Tucson, TEP to Pursue 100% Renewable Energy
The city of Tucson and Tucson Electric Power (TEP) last week signed a letter of intent to work toward powering 100% of city operations with renewable energy.
TEP has put out bid proposals for up to 250 MW of new renewable resources, along with 300 MW of battery storage. By 2035, the company plans to get more than 70% of its power from wind and solar resources and reduce carbon emissions by 80%.
PSC Orders Summit Utilities to Suspend Penalties
The Public Service Commission last week ordered Summit Utilities to not collect late fees or suspend service for its more than 400,000 customers.
Thousands of customer complaints against the company fueled a lawsuit filed in March in Pulaski County and led to investigations by Attorney General Tim Griffin’s office. Problems began developing in November after the utility converted ratepayers to the company’s billing and customer service systems.
The order said it was in the public’s interest for Summit to suspend disconnections and late fees but that the PSC would decide in 60 days whether the suspension should continue.
More: Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Port of Long Beach Unveils Plans for OSW Turbine Facility
The Port of Long Beach last week unveiled plans for a $4.7 billion floating offshore facility that will manufacture wind turbines.
The Pier Wind facility would include 400 acres of newly built land southwest of the Long Beach International Gateway Bridge and would be able to support the construction of turbines standing more than 1,000 feet tall. Once finished, the turbines would be shipped to help the state reach its renewable energy targets.
The project calls for construction on the facility to begin as soon as Jan. 2027, with the first 100 acres of property open in 2031. The next 100 acres would be available later the same year with the final 200 acres coming by 2035.
Dems Pass Proposal to Curb Utility Bills
The House last week passed a bill that seeks to lower utility bills and reduce future volatility by making several changes to the regulation of the state’s investor-owned electricity and natural gas providers. The Senate passed the bill last month.
Under the bill, utilities would have to file a gas risk management plan, including a monthly cap on fuel charges. This is intended to stabilize bills by spreading out cost increases to a few cents per month over several years instead of increasing bills in a single month, sponsors said. Utilities also would be prohibited from charging customers to pay for advertising, lobbying, political contributions and other activities. And by 2025, the bill would require the Public Utilities Commission to establish rules to ensure that utilities have financial incentives to keep fuel costs down.
More: Colorado Politics
Lawmakers Pass Weakened Ozone Pollution Bill
Democratic majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly gave final approval to a bill related to the state’s air pollution.
As originally introduced, the bill proposed a broad tightening of Colorado’s air-quality permitting procedures to crack down on emissions that contribute to the state’s ozone pollution. However, the bill was dramatically scaled back before passing the House last month, with most of the procedural reforms removed in favor of an interim legislative committee to study the issue. The Senate further weakened the bill with amendments, including the removal of a provision that would have made it easier for third parties to sue over violations of state air-quality rules. Another change revoked the interim committee’s authority to directly introduce legislation in next year’s legislative session.
The bill now heads to Gov. Jared Polis.
More: Colorado Newsline
Sentencing Dates Set for ComEd Conspirators
A federal judge last week set the sentencing dates for the four former ComEd executives and contractors in a bribery case.
Michael McClain and his co-defendants — former ComEd Chief Executive Anne Pramaggiore, retired ComEd executive John Hooker and former City Club of Chicago President Jay Doherty — were found guilty in a scheme to influence former House Speaker Michael Madigan that funneled $1.3 million in payments to the speaker’s political allies. The trial of Madigan and McClain, in a separate case that includes accusations involving ComEd and other schemes, is scheduled to begin next April.
McClain’s sentencing date will be Jan. 11, 2024; Pramaggiore, Jan. 16; Hooker, Jan. 25; and Doherty, Jan. 30. They each face up to five years in prison on counts related to the conspiracy to bribe Madigan. Individual bribery charges carry sentences of as much as 10 years, and charges related to falsifying records have a 20-year maximum sentence.
More: Chicago Sun-Times
Gianforte Signs Bill Banning State Agencies from Analyzing Climate Impacts
Gov. Greg Gianforte last week signed into law a bill that bars the state from considering climate impacts in its analysis of large projects such as coal mines and power plants.
House Bill 971 drew more than 1,000 comments, 95% of which expressed opposition to the measure. The bill bars state regulators such as the Department of Environmental Quality from including analyses of greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts, both within and outside Montana’s borders, when conducting comprehensive reviews of large projects. It builds off a decade-old law barring the state from including “actual or potential impacts that are regional, national, or global in nature” in environmental reviews.
More: Montana Free Press
Householder, Borges to be Sentenced in $60M Bribery Scheme
Former Speaker of the House Larry Householder and former state Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges will be sentenced on June 30, according to court records, after being found guilty of taking a $60 million bribe from FirstEnergy in exchange for the passage of a nuclear power company bailout.
During the seven-week trial, federal prosecutors told jurors how Householder, Borges and FirstEnergy executives conspired to ensure House Bill 6, the nuclear bailout bill, became law.
Prior to Householder and Borges’ trial, two other Ohio political operatives — longtime adviser Jeffrey Longstreth and lobbyist Juan Cespedes — took plea deals in 2020 for their involvement in the case.
Gov. McKee Issues Order Setting Public Sector Emissions Reduction Targets
Gov. Daniel J. McKee last week signed an executive order laying out new targets for public sector energy use in alignment with the Act on Climate.
The order says all state agencies “must collaborate with the Office of Energy Resources to implement and promote emission reduction projects.” Among the mandates is an “acceleration” of the state fleet’s transition to zero-emission vehicles by requiring all agencies to install EV charging stations.
The new targets include a 40% reduction by state entities of 2014 baseline fossil fuel emissions by 2030; 70% by 2040; and 95% by 2050. “Light duty” state fleet vehicles must be 25% zero-emission by 2030, and energy use intensity at state-owned buildings must be reduced incrementally until the 40% target is reached by 2050.
More: Providence Business News
Electron Hydro Fined $1M for River Pollution
A Pierce County Superior Court judge last week fined Electron Hydro and its COO $1 million for pollution of the Puyallup River with plastic sports turf.
The judge sentenced Electron Hydro to pay $250,000 in penalties, while COO Thom Fischer was ordered to pay $5,000. As part of the sentence, Electron Hydro also will pay $745,000 to the Puyallup Tribal Fisheries to help restore the river.
More: King 5