CSG Midwest

For policymakers interested in getting innovative energy bills signed into law, the nation’s capital is the last place to be, a former U.S. governor told the Midwest’s legislators in July. Instead, he said, go to Springfield, Lansing or the many other state capitals where policy breakthroughs have occurred.

“We haven’t had comprehensive federal legislation since 2007, so what do we do? We turn to the states,” said Bill Ritter, currently the director of Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy.

At any given time, Ritter noted during a session of the Midwestern Legislative Conference Annual Meeting, his center is tracking up to 4,500 state-level energy bills. Legislatures not only are brimming with new ideas, he added, but they remain a place where compromises can be forged — across party lines and among competing stakeholder groups.

“There may be partisanship at the state level, but it is oftentimes not intractable,” Ritter said. “It’s not the kind of partisanship where conversations break down.”

Michigan and Illinois provide two cases in point. Lawmakers there successfully built support for measures (SB 437 and 438 in Michigan, and SB 2814 in Illinois) that are now viewed as cornerstones of the two states’ energy futures.

Climate Adaptation

The Trump administration is preparing to issue a proposal to freeze fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks at 2020 levels through at least 2025 and challenge the right of California and other states to set their own tailpipe standards. Not only will this amount to one of the biggest regulatory rollbacks of the Trump administration but it could have far-reaching consequences on a wide variety...

Climate Adaptation

There’s a significant shift underway in how Americans consume energy. That is largely due to increasing energy efficiency leading to American households using less electricity than they did five years ago and the rapid expansion of renewable energy sources.

Still, there is big disparity in how much American households spend on electricity based on the region they live in and their income level. In 2015, nearly one-third of U.S. households...

Climate Adaptation

The trade war with China shows no sign of abating. The Trump administration has signaled its intention to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese products. This comes after the two countries imposed tit-for-tat tariffs of $34 billion on each other’s goods.

While many U.S. states and their industries...

CSG Midwest
With one glance at the most recent U.S. rankings on solar energy, it becomes clear the Midwest has a long way to go if it wants to catch up to other regions on the use of this renewable source. Only Minnesota and Indiana placed in the top half of states as of 2017. But in a third Midwestern state, Illinois, big changes appear on the horizon, with landowners and county governments alike showing interest in making solar a new “cash crop” — whether it be on farmland, brownfields or even publicly owned property.
Climate Adaptation

Earlier this year, electric utility FirstEnergy announced that it would close three nuclear power plants—Beaver Valley in Pennsylvania, Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants in Ohio—by 2021.

According to an analysis done by the research firm Brattle Group, the retirement of these three nuclear...

Virginia has the largest known uranium deposit in the United States. Since its discovery in the 1980s the Virginia legislature has banned uranium mining. Unsurprisingly the land owner, Virginia Uranium, wants to mine. In Virginia Uranium v. Warren the Supreme Court will decide whether the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) preempts the ban.

The AEA allows states to “regulate activities for purposes other than protection against radiation hazards.” Virginia and Virginia Uranium agree uranium mining isn’t an “activity” per the AEA so states may regulate it for safety reasons. Uranium-ore milling and tailings storage are “activities” under the AEA so states can’t regulate them for safety reasons. Milling is the process of refining ore and tailings storage refers to the remaining (radioactive) material which must be stored.

On Monday, President Trump released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2019. The $4.4 trillion budget that adds $7 trillion to deficits contains massive cuts to clean energy, environmental, and climate change programs, and is being met with sharp criticism from clean energy and environmental advocates. While the budget faces a steep uphill climb to enactment, it is significant to the extent that it depicts the administration’s priorities and goals on core issues.

Below...

Climate Adaptation

Last week Congress reached an agreement to fund the government and historically boost the budget. The deal increases investments in domestic programs and the military by roughly $300 billion over the next two years. It also includes several key energy provisions that warrant mention.

The bill contains $2...

CSG South

Part II in a series, this report explores the resources, capacity and transmission; policies and incentives; and economic impacts of wind energy generation in three Southern states: Texas, Oklahoma and Virginia.

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