June 29, 2016

What Brexit Means for UK's Renewable Energy Development

The United Kingdom of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland has voted in yesterday’s referendum to end its membership in the European Union. What does this mean for the country's renewable energy sector?

The UK's decision to leave the EU could have repercussions on its clean energy progress.
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So, this is it. Brexit is the result of the referendum been held yesterday in the UK regarding its membership in the European Union (EU) bloc. The winning camp of the Britons supporting the termination of the UK’s EU membership has suggested that exiting the bloc will repatriate the UK’s policy-making power from Brussels back to London. Is this true and how the new policy-making structure will affect the UK’s renewable energy sector?

June 27, 2016

Energy Storage Tax Relief Bill Introduced

U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, a Democrat from Silicon Valley, California, has introduced the Energy Storage for Grid Resilience and Modernization Act, otherwise known as H.R. 5350.

If the bill becomes law, it will provide a tax credit for home and business owners who purchase energy storage systems. The tax credit for both would be 30%, which is the same amount as the renewable energy tax credit. Factories would also be eligible under the proposed law.

“We must create better infrastructure in our nation, including our electrical grid. Tax credits will help create a market-based solution to increase the use of both energy storage and renewable energy. This legislation will help America become energy independent and help create good, family-wage jobs in a sustainable industry. I’m proud to sponsor it, along with my colleagues,” explained Honda.

June 26, 2016

Maryland PSC Approves Final Community Solar Regulations

Maryland could soon be one of only 11 US states with community solar programs, as the state’s Public Service Commission has just approved its final regulations for establishing a three-year pilot community solar program, which are expected to be published in the coming weeks and become final in mid-July.

By allowing more residents, especially low and moderate income residents, as well as those without ownership of their roofs or who live in multi-unit buildings, to participate in the solar energy revolution, Maryland’s community solar program could enable a more inclusive renewable energy ecosystem in the state. Part of the new community solar regulations speak directly to that inclusiveness, with about 30% (60 MW) of the state’s community solar cap (200 MW) being set aside for low to moderate income residents.

June 22, 2016

Downing Encourages Storage as Part of Massachusetts Energy Bill

On the heels of House passage of comprehensive energy legislation — and criticism of it by environmental groups — state Sen. Benjamin Downing, the Senate chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications and Energy, said he wants the Senate’s version to include an increase of the state’s renewable energy portfolio and to spur energy storage technology.

“We’ve been leaders in solar, we’ve been leaders in efficiency,” said the Pittsfield Democrat who represents many Franklin County towns. “Making sure you get the most out of both of those would be by expanding the role that storage can play in the grid. I think requiring the utilities to go out and procure storage ... are strategies we’re considering now and ought to be part of our clean-energy strategy moving forward.”

June 21, 2016

India Govt Bats for Hybrid Solar-Wind Power Projects in Draft Policy

The government has sought to boost hybrid solar and wind power projects in the country with incentives and a financing system to increase renewable energy sources while better using existing transmission infrastructure and land.

In its draft policy guidelines released on Tuesday, the Ministry of New & Renewable Resources has set a target of achieving 10 giga watt (GW) generating capacity by 2022 through hybridisation of solar and wind power projects.

India: Draft of National Policy For Renewable Energy Based Micro And Mini Grids

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE or the Ministry) aims to attain a sustainable growth in the country by securing the energy needs through renewable energy (RE) sources such as solar, biomass, water, wind etc.

Along with the support to large scale RE, the Ministry promotes decentralized solutions based on sources such as solar, biomass, biogas, wind, small hydro etc. for meeting the lighting needs, other electricity and thermal requirements especially in rural areas through separate programmes.

June 20, 2016

Pakistan: Sindh Government Earmarks Rs 6.35 Billion for Energy Growth

The Sindh government has earmarked Rs 6.35 billion in the fiscal budget 2016-17 for energy growth with various initiatives of renewable and non-renewable sources. "The ADP for energy department is pitched at Rs 6.35 billion for FY 2016-17. With these funds, the Energy Department has taken various initiatives to increase the energy output through renewable and non-renewable energy sources," Sindh Finance Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah told the Sindh Assembly during his budget speech.

"Make Pakistan a self-sufficient country in energy, Sindh is playing its due role by attracting new investments through a variety of fiscal and monetary incentives," he said, adding the government had framed the Sindh Power Policy aimed at attracting private sector investment.

Clean Energy Grows in Mass., but Some Hope for More

Massachusetts is on the cusp of adopting one of the largest renewable energy procurement programs in New England. So why aren't renewable energy advocates cheering more loudly?

Perhaps it's because half of the 2,400 megawatts of new clean energy will come from Canadian hydro dams, effectively bypassing U.S. firms that argued that developing homegrown energy resources would spur more economic development and better diversify New England's energy market.

June 19, 2016

Vermont Legislature Updates Solar Energy Siting Bill in One Day; Governor to Sign it

The state Legislature emerged from a marathon special session on Thursday with an amended version of a renewable energy siting bill that had been vetoed by Gov. Peter Shumlin on June 6.

The governor said on Friday that he would sign the bill, known as S.260, designed to give more local control over the siting of solar projects to communities that develop energy plans that are consistent with the state’s long-term renewable energy goals.

June 17, 2016

Pune, India--Maha Must Relook Energy Policy: Tanti

Suzlon's founder and managing director Tulsi Tanti has asked the state government to take a relook at its renewable energy policy.

"The state government should relook its policy and should allow captive power projects. Just like in the case of solar power rooftop projects, why not industries be allowed to manufacture, use and supply the excess energy to the grid. The state is energy deficient, and if we want to grow, then captive is the correct way to go. Also, the renewable policy should be such that SMEs and medium enterprises are supported," he said.

"Other states are aggressive in their growth in the renewable power projects, while Maharashtra, which had a good growth till now, is not has reached a stagnant stage in the renewable energy space," Tanti added.

June 16, 2016

Massachusetts House Debates Hydropower, Wind Energy Bill

The Massachusetts House on Wednesday began debating an energy bill that would require the state's utilities to enter into long-term contracts to buy more offshore wind and hydroelectric power.

"This piece of legislation is historical," said State Rep. Thomas Golden, D-Lowell, chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. "The House of Representatives today will set a strong, firm foundation for the growth of a fully renewable future."

June 15, 2016

New York State Assembly Passes ‘Most Ambitious’ Climate Bill in the Nation

New York’s Assembly passed a bill Wednesday that would require the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from major sources to zero by 2050. But is that good enough?

Thirty-four years is a long time to wait to fully address an emergency as urgent as climate change. A more aggressive bill sponsored by 17 representatives would require the state to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2030. That’s 14 years from now and a full 20 years ahead of the plan just passed, putting the state’s agenda more in line with the more dire predictions of climate scientists.

June 14, 2016

Clean Energy Is Key to Meeting the Goals of the Paris Climate Deal

Energy minsters and clean energy leaders from around the world descended upon San Francisco, California, this week for the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), the first major international follow-up to the historic global climate accord struck in Paris last December. 

Diplomats and negotiators have rightly been praised for the success of the COP 21 Paris agreement, the most comprehensive global deal to date on climate change, with buy-in from virtually every nation on earth. But to mitigate the worst effects of climate change by displacing greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels, countries must expand their clean energy infrastructure.

June 13, 2016

Australian Greens to Out-Do Labor, Coalition in Community Renewable Energy Policy

The Australian Greens are expected to announce new policy that would spend $265 million on helping Australian communities to set up their own clean energy projects, including solar.

The policy, to be released in full on Saturday, is believed to propose tax-free earnings for households and businesses that invest in community-owned renewable energy projects, and the development of a Community Energy Powerhouses Start-Up Fund.

Not unlike federal Labor’s Community Renewable Hubs plan, but with a bigger budget, the proposed Greens $150 million start-up fund would set up 50 Community Energy powerhouses, with up to two years of operational funding.

June 8, 2016

Berlin Makes Breakthrough With State Governments in Renewable Energy Reforms

Germany's federal and state governments have succeeded in hammering out the framework of reforms for the country's renewable energy law. Talks in Berlin continued into the early hours.

Premier ministers of Germany's 16 states met in the Chancellery in Berlin on Tuesday evening to discuss the planned reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG).

Speaking to reporters early on Wednesday morning, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the talks had "come a long way."

June 7, 2016

Vermont Governor Shumlin Considers Veto of Renewable Energy Bill

Lawmakers could return June 9 for special session

Gov. Peter Shumlin says he has not decided whether he can sign S. 230, a controversial bill amending rules around siting of large renewable energy projects.

Shumlin says language in the final version of the bill which passed on the last day of the session changed significantly and "there is internal debate" on what to do.

He would not spell out specific concerns but said Tuesday he will not sign anything he concludes will slow Vermont's progress on developing wind and renewable energy.

June 6, 2016

Maryland Governor Vetoes Renewable Energy Bill

On Friday, Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md., vetoed the Clean Energy Jobs Act, a bill that would have expanded Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). Before the 2016 Maryland legislative session adjourned in April, state lawmakers had finalized the bill and sent it to Hogan for consideration.

Specifically, the legislation would have boosted the current RPS from 20% by 2022 (with a 2% solar carve-out) to 25% by 2020 (with a 2.5% solar carve-out). According to estimations from the Maryland Climate Coalition, the accelerated target would have resulted in approximately 1.3 GW more of clean energy and hundreds of new jobs. Among other provisions, the bill also would have established a working group to explore ways to help with clean energy job training.

June 5, 2016

G7 Nations Pledge to End Fossil Fuel Subsidies by 2025

Leaders of the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the EU urge all countries to join them in eliminating support for coal, oil and gas in a decade

The G7 nations have for the first time set a deadline for the ending most fossil fuel subsidies, saying government support for coal, oil and gas should end by 2025.

The leaders of the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the European Union encouraged all countries to join them in eliminating “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” within a decade.

June 3, 2016

Alberta Introduces Carbon Tax Bill as it Formalizes Climate Plan

Alberta is moving to turn its ambitious climate-change plan into law with the introduction of legislation to tax purchases of all fossil fuels, including gasoline and natural gas.

Bill 20, introduced on Tuesday, is one of the first major steps by the Alberta government to formalize grand plans unveiled last November, when it announced a sweeping climate-change plan meant to significantly reduce or cap the province’s greenhouse-gas emissions.

Improving Alberta’s environmental reputation is seen as crucial by the NDP government and some energy industry leaders, who believe that the strategy will help attract investment in the oil and gas sector, put greater emphasis on technology and renewable energy and win support to build one or more new pipelines to Canadian coasts.

June 2, 2016

Lower Chamber of Polish Parliament adopts an Act on Wind Turbine Investments

On May 20, 2016, the Sejm (lower chamber of the Polish Parliament) adopted an Act on wind turbine investments (the “Act”).

From the very beginning of the legislative process, i.e., from the moment when the bill of Act was submitted to the Sejm as the initiative of MPs in mid-February, it was evoking much controversy and, at the same time, it faced a definite opposition on the part of the wind farm industry.  According to the opinion voiced by the industry, the Act, if adopted in its originally proposed form, would put to a halt the development of the wind power sector and, additionally, it would have an adverse impact on the projects that are already in operation. Finally, a certain part of the postulates made by the representatives of the wind power sector was embedded in the wording of the Act that was adopted by the Sejm.  However, a considerable part of the regulations that were perceived as disadvantageous by wind power investors, was finally included in the Act.

June 1, 2016

House OKs Energy Bill Conference in Party-Line Vote

The full House voted Wednesday to conference with the Senate to reconcile differences between the separate House and Senate energy bills. The members approved replacing the Senate's more bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 (S. 2012) with the House's more controversial North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015 (H.R. 8). 

The vote means that backroom staff negotiations will continue in the search for common ground and that a formal House/Senate energy bill conference is expected to convene in early June.

May 31, 2016

Proposed Massachusetts Energy Bill Devotes 1.2 GW To Offshore Wind

The Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee of the Massachusetts House has released its version of a draft omnibus energy legislation, which would require the state to procure 1.2 GW of offshore wind power by 2027.

Specifically, according to the Sierra Club, the bill requires all utility companies in Massachusetts to solicit joint proposals and enter into long-term contracts with offshore wind developers. Additionally, electric utilities would be required to conduct solicitations for no more than 9.45 million MWh of energy from either hydro imports alone or hydro imports and a delivery commitment for Class I renewable resources.

May 27, 2016

Massachusetts Bill Would Encourage Hydropower, Offshore Wind

Canadian hydropower and offshore wind projects would become more prominent pieces of the state's overall energy landscape under a long-awaited bill House lawmakers unveiled Monday.

Members of a legislative committee that oversees energy issues were expected to endorse the bill, in a vote taken by email, setting the stage for debate in the full House next month. Renewable energy advocates have said the bill does not go far enough.

May 26, 2016

House Energy and Water Appropriations Bill: Makes Progress but Could Do More to Cut Spending

This week, the Energy and Water appropriations bill is expected to be debated on the House floor. 

The second of 12 appropriations bills providing discretionary funding for the federal government, the bill provides funding for projects under the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Energy, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The fiscal year (FY) 2017 Energy and Water appropriations bill provides $37.5 billion in discretionary budget authority, an increase of $259 million over the 2016 enacted level and $168 million above the President’s request. This is a modest increase compared to the almost $3 billion in new funding provided by last year’s omnibus appropriations act. The bill also includes a number of policy riders that will help to stop continued government overreach on environmental issues.

May 17, 2016

10 States Blocking the Power of the Sun

Some of the sunniest states in the country are actively blocking rooftop-solar development through overtly lacking and destructive policy landscapes, according to a Center for Biological Diversity report released last week.

10 states that are blocking distributed solar potential through overtly lacking and destructive distributed solar policy.