April 28, 2017

Poland to Miss 2020 EU Renewable Energy Target

Poland is set to miss its target of covering up to 15% of energy demand with renewables by 2020. 

Under the most favorable scenario provided by a report released by local consultancy Ecofys, new additions for solar may reach 695 GWh, while the country is expected to reach a target of only 13.8% by the end of the decade.

Poland has a reputation as Europe’s most polluting country, still relying massively on coal power production and not supporting the development of renewable energies. In confirmation of this, renewable energy consultancy Ecofys recently published a report in which it clearly says that Poland will miss its 2020 renewable energy target.

April 27, 2017

Maryland’s Energy Storage Tax Credit: Gaining Momentum Across America?

The General Assembly of Maryland just passed a bill that would provide a 30 percent tax credit to those who chose to utilize energy storage technology, making it the first state in the country to pass such legislation. The funds provided by the bill would last from 2018 to 2022.

The bill includes a cap of $5,000 for residential storage projects, while for commercial projects, the cap is set at $75,000. The state government has allocated a total of $750,000 per year to be used in credits.

April 26, 2017

Washington State Pioneers New Model for Utility-Scale Renewable Energy

Many businesses in Washington state want to use renewable energy. Starbucks, REI and Microsoft are all iconic brands in the Pacific Northwest making big commitments to wind and solar. Of the 65 companies that have signed the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers Principles, more than a dozen use substantial energy in Washington state. Public sector energy users like King County and the Port of Seattle have also committed to renewable power.

Nonetheless, Washington’s large energy buyers have found it difficult to access renewable energy because nearly all buyers must go through their utilities to buy energy. Those utilities still use at least some fossil fuel-based sources.

April 25, 2017

Michigan's New Energy Law Gives State More Options

"Michigan is going to control its own energy future."

That's Michigan Agency for Energy Executive Director Valerie Brader, describing the benefits of the state's new energy law, which goes into effect tomorrow.

The law removes the cap on how much utilities can use energy efficiency and renewable energy to meet the state's energy needs, says Brader.

She says energy efficiency projects have already saved the state $4 billion since 2008, and there's the potential for even more, especially if energy efficiency is the cheapest way to meet demand for power. 

April 24, 2017

Minnesota Cities Learn from Buying Community Solar Together

The nation’s first ever attempt to have municipal governments collectively buy power from community solar gardens was a modest success, according to a new report.

While municipalities in other parts of the country have come together to buy rooftop solar, none had ever tried it to capture cost savings in the nascent community solar marketplace, said Trevor Drake, project manager at the Great Plains Institute.

Minnesota has one of the country’s largest and best developed community solar markets, with more than 100 MW expected to go live this year. The cities involved in the “Governmental Solar Garden Subscriber Collaborative” are expected to contract for about 33 MW, according to Drake.

April 23, 2017

How to Site Wind, Solar and Transmission Projects in the Land-constrained Northeast US

The Trump Administration’s pro-fossil, anti-climate agenda means states must lead renewable energy development in the near term, but will barriers to siting solar and wind in land-constrained regions impede growth?

Large-scale renewables are key to decarbonization, but siting projects is tricky even in leader states. For instance, New York and Massachusetts have ambitious renewables targets, but many potential locations for solar and wind in each are on private or preserved land — so where can developers build the generation required for clean energy goals?

New research, Siting Renewable Generation: The Northeast Perspective, seeks to solve the challenge of siting renewable energy and connecting it to the grid. Eleanor Stein, a former New York Public Service Commission (NY PSC) Administrative Law Judge and NY-REV Project Manager, led the effort for America’s Power Plan (APP).

April 21, 2017

Filipinos Choosing The Green Energy Option

THE ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is facing a new forefront and it’s the transition of energy dependence from fossil fuel generated electricity to sustainable and renewably generated electricity. The ASEAN has an aim of increasing renewable energy share in primary energy supply to at least 23% by 2025. The recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has given more weight to ASEAN’s aim with SDG 7 for clean and affordable energy.

April 20, 2017

Ohio Energy Bill Passes House, But Fight Expected In Senate

The Ohio House of Representatives has passed legislation 65-30 that would make Ohio’s renewable energy standards optional, promoting business growth in the state, said Rep. Louis W. Blessing III, R-Colerain. 

House Bill 114, sponsored by Blessing, who represents Greater Harrison, reflects some recommendations made by the Energy Mandates Study Committee in 2015. The bill calls for reforming Ohio’s law on renewable energy to remove mandates, and making them optional. 

Clean energy advocates, including Ohio Citizens Action, however, argue the study committee’s report is flawed because it relies on improper and outdated assumptions about costs and fails to fully evaluate the benefits of the standards. 

April 19, 2017

Lawmakers Advance Bills to Revive Solar Industry in Nevada

Nevada lawmakers pressed forward Wednesday with a package of bills they say will make homemade solar energy an affordable option once again for state residents.

The standout proposal would increase the amount of credit toward nighttime and cloudy-day power that residential solar users can get in exchange for sharing their rooftop solar energy with the state's power grid.

"There's thousands of people that want solar, but we need fair net metering rates for that to happen," Casey Coffman of Sunworks, a solar energy provider in Nevada, said of the credits system.

April 13, 2017

Behind the Quiet State-by-State Fight Over Electric Vehicles

When Georgia repealed its generous $5,000 tax credit on electric vehicles in July 2015, and instead slapped a $200 registration fee on electric cars, sales quickly tumbled.

In the month before the repeal, nearly 1,300 electric vehicles were sold in the state. By August, those sales had all but evaporated — to just 97 cars.

April 10, 2017

China to Launch Green Certificates in Renewable Energy Sector

China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Finance and National Energy Administration recently jointly announced a pilot program for the issuance of green certificates to renewable energy producers coupled with a trading scheme running on a voluntary basis across the country. The proposed green certificate has attracted wide attention across the industry with several companies confirming the purchase of the green certificates to evidence their use of clean energy.

April 9, 2017

As Trump Bows Out, States Set to Fill Void on Climate Change

As President Donald Trump scales down federal efforts to combat climate change, states are ramping up.

California’s Air Resources Board broke with Trump and voted to uphold auto fuel efficiency rules, while Illinois offered a bail out to carbon-free nuclear producers. Iowa and Michigan have moved to increase incentives for renewable energy, and Maryland’s Republican Governor Larry Hogan is poised to sign a statewide ban on fracking.

April 7, 2017

EU Backs 600-MW Kriegers Flak Wind Farm in Danish Waters

The European Commission on March 28 determined that its support of the 600-MW Kriegers Flak offshore wind farm in Danish territorial waters is in line with EU state aid rules. The commission said the project will help Denmark reduce CO2 emissions, in line with EU energy and climate goals, without unduly distorting competition.

"The Kriegers Flak offshore wind farm will help to cut carbon dioxide emissions while the support is carefully designed to avoid distorting competition in electricity markets. I'm glad to be able to approve state support for this project," Margrethe Vestager, commissioner in charge of competition policy, said in a statement.

April 6, 2017

Wisconsin’s Capital City Sets a High Bar with Ambitious Renewable Energy Goal

Madison, Wisconsin committed to getting 100 percent of its energy from clean, renewable sources in a resolution passed unanimously by the City Council on Tuesday. It became the 24th city to make such a promise, according to a tally by the Sierra Club, which has a “Ready for 100” nationwide campaign.

Madison’s resolution sets a high bar in a state that gets most of its electricity from coal and where, as in most places, natural gas is almost exclusively used for heating during harsh winters.

April 5, 2017

Amid Lawmaker Concerns, Record Year Ahead for Minnesota Solar Incentive Program

The beleaguered Made in Minnesota solar panel incentive program — facing scrutiny from state lawmakers over its effectiveness — will support 73 percent more projects in 2017 than it did in 2016.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce released the figures last week. State Republicans have called for dissolution of the program, which pays applicants a slightly higher per-kilowatt-hour payment for 10 years in return for buying panels certified as being made in Minnesota by one of the following companies: Heliene, Inc., Itek Energy and Silicon Energy.

April 4, 2017

Michigan Begins to Unroll New Energy Laws, Study Distributed Generation Costs

A two-year legislative process to reach compromise on wide-ranging energy bills in Michigan will now turn into a two-year implementation period as state officials, utilities and stakeholders comply with provisions in the new laws.

Earlier this month, the state unveiled a new website tracking the progress of various groups involved with changing the way utilities project future energy needs, how energy usage will be managed through efficiency and demand response and how utilities will procure more renewable energy to meet the increased standard of 15 percent by 2021.

April 3, 2017

Philippines' Ratification of Paris Agreement Cheers Climate World

With its populist leader, Rodrigo Duterte, making a U-turn on the international climate accord, one of the world's most vulnerable countries keeps leading role.

When the Philippines' senate unanimously approved the government's ratification of the Paris climate agreement last week, climate activists breathed a sigh of relief.

April 2, 2017

Hundreds of Clean Energy Bills Have Been Introduced in States Nationwide This Year

State-by-state look at proposals dealing with renewable energy reveals bipartisan collaboration for cleaner electricity, as Republican backlash in Washington grows.

Lawmakers in state legislatures across the nation have proposed hundreds of bills this year relating to clean energy. While many propose to grow alternative energy resources, others work to impede them, creating a chaotic map of countervailing efforts.

March 28, 2017

California’s Flood of Green Energy Could Drive a Record 8GW of Curtailment This Spring

Sun, wind and now water are flooding the grid with energy when nobody needs it—and grid operator CAISO has to balance it out.

Last month, the California Independent System Operator quietly announced that it could face a record-breaking need for curtailments -- paying, or forcing, generators to stop pumping electricity into a transmission grid that just doesn’t have the demand for it at the time. 

“With the bountiful hydro conditions expected this year and significant additional solar installations both in the form of central station and on rooftops, we expect to see significant excess energy production this coming spring,” CAISO CEO Stephen Berberich wrote in a memo to the grid operator’s board of directors. “Currently, the forecast is that we could have the need to curtail from 6,000 [megawatts] to 8,000 [megawatts].”

March 27, 2017

Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands Want to Build an Island Hub to Support 100GW of Offshore Wind

The island could also become a crucial provider of renewable-power-to-gas for Europe.

A group of European countries is looking to build a giant island in the North Sea in order to support up to 100 gigawatts of offshore wind projects. 

If built, the island would be sited on the Dogger Bank, a large North Sea sandbank where the water depth ranges from 15 to 36 meters.

March 26, 2017

New Solar Policy Playbook Calls for Greater Cooperation, Not Competition, With China

A group of experts lays out a sprawling plan for reforming policy support and trade practices for solar.

The quest to make solar energy a major source of the world’s electricity will not succeed if national policies and industries compete as though it is a zero-sum game. 

That is just one of many findings of The New Solar System, a sprawling report released earlier this week by Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, a joint research center that includes the university’s business and law schools. The result of two years of work -- including interviews with dozens of government officials and industry executives in China and the U.S. -- the report sketches out a future where the scale of solar depends on self-interested cooperation.

March 24, 2017

Solar Doesn’t Need Any More of Uncle Sam’s Help

Federal support will undoubtedly languish under Trump. But that’s OK, argues Noah Kirsch.

What does the confirmation of new EPA head, Scott Pruitt, mean for the solar industry?

Pruitt, considered a long-time ally of the fossil fuel industry, has promised to quickly withdraw the Clean Power Plan rule developed by the Obama administration in 2014.

March 23, 2017

New Self-Consumption Law Expected to Spark France’s Nascent Home Storage Market

Analysts are expecting an increase in residential battery sales in France following the approval of a solar self-consumption law last month.

Samuel Portebos with Paris-based Clean Horizon Consulting said home battery sales may rise to a few hundred units per year thanks to legislation that improves the prospects for self-consumption. The nascent residential market will add to growing demand for energy storage in France, which Clean Horizon expects will lead to three times today’s installed capacity by 2020.

March 22, 2017

California Solar Industry and Utilities Unveil Dueling Solar-Storage Tariffs

The state will soon have special rate structures for homes and businesses that want to invest in battery-backed solar or EVs—but the details are subject to debate.

California is already breaking ground in attempting to properly value the distributed technologies hitting the grid. So far, that’s been done through large-scale capacity contracts, demand response auction mechanisms, and utility pilots. Now the state is opening another front in distributed energy integration: tariffs. 

March 21, 2017

French Solar Subsidies Strike New Record Below Germany

Subsidies plummeted in the first of six tender rounds for large-scale ground-based solar power in France, results published by the energy ministry on Thursday showed.

This is likely to squeeze profits for other sources of electricity as the cost of generation from ground-based solar comes close to parity with combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGTs).

There were 79 winners of a combined 500MW of capacity in the first solar PV tender, which ran from 9 January–3 February, the ministry said. The tender was the first to be held under the country’s multi-annual energy plan, adopted in 2016, to drive investment in solar power over the next three years.

Most of the installations will be built in the south of France, the list of winning developers showed.
The government has set a target to have between 18.2GW and 20.2GW of solar PV capacity installed by 2023.