What kept Governor Rick Snyder (R-Mich.) up all night in December? According to Katie Trachsel, manager of the Michigan Renewable Energy Certification System (MIRECS) program, it was the passage of two pieces of legislation that transformed the state’s renewable-energy laws, encouraged energy efficiency, and reshaped utility regulation. Meanwhile, Illinois rolled out its new renewable portfolio standard (RPS). Brian Granahan, chief counsel at Illinois Power Agency, said the RPS was designed to resolve a confusing set of policies. The new goals are clearer and easier to follow than the previous ones.
Quietly, while the United States focused on its national election, a set of federal clean-energy incentives phased out at the end of 2016. Now that they have vanished, states may seek to create replacements to keep these markets alive and help them grow. For example, New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) is now strategically replacing the missing incentives for renewable heating and cooling.
This year’s Columbia Energy Symposium on Feb. 2-3 in New York City covered technologies and business models that are disrupting the traditional energy system. The main takeaway was that the energy-system landscape is shifting. Panelists said they anticipate changes to the electric grid and the way in which energy products can be packaged.
What is the federal government doing to catalyze access to clean energy? Last year, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) launched two programs that work side by side: the Clean Energy Savings for All initiative and the Clean Energy for Low-Income Communities Accelerator. These programs attempt to identify and promote models that work for low-to-moderate-income communities in urban and rural areas in every region of the country.
With growing deployment of distributed generation and renewable energy, the energy-storage market is projected to grow rapidly in the next decade and beyond. McKinsey & Company estimates the market could increase fivefold from its 2015 levels in the next 20 years as technology evolves, energy intensity improves, and costs decrease.
Energy technology trends move fast. The market for digital solutions to advance energy efficiency and solar power is growing. Two buzzwords at the beginning of 2017 are ‘big data’ and ‘Internet of Things (IoT).’ Data, analytics and computing today have the muscle power to revolutionize global energy systems. So do smart-grid technologies, which are now becoming mainstream topics of discussion.
Greentech Media hosted its annual U.S. Energy Storage Summit 2016 in San Francisco on Dec. 7-8. The conference was packed with high-profile executives representing not only energy storage developers, but also institutional investors. Stationary energy storage is becoming more attractive than ever.
As the solar industry grows and energy efficiency works to do the same, 2016 brought a significant expansion of breaking news for us to cover and curate. The articles below are our top stories showing the many new and surprising developments we saw last year.
Two international awards for climate finance are starting to work together. On Dec. 5, the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance announced its three winners. In the same email, Finance for Resilience (FiRe) named its four finalists. FiRe will narrow down the list to two winners at the 2017 Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in April. 125 project developers applied for one or both competitions.
Even without reliably supportive policies that help clean energy grow, Midwestern coal-producing states already have many more jobs from solar and wind power than from coal production. There is also a promising economic opportunity to repurpose assembly lines in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio to manufacture renewable-energy equipment.
A joint committee of Massachusetts senators and representatives is approaching a decision on the future of solar power. The decision will determine how to modify net metering, an incentive policy that is critical to most solar projects' financial viability. Meanwhile, utilities are unable to plan for their systems and developers have been forced to ice projects at all stages.
As the biggest public funder of projects related to climate change, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has played a crucial role in removing market barriers to investment in clean energy worldwide. Policy de-risking, investment aggregation mechanisms, and capacity building for banks and governments are key areas where the GEF has worked to increase the flow of financing.
On the surface, Citi’s recommendations of global climate investment goals, published in August in the report “Energy Darwinism II: Why a Low Carbon Future Doesn’t Have to Cost the Earth,” look deceptively simple. But a closer look at the patchwork of international regulations, legislation, and carbon markets reveals that financing clean energy in developing nations may be quite challenging to accomplish.
The Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) will tap financial resources to help prepare markets for the Clean Power Plan (CPP) in the United States. This two-year voluntary matching fund program will incentivize solar and wind energy in any states that opt into it. It also offers extra leverage for energy efficiency in low-income communities. Clean Energy Finance Forum spoke with Joe Goffman, associate assistant administrator at the EPA, who explained the program, its vision, and its objectives.
Imagine you could design the electricity market in one state from scratch. There are no pre-existing programs to satisfy and no political baggage to consider. Your only guideline is to allow the continued growth of solar power and distributed generation. You’re given a blank slate on which to envision a long-term, sustainable energy market. What would it look like?
They appear periodically, but predictably - media reports about the powerful, corporate utilities seeking to block consumer access to rooftop solar and maintain control of the grid versus the plucky, disruptive solar companies, fighting to bring clean, free power - and energy independence - to the...