Indiana governor signs bill aimed at dimming solar incentive

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

The benefit currently available to those who install solar panels will be sharply curtailed in the coming years, under a bill backed by Indiana’s powerful utility companies that was signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb on Tuesday. Driven by the plunging costs for sun-generated power, investor-owned utilities across the U.S. are looking to carve out a share of the market. But critics contend the new Indiana law is part of a broader nationwide push to muscle out smaller companies.

Dems blast DOE study as biased toward coal, nuclear

Source: By Timothy Cama, The Hill • Posted: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

A group of Senate Democrats slammed the Department of Energy’s (DOE) ongoing electric grid reliability study as biased toward power sources such as coal and nuclear. The Democrats, who all sit on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the study Energy Secretary Rick Perry ordered last month appears from the outset to be designed to boost coal and nuclear energy at the expense of renewable sources like wind and solar energy.

Friction rises between state energy goals and power markets

Source: Benjamin Storrow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

“We need to be thinking about that world where the grid is powered primarily by renewables,” said Peter Fuller, vice president of market and regulatory affairs for NRG Energy Inc., a utility. “We need to be thinking about that as a different world from the fossil fuel input, heat rate world that we’ve dealt with for the last century or so. We need to think about what new products are necessary, how does that work in a market construct.”

Omnibus winners and losers

Source: E&E News staff • Posted: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

The legislation offers some good news for environmentalists, energy research and bipartisanship, but it also sends a warning to the Trump administration and reflects continuing Republican antipathy toward the Paris climate deal. Here are some winners and losers:

EPA, Clean Energy Spared Trump’s Ax in $1.1 Trillion Budget Deals

Source: By Ari Natter, Washington Post • Posted: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Environmental programs marked for death or deep cuts by President Donald Trump got a reprieve in the government funding deal revealed early Monday by congressional leaders — at least for now. The Environmental Protection Agency, targeted for $247 million in cuts for this year’s funding, instead escaped with a budget trimmed by $81 million — or 1 percent — and no staff reductions. Research divisions within the Department of Energy received increases despite calls by Trump to slash or eliminate them. For example, its advanced research program, which would have been cut in half under Trump’s 2017 spending plan, instead will get a $15 million increase in funding this year.

U.S. wind industry has biggest first-quarter installs in eight years

Source: By Nichola Groom, Reuters • Posted: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

The U.S. wind industry installed 2,000 megawatts of capacity in the first quarter, nearly four times the amount installed in the same period last year, as developers race to capture a lucrative federal tax credit that is gradually being phased out. It was the industry’s biggest first quarter since 2009, the American Wind Energy Association said in its first-quarter market report released on Tuesday.

Iowa Governor Touts Friendship With Chinese President as Asset

Source: By Todd Neeley, DTN/Progressive farmer • Posted: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and former running mate to Hillary Clinton, told Branstad he supports his confirmation and encouraged him to share Iowa’s renewable energy story with the Chinese. Kaine said the Iowa example shows it is possible to grow a clean energy economy while not hurting the economy. “You’ve had a pretty amazing track record,” Kaine said. “What you have done over the years is important to family farms. You can go there with a story. I think you can be an ambassador to the clean energy economy of tomorrow.”

German project looks to home photovoltaic systems to help grid

Source: By Vera Eckert, Reuters • Posted: Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Grid operator Tennet and solar battery maker Sonnen GmbH have launched a pilot project that will tap home photovoltaic (PV) systems to help iron out imbalances on Germany’s power network. TenneT and Sonnen’s e-Services subsidiary aim to sign up 6,000 household PV producers equipped with storage batteries by the end of May. The project will be supported by blockchain technology from IBM, which works as an inexpensive transaction-processing system for tracking and recording encrypted information.

Senate Dems warn Perry about grid study

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Senate Democrats say a much-touted Department of Energy study on subsidies and grid reliability could serve a well-connected conservative think tank in Washington: the Institute for Energy Research. Seven senators warned Energy Secretary Rick Perry in a letter today against allowing “ideologues associated with a Koch Brothers-affiliated think tank” to supplant research and analysis from federal scientists, engineers and grid monitors.

Omnibus deal ignores Trump calls for deep energy, enviro cuts

Source: George Cahlink, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Congress does not seem eager to address the Trump administration’s push to make steep cuts to energy research and development, including for cleaner power sources. The measure would fund the Department of Energy at $31.2 billion, roughly $1.4 billion more than fiscal 2016 levels. It would give more than $4 billion for applied energy programs, a $123 million increase. And the Office of Science would get $5.4 billion, $42 million more than fiscal 2016. The measure would provide $2.1 billion for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, a $17 million increase over current spending. And it would give the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which President Trump wants to eliminate, $306 million.