Some of the largest battles at November’s United Nations climate conference, COP22, broke out over climate financing – who pays for it, who gets the money, and who meets the requirements. The stage for the financing challenges was set in 2009 when developed countries agreed to a target of raising $100 billion USD annually by 2020 in the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
What are the latest megatrends in the energy industry? On Oct. 8, over 300 industrial leaders, private equity investors, utility professionals, academics and students gathered at the 13th HBS Energy Symposium hosted by the Harvard Business School to discuss emerging questions.
In most of the United States, low-to-moderate-income (LMI) communities have little to no voice about how solar energy can bring jobs and economic stability. New York is an exception. The state held an extended dialogue on this subject this year through the CDG Low-Income Collaborative. Although the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) dismissed the committee’s recommendations, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) decided to put some of them in place.
The United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced this July that it plans to host an event to bring together local bankers and regulators to discuss expanding community solar nationally. With only a few months remaining in 2016, the federal administration is taking small actions that may last long after President Obama leaves office.
Energy poverty affects more than two thirds of those in sub-Saharan Africa. That is, 600 million that live without access to electricity. In 2013, President Obama launched Power Africa to double access to electricity throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Electrifying the continent will catalyze development progress. Energy access is intertwined with several development goals such as women’s empowerment, climate mitigation, and expanded education.
Angola, one of Africa’s oil-producing OPEC countries, has recently announced an ambitious plan to add 800 MW of renewable-energy capacity by 2025. In contrast to its carbon-intensive petroleum exports, the country’s energy mix is fairly clean, with over 70 percent of electricity production coming from hydropower. The government plans to maintain a clean energy mix – 66 percent from hydropower and an additional 8 percent from renewable energy – while doubling access to electricity within the next decade.
Removing federal obstacles to property-assessed clean energy (PACE) has been a long-term subject of debate. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a guideline on July 19 enabling residential PACE financing and clarifying the conditions for purchasing or refinancing assessments with Federal Housing Administration loans.
Climate resilience pays dividends in financial stability and public health. California has passed legislation, AB 693, that will provide up to $1 billion for solar roofs for multifamily affordable housing. A May report by Clean Energy Group, “Closing the California Clean Energy Divide: Reducing Electric Bills in Affordable Multifamily Rental Housing with Solar+Storage,” found these retrofits can zero out some properties’ net electricity bills.
Growing momentum for energy-efficiency financing in the United States has motivated State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network to conduct around 20 interviews with stakeholders in five states to explore what it takes to make utility-sponsored programs succeed. The research team produced a report that outlines the pitfalls and promises of a wide range of evaluation techniques.
At a public event in Boston on June 11 called "Designing Solar’s Value: A Stakeholder’s Forum," speakers outlined an ambitious proposal to shift the entire framework of solar financing in Massachusetts to a value-of-solar model. The newly founded Northeast Solar Energy Market Coalition (NESEMC) cosponsored the event, which was hosted by Solar Energy Business Association of New England (SEBANE).
Greentech Media’s first international Solar Summit, held on Jan. 27-28 in Mexico City, left more questions than answers about the future of solar in Mexico. Speakers said that the solar markets are in flux at all levels of development. The country is far from reaching a steady state. Developers who are willing to take risks could enjoy huge payoffs but must first face significant regulatory uncertainty.
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.
One of the overlooked elements in President Obama's Clean Power Plan is the positive effect it will likely have on low-income United States citizens - those who suffer most from climate change and who are facing a crisis in available affordable housing...
Eden Full Goh discovered the potential of solar power when she was just 10 years old. She had come across a book in the library that taught her how to build a small solar-powered car. Once she took the book home and built it, she was hooked. She wanted to see what else she could do with this...