July 25, 2014

Germany's Upper House Passes Renewable Energy Law

Germany's upper house of parliament Friday passed an ambitious renewable energy law which aims to mitigate the effects of the country's move away from nuclear and fossil-fuel generated power.

The upper house, which represents Germany's 16 states and which could have delayed the bill, passed the bill ending months of tough negotiations. And the reform of the renewable energy law can come into force as planned on August 1.

July 24, 2014

New Solar Law in Massachusetts Casts Shadow on Small Businesses

Local legislators say amendments are possible.

To further Massachusetts’ role as a leader in clean energy policy, the state Legislature is poised to change rules and incentives that have driven installation of more than 600 megawatts of solar generation in the past 4½ years.

July 23, 2014

World Bank To Help Indian State Odisha Chart Renewable Energy Policy

The World Bank is set to provide expertise to the Indian state of Odisha to help the latter develop medium-term renewable energy policy. The initiative would enable the state to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and further enhance itself as a one of the leading states in India to promote renewable energy.

The World Bank would work closely with the International Finance Corporation, which is helping the government develop a robust solar energy policy. While Odisha is not as well known as other Indian states like Gujarat and Rajasthan for the vast solar power capacities installed, it was among the first states to implement a solar power project with the specific target to fulfill the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO).

July 22, 2014

How Did US Renewable Energy Policy Get So Off Track?

In 1978 a monumental multi-departmental study was submitted to President Carter concluding that “solar energy could make a significant contribution to U.S. energy supply by the end of this century”. The study, backed by 30 federal departments, stated that “even with today’s subsidized energy prices, many solar technologies are already economic.” Yet no action was taken and solar power and other renewable energies stagnated for over 30 years. Until now? Allan Hoffman, former senior official at the U.S. Department of Energy, who personally delivered the report to the White House back in 1978, recalls what went wrong – and what lessons the U.S. should draw if it is to avoid another failed renewables revolution.

July 21, 2014

POWER Digest July 2014

Chile Banks on Renewable Capacity Expansion, Energy Efficiency. 
Chile in mid-May released a $650 million investment plan to reduce energy costs and promote non-hydro renewable energy development for the country that imports about 60% of its primary energy resources. The plan calls for a 30% cut in marginal power costs on Chile’s central grid, which serves 90% of the country’s citizens, by 2018. It also requires that 45% of power capacity installed between 2014 and 2025 be from solar, wind, and geothermal sources to put Chile closer to its target of producing 20% of its energy from renewables. The government also called for energy savings of up to 20,000 GWh per year. Experts have warned that Chile must triple its 18 GW capacity within 15 years to continue growing its economy (see “Chile’s Power Challenge: Reliable Energy Supplies” in the September 2012 issue). Chile’s power mix is dominated by hydropower, but droughts have left a country that has no indigenous oil or natural gas reserves energy-strapped. Beyond calling on the state oil company to boost exploration, the country also hopes to build a liquefied natural gas import terminal in the mineral-rich north.

July 20, 2014

China's Renewables to 'Hit 20% by 2020'

China’s renewable energy capacity increased from 27.8 Gigawatts (GW) in 2001 to 183 GW in 2013, and alternative sources are expected to account for more than 20% of the country’s total electricity generation by 2020, says research and consulting firm GlobalData.

July 18, 2014

In India, MLAs Want Legislature Committee on Energy

‘Renewable energy potential in State needs to be harnessed’

A group of legislators in Karnataka, forming part of the Climate Parliament, a global network of lawmakers working to combat climate change, want a committee on energy to be constituted in the Assembly to identify and implement key energy issues in the State.

In doing so, the objectives would be to work towards inclusive development, energy security, clean energy access, affordability and energy efficiency. A memorandum underscoring the significance of having such a committee from the multi-party group of legislators was submitted to Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa on Tuesday evening.

July 17, 2014

ACORE's Renewable Energy in the 50 States: Northeast Region Report Identifies Solar Energy Momentum and Opportunities from EPA's Clean Power Plan

Eleven Northeastern states added more than 800 MW of new, renewable energy capacity in 2013.

The Northeast Region Report, the first portion of the American Council On Renewable Energy's (ACORE) 7th annual Renewable Energy in the 50 States report, was released today. The first in a four-part series, this portion focuses on the renewable energy sector in the eleven Northeastern states plus the District of Columbia (ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, DC), reviewing activity from 2013 to present. The report is a review of state energy policies and programs, investment, and market openness as they relate to the current state of renewable energy and its potential for further growth.

July 16, 2014

West Africa: Liberia, Others Have Renewable Energy Policies

A representative from the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREE) has remarked that The Gambia, Cape Verde, Ghana, Liberia, Niger and Senegal have specific Renewable Energy (RE) policies in place. Hyancinth Elayo, a Cape Verde national made the disclosure to delegates at the recently concluded 3rd National Renewable Energy (RE) dialogue forum. The two-day synergy with the theme; Policy for Small Scale Renewable Energy Regulation', which was jointly organized by PURA and NARUC, was held at a local hotel in Kololi last week.

July 15, 2014

Brazil Looks to Wind; French Cook up a New Energy Future

While the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil has dribbled and tackled its way through its goal-rich group phase, the country’s power sector has been stuck in crisis mode.

Low rainfall and therefore depressed production from hydropower has led to a high dependence on the spot market for thermal power. However, renewable energy developers have had reason to celebrate with wind a big winner of an auction in early June on top of having walked away with a record amount of contracted capacity in 2013.

July 14, 2014

World Bank To Help Indian State Odisha Chart Renewable Energy Policy

The World Bank is set to provide expertise to the Indian state of Odisha to help the latter develop medium-term renewable energy policy. The initiative would enable the state to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and further enhance itself as a one of the leading states in India to promote renewable energy.

The World Bank would work closely with the International Finance Corporation, which is helping the government develop a robust solar energy policy. While Odisha is not as well known as other Indian states like Gujarat and Rajasthan for the vast solar power capacities installed, it was among the first states to implement a solar power project with the specific target to fulfill the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO).

July 13, 2014

German Power Sector Calls For End to Renewable Energy Bill Row

* Utilities group criticise row over renewable reform
* Says politicians must end standoff for reform to proceed
* Wants answers why EU questioned done deal, Berlin "failed"

German energy industry group BDEW on Wednesday criticised a dispute between Berlin and the European Commission over changes to Germany's renewable energy law, demanding both parties settle their differences so that further reform can be tackled.

July 11, 2014

What Your City Can Do To Fight Climate Change

The Obama administration is pushing power plant regulations to reduce carbon emissions and most states have some sort of renewable energy policy. But there’s plenty of opportunity left for action at the local level; action that can also boost the local economy.

The following presentation by ILSR’s Director of Democratic Energy John Farrell to the Northfield Climate Summit on January 18, 2014, illustrates what one small Minnesota town has done, what other steps it can take as part of the state’s GreenStep Cities program, and model local climate actions from around the United States.

July 10, 2014

Germany Ups New Green Energy Surcharge on Industry to Meet EU Rules

Germany on Tuesday offered to change a planned reform of its renewable energy policy, trying to end a standoff with the European Commission over green power subsidies and to meet a deadline needed to secure rebates for German industry.

In an amended draft law seen by Reuters, the government proposed that German industrial companies producing their own electricity in new renewable energy or combined heat-power plants would pay a higher surcharge than previously planned.

July 9, 2014

Controversial Energy Bill Moves Forward

A bill that would make it difficult to form new, community-based clean energy programs such as Marin Clean Energy has advanced to the state Senate's Energy Committee, where it is scheduled for a hearing Monday.

The bill, AB 2145 — introduced by Assemblyman Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, a former public relations executive for Southern California Edison — would dramatically alter the law governing Community Choice Aggregation.

July 8, 2014

United Kingdom Renewables Report Q3 2014, New Report Launched

Mixed messages continue to surface from the UK government about the future direction of the country's renewable energy policy and we believe a great deal rests on the outcome of the election in May 2015. Although we believe the UK is on its way to successfully meeting its renewable targets, the longerterm growth prospects of the industry remain in doubt. Confusion surrounding the new Energy Bill and the uncertain support mechanisms offered to renewable energy developers is likely to dampen investor interest in the market. 

July 7, 2014

World Gets 22% of Electricity From Renewable Energy

The Renewables 2014 Global Status Report released earlier this month has good news for the environment, namely that an estimated 22.1% of the world’s electricity was generated from renewable sources in 2013. That percentage is expected to rise as countries across the globe pour money and resources into alternative, clean energy.

July 6, 2014

Renewable Energy Initiatives Up 10x in Last Decade

Support for renewable energy is growing worldwide and at the beginning of 2014, the governments of 144 countries have set renewable energy targets, almost a ten-fold increase since 2005 when only 15 countries had policies in place.

Emerging and developing economies are leading the way, with 95 of them having renewable energy policy plans, according to the Renewable 2014 Global Status Report.

July 4, 2014

Schiavoni Speaks Out About Alternative Energy Bill in Ohio

A bill signed by Governor John Kasich Friday delays phasing in the state’s renewable energy and efficiency targets and repeals advanced energy mandates.

The law puts a two-year hold on renewable targets with a compromise Kasich backed avoiding a full repeal being pushed through the state senate.

July 3, 2014

SEIA Backs Massachusetts Plans to Scrap Net Metering Cap

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources has lobbied for a new net metering program, drawing support from SEIA and the New England Clean Energy Council.

The removal of the net metering cap in Massachusetts could bolster the state's solar sector, says SEIA.

July 2, 2014

French Energy Bill to Boost Renewables, Skirt Nuclear Question

* Energy minister to present law to cabinet on Wednesday
* Nuclear energy to be capped at current 63.2 GW - sources
* No reactor closure to be mentioned in law - source

July 1, 2014

Climate Calamity Averted: New Renewable Rivalry Between the US and China

It was but a few years ago that China was known all around as one of the big three world polluters, spewing tons and tons of carbon into the air, primarily through its coal-powered electricity plants.

China, responsible for about 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions, closely followed by the US (16%) and the EU (12%), has become the world's biggest carbon emitter. The Chinese use of coal-fired power plants is mirrored by the US in its pursuit of cheap electricity. Whereas the Chinese are forced to call upon Australia for coal imports, the United States is home to the largest coal reserves in the world, and in 2010 half of America's energy was still produced using coal power plants.

June 30, 2014

California Property Tax Exemptions for PV Systems Extended to 2025

A property tax exemption for solar power systems in California has been extended to 2025, following the passing of a bill as part of the annual state budget.

Senate Bill 871 (SB871) was approved during the signing of the budget by governor Jerry Brown, which took place last week. The wording of SB871 extends the period during which property taxes will not be applied to "active solar energy systems", which includes PV and solar water heaters.

Australia: The Case of the Missing Solar Millions

Greg Hunt, Australia's environment minister, has avoided questions about whether he had continued to give assurances to the solar industry that the "one-million-solar roofs" initiative would go ahead despite knowing that the policy had been scrapped by his party's leadership.

June 29, 2014

Tesla Release Electric Car Patents To Public

A few days ago, we reported that Telsa Motors CEO Elon Musk had hinted he would be opening up patents to the Supercharger stations that charge their electric vehicles (EVs). This would have made it more convenient for competitors to enter or expand the EV market, reducing demand for traditional vehicles powered by gasoline. Today, Musk formally announced that Tesla Motors were not just opening up the patents for the Superchargers, but for all of the patents obtained by Tesla; over 200 in all.