Energy

The Environmental Protection Agency’s final Clean Power Plan, or CPP, is the first regulation that seeks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. A top issue for states in 2016 will be determining how to comply.

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On March 11, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan, which requires the state’s two largest utilities to eliminate their use of coal for electricity generation by 2035 and to double their use of renewable energy sources to 50 percent by 2040. The legislation was crafted and supported by a diverse group of stakeholders, including the utilities affected by the legislation and various environmental and ratepayer advocates.

CSG Midwest
Canada and the United States have long been each other’s most important energy partners, with annual trade between the two countries in this economic sector at nearly $100 billion. Cross-border pipelines bring natural gas and oil south to major U.S. markets, and two Midwestern states, Minnesota and North Dakota, imported 12 percent of their electricity from Canada in 2014.
“North America is an integrated market,” notes Dan D’Autremont, speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.
But leaders at the federal, state and provincial levels are taking steps now to deepen the two countries’ relationship, this time with an emphasis on sharing information and working more closely on innovations to reshape the future of energy policy and energy use across the entire continent.

Most of the country lost an hour of sleep as clocks sprung forward Sunday, March 13 for daylight saving time. Some states are looking to opt out of the practice, insisting that the downsides outweigh the benefits.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to the White House last week marked the first time in nearly two decades that a Canadian leader has made an official visit to Washington. The last time that the White House hosted a Canadian state dinner, Bill Clinton was President, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) had been signed, and the World Trade Organization was still in its infancy.

CSG Midwest

The Midwest is not known as a center of solar energy development, but in fact, electricity from the sun is being generated across the region. And at the same time, perceptions about solar energy are changing — including which parts of the country can be leaders in further developing and using this renewable power source.<--break->Of the top 10 solar-producing states in the nation, for example, three are in the Northeast...

The New York Times says that the oil industry is in its “deepest downturn since the 1990s, if not earlier”. The price of a barrel of oil has plummeted, falling more 70 percent since mid-2014, and gas prices at the pump have followed – falling from $2.21 one year ago to $1.70 today (AAA). Unfortunately, a drop in energy prices means a headache for several states that rely heavily on severance taxes for revenue.

A majority of states (35) impose at least one form of severance tax, which is a tax on natural resource extraction. While overall severance taxes don’t make up a large percentage of total state taxes collected – 2.1 percent in 2014 – they have very different impacts across the states. For example, in 2014 severance taxes collected ranged from 72 percent of total tax revenue in Alaska and 54 percent of revenue in North Dakota to less than 1 percent in 18 states. In seven states, severance taxes make up 10 percent or more of total tax collections. 

On Tuesday evening, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay that stops implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan until the ongoing legal challenges to the rule are resolved by the courts. The 5-4 decision came in response to a request for stay to the U.S. Supreme Court by over two dozen states, utilities, and other industry advocates after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit...

Community solar is a program where a utility or third-party provider constructs a solar array in an external location and a group of participants voluntarily pay for a share of that project. The electricity produced by the array flows to the electricity grid instead of directly to the customers’ homes, but the subscriber receives a benefit for the electricity produced by the array, usually as a credit on their utility bill.

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