January 23, 2017

The 7 Most Progressive US Cities for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Climate change is a global issue, but if we’re going to correct it, action needs to happen on a local level. National-level initiatives have the potential to sway the habits of a larger audience, but they’re also harder and slower to promote. Cities have the power to pass new regulations quickly and adapt plans for their specific needs, meaning they can implement new policies faster and with greater adoption rates. If enough cities do this, it will be like implementing a national-scale initiative—except far more effective.

We need the major cities of the U.S. to make a more concentrated effort to pursue more sustainable energy practices, and part of that means acknowledging and promoting the cities that do.

January 22, 2017

India Solar Prices Set to Drop on Competition, Costs

The price paid for solar power in India at auction is set to fall below last year’s record lows for the South Asia nation, driven by plummeting panel prices, falling interest rates and competition among developers seeking a slice of the country’s renewables market.

Prices could dip lower than the 4.34 rupees (6 cents) a kilowatt-hour offered in auctions held in the state of Rajasthan a year ago, according to at least one developer of solar projects in India.

“This year we will see prices fall below 4 rupees a kilowatt-hour for sure and it will be viable,” said Rahul Munjal, chairman and managing director of Hero Future Energies Pvt, the clean-energy arm of Hero Group, one of India’s largest automakers.

January 20, 2017

Like Clockwork: California Utilities Should Embrace Clean Energy Solutions when Testing TOU Rates

California’s three major utilities — Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) — have proposed plans to move Californians to electricity prices that vary with the time of day. Time-of-use pricing (TOU) is critical to aligning our energy use with times when clean, cheap electricity powered by sunshine and wind is already available. TOU works because electricity is cheap when it can be powered by renewable resources and more expensive during times of peak (high) energy demand. As with any shopping, knowing prices empowers people to choose wisely to save money.

January 19, 2017

The States Most Friendly to Rooftop Solar, Ranked

There’s been some jockeying at the top in the latest rankings from Solar Power Rocks.

For those of you sick of those year-end lists of best movies and music, here's a slight change of pace.

Solar research and advocacy group Solar Power Rocks released its 2017 ranking of the states most friendly to rooftop solar Friday, based on a compilation of state renewables policies and incentives. 

Massachusetts retained top honors, shaking off New York and New Jersey, which had split the gold three ways last year. Eleven states earned failing grades, with Oklahoma, Alabama and Mississippi rounding out the bottom three.

January 18, 2017

New York’s Plan to Bridge From Nuclear Power to Offshore Wind

With the Indian Point closure now set for 2021, the race is on for clean alternatives from Canadian hydro to DERs. Going big into offshore wind comes later.

Quickly moving from one energy source to another takes a lot of planning in advance. Just ask the state of New York.

On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an agreement to shut down the 2-gigawatt Indian Point nuclear power plant by 2021, several years ahead of schedule. Then, on Tuesday, he announced a grand plan to build 2.4 gigawatts of offshore windby 2030, starting with a 90-megawatt project off the coast of Long Island.

January 17, 2017

IRENA Convenes Legislators Forum to Engage Key Actors in Renewable Energy Policy

Lawmakers from around the world met last week in Abu Dhabi to discuss the policies needed to support the transformation of the global energy system. Held the day before the opening of the seventh Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the 2017 Legislators Forum, “Renewable Energy – the Role of Legislators in Catalyzing Action”, is the second meeting of its kind hosted by the Agency. The Forum facilitates dialogue between lawmakers on the deployment of renewables and critical challenges facing the energy transformation underway in countries around the world, covering areas of policy, legislation, and tools to support legislators.

January 16, 2017

Wind Farms Stall, Solar Grows as Energy Debate Continues in Ohio

Alternative energy advocates cheered a recent decision by Ohio Gov. John Kasich to veto a recent bill that would have weakened the state’s clean energy standards, arguing the move will lead to more investment and jobs in the industry statewide.

But opponents, including residents engaged in a long legal battle over a proposed Champaign County wind farm, said they have seen laws repeatedly shift on the issue and hope to continue the fight.

The debate centers on Ohio House Bill 554, which lawmakers passed late last year and would have made state alternative energy requirements optional for the next two years. But Kasich vetoed it, meaning the state’s older energy standards will now snap back into place.

January 15, 2017

California Senator Scott Wiener Models State Solar Bill on S.F. Law

Newly sworn-in state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, plans to introduce legislation Monday requiring all new construction in the state to include solar panels.

The bill expands on a San Francisco city ordinance Wiener wrote while on the Board of Supervisors that requires solar panels to be put on new construction within the city, including residential and some commercial buildings. The city ordinance was passed last year and applies to any project that receives building permits after Jan. 1.

January 13, 2017

Canada: Ontario Provincial Cap and Trade Plan Goes into Effect

By: Marc Z. Goldgrub, Cleantech Law Partners

            On January 1st, 2017, the Canadian province of Ontario’s cap and trade plan went into effect. Introduced by current Provincial Premier Kathleen Wynne of the Ontario Liberal Party, the plan links Ontario with Quebec and California’s cap and trade carbon market, in place now for several years. 

The plan puts a cap on the amount of carbon homes and businesses can emit, and that cap lowers over time. Parties in the three subnationals whose emissions are above and below the cap can buy and sell carbon allowances each year in auctions, the first of which, for Ontario, will be held this March.

January 12, 2017

2017 Solar Installations in India to Reach 9 GW

New solar installations in India this year will reach 9 GW, according to a new report from Mercom Capital Group.

The final total for new solar capacity in the country in 2016 is expected to be 4 GW, up from 2.3 GW in 2015, according to the report. Cumulative installations, including large-scale and rooftop projects, have already reached 9.6 GW.

The country’s solar development pipeline is now more than 14.2 GW, with about 6.3 GW of projects tendered and pending auction, according to the report.

January 11, 2017

Arizona Commission Overhauls Rules for Net Metering, Distributed Generation

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) voted 4 to 1 on Dec. 21 to restructure how distributed generation (DG) is compensated and paid for in Arizona.

The commission said in a news release that the move to replace net metering is laying the foundation to invigorate renewable energy technologies while providing equity to all customers.

The decision comes after a three-year investigation into the value and cost of solar which included input from a broad coalition of solar, utility, consumer advocates and customers. 

January 10, 2017

Germans Get Almost One-Third of Electricity from Renewables in 2016

Record offshore wind power production contributed to the astounding figure.

In another shining example of renewable energy leadership, in 2016, Germany used more renewable electricity than ever before, receiving 32 percent of the gross amount of electricity consumed in the country from sun, wind and other renewable sources.

The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) arrived at this figure in an initial estimate in late 2016. If the projections are correct, more than 191 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity will have been generated from renewables by end of the year. This would mark an increase from the previous year during which the country consumed slightly more than 187 billion kWh, which is 31.5 percent of the gross amount of electricity consumed that year. The federal government's energy targets call for renewables' share in gross electricity consumption to arrive at 35 percent by 2020 and the country is clearly on track to achieve that goal.

January 9, 2017

WAPDA to Increase Output at 1,000-MW Mangla Hydropower Project in Pakistan to 1,310 MW

On Dec. 29, the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) announced it is moving forward with a modernization project at the 1,000-MW Mangla hydroelectric project to increase the facility’s generating output by 310 MW at an estimated cost of Rs 52.224 billion (US$769 million).

The Mangla hydropower project is a multipurpose facility located on the Jhelum River in Mirpur district of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. It includes Mangla Dam, which is the seventh largest dam in the world; the country’s largest reservoir, which has a live storage capacity of 7.48 million acre feet; and 10 generating units.

January 8, 2017

China Aims to Spend at Least $360 Billion on Renewable Energy by 2020

China intends to spend more than $360 billion through 2020 on renewable power sources like solar and wind, the government’s energy agency said on Thursday.

The country’s National Energy Administration laid out a plan to dominate one of the world’s fastest-growing industries, just at a time when the United States is set to take the opposite tack as Donald J. Trump, a climate-change doubter, prepares to assume the presidency.

January 6, 2017

SolarPower Europe Outlines Key Conditions for Fostering Solar Storage

SolarPower Europe (SPE) has published 10 policy priorities geared at facilitating expansion of solar power and energy storage within the European market.

Targeting both front-of-meter and behind-the-meter contexts, the priorities concern matters of definition, market design, and remuneration.

SPE hopes its recommendations will resonate with the European Commission as it finalizes preparation of future energy legislation for the European Union.

January 5, 2017

Geothermal Heating Advocates Call on NY Governor Cuomo to Include Geothermal Tax Credit in Executive Budget

 On Dec. 15, New Yorkers for Clean Power and the NY Geothermal Energy Organization delivered a letter to Governor Cuomo calling on him to include a 25 percent tax credit for geothermal installations in his upcoming state budget. In November, the Governor had vetoed a geothermal tax credit bill which had been passed overwhelmingly by the Legislature in June. His veto message stated that, as a revenue impacting item, consideration of the tax credit belongs in the budget process.

January 4, 2017

China to Cut Solar, Wind Power Prices as Project Costs Fall

China is reducing the amount of money it pays to newly completed solar and wind power generators for their electricity, in order to reflect declines in construction costs, the country’s price regulator and economic planner said Monday.

The nation will cut tariffs paid to solar farms by as much as 19 percent in 2017 from this year’s levels, and by as much as 15 percent for wind mills in 2018 from current prices, according to a statement posted on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website. The changes will help reduce subsidies paid to new photovoltaic and wind power projects by about 6 billion yuan ($863 million) annually, the NDRC said.

January 3, 2017

Hawaiian Electric Alters Blueprint for Renewable Energy Development

The Hawaiian Electric Companies on Dec. 23 outlined a detailed plan charting the near-term actions that will lead to the use of renewable resources to meet 100 percent of Hawai'i's power generation needs by 2045.
The Power Supply Improvement Plan Update filed with the Hawai'i Public Utilities Commission describes the work that will form the foundation to meet or exceed the state's renewable energy milestones. The updated plan describes greater and faster expansion of the companies' renewable energy portfolio than in the plan filed in April 2016 and emphasizes work that is in progress or planned over the next five years on each of the five islands the Hawaiian Electric Companies serve.

January 2, 2017

Jamaica Gets First Grant Under US Clean Energy Finance Facility

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded the first grant through the Clean Energy Finance Facility for the Caribbean and Central America (CEFF-CCA), to help develop a 37 megawatt solar farm in Westmoreland.

CEFF-CCA will provide support to Rekamniar Capital Limited, the project developer, to partner with independent power producer Neoen on forming the Eight Rivers Energy Company, which will build the solar facility, according to a release from the US embassy in Kingston.

January 1, 2017

Ohio Governor Vetoes Bill to Extend Freeze on Renewable Energy

Ohio Governor John Kasich rejected a bill to extend a freeze on a law that requires utilities in the state to buy more electricity from renewable sources including wind and solar power.

The bill would have extended for two years a delay on the state’s requirement that utilities get 12.5 percent of their power from renewables by 2027, slowing development of the clean energy 
technologies and threatening investment and jobs, Kasich said Tuesday in a statement. House bill 554 would also have made the goal voluntary.

December 30, 2016

Indonesia, Iran to Increase Energy Cooperation

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who is currently on a state visit to Iran, will hold talks with Iranian leaders to boost cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector.

Iran has one of the worlds largest energy reserves and diversifying energy cooperation will be very important for national energy resilience, Bey Machmudin, the head of the Press, Media and Information Bureau of the State Secretariat, said in a press statement received here on Wednesday.

President Joko Widodo will discuss steps to increase cooperation in oil and gas as well as oil field management in Iran and oil refinery investments in Indonesia, he said.

December 29, 2016

Indonesian Gov’t Continues to Develop New Renewable Energy

The government continues to find ways to provide and use new renewable energy sources. Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignatius Jonan said the government focuses on developing new and renewable energy as governed by Energy Law No.30/2007 and Government Regulation No.79/2014 on National Energy Policy.

"The president always wants efficiency in energy prices. People must be able to afford electricity—that's important," Jonan said in a written statement published by the ministry's Communication, Service and Public Information Bureau, Wednesday, December 21.

According to Jonan, new and renewable energy in Indonesia is still produced in small to medium scales, thus not very competitive in nature. The minister stressed the importance of improving production activities.

"All new and renewable energy sources developed in Indonesia should be able to compete with traditional energy sources (oil, gas, and coal)," he said.

Jonan said that new renewable energy becomes competitive if produced using technologies that are appropriate to the source areas' characteristics, such as geography, infrastructure, and markets.

"Indonesia is an archipelago, so we must harness the energy potential in the each area. We are a country of islands; we don’t have a national grid like the United States," he said

The National Energy General Plan (RUEN) is targeting for a 23-percent new renewable energy mix by 2025. The Plan also aims at increasing power plants running on renewable energy to 45 Giga Watts by that year. These targets, Jonan said, can be accomplished by diversifying energy sources and conserving them. 

December 28, 2016

Wind Power Reaches Lofty Milestones in Iowa

With the first three quarters of 2016 now in the books, it’s time to pause and take stock of where things stand. Here’s what I see: a homegrown industry achieving milestones that seemed far-fetched just a few years ago.

Wind becomes vital to state electricity mixes

The biggest news so far this year is that Iowa has set yet another wind power record: it generated over 35 percent of its electricity using wind from August 2015 through August 2016, the most recent month with available data. That makes Iowa the first state to generate over a third of its electricity using wind.

December 27, 2016

EC Approves Amendments to German Renewable Energy Law

The European Commission (EC) has found that Germany’s plans to support renewables through auctions are in line with EU state aid rules.

Germany introduced amendments to its clean energy bill in July this year, in order to generalize the use of tenders to support projects.

As of next January, subsidies will mainly be granted via competitive tenders.

The commission said the move will promote the steady deployment of renewable energy whilst maintaining competition in the German energy market.

December 26, 2016

Michigan Passes Legislation to Boost Renewables Mandate, Retain Net Metering

Gov. Snyder has said he will sign the legislation into law.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder plans to sign a set of sweeping energy bills passed by lawmakers this week that stand to significantly boost renewable energy investment in the state.

Senate Bills 437 and 438, which passed in the House of Representatives Thursday, will raise the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) from 10 percent to 15 percent by 2021 and retain the state’s energy optimization standard (1 percent annual efficiency improvement for electric utilities) through 2021. It also boosts incentives for utilities to hit higher efficiency targets, and sets a nonbinding goal to meet 35 percent of Michigan's power needs through a combination of renewable energy and energy conservation by 2025, Crain's Detroit Business reports.