July 26, 2016

Legal Shake-Up Threatens Germany’s Energy ‘Revolution’

In Germany, people’s power has wrought a revolution.

All over the country, citizens have formed co-operatives to build wind farms and solar arrays, in a grassroots push that has helped to make Germany a world leader in renewables.

The change is most striking in places like Saerbeck, a village of 7,200 people in the north-west that is a pioneer in collectively-owned carbon-free power. Thanks to a €75m investment in a wind-and-solar park, it is well on the way to becoming entirely self-sufficient in energy.

July 25, 2016

Chile’s Roadmap to a Renewable Future

Recent changes in legislation concerning energy generation in Chile could give the renewables market a significant boost.

In the past few years the Chilean energy market has experienced great changes and advances that benefit the industry and boost the development of renewable energy projects. These changes have led to a large development of renewable energy initiatives and to the consolidation of new companies and players in the energy sector. In 2015 almost 300 renewable initiatives were presented for environmental evaluation and renewables accounted for 76% of the investment in electricity generation, which demonstrates the importance of the industry. 

July 24, 2016

Chile Passes Electricity Transmission Law Benefitting Solar

Chile has aggressively moved forward on an electricity transmission law which benefits solar, as well as other sources of energy.

Following the Chilean Congress’s passage of a major electricity transmission law, experts contend this will help the development of both renewable and non-renewable energy projects in the country.

Under the adopted policy, a new national interconnected power system will be established alongside a new independent operator.

July 22, 2016

UK Disbands Energy and Climate Change Department

The new UK government has disbanded the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The new Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will now be responsible for policies regarding renewable energies.

Greg Clark has been appointed as new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. “I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change,” he stated. The renewable energy sector especially took note of the fact that “climate change” is no longer present in the name of the new department which Clark is to lead now.

July 21, 2016

Building Rules Must Include Green Norms in Maharashtra, India

Nagpur city council ruled that henceforth government buildings (new or renovated) will follow green building concepts. The state of Maharashtra has framed a renewable energy policy favouring the use of solar water heaters. Tamil Nadu recently ordered that one third of terraces be reserved for generating solar power and introduced ‘net metering’. But how much more does ‘green’ need to get mandated to become transformational?

July 20, 2016

Gov. Raimondo Signs Renewable Energy Measures into Law in RI

 Joined by state legislators and other officials on Thursday, Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, D-R.I., ceremonially signed into law several bills meant to advance renewable energy in Rhode Island. Furthermore, the governor and SolarCity announced that the rooftop solar company will be expanding its operations in the state.

According to a press release from the General Assembly, one of the bills was H.7413A/S.2185A, which extends the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) from 14.5% by 2019 to 40% by 2035. State lawmakers approved the bill in late June, and the governor technically signed it shortly afterwards.

July 19, 2016

House Approves Bipartisan Amendment to Advance Wave and Water Technologies under the Energy and Water Appropriations Act

By: Vartan Badalian, Cleantech Law Partners

The United States is in the middle of a transition period away from nonrenewable sources of energy. In order to secure a strong renewable energy economy, a wide diversity of energy sources is a must. One source that has come into recent media attention within the clean energy marketplace is hydropower – specifically, wave energy.

Wave energy is clean energy. It’s sustainable and lucrative and provides a way to produce mass amounts of energy when the technology interacts with ocean waves. The energy that it can yield depends on wave height, speed, length and density. While solar and wind energy have become the mainstream clean energy go-to, thus dropping in price, less can be said about wave energy. However, unlike solar or wind energy, which can potentially become stagnate at certain times throughout the day, wave energy is constant. Ocean waves seemingly never come to a halt. This is what makes it a very interesting sector to increase investments in, and what the recent bipartisan amendment hopes to illustrate.

July 18, 2016

Poland: Act On Windfarms And Amendments To The Act On Renewable Energy Sources

On 27 June 2016 the Polish President signed a new bill introducing changes to the Act on Renewable Energy Sources ("Amending Act"). On 22 June 2016 the President signed a new Act on investments in wind power plants ("Act on Windfarms"). Both acts have been widely criticised by the renewable energy sources ("RES") industry, and on reading they suggest that the current Polish government is willing to significantly reduce support for RES.

July 17, 2016

New Renewable Energy Policy Likely to be Ready by Month-End in Bihar, East India

Bihar is eyeing an ambitious capacity target of 3,500 MW renewable energy (RE) by 2021-22 and a new comprehensive policy for promotion of unconventional energy sources to achieve the objective is likely to be ready by the end of the month.

On Monday, Bihar Renewable Energy Development Agency (BREDA) organised a consultation workshop of all stakeholders to discuss the draft RE policy, which has already been prepared by the power company.

July 10, 2016

Rhode Island Clean Power Boost

US state almost triples renewables standard to 40% by 2035

Rhode Island has nearly tripled the state’s renewable energy standard to 40% by 2035, up from 14.5% by 2019.

Governor Gina Raimondo signed the legislation into law this week.

“By raising its renewable energy standard, Rhode Island is sending the signal that it’s open for business to renewable energy developers who will invest billions of dollars into the state economy,” said American Wind Energy Association CEO Tom Kiernan.

According to the Wind Energy Foundation, growing wind power in Rhode Island could result in $240m in electricity bill savings by 2050 and up to $744m in savings through lower gas prices.

Rhode Island joins a growing number of states, including California, Oregon, Vermont and Hawaii, raising their existing renewable energy laws.


July 8, 2016

Massachusetts Needs a New Energy Law

The good news about the Senate energy legislation approved last week is that it means both chambers and the governor have now backed strong plans to help the Commonwealth break its dependency on fossil fuels. The bad news is that one of the few substantive differences between the chambers involves a hot-button issue that could derail a compromise if legislators allow it: Cape Wind.

Massachusetts needs a new energy law to help meet its deadline of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020. The state has made great progress, shedding coal and oil-fired generators in favor of cleaner-burning natural gas, but will not reach the goal without tapping renewable energy sources faster.

July 7, 2016

10 States Blocking the Power of the Sun

Some of the sunniest states in the country are actively blocking rooftop-solar development through overtly lacking and destructive policy landscapes, according to a Center for Biological Diversity report.

10 states that are blocking distributed solar potential through overtly lacking and destructive distributed solar policy.

These 10 states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia — account for more than 35 percent of the total rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) technical potential in the contiguous United States, but only 6 percent of total installed distributed solar capacity, according to a March 2016 report released by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and data provided by the U.S. Energy Information Agency.

July 6, 2016

Leave Vote Makes UK's Transition to Clean Energy Harder, Say Experts

Analysts say Brexit will create uncertainty for energy sector, which could hit £20bn investment a year needed to replace ageing, dirty power plants

The UK’s challenge to build a clean, secure and affordable energy system has become significantly harder amid the political and economic turmoil following the nation’s vote to leave the European Union.

July 5, 2016

District of Columbia Council Unanimously Approves Bill for 50% Renewable Energy Mandate

The District of Columbia Council unanimously approved legislation (B21-650) to expand the District’s renewable energy target to 50% percent by 2032.

The bill raises the bar from the District’s existing 20%-by-2020 renewable energy standard. It would also establish a "Solar for All” program designed to cut the electric bills of 100,000 low-income households in half by 2032 through the use of conservation and clean energy resources.

July 4, 2016

Michigan Report: DTE, Consumers Rank Middle of Pack Nationally for Renewable Energy

Rankings show Michigan-based utilities perform better on energy efficiency

Michigan's two largest electric utilities are generally solid performers when it comes to their energy efficiency programs, but are in the middle of the pack nationally with their use of renewable energy, a new report shows.

The report from Boston-based nonprofit Ceres, released Tuesday, ranked 30 of the nation's largest investor-owned utilities on renewable and efficiency performance. DTE Energy Co. andCMS Energy ranked in or near the top 10 for their single-year energy efficiency savings, but fell in the rankings compared to other utilities for their use of renewable power sources.

Tesla’s Solar City Acquisition Could Mean More Aggressive Net Metering Battle

By: Marc Z. Goldgrub, Cleantech Law Partners

            On Tuesday, June 21st, electric car company Tesla Motors announced its offer to buy solar power company Solar City. Tesla chief executive, Solar City chairman and “real life Iron Man” Elon Musk claims the deal makes perfect sense. Market analysts, however, saw the move as Musk hurting Tesla to save a struggling Solar City and reacted unfavorably, resulting in a significant Tesla share value drop. Less publicly, utility companies were likely also upset by the news: in the battle over net metering, going up against the company with the best customer service reputation and brand loyalty outside of Apple will be very public and very difficult.

July 3, 2016

HVACR Industry Advocates for Energy Bill

Energy Policy Modernization Act includes fixes for furnace rule, regional standards enforcement.

HVACR industry leaders are keeping a watchful eye on a large-scale bipartisan energy bill that could, among many other things, give the industry more time to develop a negotiated furnace efficiency standard and help alleviate the issue of stranded inventory caused by the “installed-by” regional standards enforcement scheme. The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, which includes provisions to promote renewable energy, improve the energy efficiency of buildings, and cut some planet-warming greenhouse gas pollution, passed the U.S. Senate on April 20 and the U.S. House of Representatives on May 25 and is expected to begin conferencing soon.

July 1, 2016

R.I. Legislature Passes Bill To Boost Renewable Energy Target

The Rhode Island legislature has passed a bill to advance the state’s renewable energy target from 14.5% by 2019 to 40% by 2035 – a move being applauded by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

The new law, if signed by Gov. Gina Raimondo, would ensure Rhode Island homeowners and businesses have greater access to renewable energy, including wind power, explains AWEA, adding that wind farm investment in Rhode Island has attracted $20 million in total capital investment to the state economy.

June 30, 2016

Massachusetts Senate Bill Would Boost State's Reliance on Renewable Energy

Leaders in the Massachusetts Senate have unveiled legislation designed to ramp up the state's reliance on renewable energy sources, including offshore wind and hydropower.

The plan, detailed Friday, establishes more aggressive energy targets than a similar bill approved by the House this month.

The Senate bill would set a goal for utilities to sign long-term contracts for 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy, compared to 1,200 megawatts in the House bill. It also would set a goal of 1,500 megawatts from other sources of renewable energy, including hydropower, compared to 1,200 megawatts set in the House proposal.

June 29, 2016

What Brexit Means for UK's Renewable Energy Development

The United Kingdom of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland has voted in yesterday’s referendum to end its membership in the European Union. What does this mean for the country's renewable energy sector?

The UK's decision to leave the EU could have repercussions on its clean energy progress.
wikimedia commons

So, this is it. Brexit is the result of the referendum been held yesterday in the UK regarding its membership in the European Union (EU) bloc. The winning camp of the Britons supporting the termination of the UK’s EU membership has suggested that exiting the bloc will repatriate the UK’s policy-making power from Brussels back to London. Is this true and how the new policy-making structure will affect the UK’s renewable energy sector?

June 27, 2016

Energy Storage Tax Relief Bill Introduced

U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, a Democrat from Silicon Valley, California, has introduced the Energy Storage for Grid Resilience and Modernization Act, otherwise known as H.R. 5350.

If the bill becomes law, it will provide a tax credit for home and business owners who purchase energy storage systems. The tax credit for both would be 30%, which is the same amount as the renewable energy tax credit. Factories would also be eligible under the proposed law.

“We must create better infrastructure in our nation, including our electrical grid. Tax credits will help create a market-based solution to increase the use of both energy storage and renewable energy. This legislation will help America become energy independent and help create good, family-wage jobs in a sustainable industry. I’m proud to sponsor it, along with my colleagues,” explained Honda.

June 26, 2016

Maryland PSC Approves Final Community Solar Regulations

Maryland could soon be one of only 11 US states with community solar programs, as the state’s Public Service Commission has just approved its final regulations for establishing a three-year pilot community solar program, which are expected to be published in the coming weeks and become final in mid-July.

By allowing more residents, especially low and moderate income residents, as well as those without ownership of their roofs or who live in multi-unit buildings, to participate in the solar energy revolution, Maryland’s community solar program could enable a more inclusive renewable energy ecosystem in the state. Part of the new community solar regulations speak directly to that inclusiveness, with about 30% (60 MW) of the state’s community solar cap (200 MW) being set aside for low to moderate income residents.

June 22, 2016

Downing Encourages Storage as Part of Massachusetts Energy Bill

On the heels of House passage of comprehensive energy legislation — and criticism of it by environmental groups — state Sen. Benjamin Downing, the Senate chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications and Energy, said he wants the Senate’s version to include an increase of the state’s renewable energy portfolio and to spur energy storage technology.

“We’ve been leaders in solar, we’ve been leaders in efficiency,” said the Pittsfield Democrat who represents many Franklin County towns. “Making sure you get the most out of both of those would be by expanding the role that storage can play in the grid. I think requiring the utilities to go out and procure storage ... are strategies we’re considering now and ought to be part of our clean-energy strategy moving forward.”

June 21, 2016

India Govt Bats for Hybrid Solar-Wind Power Projects in Draft Policy

The government has sought to boost hybrid solar and wind power projects in the country with incentives and a financing system to increase renewable energy sources while better using existing transmission infrastructure and land.

In its draft policy guidelines released on Tuesday, the Ministry of New & Renewable Resources has set a target of achieving 10 giga watt (GW) generating capacity by 2022 through hybridisation of solar and wind power projects.

India: Draft of National Policy For Renewable Energy Based Micro And Mini Grids

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE or the Ministry) aims to attain a sustainable growth in the country by securing the energy needs through renewable energy (RE) sources such as solar, biomass, water, wind etc.

Along with the support to large scale RE, the Ministry promotes decentralized solutions based on sources such as solar, biomass, biogas, wind, small hydro etc. for meeting the lighting needs, other electricity and thermal requirements especially in rural areas through separate programmes.