PSC: Electric Vehicle Chargers not Subject to Regulation
The Public Service Commission has ruled that electric car charging stations are not utilities and do not need to be subject to regulation.
The ruling is intended to remove any ambiguity over the legal status of charging stations. The commission says it should also pave the way for more stations to be installed in the state, which currently has 94.
More: The Associated Press
Governor’s Vetoes of CMP Bills Survive Override Votes in House
Gov. Janet Mills on Wednesday vetoed two bills aimed at creating obstacles for Central Maine Power’s proposed 145-mile New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project. She said the bills would give towns disproportionate power over a project with statewide benefits and would discourage private investment by upsetting established regulatory and permitting procedures.
The next day, the House of Representatives failed to override Mills’ vetoes. One bill would have required electric utilities to obtain approval from local governments before using eminent domain to take private land for transmission line projects. Supporters in the House failed to garner the two-thirds majority needed to overturn the bill’s veto (79-64). A second measure would have required an electric utility to receive approval from two-thirds of the municipalities through which a transmission line project passes. The veto override vote for this bill failed 75-68.
Murphy’s Energy Master Plan Includes Nuclear
Gov. Phil Murphy last week unveiled his long-awaited energy master plan, calling for more investment in renewable energy, such as solar and wind, and putting support behind nuclear energy to lower the state’s contribution to global warming.
The 108-page draft lays out an ambitious plan to convert the state’s electricity production to 100% clean energy by 2050. To achieve that, the state would ambitiously install offshore wind and solar energy, and support nuclear energy.
About 95% of electricity generated in New Jersey comes from natural gas-powered plants and nuclear facilities. Murphy has made some moves toward renewable energy, most recently setting a goal of 3,500 MW for offshore wind generation by 2030.
More: North Jersey Record
NCUC Approves Sale of Duke Energy Hydro Projects at $40M Loss
The Utilities Commission last week approved Duke Energy’s sale of five small hydropower plants in the Carolinas to Northbrook Energy while denying the state utility customer advocate’s request to review $17.4 million the utility spent on the plants since 2015.
The commission approved the sale of the projects for $4.75 million, at a loss of about $40 million. Duke “has determined that divestiture of the facilities is more economical than continued ownership and maintenance … resulting in net savings to customers over time,” the commission said.
The South Carolina Public Service Commission must also approve the sale. Assuming all approvals are received and conditions of the sale are met, Duke expects the deal to close by early this fall, according to the company.
PSC Denies NextEra Siting Permit for Burke County Wind Farm
The Public Service Commission last week unanimously rejected NextEra Energy Resources’ application for a wind farm siting permit in the state’s northwest corner following opposition from state and federal wildlife agencies.
Regulatory filings showed federal and state agencies charged with protecting wildlife have long been concerned with the wind farm’s location. A state Game and Fish Department official said the developer “could not have picked a worse spot in the state.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service welcomed NextEra’s moves to reduce the project’s size and contract from a grassland-rich area, but it recommended against the location in the end.
NextEra sought to build a 23,000-acre, 200-MW wind farm in Burke County that would have consisted of up to 76 turbines.
More: The Bismarck Tribune
Controversial Cap-and-Trade Bill Heads to House
Climate change legislation rolled through the Joint Ways and Means Committee last week on a 13-8 party line vote and now heads to the House of Representatives, where it figures to be fiercely debated yet again.
House Bill 2020 calls for a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. To get there, the bill would require companies in the utility, transportation and industrial sectors to buy emission allowances in a state-run auction or on a secondary market to cover each metric ton of pollution their operations emit. As the state reduces the supply of allowances, they will get more expensive, increasing fossil fuel prices and incentivizing business and consumers to reduce their consumption and related emissions.
But transportation fuels remain the only industry that has not been offered free emission allowances. Gas prices are projected to rise by 22 cents a gallon in 2021 and have become a principal rallying cry against the bill.
More: The Oregonian
Bill Would Create Public Funding for Renewable Energy Startups
Democratic lawmakers are pushing legislation to form a new state development authority designed to kick-start the state’s clean energy economy.
The bill, introduced last week by Rep. Katrina Shankland, would create a Wisconsin Renewable Energy Development Authority, which would be authorized to issue grants and loans to state-based businesses or residents engaged in producing energy, fuels or other products from renewable resources.
The bill would appropriate an as-yet-undetermined amount and authorize WREDA to issue up to $500 million in tax-free bonds, though the state would not be on the hook for the debt.
More: La Crosse Tribune