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Joining Ontario and several U.S. states, the Canadian province of Nova Scotia has proposed a new twist on a common clean energy program. The policy provides a guaranteed, long-term contract for wind, biomass, hydro, and tidal power producers and offers them the same return on equity provided to utiltiies. Continue reading
The country of Turkey recently adopted a new feed-in tariff policy for several renewable energy technologies including wind and solar. What’s notable is not the base rates (the prices are likely too low) but the bonus payments for “made in Turkey” projects. For a solar PV project, for example, a fully local solar PV system could increase their payment per kilowatt-hour by over 50%.
The policy mimics the highly successful FIT Program in Ontario, where a buy local rule requires participating projects to source at least 60% of their content in the province. The rule has meant that the 5,000 megawatts of projects in the pipeline have generated the promise of 43,000 jobs. For more on Ontario’s program, see our recently released report: Maximizing Jobs From Clean Energy: Ontario’s ‘Buy Local’ Policy.
Turkey’s policy is noteworthy for using bonus payments, a strategy that is more likely to pass legal muster for U.S. states looking to emulate Ontario’s job creation success.
Last week was a tough one for distributed solar markets in several states, as a remarkable number of renewable energy incentive programs hit their budget or capacity caps, or are shrinking in scope: San Diego Gas & Electric’s allocation of non-residential solar incentives under the California Solar Initiative ran out. The Los Angeles municipal utility… Continue reading
Yesterday we discussed the spread of solar carports in California, highlighting the Milpitas School District’s 14 distributed solar PV arrays. According to a news story, the district anticipates savings of $12 million over 25 years from the projects, which were financed by a power purchase agreement with Chevron Energy Solutions. But would the district have… Continue reading
Throughout most of the city, including all of San Francisco’s Neighborhood Commercial Districts, formula retail stores and restaurants are considered conditional uses. This means they must be approved by the Planning Commission on a case-by-case basis. In evaluating whether to grant a permit for a formula business, the Planning Commission considers several criteria, including the existing concentration of formula businesses within the neighborhood, whether similar goods or services are already available, and the balance of neighborhood-serving versus citywide- or regional-serving businesses. In additional, formula retail and restaurant uses are prohibited outright in several neighborhoods. Continue reading
San Diego requires retail stores over 50,000 square feet to undergo a special review. Continue reading
On November 18, 2010, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners approved a measure that creates a Community Advantage Banking Program, under which the county will invest $10 million of its funds with qualifying local community banks and local credit unions. The investment is expected to expand local lending, particularly to small businesses. Continue reading
The original edition of Community Solar Power received a lot of attention, for which we at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance are very grateful. The grading system we used for community solar projects was of particular interest, especially our offer of higher scores for projects placed on rooftops rather than on the ground.
In particular, the excellent folks at the Clean Energy Collective (whose project is featured in this report) engaged us on the criteria we used for rooftop and ground-mounted solar power. After several in-depth conversations, we offer this revision to Community Solar Power and to the grades we provided for solar project location. We think that our revised grading system better reflects the advantages of distributed renewable energy as well as the best efforts of community solar projects to provide their participants with the best value.
With its feed-in tariff, the Canadian province of Ontario is set to become the leading community renewable energy center in North America.
In an Oct. 12, 2010 report, [Ontario Power Authority] said that it has signed contracts for 264 megawatts of community-owned projects, and another 120 megawatts of projects owned by Ontario’s aboriginal peoples. The contracts represent 16 percent of Ontario’s 2,500 megawatts of feed-in tariff contracts to date.
No other jurisdiction in North America has made such a concerted effort as Ontario has to guarantee that a portion of the new renewable generating capacity to be built will be owned by its own citizens and native peoples through the province’s innovative feed-in tariff program.
This is in addition to Ontario’s microFIT program (a small renewable energy project program under the umbrella of feed-in tariff programs), which assures connection for homeowners and farmers wanting to generate electricity with solar panels for sale to the grid. There are 20,000 applications for microFIT contracts.
It’s noteworthy that despite Ontario’s success, Europeans still have significant leads based on their longstanding feed-in tariff policies.
…One-half of all wind generation in Germany, or more than 12,000 megawatts, is owned by local investors. The percentage of local ownership is even higher in Denmark and the Netherlands.
But North Americans are learning. Vermont recently adopted a feed-in tariff, and the several other U.S. states and the Canadian province of Nova Scotia are also considering it.
Nova Scotia begins hearings Nov. 8, 2010 on the province’s community feed-in tariff program. The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board will determine feed-in tariffs for large and small wind, biomass, and tidal power that will go into effect on April 4, 2011. Projects in the 100 megawatt program are set aside for Nova Scotians.