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.
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.
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.
After continuously strengthening its ties since 2013, 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) is well on its way to facilitating a global practice of urban resilience. 100RC is a nonprofit supported by The Rockefeller Foundation.
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.
Carbon Tracker Initiative has released a study that might surprise the general public. The global study, “End of the Load for Coal and Gas?,” found renewable energy is now more cost-effective than fossil fuels. These data conflict with conventional wisdom that coal and gas are the cheapest fuels available.
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.
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).
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.
While making strong motivational statements at the 2016 Investor Summit on Climate Risk in New York City on Jan. 27, speakers also laid forth an ambitious set of targeted goals to implement the Paris climate conference’s agenda. These goals included implementing climate disclosure requirements; advocating for stable, economically meaningful carbon pricing; ceasing investment in coal; leveraging pension funds; scaling up green banks; clarifying what constitutes a green bond; and analyzing risks on an industry-by-industry basis.
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...
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...