Energy

The U.S. Energy Information Administration issued a report last week detailing the 13,500 megawatts (MW) of electric utility capacity added in 2013.  According to the report, the total capacity added is down roughly 50% from 2012.  Natural gas and solar were the top industries generating additional capacity at just over 50% and 22% respectively. 

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Minnesota’s legislative year began by tackling a problem few could have predicted only months earlier — a spike in the cost of propane and its impact on people (mostly in rural areas) who use it to heat their homes. Across the Midwest, the propane shortage has led to a spate of state legislation, gubernatorial-declared energy emergencies and executive orders.

Quagga and Zebra Mussels continue to spread in the West, despite efforts to curtail or prevent their spread. Quagga Mussels first arrived in the Great Lakes in the late 1980s and since then have spread throughout the country. On February 25, 2014 National Park Service and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officials announced that thousands of adult quagga mussels have been found in various locations in Lake Powell.

The popularity of net metering has surged among residential customers due to significant incentives by more than 40 states allowing customers to sell excess renewable power to the utility. Accompanying that growth, however, is a burgeoning debate over the most appropriate way to continue incentivizing the use of distributed and renewable energy resources in the most equitable fashion.

Be sure to join the next edition of CSG's webinar series entitled, "Challenges and Future Opportunities for States in Net Metering." The event will take place today, February 4th at 2pm Eastern and you may register by clicking here.

Today the State Department announced that it had completed its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL pipeline. Although the document is not decisional to approve or deny the project, it completes the agency's technical environmental review which found that it did not significantly alter greenhouse gas emissions or the extraction of Canadian oil sands or heavy crude refining in the U.S.

Yesterday, the North Dakota Petroleum Council introduced a new proposal to the North Dakota Industrial Council committing the industry to capture 85 percent of the natural gas flared at wellheads within two years. Within six years, the Association committed to capturing 90 percent and upwards of 95 percent should regulatory agencies, the Legislature, and state and tribal stakeholders come on board.

Although the number of customers utilizing net metering technology represents a tiny fraction of the overall population, the rapid pace and expansion of rooftop solar across the country has galvanized a debate across many states to re-examine popular incentive programs for distributed energy systems....

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced yesterday that propane inventories in the Midwest dropped more than 2 million barrels in November 2013 - the largest such drop for the feedstock in a single month since 1993. The agency noted that continued frigid temperatures, low inventories going into winter, and a late harvest in the Midwest have led to sharp increases in spot market prices.

State policymakers once again are facing challenges in financing core programs as they deal with federal funding cuts. The most pressing questions facing policymakers this legislative session most likely will center on revenues needed to fund the basic role of government.

The Council of State Governments has released its annual listing of the top 5 issues legislators will face this session in education, energy and the environment, fiscal, health, interstate compacts and transportation.

“While many states are...

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