The state races that may reshape U.S. energy – POLITICO

by | Oct 17, 2022 | Energy

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Control of Congress is up for grabs in the midterm elections — but for climate policy, state races may be the ones to watch.That’s because much of the money in the new climate law will be distributed through the states. State leaders can apply for the Inflation Reduction Act’s numerous grant programs, for example, including ones that fund new large transmission lines and energy-efficient buildings.With gubernatorial races on the ballot in 36 states, the scope and pace of the country’s energy transition may partly depend on who takes office.“There’s a lot of decisions that state agencies need to make about what policies they’re going to prioritize and how to distribute the money,” said Amy Boyd, vice president of climate and clean energy policy at Acadia Center, an environmental group in New England.If this year’s national elections lead to a divided Congress, state legislatures also may become the more likely arena for the passage of additional climate policies. In 2022, Connecticut and Maryland became the latest states to set binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while Hawaii set a goal to halve its emissions by 2030.Down-ballot state races can also have significant influence on the shift toward cleaner energy.Arizona, for example, is one of nine states that will hold elections for utility commissions — under-the-radar bodies that regulate electric and gas service. Two of the five seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission are up for election. New members may support setting a renewable energy mandate for utilities.In Texas, Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton is fighting to keep his seat as the state’s top legal counsel. And as Jason Plautz and Mike Lee write for POLITICO’s E&E News, a victory for Paxton over Democratic civil rights lawyer Rochelle Garza could mean more lawsuits against federal climate policies. Last year, Paxton and other Republican attorneys general sued the federal government in an attempt to stop the Biden administration from using a climate metric called the social cost of carbon.Overall, Republican candidates may have an advantage, according to a newly reported poll from TheNew York Times, which found that voters are worried about the economy — and see the GOP as more savvy on those issues.

It’s Monday — thank you for tuning into POLITICO’s Power Switch. I’m your host today, Miranda Willson. Arianna will be back later this week. Power Switch is brought to you by the journalists behind E&E News and POLITICO Energy. Send your tips, comments, questions to [email protected].

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