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Annual Report Now Available

Our 2022 Annual Report is now available! Click the button below to review our activities over the past year. Printed copies of the report will be available at our upcoming 62nd Annual Meeting. You can request a copy via email as well.

Our Chairman’s Message from South Carolina’s Governor Henry McMaster is excerpted below:

It is an honor to serve as the Chairman of the Southern States Energy Board for 2021-2022. This outstanding organization has been a vital catalyst for energy and economic growth in the South during its 62 years in existence. The governors and state legislative leaders who forged this interstate compact in 1960 could not have known that the organization over time would become “the voice of the South to the Administration and Congress on energy and environmental issues.”
This year, I chose, “Clean Energy: Fueling Growth and Prosperity in the South” as our theme. I believe our South Carolina story is typical of our other Southern States. Our economy is booming. More and more people are visiting our state – with many deciding to stay for good. Employers are creating new jobs, entrepreneurs are opening new businesses, and companies are deciding to relocate here. Our business and family-friendly environment has produced historic gains in new jobs, capital investment and population growth.


Also, we are working hard to promote energy innovation. We are making strategic investments in technology, protections against cyber and physical threats, and clean and renewable energy. Our Southern States together boast an eight trillion-dollar economy and utilize more than half of the nation’s energy resources to fuel our industrial production and business development. The unprecedented transition that is underway in the energy sector only adds to the infrastructure challenges which stand before us.

Emerging out of the COVID-19 pandemic of the past two years, our Southern States have led the nation in a resurgence that has expanded job opportunities and economic expectations. South Carolina exemplifies this growth trend as an “all of the above” energy resource State in terms of fuels and uses. We are the third largest producer of nuclear power in the nation. Over the past decade, South Carolina has shifted from the use of coal to natural gas. Although coal still accounts for nearly 13 percent, the use of natural gas has more than doubled, providing about 24 percent of our energy, with nuclear providing 55 percent.

Renewable energy resources also have an exciting future here. Hydropower, solar energy, and biomass now combine to account for 8 percent of electricity generation. We have 122 active solar farms and 33 wind energy manufacturing facilities. Our port facilities in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, and North Charleston provide a U.S. gateway for the global wind energy market, as South Carolina is considered to have the second largest offshore wind resources on the East Coast.


Further, our electricity rates remain low-cost to the consumer, below the national average, making the “Palmetto State” a growing attraction for business and industry. We rank among the “Top 10” states in residential sector per capita electricity sales. Our major industries include motor vehicle manufacturing, chemicals, and paper production, which together account for one-third of the State’s total energy consumption.
So, as you can see, South Carolina’s energy story is a good one. And like those of all of our Southern States, it is going to get even better.


This year all of us have seen a major emphasis at federal and state levels focused on energy issues and the environment. These efforts are directed toward an energy transition that accelerates the use of “clean energy,” renewables, decarbonization, carbon capture and storage, grid modernization, emissions mitigation, and a re-emphasis of the transportation sector centered around electric vehicles. On behalf of its member jurisdictions, the Southern States Energy Board has been in the midst of these developments both in the state legislatures and in Washington, D.C., working with Congress and federal agencies.


Our Southern States have strong environmental track records, highly efficient and well-controlled power plants, and we have benefited from consistent improvements in ambient air quality as a result. In our region, ozone levels continue to drop, and electric power is playing an even smaller role with respect to mobile and point source air pollution emissions. Ten of our member states have submitted revised state implementation plans to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in good faith governing the interstate transport of emissions under the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard enshrined in the Clean Air Act. Four regional transmission organizations (ERCOT, MISO, PJM, and SPP) have submitted written comments to EPA expressing concerns that the new and pending Regional Transport Rule Federal Implementation Plan will prematurely close critical baseload power plants with no replacement power in place by 2026. This forced retirement of natural gas and coal plants throughout the South will affect reliability, resiliency, and the sustainability of electric power across the region. A measure of “cooperative federalism” is needed here to address these concerns and resolve them early.


An emphasis of the Southern States Energy Board for more than the past two decades has been “Carbon Management.” During its meeting in 2000, members of the Board determined that carbon emissions were an increasing problem in the region and across the nation. They voted to add carbon management to the list of long-term issues that needed to be addressed by the Board and brought to the attention of the federal government. Soon thereafter, President George W. Bush’s Administration proposed a “Clear Skies Initiative” to reduce greenhouse gases which was quickly followed in 2003 by the creation of the international Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum and Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships proposed through the Office of Fossil Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy.


The Southern States Energy Board was chosen to manage the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SECARB) focusing initially on carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere. Southern States Energy Board geologists and partners characterized promising locations in the Southern region, finding many suitable geologic formations for the permanent storage of carbon dioxide emissions. Owing to historical oil and gas exploration, initial efforts identified spectacular carbon dioxide storage potential in the Gulf region of the South. This work continues, with much of the effort focused on characterizing areas with limited existing information to determine suitability for carbon dioxide storage. With a better understanding of the region’s geology, The Southern States Energy Board is assisting governments and industries in finding feasible locations for commercial carbon capture and storage technology deployment in the region.


Small carbon dioxide capture and storage field tests followed the Board’s early successes with the characterization of sources and sinks, proving that carbon dioxide could be managed and stored in deep geologic formations safely and securely. In an ultimate “early test,” the SECARB Partnership injected over 11 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into an oil field in Cranfield, Mississippi. This enormous achievement was followed by another when the SECARB Partnership built the world’s first integrated carbon capture, transportation, injection and storage facility at Plant Barry in Bucks, Alabama, in 2013, demonstrating the viability of carbon capture and storage. The plans for this unit were then utilized by NRG Energy to scale up and construct a commercial sized plant near Houston, Texas.


Ongoing activities in the Board’s SECARB-USA Regional Partnership Initiative include the evaluation of subsurface data density so that our states can better understand their respective carbon dioxide storage potential and identify potential risks to commercial carbon dioxide storage operations. As part of this, the Board and its partners have been drilling stratigraphic test wells in Alabama and Georgia near large volume emitting facilities with promising results for carbon dioxide removal. This will enable states and industry to work together, further de-risking industry investments in carbon capture and storage.
On May 16, 2022, the Board hosted a highly successful, major workshop in New Orleans, providing an opportunity for subject matter experts to meet with state and federal environmental regulators to identify key areas of multi-state and multi-agency collaboration. Regulators from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas attended to discuss well drilling and design and other aspects of EPA Class VI permitting requirements. In addition to this, the Southern States Energy Board and its many partners have managed over 180 inquiries and instances of knowledge sharing with industries interested in incorporating carbon dioxide capture and storage into their broader decarbonization strategies. As part of this, initial feasibility studies have been developed at the request of the cement and pulp and paper industries. The Southern States Energy Board’s staff expertise and experience have made the organization a premiere knowledge source for industry partners.


The Southern States Energy Board’s CCS Commercialization Consortium, formed with academic partner, The University of Houston, and its Center for Carbon Management in Energy in 2020, is engaging leading industries across the nation to minimize the challenges associated with CCS Commercialization and provide solutions. Currently, more than 50 major domestic and international companies and industries in the fields of oil, natural gas, chemicals, transportation, cement, pulp and paper, research engineering, academic research, geologic storage, CCS drilling and design, and technical project innovation, are members. The Consortium supports the mission of the U.S. Department of Energy to minimize the environmental impacts of fossil fuels while working toward net-zero emissions. In its first year, the Consortium members developed a Roadmap containing the full chain of CCS activities. These include carbon capture, transportation, storage, utilization, policy and regulatory capacities, environmental justice and stakeholder engagement, workforce development, risk reduction, long-term liability, insurance, and financial investment markets. The strategic focus in this second year is on environmental justice and stakeholder engagement; policy, legal and regulatory matters; and commercialization enablers such as risk management, liability, and financial markets.
The Board is also working on developing a technology that can capture carbon dioxide directly from the air. This technology, commonly referred to as direct air capture (DAC), removes many of the spatial limitations of existing technologies and opens the possibility of capturing carbon dioxide anywhere in the world. In a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Southern States Energy Board is leading a public-private partnership with companies and utilities across the nation to build a direct air capture unit that can capture carbon dioxide from utilities or industrial emitters. The test unit will be constructed during the fall and winter months of 2022 for demonstration and testing at the National Carbon Capture Center in Wilsonville, Alabama, in 2023.


As part of its ongoing federally funded Project ECO2S, the Southern States Energy Board and its 19 partners have collaborated with site host Mississippi Power Company and drilled six new characterization wells and acquired 92 linear miles of 2D seismic data in Kemper County, Mississippi. Here the goal is to identify and characterize are carbon dioxide storage complex capable of storing 50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over a 30-year period. Reservoir models indicate that the subsurface of eastern Mississippi represents a world class prospect with an estimated storage capacity of almost one billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.


Rounding out the Board’s Carbon Management Program is the SECARB Offshore Partnership. The Southern States Energy Board and its partners are focused on evaluating the potential for carbon dioxide storage in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. The project includes an analysis of existing and required legal and regulatory frameworks in anticipation of commercial deployment. The Board and its partners are assessing storage location opportunities, and identifying risks associated with legacy infrastructure, geology, business case models, and regulations to assist industry. Active participation includes state regulators from Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.


In the third year of a five-year project, our Transuranic Waste Transportation Working Group is comprised of state officials named by their governors who coordinate the interstate transport of TRU waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico. This project also enables the Southern States Energy Board to provide direct funding to states to support staff who monitor these shipments, engage in emergency response planning and first responder training. The funds provided by the Southern States Energy Board allow corridor states to purchase special equipment, and communication devices unique to this field.


Our Radioactive Materials Transportation Committee meets twice annually with officials from the U.S. Department of Energy to stay abreast of nuclear waste shipments in various categories and special developments requiring state assistance in transit. State officials are funded through the Southern States Energy Board, participate in technical training, and learn from experts regarding the treatment of waste materials, and other nuclear issues such as casks for nuclear spent fuel, interim storage, consent-based siting, and new, small modular reactors that may be deployed in the future.


Paramount to the Board’s success is the valuable contribution that we receive each year from our industry Associate Members. Many participate as technical advisers and consultants on the Southern States Energy Board projects and work with staff to add their expertise on critical energy or environmental topics of interest. Our Associate Members provide us with the ultimate public-private partnership and for this I am most grateful.


The Southern States Energy Board remains a cutting edge, policy and technology organization providing an experienced technical staff of innovators and experts who are constantly at work for member states and territories. Current programs and projects of the Board bring in almost one-half billion dollars to the states in our Southern region. I commend this 62nd Annual Report of the Board to all members and interested parties, signifying a proud tradition of leadership that has continued to evolve over many decades!

His Excellency Henry McMaster
Governor of South Carolina
Chairman
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Documents

Finalized E&E Digest Now Available

Our 2022 Energy & Environment Legislative Digest is now available! The Digest collects all energy and environmental (E&E) legislation enacted by the Board’s 18 member states and territories during their 2022 legislative sessions as well as notable E&E bills from around the nation.

This year, we have aggregated passed bills and posted them in an interactive format online as well. As measures pass, they will automatically appear in the Interactive Digest.

The printed Digest is still available for those who prefer it—you can pick up a copy at our upcoming 62nd Annual Meeting. You may also download a copy by clicking here.

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Documents

Review our 2022 Preliminary Digest

Our 2022 Preliminary Legislative Digest is now available! The Digest collects all energy and environmental (E&E) legislation enacted by the Board’s 18 member states and territories during their 2022 legislative sessions as well as some notable E&E bills from outside our membership.

For the first time, we have collected passed bills and posted them in an interactive format online. As more measures pass, they will automatically appear in the Interactive Digest. The printed Preliminary Digest is still available for those who prefer it—a final version will be available at our upcoming 62nd Annual Meeting.

We invite you to read the Digest’s introduction from our Vice Chair excerpted below:

As the Vice-Chair of the Southern States Energy Board, I’m honored to introduce the Preliminary Energy & Environment Legislative Digest: a compendium of energy and environmental legislation enacted by the Board’s 18 member states and territories during their 2022 legislative sessions.

For more than four decades, the Southern States Energy Board has published this Digest, and each year the Board endeavors to ensure that the information representing the legislative trends in its member states is accurate and comprehensive. The legislation presented in this preliminary document is current through June 20, 2022.

Any additions should be noted to SSEB staff prior to the publication of the final version that will be published ahead of our 62nd Annual Meeting in Charleston, South Carolina, which begins August 28, 2022. We’ve also included a selection of notable bills from around the nation in this edition.

This year, our legislative members passed a total of 517 bills. At the time of publication, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands remain in session. Texas holds legislative sessions on odd-numbered years, though a special session may involve E&E bills. Arkansas passes only appropriations-specific bills on even-numbered years, but we continue to monitor for special session bills there as well.

We expect to add additional legislation to the final version of the Digest, but, in a first for Southern States Energy Board, you can now review an updated index of bills as they are passed on our website—there you can analyze passed bills using interactive maps. Bills are divided into categories and organized using maps to provide a quick reference as to the actions of our member states on related issues. Due to the nature of legislative reporting from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, they each have their own pages of passed E&E bills.

Precise bill summaries are categorized for easy comparison. Some bills may cover a wide variety of issues and fall into multiple categories. In order to keep the size of the printed publication reasonable, we strive to place bills in their most relevant category, but if you utilize our interactive Digest online, you will find that bills may fall into multiple categories. We’ve also made some revisions to our categories this year to allow for more broad comparisons of legislation between our member states and the nation as a whole.

Energy measures are divided among the following categories: Carbon Capture & Storage, Critical Minerals & Rare Earth Elements, Cybersecurity & Digital Technology, Efficiency & Weatherization, Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Fossil Energy, Nuclear Energy, Renewable Energy, Reorganization & Coordination, and Utilities. Thus far, 254 energy-related bills have passed this year in our member states and territories.

Environmental measures are divided into the following categories: Coastal Zone Management, Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Emissions & Pollution, Environmental Health & Justice, Hazardous Waste, Inland Water Quality & Management, Land Management, Reorganization & Coordination, and Solid Waste. These categories combined for 263 pieces of legislation.

This year, several trends emerged in our member states. In the energy realm, hydrogen, nuclear, and renewable power measures saw a surge. As with previous years, flood mitigation, environmental remediation, and emergency planning and response were key environmental legislative trends.

Nationwide, we observed an influx of bills supporting the development of hydrogen production. Because hydrogen can be produced with both fossil and renewable energy, many of those bills have been placed in both the Fossil Energy and Renewable Energy categories. Our members in Alabama, Florida, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Tennessee all passed laws related to hydrogen storage, development, or related technologies.

Our region also passed the highest number of nuclear-related bills in the last decade. A renewed interest in spurring nuclear energy development and deployment has swept over the Southeast and many other states around the nation. Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia all enacted legislation either governing or encouraging nuclear energy development.

With decarbonization goals driving energy technology development, many states addressed the capture and storage of carbon dioxide. Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia all passed such laws.

As electric vehicle (EV) adoption continues to grow, we’ve seen many legislative measures addressing EV infrastructure deployment and taxation surrounding their use, and this year was no different. Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia all passed laws affecting EV fees and infrastructure development.

We’ve also observed many trends continuing from last year in the solid waste category, including the regulation of catalytic converter recycling and advanced recycling definitions and rules. Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia passed measures on such matters.

A focus on deadly pollutants such as lead also found its way into the halls of many legislatures. Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, and Virginia all passed legislation addressing lead exposure mitigation.

In response to the Russian war against Ukraine, many states passed laws banning Russian oil and petroleum imports and adopted related resolutions urging Congress to fill the gap by strengthening our domestic production. Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia all passed laws related to such prohibitions or calls for strengthened domestic energy security.

Finally, legislatures across our region passed a bevy of laws regarding solar and wind energy development and deployment. Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia all passed laws regulating or encouraging the growth of solar and wind generation.

I want to thank you again for taking the time to review this preliminary version of the Digest, and I hope that you take some time to utilize our new interactive list of passed bills on our website.

Georgia Rep. Lynn Smith, SSEB Vice Chair
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Documents

Now Available: 2022 SMRAP

The 2022 edition of the Southern Mutual Radiation Assistance Plan (SMRAP) is now available for review.

The document provides a mechanism for coordinating radiological emergency assistance capabilities among participating states. SMRAP is authorized under the provisions of the Southern Agreement for Mutual State Radiological Assistance, which was signed by the governors of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee in 1973. The governors of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas signed in 1974, Missouri’s governor signed in 1975, and Governor Wilder of Virginia signed the agreement in 1990. The authority for entering into supplemental agreements by any of the southern states is provided by Public Law 87-563, which grants U.S. Congressional approval of the Southern Interstate Nuclear Compact.

The Southern Mutual Radiation Assistance Plan is reviewed, revised and administered on a permanent basis by the Southern Emergency Response Council (SERC), which was established for that purpose under the terms of the agreement. The council consists of radiological health program directors from each signatory state and the executive director of the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB), formerly known as the Southern Interstate Nuclear Board (SINB). SSEB also serves as the SERC secretariat.

The plan contains general provisions and detailed resource information and is designed to serve the needs of state administrators as well as state radiological health personnel in their everyday activities. The document is updated regularly to ensure accuracy of federal and state agency information.

We hope that this approach to resolving radiation assistance problems in the southern states, as outlined in SMRAP, will provide useful direction and guidance to others with similar objectives. If you have any questions about the document, please email our Director of Nuclear Programs, Chris Wells.

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Announcements Documents

Fossil Energy & Carbon Management Digest Available

A new publication focused on fossil energy and carbon management (FECM) legislation in the United States is now available.

The FECM Digest is compiled in collaboration with our member states and includes a look at notable fossil energy and carbon management legislation from around the nation.

Topics covered in this edition include regulatory measures affecting fossil energy generation, carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), and various decarbonization bills.

The majority of the Digest highlights FECM legislation passed by our member states and territories within the last session. The notable bills included from outside of our membership should not be considered exhaustive.

This version is current as of November 19, 2021.

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2021 Annual Report Available

Ahead of our 61st Annual Meeting, we’ve released this year’s Annual Report.

Chairman’s Message Excerpt

From Oklahoma’s Governor Kevin Stitt:

For the 61st Annual Meeting of the Southern States Energy Board, I chose the theme, Energy Pioneers in the New Frontier. Our Nation is entering a period of unprecedented change and transition in the energy sector that includes all facets of energy, including production, transmission, environmental protection, transportation infrastructure, and workforce development. How we consume energy is changing every day.

The challenges before us are enormous, but with this change comes great opportunity. As we take these challenges head on, it is important that we recall the giants upon whose shoulders we stand today. In Oklahoma, they were pioneers like Frank and Waite Phillips, Bill Skelly, and E.W. Marland, or modern-day titans like T. Boone Pickens, Harold Hamm, and Aubrey McClendon who paved the way for Oklahoma to be a world leader in energy production.

Oklahoma and its oil & gas industry have always been pioneers and innovators in energy and can claim many of the most important events in history. We proudly recall the history of oil being discovered before the territory became a State: on April 15, 1897, a wooden oil derrick named the Nellie Johnstone No. 1 in Bartlesville, Indian Territory, enabled a plume of crude oil and water to burst through the earth, ushering a new oil industry into what would become Oklahoma. That well became the State’s first commercial oil enterprise and drew over 100,000 barrels of oil over a period of 50 years. The process of hydraulic fracturing was invented in 1949 by Halliburton in Duncan, Oklahoma, while that same technology was later combined with horizontal drilling by other Oklahoma companies who are responsible for creating the shale revolution.

We are long removed from the time when oil derricks were scattered across the prairies, and Sooners, as they were called, used the oil they collected to grease parts from their wooden wagons. When drilling began in 1897, it would take six wagons to drag a wooden rig, sometimes over a hundred miles to the drilling site.

Today, we are a premier energy producing state that has taken our “all of the above” energy policy to the next level. We remain a leader in our proud tradition of producing fossil energy, but most people are surprised to learn that Oklahoma is a leader in renewables and alternative energy. We are one of only four states in the U.S. to get more than 40 percent of our power from renewables. Our wind resources are so legendary that they were canonized in our State by Rodgers & Hammerstein.

Our unique mix of natural gas and renewables has yielded remarkable environmental results. Oklahoma has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by three times the national average as measured against the 2005 benchmark used by the Biden Administration. Using the latest numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Oklahoma has reduced its CO2 from the power sector by 35 percent while the national average is only 12 percent. We have done so while remaining the most affordable energy in the country in 9 of the last 11 quarters, according to EIA. We believe Oklahoma can legitimately boast that we have the cleanest and most affordable energy in the country.

I am proud to be Chairman of the SSEB, because it allows us to support our member states in maximizing the use of their resources in the way that is most beneficial to their citizens and states. I strongly believe that these types of policy and resource decisions are best made by state and local governments allowing the markets and trends to guide their choices. Today, we see consumers and investors demanding cleaner sources of energy with less emissions. We are proud that Oklahoma and the Southern States Energy Board are leaders in meeting those demands in a sensible and affordable way.

Since its inception in 1960, the Southern States Energy Board has been a part of our region’s pioneering spirit. From the Board’s role at the outset of nuclear power development to the age of carbon management, and from the technological innovations that cleared sulfur and nitrous oxides from our Appalachian Mountain air to the development of an interstate mechanism for remediation of environmental permitting, SSEB has been an active and strident supporter of strong state responses to energy and environmental issues.

In February of this year, the Board’s Carbon Management Program grew through final award of a new project that will test an emerging technology for direct air capture of carbon dioxide (CO2). Partners include AirCapture LLC , Crescent Resource Innovation, Global Thermostat, the National Carbon Capture Center, Southern Company, and Synapse. The Technology will be designed and tested in a fabrication facility and then transported to the National Carbon Capture Center in Wilsonville, Alabama. The direct air capture skids will be integrated into the center’s facility for operational testing. Design activities are underway now and testing will begin in 2023.

Last September, the SSEB Carbon Management Team began Phase 3 of our CarbonSAFE project, also referred to as Project ECO2S. The purpose of this activity is to determine the feasibility for establishing a CO2 storage complex in Mississippi. Critical path milestones for this venture include ensuring compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and pursuing a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Underground Injection Control Class VI permit for CO2 storage, which will be the first for a Southern States Energy Board carbon management project since the Class VI final rule was established by EPA in 2010. To date, our team has drilled three stratigraphic test wells and one groundwater test well to further assess the suitability of the geology within our area of interest. Seismic data acquisition was completed earlier this year, and data assessment is underway. This endeavor has the most partners of any Board program.

The Southeast Regional CO2 Utilization and Storage Acceleration Partnership, or SECARB-USA, is the follow-on phase to our highly successful SECARB project. The scope of our activities focuses on addressing key technical challenges to carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS); data collection, sharing and analysis; transportation and distribution infrastructure; and promoting regional technology transfer and knowledge dissemination. During the past year, our team has been examining the geology within the southern region for future technology deployment opportunities and determining infrastructure needs to connect CO2 sources to storage reservoirs or areas where CO2-enhanced recovery options may exist. The maps and routing simulations created by the team will assist developers in identifying routes that have the least human and environmental impact. Our expert team of stakeholders also has identified impediments to CCUS deployment and determined additional work that the partners will perform to eliminate these challenges.

SSEB’s assessment of CCUS opportunities in Southwest Arkansas has shown very positive results. This evaluation was requested by Governor Asa Hutchinson. The Board and its partner, Advanced Resources International, Inc., (ARI) first performed a screening study of CO2 storage and enhanced oil recovery options, which was funded by the State. Upon completion of the initial screening, the project was transferred into our SECARB project in order to use existing funding to perform more robust analyses.

On June 23, SSEB, Governor Hutchinson, Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston, Public Service Commission Chairman and Governor’s Alternate to SSEB Ted Thomas, ARI, and CRI jointly hosted a Southwest Arkansas Revitalization Workshop in El Dorado, Arkansas. The event coincided with the 100th anniversary of the January 1921 discovery of oil In Union County, Arkansas. The workshop presenters covered many aspects of the opportunity for revitalization of the oil and gas industry in Southwest Arkansas, including the concept of CCUS, why it is a viable commercial opportunity in El Dorado and surrounding areas, the legal and regulatory frameworks surrounding CCUS, asset financing options, and suitable business models and case studies.

The Southern States Energy Board’s CCUS Offshore Partnership recently received approval for its second and final phase of work. The results of the project will include high prospect areas for future offshore CCUS project development in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. This venture also will culminate in a guidance document on the legal, regulatory, and technical feasibility of offshore CO2 subsea storage projects, as well as a prospect-specific feasibility assessment for infrastructure development, operations, and decommissioning.

Another agreement that has received a five-year renewal is our project that supports the Transuranic, or TRU, Waste Transportation Working Group. These are state officials that coordinate the interstate shipments of TRU waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico. The project also enables SSEB to provide direct funding to states for full time staff who monitor these shipments, engage in emergency response planning, direct emergency responder training, and procure equipment. The Working Group meets twice per year, and our staff is in constant communication with the states on shipment schedules, training opportunities, coordination, and purchasing needs.

SSEB also serves as the staff for the Southern Emergency Response Council created by Southern Governors in 1972. The Council, with SSEB serving as the Secretariat, administers the Southern Mutual Radiation Assistance Plan (SMRAP) which provides mutual aid from state to state in the event of an emergency occurring at any of the region’s nuclear power plants. SMRAP is vigorously tested annually.

The Southern States Energy Board has provided innovative technical and policy leadership over many decades while being mindful of the socio-economic impacts of our actions on generations to come. The SECARB, SECARB-USA, Project ECO2S, SECARB Offshore, and Direct Air Capture projects exemplify the pioneering spirit and effectiveness of public-private partnership collaborations in designing, developing, and demonstrating the clean energy technologies of the future. However, the Board has recognized a significant need to assemble a larger group of industry stakeholders and experts to promote the rapid and transformative deployment of CCUS technologies – commercially and at a much larger scale.

Last September, we announced our collaboration with the University of Houston’s Center for Carbon Management in Energy. We are applying lessons learned and experiences in our R&D projects and demonstrations to develop a Commercialization Consortium that will accelerate CCUS deployment. We also are engaging a Leadership Team of industry and subject matter experts to provide visionary strategies in our development of a roadmap designed to achieve CCUS commercialization. The Leadership Team is composed of representatives from 33 major U.S.-based energy companies that are committed to providing us with assistance to further identify and offer solutions to remaining uncertainties impeding industry investments in CCUS technologies. We are excited to work with such an impressive group of industry stakeholders, many of whom are Associate Members!

Assembling our members and project partners in virtual meetings has become a common means of communication and collaboration for our staff since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. At SSEB, we held our first large, virtual conference just over a year ago and have hosted over 250 virtual meetings and webinars since our last Board meeting.

Earlier this year, we initiated a webinar series. This is not meant to replace our meetings but offers a unique way to gather for an hour and learn about technologies or issues that are of importance to our member states. The first webinar, held February 25th, analyzed the growing pace of electric vehicle adoption in the Southeast and examined the industry and policy response. The second event occurred on March 11th and focused on innovations in electric vehicle batteries and new facilities planned for southern states. Two subsequent webinars have focused on Regional Initiatives for Carbon Capture and Storage and SSEB’s SECARB-USA Partnership.

During the past two years of my Chairmanship, we have seen great change as a constant. The pandemic has created great strain on all of us. It has changed the way we are able to work, the way we meet, the way we deliver services, but it has also revealed the needs from health care to transportation or how the demand for energy can change so quickly. We learned to be ready for anything. I am not sure any of our member states was fully prepared for the polar vortex that hit the south last February. With temperatures remaining well below freezing for 10 days, we saw new winter peaks and unprecedented disruptions and millions without power during this powerful storm. We are seeing northern and northwestern states experiencing heatwaves causing similar disruptions in the power grid causing problems. Our work here in the SSEB is more important than ever.

With all these changes, these pioneers are facing a new frontier and we are spearheading an “all of the above” approach to energy policy. We choose energy that is produced locally, that is affordable, and that is reliable. We are a leader in wind generation and other renewable resources, ranking #2 nationally in wind production. As one of four states that receives 40 percent of our electricity from renewable resources, we have embraced a future that enables us to produce power locally and export 28 percent of our energy to neighboring states.

SSEB’s enormous portfolio of current projects and programs exceeds $457 million in 2021, a phenomenal amount considering the size of the staff. What I have focused on above is merely a part of the range of activities that are the Board’s emphasis this year. Since October 2020, SSEB has generated more than $34 million in new public-private partnerships that include energy industry, state, and federal funding. The majority of these funds support member states and territories through contracts and subawards with state agencies, colleges and universities, utility partners, energy research organizations, national laboratories, energy resource companies, and businesses in our southern region.

It is a privilege for me to serve as the Chairman of such a vigorous and constructive organization that constantly is transcending boundaries and closing the gaps between policy and technology applications!

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2021 Preliminary Digest Available Now

The Preliminary version of our 2021 Energy & Environment Legislative Digest is now available. This edition is current as of June 25, 2021. If you have any suggestions or additions for the digest, please contact Turney Foshee. Click below to read it now.

This year, our members passed their highest number of bills since 2015 for a total of 512 energy and environmental acts. At the time of printing, dozens more energy and environment bills awaited a Governor’s signature. Look for those in the final edition of the Digest in September. Copies will be available at our 61st Annual Meeting, held this year in Oklahoma City from September 27-29.

Several trends emerged in our member states over the past year. Chief among that trend was the passage of what is commonly known as “energy discrimination” laws. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas, and West Virginia all passed some version of the law, which is generally intended to prohibit any political subdivision from halting the expansion, connection, or reconnection of a utility service based upon the type or source of energy provided to a customer.

The pandemic’s effect of necessitating high-speed internet access for a surge in virtual events, telemedicine, virtual schooling, and more means the trend that began last year with enhanced broadband deployment measures has continued this year. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia all passed laws pertaining to broadband deployment via easement provisions with utilities, tax incentives, and the establishment of offices dedicated to the deployment of broadband access.

Our Digest also covers the trends surrounding the legislative push for electric vehicle infrastructure, electric vehicle ad valorem taxation and tax breaks, and the associated issue of battery production and disposal. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia all addressed the topic.

Renewable energy saw a resurgence in bills this year as well. Several of our states passed tax incentives and other statutes affecting the deployment of wind, solar, and the associated energy storage systems both privately and commercially owned.

Related to the matter of renewable technology, several states also passed laws prohibiting the ability for housing associations to restrict solar installations and/or electric vehicle charging infrastructure. You can look for those bills in the states of Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Our members in Texas passed the most bills this year with 85 total. Many of the measures were directed at addressing the problems created by the historic winter storm Uri, which devastated parts of Texas in February 2021 with prolonged power outages. We offer our deepest sympathy to those who were affected by the storm. The bills passed in Texas this session will help to ensure the reliable delivery of critical energy services.

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Documents Meetings

60th Annual Board Business Meeting Summary Available Now

The summary from our 60th Annual Board Business Meeting is now available for those who may have missed our virtual event. The introduction to the summary is excerpted below:

The Honorable Kevin Stitt, Governor of Oklahoma and the Southern States Energy Board’s (SSEB) Chairman, called the Board’s annual business meeting to order at 2:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, September 29, 2020.

Governor Stitt welcomed participants to SSEB’s 60th Annual Board Business Meeting.

He commended the Board’s staff for continuing its progress on current projects and programs despite the hurdles created by the coronavirus pandemic. He further stated, “Energy is our nation’s fuel that powers all we do as a society: our quality of life, public health, the environment, and economic development depend on affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy resources.

Governor Stitt addressed the stifling of businesses involved in or benefitting from fossil fuels and stated that higher energy prices and fewer choices will impact our most distressed communities, which is why SSEB is an “all-of-the-above” organization. He stated that, like SSEB, Oklahoma encourages and supports the responsible production of all energy sources as well as the efficient and safe transportation of these fuels to markets. The governor welcomed new members to the board, and said he looks forward to meeting in person next year. Governor Stitt then handed the meeting over to Rep. Rocky Miller, of Missouri, for the Nominating Committee report.

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Documents Meetings

2020 Adopted Resolutions Available for Download

On September 29, 2020, the Southern States Energy Board adopted nine resolutions during our virtual 60th Annual Board Business Meeting. The documents are available for individual download or as a booklet below.

2020 Adopted Resolutions Booklet