Energy

Rules and policies promulgated by the Obama administration, such as the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule, were some of the most controversial environmental regulations seen in recent memory. While these rules have not yet been implemented at the state level and remain stayed pending the outcome of litigation, the election of President Donald J. Trump in November called into question what the future of these and other Obama administration policies will be and what role states will play in guiding energy and environmental policy in the future.

CSG Midwest
Michigan lawmakers are looking for ways to improve the availability, reliability and affordability of electricity in the state’s Upper Peninsula, and one potential solution is to bring in more power from neighboring Ontario.
In a letter this fall, the province backed Michigan’s request for the Midcontinent Independent System Operator to study the idea of extending electric-generating connections across the U.S.-Canada border.
“Interconnections with neighboring jurisdictions provide significant economic and reliability benefits on a daily basis,” wrote Glenn Thibeault, Ontario’s minister of energy, adding that these connections can help provide backup when areas lose their primary generating source.
CSG Midwest
Illinois will give Exelon Corp. $235 million in ratepayer subsidies to keep the company’s Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear power plants open, as part of a bipartisan deal that drew support from the state’s renewable-energy community.
CSG Midwest
One-third of the electrical power used in Minnesota’s Capitol Complex will come from solar and wind sources under a new deal with Excel Energy. State officials say the 20-year agreement with Excel locks in prices for renewable energy that will save about $100,000 over that time period. The state spends about $5 million on electricity annually for the Capitol Complex.
CSG Midwest
Three nuclear plants in the Midwest are scheduled to cease operations permanently over the next two years, on the heels of other recent, unexpected closures of plants around the country, including Kewaunee in Wisconsin.

This year marks a major milestone for the planet’s climate. 2016 is on track to be the hottest year on record and last month carbon dioxide levels passed the 400 parts per million threshold, at a time when atmospheric carbon is traditionally at its lowest concentration. Scientists project that we will not see carbon dioxide fall below 400 parts per million again in our lifetimes. The continued warming of the planet has already caused changes such as loss of sea ice, sea level rise, and more powerful heat waves. What is the fate of the Clean Power Plan under the a Trump Administration and how does this affect states?

With the continued and rapid increase of rooftop solar installations in the U.S., state governments are playing an increasing role in ensuring the public has accurate, balanced, and understandable information to make informed decisions on solar energy options. Like purchasing a house or a car, purchasing or leasing a solar photovoltaic system can involve complicated calculations of future energy needs and system profitability, an assessment of uncertain solar policies and incentives in states, vetting of solar installers, and a...

CSG Midwest

Out of sight, out of mind — until they aren’t — pipelines are as yet a necessary piece of the nation’s energy puzzle, moving oil and natural gas from their origins to refineries, and thence into our gas tanks, stoves, roads, roofs and more.

But against a backdrop of heightened environmental and climate-change awareness, crude oil pipelines now also carry controversy, raising the stakes for the states, which are more or less on their own when it comes to regulating the siting of such pipelines (as long as their regulations aren’t pre-empted by applicable federal laws).

Companies that operate pipelines come under the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. And once pipelines are operational, the U.S. Pipeline Safety Act assigns oversight to the Office of Pipeline Safety (housed within the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration).

The latest pipeline to make headlines is the Dakota Access Pipeline, a planned 1,134-mile underground pipe from the Bakken oil fields in northwest North Dakota that would run through South Dakota and Iowa to the Patoka Tank Farm in south central Illinois. If/when completed, the $3.7 billion pipeline is projected to carry more than 450,000 barrels of fracked crude oil per day.

Over 20 state legislators and public utility commissioners attended CSG's "Future of American Electricity" policy academy in Washington, D.C. from Sept. 21-23. One of several 2 1/2 day events put on by CSG policy staff in 2016, this event was designed to give state officials an overview of American electricity along with a deeper dive into more complex and emerging energy and electricity issues.

Natural resource extraction is a key component of many Western states’ economies and often generates a sizeable share of state revenue. However, natural resources are finite, the price of energy commodities is increasingly unpredictable, and revenues are volatile and tough for state forecasters to accurately predict. As a result, many states have created severance tax-based sovereign wealth funds to set aside a share of today’s revenue in order to generate investment earnings for state use in the future. This free CSG eCademy features Patrick Murray of The Pew Charitable Trusts, who presents findings and policy recommendations from a new research brief, including challenges and opportunities for state policymakers in energy-producing states.

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