On March 17, the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) hosted its annual Renewable Energy Policy Forum, where speakers and attendees came to a broad consensus that consistent policy is the missing link in the national renewable energy playing field. Industry leaders noted that many had looked to the Clean Power Plan (CPP) as a source for political guidance. However, now that the climate rule has been put on hold, uncertainty remains. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) affirmed that the recent tax extenders for wind and solar will allow for the renewable industry to strategically prepare for upcoming years. But in order to achieve a more stable tableau for all renewables, Congress must agree on comprehensive tax reform – the Senator called the current tax code “a rotting dead carcass” and a “monument to yesteryear.” Business leaders also agreed that even negative consistent policy is preferable to inconsistency – and long-term consistent policy is not yet part of the American play book.
Renewable energy is revolutionizing the global energy markets; in fact, in some regions, renewables are growing so quickly that they are the leading source of new generating capacity. As a larger and broader group of investors embrace renewables and incorporate them into their portfolios, they expect these assets to be well-managed, generating a steady financial return. Many of these new investors are not investing because they are “green”; they are doing so because of the attractive yields offered by these assets. As a result, developers and project managers should expect an increasing level of scrutiny from these new investors, requiring them to take a closer look at how they manage O&M (operations and maintenance) in the field as well as how they deal with asset management in the office.
After COP21 in Paris, there are still many questions being posed: how will the U.S., and the world, meet these ambitious emissions reductions targets? Will time run out before we can cut emissions enough to avoid the irreversible consequences of climate change? Should the U.S. turn to other technologies like nuclear generation to meet emissions targets? To answer these questions, many leaders from around the world are looking to Denmark to study how this small country has become a leader in implementing renewable energy solutions and serving as a catalyst for change. Within Denmark, one needs look no further than Samsoe for inspiration.
Over the next two weeks, leaders from around the world will convene in Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP21. This year, there is renewed, if cautious optimism about the possibility of a binding agreement among governments to act on this critical global issue.
But there’s another side to the climate change story that’s being written not in parliaments or at diplomatic summits, but in boardrooms and corporate executive suites.
I was speaking with a friend the other day when she asked, “What’s going on with renewable energy tax extenders this year? Are the PTC and ITC going to be extended?” As we know, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) expired at the end of 2014 and the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit (ITC) will expire at the end of 2016. That’s in addition to a dozen other energy credits affecting biofuels, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency that have also expired.
Oct. 15 -- U.S. Geothermal now has its 22-megawatt power plant near Vale, Ore., online, sending electricity produced from Neal Hot Springs into Idaho Power’s grid. >>View Article
April 11 -- A nearly unanimous House voted Wednesday to lift barriers to the development of hydropower around the country, something that the bill's supporters say would help develop cheap, clean energy and create jobs. >>View Article
March 26 -- President Barack Obama recently paid a visit to the Argonne National Laboratory where he strongly voiced concerns about the national security threat Americans face from dependence on oil as a single source of fuel. As an Army veteran now working to develop advanced-energy technologies, I was proud to be there, too, standing next to a president who listens to the advice of military and national security leaders — and offers solutions to tackle our nation’s toughest energy challenges. >>View Article
November 8 -- Once this pesky presidential election gets behind us, politicians will again talk about renewable energy and climate change, predicts the founder and president of Oakland-based Sungevity, Danny Kennedy. "The consumer market will force them to," he predicts, because for the past two years, consumers have been turning to solar power in droves, with rooftop installations up 426 percent industry wide since 2010. Moreover, Hurricane Sandy has made clear that the harm to the planet from burning fossil fuels will soon be an intolerable trade off. >>View Article
October 25 -- BrightSource Energy has landed $80 million in equity investments that will help the solar energy company expand its operations to new geographic territories. The financing round for the developer of solar thermal equipment was led by France-based Alstom and San Bruno-based VantagePoint Capital Partners. >>View Article