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Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law Wednesday offshore drilling legislation intended to realize his goal of making Virginia the East Coast's energy superpower.
The bills supporting offshore oil and gas exploration and directing royalties from drilling back to Virginia each hinge on actions by the federal government and Congress.
The head of Vermont Electric Cooperative says the boom in U.S. discoveries of natural gas will keep electricity prices low and put the brakes on more large wind projects in the Northeast Kingdom.
That's unless Vermont forces utilities to buy more renewable local electricity, says Dave Hallquist, VEC chief executive officer.
Oil-rich Venezuela ushered in 2010 with new measures rationing electricity use in malls, businesses and billboards, as Hugo Chavez's government aimed to save power amid a crippling drought. ...Venezuela is flush with oil -- the country's primary export -- and natural gas, but relies mainly on hydroelectric generation to meet domestic energy demand.
There's been a lot of talk in Vermont about alternative energy sources -- and producing more power right here in Vermont. But so far, most of our fuel and energy are imported. Today, a conference at Lyndon State College focused on ways of developing local energy sources.
Vermont's energy future could become clearer in the coming months, with key decisions possible by year's end on the relicensing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant and on the renewal of utilities' contracts with Hydro Quebec. Together, Yankee and HQ provide about two-thirds of the electricity currently consumed by Vermont residents and businesses.
The Vermont state legislature committee on Natural Resources and Energy introduced a bill to the House on March 15 relating to the conservation of energy and the generation of electricity in the state through renewable resources. In addition to proposing a goal of producing 25% of the state's energy with renewable energy sources by 2025, the bill seeks to establish a "wind-based electric generation facility tax."
Furthermore, a revision has been included in the bill to allow net metering for systems up to 250 kW and to set a 2% cap on the amount of net-metered energy companies must accommodate.
Klein and Cheney said they had been hearing a groundswell of concern voiced by business lobbyists that getting more power from renewable sources, which are usually more expensive than electricity generated with nuclear or fossil-fuel-fired power, would drive up electric rates and make Vermont less competitive economically.
At the request of lawmakers, the Department of Public Service is looking for a contractor to run a series of public hearings, polls and Internet-based dialogue over the next several months.
The goal of the search is to figure out where Vermonters want their power to come from and what they expect to pay for it during the next quarter-century.
On Friday, Galbraith argued that the significance of that assessment and report should not be downplayed. Armed with information from the study, lawmakers could revisit the wind-power legislation in their next session starting in January.
"Then, we have our bite at the apple," Galbraith said.
He also pointed out that the bill still contains a provision banning wind turbines -- or any other commercial development -- on state land.
Sanders said he was weighing in on a state legislative issue - which Vermont's federal representatives usually avoid doing - because of the potential impact of the state's action on the national debate.
Vermont's energy future has become a hand-wringing issue, tangled up in the uncertainty of power sources and worries about climate change.
Quebec Premier Jean Charest offered another opinion Friday, a more optimistic view. Just north of the border in his province, billions of dollars are being invested in renewable energy -- hydro-electric and wind -- and Quebec wants to increase its power exports.
Vermont, which relies on Hydro-Quebec for a third of its electricity, has been a longtime, valued customer and Quebec would expect to continue that relationship, Charest told an audience at Champlain College in Burlington. "We will be there in times of need for each other," he said, referring to shared energy and environmental concerns.
Such words, albeit with no specific price tag or contract attached, send an encouraging message to Vermont.
While nuclear power remains unpopular with many in the home county of Vermont Yankee, there are new efforts underway to ensure that the state's only nuclear power station not only keeps pumping out electrons, but that nuclear power is potentially a greater portion of the state's energy portfolio.
Supporters of increased nuclear power say Vermont, and anti-nuclear activists, are ignoring many of the benefits the fuel source provides in terms of reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and a stable supply of electricity.
Nuclear supporters also point to a sort of "nuclear renaissance" around the globe, including the commitment in the United States to build six new 500-1,000 megawatt reactors, the result of an energy bill passed by Congress in 2005.
Anticipating the need to replace the supply of about two-thirds of the state's electricity, 200 Vermonters will sequester themselves in a hotel for a weekend in early November to study energy options and consider how to balance Vermont's energy portfolio for the next generation.
Energy discussions - whether considering wind, nuclear, or hydroelectric power - attract crowds of special-interest groups and political activists. The competing rhetoric can be overwhelming.
The goal of the $500,000-plus worth of studies - the largest energy sampling ever conducted in the United States - is to cut through the slogans and give policymakers a fresh look at how Vermonters envision the state's energy future, said Stephen Wark, the Department of Public Service's consumer affairs director. Vermonters will pay for the bulk of the studies, through rate charges on utility bills and state tax dollars.
"We are looking for mainstream Vermonters, not advocates," Wark said. "What we are looking for is people with an open mind, people that are willing to learn and share their opinions with us."
"Offshore wind is a higher cost energy because we are where we are in the learning curve," said Anders Søe-Jensen, president of the offshore division at Vestas. "We are at risk but we all have to commit to bringing down costs otherwise we're going to kill our industry."
MONTPELIER -- When the Legislature adjourned May 12 and set a July 11 date for a possible veto session, Gov. Jim Douglas said he thought it was a typographical error.
It was no error. Members will return July 11 to consider a promised gubernatorial veto of an energy bill. That date will be the latest the Legislature has ever held a veto session.
It will also make for an unprecedented hiatus -- a full two months -- between the end of the regular session and the veto session. Last year was more typical -- the Legislature adjourned May 10 and set a June 1 veto session that didn't end up being used.............One bill that Douglas said he will definitely veto is the Legislature's cornerstone energy bill, which would establish an energy-efficiency utility and offer incentives for renewable energy such as wind, hydro and solar power. Douglas takes issue with the energy-efficiency portion, a large part of which would be paid for with an increased tax on the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.
An energy bill that is the centerpiece of the Legislature's work this session cleared the House by more than enough votes Friday afternoon, but not with enough votes to clear a likely veto from the governor.
Representatives bantered back and forth for about three hours, lauding the merits of energy efficiency and renewable energy, but disagreeing about the wisdom of a tax on the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant that would pay for the efficiency measures. They voted 85-61 for the bill, mostly along party lines.
Gov. Jim Douglas wouldn't directly say Friday night whether he would veto the bill, but said, "I think everybody understands my view on raising taxes we don't need."
The federal government has kicked off moves for a national standard for wind farms after heated community debate over several of the electricity-generating projects.
...the Victorian Government has hit back, becoming the first state to set its own renewable energy targets in competition with the Minister's newly established national wind farm code.
But while the wind energy industry is elated and has promised that the State Government's new mandatory code will lead to hundreds of wind turbines springing up around coastal Victoria, will the industry be able to deliver?
The Victorian Government is considering a mandatory renewable energy target to encourage wind farm expansion.
The Victorian Liberal Party is being accused of putting jobs at risk in the wind farm industry by refusing to commit to the Victorian Renewable Energy Target scheme (VRET).
The scheme was set up by the Bracks Government to tackle climate change and encourage the growth of renewable energy.