April 24, 2015

Political Divide Emerges Over Minnesota Energy Policy

House bill would let utilities decide which renewable energy sources are cheaper.

State Rep. Pat Garofalo says he’s not trying to undo decades of progress on energy conservation and renewable energy in Minnesota.

That’s been the reaction from clean-energy interests to the House energy committee chairman’s proposed revision of state renewable energy policy released this week.

One solar manufacturer says it would shut down its Mountain Iron, Minn., production plant if the House measure becomes law.

“Never have I seen some people so upset over a bill that reduces energy pollution and lowers energy costs,” tweeted Garofalo, R-Farmington, who drives a Tesla electric car and believes such innovative technology is part of the solution.

April 8, 2015

In North Carolina, Walmart and Other Corporate Giants Call for Clean Energy Choices

Leading national companies in North Carolina want more choice and competition when it comes to energy, including where it comes from and who they buy it from. That’s the message recently delivered to the North Carolina legislature in a letter signed by 10 corporate giants in the state.

The list of companies calling for action is impressive, including:

April 7, 2015

Maui County Islands Can Attain 100% Renewable Energy

Maui County, which includes the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai, is sticking to its ambitious goal of becoming the first islands in the United States to achieve 100 percent renewable energy.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, a speaker at the Wednesday kickoff of the Maui Energy Conference, noted that other islands elsewhere have gone off the grid, including islands in the Caribbean.

“The goal is real and attainable, using proven technology, including wind, solar and storage,” he said. “It’s about freedom, self-sufficiency and sustainability.”

Because of price fluctuations by fossil fuel sources, more and more island states and nations are becoming dependent on renewable resources, Arakawa said.

April 6, 2015

Renewable Energy Policy in Odisha, India Soon

The State Government will soon launch a Renewable Energy Policy to promote renewable energy utilisation for ensuring energy access, security and sustainable growth for people, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced here on Thursday.

Inaugurating a legislators’ meet organised by Climate Parliament Odisha Chapter on the Assembly premises and attended by more than 56 MLAs cutting across party lines, Naveen  emphasised on acceleration of renewable energy mechanisms and outlined a series of measures to be taken up by the Government.

April 5, 2015

NJBPU Approves $1.38 Million in On-Sight Generation and Energy Efficiency Grants

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved approximately $1.38 million in combined heat and power (CHP) and energy efficiency incentives for projects in Morris and Passaic counties. The incentives, provided through New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program™ (NJCEP), will make possible more than $3.33 million in distributive generation and energy efficient upgrades, saving the recipients a combined $451,288 in annual energy costs and reducing existing demands on the electric power grid which benefit all ratepayers.

April 3, 2015

Proposed Texas State Legislation Could Change Renewable Energy

Proposed legislation could end a Texas mandate for the renewable power industry.

The state of Texas leads the nation when it comes to wind power, but Texas lawmakers are asking if it is time to end state support for the renewable power industry.

The bill's sponsor says Texas has far surpassed goals set by the state to lower its carbon emissions.

April 2, 2015

Texas Senator Seeks to Dismantle What He Helped Create: The Renewable Portfolio Standard

Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) has filed a bill that would eliminate Texas’ Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) – a policy that has catapulted Texas to world leadership in wind energy and strengthened Texas’ energy diversity. In addition to terminating the RPS at the end of the year, SB 931would make it more difficult to build renewable energy infrastructure. The argument behind the bill is that because Texas has achieved its RPS goals it’s time to move on. Sounds reasonable, right? Well…

No one disputes that Texas has achieved its goal to develop 5,880 MW of renewable energy – and even surpassed its non-binding 2025 target of 10,000 MW. Today, Texas has more than 13,000 MW of renewables online and thousands more in development. I’m sure Fraser will publicly laud the policy. He even deserves to take a big chunk of the credit because of legislation he carried in 2005 (SB 20) that increased the RPS goals.

But this is the wrong time to terminate the RPS, and it’s the wrong time to end CREZ.

April 1, 2015

Obama Orders US Agencies to Cut Carbon Emissions 40 Percent by 2025

President Barack Obama ordered the federal government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 2008 levels over the next 10 years by shifting to renewable energy sources such as solar power.

The executive order signed by Obama Thursday builds on a 2010 directive from the White House requiring 35 U.S. agencies to limit their energy consumption to help combat climate change. Private companies that contract with the federal government have also agreed to pursue emissions reductions in concert with the most recent directive.

March 31, 2015

Chile Gets Cleaner at a Profit with Renewable Energy Push

Policies favoring clean energy and increased competition would normally dim prospects for existing producers. Not in Chile, where foreign investors are driving a renewable boom at a time of surging returns by local utilities.

In the year since President Michelle Bachelet took office, Chilean companies including Enersis SA and AES Gener SA are among the best performers in Americas energy stocks tracked by Bloomberg. In the previous 12 months, they were the worst after years of opposition to coal and hydroelectric projects and a prolonged drought crimped earnings and sent prices soaring.

March 30, 2015

Amid Budget Shortfalls, Kansas Legislature Considers Slashing Tax Incentives for Green Energy

Renewable energy groups say two proposals in the Kansas Legislature would threaten the young industry's existence by shortening a lifetime property tax exemption for wind and solar farms and imposing a 4.33 percent excise tax on ethanol fuel and renewable electricity.

The bills emerged in hearings Monday and Wednesday after a proposal to freeze requirements for the share of renewable electricity for the grid.

March 29, 2015

In South Korea, Auto Plants Being Put to Use for Solar Power Production

Power companies now required to have renewable energy account for a certain portion of their output
Large factory sites for domestic automobile assembly and production are being utilized for solar power generation.

A shift in Seoul’s renewable energy policy from subsidies to renewable portfolio standards (RPS) has prompted power companies to make use of the large lots available at car plants. The automakers, for their part, stand to gain by acquiring future emissions rights cheaper from the power companies.

GM Korea began power production on Mar. 11 with a 11.5-megawatt solar power facility at its Changwon plant. The facility, which is capable of producing up to 14,000 megawatt-hours of electricity, was built with solar panels on the plant roof and parking area. Plant production and management are carried out by KC Cottrell in conjunction with Korea Southern Power and other partners, while GM Korea supplies the site.

March 27, 2015

Rooftop Solar Power Units to Get Boost in Maharashtra, India

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has finally come out with a draft notification for allowing grid connectivity to rooftop solar power generation sets. The notification published on March 9 has cited recommendations of the working committee which was formed on MERC's directives. The committee had submitted its report seven months ago.

March 26, 2015

Renewable Energy Globally to More Than Double in 2025

Frost & Sullivan is predicting that the global installed capacity of renewable energy will more than double from 1,566 gigawatts (GW) in 2012 to 3,203 GW in 2025 at an average annual growth rate of 5.7 percent.
This growth will be driven primarily by developments in renewable energy policy.

As Frost & Sullivan explains, prior to the past decade, less than 50 countries had support policies for renewable energy, but that has increased to more than 130. As a result of political and financial support, investments in renewables have risen dramatically recently. In fact, the European Union has set binding targets to source 20 percent of the bloc's total energy consumption from renewable energy by 2020, and individual member states have set renewable energy consumption targets ranging from 10 percent for Malta to 49 percent for Sweden.

March 25, 2015

Connecticut Rules in Favor of Vermont Renewable Energy Credits

Connecticut regulators ruled Wednesday that credits purchased from renewable electricity generated in Vermont can count toward that state’s energy goals.

The decision means Vermont utilities can continue to sell their renewable energy credits in the regional marketplace, which brings in about $50 million a year that utilities use to lower electric rates here. The state worried that if Connecticut decided to exclude Vermont RECs, rates in the Green Mountain State would rise by 6 percent or more as soon as next year.

March 20, 2015

IRS Unveils Favorable PTC Guidance On 'Start Of Construction'

On Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published Notice 2015-25, which provides guidance the wind power industry has been waiting for since the extension of the production tax credit (PTC) in December.

Notice 2015-25 provides that any wind power project (or other PTC-eligible project) that started construction prior to 2015 has until the end of 2016 to be placed in service so as to avoid the application of either the "continuous construction" or the "continuous work" standards promulgated by the IRS in Notice 2013-29.2.

March 19, 2015

Renewable Energy Party Established to Lobby for Australian Renewables Sector

A new Australian political party has been formed with the aim of lobbying on behalf of the Australian renewable energy sector and the wider public interest in renewables.

The new Renewable Energy Party has been founded by Peter Breen, a former independent member of the New South Wales Parliament who now acts as its secretary. The party was formed at a meeting held at Lismore Workers Club in New South Wales and describes itself as a community-based organisation with no links to industry. It consists of concerned citizens and voters who are alarmed at the way the Australian government has handled climate change and renewable energy policy in the country.

March 18, 2015

Washington State Senate OKs Bill Giving Utilities Option on Renewable Energy

A bill that would give large electric utilities an alternative way to comply with a state law requiring more energy from renewable sources passed the Washington Senate on Monday night after a protracted fight over whether climate change is real and if humans contribute to it.

Senate Bill 5735, sponsored by Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen, passed the chamber on a mostly party line 26-23 vote and now heads to the Democrat-controlled House, where it is likely to face resistance. The measure would allow utilities to meet their targets under Initiative 937 by investing in carbon reduction.

March 17, 2015

Here’s Another Thing To Love About Hawaii

Hawaii is on track to pass legislation this year requiring the state to go 100 percent renewable by 2040.
Earlier this month, committees in the Hawaii House and Senate both unanimously recommended bills that would raise the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) from the current target of 70 percent by 2030 to the ultimate goal of 100 percent by 2040. Hawaii has had an RPS since 2001, and right now the state gets just over 21 percent of its power from renewable sources — a 12 percent increase in just six years.

This is huge for our state’s future.

March 16, 2015

Vermont House Approves Major Renewable Energy Overhaul

The Vermont House on Tuesday passed a bill designed to reduce residents’ carbon footprint, despite complaints from Republicans who fear the new renewable energy targets will come at an unforeseen cost.

The House voted 121-24 to pass H.40, which puts in place a renewable energy standard requiring utilities to sell electricity from renewables and reduce the fossil fuel consumption of their customers. The bill now goes to the Senate.

March 11, 2015

House Passes Bill Promoting Wind Energy Expansion In Pennsylvania

State Representative Curt Sonney (R-Harborcreek, 4th District) authored House Bill 188. It passed Wednesday in the Pennsylvania House with flying colors: 194 to 1.

The bill was first introduced 4 years ago, and did pass the House, but never made it onto the governor's desk.

In a statement Wednesday, Rep. Sonney said:

"I am hoping this is the first step toward eventually advancing the bill to Governor Tom Wolf's desk for his signature. Under existing law, owners of preserved farm land may grant a right-of-way for the installation, transportation or use of water, sewage, electric, telephone, coal or non-coal minerals by underground mining methods. It's simply common sense to allow them this additional use of their property."

March 10, 2015

India Moves Into Top 5 Most Attractive Renewable Energy Markets

The Indian Government’s aggressive policies and ambitious capacity addition targets have helped it jump to the best rank in market attractiveness in the renewable energy sector in at least about two years.

The latest edition of Ernst & Young Renewable Energy Market Attractiveness Index focuses on India as the government has not only substantially increased the capacity addition targets but also backed them with clear policy initiatives.

India has been ranked the 5th most attractive market overall. A quick glance through the archive of the Quarterly Market Attractiveness Index report shows that this is India’s best standing since at least May 2013.

March 9, 2015

Michigan Democrats Push for 20 Percent Renewable Energy by 2022

Michigan Democrats in the House and Senate on Tuesday released their energy principles, which include increasing the state's renewable energy to 20 percent by 2022.

The concept is to have renewable energy serve as an economic boost while also keeping utility costs affordable.

"Through 2014, renewable energy projects have brought nearly $3 billion in investment to Michigan, and utilities are on track to meet the 10 percent goal required in current law," said Rep. Bill LaVoy, D-Monroe, who serves as Democratic Vice Chair of the House Energy Policy Committee.

March 8, 2015

Minnesota’s Great Leap Into Solar Begins

Solar PV may soon start catching up with wind development in the state.

Minnesota, now blanketed in snow, is preparing for a sun-filled spring. 

Pro-solar legislation has led to an explosion of solar development in the state, leading Xcel Energy to dramatically revise its future investment plans. The utility now expects to get 10 percent of its power from the sun by 2030. But market developments suggest that number may be conservative.

February 20, 2015

New Renewable Energy Policy in India to Have Provisions for Renewable Generation Obligation : Piyush Goyal

Arvind Subramanian, India’s Chief Economic Advisor, said that the role of public sector financing will assume paramount importance if India is to expand its renewable energy footprint in power generation over the next decade.

Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State ( IC) for Coal, Power and New & Renewable Energy, said here today that non-compliance of RPO (Renewable Purchase Obligation) shall soon draw penalties. He said this at session titled ‘Financing Renewable Energy: Success Strategies’ at the 1st Renewable Energy Global Investors Meet & Expo (RE-INVEST) summit. The Minister said that the new RE policy, that will be enacted soon, shall also have provision for Renewable Generation Obligation (RGO). He said that the cost of renewable, except small hydro, has come down drastically over the last decade. “There is a need to socialise the cost of Renewable Energy (RE) through participation of all states, because currently only the states pushing for RE are bearing the burden,” said he. 

February 16, 2015

Colorado GOP Advances Rollback of Renewable Energy Mandate

Colorado Republicans pushed one of their top priorities through the Senate on Thursday - rolling back renewable energy mandates.

But the vote probably doesn’t mean that utilities will need less energy from renewable sources. The Democratic House is unlikely to go along with the repeal.