March 20, 2018

The Most Important Thing California Can do with its Clean Energy Could be to Share it

Not often is running the electric grid as simple as applying lessons from childhood. Right now it is ─ California is learning to share with its neighbors. A bill currently in front of the Legislature from California Assemblymember Chris Holden, AB 813, aims to build a better trading platform to share California’s extra solar power with nearby states like Oregon, Washington, and Nevada, which would then share their extra wind, solar, and hydropower resources with California.

It is like the lunch table you sat around as a kid – one where you can trade that banana pudding that overflows at your house for one of your neighbor’s chocolate chip cookies. It’s a delicious deal, where everybody wins.

March 19, 2018

From Residential to Utility-Scale, Solar Wins in Recent State-Level Actions

A series of recent state-level actions have been lauded by industry advocates as positive steps for driving deployments of residential, community-scale and utility-scale solar.

22 Solar Projects for New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on March 9 announced that New York has authorized competitive awards under the state’s Clean Energy Standard mandate for 22 utility-scale solar projects. The awards are part of $1.4 billion awarded for a total of 26 renewable energy projects in the state.

March 18, 2018

New Jersey Moves on 1.1-GW Offshore Wind Solicitation

Following on an executive order issued by Gov. Phil Murphy in late January, New Jersey regulators this week approved an order to begin moving the state toward an initial solicitation of 1.1 GW of offshore wind energy.

In a Feb. 28 order, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) directed its staff to prepare the solicitation and engage offshore wind developers and stakeholders in defining minimum requirements for the solicitation. 

Clean Energy Supporters Begin to Make Inroads With Republican Policymakers

Senator Cantwell blames House Republicans for standing in the way of clean energy policies and called on industry members to help educate them.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee, railed against House lawmakers for “holding back the American economy” with what she characterized as uninformed attitudes toward renewable energy during an event in Washington, D.C.

March 16, 2018

Solar-plus-Storage Makes Tangible Difference in Puerto Rico Recovery Efforts

With a reported 150,000 homes and businesses in Puerto Rico still waiting for electricity since it was lost six month ago during Hurricanes Irma and Maria, small successes with solar-plus-storage installations are making a big difference in ongoing recovery efforts.

Hawaii-based Blue Planet Energy yesterday said that it has completed installation of two ferrous phosphate battery systems for storage of solar power at sites that are central to recovery and electrification efforts in Puerto Rico.

March 15, 2018

Energy Secretary Rick Perry Says There's 'Sheer Optimism' in US Energy Industry Despite Tariff Concerns

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry says there is 'sheer optimism' in the American energy industry, despite concerns about impending tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The optimism is in part due to the Trump administration's effort to scale back regulations.

Energy companies have warned that the tariffs will negatively impact their business.

March 14, 2018

6 Predictions For Energy Policy At the 2018 Minnesota Legislature


The 2018 session looks to be an off year for energy issues at the Minnesota Legislature. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is largely focused on bonding, clean water and a myriad of other issues. But his agenda will be limited by a Republican-dominated House and divided Senate. While no one is circulating big ideas on energy, a handful of issues are likely to come up, including biomass and energy storage. With that in mind, here are six modest predictions for energy this session:

March 13, 2018

India Has a New Secret Weapon for its 100-GW Solar Goal

Rakshith Kunder is adding more solar panels to the roofs of his warehouses. He isn’t seeking to save the planet, it’s pure economics.

“Solar power costs us just a third of grid power and has also reduced our diesel backup cost,” Kunder, 33, said by phone from the city of Kota, in the southern state of Karnataka. His 3 billion rupee ($46 million) fish-meal and oil-products business requires 2 MW of power and he plans to fulfill half of that through solar installations.

March 12, 2018

California Sets Two New Solar Records

The escalating integration of solar has created “a new operating paradigm” for California’s grid operator, although the escalation is now on hold.

Mild temperatures and sunny skies helped California set two new solar records in recent days.

On Sunday, March 4, the California Independent System Operator saw an all-time peak percentage of demand served by solar, hitting a record 49.95 percent at 12:58 p.m. That's up from the previous peak of 47.2 percent set on May 14, 2017. 

"The record is a result of a cool, sunny day," Anne Gonzales, senior public information officer at CAISO, wrote in an email.

March 11, 2018

Democrats Release Infrastructure Plan With $80 Billion for Grid Upgrades

The plan includes funding for energy storage, smart grid technologies, microgrids and electric vehicles—paid for by reversing parts of the Republican tax bill.

Senate Democrats released a $1 trillion infrastructure plan Wednesday framed as a way to give Republican "tax giveaways" for the wealthy back to the American people.

March 9, 2018

New Mexico Senator Creates Sweeping Solar Toolkit for State

In an effort to boost the state’s solar industry, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich created a solar roadmap for businesses, government entities, schools and other commercial properties.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, New Mexico currently produced only 3.8% of its electricity from solar sources. But one of its U.S. Senators, Martin Heinrich, is trying to change that.

March 8, 2018

Few Major Revisions in Illinois Renewable Energy Plan

The Illinois Commerce Commission issued a draft order of the Illinois Energy Agency’s renewable energy plan with few major changes as the April 3 deadline for a final order nears.

Last week the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) issued its draft order of the Illinois Power Agency’s (IPA) Long Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan. The Plan contains the renewable energy programs and mechanisms to finance and regulate projects including community solar and assistance for low and moderate income households and non-profit organizations. Over thirty issues were raised by intervenors in the 180 page draft order, with the large majority either being minor adjustments or upheld by the ICC.

March 7, 2018

IRS Rules Energy Storage Upgrade to Solar ITC Eligible

In a Private Letter Ruling published on Friday, the IRS said that a battery added to a solar pv system a full year after solar installation was completed is eligible for a the full 30% ITC – as long as it is 100% powered by solar.

The IRS published a Private Letter Ruling last Friday, responding to a request to determine whether, the cost of installing energy storage to be integrated into a residential PV system would qualify as a “qualified solar electric property expenditure” eligible for the Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

March 6, 2018

Virginia Legislature Passes Sweeping Energy Bill

The bill rescinds a 2015 rate review freeze to defend consumers against potential Clean Power Plan costs, and calls for much larger and faster deployment of renewable energy.

Both houses of the Virginia Legislature have now approved HB 1558/SB 966, ‘Electric utility regulation; grid modernization, energy efficiency programs.’ The Senate version passed March 1, while the House passed their version on February 13th. It is expected to be signed by Governor Northam in the coming days.

March 5, 2018

Maine House Stalls LePage’s Effort to Block Wind Energy Development

Gov. Paul LePage’s push to curtail expedited permitting for wind energy projects suffered a serious blow Thursday by Democrats trying to kill the governor’s bill before it can be formally introduced.

LD 1810 would shrink the area where wind developments are eligible for Maine’s abbreviated permitting process and ramp up requirements for projects that would still qualify. Following a series of procedural motions and votes Thursday in the House of Representatives, the bill is in danger of dying because of a disagreement with the Senate over which legislative committee should handle the bill.

March 1, 2018

Customer Empowerment Upheaval Forces California Into Hold on Renewables

Utilities and renewable energy developers wait while regulators decide the future of customer choice.

California is conducting what may be the most ambitious electricity customer empowerment experiment ever done anywhere; whether it will work remains very much in doubt.

The state is the national leader in both utility-scale solar and distributed solar capacities and fourth in the nation in wind capacity. Yet California’s dominant investor-owned utilities (IOUs) procured zero new MW of renewable energy capacity in 2017. And a preliminary plan released in January by state regulators proposes almost no 2018 procurement.

February 28, 2018

Columbia County, NY Joins State Clean-Energy Initiative

The Columbia County Board of Supervisors approved a local law to join the state’s energy development corporation to provide special financing options for commercial property owners to install energy-efficient and renewable energy technology.

The Board of Supervisors passed local law No. 2 of 2018 at its full board meeting Feb. 14. The second law of the year is a new version of local law No. 6 of 2017, which the board passed last November.

February 27, 2018

Stony Point, NY Passes New Law to Allow for Large Solar Panel Fields

The Stony Point Town Board passed a law at the end of January allowing for large-scale solar generating facilities.

"We're always looking for clean, safe, renewable energy sources," Stony Point Supervisor Jim Monaghan said. "Solar energy has been getting more and more popular."

Monaghan said many residents in Stony Point have already opted to use solar panels at their homes, but there were no laws in place to allow a large solar panel field within the township.

February 26, 2018

The Launch of a US Offshore Wind Industry

Leadership in the State of the State

A little over a year ago, U.S. offshore wind (OSW) history was made—thrice. The first U.S. offshore wind farm began spinning off the coast of Rhode Island; BOEM completed its most successful offshore wind lease auction to date, awarding Statoil a wind lease for over $42 million; and, New York Governor Cuomo announced a 2,400 MW offshore wind goal by 2030 in his State of the State. 

February 25, 2018

France Looking to Become Major Player in Global Marine Energy Market

France is hoping to send a message about its potential role in the world's hydropower sector with the announcement of preliminary studies that will ultimately lead to the launch of tidal energy tenders.

Speaking at the Renewable Energies Union's Annual Symposium in Paris, Remi Gruet, CEO of multinational think tank Ocean Energy Europe said the move is intended to position France as a global leader in marine energy manufacturing.

February 23, 2018

Alberta, Canada Leads the Pack With Cheap Wind Power; More to Come

When the winning bids for Alberta’s renewable power auction were announced in December, jaws dropped.

The winning projects were approved at a record-breaking low price of C3.7 cents per kilowatt hour — the lowest price for electricity anywhere in Canada.

“This is a game changer. Even the most optimistic observers were shocked at how low the price turned out to be,” said Binnu Jeyakumar, electricity program director at the Pembina Institute.

February 22, 2018

Europe Can Double Renewable Energy Share by 2030, IRENA Says

The European Union can boost the share of renewables to 34 percent of its energy mix by 2030, triggering hundreds of billions euros in investment and accelerating reduction of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Lawmakers in the 28-nation bloc are currently discussing policies for the next decade, with the European Parliament calling to increase the share of renewables to at least 35 percent of energy consumption, more than level of 27 percent or more endorsed by the heads of government. That compares with 17 percent reached in 2016 as part of the EU strategy to cut pollution and increase energy security.

February 21, 2018

Renewable Energy Group Launches Mich. Ballot Campaign

Michigan electric providers would be required to produce at least 30 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2030 under a potential ballot proposal organizers hope to put before voters this fall.

A group called Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan is preparing to launch a petition drive this week for a statutory initiative designed to increase development of solar, wind and other renewable energy sources.

Clean energy and environmental advocates lost a similar fight in 2012, when utilities opposed and voters soundly rejected a proposed constitutional amendment for a 25 percent renewable requirement by 2025.

February 20, 2018

Is PURPA done? New Bill Takes Aim at Law's Mandatory Purchase Obligation

The law has been under fire for much of its 40-year history, but changes proposed in November could be the most significant yet.

A new bill in Congress could take the teeth out of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, delivering a blow to some renewable energy projects.

February 19, 2018

Why South Miami’s Solar Power Law is Important to Homeowners – and the World

The City of South Miami Mayor and Commission made history in September 2017 by passing a law that requires residential solar power be installed in certain circumstances and, in doing so, they provide residents the promise of saving a significant amount of money while also helping protect our environment.

The mayor and commissioners should be commended for their vision and while I am proud that South Miami’s leaders took this important step, the impact of the law being the first of its kind in Florida, and just the fourth City in the U.S. with such a law, sends a powerful and important message to the world.

Implementing this landmark law took tremendous vision and I am deeply proud of the incredible support that the South Miami Commission and staff offered through the entire process. Over the course of nearly a year and a half of work it was clear that following one 5/0 vote after another in favor of the law during the review process that the commission was committed to lowering residents’ energy costs and for that they are to be commended.