While President Trump sings coal’s praises, efforts to green America’s economy are receiving a boost from an unexpected quarter: Republican-held governors’ mansions. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is fresh off a legislative session in which he signed nine bills aimed at supporting the clean energy sector. In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott recently signed a tax exemption that solar installers say is essential to jump-starting the residential and commercial market in the Sunshine State. And in Iowa, where wind now accounts for 36 percent of the state’s electricity generation, newly installed Gov. Kim Reynolds recently finished an energy plan that calls for growing the wind, biofuels and solar industries. The growing embrace of renewables by Republican governors stands in stark contrast to the president. Trump’s budget request for fiscal 2018 includes a 70 percent reduction to the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. But in states like Iowa and Nevada, which lack a local fossil fuel industry, Republican leaders are becoming increasingly comfortable with renewables. Wind now employs more than 8,000 people in Iowa. Two utilities in the Hawkeye State announced plans last year to invest $4.6 billion in new wind farms.
– via E&E News / Ben Storrow