CSG South

This SLC Special Series Report, the first part in a series, examines wind energy in the Southern region.

CSG Midwest
When it came to helping craft a complex, landmark package of bills to revamp the state’s energy policy and map out the future of electric power in Michigan, Sen. Mike Nofs tried to at least keep one part of the legislative work simple and unchanging — the measure’s overarching goals.
“We wanted to control our destiny, regardless of the policies being set at the federal level,” he says. “And that meant focusing on affordability, reliability and clean energy.”
And that, in turn, led him and other lawmakers to make efficiency — or “waste reduction,” as it is now referred to in Michigan statute —  a big part of the state’s new energy law, which was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in late 2016 (SB 437 and SB 438). Only weeks before, another Midwestern state, Illinois, also took sweeping actions on energy policy, with a law that includes new incentives and standards for its utilities to achieve greater efficiency.

The Council of State Governments has released its annual listing of the top five issues legislators will face this session in nine key policy areas, including education, workforce development, energy and the environment, federal affairs, fiscal and economic development, health, interstate compacts, transportation, and international affairs.

CSG outlines the top five issues in energy and environment policy for 2017, including an uncertain future for federal environmental policy, infrastructure, water quality and management, solar energy, and natural gas.

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?

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