Hawaii’s Popular Rooftop Solar Incentives Winding Down

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Hawaii is a national leader in rooftop solar power, but despite the state’s ambitious goal of using only renewable energy by 2045, people are being shut out of solar incentive programs because of limits set by the state. On Maui, a program that reimburses customers who supply energy to the grid reached its maximum in June. The cap likely will be reached on Oahu — the state’s most populated island — by the end of summer, experts say.

House passes bills to create two DOE solar and storage research programs

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

The House passed legislation last night that would create new basic research programs at the Department of Energy for electricity storage and solar fuels. Both bills prohibit funds from being used for commercial application of energy technology, spurring disagreement on the House floor about their focus on “basic” research. They passed by voice vote under suspension of the rules of the House, which dictate that no amendments can be made to the legislation and two-thirds of voting members are required for passage.

Senate support grows for conference vote

Source: George Cahlink, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Bipartisan momentum is building in the Senate for going to conference with the House to reconcile competing versions of energy overhaul legislation. The House appointed conferees weeks ago. Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said his chamber would likely vote to join the House in talks sometime this week. “Going to conference on this measure would put us one step closer to arriving at a final bill and sending it to the president’s desk,” said McConnell in floor remarks.

Getaway week could prove pivotal for energy, spending bills

Source: Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, July 11th, 2016

Congressional leaders are set to work this week to revive a flailing appropriations process and set the stage for the first major energy reform law in a decade. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will be working to convince colleagues to join the House in a conference committee to merge competing versions of an energy bill.

Natural Resources panels focus on renewable energy development

Source: Corbin Hiar, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, July 11th, 2016

In a pair of subcommittee hearings this week, House Natural Resources Committee members will consider legislation to promote renewable energy development on public lands and scrutinize existing projects that have been built there. The Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee is set to host the first hearing on Wednesday afternoon. With representatives from the conservation community, renewables industry and country governments, they will evaluate the “Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act,” or H.R. 2663.

Dems strike compromise on energy provisions in platform

Source: Jennifer Yachnin, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, July 11th, 2016

Democrats on Saturday struck a compromise over energy policy in the party’s 2016 platform that calls for incentives that favor renewable energy development over natural gas power plants but does not include an outright ban on hydraulic fracturing promoted by supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. A “unity” amendment backed by supporters of both presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Sanders — who is expected to abandon his bid for the nomination and endorse Clinton as early as tomorrow — also failed to include a formal carbon tax, although it states that “greenhouse gases should be priced to reflect their negative externalities, and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.”

Canada can boost wind power without hiking energy bills — study

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, July 11th, 2016

More than a third of Canada’s electricity demand could be met with wind turbines without compromising the country’s grid reliability or driving up power bills, new findings from a much-anticipated wind power integration study show. The study, led by GE Energy Consulting, is the first to make a detailed systemwide examination of the opportunities, costs and benefits of adding significant amounts of wind energy capacity to Canada’s grid, officials said.

Here’s what U.S. can learn from Germany’s sunny grid

Source: John Fialka, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, July 11th, 2016

A report by a Berlin research institute said that on Sunday, May 15, Germany had generated just short of 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy. It appeared to be an environmentalist’s dream come true. A surge of wind and solar power helped handle nearly all of the day’s power demands, and the grid hadn’t flickered. “Germany achieves milestone,” said one headline. But like many aspects of adapting electricity grids to cleaner energy sources, the milestones are still to come. First, the institute’s report was wrong. Later calculations showed the portion of electricity supply from renewable energy was around 82 percent, not a record.

Wisconsin Regulators relax wind farm noise standards

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Monday, July 11th, 2016

Wisconsin regulators have relaxed noise restrictions on a major wind farm in St. Croix County. The Public Service Commission approved the Highland wind farm in 2013, but a St. Croix County judge ruled the commission improperly imposed noise restrictions on the farm’s turbines. The restrictions required the turbines to remain within maximum decibel levels 95 percent of the time, or just under 23 hours per day.

Colorado PUC Reverses Decision, Approves Community Solar Gardens

Source: By Glenn Meyers, CkeanTechnica • Posted: Monday, July 11th, 2016

For the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, June was a month of changes for the future of renewable electricity and solar gardens in this state. Here is why: At June’s end, PV-Tech reported the Colorado PUC reversed an earlier decision it had rendered by approving the deployment of community solar gardens. The regulatory agency granted reconsideration of a proposal by the state’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, and three solar companies, for community solar gardens which had earlier been rejected. Community solar gardens provide scope for virtual net-metering to those wanting to go solar but who are unable to have panels on their own property, and were part of Xcel’s wider Renewable Energy Standard (RES) compliance plan.