Energy

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA—The solar electricity industry in the United States has seen dramatic growth in the past few years. But some believe states could be doing more with policy to put solar on a more level playing field with electricity produced by fossil fuels. That’s what two consultants told attendees Aug. 13 at a daylong policy academy during the recent CSG National and CSG West Annual Meeting in Anchorage, Alaska.

As states continue to diversify their energy portfolios, renewable energy sources—like solar technology—will play an increasing role.

A recent report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration revealed solar added 2,193 megawatts of capacity in 2013. Much of that added capacity came as the industry completed several large solar thermal plants in Arizona and California. More projects are on track for completion between 2014 and 2016. Power generation from solar technology is forecast to rise.

The U.S. electricity sector is undergoing quite a bit of transition, partly because of regulations like section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

But those aren’t the only reasons, Jennifer Macedonia, senior adviser with the Bipartisan Policy Institute, said during Monday’s session, “A Closer Look at 111d.”

“We’re also dealing with an aging fleet of generators, which at some point … will need to retired,” she said. “So many of our fleet is past 30 and 40 year mark.”

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments urges the executive branch and Congress to establish a national energy policy that encourages access to and removal of impediments to all available domestic sources of energy; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments encourages the U.S. EPA to recognize the sovereign power of state regulators to avoid costly litigation; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments recommends state policymakers work closely with their environmental commissioners, informed by electricity providers and other stakeholders, this resolution and the states’ previous recommendations, to develop comments and where appropriate comments with other states addressing the legal, economic, employment, timing, achievability, affordability, implementation scheduling and reliability issues in the proposed regulations for their state and file them by U.S. EPA’s comment deadline and to stay engaged with U.S. EPA and other relevant federal agencies after the comment period ends and the regulation is finalized to eliminate or minimize the risks and consequences from U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments encourages states to inform their congressional delegations on their evaluations and comments and encourage these representatives to help resolve issues by reducing or eliminating negative consequences from U.S. EPA’s proposed regulation;

This session provided an overview of solar technology and policy. Panelists discussed current markets and trends, the value of solar technology, and benefits and barriers to this technology. Speakers explored how solar technology fits into net metering and discussed the future for solar technology.

With the new proposed rules by the United States Environmental Protection Agency related to section 111 (d) of the Clean Air Act, many states have questions about what the rule means for their state. The session addressed the questions state leaders need to ask to have a better understanding of how the rule affects their state’s businesses, citizens and energy future.

With the new proposed rules by the United States Environmental Protection Agency related to section 111 (d) of the Clean Air Act, many states have questions about what the rule means for their state.  The session addressed the questions state leaders need to ask to have a better understanding of how the rule affects their state’s businesses, citizens and energy future.

With the new proposed rules by the United States Environmental Protection Agency related to section 111 (d) of the Clean Air Act, many states have questions about what the rule means for their state.  The session addressed the questions state leaders need to ask to have a better understanding of how the rule affects their state’s businesses, citizens and energy future. 

State leaders received the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, released June 2, with mixed reactions. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback considers the new regulations on existing coal-fired power plants to be “more of the Obama administration’s war against middle America.” Kansas, like many...

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