Solar incentives sunset as states grapple with tight budgets

Source: By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, The Associated Press • Posted: Friday, March 25th, 2016

Thousands of homeowners and small businesses in New Mexico — the second sunniest state in the nation — have invested nearly a quarter billion dollars in roof-top solar and related labor thanks to a program fueled by tax credits. Supporters say the investment has paid off. A record number of solar panels went up in 2015 and job growth within the industry jumped by more than 18 percent, signaling new economic opportunities for the struggling state.

With climate rule on hold, should states worry about deadlines?

Source: Emily Holden, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 25th, 2016

Critics of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan are urging states to stop planning for the electricity sector regulation, arguing they will get extra time to meet carbon targets if the courts uphold the rule. But despite a Supreme Court order that could halt the standards for at least the next year and a half, supporters believe judges could adhere to most of the agency’s original timeline and require emissions cuts starting in 2022.

Midwest leads reshaping of American energy

Source: Tom Kiernan & Beth Soholt, Des Moines Register • Posted: Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Just a little less than a year ago, the Department of Energy set an ambitious, and some said unachievable, target: By 2030, wind could supply 20 percent of U.S. electricity. Today, because of American ingenuity and production-based policies, we’re on track to reach or exceed that goal.

EVs earn ‘failing report card’ due to short range — study

Source: Ariel Wittenberg, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 24th, 2016

With few long-range electric vehicles on the road, the auto industry received mostly failing grades in a new report card tracking the industry’s electrification progress. The report, from Lux Research Inc., analyzes how compelling electric vehicles are to consumers and predicts when plug-ins might be poised to take over the auto market.

Apple hits clean-tech home stretch with iPhone-stripping robot

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, yesterday said during a webcast event in Cupertino, Calif., that 93 percent of the company’s global facilities — including data centers and stores — now run on renewable energy. While short of the company’s 100 percent renewable energy goal from two years ago, Apple said it has reached that threshold in 23 countries, including the United States.

Renewables, natural gas dominate new capacity — DOE

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Wind, natural gas and solar power constituted almost all new U.S. electricity generation last year as distributed rooftop solar set a record, the Department of Energy said in new data released today. While many of the nation’s general electricity trends are known, the data provide a more detailed state breakdown and overview of factors driving renewable and natural gas growth. In total, DOE reported that wind made up 41 percent of new U.S. capacity in 2015, followed by natural gas at 30 percent and solar at 26 percent

Study shows Iowa could see electric bills fall under carbon rule

Source: Jeffrey Tomich, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 24th, 2016

owa residential electricity bills could decline as much as 13 percent over the next decade and a half because of energy efficiency and continued exports of wind energy to meet Clean Power Plan obligations, according to an analysis by M.J. Bradley & Associates. Christopher Van Atten, a senior vice president of the Boston-based firm, presented preliminary results of the firm’s Clean Power Plan modeling during a meeting hosted yesterday by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Court allows lawmakers to weigh in on legal brawl

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 24th, 2016

The judges weighing the fate of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan will consider the views of members of Congress looking to thwart the regulation. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today issued a short order granting a request from more than 200 lawmakers who have asked to file a “friend of the court” brief in pending litigation over the rule to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Smith dismisses tech spending as wish list for cronies

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

The chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee slammed the Department of Energy’s budget request yesterday as “a wish list for the White House’s political allies.”
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said large proposed increases for renewables and sustainable transportation do not reflect congressional priorities. The administration is proposing a 21 percent increase in clean energy research and development as part of Mission Innovation, a plan to address climate change in conjunction with other countries by speeding up technology development.

Utilities to lose $2B to rooftop panels in 2019

Source: E&E • Posted: Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Conventional power plant operators are set to lose $2 billion in annual revenue starting in 2019 as increasing residential solar panel installations decrease grid demand. More than a million U.S. homes will have solar panels by the end of April, and grid managers are responding to this by planning to purchase 1,400 fewer megawatts from power plants by 2019, according to consultancy ICF International Inc.