Recent pipeline accidents, such as those in Allentown, Pa., and San Bruno, Calif., have raised concerns about pipeline safety and the consequences of the aging natural gas infrastructure in the United States. Currently, there are more than 2.4 million miles of natural gas pipeline infrastructure in the country that supplies 177 million Americans with natural gas. Natural gas utilities spend more than $19 billion annually to help enhance the safety of the natural gas distribution system and to upgrade and expand service.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final Clean Power Plant was released Aug. 3 and aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants by 32 percent from the 2005 levels by 2030. The plan promotes emissions trading among states by giving states the opportunity to design plans that allow their power plants to use out-of-state emissions reductions to achieve compliance.

Twenty-two state legislators from throughout the country gathered in New Orleans, Louisiana from Oct. 14-16, 2015, for a third annual CSG-led Natural Gas Policy Academy. Many of the attendees serve on energy and/or natural resources committees in their home states.

The policy academy covered a variety of key topics including an overview of the natural gas industry, safety standards, infrastructure and safety, exporting liquid natural gas, jobs and manufacturing, natural gas vehicles, and regulatory issues. Attendees...

The solar industry is growing rapidly in the United States. With more than 7,000 megawatts of capacity installed in 2014, the total installed capacity in the country climbed to over 20,000 MW, enough to power more than 4 million American households.

Released Aug. 3, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final Clean Power Plan, designed under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. One of the key changes in the final Clean Power Plan was to promote cross-state emissions trading between states, including through the establishment of mass-based targets and “trading-ready” mechanisms. This free CSG eCademy webcast features experts who discuss state emissions trading options as well as federal plans for states that fail to submit a satisfactory state plan that embraces trading.

CSG Midwest
Minnesota is the only U.S. state with an outright ban on construction of new nuclear power facilities. The state’s prohibition dates back to legislative actions taken in 1994 amid concerns and legal disputes about how and where to store the high-level radioactive waste from these plants. Minnesota has had two such facilities in operation since the early 1970s (Prairie Island, which has two units, and Monticello).
A bill was introduced this year to end the ban (SF 306/HF 1400), but it failed to advance. Two other states inthe Midwest have “de facto” moratoria on new nuclear power plants.

During a recent CSG eCademy webcast, “Pricing Rooftop Solar: Sustainability, Fairness & Promoting Productivity,” two former regulatory commissioners discussed the process used to set utility rates and how to ensure cost fairness and affordability while enabling the growth of distributed generation.

Two former regulatory commissioners discuss how electric rates are determined, the impact of policies promoting distributed generation, and how to design public policies to enable the growth of distributed generation while ensuring electric rates are fair and affordable for all electric customers.

The Obama administration released the final version of the Clean Power Plan last week at a White House ceremony attended by a crowd of administration officials, members of Congress and environmental advocates. This highly anticipated plan is the first comprehensive federal rule to target carbon emissions from existing, new and modified power plants. It is touted as the most ambitious regulation ever aimed at combating climate change.

The Quadrennial Energy Review, or QER, is the federal government’s analysis of energy vulnerabilities. Released in April as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the QER’s goal is to strengthen energy policy by reviewing existing laws and regulations in order to recommend new policies while taking into account numerous perspectives. The first installment focuses on energy infrastructure, particularly transportation, storage and distribution--or TS&D--with additional installments coming every four years. The Department of Energy requested $500 million in the 2016 fiscal year budget as part of a down payment on the QER’s recommendations totaling $16 billion in expenditures.