December 21, 2014

Michigan Lawmakers Advance PACE-like Loans for Homeowners

There’s at least one bipartisan piece of legislation moving through Michigan’s lame-duck session: A streamlined loan program for residential customers looking to install renewable energy or efficiency systems on their property.

The Municipal Utility Residential Clean Energy Program Act is modeled after the state’s Property Assessed Clean Energy financing law of 2010, bringing to homeowners a similar loan program that until now has only been available to commercial and industrial property owners.

December 19, 2014

Senator Santiago to Philippine Govt: Fast Track Implementation of Renewable Energy Policy

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on Friday urged the government to fast track and "wholeheartedly" implement renewable energy policies in the country.

At a conference in Makati on Wednesday, Santiago said the Philippines has a "huge" potential for the use of renewable energy.

"As the situation stands, our renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass, ocean, small hydro, and geothermal are no less than abundant," she said.

December 18, 2014

Users To Soon Get Choice Of Selecting Power Discom in India

Consumers will soon be able to choose their power supply company as the government is making necessary amendments to the Electricity Act to enable this provision which is aimed at encouraging greater competition in the distribution sector.

Shifting focus from generation, the government plans to fix electricity distribution which is often described as the achilles heel of the power sector. Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal today said the provision allowing the end-user to choose its distribution company is in the works. "What we are looking at is allowing competition at last mile delivery so that consumers have a choice of supplier of electricity... it will also help states serve the people better," the Minister told reporters here at a CII event.  

December 17, 2014

Sierra Club Slams Ohio Utilities with More 'No Coal Bailouts' Advertising

As opposition grows against the sweeping coal plant bailout cases before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), Sierra Club is blanketing the state again with new ads slamming state utilities for trying to prop up their outdated plants by increasing electricity costs on customers' bills. Statewide radio ads, direct mail pieces, online ads and animated web gifs accompany a new suite of aggressive curbside kiosk ads in downtown Columbus . This new round of advertising will continue to hit the state throughout the holiday season.

December 16, 2014

Roll Back Renewable Energy Mandate in N.C.

Senate Bill 3 poses risks to the financial security of North Carolinians. The renewable portfolio standard, requiring utilities to provide 7.5 percent of energy from "renewable sources," has disadvantaged millions of consumers. Wind, solar, biomass and wood are significantly more expensive than fossil fuels, like coal or natural gas. Without subsidies, coal and natural gas would be the choice of utility companies, rather than energy three to four times more expensive.

December 15, 2014

New Renewable Energy Policy Soon for India

The State government would soon come out with a new renewable energy policy to encourage investments in the sector.

Under the proposed policy, land acquisitions and conversions from agricultural to non-agricultural use would be simplified for those setting up solar plants, said G V Balaram, Managing Director, Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KRE­D­L).

The draft policy has been submitted to the government. “Entrepreneurs who are putting up solar plants need not wait for land conversion from agricultural to non-agricultural purposes. We know that setting up solar energy plants is land intensive, we have liberalised the norms,” he said. 

December 14, 2014

Ohio's Electricity Providers Seeking State 'Bailout'

Debate Comes Against Backdrop of Frozen Energy Standards in Ohio

The three largest electricity providers in Ohio — FirstEnergy (the Northeast Ohio-based company we'll focus on here), AEP, and Duke — are hoping the state will approve individual plans to keep their older power plants operating. The proposals — "bailouts," essentially, as critics put it — would lock in fixed-rate contracts for customers, regardless of fluctuating market price.

December 12, 2014

New Law Will Make Renewable Energy Heating Cheaper

A new law that goes into effect in January will make it cheaper to use renewable energy to heat a home – and could provide a boost to the wood industry in rural parts of Western Massachusetts.

"This is going to help (renewable) technologies compete with and replace oil-fired furnaces and other fossil fuels for use for heating ... and cooling," said David O'Connor, a former Massachusetts Commissioner of Energy Resources who is now senior vice president for energy and clean technology at ML Strategies and who lobbied for the law on behalf of the Massachusetts Forest Alliance.

December 11, 2014

Poland's Draft of Renewable Energy Source Act – additional amendments proposed

The draft act establishing a new regime for renewable energy sources (RES) is still being processed by Parliament (for further details please see "Anticipated changes to RES support system"). On July 22 2014 the first reading of the act took place and the draft was passed to the relevant parliamentary committee for further discussion. On September 15 2014 a public hearing on the act was held. On October 9 2014 the Ministry of the Economy submitted to the parliamentary committee a set of additional proposed amendments.

Additional requirement for grid connection agreements

December 10, 2014

The More People Know Solar, Use, Support Grow in South Carolina

THE ISSUE: Solar energy and environmental consciousness; OUR OPINION: Claflin is a major energy user already making use of sun’s energy

An abundant supply of energy and the systems to deliver are facts of life for which South Carolinians and Americans can be thankful.

But just as conserving energy and finding alternative sources are important when it comes to fueling the the way we travel, so too is looking at conservation and alternatives in residential and commercial power.

A recent poll shows that 73 percent of South Carolina voters want to see more rooftop solar energy deployed in the Palmetto State. The public support for rooftop solar is consistent with the state Legislature’s unanimous vote in favor of a landmark solar energy law passed earlier this year.

The research team of Wenzel Strategies surveyed 606 voters in South Carolina from Oct 9-10. In addition to indicating strong support for a growing rooftop solar market, other key findings include:

* 75 percent of respondents expressed overwhelming support for solar energy being an important part of providing energy choice and competition in the electricity market.

* 85 percent of respondents believe they should “have the right to choose where (their) energy comes from.”

* 92 percent of respondents believe consumers who invest in solar should not be required to pay an additional fee to their power company.

Complementary to this poll is a recent study from Mississippi indicating that the solar opportunity for South Carolina is even better than the state Legislature envisioned. This study, conducted for the Mississippi Public Service Commission, found that rooftop solar can put downward pressure on everyone’s electricity rates and deliver a financial benefit to all ratepayers.

Mississippi’s study looked at solar net metering, a program that South Carolina’s investor-owned utilities offer today. Net metering allows customers who invest in rooftop solar to get full retail credit for the excess power they put back on the grid. The utility takes that electricity and sells it to neighboring homes and businesses at the retail rate.

South Carolina’s new solar law includes provisions to further expand and improve the state’s current net metering program. As indicated by the study in Mississippi, this is a financial benefit to all South Carolinians.
The potential for solar is not being lost on major energy users right here in Orangeburg.

As part of a new sustainability initiative to promote recycling and energy saving, Claflin University is using solar energy.

Solar panels are located on three buildings on campus: Kleist Hall, Corson Hall and the dining hall. The panels are strategically located to absorb the most sunlight and provide energy to heat the water in the buildings (used for showers, washing machines and washing dishes).

Complementing the alternative energy source, Claflin is also placing emphasis on reducing overall power use. Energy-saving contests are being planned within residence halls. Meters will be used to see who is using the least amount of energy.

In related developments, Claflin has also expanded recycling efforts and is decreasing food waste through the use of a “bio-digester” in its dining hall. The machine, about the size of an office desk, exposes waste food to enzymes that break the food down to gray water. The gray water goes down the drain and into the wastewater system.

Giving the entire sustainability initiative a high profile is the goal of Rodney Hudson, director of auxiliary services at the university. Hudson has the type of passion for the efforts, from solar energy to recycling to individuals’ lifestyles, that can help build enthusiasm and knowledge in others
As he told The Panther, Claflin’s student newspaper:

“Sustainability touches everything we do. We’re setting an example on college campuses on how we should conduct ourselves in other places of the world. Sustainability is not just putting a can in the garbage. Sustainability is our environment changing drastically, because of things that we have done. Let’s implement a culture that sustains itself. It is one of those causes where you can make a difference.”

December 9, 2014

India Plans to Boost Investment in Renewable Energy Sector

Mr Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Power, Coal & New and Renewable Energy , said that in order to increase energy generation from renewable resources, the centre is planning to take steps to encourage global companies for investing in this sector. The Government is contemplating to seek international cooperation for importing technology to boost investment in renewable energy sector of the country.

December 8, 2014

Wisconsin State Commission Backs Electric Bill Hikes, ‘Solar Tax’

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission voted for a rate plan submitted by We Energies that environmentalists say penalizes customers who conserve energy and jeopardizes the fledgling solar industry in southeastern Wisconsin.

“We feel like what the PSC approved for the We Energies rate case is a huge setback for Wisconsin in the area of clean energy development,” said Keith Reopelle, senior policy director for Clean Wisconsin, a statewide environmental advocacy group.

December 7, 2014

Panel Studying Ohio's Green Energy Law Kicks Off

A legislative panel reviewing Ohio's renewable energy law while state mandates are on a two-year hiatus is kicking off with testimony from the state's top utility regulator.

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Tom Johnson addresses the Energy Mandates Study Committee Monday.

The panel was created in May to part of a bill delaying enforcement of state mandates for alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind.

Its job is to assess the costs to utilities and consumers of a law that said 25 percent of Ohio's energy should come from alternative sources by 2025.

The new law continues that target in 2017 unless a better alternative is found. The pause represented a compromise brokered by Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) with those who wanted the green-energy goals permanently repealed.

December 5, 2014

Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels

For the solar and wind industries in the United States, it has been a long-held dream: to produce energy at a cost equal to conventional sources like coal and natural gas.

That day appears to be dawning.

The cost of providing electricity from wind and solar power plants has plummeted over the last five years, so much so that in some markets renewable generation is now cheaper than coal or natural gas.

December 4, 2014

Sustainable Energy Loan Program Becomes Law In Ulster County, NY

Ulster County Executive Mike Hein signed into law the Sustainable Energy Loan Program which will be known as the “Energize NY Benefit Financing Program” to advance Ulster County’s clean energy economy.  The County Executive was joined by Ulster County Legislator Tracey A. Bartels, Chairman of the Energy and Environment Committee and Ulster County Legislator Manna Jo Greene, member of the Energy and Environment Committee, both of whom sponsored the law.  The new program, available in Ulster County towns will make financing available to commercial property owners for the installation of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency measures.  It also allows the Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC), a local development corporation, to act on behalf of Ulster County and provide financing to qualified property owners.  The financing will be repaid by property owners who will see a charge on their real property tax bill.  The payment will be levied and collected at the same time and in the same manner as County taxes, although it will be listed separately on the tax bill.

December 3, 2014

Correction: Emissions Reductions-Minnesota Story

ST. PAUL, Minnesota — In a story Nov. 20 about greenhouse gas emissions, The Associated Press reported erroneously that state officials said Minnesota is not on track to meet emissions standards set by the federal government. State officials said Minnesota is not on track to meet emissions standards set by the state.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Minnesota not on track to meet emission reductions

Minnesota not on track to meet state-set greenhouse gas reduction goals

December 2, 2014

Arguments Heard In Lawsuit Seeking To Save Solar Rebates In Missouri

Supporters of a "green energy" law passed by Missouri voters in 2008 are in court seeking to reinstate one of the statute's key provisions – rebates to individuals and companies that use solar panels to power their homes and businesses.

Proposition C requires for-profit utility companies to generate 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by the year 2021, but it also bars utilities from raising their rates by more than 1 percent to comply with the voter-approved law. Rebates on solar panel use is one of the methods for increasing renewable energy in Missouri.

December 1, 2014

Ohio House Passes Legislation -- Wind Energy Industry Protests Bird-Kill Fine

Ohio’s fledgling wind energy industry is balking at a largely ignored provision of a massive environmental bill overwhelmingly approved in the House this week, arguing it is designed to throw one more wrench into its turbines.

The language would allow the state Department of Natural Resources to impose additional fees on wind farms based on the killing and injury, or “take,” of wild animals, a broad restriction the wind industry maintains would not be imposed on its competitors.

November 30, 2014

Gov. Patrick Signs Harvard Community Solar Garden Bill into Law in Massachusetts

S2138, An Act Relative to Community Shared Solar Energy Systems in the Town of Harvard, the Harvard community solar legislation, was signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick, allowing for community shared solar energy systems within the town to be exempt for taxes for 20 years after installation.

S2138, An Act Relative to Community Shared Solar Energy Systems in the Town of Harvard, the Harvard community solar legislation, was signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick, allowing for community shared solar energy systems within the town to be exempt for taxes for 20 years after installation.

November 28, 2014

Australian States Must Show Climate Change Leadership

Much has been made of Australian Prime Minister’s Tony Abbott’s backward (read: downright insane) environmental and energy policies, without looking further into the role that the individual Australian States are playing. A new report from the Australian Climate Council attempts to rectify this, by providing the latest research on which Australian States are winning the race to renewables — “and which are not”.

Four key findings from the report highlight just how the country’s current political climate is affecting environmental and energy policies:

November 26, 2014

NERC Decries Absence of Renewable Energy Policy in Nigeria

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has decried the absence of a policy on renewable energy in the country, saying the development is retarding the contribution of solar energy to the power supply.

Speaking at the Nigeria Photovoltaic Energy Conference, Solarcon 2014, held in Lagos at the weekend, NERC’s Deputy General Manager in charge of Research and Development, Mr. Imamudeen Talba said Nigeria had all the potentials for solar power but lacked policies and legislations to drive this renewable energy option.

November 25, 2014

Solar Rooftops in Wisconsin Get Costlier as State Approves Fees

Buying a solar rooftop in Wisconsin will become a lot less affordable under fees and utility rate changes approved today for a Wisconsin Energy Corp. (WEC) unit.

State regulators today approved fees on any home or business that installs solar in the Milwaukee-based utility’s service area, said Nathan Conrad, a spokesman for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.

November 24, 2014

The World is Spending a Stunning $ 550 Billion per Year on Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Today, the Paris-based International Energy Agency released its 2014 World Energy Outlook, an annual data dump outlining where the world's energy use patterns are heading in the future. The basic upshot is that planet Earth is definitely moving in a cleaner and greener direction -- just not fast enough to save us from dangerous climate change.

November 23, 2014

Deutsche Bank Says US Solar Boom to Reach 50GW by 2016

Energy analysts at Deutsche Bank are predicting a huge surge in the uptake of distributed solar PV in the United States, the world’s biggest economy and electricity market, saying solar PV installations could rise 7-fold in coming years and lift overall solar PV capacity to nearly 50GW by 2016.

The expected boom in distributed solar – installations placed on homes and commercial businesses – is based on predictions that solar PV module prices will continue to fall, grid prices will continue rise, and innovative financing options will provide ample and cheap capital.

November 21, 2014

STATEMENT: WRI Reacts to $3 Billion U.S. Pledge to Green Climate Fund

President Obama announced that the United States will contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund during the G20 Summit held in Australia this weekend.

Yesterday WRI's climate finance experts Alex Doukas and Athena Ballesteros blogged about how a U.S. pledge to the Green Climate Fund would build climate action momentum.