The year 2015 was a strong one for renewables, but maybe more so for none other than the world’s offshore wind industry. “It has taken the offshore wind industry just six months to set the best year the sector has ever seen in terms of installed capacity,” said Kristian Ruby, Chief Policy Officer, EWEA. “While this clearly shows a commitment to offshore wind development in Europe, a number of completed projects, explosive growth in Germany and the use of higher capacity wind turbines are major contributors to these numbers.”
A Spanish renewable energy developer is trying to save a proposed utility-scale solar power project in California that has been in the works for nearly a decade but is threatened by the company’s pending bankruptcy. Abengoa Solar late yesterday filed a petition with the California Energy Commission (CEC) seeking more time to transfer ownership of the proposed 500-megawatt Palen Solar Electric Generating System project to a subsidiary of San Diego-based EDF Renewable Energy Inc.
A court fight now seems likely after Illinois regulators declined to reconsider approval of a high-voltage transmission line that would cross portions of nine central Illinois counties. The Illinois Commerce Commission filed notice last week rejecting appeals from a group of landowners for another round of hearings on the proposed Grain Belt Express power line. Commissioners initially approved the Illinois section of the project on a 3-2 vote in November. The $2 billion project would carry power from a Kansas wind farm across Missouri and Illinois to Indiana. Illinois, Kansas and Indiana regulators have approved Grain Belt Express, while the project was rejected in Missouri.
Could Congress do it again? With the president’s signature barely dry on a historic legislative compromise giving both parties major energy wins, pundits and Capitol Hill staffers this week said it’s tough to assess whether the agreement lifting the crude oil exports ban and extending key renewable tax credits for five years was a one-off event or a formula for bipartisan success going forward.
Who would have imagined that the U.S. would be moving, in a bipartisan way, to advance its climate policy and clean energy goals less than a week after the Paris agreement? And yet in the budget deal , Democrats traded a lifting of the oil export ban for an extension of much-desired tax credits for wind and solar.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Monday that Virginia must use solar energy to help power state government. As a way to jump start the solar industry in the commonwealth, McAuliffe said state office buildings will derive 8 percent of their energy from solar sources in the next three years. The utility giant Dominion Virginia Power will generate 75 percent of the solar energy, some of which will come from panels installed on state property.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged to revisit the extension of a key tax credit in the omnibus spending deal that also lifted the ban on crude oil exports, saying it was “inadvertently” applied only to solar, when other renewables should have received the same treatment. Under the agreement, the 30 percent investment tax credit was extended for five years, with its value shrinking in 2020 and 2021. The phaseout language was also included in the five-year extension of the renewable production tax credit, which is most commonly associated with wind
China, the world’s biggest clean energy investor, plans to increase wind and solar power capacity by more than 21 percent next year as it works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by cutting its reliance on coal. The nation is targeting at least 20 gigawatts of new wind power installations and 15 gigawatts of additional photovoltaic capacity next year, the National Energy Administration said in a statement last week.
Lawmakers agreed to extend about a half-dozen provisions for five years. They were the ones that were strongly supported by one party, but not the other, said a senior tax aide. They include so-called bonus depreciation, which provides more generous investment write-offs for equipment purchases; the New Markets tax credit, which subsidizes investment in low-income areas; and a credit for the wind-power industry.
Wind and solar power appear set for a record-breaking year in 2016 as a clean-energy construction boom gains momentum in spite of a global glut of cheap fossil fuels. Installations of wind turbines and solar panels soared in 2015 as utility companies went on a worldwide building binge, taking advantage of falling prices for clean technology as well as an improving regulatory and investment climate. Both industries have seen stock prices jump since Congress approved an extension of tax credits for renewables as part of last month’s $1.14 trillion budget deal.