Appropriations have become a warzone in recent years for environmental measures – seeking cuts to the federal government’s ability to conduct programs related to climate change or renewable energy, including climate change monitoring, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency measures and renewable energy technologies.
Solar and wind firms know well that a favorite federal tax incentive could expire at the end of 2016. Instead of waiting to see if it happens, they’re investing now. Companies are rushing to build solar and wind projects before 2017, when the federal investment tax credit for renewable energy is chopped from 30 to 10 percent, renewables financiers said at a conference this week. The question is whether this sets up a cliff in investment for 2017, or more of a slope. That was a subject of debate at the Renewable Energy Financing Forum here.
They didn’t know it at the time, but the members of Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission set off a solar tsunami last year when they approved rules for a community solar program in Xcel Energy Inc.’s service area. Yesterday, the PUC opened a hearing on Xcel’s plea to retroactively put limits on the program, and on the consequences of doing so for Minnesota’s nascent solar industry.
The City of Grand Island has signed a long-term agreement to purchase about 36 megawatts of power from Invenergy’s Prairie Breeze III Wind Energy Center, which is to begin to be built in Antelope County yet this year. This is the Grand Island’s first direct renewable energy purchase. A portion of the output from Prairie Breeze III may be purchased from Grand Island by two other Nebraska municipalities that have interest in project participation — Neligh and Nebraska City.
The California energy storage market got a boost this week with two new developments. The San Francisco Bay Area startup Advanced Microgrid Solutions announced Monday that it has signed a deal with Shell Energy North America to install up to 20 megawatts of batteries at Shell sites throughout California.
Weeks before U.S. EPA issues its final Clean Power Plan rule, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said the landmark environmental regulation must undergo an extreme makeover or his state won’t comply. Pence issued his demands in a letter to President Obama yesterday. In doing so, Indiana joins Oklahoma in vowing to refuse compliance with the Obama administration’s plan to slash carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.
Bipartisan members of the House and Senate reintroduced legislation yesterday that would extend the use of tax-advantaged corporate structures to renewable energy and low-carbon power projects. The lead Senate sponsor, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), described his “Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act” as a “modest modification” of the tax code. It extends to solar and wind power companies the same tax-free equity financing enjoyed by most natural gas pipeline companies.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) today introduced a bill that would give alternative energy sources the same tax advantages enjoyed by the fossil fuel industry, his third attempt at a tax code fix that has failed to gain traction in the past two Congresses. The legislation would allow developers of solar, wind and other clean energy sources to form master limited partnerships (MLPs), a business structure that is traded as a corporate stock but taxed as a partnership.
A new bill has U.S. companies up in arms over the possible elimination of Production Tax Credits (PTC) across the United States. Eighty-five companies sent a letter to the 21 lawmakers sponsoring HR 1901, or the PTC Elimination Act, explaining the bill would “take away an effective, business tax incentive that creates jobs, drives rural economic development and reduces energy costs for Americans across the country.”
An offshore wind developer looking to build a 25-megawatt pilot wind farm off the coast of New Jersey has appealed its case to the state’s highest court. In legal briefs filed late last week with the state Supreme Court, Cape May, N.J.-based Fishermen’s Energy once again challenged a New Jersey Board of Public Utilities decision from last year that denies the company the right to start construction. BPU has maintained that the power from the project would be too expensive, despite the pledge of a $47 million federal Energy Department grant and statements in the past by Gov. Chris Christie (R) that he wanted the Garden State to be a leader on offshore wind.