April 17, 2014

Germany Clears Changes to Green Energy Law

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet agreed yesterday to revamp Germany’s green energy laws to curb the high cost of power in Europe’s biggest economy and head off the threat of a political backlash.

The changes unveiled by Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel came after Brussels agreed to slow the pace of phasing out government backing for alternative energy, as a result paving the way for Merkel to press on with her ambitious energy plan — the so-called Energiewende.

April 16, 2014

Senate Finance Committee Passes Bill to Extend Certain Lapsed Tax Breaks

The Senate Finance Committee passed the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency Act (EXPIRE Act) on April 3, 2014.  The legislation would renew through 2015 more than 50 tax incentives that either have lapsed or will lapse at the end of 2014.  The EXPIRE Act is not yet scheduled for consideration by the full Senate.  The legislation includes a number of energy-related tax credits, including extensions for the renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC) and the new markets tax credit (NMTC).  The legislation also modifies the bonus depreciation rules under Section 168(k).

April 14, 2014

Polish Government Approves Renewable Energy Bill

Poland's government approved a long-awaited draft law on Tuesday that lays out new long-term subsidies for renewable energy, aiming to cut costs to consumers as well as help the coal-reliant country meet EU climate targets.

Under the draft law, which requires final approval by parliament and the president, developers and owners of new renewable installations can sell their energy at auctions for a fixed price that would be guaranteed for 15 years regardless of market prices. The proposal would also set a ceiling on the subsidy.

April 13, 2014

An Array Of Policies Makes New Jersey An Unlikely Leader In Solar Energy

The State of New Jersey is known for many things. It has the most diners, the longest boardwalk and the tallest water tower in the world. New Jersey also ranks second in blueberry production, as well as third in cranberry production nationally. Meanwhile, recent state and nationwide trends have allowed the Garden State to add another record to this list: its ranking as the fifth leading state in solar energy.

New Jersey has over 1 GW of installed solar generating capacity, which makes it one of the most productive states for solar energy. This is quite an accomplishment given its modest solar resources compared to leading solar states California and Arizona. How has New Jersey become a leader in solar energy, and how it can be a model for similar states wishing to capitalize on this fast-growing sector?

April 11, 2014

Good News from America's Heartland: Another Attack on Clean Energy Falls Short

Good news from America’s heartland: A bipartisan coalition in the Kansas House stood with Kansans today in support of clean and renewable energy, turning back yet another attempt to repeal state Renewable Portfolio Standard aimed at fostering homegrown resources like wind and solar power.

Specifically, 77 members of the Kansas House of Representatives defeated a “Senate companion bill” aimed at repealing the state Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that the state Senate passed 15-25 after using a rare legislative maneuver on Monday.  

April 10, 2014

EPIA: European Commission State Aid Rules Discriminate Against Small Generation

The European Commission (EC) has adopted new state aid rules, which dictate renewable energy policy design to member states. This includes a requirement for competitive bidding processes for renewable energy plants above 1 MW, and a balancing requirement for all recipients of support.

The new Environmental and Energy Aid Guidelines set requirements for new and revised national support programs during the period 2014-2020. The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA, Brussels) describes the rules as favoring big energy players, discriminatory to small-scale generation and harmful to reaching 2020 renewable energy targets.

ECOWAS Countries Move Forward on SE4All Initiative

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) convened representatives of the 15 ECOWAS countries for a kick-off workshop on the development of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency National Action Plans and Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Action Agendas in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire from March 17-19, 2014.

April 9, 2014

Draft Bill Sets Aggressive Goals for Renewable Energy, Power Consumption

Measure would boost NJ's reliance on renewable energy to 80 percent by 2050, slash energy consumption by 30 percent at same time.

A yet-to-be-made public bill could radically change New Jersey’s energy future by sharply increasing the state’s reliance on renewable energy at the same time that it decreases energy consumption by 30 percent by 2050.

April 8, 2014

'Wind Energy has Massive Potential,' CEO, Sachal Energy Development

"We have achieved all the major milestones. Earlier this month we signed the Energy Purchase Agreement with the NTDC, which is one of the most important milestones. Contracts including equipment and construction have also been finalised. Now we are waiting for the signing of implementation agreement, which will hopefully be done this month," says Kashif. 

April 7, 2014

New Hampshire’s Renewable Energy Future

The state is at a crossroads when it comes to how we power our businesses and heat our homes.

As we have related in previous articles, New Hampshire businesses and institutions are at a disadvantage compared to those in neighboring states when it comes to energy.

Our location is a challenge because we are far away from traditional energy sources like oil, coal and natural gas. At the same time, the state has been slow to implement energy policies promoting renewable solutions.

April 6, 2014

Legislators Heed Solar Sector's Clarion Call To Modify ITC

If several recently introduced legislative bills give any indication, Congress has heard the call from solar energy advocates to modify the investment tax credit (ITC).

The ITC, which expires Dec. 31, 2016, currently pays a credit of 30% for qualifying projects. If no changes are made, the credit shrinks to 10% in 2017.

In recent months, both the House and Senate have introduced legislation that not only calls for an ITC extension but also stipulates that solar projects should qualify for the tax incentive based on when they start construction, as opposed to when they are placed
 into service.                                  

April 4, 2014

What's Happening in Energy and Resources Law 2014: The Renewable Energy Target

Despite market concerns about its future, the Renewable Energy Target is likely to stay in place in one shape or another for at least the foreseeable future.

The Renewable Energy Target (RET) was introduced as federal legislation in 2000 in the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act. Its intention was that "electricity retailers and other large electricity buyers will be legally required to source an additional 2% of their electricity from renewable or specified waste-product energy sources by 2010".

April 3, 2014

McKeon: Court Verdict Reinforces NJ Should Rejoin RGGI

Assembly Environment Vice Chair John F. McKeon announced that he would continue to push for the State's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), following the recent verdict by the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court that Gov. Christie broke the law when he pulled New Jersey from under the regulations governing RGGI and disregarded the need for public input and a legislative response. 

Environment New Jersey and the National Resources Defense Council recently won a court challenge that the Christie administration unilaterally and illegally removed New Jersey from the regulations governing RGGI, a regional program to reduce carbon pollutions limits. The court ruled that the administration must seek public comment on the decision to withdraw the state from RGGI regulations and that it has 60 days to start the process. 

JOSH CUTLER: Solar Energy Benefits Ripple Home in Massachussetts

Creating a major new law can be compared to tossing a stone in the water. There is an immediate splash, but often the subtle ripples have a more lasting effect. Such is the case here in Massachusetts in our march toward renewable energy. Nearly six years ago, Gov. Deval Patrick advocated and signed into law a landmark clean energy bill, known as the Green Communities Act. The purpose of the law was to boost production in renewable energy, lessen dependence on fossil fuels and promote energy efficiency.

April 2, 2014

Representatives introduce ‘Clean Energy Choice’ bill in Wisconsin

The state Assembly may discuss legislation to allow more sources of money for green energy projects within the year.

State Representatives Gary Tauchen, R-Bonduel, and Chris Taylor, D-Madison, introduced a “Clean Energy Choice” bill Friday that would legalize more financing options for renewable energy production, according to a statement from RENEW Wisconsin.

April 1, 2014

Call to Devolve All Renewable Energy Projects to Make Wales a Leader in Green Energy

Responsibility over all renewable energy projects should be devolved to a Welsh department dedicated to energy and climate change to make Wales a “leader” in green energy, the former chair of the Assembly’s Environment Committee has said.

Plaid Cymru AM Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas said all powers over renewable energy – regardless of scale – should be rapidly transferred to a Welsh Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), in a speech at Aberystwyth University.

March 31, 2014

Commentary in Nature Urges Public Sector to “Back the Renewables Boom”

Contradicting conservatives, Jessika Trancik declares “government support for energy-technology development is paying off.”

Jessika Trancik, a former Rhodes Scholar holding a 2002 Oxford PhD in materials science, has two main affiliations and one main research interest. The MIT website’s first line about her says she focuses on accelerating the development of energy technologies. The Santa Fe Institute’s first line about her cites “performance trajectories of energy systems.” In the 20 March issue of Nature, she forcefully challenges political conservatives on renewable-energy policy.

March 30, 2014

Fracking Is Not a Good Alternative to Germany’s Renewable Energy Policy

Over the past few months, oil and gas expert Daniel Yergin has become a critic of the Energiewende, Germany's clean energy policy, due to its its impact on energy prices for industry.

"There has been a kind of waking up to the fact that the premises of the Energiewende, however well-intentioned they are, no longer hold because the world is changed," wrote Yergin in a recent New York Times article.

Upcoming Event: GEA International Geothermal Showcase in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, April 22

Representatives from more than 30 countries will be coming together with Washington leaders for the GEA International Geothermal Showcase in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, April 22, at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. The Showcase will examine the future outlook for geothermal markets and the policies driving geothermal development.  The Showcase is held with support from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of State, the International Trade Administration, U.S. Energy Association, Export-Import Bank of the U.S., Inter-American Development Bank, and the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office.
GEA, the trade association for the geothermal industry, will issue its new U.S. and International Market Update exclusively to attendees of the Showcase. The Update reports that the international geothermal power market is booming, with nearly 700 geothermal projects under development in 76 countries. And after a recent lull in production, the United States is poised to experience significant growth from new initiatives in Nevada, California and Oregon.

March 28, 2014

The Experts Have Spoken: Wind Energy Is Cheap and Easy

You might think wind is for wussies and solar's for suckers. But when the International Energy Agency says that wind and solar can produce up to 30% of electricity needs at little additional cost in the long term, it's time to listen. Here's what you need to know.

Studies show
The International Energy Association (IEA) recently released its latest study on wind and solar, and its findings are a far cry from its usual fossil fuel-centric analysis. Titled The Power of Transformation-Wind, Sun and the Economics of Flexible Power Systems, this report signals a major rethink for energy infrastructure everywhere. As IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven put it:

March 27, 2014

Changes Sought in Renewable Energy Policy in India

India can save up to 78 per cent in subsidies provided to the green energy sector by making adjustments to its renewable energy policies, according to a new study.

As per this joint study from Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) and the Bharti Institute of Public Policy at the Indian School of Business (ISB), India’s current wind and solar policies were not as cost-effective as they could be.

March 19, 2014

New Poll Shows Bipartisan Support for Rooftop Solar in Florida

A new poll, commissioned by The Alliance for Solar Choice, finds that more than three out of four Florida voters (77%) support net metering, a successful renewable energy policy that gives residents, schools and businesses full retail credit for the excess solar energy they put back on the grid. Utilities sell that clean energy to the customers' neighbors at the retail rate even though they paid nothing to generate, transmit and distribute it.  

March 9, 2014

Rhode Island Lawmakers Look to Expand Renewable-Energy Program

State lawmakers have filed legislation to expand the program that has been most effective in spurring the development of renewable energy in Rhode Island.

The bill proposes a five-fold increase by 2020 of the program that awards long-term power contracts to solar arrays, wind turbines and other types of clean energy, from the current 40 megawatts in nameplate capacity to 200 megawatts.

March 7, 2014

Bills Extending Renewable Energy Tax Exemption to Commercial Properties in Florida Clears First Senate Stop

A pair of Senate bills that would encourage businesses to install solar panels in Florida cleared their first committee stop on Tuesday without opposition although environmentalists continued to push for broader tax exemptions and tax cuts.

In 2008, 61 percent of voters approved a constitutional amendment to provide the tax exemption for renewable energy and wind resistance improvements to residential properties in Florida. Last year the Legislature passed HB 277, which implemented the amendment but only for renewable energy.

March 6, 2014

Maine Governor Seeks to Get Rid of State's Wind Energy Goals

More than five years ago, Maine set ambitious goals to spur wind power development aimed at helping wean the state off fossil fuels. But now Republican Gov. Paul LePage says the targets don't really help the state and are so far out of reach as to be meaningless, so why have them?

A bill recently introduced by the governor would do away with the megawatt targets and replace them with goals to expand economic opportunities and lower electricity prices. Wind proponents call it an attack on renewable energy but LePage's administration says it will spark a conversation about how the state can bolster its energy policy to benefit Mainers.