February 1, 2015

Rhode Island Environmental Groups Set 2015 Priority Issues

 A statewide ban on plastic shopping bags and more composting are among several key issues being advanced by Rhode Island environmentalists this year.

Last week, the Environment Council of Rhode Island (ECRI), an advocacy groups for 60-plus environmental groups, announced its legislative priorities on issues of energy, land and water, waste, transportation and the budget.

January 30, 2015

Disagreement in West Virginia Senate over Study During Energy Bill Talks

A discussion on a signature piece of legislation being advanced by Republicans featured disagreement Monday when the current and former president of the state Senate fell on different sides over whether the bill should require a jobs impact study.

Former Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, called for a study of Senate Bill 1, a piece of legislation that some have referred to as a cap-and-trade bill.

During a six minute speech, Kessler reminded President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, that the chamber passed a rules package that included the opportunity to generate a study at the president’s discretion.

January 29, 2015

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, Florida, Files Bill to Reduce Taxes on Solar Power Systems

A St. Petersburg lawmaker announced Tuesday the filing of a bill that would reduce the taxes on solar power systems for businesses that install them at their facilities.

The legislation, by Republican state Sen. Jeff Brandes, would expand existing law for residential solar installations to include commercial property. The bill would reduce the real estate or personal property tax for installations. In addition, devices that produce renewable energy would be exempt from tangible property tax.

Solar industry experts say the taxes are one of the barriers to expansion of solar in Florida. Those taxes, they say, made it difficult economically for the industry to make a profit.

January 28, 2015

Obama’s Victory Lap: State of the Union Speech Celebrates Domestic Energy Changes

The president avoided a specific policy agenda and instead focused on America’s domestic successes.
President Obama has outlined energy policy goals in every one of his State of the Union addresses. But he avoided specifics in tonight's speech and instead celebrated positive domestic changes in fossil fuels and renewable electricity.

As gasoline prices continue to drop, low natural gas prices give domestic manufacturers a competitive edge, and the renewable energy industry breaks investment and installation records, the president used his speech to remind Americans how much had changed since he took office.

January 27, 2015

West Virginia Democrats Want Impact Study on Repeal of Alternative Energy Law

Legislation to repeal a five-year-old law that hasn't fully taken effect yet is moving through the State Senate. But Democratic leaders are calling for a economic impact study on repealing the measure, just as their GOP counterparts have called for the same studies on bills introduced this session. 

The Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, championed by then-Gov. Joe Manchin, required utility companies to earn credits by producing electricity from alternative fuel sources, including advanced coal technology, coal bed methane, waste coal, coal gasification, natural gas and pumped storage from hydroelectric projects. 

January 26, 2015

MIDA Calls for Boost of Renewable Energy to Power Capacity Mix

The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) hopes the contribution of renewable energy (RE) to the country’s electricity generation to increase to five per cent this year from two per cent at present.

Its Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Phang Ah Tong said the number of RE production sources was not encouraging as the country awaited the feed-in tariff (FiT) policy.

January 25, 2015

U.S. Worried About ‘Make in India’ Rule

Kerry had raised the issue at Vibrant Gujarat Summit

A co-operation agreement between India and the U.S. on “clean” or renewable energy, set to be one of the highlights of President Barack Obama’s forthcoming visit to India, has run into U.S. concerns over the government’s ‘Make in India’ plan.

According to officials, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, during his visit to the Vibrant Gujarat summit, brought up the worries over the government’s push for use of indigenous technology, calling it the new “make in India law”.

In particular, sources told The Hindu, the U.S. administration is irked over the government’s announcement of a series of 1,000MW “grid-connected solar PV power projects” that has a “mandatory condition that all PV cells and modules used in solar plants set up under this scheme will be made in India.

January 20, 2015

New Congress Begins Anti-Environment Attack With ‘No More National Parks’ Bill

Earlier this week, Rep. Don Young (R-AK) introduced a bill to strip current and future presidents’ authority to designate national monuments, proposing an overhaul to a law that presidents have used for nearly a century to protect some of the country’s most iconic and treasured places.

The bill, introduced Tuesday, would amend the 1906 Antiquities Act to effectively block the President from designating any new national monuments without congressional approval and an extensive environmental review. Additionally, the bill would require the President to seek approval from nearby state governments for marine monument proposals.

January 19, 2015

Senators Introduce Bills to Advance Renewable Energy in Nebraska

State senators announced Friday that they will introduce five bills intended to advance Nebraska's renewable energy industry, increase economic development and provide property tax benefits.

“These bills will help to incentivize growth and investment in Nebraska over surrounding states and also remove barriers to renewable energy development in our state,” said Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, who is sponsoring one of the bills.

Nordquist’s bill would create a Nebraska production tax credit for renewable electric generation facilities and would allow the credit to be transferable. Surrounding states, including Iowa and Oklahoma, already offer a credit against state income tax for each kilowatt hour of electricity that a renewable energy generation facility produces.

January 18, 2015

West Virginia’s Legislature Considering Repeal of Law Requiring Use of Alternative and Renewable Energy

Members of both the House and Senate Energy Committees took up a bill last Thursday repealing a law that’s commonly been referred to as West Virginia’s cap and trade law.

The Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Act of 2009 requires electric utilities in the state to produce 25 percent of their electricity with alternative and renewable energy sources by 2025, meeting benchmarks of ten percent in 2015 and 15 percent in 2020.

January 8, 2015

Congress Hands U.S. Wind Industry 'Worthless' Bill

In the waning hours of the 113th Congress, the U.S. Senate passed H.R.5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, a bill previously approved by the House of Representatives on Dec. 3. At press time, President Barack Obama was expected to sign the legislation into law.

H.R.5771 provides a one-year extension through the end of 2014 for dozens of tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013, including the wind energy production tax credit (PTC).

The one-year retroactive extension was far less than the time frame sought by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), which was advocating for a two-year PTC extension as contained in the EXPIRE Act – a separate tax extenders package that passed in the Senate Finance Committee but stalled in May.

January 6, 2015

Modi Government to Revive Renewable Energy Bill to Achieve Long-Term Power Target in India

The Narendra Modi government has decided to revive the long-pending Renewable Energy Bill in a bid to generate 1,00,000 MW of renewable energy by 2019.

The new legislation aims to ensure that 10 per cent of the county's power requirement is met by renewable energy sources by 2020. The Bill seeks to plug the loopholes in the Electricity Act of 2013 and the Energy Conservation Act of 2001 while augmenting the energy supply by substituting fossil fuels besides promoting the development of renewable energy technology

January 5, 2015

Serbian Minister Presents New Energy Law Draft to Assembly

BELGRADE -- Serbia's new energy law will "throw the door open wide to investors to put money in the energy sector in Serbia," Aleksandar Antic said in the parliament Friday.

The new law will significantly improve the investment climate in the energy sector, and it will also help create new jobs, which is a priority for the government, the minister of energy and mining said while presenting a draft.

January 4, 2015

In Malta, Government Shifts Renewable Energy Policy From Wind to Solar

Wind farm projects have been ruled out as studies indicate they are not possible or feasible in Malta, the permanent secretary in the Energy Ministry, Ronald Mizzi, said today.

Addressing a news conference this morning, Mr Mizzi said the government was now basing its renewable energy policy to solar farms.

January 2, 2015

Mexico’s Energy Reforms Miss a Key Sector: Renewables

On Dec. 20, Mexico will reach its cutoff for the approval of legislation related to President Enrique Pena Nieto’s sweeping energy reforms. Yet while the focus is on Mexico’s oil and gas sector, this deadline is likely to come and go without any serious debate on the future of renewable energy. With its abundance of wind, solar and geothermal resources, the renewables industry should thrive in Mexico. Indeed, many hoped Pena Nieto’s reforms would catalyze it. Instead, Mexico risks missing an opportunity to make good on its commitment to a clean energy future and to tackling and adapting to climate change.

January 1, 2015

Clean Energy Policy Wins and Losses of 2014

There’s been policy action in nearly every corner of the country. Here are the highlights.

This year has been a mixed bag for state-level energy policy.

Overall, solar deployment expanded dramatically. In some states, growth was aided by expansions to net energy metering (NEM) and other policies facilitating distributed energy resources (DER). In others, however, those policies came under attack. South Carolina, for instance, became the latest state to set a renewable energy target, while Ohio became the first state to put a freeze on its progress toward its target.

December 31, 2014

Senate Approves Energy Tax Extenders

On Tuesday, December 16, 2014, the U.S. Senate passed the tax extenders bill by a vote of 76-16, extending a number of energy tax incentives through the end of the year.  The Senate’s passage of H.R. 5771 followed the U.S. House of Representatives’ (House) approval earlier this month  and the bill is expected to be signed into law by President Obama as early as this week.

The $42 billion bill includes extensions through the end of the year of nearly $10 billion in energy tax incentives, including the New Market Tax Credit in Section 45D, the Production Tax Credit in Section 45 (the PTC), and the bonus depreciation rules in Section 168(k).

December 28, 2014

Michigan Legislature Considers Solid Waste Addition to Renewable Energy Act, But it's a Curious Approach

“But come now, change thy theme, and sing of the building of the horse of wood, which Epeius made with Athena’s help, the horse which once Odysseus led up into the citadel as a thing of guile, when he had filled it with the men who sacked Ilion.” — The Odyssey, Homer

The Michigan Legislature is considering a bill that changes the Clean, Renewable and Efficient Energy Act in order to “remove unnecessary burdens on the appropriate use of solid waste as a clean energy source.” The act encourages the development and use of renewable energy sources like solar, wind, hydro, coal-fired power using carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies and biomass. Obviously, the addition of solid waste into the fuel mix as “renewable energy” has many people up in arms.

December 23, 2014

Obama’ s $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Includes Tax Credits for Renewable Energy

President Barack Obama has signed a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill that keeps the government operating over the next nine months.

The legislation was a bipartisan compromise that angered liberals and conservatives alike but avoided a government shutdown and put off partisan clashes over immigration to next year.

Ensuring a debate over immigration, though, the legislation only finances the Homeland Security Department until Feb. 27.

December 22, 2014

India's Renewable Energy Policy

The Government has formulated an Integrated Energy Policy (IEP) covering all sources of energy including renewable energy sources. The IEP document gives a roadmap to develop energy supply options and increased exploitation of renewable energy sources.

 The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has made a Plan for a capacity addition of about 30,000 MW power during the 12th Plan period (2012-17) from various renewable energy sources in the country. This was stated by Sh. Piyush Goyal, Minister of state (IC) for Power, Coal & New and Renewable Energy in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today.

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.