California demand for wind power energizes transmission firms
A firm controlled by Philip Anschutz, the billionaire entertainment and pro sports magnate, will soon build the largest wind farm in the United States to serve utilities in California, where officials have set ambitious green power goals.
The $5 billion project, however, will be constructed 700 miles away in Wyoming, a state better known for coal mines and oil fields.
The vast distance between the two states provides a different Anschutz-owned firm with another big opportunity: a $3 billion project building transmission lines to deliver the power - one of a dozen similar power-line projects by other companies across the West.
Source: Reuters, 2/15/17
Find Funding & Financing Opportunities
The Energy Department supports a number of grant, loan and financing programs. Learn more about these programs and how they can help you -- whether you are a startup energy business looking to launch a pilot project, a company with proven technology that needs help reaching commercial scale, or a state, local or tribal government looking for funding resources for energy projects.
Source: Department of Energy, 2/17/17
|Funding||2/16/2017|Apply for funding for energy efficiency, renewables
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) works with business, industry, universities, and other organizations to increase the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. One way EERE encourages the growth of these technologies is by offering financial assistance opportunities for their development and demonstration.
Source: DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 2/17/17
|Reports and Studies||2/15/2017|
Final report issued on digester repowering project
Municipal wastewater treatment accounts for 0.5-0.6 percent of the national electricity demand and is typically the largest operating cost after staff. This infrastructure has an excellent opportunity to re-define itself and evolve to being an energy producer versus an energy user. The solids, or sludge in municipal wastewater are rich in energy potential that can be harnessed when treated with the right anaerobic digestion technology.
A demonstration project by the California Energy Commission evaluated the measure of retrofitting a conventional digester with an Omnivore digester to increase biogas production.
Source: California Energy Commission, 2/15/17
Solar webinar recording, slides available to download
American Public Power Association presented the webinar, Solar in Your Community Challenge, Feb. 15. The Challenge will support dozens of teams across the country with cash prizes and technical assistance to demonstrate innovative, scalable business and financial models that can open new solar markets that benefit these underserved communities.
If you were unable to participate, a recording and the PowerPoint presentation are available online. (Registration required)
Source: American Public Power Association, 2/15/17
The Value of Certification and Verification
11:00 am-12:00 pm MT
On Wednesday, March 8, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Partnership (GPP) will host a webinar
with the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) examining the value of certification and verification in the green power market.
Switching to green power is easy with the right information but it can be difficult for buyers of green power to know whether they are buying credible products from credible suppliers. For this reason, EPA recommends, as a consumer best practice, buying green power products that are third-party certified and verified. Green power products certified by an independent third-party offers consumer a higher level of certainty about the integrity of their purchase.
The Center for Resource Solutions’ Green-e Energy program not only certifies green power products, but also independently verifies the products on an annual basis.
Source: US Environmental Protection Agency, 2/13/17
|Reports and Studies||2/12/2017|
Archived webinar introduces solar standards guide
Clean Energy States Alliance has produced a guide on standards and requirements for solar equipment, installation, and licensing and certification. The guide, “Standards and Requirements for Solar Equipment, Installation, and Licensing and Certification: A Guide for States and Municipalities,” is designed for state and municipal officials who are developing or revising solar standards and requirements. It discusses a selection of programs and rules for solar equipment, installation, and licensing & certification to highlight the means by which states and municipalities have addressed these areas and includes recommendations and considerations for each topic area.
In this webinar, report authors Beren Argetsinger of Keyes & Fox LLP and Ben Inskeep of EQ Research LLC provided an overview of the guide and addressed questions from the audience.
Source: Clean Energy States Alliance, 2/9/17
|Reports and Studies||2/6/2017|
National Solar Jobs Census for 2016 now available
The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2016 is the seventh annual update on current employment, trends, and projected growth in the U.S. solar industry. The Solar Jobs Census 2016 found that solar employment increased by over 51,000 workers, a 25 percent increase over 2015. Overall, the Solar Jobs Census found there were 260,077 solar workers in 2016. Solar industry employment has nearly tripled since the first National Solar Jobs Census was released in 2010.
Source: The Solar Foundation, 2/3/17
|Reports and Studies||2/1/2017|
DOE releases 2017 US Energy & Employment Report
The US Energy & Employment Report 2017 finds that the Traditional Energy and Energy Efficiency sectors today employ approximately 6.4 million Americans. These sectors increased in 2016 by just under 5 percent, adding over 300,000 net new jobs, roughly 14% of all jobs created in the country.
Source: Department of Energy, 2/1/17
|Reports and Studies||2/1/2017|
RMI report explores risks, opportunities of community solar development
Among developers, financiers, and communities, coming to a shared understanding of the risks and opportunities of community-scale solar (CSS) can be challenging. Rocky Mountain Institute’s Shine program and Sustainable Finance practice have collaborated on a report outlining project structures that address key risks and opportunities for stakeholders interested in developing and scaling CSS projects. The report, Financing Community-Scale Solar: How the Solar Financing Industry Can Meet $16 Billion in Investment Demand by 2020, is based on recent on-the-ground community and industry experience.
Download Financing Community-Scale Solar.
Source: Rocky Mountain Institute, 1/31/17
|Reports and Studies||2/1/2017|
DER rate design explored in NARUC manual
The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners has published a manual to assist commissions in considering appropriate rate design and compensation policies for distributed energy resources (DER).
The nature of electricity delivery, consumption, generation, and grid itself are changing, and changing rapidly. Understanding how DER impact the grid itself, including reliability, is important, but also understanding where, when, and how DER can benefit the grid is of equal value. Distributed Energy Resources Rate Design and Compensation attempts to provide regulators and stakeholders with information on how to address these opportunities, while maintaining affordable, reliable, safe and secure electricity.
Source: National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, 12/1/16
|Reports and Studies||2/1/2017|
Standards and Requirements for Solar Equipment, Installation, and Licensing and Certification: A Guide for States and Municipalities
This guide from the Clean Energy States Alliance is intended as a starting point for program managers in states or municipalities who are developing or revising standards and requirements for installation, licensing and certification, equipment and warranties for solar photovoltaic (PV) equipment and systems. It discusses a selection of programs and rules in these areas to highlight various means by which states and municipalities have addressed these topics and how they impact the implementation of solar policy goals. The guide develops recommendations and considerations for each topic area based upon review of numerous state and local solar programs and in consultation with program managers, solar installers, consultants, and non-governmental organizations.
Source: Clean Energy States Alliance, 1/30/17
Van Ness Feldman Hydro Newsletter - Vol. 4, Issue 2
- President Appoints Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur as Acting FERC Chairman; Former Chairman Norman Bay Resigns; Limitations on FERC’s Ability to Act Without a Quorum
- Second Circuit Reinstates EPA’s Water Transfers Rule
- FERC to Hold Workshop on Two-Year Pilot Licensing Process
- President Trump Issues Executive Order for Expedited Environmental Review of High Priority Infrastructure Projects
- President Trump Issues Executive Order for Regulatory Reform
- FERC Issues Policy Statement on Electric Storage Resources
- Supreme Court Agrees to resolve Jurisdiction Issue for Challenges to Waters of the U.S. Rule
- FERC Adjusts Civil Penalty Amounts
- Army Corps of Engineers Releases 2017 Nationwide Permits
Source: Van Ness Feldman, 1/31/17
Edison and Tesla unveil giant energy storage system
Tesla Motors Inc. and Southern California Edison on Monday unveiled one of the world’s largest energy storage facilities, part of a massive deployment of grid-connected batteries that regulators hail as key to helping keep Southern California’s lights on and reducing fossil-fuel reliance.
The facility at the utility’s Mira Loma substation in Ontario contains nearly 400 Tesla PowerPack units on a 1.5-acre site, which can store enough energy to power 2,500 homes for a day or 15,000 homes for four hours. The utility will use the collection of lithium-ion batteries, which look like big white refrigerators, to gather electricity at night and other off-peak hours so that the electrons can be injected back into the grid when power use jumps.
Source: Los Angeles Times, 1/30/17
|Reports and Studies||1/30/2017|Berkeley Lab report explores rate impacts of distributed solar
Putting the Potential Rate Impacts of Distributed Solar into Context presents illustrative comparisons between the effects of distributed solar and other drivers of retail electricity prices. Researchers characterize the potential effects of distributed solar on retail electricity prices, at both current and projected future penetration levels, and compare these estimates to a number of other important drivers for future retail electricity prices. The objective is neither to dismiss concerns nor to raise alarm, but rather to provide metrics and benchmarks that may help to set priorities.
Source: Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, 1/30/17
|Reports and Studies||1/26/2017|
Report offers roadmap for facilitating solar home listings
Berkeley Laboratory has published Capturing the Sun: A Roadmap for Navigating Data-Access Challenges and Auto-Populating Solar Home Sales Listings.
With more solar homes being sold, the market needs an improved process for listing, valuing, and closing on sales of these homes. The Roadmap promotes the concept in the real estate industry known as “automatic population,” in which data aggregated in one industry can be automatically matched with home sale listings on an MLS. The Roadmap is intended as the first step toward auto-population, to help professionals identify barriers in a local context and develop the most appropriate implementation strategy in their market to connect the data to an MLS.
Source: Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, 1/26/17
Energy Storage in an Unusual Spot
Montana co-op and youth agency team up on solar, Powerwall project
As director of a group home for at-risk youth, Lance Isaak wants to ensure that teenagers in the Kalispell, Montana, area stay safe while addressing dire family problems.
Someday, the program director of the Flathead Youth Home will also find himself as a solar energy tour guide, thanks to a partnership between the nonprofit and
Flathead Electric Cooperative, also in Kalispell.
The co-op selected the youth home to test rooftop solar panels and a Tesla Powerwall battery as a means of energy storage. Flathead Electric will collect and evaluate data generated by the 7.2-kilowatt, net-metered solar array and backup system over several years to determine whether the technology is a good fit for members.
Source: ElectricCoop.com, 1/24/17
|Reports and Studies||1/18/2017|
New Berkeley Lab Report Lays Out Pathways to Make Information on Solar Homes More Accessible
For 1.1 million solar homes in the US, no consistent way to have solar features marketed and valued when they sell
Register now for a free webinar
on Thursday, January 26, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (Noon to 1:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time), that will highlight key findings from Berkeley Lab's latest report titled Capturing the Sun: A Roadmap for Navigating Data-Access Challenges and Auto-Populating Solar Home Sales Listings
There are now over one million homes in America with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Yet real estate listing services (known as multiple listing services or MLSs) lack a standard way to report on the solar features of a home when it is placed on the market. Without this information, sellers may be losing out on value, and buyers may not know what they are getting, and real estate agents have a harder time bringing solar sellers and interested buyers together.
This new Roadmap from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) proposes a way to fill that gap. The PDF of this report will be available for download on January 26th.
Source: Berkeley Laboratory, 1/18/17
|Reports and Studies||1/18/2017|CEC issues final report on low-income barriers to efficiency, renewables
This study, mandated by
Senate Bill 350
, explores the barriers to and opportunities for expanding low-income customers’ access to energy efficiency, weatherization, and renewable energy investments. It also examines barriers and opportunities related to contracting with small businesses located in disadvantaged communities. This study provides recommendations intended to have a transformative effect on access to clean energy investments for low-income customers and local small businesses in disadvantaged communities.
Source: California Energy Commission, 12/14/16
|Reports and Studies||1/11/2017|
CESA webinar available online
If you were unable to attend the webinar, “Designing Publicly Supported Solar Loan Programs,” the slides and a recording of the presentation have been posted on the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) website.
The report featured in this webinar is available to download.
CESA presented this webinar for the Sustainable Solar Education Project. Learn more, or contact CESA with your questions, comments and feedback.
Source: Clean Energy States Alliance, 1/12/16
|Reports and Studies||1/11/2017|
Cal-ISO smart-inverter study turns tables on PV
NREL, First Solar show PV can balance variable grid
A real-world test of smart inverter technology by Cal-ISO, DOE's National Renewable Energy Lab and First Solar showed solar plants can provide more grid balancing services than previously thought. A report on the test: "Using Renewables to Operate a Low Carbon Grid," was released by the ISO yesterday.
The team installed smart inverter technology on a 300-MW PV plant that was then tested on three ancillary services: frequency control, voltage control and ramping capacity. The testing, done at a First Solar facility in August, showed that solar plants with smart inverter technology could offer the electric reliability services similar to, or in some cases superior to conventional power plants.
Source: Smart Grid Today, 1/12/17
|Reports and Studies||1/11/2017|
New Study on Demand Charge Savings from Residential Solar
We are pleased to announce a new study, Exploring Demand Charge Savings from Residential Solar, conducted jointly by Berkeley Lab and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Retail electricity tariffs with demand charges, whereby electricity customers are charged based on their peak demand, are commonly used for commercial customers and are increasingly being considered for residential customers as well. In light of this increased attention, Berkeley Lab and NREL are jointly engaged in a series of studies to evaluate the potential role of demand charges in aligning customer bill savings and utility cost savings from rooftop solar. The analysis summarized here is the first in this series of studies. It focuses specifically on residential customers with solar and seeks to answer the basic question: To what extent, and under what conditions, can rooftop solar reduce residential demand charges? The analysis addresses this question by estimating demand charge savings from residential solar across a broad range of demand charge designs, locations, and PV system characteristics.
Source: Berkeley Lab, 1/11/17
|Reports and Studies||1/3/2017|
Study evaluates potential RPS impacts 2015-2050
Berkeley Laboratory has released a new study, A Prospective Analysis of the Costs, Benefits, and Impacts of U.S. Renewable Portfolio Standards, conducted jointly by Berkeley Lab and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
This is the third in a series of reports exploring the potential costs, benefits, and other impacts of state renewable portfolio standards (RPS). Prior studies in the series have examined the historical effects of RPS programs. This new report, instead, evaluates RPS policies prospectively, under both a continuation of existing policies as well as possible expansions.
The report, along with an accompanying fact-sheet, can be
. A webinar summarizing key findings from the report will be held next Monday, January 9th at 11:00 am Pacific Time.
for the free webinar.
Source: Berkeley Laboratory, 12/28/16
|Reports and Studies||12/26/2016|
Accurate Solar Energy Forecasting Could Save Ratepayers Millions
A 2015 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and IBM found that more accurate day-ahead predictions of solar energy generation levels would save ratepayers in California $5 million in avoided costs. Solar forecasts, which integrate weather patterns and solar production estimates to help grid managers predict how much solar energy will be produced across their system on a given day, allow utilities to better allocate resources and avoid the need to ramp up reserve power plants. But grid managers have run into a problem that’s as old as time: it’s hard to predict the future.
Source: DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 12/23/16
IRS Updates “Beginning of Construction” Guidance
The IRS has issued highly anticipated guidance updating the “beginning of construction” requirement for the production tax credit (PTC) under Section 45 of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code) and the investment tax credit (ITC) under Section 48 of the Code. Notice 2016-31 updates the IRS’s prior guidance to reflect the extension of the PTC and ITC that was enacted at the end of 2015, and also addresses a number of other issues taxpayers may encounter when determining whether they qualify for the PTC or ITC.
Notice 2016-31 addresses certain issues raised by the extension of the PTC and ITC that was enacted as part of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the “PATH Act”). As we noted in our December 16, 2015, update, the legislation extended the availability of the PTC or ITC for wind facilities with respect to which construction begins before January 1, 2020, subject to a 20%-per-year reduction in the credit amount for facilities for which construction begins after December 31, 2016 (i.e., a 20% reduction for a facility the construction of which begins in 2017, a 40% reduction for a facility the construction of which begins in 2018, and a 60% reduction for a facility the construction of which begins in 2019). In the case of geothermal, landfill gas, trash, marine, and hydrokinetic facilities and certain closed-loop biomass, open-loop biomass, and qualified hydropower facilities, a taxpayer is eligible to claim the PTC or ITC if construction begins before January 1, 2017, with no phase-out.
Source: Stoel Rives LLP, 5/6/16
|Reports and Studies||12/26/2016|
Expanding Transmission to Access Renewables May be Key to Reach State Mandates
Meeting California’s renewable energy and greenhouse gas emission goals may necessitate the expansion of electricity transmission infrastructure to access new renewable power sources, both within and outside the state, according to a multi-agency state report released today.
The draft Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI) 2.0 report seeks to identify areas where utility-scale renewable energy can be accessed and where opportunities exist to develop electricity transmission. California is blessed with abundant renewable resources which can be developed at reasonable economic and environmental costs.
Source: California Energy Commission, 12/16/16