February solar policy snapshots

Wyoming is poised for a net-metering battle if Senate File 16 moves forward.

BLM attempts to open more California desert land to renewable energy development
Washington, D.C.

In one of the final acts under the Trump presidency, the Bureau of Land Management proposed amendments to California desert management plans that would add over 800,000 acres of public land for renewable energy development. The Center for Biological Diversity opposes the amendment and said it hopes the Biden Administration will keep the former plan in place.

Biden starts presidential term with raft of climate-related executive actions
Washington, D.C.

During his first week in office, President Biden took executive action to re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement, create a council on environmental justice, take a government-wide approach to the climate crisis and more. SEIA commended his actions, saying they address several solar industry priorities. The trade organization may see significant success with its solar policy goals in Congress as well due to the new Democrat trifecta.

California awards $2 million to Native American tribes to advance clean energy
Sacramento, California

The California Energy Commission has awarded nearly $2 million to help Native American tribes identify solutions to reduce carbon emissions and improve clean energy access on Tribal lands. The grants support clean energy feasibility studies and other plans for eight California tribes.

Massachusetts governor vetoes major climate legislation
Boston, Massachusetts

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed a comprehensive climate bill that would have required the state to procure 40% renewable energy by 2030 and make clean energy more accessible to low-income populations, citing economic concerns. Democrat state lawmakers vowed to quickly pass the legislation again in the new session.

New Mexico legislator introduces clean electricity bill to expand on Energy Transition Act
Albuquerque, New Mexico

New Mexico Rep. Nathan Small introduced a bill to shift the state’s energy consumption from fossil fuels to clean energy. The Clean Electrification Act would lock in a firm emissions reduction path of 4% per year to reach the Energy Transition Act’s full decarbonization requirement.

Gov. Cuomo announces over $17 million for community-scale clean energy efforts
Albany, New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $17 million in funding to help New York communities invest in clean energy solutions like community solar projects and electric vehicles. The program also provides “Clean Energy Community Coordinators” at no charge to help communities develop and prioritize clean energy goals.

New Wyoming bill could endanger solar net metering
Cheyenne, Wyoming

A bill asking the Public Service Commission to review Wyoming’s net-metering structure was approved by a committee in state legislature in mid-January, according to the Casper Star Tribune. Opponents of the move asked the legislature to table the bill until they research the possible harm to the solar industry more thoroughly.

Minnesota PUC fines Xcel Energy for excessive solar interconnection failures
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission fined utility Xcel Energy $1 million for exceeding a maximum number of customer service complaints due to delays in processing interconnection requests for solar projects, according to IREC. The PUC also added new requirements for the utility to try to fix the root cause of interconnection delays.

Arizona republicans attempt to block state’s new clean energy rules
Phoenix, Arizona

GOP lawmakers in Arizona are pushing a bill that would block the Corporation Commission’s requirement that electric companies reach 100% carbon-free energy by 2050, according to azcentral.com. The utility regulators worked for four years to pass the bipartisan clean energy legislation.