Local governments could create special improvement districts to allow commercial properties to finance, through a private lender, energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy sources under a bill heard Wednesday by an Assembly committee. Assembly Bill 5 is sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Energy and is part of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s package of legislative priorities. It would allow loans to finance energy efficiency projects to be paid off through tax assessments, which would be passed on to new owners if a property is sold.
Duke Energy has launched a $13 billion, 10-year initiative to modernize North Carolina’s electric system. Among the goals of the “Power/Forward Carolinas” project is expanding renewable energy in the state. According to Duke Energy, other plans include hardening the system against storms and outages, making it safer and more resilient against cyber-attacks and physical threats, and generating jobs and stimulating economic growth. The initiative will also give 7 million people in North Carolina more information to manage their energy use, the company says.
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is ordering a study of the U.S. electric grid, with an eye to examining whether policies that favor wind and solar energy are accelerating the retirement of coal and nuclear plants critical to ensuring steady, reliable power supplies. The 60-day review, which Perry set in motion Friday, comes as regulators increasingly wonder how to balance electric reliability with a raft of state policies that prioritize less stable renewable energy sources. In an April 14 memo obtained by Bloomberg News, Perry highlights concerns about the “erosion” of resources providing “baseload power” — consistent, reliable electricity generated even when the sun isn’t shining and the winds aren’t blowing.
Wind is as good as gold to Mario Araripe, a Brazilian tycoon who built his empire by tapping the same gusts that brought Portuguese sailors to South America five centuries ago. Harvesting those breezes, he created an estate that includes about 170,000 hectares of land in Brazil’s northeast and Casa dos Ventos, the wind-energy giant that’s developed almost a third of Brazil’s current and planned capacity. His company’s share of that capacity, plus the revenue from a 2.3 billion reais ($767 million) sale of wind assets to Cubico Sustainable Investments Ltd. last year, have helped Araripe grow a personal fortune that the Bloomberg Billionaires Index values at $1.3 billion.
German authorities have approved the first bid to construct an offshore wind park without feed-in subsidies, indicating the growing competitiveness of renewable energy. The agency that oversees access to Germany’s electricity grid says the bid was one of four to receive approval for projects in the North Sea with a total capacity of 1,490 megawatts. On average the bids sought a subsidy of about $0.0047 per kilowatt hour under a system designed to encourage power companies to feed renewable energy into the grid.
On April 11, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced an inflation adjustment increase in the production tax credit (PTC) for power sold in 2017 that is generated by wind, closed-loop biomass and geothermal projects to 2.4 cents/kWh from the prior 2.3 cents/kWh. The inflation adjustment announcement is being published in the Federal Register.
Another three Apple Inc. suppliers committed to using solely renewable energy to manufacture components for the iPhone maker. Compal Electronics Inc., Sunwoda Electronic Co. and Biel Crystal Manufactory Ltd. have made the pledge, bringing the total number of Apple suppliers seeking to use just renewable power to seven, executive Lisa Jackson said in an interview. Apple itself now gets 96 percent of its energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar, according to Jackson, Apple’s vice president in charge of sustainability and government affairs.
It has been a long, uphill battle for wind energy proponents in states like North Carolina. Across the country, wind energy is growing rapidly, surpassing hydropower dams as the largest source of renewable energy in the country. By the end of 2016, the wind industry supported more than 100,000 jobs. But the Southeast has almost completely been left out of that boom. State lawmakers and utility companies have been reluctant to break from fossil fuels, technological advancements have been slow, and the geography of the region is not entirely conducive to large-scale wind.
For three hours on March 11, solar power met roughly half of all electricity demand across a big swath of California, according to a new estimate from the federal government. Even for a state used to setting renewable power records, it was a milestone. And while temporary, it will doubtless happen again as the state advances toward its goal of getting half of all its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
President Donald Trump may tap a vocal critic of climate change science to serve as the highest-ranking environmental official in the White House. Kathleen Hartnett White, who says carbon emissions are harmless and should not be regulated, is a top contender to run the Council on Environmental Quality, the White House’s in-house environmental policy shop, sources close to the administration told POLITICO.