This recent article by the Manager of EPRI published on EnergyCentral.com discusses how conventional photovoltaic (PV) applications can act as distributed resources when the sun is shining — rather than solely as a reduction in load. They also can help diversify supply portfolios and meet other goals. The most basic scenario is for utilities to aggregate grid-connected PV installations owned by others and to treat them as demand-side resources.
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The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) and the North American Water Office (NAWO) find today’s decision by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve nearly $2 billion in ratepayer money for 650 miles of new high voltage transmission lines (known as CapX) to be willfully shortsighted. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s decision represents a slap in the face to Minnesota ratepayers and deals another setback for building a homegrown, decentralized energy future.
There’s a renewable energy policy with a record of incredible success, so why aren’t we using it in America? Our April 2009 paper briefly explores the history of feed-in tariffs (FITs) in Europe – the rise and fall of this policy in Denmark and the rise and rise of FITs in Germany – and then outlines why it would be a much simpler, more cost-effective, and better economic driver for reaching America’s renewable energy goals.
American renewable energy policy consists of a byzantine mix of tax incentives, rebates, state mandates, and utility programs. The complexity of the system results in more difficult and costly renewable electricity generation, and hampers the ability of states and communities to maximize the benefits of their renewable energy resources.
Upcoming Event in Minneapolis!
A talk by David Morris at 7PM on Sunday, April 26. Join ILSR and the DFL Education Foundation in a discussion of the challenges to environmental and renewable energy policy in an economic crisis.
There’s a renewable energy policy with a record of incredible success, so why aren’t we using it in America? This paper briefly explores the history of feed-in tariffs (FITs) in Europe – the rise and fall of this policy in Denmark and the rise and rise of FITs in Germany – and then outlines why it would be a much simpler, more cost-effective, and better economic driver for reaching America’s renewable energy goals. Continue reading
Obama’s plan for a "national smart grid" needs closer examination. An expanded national grid would be anything but smart. In the New York Times, Al Gore insists the new president should give the highest priority to "the planning and construction of a unified national smart grid. "President Barack Obama, responding to a question by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, declares that one of "the most important infrastructure projects that we need is a whole new electricity grid … a smart grid."
Tax Reform and Community Based Renewable Energy By John Farrell, originally published in Renewable Energy World, February 5, 2009 The federal tax credits for renewable energy have been a major barrier to widespread ownership of renewable energy. The production tax credit, for example, can only be taken against passive income, a type of income that… Continue reading
As part of the 2002 Omnibus Tax Bill (Laws of Minnesota 2002, Chapter 377) the legislature has changed the way wind energy projects are taxed. From now on, wind energy projects in Minnesota will be exempt from property taxes and instead will be required to pay local taxing districts a direct payment based on the electricity production from the wind turbines. The tax is on a sliding-scale based on the size of the wind energy project. Continue reading
In May 2004, San Francisco adopted an Energy Independence Ordinance using California’s Community Choice Aggregation law (Laws of California 2002 Chapter 838) as a purchasing and ratesetting authority, and will issue revenue bonds, called H Bonds, to finance a 360 MW public works project. The energy projects would be equivalent to more than a third of the city’s electrical capacity needs and on average would supply about 14 percent of the city’s electric consumption (MWhs) without arate increase. Continue reading
Ohio was the second state in the nation to offer community choice. Its community choice provision is modeled after that in Massachusetts’ 1997 electric restructuring law. Ohio has given local governments the right, after a vote by their city council, to become the default supplier. Continue reading