Attorney General Alan Wilson joined eleven of his counterparts in a brief opposing the Department of Energy’s 2022 energy efficiency standards ( “Energy Conservation Program: Product Classes for Residential Dishwashers, Residential Clothes Washers, and Consumer Clothes Dryers.”) for dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers. The new rule would repeal a 2020 rule that relaxed stricter appliance standards previously in place. Critics contend that consumers did not save energy with the stricter standards because they often ran the appliances twice to get their clothes or dishes clean. Read more here.
The trial of a federal voting rights suit challenging the manner in which members of the Georgia Public Service Commission are elected has finished and the parties await a decision. The plaintiffs, who were later joined by the U.S. Department of Justice, claim that Georgia’s method of electing Public Service Commissioners discriminates against Black voters and violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Each Georgia Public Service Commissioner resides in and represents one of five regional districts, but all are elected statewide for six-year terms. The plaintiffs contend the at-large voting system dilutes minority representation and that Public Service Commissioners should be elected from single-member districts. Read more here.
Dominion Energy South Carolina Pamplico Pipeline project will cross six tributaries to the Great Pee Dee River, and predictably some folks aren’t happy about it. Many pipeline opponents appear to have seized on the Commission’s rulemaking docket, 2020-247-A, as a forum in which to voice their displeasure. The Commission has scheduled a Workshop on June 16, 2022, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., on proposed revisions to electric and gas regulations, but some folks seem to have something else in mind. The Commission has received several messages, such as this one from last week:
Good afternoon, I want to register for docket 2020-247-A concerning Dominion Energy’s proposed pipeline along the Great Pee Dee River
Looks like things could get lively at this otherwise staid proceeding.
This afternoon, the Public Service Commission has elected Florence Belser to serve as its Chair and Delton Powers to serve as Vice-Chair for a two-year term beginning July 1, 2022. Both were elected by acclamation.
The New York Times reports that solar projects across the country are being delayed while the U.S. Department of Commerce investigates whether Chinese companies are evading U.S. tariffs on solar panel components by routing them through Southeast Asian Counties. The investigation was prompted by a petition alleging anti-dumping violations filed by Auxin Solar, a California-based solar panel assembler, according to Utility Dive. The prices of solar components from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, which are used in the overwhelming majority of solar modules in the U.S. could be retroactively affected. The Times quotes the Solar Energy Industries Association as saying 318 projects across the U.S. have been canceled or delayed and hundreds of companies are considering layoffs.
The Kentucky PSC is left without a quorum after the state Senate refused to confirm Gov. Andy Beshear’s latest nominee. The three-member body is down to one because Republican lawmakers also refused to confirm another appointment by the Democratic Governor earlier this year. As a result, the pending 2.8 billion dollar sale of Kentucky Power to American Electric Power is in limbo. Read about it here
Two recent podcasts good provide insight into the global effects on energy markets of the war in Ukraine. Josh Rhodes, a Research Associate at the University of Texas at Austin, spoke with Josh Barrow on Very Serious about Europe’s efforts to end its dependency on Russian natural gas. Mark Finley, a former senior economist for BP and former CIA analyst, spoke with former CIA director Michael Morell on Intelligence Matters about the effects of the Russian invasion on oil and gas markets. Both are interesting discussions of complex and interdependent energy markets.