March 31, 2015

Chile Gets Cleaner at a Profit with Renewable Energy Push

Policies favoring clean energy and increased competition would normally dim prospects for existing producers. Not in Chile, where foreign investors are driving a renewable boom at a time of surging returns by local utilities.

In the year since President Michelle Bachelet took office, Chilean companies including Enersis SA and AES Gener SA are among the best performers in Americas energy stocks tracked by Bloomberg. In the previous 12 months, they were the worst after years of opposition to coal and hydroelectric projects and a prolonged drought crimped earnings and sent prices soaring.

March 30, 2015

Amid Budget Shortfalls, Kansas Legislature Considers Slashing Tax Incentives for Green Energy

Renewable energy groups say two proposals in the Kansas Legislature would threaten the young industry's existence by shortening a lifetime property tax exemption for wind and solar farms and imposing a 4.33 percent excise tax on ethanol fuel and renewable electricity.

The bills emerged in hearings Monday and Wednesday after a proposal to freeze requirements for the share of renewable electricity for the grid.

March 29, 2015

In South Korea, Auto Plants Being Put to Use for Solar Power Production

Power companies now required to have renewable energy account for a certain portion of their output
Large factory sites for domestic automobile assembly and production are being utilized for solar power generation.

A shift in Seoul’s renewable energy policy from subsidies to renewable portfolio standards (RPS) has prompted power companies to make use of the large lots available at car plants. The automakers, for their part, stand to gain by acquiring future emissions rights cheaper from the power companies.

GM Korea began power production on Mar. 11 with a 11.5-megawatt solar power facility at its Changwon plant. The facility, which is capable of producing up to 14,000 megawatt-hours of electricity, was built with solar panels on the plant roof and parking area. Plant production and management are carried out by KC Cottrell in conjunction with Korea Southern Power and other partners, while GM Korea supplies the site.

March 27, 2015

Rooftop Solar Power Units to Get Boost in Maharashtra, India

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has finally come out with a draft notification for allowing grid connectivity to rooftop solar power generation sets. The notification published on March 9 has cited recommendations of the working committee which was formed on MERC's directives. The committee had submitted its report seven months ago.

March 26, 2015

Renewable Energy Globally to More Than Double in 2025

Frost & Sullivan is predicting that the global installed capacity of renewable energy will more than double from 1,566 gigawatts (GW) in 2012 to 3,203 GW in 2025 at an average annual growth rate of 5.7 percent.
This growth will be driven primarily by developments in renewable energy policy.

As Frost & Sullivan explains, prior to the past decade, less than 50 countries had support policies for renewable energy, but that has increased to more than 130. As a result of political and financial support, investments in renewables have risen dramatically recently. In fact, the European Union has set binding targets to source 20 percent of the bloc's total energy consumption from renewable energy by 2020, and individual member states have set renewable energy consumption targets ranging from 10 percent for Malta to 49 percent for Sweden.

March 25, 2015

Connecticut Rules in Favor of Vermont Renewable Energy Credits

Connecticut regulators ruled Wednesday that credits purchased from renewable electricity generated in Vermont can count toward that state’s energy goals.

The decision means Vermont utilities can continue to sell their renewable energy credits in the regional marketplace, which brings in about $50 million a year that utilities use to lower electric rates here. The state worried that if Connecticut decided to exclude Vermont RECs, rates in the Green Mountain State would rise by 6 percent or more as soon as next year.

March 20, 2015

IRS Unveils Favorable PTC Guidance On 'Start Of Construction'

On Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published Notice 2015-25, which provides guidance the wind power industry has been waiting for since the extension of the production tax credit (PTC) in December.

Notice 2015-25 provides that any wind power project (or other PTC-eligible project) that started construction prior to 2015 has until the end of 2016 to be placed in service so as to avoid the application of either the "continuous construction" or the "continuous work" standards promulgated by the IRS in Notice 2013-29.2.

March 19, 2015

Renewable Energy Party Established to Lobby for Australian Renewables Sector

A new Australian political party has been formed with the aim of lobbying on behalf of the Australian renewable energy sector and the wider public interest in renewables.

The new Renewable Energy Party has been founded by Peter Breen, a former independent member of the New South Wales Parliament who now acts as its secretary. The party was formed at a meeting held at Lismore Workers Club in New South Wales and describes itself as a community-based organisation with no links to industry. It consists of concerned citizens and voters who are alarmed at the way the Australian government has handled climate change and renewable energy policy in the country.

March 18, 2015

Washington State Senate OKs Bill Giving Utilities Option on Renewable Energy

A bill that would give large electric utilities an alternative way to comply with a state law requiring more energy from renewable sources passed the Washington Senate on Monday night after a protracted fight over whether climate change is real and if humans contribute to it.

Senate Bill 5735, sponsored by Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen, passed the chamber on a mostly party line 26-23 vote and now heads to the Democrat-controlled House, where it is likely to face resistance. The measure would allow utilities to meet their targets under Initiative 937 by investing in carbon reduction.

March 17, 2015

Here’s Another Thing To Love About Hawaii

Hawaii is on track to pass legislation this year requiring the state to go 100 percent renewable by 2040.
Earlier this month, committees in the Hawaii House and Senate both unanimously recommended bills that would raise the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) from the current target of 70 percent by 2030 to the ultimate goal of 100 percent by 2040. Hawaii has had an RPS since 2001, and right now the state gets just over 21 percent of its power from renewable sources — a 12 percent increase in just six years.

This is huge for our state’s future.

March 16, 2015

Vermont House Approves Major Renewable Energy Overhaul

The Vermont House on Tuesday passed a bill designed to reduce residents’ carbon footprint, despite complaints from Republicans who fear the new renewable energy targets will come at an unforeseen cost.

The House voted 121-24 to pass H.40, which puts in place a renewable energy standard requiring utilities to sell electricity from renewables and reduce the fossil fuel consumption of their customers. The bill now goes to the Senate.

March 11, 2015

House Passes Bill Promoting Wind Energy Expansion In Pennsylvania

State Representative Curt Sonney (R-Harborcreek, 4th District) authored House Bill 188. It passed Wednesday in the Pennsylvania House with flying colors: 194 to 1.

The bill was first introduced 4 years ago, and did pass the House, but never made it onto the governor's desk.

In a statement Wednesday, Rep. Sonney said:

"I am hoping this is the first step toward eventually advancing the bill to Governor Tom Wolf's desk for his signature. Under existing law, owners of preserved farm land may grant a right-of-way for the installation, transportation or use of water, sewage, electric, telephone, coal or non-coal minerals by underground mining methods. It's simply common sense to allow them this additional use of their property."

March 10, 2015

India Moves Into Top 5 Most Attractive Renewable Energy Markets

The Indian Government’s aggressive policies and ambitious capacity addition targets have helped it jump to the best rank in market attractiveness in the renewable energy sector in at least about two years.

The latest edition of Ernst & Young Renewable Energy Market Attractiveness Index focuses on India as the government has not only substantially increased the capacity addition targets but also backed them with clear policy initiatives.

India has been ranked the 5th most attractive market overall. A quick glance through the archive of the Quarterly Market Attractiveness Index report shows that this is India’s best standing since at least May 2013.

March 9, 2015

Michigan Democrats Push for 20 Percent Renewable Energy by 2022

Michigan Democrats in the House and Senate on Tuesday released their energy principles, which include increasing the state's renewable energy to 20 percent by 2022.

The concept is to have renewable energy serve as an economic boost while also keeping utility costs affordable.

"Through 2014, renewable energy projects have brought nearly $3 billion in investment to Michigan, and utilities are on track to meet the 10 percent goal required in current law," said Rep. Bill LaVoy, D-Monroe, who serves as Democratic Vice Chair of the House Energy Policy Committee.

March 8, 2015

Minnesota’s Great Leap Into Solar Begins

Solar PV may soon start catching up with wind development in the state.

Minnesota, now blanketed in snow, is preparing for a sun-filled spring. 

Pro-solar legislation has led to an explosion of solar development in the state, leading Xcel Energy to dramatically revise its future investment plans. The utility now expects to get 10 percent of its power from the sun by 2030. But market developments suggest that number may be conservative.

February 20, 2015

New Renewable Energy Policy in India to Have Provisions for Renewable Generation Obligation : Piyush Goyal

Arvind Subramanian, India’s Chief Economic Advisor, said that the role of public sector financing will assume paramount importance if India is to expand its renewable energy footprint in power generation over the next decade.

Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State ( IC) for Coal, Power and New & Renewable Energy, said here today that non-compliance of RPO (Renewable Purchase Obligation) shall soon draw penalties. He said this at session titled ‘Financing Renewable Energy: Success Strategies’ at the 1st Renewable Energy Global Investors Meet & Expo (RE-INVEST) summit. The Minister said that the new RE policy, that will be enacted soon, shall also have provision for Renewable Generation Obligation (RGO). He said that the cost of renewable, except small hydro, has come down drastically over the last decade. “There is a need to socialise the cost of Renewable Energy (RE) through participation of all states, because currently only the states pushing for RE are bearing the burden,” said he. 

February 16, 2015

Colorado GOP Advances Rollback of Renewable Energy Mandate

Colorado Republicans pushed one of their top priorities through the Senate on Thursday - rolling back renewable energy mandates.

But the vote probably doesn’t mean that utilities will need less energy from renewable sources. The Democratic House is unlikely to go along with the repeal.

February 15, 2015

Environmental and Business Leaders, Illinois Lawmakers Unveil Goals of New Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition

35% Renewable Energy by 2030 & 20% Energy Efficiency by 2025 will Add More Jobs Per Year in Illinois.

With Illinois facing critical decisions about its energy future, members of a new coalition that represents 33 Illinois businesses and more than 26 organizations representing the state’s environmental, business and faith communities called on lawmakers yesterday to pass new standards for energy efficiency and renewable energy that will create tens of thousands of new jobs.

February 13, 2015

Kenyan Government Lobbies Urge Policy Reforms to Boost Green Energy Access

The Kenyan government must reform policy and regulatory environment to facilitate investments in clean energy, green lobbies said on Wednesday.

Representatives of conservation groups noted that access to clean sources of energy remained a mirage in Kenya due to financing, technological and policy shortfalls.

“Kenya has vast renewable energy potential that should be exploited to accelerate low carbon economic growth. There is need to reorganize fragmented policies and strengthen technical know- how to address energy poverty in the country,” Kenya Climate Change Working Group chairman John Kioli told journalists in Nairobi.

February 5, 2015

California's Future and the Solar Mandate of Assembly Bill 327

The CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) is not keeping its eye on the ball. Instead of using the new solar law, AB 327, signed by the governor in 2013, CPUC President Michael Peevey took a meat ax to AB 327.

Rooftop solar installation is one of the best opportunities to return the unemployed to the workforce, a top priority in poor communities of color. These trainees are installing panels on a clinic in Rwanda. If Africans can do it, so can African Americans. 

February 4, 2015

Why You Need to Pay Attention to Solar Energy Legislation

The 36 solar panels point south from their perch on the roof of Cumberland First Baptist Church. At first blush, they seem like an unlikely nod to one of the most basic Christian tenets.

"There is a holy mandate to care for the earth, which God created and called good," The Rev. Thomas Wyatt Watkins tells me, quoting from the Old Testament creation story.

As the pastor showed me the 9-kilowatt, photovoltaic array installed in October, Watkins said the church's plunge into the world of alternative energy is tied to a faith concept called "Creation Care," which focuses on being good stewards of all God's gifts.

February 3, 2015

Lack of Renewable Energy Policy has Cost Europe $100 Billion

Europe has wasted $100 billion by failing to create a renewable energy policy framework that could have better utilised the region’s natural resources to generate low-carbon power.

The figure was revealed in report published on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos, which urges policy-makers to incentivise investments that help minimise or avoid unnecessary costs.

February 2, 2015

Paulwell Reports Strong Support for Renewable Energy Policy in Jamaica

Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell says Government's policy shift on alternative energy, including the provision of incentives, is resulting in greater use of and investments in renewable options.

Under the policy, Government is facilitating access to low interest rate loans for businesses and homeowners to enable them to procure renewable energy systems, particularly for solar devices.

"We have (also) removed taxation from solar (systems). In fact, the Government has provided incentives for solar batteries to facilitate solar generation of electricity," Paulwell said.

February 1, 2015

Rhode Island Environmental Groups Set 2015 Priority Issues

 A statewide ban on plastic shopping bags and more composting are among several key issues being advanced by Rhode Island environmentalists this year.

Last week, the Environment Council of Rhode Island (ECRI), an advocacy groups for 60-plus environmental groups, announced its legislative priorities on issues of energy, land and water, waste, transportation and the budget.

January 30, 2015

Disagreement in West Virginia Senate over Study During Energy Bill Talks

A discussion on a signature piece of legislation being advanced by Republicans featured disagreement Monday when the current and former president of the state Senate fell on different sides over whether the bill should require a jobs impact study.

Former Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, called for a study of Senate Bill 1, a piece of legislation that some have referred to as a cap-and-trade bill.

During a six minute speech, Kessler reminded President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, that the chamber passed a rules package that included the opportunity to generate a study at the president’s discretion.