the Board to postpone consideration of the RPS because the legislature is close to passing legislation that he would sign, and he wants to give them more time to do so.  Schwarzenegger asks Calif. regulators to delay 33% RPSNew York Times

MD – Governor Martin O’Malley has signed an executive order requiring the Department of Natural Resources to develop a long-term electricity report to be completed by December 2011.  The report is expected to provide data that will be used to determine where and how energy should be produced over the next 20 years.  No major new electric power plants or transmission lines have been built since 1990, when the last such report was produced.  Maryland’s population has grown by about 1 million since then, while energy consumption has increased by 25 percent.  The report will look at an array of potential energy sources, including fossil fuels, nuclear power, and renewable electric generation sources.  It will also consider ways to increase the reliability of electricity as well as potential conservation and efficiency measures.  State’s future energy needs targeted by GovernorGazette.net

MI – As much as a million gallons of crude oil leaked from a 30-inch-wide pipeline under the Kalamazoo River in Marshall Township on July 27, sending a 20-mile slick along the river, killing birds, fish, turtles, and other animals in its path, and releasing benzene into the air.  Although the pipeline has since been shut down, health officials have recommended evacuating 50 homes nearby and for others to not use well water for fear of contamination.  Cleanup crews are trying to keep the oil from reaching Lake Morrow, something State officials contend has already occurred, but which representatives for Enbridge Energy Partners, the owner of the pipeline, insist has not yet happened.  Governor Jennifer Granholm has expressed concern over the strength of the cleanup response, which officials say could take months.  Regulators warned company on pipeline corrosion – New York Times and Michigan oil spill prompts evacuations, finger-pointingWall Street Journal and Oil spill near Kalamazoo River causes stench, messDetroit Free Press

NY – Governor David Paterson has signed three new energy-related bills into law.  One bill allows the Secretary of State to establish energy efficiency standards for some appliances that were not previously regulated.  Another allows consumers to pay back loans for energy efficiency home upgrades on their gas bill.  Still a third bill adds kinetic energy storage devices, such as compressed air storage, that generate less than 80 megawatts, to the definition of an alternative production facility.  This will help facilitate the use of such production facilities and improve the efficiency of the State’s electric power system.  Governor Paterson signs three bills to advance clean energy agenda and forty-five other bills into lawHamptons.com

Regional News

Governors Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and Donald Carcieri of Rhode Island have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will allow the two States to collaborate on offshore wind energy projects off the coast of their border, near Martha’s Vineyard.  The MOU covers a specific area of common interest; however, the States will not have to collaborate on any projects outside that area.  The goal of the MOU is to determine a strategy through which disputes over offshore wind energy development in the area will be resolved before a project is proposed, providing guidance to developers and fostering cooperation between the two States.  Massachusetts and Rhode Island team up on offshore windBrighterEnergy.org

The Western Governor’s Association has written a letter to the US Congress recommending that they authorize the additional $36 billion in loan guarantees for nuclear energy development requested by President Obama.  In the letter, the Governors wrote that the loan guarantees could help to fund 6-9 additional nuclear reactors and would also spur private sector investment, which would create jobs as well as cleaner energy.  New nuclear power plant development urged by GovernorsPowerGen Worldwide

National News

In a not-unexpected change of course, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has announced that the Senate will not take up legislation that includes any cap on greenhouse gas emissions this year.  Some supporters of climate charge legislation, including Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), vowed to continue pushing for a bill, while others expressed doubt that passing such legislation would be possible between the August recess and November elections.  Majority Leader Reid has unveiled a $15 billion energy bill that would remove the $75 million cap on oil companies’ liabilities to communities after an oil spill, allow for federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing (a partially unregulated process used to obtain natural gas), provide more infrastructure and R&D support for electric vehicles, and use rebates and loan guarantees to increase the number of vehicles that run on natural gas and improve the energy efficiency of homes.  The legislation, as proposed by Majority Leader Reid, also does not include a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that would require a certain percentage of energy produced in the US to come from renewable sources, a measure that has support from many Democratic Senators.  Some Senators are also contending Majority Leader Reid’s assertion that there are not enough votes to pass cloture with an RPS.  An initial test vote on the bill is set for the first week in August.  Democrats pull plus on climate billPolitico and Energy bill, focusing on conservation, can’t shake calls for RESNew York Times and Reid’s energy bill revives fight over hydraulic fracturingCQ Politics and Energy bill would end oil claims capWall Street Journal and The Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act Bill Text [pdf]Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Go Back

Energy Update, July 2, 2010

In the States

FL – A $14 million program that provides rebates to homeowners and businesses for installing solar panels and equipment has proven so popular that it has run out of money ahead of schedule.  Those who purchased a solar system are still eligible for a 30% federal tax credit.  Although the State Energy Department made it clear that the program would need more funds to satisfy demand, the legislature, under budgetary constraints during a prolonged economic downturn, did not appropriate the needed funding.  Residents who went solar won’t get their rebatesFort Myers News-Press

MI – Three wind farms that will soon be built in Michigan are expected to boost the State’s wind energy capacity by over 60%, generating enough electricity for 84,000 households.  Governor Jennifer Granholm praised the projects, saying that “we intend to lead the nation in making our nation energy independent” in a speech at the Michigan Energy Fair.  Senator Debbie Stabenow, who also spoke at the event, talked about the importance of manufacturing clean energy products domestically.  The new wind farms, along with a new power plant that will use gases from a landfill to create electricity, will allow a utility company, Consumers Energy, to increase the percentage of power it obtains from renewable sources from 4% to 6.2%.  Three wind farms to open in MichiganDetroit Free Press

RI – A new law signed by Governor Donald Carcieri will require the State’s Public Utilities Commission to revisit a proposed contract between Deepwater Wind, a company that is planning an offshore wind farm, and National Grid, the utility company that would deliver the electricity generated by the proposed wind farm.  A contract between the companies was unanimously rejected by the Commission earlier this year for being “commercially unreasonable” in that the wind power would cost rate-payers an additional $400 million.  Governor Carcieri said the project “holds the key to Rhode Island’s economic future” and that it will lead to the creation of thousands of jobs.  While he and a majority of legislators support moving forward with the project, some State officials say the project is not worth the costs and the process is unfair to rate-payers. Carcieri signs wind farm legislationBlock Island Times

Regional News

Governors from several Western States focused on the need to streamline the process by which new interstate transmission lines will be built during the Western Governors Association Annual Meeting.  While the Governors are in favor of increasing electricity produced from renewable sources that are abundant in their States, the infrastructure to transmit that energy from the source of production to distant population centers needs to be designed and built.  The Governors acknowledged that objections raised by private landowners and environmental groups, as well as requirements for permits, often affect the siting and construction of new transmission lines, but also see new transmission lines as a critical to the development of alternative energy.  Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer stated his belief that, “we don’t develop any of the alternative sources until you get transmission,” echoing Washington Governor Christine Gregoire’s concern that, “if we can’t get it anywhere, what good does it do?”  Governors see need for transmission lines Billings Gazette

National News

President Barack Obama invited 23 Senators to the White House recently in an attempt to bridge divergent opinions on the best way to move forward on comprehensive energy legislation.  Accounts from the meeting suggest that little progress was made in reaching a consensus.  During the meeting, the President and many Democratic Senators insisted on some kind of cap on carbon emissions while Republican Senators pledged opposition to any such plan.  Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman, co-authors and enthusiastic supporters of climate change legislation, left the meeting saying that they were willing to compromise on some parts of the bill, and that some unnamed Republicans expressed interest in a scaled-back version of their bill that would regulate only power plants rather than entire sectors of the economy.  Republican Senators, upon leaving the meeting, reiterated their opposition to a carbon cap and called for more domestic oil production.  One idea not promoted by Senators from either party was increased offshore oil drilling.  White House energy session changes no mindsNew York Times and Democrats, Obama willing to scale back energy and climate change billPolitico

The US Department of Energy has announced $24 million in funding for three companies to perform research on how to make algae-based biofuels commercially viable.  These awards are part of the $800 million in biofuels funding made available through economic stimulus legislation passed last year.  The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 set a goal of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be produced by 2022, including 21 billion gallons of advanced biofuels, such as algae-based fuels.  A roadmap released by the US Department of Agriculture reveals that achieving that goal will require this type of research as well as large investments in infrastructure and other technology, but could create many jobs, mainly in the Southeast and Central-Eastern regions.  Obama funds research into algae-based biofuelsUSA Today and New USDA report provides roadmap for US biofuels energy goalsEERE News

Go Back

Energy Update, May 21, 2010

In the States

AK – Governor Sean Parnell has signed a pair of bills into law into law that offer companies tens of millions of dollars in tax incentives to drill for natural gas in Cook Inlet and make it cheaper and easier to build gas storage facilities.  Demand for natural gas grows in the winter, when the need for heat is greatest, and slowing production from existing wells will need to be supplemented by either importing gas from elsewhere or increased domestic drilling.  While some companies have existing leases to drill, the incentives are meant to prompt them into drilling sooner than later and store supplies for later use.  Legislature’s incentives may draw gas rig to InletAnchorage Daily News

HI – Hawaii has been chosen to be one of the first States to help launch the new all-electric car from Nissan, the LEAF, which is powered by lithium-ion batteries and produces zero tailpipe emissions.  Governor Linda Lingle recently spoke at event announcing Nissan’s decision and said that the car “will build on Hawaii's progress to end our state's over-reliance on imported fossil fuels and increase our energy security.”  The State has set a goal of obtaining 70% of its energy from clean sources by 2030.  Residents can now reserve the car, which is eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, and costs more than 60% less per mile to drive than the average gasoline-powered car.  Hawaii selected as an early launch State for Nissan LEAF vehicleReliable Plant

ME – Governor John Baldacci has signed five energy bills into law that will make generating and transmitting wind energy easier in the future.  Included in the new laws is the creation of “energy corridors” or new transmission lines along major highways, steering funds to energy efficiency and alternative energy projects, as well as a smart grid and other infrastructure to allow energy efficient use of electric vehicles.  Home and business owners will be allowed to tack upfront costs of energy efficiency projects onto their property tax bill for 10 to 20 years, and energy companies will be required to provide at least $4,000 in community benefits per wind turbine.  Another bill institutes the Ocean Energy Task Force recommendations by creating a permit system, clarifying the leasing process, and setting energy goals for offshore wind and tidal energy systems.  Baldacci signs energy bills aimed at cutting oil consumptionMaine Public Broadcasting Network and Energy bills smarten up State policyBangor Daily News

NJ – Governor Chris Christie and the State’s Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner, Bob Martin, have filed a petition with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to require a coal-fired power plant 500 feet across the border in Pennsylvania to reduce its emissions.  According to the Commissioner, the plant in question emits three times as much as all seven coal power plants in New Jersey, but residents on both sides of the river are susceptible to the pollution.  The plant is already the subject of a federal EPA lawsuit, though the plant’s owners say they are fully compliant with all Pennsylvania permit limitations.  NJ Gov. Chris Christie, DEP chief seek reduced pollution from coal-burning plant in PAThe Star-Ledger

WI – Governor Jim Doyle is promoting the collaboration of two large university research consortia with private companies to research and develop clean energy solutions, saying “it is crucial that Wisconsin develop and maintain a leadership role in these emerging energy technologies.”  Under the plan, the Center for Renewable Energy Systems in Madison and the Southeastern Wisconsin Energy Technology Research consortium in Milwaukee will combine into a single statewide group and provide energy research services for industry in the State.  Wisconsin makes a play for clean energyCivSource

Governor Doyle has also signed a bill that will make burning garbage for energy count as “renewable” and help the State realize its goal of obtaining 10% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015.  Also listed as “renewable” is the Apollo light pipe, a small glass skylight dome that reflects daylight inside a building and reduces energy use.  The skylight system is manufactured in Wisconsin.  The Governor also vetoed a bill that would have required State buildings to become more energy efficient.  Governor Doyle said that he vetoed the measure because the way it was written would have delayed current maintenance projects and would have created “chaos” for the State’s building construction program.  Disputed renewable power bill signedMilwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

National News

Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman publicly released their climate change and energy legislation in the company of both utility company executives and environmental advocates, but without the bill’s other original co-author, Senator Lindsey Graham.  Climate provisions include a cap and trade policy that would cap utility, oil, and heavy industry emissions (following a temporary exemption), but not as broadly as the as the economy-wide House plan passed last year.  Greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 17% by 2020 and 83% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.  Permits would initially be given away to utilities and coal burning power plants would receive more permits than natural gas power plants.  In the wake of the ongoing Gulf oil leak, the legislation has been amended to scale back some the expansion of offshore oil drilling.  States will now be able to stop certain plans to drill for oil off the coast of neighboring States.  Nuclear plant operators would also receive loan guarantees under the proposed legislation.  The nuclear power industry and utility companies generally embraced the plan, while some oil companies also voiced support.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, however, did not endorse the bill.  Senator Graham issued a separate statement on the bill in which he predicted the bill would not gain bipartisan support given immigration politics and the recent oil spill in the Gulf.  Climate bill’s fate down to businessPolitico and Senate gets a climate and energy bill, modified by a Gulf spill that still growsNew York Times 

The Georgetown Climate Center has produced an overview of the legislation’s State-related provisions.

Go Back

Energy Update, April 23, 2010

In the States

HI – Governor Linda Lingle’s Clean Energy Initiative is not moving as quickly as planned, as concerns over electricity costs have caused some utilities to refrain from signing contracts with renewable energy producers to preserve lower prices for consumers.  Renewable energy advocates agree that upfront costs will be higher for renewable energy projects, but note that since 90% of the electricity in the State is produced with petroleum and prices for fuel will almost certainly rise substantially in the future, the investment in renewable energy such as wind and solar will result in lower future costs.  Hawaii’s green efforts not cheap, but will pay off, advocates sayHonolulu Advertiser

MI – Governor Jennifer Granholm is promoting Michigan’s potential in producing wind turbines and other equipment, explaining at a conference sponsored by the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association that she is “so bullish on wind power” and that she wants the State to be “the place where climate change solutions are researched, developed, and produced.”  The Governor also said she wanted to make use of the State’s windy coast line and install the first offshore wind turbines in the Great Lakes, adding that she has a wager with Ohio Governor Ted Strickland on the matter.  Granholm’s bullish on Michigan’s wind-power futureDetroit Free Press

NJ – Governor Chris Christie discussed his vision of New Jersey’s energy future at a forum sponsored by Rutgers University, saying that he and the Lieutenant Governor “are setting up a regulatory environment that is friendly to business” and that his environmental policies will not be “incompatible to having a growing economy.”  During his speech, he indicated support for developing off-shore wind farms, more manufacturing of renewable energy equipment and the installation of solar panels on landfills and on farm land.  The Governor also said he will review the 2008 Energy Master Plan, but did not disclose what he would change in it.  Gov. Christie discusses energy plan at Rutgers forumThe Star-Ledger

UT – Governor Gary Herbert has withdrawn Utah from the upcoming cap-and-trade program that will be implemented under the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), a regional climate change agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions.  Utah now joins Arizona in quitting the cap-and-trade program after State legislators passed resolutions asking the Governor to withdraw from the interstate agreement.  The Governor’s office said that the State is “simply not in a position at this time to implement cap-and-trade” but would still like to have a seat at the table at the WCI.  Utah sticking with climate pact but not its cap-and-trade planSalt Lake Tribune

National News

Vice President Joe Biden has announced the recipients of the US Department of Energy’s Retrofit Ramp-Up initiative, the competitive Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program funded by the Recovery Act.  Twenty-five communities will receive $452 million under the new program, and are expected to leverage $2.8 billion in private funds over three years to create 30,000 jobs performing retrofits on large-scale operations and facilities, as well as businesses and homes.  Grant recipients include a regional consortium of southeastern States, as well as cities, counties, state governments, and nonprofits in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin.  DOE’s Retrofit Ramp-Up Initiative awards $452 million to 25 communitiesClean Edge and Retrofit Ramp-Up selected projects [pdf]US Department of Energy

Simultaneous Congressional committee hearings were held on coal and natural gas last   week at which representatives from each industry promoted the positive aspects of their energy products while questioning the applicability or efficiency of the other.  Coal representatives emphasized the relatively low expense and domestic abundance of coal and warned that a significant shift toward natural gas could leave the US without enough supply, consumers with widely varying electricity rates, and a lack of capital to develop clean coal technologies.  Natural gas advocates, including oil magnate T. Boone Pickens, said that gas is also cheap and abundant, but it emits half the amount of greenhouse gases as coal and can be used to power cars and trucks.  The oil industry responded to that last point by saying that cars outfitted to run on natural gas would cost significantly more to consumers and that  the price of other products made from petrochemicals like plastics would increase if oil production capacity was scaled back.  Coal chiefs go on offensive as Pickens pushes case for natural gasNew York Times

State representatives are expressing concern over how varying environmental regulations in the states, including regional greenhouse gas cap-and-trade agreements, will be treated under forthcoming climate change legislation.  The legislation being crafted by Senators Graham, Kerry, and Lieberman is expected to eliminate such interstate programs.  Regulators in some States, including California, are worried that federal legislation could undermine existing or future policies and regulations that are designed to protect the environment in favor of a purely federal approach.  States fear devil in details of climate bill - Reuters

States are experiencing varying degrees of consumer enthusiasm toward appliance rebate programs made possible by the Recovery Act, which allocate stimulus funds to consumers who purchase certain Energy Star-compliant appliances as replacements for outdated or inefficient appliances.  Many States such as Florida, Illinois, and Texas have been overwhelmed by customers seeking rebates on dishwashers, clothes dryers, and other home appliances, emptying the available funds in days or sometimes hours.  Some states, however, such as Missouri, have experienced far less demand for such rebates.  Appliance discounts, for the swiftNew York Times

International News

A report from the European Commission was edited to remove a controversial analysis which concluded that biofuels emit up to four times as much greenhouse gas emissions as regular gasoline or diesel.  The omission caused one participant in the study to disown it, and the edited section was released only through the use of freedom of information laws.  The report’s conclusions are controversial in that there are many variables that could affect the greenhouse gas emissions of a particular biofuel, including what kind of plant was grown to make the fuel and whether the land used to grow the plants was cleared of existing plants.  Once-hidden EU report reveals damage from biodieselReuters

Go Back

Energy Update, April 9, 2010

In the States

NM – Governor Bill Richardson heralded the arrival of a solar energy company this week, calling it “a great investment for New Mexico.”  Green2V will manage the entire solar energy producing process from making solar cells to financing, and plans to hire 1,500 to 3,000 people in the next several years.  The company joins at least two more large-scale solar power companies that have begun operations in New Mexico recently.  Solar business to build headquarters in NMBusinessWeek

OH – Governor Ted Strickland says that he would like Ohio to be the first State to produce offshore wind energy.  Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. is currently organizing a $100 million project to build several wind turbines three to five miles off the coast of Ohio.  The Governor is advocating for the elimination of the tangible personal property tax on equipment used to create solar or wind power.  Wind turbines planned for Erie Akron Beacon Journal

VA – Governor Bob McDonnell says he would like to make Virginia a national energy power and is pushing for more wind and fossil fuel energy production in Virginia, especially offshore, while also withdrawing from the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition.  The Governor signed several pieces of legislation last week that will promote production of wind energy offshore, create tax credits for green jobs, and create a state-university based alternative fuels research and development foundation, along with some other initiatives.  Governor McDonnell also praised the Obama administration’s decision to allow drilling for natural gas and oil off Virginia’s coast and is seeking 37.5% in royalties from oil sales to finance transportation projects.  The Governor also recently withdrew from the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition after the group sent a letter to Congressional leaders calling for a mandatory renewable energy standard without first getting his approval for this position or the use of his name.  Virginia Gov. McDonnell signs green energy bills – BusinessWeek and McDonnell hails ‘breakthrough’ on offshore drillingRichmond Times-Dispatch and McDonnell withdraws from energy coalitionWashington Post

WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal will host the first of several town-hall style meetings on the topic of wind energy in Wyoming starting later this month.  The Governor said the event will be a “straightforward conversation on what we can all agree are difficult, sometimes polarizing issues, wind development opportunities and transmission line siting.” The meeting is scheduled for April 27.  Governor to host session on wind projects and power transmissionCowboy State Free Press

National News

States could benefit from efforts to expand offshore drilling as part of negotiations over federal climate change legislation.  President Obama’s recent decision to consider off shore drilling leases along the Atlantic Coast has led to more discussion by members of Congress of the pros and cons of giving states a greater role in determining where offshore drilling can occur and whether more states should receive a share of revenues for drilling in federal waters.  Currently, only Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas are eligible for revenue-sharing.  Energy incentives for states are in the works  -- Houston Chronicle

The US Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency have finalized new rules that will phase in greater fuel efficiency and set limits on greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light trucks staring in 2012.  By 2016, all vehicles must get an average of 35.5 miles per gallon.  The change is estimated to increase the cost of a car by just under $1,000 but save drivers about $4,000 in gas costs over the life of the vehicle.  The National Resources Defense Council estimates that the new rules will save consumers $65 billion, reduce oil consumption by 1.3 million barrels per day, and eliminate 220 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 alone.  The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is also in favor of the new rules, calling them “a clear roadmap for future fuel economy increases.”  Emissions limits, greater fuel economy for cars, light trucks made officialWashington Post

The Obama administration is instituting new rules on mountaintop mining for coal that will slow if not completely stop the practice.  The process, in which miners blast the top off a mountain and send the rubble and waste into valleys, has been shown to introduce toxins into streams.  The National Mining Association said the new rules are “tantamount to saying the intent is to strictly limit coal mining in Appalachia while the West Virginia Coal Association said they “represent a grim, crippling picture” for the economy.  While the rules will make the process more difficult, they do not ban it outright; coal companies have options available that will require storing the rubble away from streams and other measures to avoid poisoning the water.  Environmental regulations to curtail mountaintop miningWashington Post

Go Back

Energy Update, March 26, 2010

In the States

CA – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill into law that will provide a sales tax exemption on equipment used for manufacturing alternative energy products that have a tangible effect on greenhouse gas emissions or energy efficiency.  The new law is expected to be of fiscal benefit to the State since the jobs it creates or keeps will produce more tax revenue.  The Governor also signed a new law that will streamline the permit process for construction of large solar and wind projects, thereby helping alternative energy developers meet deadlines for expending stimulus funding.  California creates green tech manufacturing sales tax exemptionEnvironment News Service and Schwarzenegger signs energy law – Clean Skies

CO – Governor Bill Ritter has signed a new law that will require utilities in the State to obtain 30% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020, the highest renewable energy standard in the region.  The previous standard required 20% of total electricity power to come from renewable sources by 2020.  Provisions in the new law also promote home-based alternative energy production through solar panels or wind turbines and require certifications for solar panel installers.  Ritter signs bill requiring greater use of renewable energy by 2020Denver Post

MA – Governor Deval Patrick’s administration is working to ensure that the benefits of several high-profile projects make their way to taxpayers.  Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles is pushing for contract commitments from companies involved in one of these -- the country’s first offshore wind farm – that would guarantee that tax incentives from federal stimulus legislation and other Department of Energy assistance used for this project lead to lower, more stable rates.  Mass. Gov supporting renewable energy initiativesBoston Herald

SD – Governor Mike Rounds has signed a bill into law that will prohibit easements or leases for wind turbine towers from being finalized until 10 days after of an offer in order to provide homeowners more time to study the contracts.  The new law will also prohibit developers from requiring that the terms of easement contracts  be kept secret and will allow construction of certain larger projects to be completed in up to 12 years, rather than the 5-year timeframe required for smaller projects.  SD Governor signs changes in wind tower easementsBusinessWeek

Regional, National, and International News

A bipartisan group of 29 Governors has sent a report to the US Congress and the White House calling for a mandatory increase in renewable energy, an interstate system of electricity transmission lines, more federal funding for research, and an easier permitting process for offshore wind development.  The report was compiled by the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition and specifically requests enactment of a renewable energy standard of 10% by 2012.  Group of 29 Governors seeks renewable power standard – ­Los Angeles Times and Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition Letter to President Obama and Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition Letter to Congressional Leadership and Great Expectations, US Wind Energy Development - Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DoE) are strengthening verification methods for the Energy Star program, which provides special designation to appliances that meet certain energy efficiency standards.  The agencies say they will test each product seeking the label at independent laboratories starting with 200 base-level models in the next several months.  The change comes amid revelations that auditors have found many problems with the current verification process.  For example, auditors obtained verification for several nonexistent products, including a gasoline powered alarm clock.  A recent audit showed that 100% of computer monitors that had the logo were compliant with the standards, but 80% of those tested that did not have the logo were also compliant.  And it also found that some products without Energy Star designation consumed less power than those with it.  DoE, EPA announce new Energy Star testingClean Skies and Audit finds vulnerability of EnergyStar programNew York Times

For the first time, China now leads the United States and all other G20 countries in clean energy technology investments, pouring almost twice as much private capital as the United States into clean energy technology and designating one-third of its recent stimulus package for clean energy projects.  Developing countries such as Brazil and India are also greatly increasing their clean energy efforts through adoption of national renewable energy standards and investment in the development of biofuels and conservation funds.  In contrast, U.S. investment in renewable energy has fallen 40% since 2008.  China leads major countries with $34.6 billion invested in clean technologyNew York Times

Go Back

Energy Update, March 12, 2010

In the States

DE – Governor Jack Markell has proposed an extension and expansion of existing law that would increase the use of renewable energy within the State.  Current law dictates that Delmarva Power must obtain 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2019; the proposed changes would require that other utilities comply, that 30% of electricity come from renewable sources by 2029, that preference be given to renewable energy producers within Delaware, and other minor changes.  The Governor hopes these changes will prompt more “green” jobs in the State as well as more home-based solar power production.  Markell pushes for renewable energy in DelawareThe News Journal

VA – Governor Bob McDonnell has signed legislation that endorses the Federal government allowing oil and gas drilling off Virginia’s coastline.  The plan that Governor McDonnell endorsed would funnel royalties to the State, though some of this funding would be directed to the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium, a partnership between industry, government, and universities to research and develop renewable energy.  McDonnell signs offshore energy bills Virginian Pilot and Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium

WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal has signed three bills into law that will centralize control over wind farm development and impose a new tax on electricity produced by wind.  The new laws will require a tax of $1 per megawatt of wind power, place a moratorium on using eminent domain laws to take private land for power lines, and extend permitting authority for the State over those power lines.  The Governor praised the legislature for passing the bills, saying that the wind energy industry is welcome in the State, but only if it pays its way.  Gov signs 3 wind bills into lawCheyenne Tribune

Regional and National News

Two Democratic Governors joined a group of 18 Republican Governors in sending a letter to the Congressional leadership asking that Congress keep the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from imposing regulations on greenhouse gases.  The Governors wrote that the EPA is unable to fully consider the economic effects of the regulations, which the Governors believe would place heavy administrative burdens on state environmental agencies, prove costly to consumers, and have a devastating impact on state economies and jobs. The EPA has responded to the Governors, dismissing the premise that regulatory action would necessarily weaken the economy.  Several pieces of legislation, introduced in Congress by members of both parties, would delay or eliminate the ability of EPA to regulate greenhouse gases; those in favor of a delay have been encouraged by the Governors’ letter, while supporters of the EPA have been relatively silent on the matter.  US Governors ask Congress to stop EPA RulesWall Street Journal and Governors’ letter to Congressional leadershipGulf Coast News and EPA defends greenhouse gas capsPolitico

Four Democratic Senators have called for a halt to stimulus spending on wind farm projects on the grounds that too much of the money has been sent outside the United States.  The Senators specifically cited a potential project by a company that has not yet applied for stimulus funds, but has signaled that it might install wind turbines manufactured in China.  Union leaders have supported the Senators’ position, while the Obama Administration has disputed it, as has the project manager for the referenced wind initiative, who said at least 70% of each turbine would be fabricated and assembled in the United States.  The American Wind Energy Association has also disputed the claims of the Senators, saying that 53%-63% of the value of equipment bought with stimulus funds has come from within the United States, and that 50,000 jobs would be lost if grants were suspended.  Four Democratic Senators aim to halt stimulus wind projectWashington Post

President Barack Obama met with several members of his administration and a bipartisan group of 14 Senators to discuss concerns about a potential energy bill that would include caps on carbon emissions.  The President offered concessions on nuclear power and drilling for oil and gas while emphasizing the importance of capping carbon emissions.  The Senators attending the meeting represented diverse viewpoints.  Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, for example, made it clear that any proposal must include safeguards for coal and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio remarked on the importance of job creation.  Senator LeMieux of Florida dismissed the possibility of supporting a cap on carbon, focusing instead on promoting nuclear power, and Senator Lugar of Indiana, who also said he was unlikely to support putting a price on carbon emissions, announced he has begun drafting legislation to promote nuclear power and clean coal technology, as well as stricter auto fuel efficiency standards.  Obama, key Senators make their pitch for climate and energy billNew York Times

Go Back

Energy Update, February 26, 2010

In the States

CA – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill into law that doubles the amount of electricity utilities must purchase from homeowners with solar panels or wind turbines under a net metering arrangement, calling it “great for the environment and great for our economy.”  Net metering allows homeowners with alternative energy generators like solar panels to receive credits for electricity they do not use, but feed to the grid.  These credits can then be used when more electricity is needed than a home system can provide, such as when it is less sunny in the winter.  Prior to the new law, utilities were required to issue net metering credits for 2.5% of electricity generated by the utility; the new law doubles that percentage to 5%.  Gov. Schwarzenegger signs bill to raise net-metering limitSunpluggers.com and California doubles net-metering cap on wind and solar to 5% Treehugger.com

FL – Governor Charlie Crist’s energy office is “trying to encourage energy efficiency, water conservation, and recycling” by implementing a program in which consumers will be eligible for an additional $75 rebate for replacing their inefficient appliances with new Energy Star rated ones.  Florida residents already receive up to $100 in rebates for purchasing efficient appliances, so the additional $75 per appliance will substantially increase the amount consumers will save.  The program only runs April 19-25 and consumers must produce a receipt from a certified disposal facility confirming the destruction of the old appliance to be eligible.  Florida sweetens deal for clunker appliancesMiami Herald

Regional and National News

The Federal government and 11 Atlantic Coast states have taken initial steps towards forming a Wind Consortium to help coordinate offshore wind permitting processes and electric transmission planning.  Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar participated in a news conference in Washington DC announcing the initiative, along with Maine Governor John Baldacci, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.  Offshore wind projects are currently in the planning or permitting processes off the coasts of several of these states.  Feds plan offshore wind consortium with 11 Atlantic States – Environment News Service

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson recently sent a letter to eight coal-state Democratic Senators who had sought a moratorium on new emissions regulations.  In her letter, Administrator Jackson assured the Senators that only the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions would be subject to any limitations before 2013, with limits placed on smaller entities beginning in 2016.  The group of Senators, led by John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, had argued that significant decisions about energy, the economy, and the environment should be left to Congress.  In addition to the concerns of these Senators, Republican members of Congress, industry groups, and officials from Texas, Alabama, and Virginia have challenged EPA’s proposed regulation of industrial emissions.  EPA plans to phase in regulation of emissionsNew York Times

Go Back

Energy Update, February 12, 2010

In the States

AZ – Governor Jan Brewer has announced that Arizona will no longer fully participate in the Western Climate Initiative, citing potential higher costs for consumers.  The Governor signed an executive order effectively withdrawing the State from the planned cap-and-trade system and ordering the Department of Environmental Quality to review a plan to place more regulations on vehicle emissions.  Although these two programs will not be implemented, the State is not fully withdrawing from the Initiative, and will continue to work with other States to promote solar energy, limit pollution by setting smart growth policies, and taking steps to adapt to climate change.  The State is also continuing a program to make its entire state vehicle fleet hybrid, low-emission, or alternative fuel by 2012.  Arizona quits Western climate endeavorArizona Republic

MA – Governor Deval Patrick’s recently announced new plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions.  When combined with measures he and others have already put into place, these proposals would result in an 18.6% decrease in emissions from 1990 levels by 2020, according to a new draft report by the Eastern Research Group.  The Global Warming Solutions Act, signed by the Governor in 2008, requires Massachusetts to lower greenhouse gas emissions 10% to 25% by 2020.  The Governor cited the move toward reducing emissions as good for the environment and the economy, saying “[o]ur investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy are creating jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions dramatically.”  Mass. to meet gas reduction targetBoston Globe and Draft Report to Climate Protection and Green Economy Advisory Committee [pdf]Eastern Research Group

WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal is proposing stricter regulations on the wind power industry, including an excise tax of $3 per megawatt hour, and more restrictions on land use and zoning that would make building wind turbines and producing wind energy more expensive.  The Governor said that the wind energy industry “remains a profit-oriented business that should be treated the same as other energy producers."  Gov.: Tax wind powerStar-Tribune

State of the States – Most Governors have given a State of the State address, and many of them have included energy issues in their speeches.  Some of these are highlighted below.  The full text and summaries of all of the State of the State addresses can be found on the Stateline.org website.

CT – Governor M. Jodi Rell proposed eliminating the sales tax on “machines, equipment, tools, materials, supplies, and fuels used in renewable energy and green technology” in her annual State of the State address.  She also proposed a loan forgiveness program for students who get certain degrees related to renewable energy or health and choose to stay and work in the State. 

MI – Governor Jennifer Granholm said the Federal economic stimulus has helped the State make investments in clean energy and “take us from the rust belt to the green belt” in her State of the State address.  The Governor also said that several billion private sector dollars have been invested in building electric cars, batteries, wind turbines, and solar cells resulting in the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs.

NV – In his State of the State address, Governor Gibbons said that his office is working to promote solar, wind, and geothermal energy as well as research and development for new green technologies.  The Governor noted economic and environmental benefits, saying these industries would create long-term high-paying jobs. 

National News

President Barack Obama met with a bipartisan group of 11 Governors recently to discuss the future of energy.  While the President underscored the need to produce more biofuels, especially ethanol, and cleaner coal, Governor Gregoire of Washington expressed interest in nuclear power, Governor Rounds of South Dakota asked for help in developing biofuels resources in the Midwest, and Governor Beshear of Kentucky praised Obama’s interest in clean coal and expressed concern over cap-and-trade proposals.  Also in attendance were Governors Riley of Alabama, Baldacci of Maine, Schweitzer of Montana, Strickland of Ohio, Bredesen of Tennessee, Douglas of Vermont, Manchin of West Virginia, and Freudenthal of Wyoming.  Governors talk energy with ObamaStateline.org and Wash. Gov. says nuclear energy must be consideredSeattle Post-Intelligencer and Rounds says he pushed for SD in energy meetingKTIV.com and Kentucky Gov. Beshear praises Obama clean-coal initiativeCourier-Journal

More than 200 companies, including some major energy companies, have combined efforts to promote the passage of a Senate climate change bill this year.  Leaders from the companies and business groups have cited the need to compete with China, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and reduce carbon emissions as all worthy goals that can be achieved through climate change legislation.  In the Senate, Senators Kerry, Lieberman, and Graham are working together to craft legislation that will attract Republicans and Democrats.  President Obama has also shown a willingness to compromise to pass a bill this year: he proposed allowing more nuclear power in his State of the Union address, requested more Federal loans to build nuclear power plants in his FY2011 budget, and asked Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to address the issue of nuclear fuel and waste.  Coming together on climate billPolitico

Go Back

Energy Update January 15, 2010

In the States

AZ – Governor Jan Brewer discussed her ideas on the future of energy in Arizona at a business conference in Phoenix, calling for more wind, solar, and nuclear energy production.  The Governor said she is a “strong advocate for the development of more nuclear energy in Arizona,” calling the energy source “the cornerstone of our clean energy future.”  She also said she is “committed to making Arizona the solar capital of the world,” proposed adding incentives and easing regulations, and signed two executive orders to help promote solar energy.  Brewer pushes for nuclear as key part of energy goalsArizona Republic

MD – As the session begins in the State general assembly, Governor Martin O’Malley is preparing to push for a low-cost plan to increase solar energy, offshore wind development, and electric cars.  The Governor is proposing smaller changes to comply with the legislature’s existing goal of generating 20% of Maryland’s energy from renewable sources by 2022, and a need to cut $2 billion from the State budget.  Examples include streamlining the process to allow transmission lines from offshore wind farms and a tax break on new electric vehicles.  O’Malley to press for legislation on renewable energyBaltimore Sun

NM – Governor Bill Richardson has signed an executive order instructing several state agencies to coordinate efforts to promote the growth of green jobs and renewable energy.  The agencies are tasked with improving the electrical grid, commercializing new clean energy technologies, attracting renewable energy companies to the state, streamlining the permit process for alternative energy projects, and promoting commercial-scale geothermal energy.  Richardson orders new steps to build green economyNew Mexico Business Weekly

WV – In his State of the State address, Governor Joe Manchin praised the energy sector and defended the coal industry.  The Governor stressed balancing the economy and the environment, heralding both increased wind energy development and new technologies that will allow more drilling for oil and natural gas.  His speech also focused on supporting the coal industry by noting the fuel’s ubiquity and low cost, praising an upcoming project to control greenhouse gas emissions at a power plant, and criticizing efforts to “villainize this resource that helped us win two world wars and built the greatest country in the world.”  West Virginians urged to ‘stand up for our coal miners’Charleston Gazette

National News

President Barack Obama has announced $2.3 billion in tax credits that is expected to leverage an additional $5 billion in private investment, help complete 183 clean energy projects, and create more than 17,000 new jobs.  The credits will be provided for a wide variety of projects, including solar, wind, and geothermal energy production, fuel cells, electric cars, carbon capture and sequestration technology, and energy efficiency products.  White House awards $2.3 billion in tax credits for clean energy developersNew York Times

Go Back

Energy Update, December 11, 2009

In the States

MA – The first phase of Governor Deval Patrick’s plan to install 250 megawatts of solar-generating capacity by 2017 was so successful that it ran out of money more than a year ahead of schedule and allowed for the installation of more solar panels than originally anticipated.  The $68 million program called Commonwealth Solar provided homeowners and businesses with nearly half the funds to purchase and install solar systems.  The program exhausted its funds in just less than two years and allowed for the purchase of solar panels that can generate 29 megawatts of electricity.  $68m in solar rebates goes fastBoston Globe

MD – A law passed last year at the urging of Governor Martin O’Malley requires the State of Maryland requires utilities to obtain 20% of their electric power from renewable sources.   The sale of two alternative energy projects to utility companies should help them achieve this goal.  Constellation Energy will take over a $140 million, 28-turbine wind farm project that already has received state approval, while CPV Renewable Energy Company will install a solar energy facility next to a natural gas power plant.  Garrett, Charles to get wind, solar power plants Baltimore Sun

MT – Governor Brian Schweitzer’s goal of increasing the State motor fleet’s gas mileage to 30 miles per gallon has already been achieved, more than a year ahead of schedule.  The fleet’s mileage stands at 31.6 miles per gallon and will be increased to at least 34.2 miles per gallon in the coming year due to increases in hybrid vehicles.  Montana’s large size and rural nature requires state officials to travel long distances, so raising mileage requirements has a substantial budgetary impact.  State on track to surpass fuel goalBillings Gazette

OR – Governor Ted Kulongoski says that the subsidies offered to the wind and solar energy industries should be phased out after vetoing a similar measure earlier this year.  The Governor changed his mind after commissioning and receiving a report by two department directors who determined the most generous subsidies of up to $10 million for wind and $20 million for solar projects are no longer required in order to keep alternative energy companies investing in the State.  The State legislature is expected to explore phasing out the subsidies when it begins a special session in February.  Kulongoski changes course, supports phase-out of wind energy tax creditThe Oregonian

Regional and National News

Climate change legislation – Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman have released an outline of the “tripartisan” legislation that the three of them have been working on for the past month.  The outline says that the plan should reduce pollution to “in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels” in the “near term” and “approximately 80 percent below 2005 levels” would be “a long term target.”  The outline suggests the way to do this is to drill and refine more domestic oil and natural gas, establish a national regulatory system for reducing carbon emissions, encourage nuclear and clean coal development, and create incentives for green jobs for blue-collar workers, and maintaining carbon offsets for farmers.  Senators release ‘basic framework’ of climate billCQ Politics and Letter to President Obama and Framework for Climate Action and Energy Independence in the US SenateSenators John Kerry, Joseph Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham

The Senate Energy Subcommittee held a hearing this week on nine energy- and climate-related bills that could create more funding for the Department of Energy’s efforts to develop more advanced alternative energy.  Five of these bills have already passed the House and would authorize $3 billion in funds for vehicle technologies (HR 3246), $2 billion for solar energy research and development (HR 3585), $200 million for a wind energy research program (HR 3165), $20 million for research parks at which scientists can perform energy-related research (HR 2729), and grants for training designers to incorporate energy efficiency into buildings (HR 957).  The four remaining Senate bills would provide loans for manufacturers to increase energy efficiency or produce clean energy technology (S 1617), authorize $500 million for wind energy research and development (S 2773), expand current ethanol research and development programs (S 737), and provide a monetary prize for researchers that develop a way of taking carbon dioxide out of the air (S 2744).  Research panel to take up carbon capture, biofuels, research billsNew York Times

Governors Donald Carcieri (R-RI) and Jack Markell (D-DE) recently told attendees at a wind energy conference that they support offshore wind projects in their states.  Governor Carcieri said land-based and offshore wind power should be expanded and   the federal government should strengthen its renewable energy policy.  He also said  his state is moving as fast as it can to get an offshore wind project off the ground, and that “a failure to invest in renewable resources ... in today’s economic climate would verge on irresponsibility.”  Governor Markell spoke about efforts in Rhode Island to promote alternative energy, praised the Obama administration for its promotion of wind energy, and said a “steady stream of projects year after year” is needed to ensure the viability of the industry.  Seize the breeze: Carcieri urges speed in development of offshore wind projectsProvidence Journal

Go Back

Energy Update, November 25, 2009

In the States

AZ – Governor Jan Brewer has announced that up to 400 high-paying jobs will go to Arizona residents as a result of the State’s renewable energy tax incentive program.  The Chinese solar energy company Suntech will begin operations in the State in January when the incentives go into effect with an initial investment of between $13 and $17 million, and continue to build facilities in the next few years.  The Governor also said she is in talks with other large-scale renewable energy companies who have expressed interest in starting operations in the State.  Brewer: addition of Chinese solar firm shows impact of tax creditsAZCapitolTimes.com

CA – The State of California has taken a big step toward implementing a broad-based State cap-and-trade program ahead of any potential action by the US Congress on federal climate change legislation.  Draft rules issued this week by the California Air Resources Board would require major sources of air pollution, including power plants, refineries, and concrete factories to being reducing emissions in 2012.  The State’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.  Beginning in 2015, emissions from industrial and transportation fuels would also be subjected to reductions.  The draft rule does not specify how to allocate permits allowing companies to emit carbon dioxide and other GHGs, which is one of the most contentious issues being debated at the federal level.  The chairwoman of the Air Resources Board, Mary D. Nichols, has stated that her preference is for all permits to be auctioned.  Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has said the new rules will help California address a serious environmental problem while allowing companies flexibility in meeting the State’s clean-air goals.  California takes step to limit emissionsNew York Times

ME – Governor Jon Baldacci was present at the dedication of three new offshore wind turbines that are now producing power for communities on the Fox Islands off the coast of Maine.  The project is the largest community-owned wind production facility on the east coast and the largest off-shore wind farm in New England.  The turbines were welcomed by the communities, who currently  pay twice the national average for electricity sent from the mainland, but now have a cleaner, more affordable method of energy production.  New England community wind project goes online, begins powering islands off MaineClean Edge News

OR – Governor Ted Kulongoski is seeking recommendations from two State agencies on the efficacy of the Business Energy Tax Credit after the Oregonian newspaper determined that some lawmakers had downplayed the cost of this incentive before its passage in 2007.  The Governor’s office has expressed concern over the cost, saying that the State should only be as generous with the tax credits as is necessary to encourage growth in the clean energy sector, which is the goal of the credits.  State legislators will take up the issue again in the next legislative session after a previous measure, a much lower cap on the tax credits, was vetoed by the Governor earlier this year.  Governor orders review of Oregon energy tax creditsThe Oregonian

National News

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) announced he will not support cap-and-trade legislation in its current form and unveiled a climate bill he authored with Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN).  Senator Webb expressed disapproval of the cap-and-trade concept and the burdens such an approach might impose on US business vis-à-vis China.  Instead of imposing restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions and establishing a market for pollution credits as the current bill would, the Webb-Alexander bill would provide up to $100 billion in loan guarantees for clean energy production, mainly to nuclear power plants, as well as $750 million per year for alternative fuel research and development.  US Senators unveil bill to double nuclear powerReuters and Jim Webb bails on cap-and-tradePolitico

The US Department of Energy has announced $683 million in new stimulus money for clean energy programs.  The newly announced funds will provide $620 million to support 16 regional smart grid demonstration projects in 21 states and 16 utility-scale projects to help store renewable energy, $45 million for a new facility that will be able to test the next generation of wind turbines (expected to be too big for current domestic facilities), and $18 million in grants to support small business innovation in clean energy technology.  The DOE and USDA have also announced $28.4 million in continued investment to increase the yield and efficiency of biomass and other biofuels.  DOE Awards $620 Million for Smart Grid and Energy Storage ProjectsEERE News and Secretary Chu Announces $45 Million to Support Next Generation of Wind Turbine DesignsEERE News and Recovery Act Announcement: DOE to Invest $18 Million in Small Business Clean Energy Innovation ProjectsEERE News and USDA-DOE Make Available $4 Million for Biomass Genomics ResearchUS Department of Agriculture and DOE and USDA Select Projects for more than $24 Million in Biomass Research and Development GrantsUS Department of Energy

Go Back

Energy Update, November 13, 2009

In the States

TX – A new report from Environment Texas, using data from the US Department of Energy, shows that although Texas produces more carbon dioxide than any other state, its carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by 2% from 2004 to 2007 while the US collectively increased those emissions by 0.7% during the same period.  Governor Rick Perry said the report shows that the State is able to reduce emissions without imposing taxes or regulations and expressed opposition to federal climate change legislation that he believes would harm industry in Texas.  Report: Texas greenhouse gas emissions downAssociated Press

UT – Governor Gary Herbert made his first trip to Washington DC since assuming the office of Governor to reach out to the Obama administration on contentious oil and gas leases in Utah.  The Bush administration moved the auction for the leases up to December 2008, during which an activist bid up the cost of the leases without having the money to buy them.  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar subsequently cancelled many of the leases due to environmental concerns and the fraudulent bids.  The Governor met with Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes to discuss how they could work together to deliver some of the leases to companies that had submitted legitimate bids; the Deputy Secretary invited the State and the companies to provide a legal argument for not cancelling the auctions that included fraudulent bids.  Guv stresses public lands on DC tripDeseret News and A bid too far: Utah oil lease activist Tim DeChristopher faces jail timeWall Street Journal

WV – Governor Joe Manchin held a private meeting with federal and state officials and coal industry representatives to discuss the future of coal.  After the meeting, the Governor held a press conference to announce his intention to join West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller and Representatives Nick Rahall and Shelley Moore Capito in a high-level meeting with US EPA officials to discuss new regulations on mountaintop removal.  Rep. Rahall said that during their meeting coal executives expressed confusion over the regulations and Rep. Capito said two meetings she had previously scheduled with the EPA were cancelled.  W. Va. Gov. to host private meeting on coalAssociated Press and W. Va. Leaders seek coal answers from White HouseCharleston Gazette

Regional and National News

Mid-Atlantic – Governors Jack Markell of Delaware, Martin O’Malley of Maryland, and Tim Kaine of Virginia have agreed to coordinate the efforts of their states to produce wind energy offshore and transmit it throughout the region while creating new jobs.  Each state is interested in developing offshore wind power and stands to gain from the resources such a collaboration would provide. MD, DE, VA enter offshore wind power partnershipThe Capital and Governors commit to offshore wind energyWTOP

Federal – Democratic Senators passed the Senate’s climate change bill out of the Environment and Public Works Committee 11-1 despite a Republican boycott of the hearings.  To move the bill, committee chair Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) bypassed a rule that would have required participation by both parties.  Republicans, who boycotted the hearings because they believed not enough time was provided to read the bill and thought the EPA had failed to adequately study the costs, objected to the bill’s passage without their input.  Though the bill passed the committee, many Senators believe that another bill, being crafted by Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to allow more nuclear energy and offshore drilling, is more likely to pass the Senate.  Many Senators also believe that no other major action will be taken on climate change legislation in the Senate until next year.  Democrats move on emissions billWashington Post and Democrats push climate bill through panel without GOP debateNew York Times and Climate bill likely on the shelf for rest of the yearWall Street Journal

Senator Chuck Schumer has sent a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu asking him to refuse stimulus money for a wind farm project in Texas unless the “high-value components, including the wind turbines, are manufactured in the United States.”  The letter was prompted by an Investigative Reporting Workshop study that found that 84% of stimulus money for green projects has gone to foreign companies and that the project in Texas in particular will create 2,000 jobs in China and 300 in Texas.  The Texas project is being financed by $450 million in stimulus funds and more than $1 billion in investments from Chinese banks.  Schumer seeks to block stimulus money for Chinese-backed Texas wind farmNew York Times

Stimulus Funding -- The US Department of Energy announced nearly $500 million in new stimulus grants, including $338 million of stimulus money awarded to 123 schools, tribes, local governments, and national laboratories to advance geothermal energy development.  Another $155 million of additional stimulus funds is being used to leverage $634 million of private investment for industrial energy efficiency projects.  The Treasury Department has also issued $2.2 billion in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) that will act as low-interest loans to help energy co-ops, governmental entities, and public power providers develop clean renewable energy projects such as wind or solar power.  Department of Energy awards $338 million to accelerate domestic geothermal energyEERE News and Secretary Chu announces more than $155 million for industrial energy efficiency projectsEERE News and Treasury allocates $2.2 billion in bonds for renewable energy developmentTreasury Department Press Room

Go Back

Energy Update, October 16, 2009

In the States

GA – The State is deploying two economic development teams to compete nationally and globally to attract alternative energy companies.  Competition for such businesses among States is strong in the current economy because the industry is currently growing and the jobs they produce typically pay higher wages.  One of the teams will seek companies that will develop Georgia’s own energy resources such as biofuels, and the other will seek companies that make materials such as wind or solar products that Georgia could manufacture for use in other States.  State chasing alternative energy projectsAtlanta Business Chronicle

KS – Governor Mark Parkinson called on Congress in general – and the Kansas delegation in particular – to pass a federal renewable energy standard that would require a percentage of the nation’s energy to be produced from renewable sources such as wind or solar.  He also advocated the indefinite extension of the renewable energy production credit, saying that short-term extensions cause uncertainty among investors.  Parkinson calls for federal RESTopeka Capital-Journal

ME – Governor John Baldacci proposed ideas on how to increase production of energy from wind power in a speech to wind power proponents.  The Governor said he is interested in replicating ideas he saw in Europe on a trade mission, such as transforming manufacturing sites into factories for wind turbines and an offshore wind farm.  Governor Baldacci also called for a “participatory debate and discussion” at which all parties could voice their opinion, but stressed that “we need to take action.”  Baldacci touts wind potentialBangor Daily News

Regional and National News

Twenty-six out of 35 States have met or are on track to meet their renewable energy goals, according to research done by USA Today.  Some States have found the goals elusive due to regulatory issues, an outdated electric grid, or the economic downturn.  States’ experiences with renewable energy requirements could prove enlightening to the federal government as Congress is debating whether to impose a renewable energy standard nationwide.  States not meeting renewable energy goalsUSA Today

The US Department of Energy is hosting a webinar for State and local officials on how to best implement feed-in tariffs to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on Wednesday, October 28 from 3:00pm to 4:15pm.  Participants must register in advance online at this site, after which they will be provided with a link and a password to attend the webinar.  More information can be found hereDOE webcast October 28 for State and local officials: Feed-in tariffsEERE News

Go Back

Energy Update, August 7, 2009

In the States

DE – Governor Jack Markell has signed two bills into law that he says will spur new green collar jobs.  The new laws will require more energy efficient homes and office buildings, encourage zero net energy buildings, and require utilities in the state to reduce energy consumption by 15% in just five years, by 2015.  Governor Markell signed legislation earlier this year promoting home solar and wind energy.  Markell signs landmark energy legislationDelaware Business Ledger

OR – Governor Ted Kulongoski has signed several climate change bills that will lower greenhouse gas emissions in the state.  The new laws require that new power plants be at least as clean as natural gas, new buildings are more energy efficient, and emissions are reported by more polluters.  They also authorize a low carbon fuel standard, and grants for energy efficiency projects.  Governor signs climate change legislationPortland Business Journal

The nation’s Governors agreed to support a goal of requiring new and renovated buildings to be carbon-neutral by 2030 at the National Governors Association Annual Meeting.  The goal is promoted by the American Institute of Architects and endorsed by the US Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties. Governors call for carbon-neutral buildings by 2030New York Times

Regional and National News

The Cash for Clunkers program, which provides car-buyers with $3,500 to $4,500 in incentives to trade in gas-guzzlers for cars with much better gas mileage, is running out of its $950 million in stimulus funds.  The House and Senate have passed a $2 billion extension of the program to keep it going.  $2B in clunkers cash on way, senators sayDetroit Free Press and “Cash for Clunkers” gets a $2 billion boostNew York Times

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the chairs of five committees have agreed to get a cap-and-trade bill out of committee by September 28.  Senators have cited several impediments to quick passage of the bill, though, including the complexity of the pending health reform legislation, negative impacts on coal- and manufacturing-heavy states, and spending any additional money after the stimulus and health reform.  Some Senators have stated that it is unlikely that the bill will be passed this year, and will only be harder to push next year as difficult votes are harder to make in election years.  Climate bill may fall by the waysidePolitico

President Obama and other administration officials traveled throughout the country on August 5 to announce the recipients of $2.4 billion in stimulus grants for the development of battery powered vehicles.  The President visited Indiana and Vice President Biden was in Michigan – those two states received the majority of the funds – while other cabinet members traveled to North Carolina, Florida, and Pennsylvania to announce grants in those states.  The grants will fund 50 projects in 25 states.  Obama back in Indiana with message and aidNew York Times and Electric cars get plug from ObamaCharlotte News and Observer

International News

At a two-day meeting between the Obama administration and Chinese officials, the US and China entered into an agreement that states each country’s desire to deal with the climate issue, though no real specifics emerged.  The memorandum of understanding cited climate change as a challenge to be combated by transitioning to a low-carbon economy through “domestic action and international cooperation.”  At the meeting, both countries said their relationship on the subject would be positive and mutually beneficial. US, China end talks with smiles but no progress on climate changeLos Angeles Times and US-China memorandum of understanding to enhance cooperation on climate change, energy and the environment US Department of State

Go Back

Energy Update, July 10, 2009

In the States

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

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

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

Regional and National News

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

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

Go Back

Energy Update, August 8, 2008

In The States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regional News

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

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

National News

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

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

Go Back

20 blog posts

Contact Us

Hall of the States

444 N. Capitol Street NW

Washington, DC 20009

Phone: 202-624-1478