Senate hopes to finish broad package by week’s end

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, February 1st, 2016

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) filed an amendment to address the battles playing out nationwide over state net-metering policies. The proposal, backed by Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), would preserve consumer agreements on net metering by limiting state regulators’ powers to impose higher rates.

Texas gets an F in net metering — report

Source: By Jordan Blum, Fuel Fixʥ Posted: Friday, January 29th, 2016

Texas gets an F for net-metering policies, according to a new Vote Solar and Interstate Renewable Energy Council report. Released Tuesday, the report asks states about pro-solar policies including net metering, which compensates energy customers for energy they add to the grid through solar panels or other means. It gave 10 states including Texas that lowest score, noting that the state made connecting panels to the grid difficult and had no statewide net-metering law.

Va. lawmaker proposes mandatory renewable energy standard for utilities

Source: By Darren Sweeney, SNL • Posted: Friday, January 29th, 2016

A Virginia lawmaker introduced a bill in the General Assembly on Jan. 22 that would convert the state’s voluntary renewable portfolio standard to a mandatory program for investor-owned electric utilities. Virginia’s voluntary RPS law gives electric utilities the option to meet a renewable energy target of 15% of electric energy sales by 2025. S.B. 761, introduced by Sen. Donald McEachin, a Democrat, would require utilities to make investments in solar energy generation, onshore wind, offshore wind and cumulative energy efficiency savings by 2030 to meet mandatory RPS standards.

U.S. wind industry touts major 2015 gains, says more to come

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 29th, 2016

he U.S. wind energy sector notched its second-largest quarterly growth in history during the last three months of 2015, according to figures released yesterday by the American Wind Energy Association. The industry saw 5,001 megawatts of new capacity come online during the fourth quarter. For the full year, new wind power capacity jumped 77 percent from 2014. At just under 8,600 MW, it drove the nation’s total installed capacity to 74,472 MW (or 74.4 gigawatts).

Policy creates politics

Source: By Josh Chafetz, contributor, The Hill • Posted: Friday, January 29th, 2016

Policy creates politics. It’s not a new observation, but it is a somewhat counterintuitive one. Normally, we think of the causation as running the other way: Politics is often conceived of as the process of competing for the authority to determine policy. Politics, as we normally think about it, causes policy.

Rooftop advocates take to the ballot in Nev.

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 29th, 2016

Sparring over net-metering payments for rooftop solar systems is continuing in the West, with solar companies forming a political action committee this week aimed at overturning a recent Nevada decision. The No Solar Tax PAC filed papers Monday with the Nevada Secretary of State, along with a ballot initiative that would overturn a December decision by the state Public Utilities Commission that dramatically reduced the benefits that solar producers receive for sending power back to the grid.

California Votes to Retain System That Pays Solar Users Retail Rate for Excess Power

Source: By DIANE CARDWELL, New York Times • Posted: Friday, January 29th, 2016

Regulators in California, home to more residential solar customers than any other state, agreed on Thursday to retain a system that compensates users of rooftop solar panels for their excess electricity. The decision was closely watched by energy officials and executives across the country, who are grappling with huge shifts in the power industry stemming from the spread of renewable energy.

Renewable tax credits a ‘game changer’ for climate rule compliance

Source: Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 29th, 2016

Congress’ decision to extend tax credits for renewable energy could fundamentally shift America’s energy mix away from natural gas and toward wind and solar at the advent of the Clean Power Plan, a new report predicts. Congress in December agreed to extend the production tax credit (PTC) for wind and the investment tax credit (ITC) for solar through the end of the decade, a move hailed as hugely significant for the industries because it provides greater certainty to investors

Key GOP senators back clean tech spending

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 29th, 2016

Two key Republicans are expressing support for doubling federal energy research as the Obama administration weighs how to enact a landmark clean energy plan announced during last year’s climate talks in Paris. When asked about a plan called Mission Innovation, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said, “I have long favored doubling energy research. … I think it fits a Republican pro-growth agenda.”

Nev. utility proposes ‘grandfathering’ existing solar customers

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Seeking to assuage anger among ratepayers and clean energy advocates, Nevada’s largest electric utility said it would allow existing customers with solar panels to continue being compensated at retail rates for their distributed energy for up to 20 years. The proposal by NV Energy, if approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN), would restore tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue to ratepayers who have installed solar systems in recent years for both environmental and economic reasons.