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Indiana Capitol Chronicle: In Close Vote, Indiana Senate Committee Advances “Right of First Refusal” Utilities Bill

Posted by Casey Smith on Apr 27, 2023

Indiana Capitol Chronicle examines Indiana's elimination of competitive bidding in "right of first refusal" bill, quoting Trish Demeter's perspective on the importance of maintaining competitive processes for success transmission infrastructure development.

Indiana’s Senate Utilities Committee on Thursday narrowly passed a contentious bill that critics say would stifle competitive markets and add unnecessary costs to energy infrastructure projects. House Bill 1420 advanced 6-5 to the Senate, with bipartisan opposition, following hours of testimony. 

“Incumbent” Indiana utility companies already have a “right of first refusal” to build, own, and operate new transmission lines in their service area. But the bill expands that to inter-regional transmission projects. This prevents new projects from being competitively bid on by other energy companies outside of that territory that would then retain an ownership stake.

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Topics: United In The News, Trish Demeter

E&E News: Maryland Lawmakers Send Governor Bill to Quadruple Offshore Wind

Posted by Zach Bright on Apr 27, 2023

E&E News wrote about the POWER Act, quoting Nick Bibby on the legislation's crucial changes that will help push increase electric transmission and wind development in Maryland.

Maryland is poised to more than quadruple its offshore wind target after a key energy measure cleared the General Assembly on Monday and headed for the governor’s desk.

The bill would codify a goal of 8.5 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2031, up from the roughly 2 GW already approved by the state. Gov. Wes Moore (D) endorsed the centerpiece of the legislation in March and has said he wants the state to lead the nation in offshore wind. Clean energy groups expect that he'll sign the measure into law.

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Topics: United In The News, Nick Bibby

Energy News Network: Why the State Budget This Year Is Key to Michigan’s Transportation Future

Posted by Laura Sherman and Samarth Medakkar on Apr 27, 2023

In an op-ed in Energy News Network, Samarth Medakkar joins Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman in writing about the ways Michigan's 2024 budget is set to expand the state's EV infrastructure and how the Gov. Whitmer administration can fully realize its EV goals with that funding.

The shift to electric vehicles is firmly under way in Michigan. Across the Whitmer administration,  the legislature, local and municipal governments and the private sector, a number of initiatives have been launched to make that transition happen. But the next year or so might be the most crucial time to determine the success of those efforts.

Through fiscal year 2026, the state of Michigan is receiving about $110 million in federal funding to realize the state’s plan to build an electric vehicle (EV) charger at least every 50 miles along several highway routes that the state has nominated for the federal government to designate as Alternative Fuel Corridors. These include some of the most well-known and well-traveled routes in the state, like Petoskey to the Mackinac Bridge and Detroit to the Blue Water Bridge. This $110 million comes from the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, a U.S. Department of Transportation program created by the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

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Topics: United In The News, Samarth Medakkar

E&E News: Could Texas Lawmakers End the State’s Renewable Boom?

Posted by Miranda Wilson and Jason Plautz on Apr 27, 2023

E&E News details new legislation in Texas that threatens to slow wind and solar development in Texas, quoting Micalah Spenrath on the the regulatory environment signaling industry investors in the state.

Texas is a sweet spot for renewable energy deployment, leading the nation in wind energy and second only to California in solar power.

But two years after the electric grid nearly collapsed during a severe winter storm, conservative lawmakers in Texas have proposed a slew of policies that could upend the Lone Star State’s status as a clean energy powerhouse and push renewable energy projects elsewhere.

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Topics: United In The News, Micalah Spenrath

E&E News: How California Can Meets its 'Eye-Popping' Transmission Needs

Posted by Jason Plautz on Apr 19, 2023

PoliticoPro highlights the path forward for California to meet its transmissions needs, quoting Brian Turner on tightening coordination amongst agencies to address electrification and demand growth.

California will need to add more than $9 billion worth of new transmission infrastructure to avoid blackouts while also meeting clean energy goals, according to a new report from the state’s main grid operator. The draft report released last week by the California Independent System Operator identifies 46 new transmission lines needed to connect renewable energy projects to areas where people live.

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Topics: United In The News, Brian Turner

RealClearEnergy Op-ed: Pass Permitting Reform & Recycling Policy to Build America’s Advanced Energy Future

Posted by Harrison Godfrey on Apr 19, 2023

In an op-ed to the RealClear Energy, Harrison Godfrey outlines a proposal to Congress to reform the permitting process and pair it with support for reuse and recycling of advanced energy tech.

Solar and wind are now the most affordable sources of electricity in the U.S., overtaking fossil fuels. Advances in battery storage are bringing electric vehicles (EVs) – already more cost-effective to charge and maintain – into price parity with their petroleum-fueled counterparts.

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Topics: United In The News, Harrison Godfrey

Chicago Sun-Times: Illinois Needs More Oversight of Natural Gas Utilities

Posted by Samarth Medakkar on Apr 11, 2023

In a letter to the editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, Samarth Medakkar writes about equitable consumer protection enforcement for all utilities.

Recently, Gov. J.B. Pritzker wrote an opinion piece on the need for legislation that would make natural gas utilities more accountable to Illinoisans by increasing oversight of their spending on financially risky infrastructure projects. He’s right.

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Topics: United In The News, Samarth Medakkar

Sacramento Bee: California Could Keep the Lights on by Expanding Grid Across the West, Report Finds

Posted by Ari Platchta on Apr 11, 2023

The Sacramento Bee explores the importance of expanding California's grid, quoting Amisha Rai on how California lawmakers should act quickly to work with neighboring states.

Expanding California’s electricity grid to cooperate with neighboring states would bolster reliability and affordability while reducing carbon emissions, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy concluded in a new report. The report released Monday said California would both maintain jurisdiction over energy rates and stay on track to meet its clean energy goals as nearby states such as Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington strive to meet theirs.

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Topics: United In The News, Amisha Rai

UtilityDive: Advanced Energy United Warns Frameworks Needed for Transmission Buildout ‘Don’t Really Exist’

Posted by Diana DiGangi on Apr 11, 2023

Utility Dive outlines Advanced Energy United's request to FERC to strengthen its transmission reform plan, quoting Verna Mandez on the importance of legal and procedural frameworks for cooperation on transmission systems.

With some exceptions such as a New York-New Jersey collaboration, states and regional transmission authorities are making their own interests a priority, said Verna Mandez, the group’s transmission campaign director. A new Department of Energy study found “a significant need” for interregional transmission between almost all regions of the U.S.

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Topics: United In The News, Verna Mandez

Nevada Independent: As NV Energy Pitches New Gas Power Plant, Some Want Regulators to Give It More Scrutiny

Posted by Daniel Rothberg on Apr 11, 2023

The Nevada Independent outlines the decision of NV Energy to invest in a new natural gas peaking plant, quoting Sarah Steinberg on how this decision isn't cost effective for Nevadans and prevents further investment in advanced energy alternatives.

At times of peak energy use — often the hottest summer days when everyone is turning on the A/C at once — Western utilities, including NV Energy, have issued emergency alerts. They have urged customers to conserve energy and reduce demand. During these times, utilities have had to import energy from out of state, calling on a crowded regional market when prices can spike. 

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Topics: United In The News, Sarah Steinberg