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Energy RoundUp : States, Governors and Feds Turn Attention to Need for Clean Energy

July 09, 2008

National Governors Association
Twelve states recently received grants of $50,000 from the National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices to support clean energy initiatives and to overcome obstacles preventing the adoption of clean energy technologies in their region. The awards were made through NGA’s Clean Energy State Grant Program, a part of the association’s Securing a Clean Energy Future Initiative. Several companies and foundations, including American Electric Power, Dominion Resources, The Ford Motor Company and The Rockefeller Fund, have provided financial support for the grants, which are intended to fund state projects that support research, analysis, training or outreach to advance clean energy implementation.
Highlights from the list of awardees include:

  • Colorado - for the Colorado Carbon Fund to provide carbon offsets for consumers and to fund community-based clean energy projects;
  • Maryland - to fund EmPOWER Maryland, which offers energy efficiency programs to low-income consumers;
  • Hawaii - for the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative and efforts to evaluate the costs and benefits of electric vehicles and their supporting infrastructure; and,
  • Kansas - for research, training and outreach provided by the Energy Programs Division of the Kansas Corporation Commission.

Read the NGA press release at http://tinyurl.com/5all72.

Western Governors Association
Twenty-two U.S. governors announced a plan to draft a national energy policy that will fill the vacuum left by federal government inaction on the need for clean and renewable energy. At a recent meeting of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA), the group announced that over the next few months the governors would dedicate representatives from their offices to draft an energy policy that offers new economic opportunities for the region and will curtail the impact of climate change.

However, while the association expressed a commitment to renewable resources such as wind and solar energy, the policy resolution issued by the group emphasized the continuing need for traditional power sources, such as coal, oil and natural gas. One resolution expressed WGA’s belief in support for advanced coal technology that would reduce emissions from coal-based power production. The group also stressed the need to work with utility owners and industry to reduce the carbon footprint of power generation. Four utility companies plan to collaborate with WGA on a Western Renewable Energy Zones project that will help identify areas rich in renewable energy resources and associated transmission needs.

The meeting also marked the beginning of a new international partnership that will pursue clean energy initiatives in western North America. Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California have signed on to the Pacific Coast Collaborative initiative, along with British Columbia, to pursue cooperative efforts in the areas of clean energy, regional transportation, sustainable economies, and emergency management.

More information is available at: http://www.westgov.org/wga_press_releases.htm

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has signed off on a comprehensive energy reform bill that would promote the development of clean and renewable energy technologies and increase adoption of clean technologies across the state. The Green Communities Act is being hailed by supporters as one of the most aggressive state clean energy initiatives and one that could provide an advantage to the state’s cleantech industry.

Highlights from the bill include:

  • Electric and gas utilities will be required to purchase energy efficiency resources when such improvements would be less expensive than purchasing additional supply;
  • Utility companies will have to enter into 10- to 15-year contracts with Massachusetts-based renewable  energy companies to help them secure financing for the development of new technologies; and,
  • The bill doubles the rate of increase in the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard from 0.5 percent to 1 percent each year.

Structurally, the legislation will make several changes to the state’s current energy activities by moving the Division of Energy Resources under the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) and renaming it the Department of Energy Resources. The department will have three new divisions, including a Division of Green Communities that will provide technical and financial assistance to local government bodies to fund clean energy efforts.

Read a summary of the Green Communities Act at: http://www.mass.gov/legis/bills/senate/185/st02pdf/Energy_Conference_BILL_SUMMARY.pdf

Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusettsenergy