June 22, 2018

Over $42 Billion Invested in Renewable Energy Sector in India in 4 Years

The country is well on track to achieving 175 GW target of installed renewable energy capacity and trends suggest that the target will not only be achieved but exceeded, MNRE said.

India’s renewable energy sector attracted investments of over $42 billion over the past four years and green energy projects have created over 10 million man-days of employment per annum over the period. These figures are part of the list of 4-years achievements of the Modi government shared by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

June 21, 2018

City of London Corporation Sets Sights on Ten-Fold On-Site Generation Boost

The City of London Corporation is to deploy solar panels on a number of its buildings under plans that will see the governing body of the Square Mile source 100% renewable electricity from October 2018 onwards.

Members of its Policy and Resources Committee backed proposals to generate electricity on sites it owns across London, as well as invest in off-site renewables generation and purchase clean energy from the market.

June 20, 2018

India and France Building Strong Clean Energy Partnership

India and France are working to shape a strong development partnership, in the fields of technology, clean energy and infrastructure, said Sushma Swaraj.

India and France are working to shape a strong development partnership, including in the fields of science and technology, clean energy and infrastructure, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said as she met the country's top leadership and discussed issues of mutual interest from a strategic perspective.

June 19, 2018

New York State to Lead New Offshore Wind Energy Research Effort

The new group will be known as the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium. Officials say the group will be funded with an $18.5 million grant from the federal Department of Energy.

When launched, the group will bring together energy researchers, utility companies and other states to discuss ways to improve the development and utilization of offshore wind.

By 2030, the state plans to have 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind, enough energy to power up to 1.2 million homes.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state's involvement on Friday.

June 17, 2018

New Leaders of Italy and Spain Smile on Renewables

Political shifts have changed the energy outlook in two key energy markets.

New political leaders in Italy and Spain have brightened the outlook for renewables in two of Europe’s biggest energy markets. 

In Italy, the fourth-largest economy in Europe, new Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in his inaugural speech this month that “we will work to speed up the process, already in progress, of the ‘decarbonization’ of our production system.”

June 15, 2018

China’s Bombshell Solar Policy Shift Could Cut Expected Capacity by 20 Gigawatts

Demand in China exceeding expectations? Analysts say “that is not going to be the case anymore.”

China’s recently announced changes to national solar policies will bring significant impacts for the global PV market and possibly the first contraction in global PV demand since before 2000, according to GTM Research. 

The country’s National Energy Administration, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance released new guidance that terminates any approvals for new subsidized utility-scale PV power stations in 2018.

China will also reduce its feed-in tariff for projects by RMB 0.05 per kilowatt-hour (a fraction of a U.S. cent), cap distributed project size at 10 gigawatts (down from 19 gigawatts), and mandate that utility-scale projects go through auctions to set power prices. Projects connected to the grid past June 1 will not receive feed-in tariffs. 

June 14, 2018

Demand Response Facing De-Rating in Irish Capacity Market

De-rating curves for other storage units by initial capacity and duration of storage at full output.

Demand side response in the Irish Capacity Remuneration Mechanism (CRM) is to face de-rating factors already applied to storage duration limits under new rules confirmed by the country’s electricity market authority.

For the forthcoming T-1 auction for capacity year 2019/20 the Single Electricity Market (SEM) Committee has ruled that Demand Side Units (DSUs) with a limited duration for their demand reduction of less than or equal to 6 hours will be hit with the same de-rating factors used for energy storage.

This ‘Maximum Down Time’ has been judged to be equivalent to a storage unit’s hours of storage as like short duration batteries, a DSU with limited demand reduction capabilities “does not deliver the same benefit to adequacy as a unit that does not limit its dispatch”, according to the SEM Committee.
These units will therefore have the same de-rating curves applied as those used for non-pumped storage assets

Out of the 15 responses to the CRM T-1 CY 2019/20 consultation, the SEM Committee says most agreed with the proposals, although some raised ‘material concerns’ with the use of other storage de-rating factors being applied to DSUs given they are totally different technologies.

Others claimed the plans also discouraged demand side response providers from participating with I-SEM and the capacity market by reducing the revenues which encourage businesses to contribute their capability to the stability of the system.

The plans have moved ahead of the proposal put forward in Britain’s capacity market by Scottish Power, which would see DSR bids using storage as part of its capacity placed in a new technology class and subject to de-rating factors recently applied to battery storage.

In response to the Irish decision Tom Palmer, principal consultant at Cornwall Insight, said: “The Irish Capacity Remuneration Mechanism for 2019/20 just became a lot more challenging for demand-side response providers.

“This is a step further than the proposal put forward in GB Capacity Market by Scottish Power for a Demand Side Response (DSR) Technology Classes with different minimum durations as that covered just storage.”

Further planning for the future

The SEM Committee has also looked further in planning for auctions taking place after the T-1 CY2019/20 auction, opting to change the methodology used to determine de-rating factors for energy storage.

These will be calculated as a function of both generation sizes and storage volumes in MW, or duration, given as the maximum number of hours all units sharing the energy storage (e.g. reservoir) can run simultaneously at their generation size before recharging.

Storage de-rating factors will be specified in 30 minute interval up to an energy storage duration of 6.5 hours and kept under periodic review, while a linear curve will apply to those units with a storage duration that is not a multiple of 30 minutes, applied between the nearest half-hour above and below a unit’s storage size.

To this end, an additional technology class is to be created on an enduring basis for “Other Storage” – not pumped hydro - and will apply the system wide outage statistics until there is sufficient SEM historical data.

The SEM Committee has also proposed to allow storage units a voluntary ‘decreasing tolerance’ (DECTOL) to allow them to continue to access and deliver other system services outside of the capacity market, thus avoiding penalties for not meeting their other obligations.

This means they can such units can apply a downward adjustment to the capacity they submit into the Capacity Market auction to reduce their exposure to difference payments in order to reflect their commitments to system services provisions.

June 13, 2018

Senate Tees Up Bill to Accelerate Clean Energy Development

Utilities would need to ramp up renewable energy purchases, the state could dramatically expand its support of offshore wind, and commercial solar endeavors would be freed from existing restrictions, under legislation the Senate plans to take up next week.

The bill is sure to please the renewable energy industry and will likely raise concerns among other business interests in the electricity sector.

The 32-section legislation would also require the state to create “market-based compliance mechanisms” to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions for the transportation sector and the construction industry, according to a bill summary.

June 10, 2018

The World Is Moving On Since Trump Announced Intent to Withdraw From the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

One year ago this week, President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. The president claimed that the Agreement was a bad deal for America. The reality is that his disavowal of the treaty is putting the United States increasingly at odds with the rest of the world and harming the American people.

Fundamentally, there is no reason this administration should want to rework the Paris deal. The Agreement did not impose undue burdens on the United States, as the president claimed, but allowed it and every other country to determine their own emission-reduction targets and create their own plans to increase ambition over time. All evidence suggests that the president was wrong in claiming that adhering to our target would hurt the U.S. economy and destroy jobs. He was also wrong in claiming that the Agreement allowed large developing countries like China to do nothing to cut their emissions until 2030. In reality, China has already made significant strides to decarbonize its economy and is on pace to achieve its Paris targets by 2030. Similarly, India now has some of the most ambitious renewable energy targets on Earth, and is on track to meet them.

June 8, 2018

Positive Solar Market Development in the US — Even in Times of Import Tariffs

On January 22, 2018, the Trump administration levied a 30% tariff on solar imports to the US. Although they acknowledged that from 2012 to 2016 the volume of solar generation capacity installed annually in the US more than tripled, the administration also claimed that the numbers had been artificially inflated by “low-priced solar cells and modules from China.” According to a fact sheet released by the US Trade Representative, this tariff will last for 4 years and will fall by 5% annually, dropping to a 15% tariff in 2021.

June 7, 2018

Community Power State Scorecard Comparison — 2018 vs. 2017

Earlier this spring, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance released its 2018 Community Power State Scorecard, revealing the the best and worst states for local clean energy across the country.

Did many states improve on their 2017 score?

The latest rankings used a very similar methodology to last year’s interactive Community Power Map, notably increasing the points awarded for a state’s community or sharable renewable program and adding (or subtracting) points for the ease (or difficulty) of connecting to the grid under the state’s rules.

June 6, 2018

The State(s) of Distributed Solar

2017 Year-End Update

Energy production from renewable sources continues to expand in the U.S. at a rapid clip, thanks in no small part to the substantial growth of solar energy—and distributed solar in particular—in recent years. More states than ever are making solar a priority. But where have these gains been greatest, and what are the economic implications for residents from one state to the next?

June 5, 2018

Record 2017 For Australian Renewable Energy Industries Presages “Unprecedented Activity” In Coming Years

The Australian clean energy industry is finally “on the verge of a major breakthrough” according to the Clean Energy Australia Report launched by the Clean Energy Council this week, which highlighted the industry’s record-breaking 2017 in terms of investment and rooftop solar installations.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton launched the report on Wednesday, which provides a comprehensive overview of the state of Australia’s clean energy sector and the latest key figures and statistics on the national energy market. Specifically, the Australian renewable energy industry saw investment worth over AU$10 billion in 2017 for large-scale projects, which is expected to deliver 5,300 megawatts (MW) worth of generating capacity and 5,750 new direct jobs. This is in addition to the 700 MW of new large-scale renewable capacity added in 2017.

June 4, 2018

California PUC Approves Massive Transportation Electrification Program

California is at the forefront of US states when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. Nearly 40% of those emissions come from the state’s transportation sector. Not only has California always been ground zero for car culture, it also is home to several of the largest ports in America whose operations depend on heavy duty trucks powered by diesel engines.

June 3, 2018

Why Japan is Rethinking its Energy Diplomacy

The Japanese government has been warned that its pro-coal policies are creating a “bottleneck” in international climate talks — and that the country risks being left behind in the global green energy boom. Foreign Minister Taro Kono received the strongly worded assessment from his advisory panel on climate change on Feb. 19. The document provides food for thought for policymakers in Tokyo as Kono signals his determination to remedy what he recently described as a “lamentable” situation.

June 1, 2018

Clear Message Needed to Boost Renewable Energy in Japan

The draft of the government’s new Basic Energy Plan, compiled by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for Cabinet approval this summer, calls for long-term efforts to make renewable energies such as solar and wind power a “major source of power supply” as the nation pursues the transition to a post-carbon economy envisioned under the 2015 Paris agreement to combat climate change. But it falls short of setting new targets for boosting the share of renewable sources in the nation’s electricity generation — as the 2030 energy mix targets that accompanied the current energy plan set in 2014 are kept unchanged.

May 31, 2018

Everything You Need to Know About California’s New Solar Roof Mandate

Is the requirement really cost-effective? Solar lease or purchase? Will new homes be net zero? And answers to other burning questions.

California’s recently approved solar roof mandate for all new homes came as a surprise to many people — even though stakeholders have been working on the rule change for roughly two years.

That’s likely because the California Energy Commission (CEC) passed the requirement earlier this month as an update to the state’s 2019 Title 24, Part 6, Building Energy Efficiency Standards. Not quite everyday reading.

May 30, 2018

Massachusetts and Rhode Island Contract for 1,200MW of Offshore Wind

Massive new projects put New England states on the forefront of the U.S. offshore wind market.

Massachusetts and Rhode Island, two states on the forefront of the nascent U.S. offshore wind market, have awarded a combined 1,200 megawatts of contracts to build out what could become the country’s largest offshore wind complex. 

May 29, 2018

Wind Power Poised for Record Year, Despite Initial Tax Law Concerns

  • The number of contracts signed for wind power projects hit a record of 3,500 MW in Q1 2018, according to the American Wind Energy Association, signaling that 2018 should be a strong year for the renewable resource.
  • There are now 33,449 MW of wind projects under construction or in advanced development in the U.S., a 40% increase from last year and the highest level since AWEA began compiling the metric at the beginning of 2016.
  • Despite fears that changes in the tax code would slow wind power development, the tax equity market, the key financing vehicle for wind projects, appears to have adapted and survived intact.

May 28, 2018

Ohio Lawmakers Fine-Tune Renewable Energy Mandates

Ohio utilities would still have to find more of their power from renewable sources like solar and wind but not as much as required by current law under a bill that could soon see a Senate vote.

A revised version of House Bill 114 rolled out last week would get rid of the House-passed concept of replacing the mandates with voluntary goals carrying no penalties for failure.

The bill also seeks to resolve a four-year feud over the siting of wind farms.

May 27, 2018

Michigan Changes Net Metering Rules for Solar Power

Net metering is a boondoggle for residential homeowners who can afford to put solar panel systems on their homes

Michigan has joined other states in realizing that net metering rules as originally designed are biased against consumers without rooftop solar, raising their electricity rates. Michigan will now charge rooftop solar customers at the retail price of electricity for electricity that they consume and pay them a lower price for the electricity that the utility purchases from them thereby charging them for the use of the electrical wires (i.e., transmission and distribution) that non-solar consumers hitherto have had to subsidize. Customers already in the net metering program will be grandfathered for 10 years. By changing the rules on net metering, Michigan will join several other states that have recognized the bias.

May 25, 2018

Solar industry Lobbies for Greater Legislative Support in Massachusetts

Clamoring for “long-term stable growth” in their sector, solar industry workers rallied Wednesday for changes that would make it easier and more economical for people to support renewable energy.

After some boom years, employment in the Massachusetts solar industry has dipped, losing about 3,000 jobs in the past two years. The industry now employs 11,500 people in Massachusetts.

“This is still in the early frames of our growth as an industry,” said Zaid Ashai, chairman and CEO of Nexamp, a solar company. He told supporters outside the State House, “It needs to be long-term stable growth.”

May 24, 2018

Ohio Wind-Farm Rules Eased in Proposed State Senate Bill, But Mandates Reduced

There soon may be more wind farms in Ohio.

The Ohio Senate's GOP leadership is making an effort to encourage wind-farm development in the state by eliminating restrictive rules that previous GOP leadership slipped into a budget bill four years ago.

The 2014 changes lengthened the distance a wind turbine can be to an adjoining property line  to 1,125 feet -- rather than to the nearest home on adjacent property -- and ended any further wind project applications in the state.

The Senate is proposing to relax those restrictions. Yet at the same time it is making changes to other state energy laws including those requiring electric companies to sell more energy generated by wind, solar and hydro projects and to develop programs that help customers use less electricity.

May 23, 2018

R.I. Lawmakers Poised to OK Biomass Bill

Foes say a wood burning plant in Johnston would release carbon and potential contaminants.

Despite the objections of environmental groups, the General Assembly is poised to expand a key state renewable energy program in support of a so-called biomass power plant being contemplated in Johnston that would burn wood waste to generate electricity.

The plant is being proposed by North Kingstown-based Green Development, the company that is a lead player in a debate in Rhode Island over the installation of solar arrays in woodlands and farm fields. Green Development has also installed more land-based wind turbines in Rhode Island than any other company, including 10 in Coventry and another seven going up near the Central Landfill in Johnston.

The biomass bill won Senate approval early this month and cleared the House Committee on Corporations on Tuesday. A vote by the full House had yet to be scheduled as of Wednesday afternoon.

A spokesman for Green Development said the company won’t be able to build the biomass plant without the change in law.

“Unless you attach biomass to net metering, the economics simply do not make sense,” said Bill Fischer.

He and others say the bill would help expand Rhode Island’s renewable energy portfolio by offering the same incentives to biomass that wind and solar power already receive.

The legislation would include biomass in the 2011 state net metering law, which allows entities to offset their electric bills through the sale of renewable energy to the power grid.

The change would bring the law in line with the state’s Renewable Energy Standard, which passed in 2004 and includes biomass as a qualifying source. No biomass projects have been developed yet in Rhode Island. National Grid, however, does buy large amounts of biomass power from other parts of New England to meet the annual targets set by the Renewable Energy Standard.

Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall, the Bristol Democrat who introduced the bill in the House, said it makes no sense to purchase biomass power from out of state and not offer incentives to develop it in-state.

“You can’t say that we have a mandate to reach an environmental goal and on the flip side say, ‘We don’t want that to happen,’” Marshall, the senior deputy majority leader, said in an interview.

In written testimony to the legislature, Mark DePasquale, the founder of Green Development, argued that his new plant will use wood waste that would otherwise be thrown away in the Central Landfill and would release methane as it breaks down. (There is a biogas plant at the landfill that burns methane.)

“Rather than throw it away, we would like to process the clean wood in a highly engineered biomass plant to generate steady, baseload power and reduce greenhouse gas production while increasing our energy independence,” he wrote.

But environmental groups that include the Conservation Law Foundation and the Acadia Center counter that burning wood waste will produce carbon emissions and nitrous oxides. They also say that if the plant were to burn other construction or demolition debris, it would release potential contaminants from lead paint and arsenic.

“Expanding use of biomass will increase conventional air pollution by subsidizing a technology — wood burning — that is one of the largest sources of air pollution in the U.S. per megawatt hour of energy produced,” James Bryan McCaffrey, of the Partnership for Policy Integrity, wrote in testimony to the General Assembly.

Johnathan Berard, Rhode Island director of Clean Water Action, wrote in an email, “This legislation would not only undo [Rhode Island’s] long-standing ban on incineration ... but it is clearly a quid pro quo for a prominent campaign donor.”

DePasquale has made more than $30,000 in campaign contributions over the past seven years to state government leaders, including House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Gov. Gina Raimondo.

This is not the first time legislation has been proposed that would help DePasquale’s company.

Under its previous name, Wind Energy Development, it was at the center of a Smith Hill controversy two years ago when the proposed House budget bill included a provision that would have sidestepped a decision by the state Public Utilities Commission and potentially shifted some of the costs to ratepayers for connecting renewable energy to the power grid.

The language in the budget bill was lifted from legislation introduced by then-state Rep. John Carnevale that failed to win passage. Carnevale ended his campaign for reelection after a WPRI story raised questions about whether he resided in the district he represented.

After The Journal wrote about the proposed provision and the way it was designed to help DePasquale’s wind project in Coventry, it was removed from the budget legislation.

The back and forth over biomass is playing out nationally. Last month, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt announced his agency’s determination that biomass is carbon neutral, but opponents of the policy change say it ignores the air pollution caused by burning wood and encourages the felling of trees.

Marshall said that new biomass technology recaptures smoke and burns it to reduce emissions. He also said that the plant in Johnston would only use stumps, wood pallets and other wood waste and not other debris or fresh-cut trees.

The DEM, the state Office of Energy Resources and the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers have all taken a neutral position on the legislation.

May 22, 2018

UK: Clean Growth Strategy Slammed by Government Committee as MPs Sound Alarm on Green Finance

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has issued a damning verdict of the government’s approach to clean energy investment in recent years, calling on it to publish an urgent plan to plug looming policy gaps.

And the committee has also issued its withering verdict on the government’s Clean Growth Strategy, a body of work which it said ultimately falls short of its aim and must be rectified with urgent policy decisions.