View from Village Hall

Everyone knows the United States has 50 states. But do you know how many counties are in those states? (3,034 to be exact.) And how many municipal or township governments are in those counties? (35,933 in total!)

Every one of these nearly 36,000 local governments buys and consumes large quantities of energy—electricity, natural gas, heating and fuel oil, gasoline, and more. Yet, as local governments, we often have scant grasp of the energy marketplace or whether alternatives are even possible or desirable.

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The Problem with Yucca Mountain


No one wants nuclear waste. We all want the energy that comes from splitting a uranium atom, but we don’t want its waste product, and we certainly don’t want it in our backyards. The uncomfortable question of where to put the waste has been plaguing American policy since we figured out how to harness nuclear power.

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In the Wake of Severe Storms, States Debate Electricity System Hardening


Hours before Superstorm Sandy slammed into the East Coast, officials at Connecticut Light and Power, the state’s largest utility, made a critical decision. As engineers monitored the forecasts for high winds and a record tidal surge, it became clear that major electricity infrastructure was threatened by dangerous flooding that had a 1 in…

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Quick Questions: Larry Dawson


Larry Dawson, Director of the Illinois Office of Energy Assistance, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development, is the incoming chair of the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association (NEADA), the primary organization for state directors of the Low Income Energy

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Internal Revenue Service Issues Guidance on Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds

In 2008, Congress authorized the issuance of subsidized Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) to finance energy efficiency, renewable, and related projects. However, many wouldbe issuers found it difficult to use their allocations due to legal uncertainties. The legislation required 20% energy savings on certain types of projects but did not explain how such savings should be measured or predicted. It also said the bonds could be used to finance “green community programs” but did not define the term. In late June, the Internal Revenue Service published a notice that clarified many of these questions, which could lead to an uptick in the usage of QECBs.

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Energy 101: Fracking for Hydrogen

Much has been said about the potential benefits and consequences of the industrial process known as fracking, discussed previously in this section. Although highly controversial, fracking is already widespread and is having significant effects on energy production in the United States. By not only opening up shale gas reserves but increasing production in the oil sector, fracking has dramatically increased the availability of natural gas and reversed the decades-long decline in U.S. oil production.

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In Oklahoma, Putting Off the Need for New Power Plants

By Rona Cohen Conservation has long been considered a societal good, but increasingly, utilities in major energy-producing states are discovering that it makes economic sense, too Developments in Oklahoma, a top supplier of natural gas, exemplify how a mix of

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Quick Questions: Tom Plant


Tom Plant is the Director of the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office (GEO). He served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 1998 through 2006, including two years as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and one year as Chairman of

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Quick Questions: David Coen

We at State & Local Energy Report are working to sponsor dialogue between different levels of government on issues of energy efficiency, technology and economics in order to foster communication and support progress in this important field. Recently we spoke with David Coen, president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), about the challenges facing states at a time when forward-thinking energy policies come up against the realities of belt-tightening and uncertainties about federal energy legislation.

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An Exclusive Interview with Secretary Chu


We at State & Local Energy Report are working to sponsor dialogue between different levels of government on issues of energy efficiency, technology, and economics, in order to foster communication and support progress in this important field. State & Local Energy Report was pleased to host a discussion this past month between US Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Malcolm Woolf, Director of the Maryland Energy Administration, on the ramp up of weatherization, stimulus funding, energy efficiency financing, and more.

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