On June 28, 2007, the Illinois Senate and House approved a joint resolution that adopts a policy that calls for carbon-neutral state buildings by 2030. They are the first state to address this particular green building initiative, a derivative of the Architecture 2030 Challenge, through a legislature. New Mexico’s Governor Bill Richardson adopted a similar but weaker policy by executive order in January of 2006.
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Laws recently passed by the states of Washington and Montana are creating greenhouse gas emissions standards for new power plants. The two states are relying on different approaches but each has C02 reduction from future coal plants as the primary goal.
San Francisco’s Mayor has approved a local power plan that could achieve a 51 percent renewable energy portfolio by 2017. The Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) plan creates an innovative new financial structure using municipal revenue bonds (“H Bonds”) to make San Francisco energy independent and finance construction of a 360 megawatt solar power network and make investments in energy conservation efforts.
On May 7th, Washington’s Governor signed a new law that effectively reverses a January 2007 Washington Supreme Court decision. The State Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Seattle municipal utility could not purchase carbon offsets with ratepayer money. This case originated from ratepayers that were protesting Seattle City Light’s purchases of carbon offsets to counter the utility’s greenhouse gas emissions.
In mid-May, Los Angeles’ Mayor announced a new climate change action plan that calls for the LA municipal utility to increase its renewable energy portfolio to reach 35 percent by 2020. This in combination with about 50 other proposed actions will work to reduce GHG emissions in the city of angels to 35 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
Responding to concerns and evidence put forward by solar power companies and advocates, Governor Schwarznegger has pledged to fix a flaw in California’s Solar Initiative that has caused a reported 78 percent drop off in proposed photovoltaic installations in the state.
In early April 2007, Waverly Light and Power’s Board of Trustees approved a new residential rate structure designed to encourage energy conservation by charging customers higher rates as more electricity is used. This "inverted" rate is going into effect only during four summer months beginning July 1, 2007.
WLP, a municipally-owned utility with about 4,500 customers, experiences the highest demand for electricity during summer and is hoping that this program leads to decreased demand for power. The rate structure after July will look like this:
In January 2007, the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) adopted an interim Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) in an effort to help mitigate climate change.
This March 2007 report, Full Report: Report: Distributed Generation and Cogeneration Policy Roadmap for California, from the California Energy Commission provides a nice state-based, how-to perspective on policy options to increase the use of small scale DG along with larger combined heat and power projects. Continue reading
On April 2nd, the Internal Revenue Service issued a notice soliciting applicants for the next round of Clean Renewable Energy Bonds allocations. The CREBs program provides governmental entities, municipal and cooperatively owned utilities an incentive to develop renewable energy projects. Ultimately, an interest free financing tool, CREBs are a substitute for renewable energy production tax incentives that these entities are not able to use because of their tax exempt status. Applications must be filed by July 13, 2007.