September 30, 2015

British Policy Changes Cause Trillion Fund to Stop Lending for Renewable Projects

The British crowdfunding body Trillion Fund stops offering lending for renewable energy projects. 

Additionally, CEO Julia Groves steps down from her position.

The main reason why Trillion stops offering renewable energy projects is the current withdrawal of support for renewables by the UK government. The recent changes in renewable energy policy in the UK have negatively affected investor confidence and made a lot of PV and wind power developers unsure whether they would be able to stay in business.

September 27, 2015

What Will A New Prime Minister Mean For Australia’s Renewable Energy Industry?

Australia’s Liberal Party has elected a new leader, Malcolm Turnbull, which will soon mean a new Prime Minister for Australia — a move which has every chance to have a positive impact on the country’s renewable energy industry which has suffered heavily under the now-previous Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.

Australian Politics 101

The fact that the leader of a country can be swapped out for a newer or better model by a country’s politicians was a new way to look at things for many people a few years ago. However, in 2010, the world saw the Australian Labor Party — the political party in charge at the time — express no-confidence in the leader of the party, and therefore the leader of the country, Kevin Rudd. This gave rise to Australia’s first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who suffered a similar “leadership spill” in June of 2013, which saw the return of Kevin Rudd to the leader of the Labor Party, and the country. (Though this was a short-lived position, as he subsequently lost the next national election only three months later.)

September 25, 2015

UK Government Renewable Energy Policy Leaves “Investors And Consumers Baffled,” EY States

The most recent Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index put out by EY highlights the dangers of the UK Government’s current renewable energy policy.

EY published its quarterly Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) this week, which saw a major reshuffling of its top 10 most attractive countries in terms of their renewable energy potential and growth. One of the biggest losers in the RECAI was the United Kingdom, which dropped out of the top 10 for the first time since the RECAI was first established in 2003. Specifically, according to EY, “A wave of policy announcements reducing or removing various forms of support for renewable energy projects has left investors and consumers baffled.”

September 24, 2015

Landmark California Climate Law Directs Electric Utilities to Displace Oil Companies

Within 15 years, California will generate at least half of its electricity from renewable resources and double savings from energy efficiency gains, two milestones included in Senate Bill (SB) 350. News coverage of this bill prior to its passage overlooked these monumental targets and focused on the oil companies' unsightly lobbying to remove a petroleum reduction goal from the bill. Meanwhile, few have noticed the provisions of Senator de León's legislation that make replacing oil as the dominant transportation fuel a core mission of the electric industry -- allowing Californians to "fill up" at home on cleaner electricity that's the cost equivalent of dollar-a-gallon gas.

September 22, 2015

Over 2,000 Organizations Call On US Government To Extend Tax Provisions, Including PTC

More than 2,000 organizations signed a letter last week calling on the US Government to extend a variety of expired and expiring tax provisions, including the vaunted PTC.

The Production Tax Credit has been integral to the growth of the US wind industry, and as the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) notes, “is a big reason” why the US wind industry is the “most productive in the world with enough wind energy produced annually for 18 million American homes.” In its annual US Wind Industry Annual Market Report for 2014,the AWEA reported on the value of the PTC, where in states like Iowa it helped wind energy attract $10 billion in cumulative investment to support 6,000 jobs.

September 21, 2015

California Climate Law an $8.6 Billion Coup for Solar Utilities

Solar and wind-power entrepreneurs will get a bigger share of California’s energy market. Construction contractors will get more work tightening the energy efficiency of buildings. And environmentalists will tiptoe closer to their goal of weaning the most-populous U.S. state from fossil fuels.

California lawmakers on Friday passed a watered-down version of what state Senate PresidentKevin de Leon had billed as part of the “most far-reaching effort to fight climate change in the history of our nation.” 

September 20, 2015

Why Climate Law Advocates are Watching These Black and Latino Lawmakers from Southern California

The "wanted" poster with pictures of five state lawmakers appeared in the pages of a Spanish-language newspaper in Southern California last week.

"Would these politicians be willing to confront the petroleum industry and fight for Latino families?" the ad said in support of tougher environmental rules. "Help us make sure these elected politicians stay responsible to the community."

Advocates Back Bill to Prevent Limits on Reimbursements for Alternative Energy in Pennsylvania

Advocates of turning cow manure and other waste into energy are backing a bill introduced in the Pennsylvania House that would forbid putting caps on how much electricity those systems can sell to the grid.

The bill is aimed at a proposal still being developed by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission meant to limit reimbursements to customers who generate power from alternative sources — a dairy farmer with a methane digester, for example, or a homeowner with solar panels on the roof.

September 18, 2015

Croatia’s New Renewables Bill a Game-Changer – Investor

The new bill on renewable energy sources (RES) adopted by the government in Zagreb will lead to important regulatory changes, resulting in a comprehensive reshuffle of rules in this field, the country manager for Croatia of Austrian privately-held power producer RP Global said.

The bill on renewable energy sources and high-efficient cogeneration was adopted by the government in Zagreb last week in a bid to unify and harmonize regulations in the RES sector in order to boost the production and use of renewable energy in the country as well as to fully align domestic rules to EU law, among other goals.

September 17, 2015

North Carolina Renewable Energy Tax Credits Remain Controversial

For 38 years, taxpayers in North Carolina have been footing the bill for the solar energy industry that has yet to prove it can survive without government handouts.  Advocates for solar and other renewable energy sources continue to beg the legislature to prop up this industry, and lawmakers continue to comply.

On Thursday, Sept. 10, Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Greensboro), along with representatives from a group called Environment North Carolina, held a press conference to announce that the state is ranked fourth nationally for total solar electric capacity, and to extol the virtues of solar energy.

September 16, 2015

California Legislature Passes Bill Setting Target of 50 Percent Renewables by 2030

The California Legislature passed SB 350 requiring utilities to procure at least 50 percent of their electricity from eligible renewable energy sources such as wind and solar by 2030.

This legislation, which is expected to be signed into law later this month by Governor Jerry Brown, is a historic step in the state's groundbreaking plan to cut climate-warming pollution, and ranks among the most significant environmental bills in California history.

Getting to 50 percent renewables

SB350, extends the current renewables portfolio standard program (RPS) which requires utilities and other electricity providers to meet a standard of 33 percent of electricity generated from renewable resources by 2020. The legislation includes interim targets for 2024 and 2027, and adopts modifications intended to ensure the program results in significant investment in additional renewable resources while remaining affordable for utility customers.

September 9, 2015

What's the Deal with California's Controversial Climate Change Bill?

When Gov. Jerry Brown started his fourth and final term in January, he laid out three ambitious environmental goals for the next 15 years. First, double the energy efficiency of older buildings. Second, require half of California's electricity to come from renewable sources. And third, slash petroleum use on state roads by half.

Those three targets — particularly the gasoline proposal — are contained in a bill that is the subject of intense debate in the Capitol. Lawmakers have until Friday night to decide what to do.

September 8, 2015

Why France's New Energy and Green Growth Law is a Big Deal

Alasdair MacEwen of Culmer Raphael reflects on how the French government has strengthened its green economy ahead of the Paris Summit with sweeping new legislation

The French legislature has just passed into law the "energy transition for green growth" Bill. Ecology minister Ségolène Royal describes it as "the most advanced and ambitious piece of environmental legislation in Europe, and probably the world" – this is, perhaps, an exaggeration - but it could still end up as one of France’s most significant Bills in decades. And it has put Royal in the spotlight ahead of December's COP21 meeting in Paris.

September 7, 2015

Will California Redouble its Push for Clean Energy? It All Rides on This Upcoming Vote

It's difficult to overstate how important California is to the US clean energy effort. For decades it has been serving as a kind of existence proof, growing its economy even as per-capita energy use and carbon intensity have fallen.

Every year, the market researchers at CleanEdge put out a Cleantech Leadership Index, ranking US cities and states on a range of more than 70 indicators, from renewable energy deployment to VC investment to clean energy patents to green buildings and more.

September 6, 2015

Morocco to Amend Law on Renewable Energy

In a move to boost investment in the renewable energy sector, Moroccan government on Tuesday approved a bill to amend the existing 13-09 law on renewable energy development.

When adopted, the new law, bill number 58-15, will allow renewable energy producers to sell surplus electricity to establishments connected to the high voltage or very high voltage grid of ONEE, the state owned utility responsible for the provision of electricity as well as the operation of the transmission system.

August 10, 2015

Lords, Subsidy Cuts and an ‘Orwellian’ Government in the UK

The proposed cuts to solar subsidies has attracted the ire of the renewables industry since they were unveiled by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) late last month, but stinging criticism has poured in from unexpected sources too.

During a House of Lords debate for the draft Energy Bill, which is hoped to ascend into law next year, a number of lords clashed over the scant clarifications both within the bill and forthcoming from the DECC with regards to proposals to close RO support for sub-5MW solar farms a year earlier than planned.

August 4, 2015

French Energy Transition Bill Adopted

France's National Assembly yesterday gave final approval of the country's energy transition bill. Under the legislation, France's reliance on nuclear energy will be reduced to 50% of power generation by 2025.

French president Francois Hollande's 2012 election pledge was to limit nuclear's share of French generation at 50% by 2025, and the closure of France's oldest nuclear power plant, Fessenheim, by the end of 2016. In June last year, following a national energy debate, his government announced that the country's nuclear generating capacity would be capped at the current level of 63.2 GWe. It will also be limited to 50% of France's total output by 2025. Nuclear currently accounts for almost 75% of the country's electricity production, making closures of power reactors appear inevitable.

August 3, 2015

Can UK's Solar Industry Survive Without Subsidies?

Putting solar on the chopping block may damage the industry badly at a time when it just needs that last push to become independent.

Energy experts believe a rumoured government plan to cut subsidies to solar could cripple the burgeoning industry just before it is able to stand on its own.

Late last week the government issued ambiguous warnings that the solar industry’s days of living off top-ups from bill-payers were numbered. A cabinet source revealed to the BBC that the government view had hardened further towards green subsidies and a “big reset” was coming.

August 2, 2015

Hydrogen Heats Up: Alternative Energy Source Gains Traction in Hawaii

Hydrogen-powered vehicles are beginning to roll onto Hawaii’s transportation scene.

Two 25-seat hydrogen-powered buses will soon be shuttling tourists between the visitors center and the Thurston Lava Tube at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, and hydrogen might someday fuel the Wiki-Wiki shuttles at Honolulu Airport.

July 31, 2015

Passage of California Climate Change Bill Could Set Global Example

When Gov. Jerry Brown visits the Vatican this week for an international conference, he'll be carrying a resolution from state lawmakers supporting Pope Francis' recent encyclical on climate change.

He's hoping the Legislature will send an even stronger message later this year by passing new environmental rules aimed at helping California slash greenhouse-gas emissions over the next few decades.

Approval of the legislation, intended to enact goals outlined by the governor this year, would bolster Brown's calls for global action on climate change with a display of regulatory muscle in his own state.

Oil companies have ramped up opposition, and utilities are angling for changes in the bill that would make it easier for them to fulfill requirements to produce renewable energy. But so far, no one has been able to stop the legislation, which has passed the state Senate and is advancing in the Assembly.

Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), one of the bill's authors and its most high-profile champion in the Legislature, has been meeting individually with Assembly members to further secure their support.

"I'm not taking anything for granted," he said.

The proposal would increase the generation of electricity from renewable sources, boost energy efficiency in older buildings and reduce by half the amount of gasoline used on state roads.

The pope's invitation to Brown for the Vatican conference is a sign that "the world is watching what happens in Sacramento very closely," De León said, and he plans to ensure that the legislation reaches the governor's desk.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said there are still some kinks to work out in the proposal — she is one of several lawmakers to say "the devil is in the details" — but she expects it to move forward.

"It's one of the most important things that we're going to do this year," Atkins said. "We see this as one of the big challenges on how California moves forward."

Brown is one of dozens of officials from around the world who were invited to the Vatican conference, which will focus on climate change and modern slavery. The governor is scheduled to address the gathering Tuesday and Wednesday.

It's the latest of several international trips the governor has taken to urge others to do more to curb global warming. He's also been rallying states and provinces to sign an agreement to match California's target for reducing emissions by 2050.

It's one of the most important things that we're going to do this year.- Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins.

The governor has also set an interim goal of requiring the state to cut emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. It's an ambitious target that members of his administration insist is achievable.

"This isn't something that was just plucked out of thin air," said Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board and one of the state's top officials on climate change programs. "This was based on a careful assessment."

De León's legislation is part of the effort to reach that target.

The measure has already been amended to spur the installation of more charging stations for electric vehicles, and De León said he's been talking to utility companies about their concerns.

"The bill is still fluid and dynamic," he said.

The legislation would require utilities to obtain half of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2030, up from a mandate of one-third by 2020. Utilities have expressed conditional support for the bill, but they want rooftop solar panels to be factored into the equation.

"If rooftop solar is a renewable resource, we need to be able to count that toward this goal," said Pacific Gas and Electric Co. spokeswoman Lynsey Paulo.

Another provision of the legislation, slashing the use of gasoline, has been hotly contested by oil companies and questioned by lawmakers from both parties.

Eloy Garcia, a lobbyist for the Western States Petroleum Assn., recently told an Assembly committee that the proposal is unfair and impossible to fulfill.

"It is entirely arbitrary, entirely aggressive, infeasible and we're not even sure what the main purpose is other than to punish petroleum resources," he said.

An analysis from E3, an environmental consulting firm based in San Francisco, said the state could need up to 8 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030 to help slash carbon pollution as much as Brown wants. Right now there are only 142,000 such vehicles on the road, according to the Air Resources Board.

"The market will have to expand, and prices will have to come down," said Jim Williams, E3's chief scientist. "You're going to want an attractive deal for the consumer."

Another sticking point has been leaving the job of implementing the gasoline rules in the hands of the Air Resources Board, a regulatory agency whose leaders are appointed by the governor.

Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina), the only Democrat to vote against the bill at a recent Assembly hearing, said he was concerned about a move that would give "unscripted power — unregulated, limitless power" to the board and "take it away from elected officials."

De León said such objections to the legislation, SB 350, should not stand in the way of its passage. He emphasized that lawmakers would "expect transparency and accountability" from the board.

He said it's possible to hit the gasoline target with a mix of policies such as better urban planning to reduce driving distances, increasing the availability of alternative fuels and putting more efficient vehicles on the road.

Some lawmakers remain unsatisfied.

Assemblyman Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) said during a hearing that the legislation needs to be more detailed, especially if the state is trying to portray itself as a world leader in addressing climate change.
"If we get this wrong, we're going to look like fools in California," he said.

July 30, 2015

National Renewable Energy Act to change landscape of RE in India

Independent status to RE, fresh norms & strict regulations

Aiming to consolidate the renewable energy sector and give it an institutional structure, the Union government has drafted the National Renewable Energy Bill, 2015. After it is passed by Parliament it would enable a National Renewable Energy Policy, Renewable Energy Corporation of India, an advisory group and a committee on the same.

Till now, the renewable energy sector was governed by the Electricity Act, 2003, which is also undergoing amendments.

July 27, 2015

Industrial Battery Maker Appears at Legislature to Boost Case for Renewable Energy Legislation in North Carolina

Republican Rep. John Szoka of Cumberland County been criticized by some on the political right for sponsoring a bill that he says could vastly grow the amount of solar-powered electricity production in North Carolina.

On Wednesday Szoka addressed one of complaints by bringing the representative of industrial battery maker Alevo to the legislature to make a presentation about its products. Alevo's batteries are designed to store electricity for utility companies, including electricity from solar farms and wind farms, to help them maintain a consistent supply.

July 26, 2015

Renewable Energy Standards Reconsidered as States Question Mandates, Fret Over Costs

California Gov. Jerry Brown drew headlines for his proposal to increase the state’s renewable energy standard to 50 percent by 2030, but elsewhere, the momentum on mandates is shifting in the opposite direction.

A half-dozen states have moved to scale back, freeze or eliminate their renewable energy standards in the past year, fueled by concerns over higher energy prices, the impact of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and the growing perception that it’s time to take the training wheels off the wind and solar industries.

July 24, 2015

Proposed RE Act in India Gives Sweeping Powers to the Centre

The proposed National Renewable Energy Act, 2015—the draft of which has been put up for public comments—seeks to give sweeping powers to Government of India to develop the renewable energy industry in India.

Under the first chapter—on ‘Institutional Structure’—the Act says that the Central government “shall have the power to take all such measures as it deems necessary or expedient” for the purpose of development of renewable energy in the country.

July 23, 2015

Support Platform for Renewable Energy Innovation Launched

Irena launches new platform to support renewable energy innovation, quality and collaboration via world's largest collection of global renewable energy standards, patents.

Policy makers and other energy sector players can now access the world’s largest collection of global renewable energy standards and patents thanks to a new online platform launched earlier this month by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).