Here are five recommended reads for today (6/12/13).
Greentech Media reports: “California has just taken a big step forward in making grid-scale energy storage on a truly massive scale a reality. On Monday, the California Public Utilities Commission released a proposal (PDF) that would call for the state’s big three investor-owned utilities to procure 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage by decade’s end, along with market mechanisms to start the procurement process as early as next year.”
At Grist, David Roberts has “further reading” on “utilities and distributed energy.”
Climate Progress writes, “The federal Bureau of Land Management is costing taxpayers a bundle by undervaluing the public coal it sells to industry, an Interior Department watchdog has concluded in a new report.”
The U.S. Energy Information Administration is out with its new Short-Term Energy Outlook, projecting “renewable energy consumption for electricity and heat generation to increase by 3.0 percent in 2013″ and “the growth in renewables consumption for power and heat generation is projected to continue at a rate of 5.3 percent” in 2014.
Here are five recommended reads for today (6/11/13).
The Solar Energy Industries Association reports, “Utility PV installations in the U.S. grew 670% over the course of just two years from 2010 to 2012. In 2012 alone, 1,769 MW of utility PV was connected to the grid – 59% more than the cumulative total in all prior years.”
According to a new report by the Center for American Progress: “Concentrating solar power—also known as concentrated solar power, concentrated solar thermal, and CSP—is a cost-effective way to produce electricity while reducing our dependence on foreign oil, improving domestic energy-price stability, reducing carbon emissions, cleaning our air, promoting economic growth, and creating jobs. One physicist has even touted it as the ‘technology that will save humanity.’”
Fortune writes that Japan is the “world’s new star in solar power.”
Greentech Media reports, “California’s solar energy generators set a new record on Friday, June 7, at 12:59 p.m., breaking through the 2-gigawatt landmark to put 2,071 megawatts of electricity on the state’s grid.“
Here are five recommended reads for today (6/10/13).
Stephen Lacey of Greentech Media reports: “The price of a solar power purchase agreement is usually confidential information. But in the case of the Macho Springs solar project, acquired by First Solar from Element Power, the PPA price was disclosed (by mandate) at $57.90 per megawatt-hour. That 5.79 cents per kilowatt-hour is a low number, close to the price of an existing coal plant, and seemingly half of what has typically been paid for projects of this nature.”
According to The Motley Fool: “Like it or not, solar power is coming, and with installations up 76% last year and residential solar growing rapidly, companies have to evolve. The transition utility companies make will be very important, and it will be key to see who is able to make solar an asset and who looks at it as a liability.”
The Washington Post reports, “Utilities and solar advocates square off over the future.”
In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, former Energy Secretary Steven Chu says that “[u]tilities should start leasing solar systems to homeowners.”
The New York Times reports: “Abandoned oil field equipment is a common problem in Texas, which is home to vast numbers of old wells that were never properly sealed….some fear that the recent surge in oil drilling, brought about by the modern practice of hydraulic fracturing, will set off worrisome encounters with the old wells.”
We recently posted the first installment in a series of articles from our conversation with nationally recognized energy finance expert Richard Caperton. It’s part of our Scaling Green Communicating Energy lecture. We first focused on Caperton’s introduction to Master Limted Partnerships (MLPs) and the huge impact they could have on clean energy scaling. MLPs are the advantageous tax structure that only the oil and gas industries currently get to use. You know, the guys who really need a government handout.
Some cleantech deniers in Congress have floated the idea that clean energy access to MLPs should only be granted if clean energy accepts the idea that we need to end smart public policy support for these critical, popular forms of sustainable energy. Of course, there’s no conversation about when oil, coal, gas and nukes are going to “get off” welfare, which they’ve been on for decades. Putting these highly profitable, mature energy sectors on their own two feet would be…well, not picking them as the winners any more. It would be so.. free market.
The fossil fuel industry would have people believe that the only way we can level the playing field for MLP access is to end solar’s Investment Tax Credit or wind’s Production Tax Credit (PTC), both of which have these industries concerned. That makes no sense, as Caperton explains, for several reasons:
First is that they’re just a different scale of value. The PTC is much more valuable to the wind industry than MLP treatment would be, and that’s why we can’t get rid of the PTC. Second is that they operate differently, they’re treated differently, they work very differently, so they’re not immediately interchangeable. But that’s a much more complicated point. I think the biggest thing to keep in mind is 2.2 cents a kilowatt hour from the PTC is extremely valuable.
The PTC and ITC are much more valuable than MLP treatment will be for the industry as a whole. There may be one or two companies that are subsets that would feel differently, but in general we should definitely support the PTC and ITC as fundamental drivers of investment that have been extremely successful, and we shouldn’t do anything to get rid of those.
No doubt, the PTC and ITC are extremely valuable, and should not be replaced by MLPs. But let’s not underplay the advantages of MLPs. MLPs are permanent, whereas clean energy tax credits have traditionally been limited to sunset dates and the instability of a dysfunctional Congress. This has left project financiers guessing and clean energy industries continuously fighting for renewals of basic policy support.
MLPs do not have a sunset date. That’s a permanent thing. And that’s a lot of the benefit...that the PTC will go away at some point unless we’re successful, as we have been every time it expired. But we have to keep fighting that fight, whereas the MLP is permanent; and that has some value – same with the ITC.
In the end, all of these measures – the PTC, ITC and MLPs – are highly valuable, and should be part of the mix of policies encouraging renewable energy in the United States. It’s also crucially important that we provide a fair, consistent policy basis for clean energy development in the United States. To date, fossil fuels have been consistently – and generously – subsidized, while clean energy has received inconsistent, relatively meager support. It’s long past time for that situation to change. If we want to cut government, let’s start with the wasteful stuff – like welfare checks to ExxonMobil, or to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
Here are five recommended reads for today (6/7/13).
The Hill reports, “Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Thursday that the White House won’t allow drilling in the Atlantic Ocean while House Republicans are putting the finishing touches on legislation to do so.”
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) writes, “Government and financial institutions around the world must pledge to invest at least US$40 billion (€30.6 billion) in renewable energy over the next 12 months as a way of fighting climate change, according to a campaign launched this week by the environmental NGO the WWF.”
Greentech Media says “Utilities can’t stop storms, but they can change how they plan and react.”
According to The Guardian, “Fossil fuel industry bosses really do say the darndest things” – “From Nikki Williams to Gina Rinehart, coal, oil and mining bosses use their platform to trivialise the climate problem.”
Bloomberg reports, “Shinzo Abe’s pledge to spur 30 trillion yen ($302 billion) of investment in Japan’s electricity industry opens the way for a surge in clean energy projects at the expense of traditional utilities.”