Tag: policy

US Clean Power Plan Could Include Carbon Trading

Some businesses that back President Barack Obama’s plan to curb greenhouse gases are making a late lobbying push to add an element similar to a cap-and-trade program.

With the administration set this week or next to unveil its final rules to cut emissions from coal and natural gas plants, groups for companies such as Johnson Controls Inc., Alstom SA and AES Corp. have pressed officials to include a carbon market so that costs don’t surge.

Those programs — a slimmed-down version of a plan Congress debated and failed to pass early in Obama’s tenure — would apply to states that balk at putting rules in place.

Listen Up: Vampires Sucking Power from your House

Here’s a nightmare for you: at night, when you’re asleep and you think things are quiet, there are vampires sucking power out of your house and increasing your electric bill. The fact of the matter is that every plugged in electrical device in your home uses a small amount of standby power — even if you think these devices are off.

Hillary Clinton Outlines Renewable Energy Proposals; Will Further Obama Climate Goals

Hillary Clinton on Sunday set two “bold national goals” to combat climate change, promising that if she’s elected president, she would set the United States on a path toward producing enough clean renewable to power every home in America within a decade.

She would also initiate a process that would bring the total number of solar panels installed nationwide to more than half a billion before the end of her first term, her campaign said in a fact sheet released Sunday as it also posted a video in which Clinton lays out her ambitions.

With 1.6 GW of Wind Capacity Installed in Q2, American Wind Power Continues To Ramp Up In 2015

With 1,661 megawatts (MW) of newly installed wind turbines coming online during the second quarter of 2015 and more than 13,600 MW under construction, American wind power continues to increase its contribution to the U.S. electric power grid. The approval in May of Florida’s first purchase of wind energy, from a wind project in Oklahoma, added to the growing trend of Southeastern states purchasing wind power, as did the recent announcement of the first utility-scale wind farm to be built in North Carolina.

Building on that momentum, Congress also took a step in the right direction yesterday when the U.S. Senate Finance Committee voted 23-3 to extend the primary federal tax incentives for growing renewable energy as part of a larger tax policy extension bill.

Swiss Solar PV Company Plans To Build Solar Manufacturing Plant in Brazil

EcoSolifer AG, a Swiss solar company, is planning a panel plant in Brazil as the country seeks to develop a domestic supply chain for photovoltaic components.

The company is evaluating locations now for a facility that will assemble imported cells into about 80 MW worth of panels a year, said Bruno Zacharias, head of the company’s operations in Brazil.

Brazil has less than 35 MW of solar power capacity today, an insignificant part of its power supply. It’s seeking to promote wider use of the renewable energy and has introduced policies encouraging manufacturers to open factories. Zacharias said his plant will start producing cells within five years, something none of his competitors is doing.

Think the US Solar Industry Doesn’t Need the Solar ITC? Think Again.

“What I’m worried about is the end of the ITC,” said Tony Clifford, CEO of Standard Solar a solar developer based in Maryland during an interview at Intersolar North America. In preparation for a presentation that he was giving at the show, Clifford sought out studies other than those conducted by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) about what will happen to solar in the U.S. should the ITC go away. He wanted to look beyond SEIA, the lobbying arm of the industry, because Clifford said he would expect SEIA to say the end of the ITC will be catastrophic for the solar industry, it is a lobbying organization after all. While he does believe the industry will be harmed he wanted to see what other independent studies were showing. 

How Solar Energy Zones and Easy Permitting Helped Create 3-cent Solar

Warren Buffet’s utility NV Energy has signed the lowest price contract for solar ever, at just US $0.0384 for First Solar’s 100-MW Playa Solar project, beating even its own record low price of $0.046 cents for SunPower’s 100-MW project in Boulder City, Nevada.

Both solar projects benefit from new streamlined permitting set up through the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Western Solar Plan, which designated 19 Solar Energy Zones (SEZ). This auction covered six parcels across 3,083 acres in Nevada. The previous case-by-case way to permit solar on BLM land was taking at least two years; and even longer if anything to tripped up the process. 

US DOC Enforces New Tariffs on Chinese Solar Manufacturers

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has ruled it will impose new punitive tariffs against Chinese solar product manufacturers, with antidumping duties of up to 260 percent and countervailing duties as high as 23 percent. The ruling represents the DOC’s latest efforts to control the dumping of low-cost solar products into the U.S. market by Chinese manufacturers.

FERC Removes Obstacles that Limit Distributed Renewable Energy in Colorado

In a July 1 ruling FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) cleared the way for Colorado’s Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA), along with other electric co-ops, to step outside the bounds of a 40-year power supply contract with Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association and tap into local renewable energy supplies. FERC’s ruling, which was unanimous, clarifies what had been deemed unclear wording in PURPA (Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act), as well as Tri-State’s regulatory status.

The contract DMEA and 43 other electric co-ops had signed with Tristate in 2001 required them to purchase 95 percent of their electricity from Tri-state. In short, FERC ruled that as per PURPA DMEA not only had the right but the obligation to purchase electricity directly from “Qualifying Facilities” (QFs) over and above the five percent cap it’s limited to in its contract with Tri-State.

With the ruling, FERC opened the door for DMEA and other Tri-State electric co-op members to tap into cost-competitive renewable energy resources right in their backyards. DMEA intends to move forward and contract for electricity from a small-scale hydropower facility to be built on a local irrigation canal proposed by Percheron, DMEA’s Manager of Member Relations and Human Resources Virginia Harman said. 

Note To PUC: Changes to Electricity Rate Design Could Dramatically Impact the Future of Solar PV

A new report from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) finds that the future growth of distributed generation solar PV is heavily influenced by retail electricity rate design – and that proposed changes to net metering rules and retail rate structures could harm increased adoption of distributed solar.

The report, titled Net Metering and Market Feedback Loops: Exploring the Impact of Retail Rate Design on Distributed PV Deployment, is meant to inform the public and utility regulators that about the effects of changes proposed by a growing number of states to their net metering rules and retail rate structures – changes fueled by worry that increased adoption of distributed PV could result in unwelcome financial impacts on utilities and consumers.

Ryan Wiser, one of the report’s authors, said utilities are primarily concerned that solar customers don’t always pay their fair share of fixed infrastructure costs. “Utilities sometimes claim that net-metered solar customers are unfairly subsidized under existing net metering rules, with non-solar customers paying a larger share of the fixed costs of the electric grid,” Wiser said.