Capitol Comments

Mark your calendars for the next installment in CSG's webinar series entitled, "Storm Recovery—Building Stronger, Smarter Electrical Grids." The program will start at 2 PM/Eastern on June 12th and you can register here for the event.

Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced a new rule from the Department of Interior to regulate the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on federal lands. The relaunch of the rule was made after Interior pulled back its original proposal in 2012 after receiving 177,000 public comments. According to an Interior press release, the updated draft proposal will be subject to a new 30-day public comment period on the notice of proposed rulemaking. 

A conference committee between the Minnesota State House and Senate recently announced an agreement to resolve differences in two competing proposals to expand the solar energy requirement for investor-owned utilities. Under the proposal, investor-owned utilities (such as Xcel Energy and Minnesota Power) must generate 1.5 percent of its electricity from solar power by 2020.

Tesla Motors, the makers of high-end electric vehicles, is expected to post its first ever profit due in large part to an environmental credit program managed by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) under the Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate. Under the regulation, 15 percent of all new car sales in California must come from vehicles classified as "zero emission" by 2025. According to Wall Street analysts, the ARB's credit program could be worth up to $250 million for Tesla.

The Connecticut Senate passed legislation yesterday by a vote of 26 to 6, to expand the state's underlying renewable power requirement to allow large-scale hydroelectric power to qualify under the standard when wind and solar are not available. Despite the lop-sided vote, the legislation has come under increasing scrutiny by environmental groups and some power providers because they believe it will give the state department of energy and environmental protection to much authority to rollback renewable energy requirements.