December 4, 2016

At the Halfway Point: The Effect of California’s Energy Storage Mandate

At a recent conference attended by various participants in the power industry, including regulated utilities and independent energy producers, an astute speaker quipped that “energy storage proponents are quickly becoming the cool kids in the room.” Everyone chuckled knowingly, because policy makers in various jurisdictions, especially California, are driving the power industry to make energy storage happen in a meaningful way.

California’s investor-owned utilities are pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into innovative energy storage projects in an effort to satisfy the state’s energy mandate. Although a handful of storage technologies are getting a big boost from that effort, there is little doubt that roughly 75 percent of the state’s energy storage needs in the coming decades will be met by pumped storage hydro, the traditional—and still the most economical—storage solution.

December 2, 2016

France Gears Up for Floating Wind

The emergence of floating wind power in France took another step forward earlier this month when the government announced two winners to a call for floating wind pilot plants.

Two pre-commercial pilot projects, each of 24 MW, will be built out under terms of the tender in independent locations.

One project — located in the Leucate zone of the Mediterranean — will be developed by utilities Engie and EDP Renewables, in concert with French bank Caisse de Dépôts et Consignations, Eiffage, Principle Power and GE. Four 150-6MW turbines from GE Haliade are to be installed.

December 1, 2016

Morocco's Renewable Energy Ambitions

Deprived of hydrocarbon reserves on its soil, Morocco imports more than 90 per cent of its energy resources. The country has set itself ambitious renewable energy targets and aims to generate more than half of its electrical power from sustainable sources by 2030.

In 2008, Morocco launched the National Renewable Energy and Efficiency Plan, an energy programme aiming at having 42 per cent of its total energy produced from renewable sources (solar, wind and hydroelectric sources) by 2020. During the Climate Summit (COP 21) held in Paris in 2015, King Mohammed VI announced that Morocco will achieve 52 percent of its electrical power from renewable energy in 2030. It is the most ambitious renewable energy programme in the region.

November 27, 2016

Alberta, Canada Advances Clean Energy Goals with More Renewables

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) said Nov. 3 that a provincial leader in Alberta made a major policy pronouncement at the final day of the association's 32nd Annual Conference and Exhibition in Calgary.

Alberta Minister of Environment and Parks and the Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office, Shannon Phillips, speaking in front of a packed plenary room at CanWEA 2016, announced that the Alberta government is introducing the Renewable Electricity Act to legislate its target of 30 percent renewable electricity by 2030. Phillips also announced that Alberta will be proceeding with a procurement of an initial 400 MW of renewable energy as a first step towards meeting the target.

November 25, 2016

Federal Power Regulators Propose Rule to Remove Barriers to Energy Storage Participation in US Markets

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Nov. 17 issued a noticed of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) that plans to direct U.S. transmission system operators (TSO) to establish market rules to accommodate energy storage participation in organized wholesale electric markets.

FERC said in the NOPR that it hopes to remove barriers to the participation of energy storage resources and distributed energy resource aggregations in the capacity, energy, and ancillary service markets of TSOs.

November 24, 2016

Missouri Supreme Court Considers Requirements Cut From Green Energy Law

The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on a case that focuses on a question of whether a state government commission overstepped its legal bounds when it removed key provisions from a 2008 renewable energy law.

The renewable energy standard law requires that utility companies, such as Ameren Missouri, Kansas City Power & Light, and Empire District Power Company, use a certain percentage of renewable energy in their power sales to customers — 15 percent by 2021. Sixty-six percent of Missouri voters supported the law at the ballot box eight years ago.

November 23, 2016

Obama Administration Rolls Out Series Of New Clean Energy Initiatives

President Barack Obama’s leadership has catalyzed a global transition toward a clean energy economy, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced. Specifically, from 2010-2015 alone, the U.S. invested in more than $11 billion in international clean energy finance – including grant-based assistance, development finance and export credit – to support countries as they work to meet their growing energy needs and reduce carbon emissions.

At the same time, says the DOE, the U.S. has made research and development (R&D) a top priority – decreasing the cost of clean energy technologies substantially – and previously launched several initiatives to enhance universal access to cleaner energy:

November 22, 2016

Court Makes Landmark Ruling On Illinois Wind Turbine Dispute

The Appellate Court of Illinois has ruled on a matter that pitted wind energy developers and landowners against the construction industry, law firm Howard & Howard has announced. In a landmark decision, the appellate panel ruled that AUI Construction could not foreclose a mechanic’s lien against a property on which it had erected a turbine after the upstream contractor declared bankruptcy.

According to John Kreucher, an attorney with Howard & Howard, this is the nation’s first case that considered whether commercial-scale wind turbines should be deemed personal property or fixtures in a lien dispute. Kreucher also says the importance of the ruling goes beyond the legal filing.

November 21, 2016

How Will BLM’s Final Rule On Renewables Impact Wind Energy?

In support of the president’s Climate Action Plan, Secretary of the Interior (DOI) Sally Jewell has announced that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalized its rule governing solar and wind energy development on public lands.

According to the BLM, the rule strengthens existing policies and creates a new leasing program that will support renewable energy development through competitive leasing processes and incentives to encourage development in suitable areas.

November 20, 2016

Michigan State Legislation Calls for More Renewable Energy

Legislation that some say could increase the number of wind turbines in rural areas and end energy choice has passed the Michigan Senate, and will soon go before the House of Representatives.

Under current law, electric providers have to produce 10 percent of their power from renewable sources.

The bills would raise the minimum to 15 percent by the end of 2021 and set a non-binding goal of meeting 35 percent of Michigan’s electricity needs by 2025 through a combination of renewable energy and energy conservation.

November 18, 2016

Michigan Senate Passes Energy Overhaul with 15% Renewable Mandate

The Michigan Senate on Thursday adopted a plan to overhaul the state's energy policy, keeping a 10 percent cap on energy choice and establishing a 15 percent renewable requirement by 2021.

Senate Energy and Technology Chair Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, has been working on the bills for two years. He said the final product took into account a lot of viewpoints and was not 100 percent what any one entity wanted, including him.

"I believe we have crafted a policy that balances a broad and wide range of interests and addresses the key elements that will serve our state well for many years to come," Nofs said.

November 17, 2016

Donald Trump Could Put Climate Change on Course for ‘Danger Zone’

For a look at how sharply policy in Washington will change under the administration of Donald J. Trump, look no further than the environment.

Mr. Trump has called human-caused climate change a “hoax.” He has vowed to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency “in almost every form.”

And in an early salvo against one of President Obama’s signature issues, Mr. Trump has named Myron Ebell of the business-backed Competitive Enterprise Institute to head his E.P.A. transition team. Mr. Ebell has asserted that whatever warming caused by greenhouse gas pollution is modest and could be beneficial. A 2007 Vanity Fair profile of Mr. Ebell called him an “oil industry mouthpiece.”

November 16, 2016

Does Donald Trump's Presidential Triumph Spell the End of America's Climate Progress?

Donald Trump has pulled off one of the biggest electoral shocks in US history, beating Democrat Hillary Clinton to become the 45th US President. edie explores what this could mean for the country's future international leadership on climate action.

Political outsider Donald Trump will become the 45th US president after a stunning victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. 

November 15, 2016

Policies Driving Renewable Energy Growth in Latin America

Buoyed by rapid technology cost reductions and the consolidation of renewable energy policies, Latin America hosts some of the world’s most dynamic renewable energy markets, according to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Renewable Energy Market Analysis: Latin America finds that the region – endowed with some of the world’s best renewable resources – has an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate the uptake of renewables across all sectors.

November 14, 2016

200 'Power Farmers' to Light Up Uttarakhand, India With Solar Energy

Around 200 individuals in the state will now be known as 'power farmers', thanks to Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (UREDA) that has roped in natives to set up solar power generation plants on their land.

Around 200 individuals in the state will now be known as 'power farmers', thanks to Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (UREDA) that has roped in natives to set up solar power generation plants on their land. These farmers will directly supply the renewable energy to the state government at a fixed price of Rs 4.35 per unit.

November 13, 2016

Drought-hit Mozambique Signs First Major Solar Power Deal

The 40MW plant will deliver power to the national grid and produce energy for some 175,000 households, Oslo-based Scatec Solar said in a statement on Tuesday.

Drought-stricken Mozambique will start building its first large scale solar plant in early 2017, after Scatec Solar, which owns several such plants in Africa, signed an $80 million deal to sell electricity to the state-owned energy company for 25 years.

November 11, 2016

Modi Government Issues Fresh Guidelines for Onshore Wind Power Projects in India; Industry Asks for More

The revision of guidelines comes on the back of the government's ambitious target of installing 60 Gigawatt of wind energy in the country by 2022. At present, India has 28.1 GW of installed wind power capacity across the country.

In a significant boost for India's clean energy growth, the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has finally issued fresh guidelines for onshore wind power projects after a gap of two decades. The new set of rules promises to spur the growth of wind power capacity by addressing all the major issues.

November 10, 2016

Helping Hawaii Chart a Path to 100 Percent Renewable Electricity

The U.S., and the world as a whole, is now in a transition to a clean energy future. The State of Hawaii—a leader in this transition since it established the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative in 2008 with the Energy Department—is well on its path toward achieving the most ambitious clean energy target in the country. After initially setting a goal of 70 percent clean energy by 2030, Hawaii further upped the ante in 2015 by setting a goal of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045.

Realizing that challenges will continue to arise as Hawaii closes in on its goal, The U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Energy Transition Initiative (ETI) worked with technical experts from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to deliver training to Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) staff to help them prepare for the coming changes.

November 9, 2016

Iran Working on Laws to Spur Renewable Energy Investments

  • Hydroelectric power projects to cost an estimated $15 billion
  • Solar, wind and hydro power pursued for fuel diversification

Iran is working on regulations to attract investment in renewable energy, according to Elham Aminzadeh, adviser to President Hassan Rouhani, as the nation considers solar, wind and hydro power as ways to diversify from regular crude-based fuel.

November 8, 2016

Renewable Energy Regulations to be Unveiled in West Bengal

West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission (WBERC) may unveil renewable energy regulations in a fortnight, paving the way for households and housing complexes to install solar rooftop panels and connect them to the grid.

"We are trying to release the renewable energy regulations in the next 15 days after final consultation with the stakeholders," WBERC Chairman R N Sen said.

November 7, 2016

Legal Update on the Renewable Energy Sector in Norway

Recent developments in the Norwegian renewable energy (RE) market

The Norwegian power industry is rapidly changing as the market transits from a reliance on fossil fuel to renewable energy projects. Although energy prices currently are low compared to earlier years, there is heavy demand from foreign investors wanting to participate in projects located in Norway. Only this year we have seen several wind deals in the Norwegian market; Raskiftet (112 MW), Tellenes (200 MW), Fosen (1,000 MW), Hamnefjell (120 MW), Egersund (110 MW) and Svåheia (25 MW), all with foreign lead investors; Stadtwerke München, BlackRock, Credit Suisse, Ardian, Luxcara and Esmann Energy respectively. With Europe's best wind conditions, a well-functioning marketplace and industrial off-takers, we expect continuing high deal flow on wind farms in 2016 and 2017.

November 6, 2016

The Push for 100 Percent Renewables: Tallying Corporate Progress

It's been a big month for climate action.

Enough countries joined the Paris Agreement for it to enter into force, an amendment was approved to the Montreal Protocol to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and a new global deal on aviation was forged to curb the fastest growing sector of emissions. It was a momentous month for global climate action.

November 4, 2016

Groups Seek Zero Tariffs on Renewable Energy Products in Nigeria

Following the dearth of funding from the Nigerian government and donor agencies for research into alternative energy sources, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) have urged the government to grant zero tariffs on renewable energy products for greater energy access in the country.

The group made the plea during a one-day renewable energy conference, funded by Friends of the Earth Norway, which brought together civil society, development groups, government officials and community-based groups who shared experiences and analyzed critically issues concerning energy policy in Nigeria.

November 3, 2016

Protest Votes Won’t Stop Climate Change

By: Marc Z. Gold, Cleantech Law Partners
Neither Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson nor Green Party candidate Jill Stein can realistically gather the support needed to win the U.S. election in November. Recent polls show Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump fairly close in support among registered voters, with Clinton leading by a small margin. Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, and Stein, a former Lexington, Massachusetts town meeting representative, currently garner around 6% in recent polls.[1] Yet the 6% or so of voters currently supporting Johnson and Stein could decide whether the next president of the United States is Hillary Clinton, or a man who believes climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese.

November 2, 2016

East Africa: Lack of Common Policy Delays Use of Clean Fuel in East Africa

Lack of common standards for blending ethanol with petrol is limiting East Africa's ability to use biofuels in reducing the carbon emissions from fossil fuels in the transport sector.

The growing demand for petroleum products among the East Africa Community (EAC) member countries has seen a rise in greenhouse gas emissions. However, these can be reduced through use of ethanol from sugar plantations and biodiesel from croton nuts, jatropha curcas plant and other feedstocks.

Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan are yet to come up with common regional standards of blending ethanol with petrol. It also applies to the blending of biodiesel with fossil fuel diesel.