QUICK NEWS, June 17: BIG WIN FOR SOLAR IN MASSACHUSETTS;WIND AND THE NEW EPA RULES; THE MANY ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF GEOTHERMAL
BIG WIN FOR SOLAR IN MASSACHUSETTS Massachusetts Solar Industry, Utilities and Regulators Reach a Deal on Solar Policy
Herman K. Trabish, June 16, 2014 (Greentech Media)
Compromise solar policy legislation in Massachusetts could serve as a template for reforms in other battleground states…Two important solar policies will change significantly and that could save ratepayers in the state more than $500 million if lawmakers approve the proposal…Net energy metering (NEM), which provides a retail-rate bill credit to solar owners for electricity their systems send to the grid, will remain in place unaltered, but the cap will be eliminated and ratepayers will have a “minimum bill” instead of the present “monthly charge.”…[and] solar renewable energy credits (SRECs), which create revenue for solar owners when purchased by utilities to meet state-mandated renewables obligations, will be replaced by a tiered, performance-based incentive system after a six-month period of transition during which both will be available…After the new policies are approved by the legislature, the minimum bill and the tiered performance-based incentive schedule will be established by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities in a standard regulatory proceeding… click here for more
WIND AND THE NEW EPA RULES AWEA's Gramlich discusses impact of existing source rule on wind energy growth
Transcript, June 10, 2014 (On Point/E&E TV)
Monica Trauzzi: Rob, wind energy is seen as one of the many sources of energy that could get a boost if the president's existing source proposal becomes final. How much growth is your industry preparing for?
Rob Gramlich: Well, we think that's exactly right, Monica. We're looking at 20 percent of U.S. electricity from wind by 2030. That's about what the Bush administration report said about seven years ago, and DOE is updating that. We think this is one of a number of policies that will help get us there.
[MT]: Which states have you identified where wind energy could have the greatest impact in terms of the state meeting the standards set out in the existing source plan?
[RG]: It's a combination of factors. There are a lot of states with great export potential who can produce a lot of wind -- Iowa, North Dakota, Colorado. There are a lot of states that have great wind resource potential. They could use that potential for local compliance, but also they can sell it to other states. So there are a lot of importing states who may have significant goals to achieve under the new rules where they can import wind to comply…
[MT]: In announcing the proposal, Administrator McCarthy highlighted nuclear energy as an energy source that could help states meet the standard. And of course recently the nuclear industry has taken a hit against wind power for undercutting its ability to compete in the marketplace. How do you see that back and forth and that dynamic between your industry and the nuclear guys escalating with this standard as part of the conversation?
[RG]: There's a conflict between Exelon and the production tax credit. We know their views on that. They don't see it the same way we do. I wouldn't say the nuclear industry broadly opposes wind or the PTC. In fact, I see a lot more voices both in the renewable sector and in the nuclear sector saying we really need ways to value carbon-free electricity. So I actually see more of a convergence over time… click here for more
THE MANY ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF GEOTHERMAL New Industry Paper Examines Reports on Geothermal Power Costs and Benefits
June 16, 2014 (Geothermal Energy Association)
“Geothermal energy is an affordable power source, according to an analysis of several government and private sector reports published in 2014…[The Economic Costs and Benefits of Geothermal Power concluded that geothermal] compares favorably with other technologies currently available according to… the U.S. Energy Information Agency, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and the California Public Utilities Commission…According to the Department of the Interior, geothermal [also] generated $15 million in fiscal year 2014 [in royalty payments]…[And] GEA estimates that for every 100 MW of geothermal power, the industry provides 170 permanent, full-time jobs…[as well as] 310 annual construction and 330 annual manufacturing/equipment jobs…” click here for more