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E&E News: 4 State Trends Remaking U.S. Electricity

E&E News summarized four trends in energy law, quoting AEE’s Sarah Steinberg and Ryan Gallentine. Read snippets below and the full article here.

From Oregon to Massachusetts, lawmakers this year pushed through measures boosting electric vehicles, promoting environmental justice and setting targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But as this year's legislative sessions show, clean energy plans can also face uphill battles — and in some states, fossil fuels are getting a boost.

"There's a real, growing divide between states and lawmakers looking to accelerate the transition to cleaner energy and those looking to hang on to the status quo a little longer," Sarah Steinberg, a principal at the clean energy trade group Advanced Energy Economy, said during a June webinar.

In particular, more states this year enacted laws to promote electric vehicle use and to electrify government-owned fleets, observers said. Some also passed provisions that address how much to charge EV drivers in transportation fees, because people with all-electric cars don't contribute to statewide gasoline taxes.

Some states with largely Republican-controlled legislatures — and sometimes with significant coal, oil or gas industries — threw lifelines to fossil fuels in 2021.

In addition, at least nine states enacted measures to preemptively ban cities and towns from limiting or preventing the use of natural gas in buildings, according to a tally from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

With electric vehicles, advocates made some headway and helped to defeat certain measures, even as big packages to set the industry up for growth were unsuccessful.

The bill received support from a number of local officials, who have said it will address long-standing infrastructure challenges and create employment opportunities in the state. Advanced Energy Economy also praised the measure, saying it would help spur the deployment of EVs statewide.

EV supporters say they expect more states to impose fees on the cars as electric transportation becomes more widespread.

"Every state is going to need to deal with this issue in some way," Ryan Gallentine, director of EVs at Advanced Energy Economy, said during last month's webinar.

Once states pass carbon-cutting legislation, they often have to revisit climate plans to fill in details. That was the case in a number of states this year that enacted laws promoting transmission development to support more renewable energy projects and measures affirming commitments to equity and environmental justice in a transition away from fossil fuels.

In a few Western states, several plans could further the development of a Western regional transmission organization. Most of the West is not part of an RTO or independent system operator, which are organizations that some clean energy supporters say have helped advance renewable energy in other parts of the country.

Overall, provisions supporting environmental justice communities appeared to be a unifying thread among the omnibus clean energy measures approved this year, observers said.

Although some state proposals on offshore wind did not become law this year, interest in the technology appears to be growing on the West Coast, observers say.

Read the full article here.

Topics: AEE In The News