August 17, 2017

Mass. Pushing Ahead With Renewable Energy Initiative

Proposals are flooding in to help Massachusetts ramp up its reliance on renewable energy, including solar, wind and hydropower.

The state has received nearly four dozen bids for a contract to add more renewable power to its energy portfolio — enough to power nearly 200,000 homes. The aim is to reduce Massachusetts’ reliance on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas-emitting power plants, major contributors to climate change.

August 16, 2017

Solar Revolution: New State Law Aims to Make it Easier to go Green in NC

Dan Kessler wanted to save money when he decided to install solar panels on his family’s Gray’s Creek house.

“One of the biggest reasons was because our electric bill was like $200 and some a month,” Kessler said.

“And I look at it as a ‘rent or own.’ If I pay $200 to an electric company, then what do I really see out of it?”

Solar panels mounted on rooftops aren’t a common sight in North Carolina neighborhoods, but that may be changing. The state legislature in July approved a wide-reaching bill that aims to grow the already burgeoning solar industry. In addition to the expansive solar farms in rural counties already generating power for utility companies, this new law is meant to make it easier for homeowners and businesses to install their own panels.

August 11, 2017

Gov. Cooper Signs Solar Energy Bill Despite Controversial Wind Project Moratorium in NC

Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law on Thursday legislation promoting solar energy in the state and issued an executive order encouraging wind-power development despite an 18-month moratorium on wind projects included in the bill.

Cooper said his executive order clarifies that wind projects can proceed through the initial permit stages – and that the state should do all it can to help them along – regardless of the temporary ban.

August 10, 2017

Ministry Aims to Revise Law to Push Ahead with Energy Policies in South Korea

The South Korean government is setting out to amend its energy law and elevate the status of the national energy committee to push ahead with its energy policies, which are already facing resistance from the relevant industries and residents.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said on Aug. 2 that it had submitted a revision proposal to the National Assembly for review in the hope that it will be put to a vote at the plenary session before the end of the year.

August 9, 2017

Community Solar Goes to Washington

Legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate aims to move community solar forward nationwide. The bill would make permanent a U.S. Department of Energy program that promotes community solar, as well as boosting community solar in low-income communities and encouraging federal government participation in community solar.

Can new federal legislation help bring solar access to everyone?

August 8, 2017

‘Solar for All’: Can Illinois Energy Bill Live Up to Ambitious Promises?

After months of negotiations and surviving a contentious budget battle in the state legislature, the hard work of enacting Illinois’ comprehensive energy bill is underway.

The Future Energy Jobs Act calls for the installation of about 2,700 MW of solar in Illinois by 2030, a dramatic increase from the state’s current 75 MW.

“It’s going to be crazy, and it’s going to be really exciting,”said Lesley McCain, executive director of the Illinois Solar Energy Association. “We’ve seen such interest from around the country, from all types of developers focused on helping get this legislation built out correctly.”

August 3, 2017

Michigan Program Finances First Megawatt of Solar, With Ambitious Goals Ahead

A clean energy financing program in Michigan reached a milestone last month when it helped homeowners and businesses install 1 MW of solar energy across the state.

Michigan Saves — which was created by a $6.5 million Michigan Public Service Commission grant in 2009 — acts as a green bank by financing clean energy projects at homes and businesses. While it deals mostly in energy efficiency projects, it also removes the barrier of high upfront capital costs for solar installations.

August 2, 2017

Argentina’s Future Legislation for Distributed Generation Takes Shape

The Parliament’s Committee for Energy and Fuels has reached an agreement for a unified text of the net metering scheme that is expected to finally support residential and commercial PV and other distributed generation renewable sources across the country.

Argentina may soon have its first regulatory framework for distributed generation from solar and renewable energy sources.

According to the local renewable energy industry body Cámara Argentina de Energías Renovables (CADER), the Committee for Energy and Fuels at the Chamber of Deputies has reached an agreement for a unified text of the future law, which is expected to authorize the sale of excess power to the grid from renewable energy power generators for residential, commercial and industrial use.

August 1, 2017

Pakistan Continues Initiative to Increase Reliance on Wind Power

After a Chinese investment in renewable energy, Pakistan opens a new wind farm to bolster energy production and decrease reliance on fossil fuels.

Pakistan is beginning to reap the benefits of Chinese investment in renewable energy infrastructure, with the opening of the first wind power project constructed as part of the huge China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, aimed at overhauling the country’s transport and energy systems.

July 31, 2017

U.S. House Rolls Out 100% Renewable Energy Bill

The House version of a landmark 100% clean energy bill rolled out earlier this year has been introduced by U.S. Reps. Jared Polis, D-Colo.; Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.; Jared Huffman, D-Calif.; and Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.

According to the lawmakers, the “100 by ‘50 Act,” calling for 100% clean energy by 2050, is the first bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that fully envisions a complete transition off of fossil fuels for the U.S.

U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; Edward J. Markey, D-Mass.; and Cory Booker, D-N.J., introduced the Senate version in April. Likewise, their “100 by ‘50 Act” also lays out a roadmap for a transition to 100% clean energy no later than 2050.

July 30, 2017

Court Ruling Affirms States’ Authority On Renewable Energy Policy

States’ authority to enact clean energy policy was significantly bolstered last week in an important federal district court decision. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed a challenge from fossil fuel companies that objected to an Illinois program to support nuclear generation because it hurt their bottom line.

The case is important far beyond the nuclear context because it demonstrates that states have many strong tools to dictate their energy mix (including advancing renewable energy) without violating the Constitution or federal energy laws.

July 28, 2017

California Assembly Committee Clears Measure for 100% Renewables Goal

The California Assembly’s Utilities and Energy Committee last week approved SB 100, moving the state one step closer to its 100% renewable energy goal. 

SB 100 would increase California’s current renewable portfolio standard to 60% by 2030 and establish a goal of meeting 100% renewable energy by 2045.

If the bill becomes law, California would be the second state, after Hawaii to strive for 100% renewables. But unlike Hawaii, California's 100% renewable energy goal is not a mandate. 

July 27, 2017

Netherlands to Extend Net Metering to 2023

The net metering scheme, which was set to expire in 2020, has enabled so far the installation of a residential PV capacity of approximately 1.5 GW.

The Netherlands reached over 2 GW of installed PV capacity at the end of 2016, according to official statistics.

The Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp has announced that the net metering scheme for residential renewable energy power generators will likely be extended to 2023.

July 26, 2017

Greece’s PPC Utility Targets 550 MW of New Solar

Greece’s incumbent utility, the Public Power Corporation (PPC) has announced a target for new solar PV projects. The move, while justified, may come too late to save the PPC, which is trying to reduce its reliance on lignite and avoid bankruptcy.

Things do change after all. In the case of Greece’s PPC utility, which owns 13 GW of electricity generation facilities (about 64% of Greece’s installed capacity), the majority of which are coal plants, the recent change in investment strategy has arrived rather late, and is widely viewed as the result of tectonic policy changes that are currently taking place within Greece’s electricity sector.

July 25, 2017

Brookline Launches Renewable Energy Program With Opt-Out System

Rolling out this month is an optional electricity program for residents and business owners that promotes renewable energy use.

Brookline Green Electricity is a community aggregation program designed to give residents and business owners the opportunity to sign up for one of three plans, which offer different levels of renewable energy at fixed rates for 30 months.

The program takes advantage of a state goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, according to Maria Morelli, a senior planner at Brookline’s Department of Planning and Community Development.

July 24, 2017

New Homes Will Now Require Solar Panels in South Miami, a First in Florida

Anyone building a new house in South Miami — or in some cases renovating existing ones — will have to install solar panels after the city commission approved a groundbreaking law Tuesday night.

The measure, the first of its kind in Florida, will go into effect in two months on Sept 18.

The ordinance passed 4-1 Tuesday night, with commissioner Josh Liebman dissenting.

July 23, 2017

Assembly OK’s Ruggiero Bill for Remote Net Metering at Schools and Churches in Rhode Island

The state legislature has approved a bill that could significantly increase renewable energy by expanding net metering to schools, hospitals and nonprofit organizations, including churches.
Rep. Deb Ruggiero, who represents Jamestown and Middletown, co-sponsored the bill in the House.

Net metering allows the owners of green energy to receive credit for the power they feed into the electric grid. Remote net metering is an arrangement that allows kilowatt-hours generated from one site to be credited toward energy consumption at a different site.

July 21, 2017

Clean Energy Bill Now Law in NH Without Sununu's Signature

Gov. John Sununu demonstrated his continued reservations about a so-called clean energy bill by allowing SB 129 to become law without his signature.

The bill provides guarantees that 15 percent of the state’s renewable energy fund goes toward the financing of community solar projects as well as increasing the value of renewable energy credits for biomass plants.

July 20, 2017

California Assembly Yanks Major Storage Bill, Pushing It to 2018

SB 700 would have funded storage incentives over 10 years. It disappeared from the Assembly’s schedule without a vote.

A long-term energy storage rebate that cleared the California Senate came to a sudden halt in the Assembly this week.

SB 700 would create a 10-year rebate program that steps down in phases as storage penetration increases, modeled after the successful California Solar Initiative. It was slated for a hearing Wednesday in the Assembly's Utilities and Energy Committee, but the committee chair took it off the agenda despite objections from the bill's author.

July 19, 2017

Updated: 17 States Now Charge Fees for Electric Vehicles

The gas tax is catching up to electric vehicles in a growing number of states. 

Several states have passed or enacted new fees this year, bringing the total to 17. Recent additions include West Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Oklaho-ma, Tennessee and California, which is home to leading EV maker Tesla and a suite of policies designed to incentivize electric-car adoption. South Carolina enacted a biennial fee for electric cars.

The New Normal for Rooftop Solar in Hawaii?

As the state’s solar market contracts painfully, business leaders are wondering how they’ll survive.

For anyone in sales, there are two existential questions that need to be posed and answered: What's the market for what you're peddling, and how much market share can you expect to capture?

As the once-thriving rooftop solar industry in Hawaii painfully contracts, businesses like mine and others are being forced to seriously ponder those two questions. 

July 18, 2017

New Solar Laws Expected to Boost Florida Commercial Installations

Mike Mahmoudi, owner of the 32-room New Sun Gate Motel on South Federal Highway in Lake Worth, is pleased that he invested $115,000 in a 40.2 kilowatt rooftop solar system that generates power whenever the sun is shining.

“My electric bill was expensive. It’s saving me some money, and I helped create jobs. I feel good. My property value will go up, and I get a federal income tax break,” Mahmoudi said.

July 17, 2017

Nevada Governor Signs Law to Revive Rooftop Solar Industry

Public pressure prompts reversal of unfriendly solar policies.

A year and a half after Nevada virtually shut down its thriving rooftop solar industry, Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a bill last week designed to bring it back. It was among eight clean and high-tech energy bills recently considered by the state legislature. Sandoval also signed laws crafted to install charging stations for electric vehicles and incentivize energy efficiency. 

But Sandoval also vetoed a widely supported bill that would have increased the state’s requirement for renewable energy in its electricity supply from 25 percent by 2025 to 40 percent by 2030. And he rejected a bill designed to establish community solar projects, where renters and low-income Nevadans could participate in generating solar power. 

July 16, 2017

Controversial Clean Energy Bill in NH Becomes Law Without Governor’s Signature

Measure seeks to boost wood, solar industries.

Senate Bill 129, a measure that gives a boost to the state’s wood and solar energy industries but could also raise electric bills, became law July 11 without Gov. Chris Sununu’s signature.

The bill – dubbed the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2017 – was the only significant energy bill passed in the recently concluded legislative session. It was controversial to the very end, pitting the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire against other business groups, such as the NH Clean Tech Council and the NH Timberland Owners Association.

July 14, 2017

Reviewing the NH Legislature’s Energy Accomplishments

While there were plenty of bills up for a vote, very few were enacted

With the conclusion of the Legislature’s 2017 session, it is time to take stock of what the General Court did, and didn’t do, from an energy perspective.

While there were a number of bills proposed that would have made some significant changes to our laws governing a variety of energy issues, many of them were either retained for study over the summer and fall, after which they will be taken up during the 2018 session, or they were killed.