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September 5 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Plant for the Planet, a global youth initiative that plants trees to reduce the effects of climate change, asked for a worldwide tree count, and scientists at Yale did a study. The good news is that there are 3.04 trillion trees on Earth, 7½ times more than previous estimates. The bad news? The number of trees is down roughly 46%. [CNN]
Clingmans Dome (highest point in the Great Smokies). The effects of clearcut logging and fire are clearly visible on the right; the dead trees are Frasier Fir, killed by the Balsam woolly adelgid. United States Geological Survey photo.

Clingmans Dome (highest point in the Great Smokies). The effects of clearcut logging and fire are clearly visible on the right; the dead trees are Frasier Fir, killed by the Balsam woolly adelgid. United States Geological Survey photo.

  • Compared to “typical” wholesale electricity prices of $25 to $60 per MWh, in the New York ISO’s western region wholesale prices hit $1,100 to $1,200 per MWh during this summer’s heat. There were similar events across the nation. Demand flexibility could help reduce those spikes, ultimately reducing rates for consumers. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Vermont Green Line is the latest proposal to run an electric transmission line under Lake Champlain. The 400-MW underwater and underground line would run 60 miles, from Beekmantown, New York, to New Haven, Vermont. The power, from wind farms in northern New York, would be put on the New England power grid. [WAMC]
  • One Vermont state park is getting ready to go off the grid. Green Mountain Power is partnering with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation to transform the bulk of Emerald Lake State Park in East Dorset into an ePark, powered entirely by solar and the new Tesla Powerwall battery for storage. [vtdigger.org]
  • Visiting Australia, Canadian author Naomi Klein said she believes she owes PM Tony Abbott “a debt of thanks.” In Sydney to promote her new book Capitalism versus the Climate: This Changes Everything, Klein said the conflict between what the planet needs and what capitalism needs is exemplified in Australia. [Green Left Weekly]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

September 4 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Rich nations at UN climate talks are said to be edging towards a compromise on the thorny issue of loss and damage. Poor countries want compensation for extreme weather events that they link to large scale carbon emissions. But the US and EU have long resisted the idea. [BBC]
Developing nations point to Typhoon Haiyan as an example of the damage wrought by extreme weather events. Reuters.

Developing nations point to Typhoon Haiyan as an example of the damage wrought by extreme weather events. Reuters.

  • SolarWindow Technologies says they have a working, electricity-generating window with a payback of under a year. It is a transparent window coating. Installed on a 50-story building, it would generate up to 50 times the power of conventional rooftop solar. [ENGINEERING.com]
  • French energy giant EDF admitted that construction of the UK’s first new nuclear power plant in decades has been delayed. Hinkley Point C in Somerset will not start generating power in 2023 as planned. Yesterday it claimed no delays were going to happen. [Western Daily Press]
  • The Power Company of Wyoming expects to get final federal rulings later this year for the 3-GW Chokecherry Sierra Madre wind project. The $5 billion, 1000-turbine proposal is located on a mix of private and public land in Carbon County, including federal land. [reNews]
  • The California State Assembly passed a bill which will force the state’s two largest pension funds to divest their holdings in thermal coal. The bill requires the funds to divest their holdings in companies that receive at least half their annual revenue from coal mining. [CleanTechnica]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

September 3 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The solar industry has launched its fight to stop the changes in the UK’s renewable incentives, by launching an e-petition. It must garner 10,000 signatures before it is taken seriously by government. The petition calls for ‘urgently review’ of changes to the Feed in Tariff. [reNews]
Image: Saxley solar farm in Hampshire (Solarcentury)

Image: Saxley solar farm in Hampshire (Solarcentury)

  • Iceland is luring business with renewable energy. Emerging from financial isolation, Iceland is making a name for itself in the business of data centres, warehouses consuming enormous amounts of energy to store the information of 3.2 billion internet users. [The Rakyat Post]
  • Renewables are spreading across the developing world, opening markets with a reputation for convenience and plunging costs. That challenges the traditional selling point for coal, which has used the same points as the basis of its appeal. [Sydney Morning Herald]
  • Solar power generation contributed to about 10% of peak summer power supplies of Japan’s nine major utilities, equivalent to more than 10 nuclear reactors. Solar power supplied only 2% of annual needs, but it came at peak demand time. [Economic Times]
  • The US energy storage market deployed 40.7 MW worth of storage in the second quarter this year, its best quarter in two and a half years, according to GTM Research’s latest report, US Energy Storage Monitor. It is the largest amount since the fourth quarter of 2012. [CleanTechnica]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

IRS Rules Favorably on Eligibility

IRS Rules Favorably on Owner’s Eligibility for Federal Tax Credit for a Community-Shared Solar Project

IRS Ruling Has Implications for Community-Shared Solar Projects

Montpelier, VT — The IRS has ruled that an owner of photovoltaic panels in an offsite, community-shared solar array is eligible to take advantage of one of the primary incentives offered to homeowners adopting solar—the 30 percent federal residential income tax credit available under Section 25D of the Internal Revenue Code, sometimes known in the industry as the “residential ITC.” Community-shared solar allows electric customers to buy an interest in an offsite solar array and to receive credit on their electricity bills for their ownership interest. While the IRS’s recent Private Letter Ruling is only legally applicable to the individual taxpayer in question—a solar panel owner in Boardman Hill Solar Farm, a member-managed 150-kW off-site solar array in Vermont—the ruling will be taken as a positive development by community-shared solar participants and project developers.

The issue of whether a residential owner of solar panels installed in an off-site, community-shared, solar array qualifies for the residential ITC has been an area of legal uncertainty, creating some confusion in the marketplace. Working with stakeholders in Massachusetts and Vermont, and with attorneys in the Boston office of law firm Foley Hoag, LLP, the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), a national nonprofit coalition of public agencies and organizations working on clean energy issues, arranged for the submission of a Private Letter Ruling request to the Internal Revenue Service to help clarify this issue.

“This new Private Letter Ruling represents the first instance in which the IRS has publicly weighed in on the applicability of the residential ITC to an owner of solar panels in a shared, offsite array,” said Warren Leon, the Executive Director of CESA. “The ruling suggests that the IRS may be receptive to claims for the residential ITC when a project mirrors the structure used in this case.”

“Community-shared solar has led to remarkable growth in residential solar because it allows those without roof space or solar access to participate in the solar market,” observed Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “This ruling helps pave the way for even more growth under the widely successful federal investment tax credit.”

Foley Hoag attorneys Nicola Lemay and Adam Wade provided the legal work leading to the issuance of the private letter ruling request and facilitated discussions with the IRS.

“Under the specific facts presented in this private letter ruling, the IRS has agreed with the individual taxpayer that his or her purchase of solar electric property that is part of a net-metered offsite solar installation with panels owned by multiple individuals qualifies for the section 25D tax credit,” said Nicola Lemay, Foley Hoag Partner and Chair of its Tax Department. “Although, by law, this letter ruling cannot be used or cited as precedent by other taxpayers, several cases acknowledge that a private letter ruling can be used as ‘persuasive authority’ or an ‘instructive tool,’” Lemay further noted. “In general, letter rulings like this one may also be used by the IRS in its own interpretations, including by IRS employees who might consider it in issuing letter rulings to similarly situated taxpayers.”

“This letter ruling fills an important gap. It adds a previously unavailable written resource to the growing body of authority which can be used by courts, IRS personnel, and practitioners in structuring community shared solar projects,” said Adam Wade. “Pairing the 25D credit with the lower installed cost and economies of scale of mid-scale and larger-scale distributed solar holds tremendous potential in enabling direct ownership of community-shared systems by groups of individuals in utility territories with supportive net metering and bill-crediting programs.”

The Private Letter Ruling and other documents of interest are available on CESA’s website at http://www.cesa.org/about-us/member-news/newsitem/IRS-Community-Shared-Solar-PLR.

For further discussion of the details and legal implications of this Private Letter Ruling, CESA will be hosting a free webinar on Tuesday, September 22th from 1 pm – 2 pm EST. Foley Hoag attorneys Nicola Lemay and Adam Wade will present. Webinar details and registration information are available at http://www.cesa.org/webinars/showevent/federal-residential-tax-credit-eligibility-for-community-shared-solar-?d=2015-09-22.

September 2 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • After oil prices hit a record high in July 2008, the tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands, which had about 90% of its energy from imported petroleum products, declared a state of emergency. Now, solar power is becoming important everywhere, and 99% of the lighting on its outer islands is powered by the sun. [Voice of America]
Solar panels are being used extensively on the Marshall Islands, which uses the sun for 99% of the lighting on its outer islands. File Photo.

Solar panels are being used extensively on the Marshall Islands, which uses the sun for 99% of the lighting on its outer islands. File Photo.

  • New research by AeroThermal Group, pioneers in developing innovative solutions from aerospace through to green energy from waste, has shown that 635 kWh of renewable electricity can be generated from one tonne of waste from fast food outlets. Using the same system, one tonne of pure kitchen waste generated 847 kWh. [Industry Today]
  • The commitment of the UK’s Big Six energy companies to tackling climate change has been called into question. Yesterday, The Independent revealed that British Gas and SSE use more coal for electricity now than they did ten years ago. Now, it says that not a single one of Britain’s biggest suppliers offers a renewable energy tariff. [The Independent]
  • A review of 11 studies considering effects of net metering highlighted the importance of reduced or avoided environmental compliance costs, capital investment costs, and energy costs. It showed not only that solar net metering is not been harmful to markets, but that utilities have actually been underpaying for its use. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Alabama Public Service Commission gave the go-ahead to Alabama Power’s plan to add up to 500 MW of renewable power capacity to its portfolio in six years. At present, the state of Alabama has just 2 MW of installed solar power capacity and is among the bottom 10 US states in the solar ranking. [SeeNews Renewables]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

Button Up NH Workshop

Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative

Save the Date
October 23, 2015

WHAT: Button Up NH Workshop

“Button Up NH” workshops provide NH homeowners and renters with information and techniques to help them save money on home energy use. This presentation will be conducted by Gil Richardson, an independent certified energy professional. Participants will learn basic building science concepts and the basics about air sealing, insulating, and conservation measures that reduce fuel and electricity use. Attendees will also learn how to sign up for Home Performance with Energy Star (HPwES) – an incentive program run by the energy efficiency services at Liberty Utilities, Eversource, NH Electric Co-op and Unitil.

WHEN: Friday, October 23rd,  6:30pm, doors open – 7:00pm, presentation

WHERE: Central NH Chamber of Commerce,  12 Vintinner Rd., Campton, NH 03223

MORE: Light refreshments will be served

Host – Central NH Chamber of Commerce
Sponsor – Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative
RSVP’s email – info@centralnh.org or call 603-726-3804

September 1 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The clean energy industry supports nearly 10,000 jobs in Rhode Island, according to a new state report from the Office of Energy Resources and the Executive Office of Commerce. The report found that the sector has a total of 9,832, and projected that another 1,600 positions would be created over the next year. [The Providence Journal]
Welders for Specialty Diving Services in the Quonset Business Park working on the Deepwater Wind project. Photo by Sandor Bodo, The Providence Journal

Welders for Specialty Diving Services in the Quonset Business Park working on the Deepwater Wind project. Photo by Sandor Bodo, The Providence Journal

  • Aspen is one of three US cities to run on 100% renewable energy, according to city officials. The shift to energy that is generated from natural resources, including wind power, solar power and geothermal heat, follows a “decade-plus” city goal. Earlier US cities to reach the goal were Greensburg, Kansas and Burlington, Vermont. [Aspen Times]
  • Reports from three Chinese agencies all point to the continuing decline in use of coal in the first half of 2015, continuing a trajectory already notable in 2014. These are not declines in the rate of growth, but absolute declines in the amount of coal consumed. Meanwhile, China is working on new laws to speed reduction of pollution further. [Energy Collective]
  • The former CEO of Duke Energy, the country’s biggest power company, now says that the way big US power companies operate is out of date. “It’s very clear to me that the system of electric power we have in North America … is not sustainable for the future of the planet. So we’re going to have to figure out something else, and soon.” [Tampabay.com]
  • The economic potential for deploying renewable energy resources today is enormous nationally. Across the three primary cases that NREL examined, the range of results show that renewable energy resources have the potential to affordably supply as much as 10 times total current US generation [The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

New Electric Vehicle Charging Station Installed at The Essex Outlet

Essex Outlets & EuroWest Properties partner with GMP to help Drivers Reduce Fossil Fuel & Save Money

Essex Junction, VT… It is getting easier to charge an electric vehicle in Chittenden County, thanks to a partnership between Essex Outlets and EuroWest Properties and Green Mountain Power. GMP is installing a new NRG EVgo Freedom Station for electric vehicles at the Essex Outlets, one of the first retail centers in Vermont to host one.

“This is part of our commitment announced in June to build a comprehensive fast charging network across the state, increasing Vermont’s energy independence and contributing to cleaner air and lower carbon emissions,” said Dorothy Schnure, GMP spokesperson. “We are so pleased to work with Essex Outlets to host this site where so many people shop and work. These chargers represent the best in fast charging technology and will help us to continue to deliver clean, cost-effective and reliable power.”

Vermont is the first New England state to be added to NRG EVgo’s national public fast-charging network, and GMP is the first utility in the country to partner to expand the EVgo network.

The EVgo Freedom Station is capable of providing approximately 80 percent of a battery charge in 25 minutes when using the DC fast-charging option. The chargers also have level 2 capabilities that provide up to 24 miles of charge per hour. The units will have a card reader which will allow GMP NRG EVgo members to simply swipe their membership card to pay easily.  Those without memberships will be able to call an 800 number and conveniently pay by credit card.

“The Essex Outlets is committed to protecting the environment, the health and safety of our employees and customers, and the community in which we conduct our business,” said Peter Edelmann of EuroWest Properties. “Partnering with GMP to make charging convenient is an important way we can take action to support positive change.”

 

August 31 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The White House might say Alaska is the canary in the climate change coal mine, with raging wildfires, ice melts in the arctic, vanishing glaciers, and whole villages forced to relocate away from rising seas. President Obama will carry that urgent message to Alaska as part of a drive to change the conversation on global warming. [CNN]
Mount McKinley is to be renamed Denali during a presidential trip focusing on Alaska and climate change. Photo by Frank K. from Anchorage, Alaska, USA. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Mount McKinley is to be renamed Denali during a presidential trip focusing on Alaska and climate change. Photo by Frank K. from Anchorage, Alaska, USA. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

  • Flow batteries may offer a solution for utility-scale wind and solar energy storage. UniEnergy Technologies is part of a new demonstration program in the Pacific Northwest that pits the technology against lithium-ion batteries. UniEnergy claims their flow battery will have a levelized cost that is far lower than a lithium-ion system’s. [CleanTechnica]
  • Major oil-producing countries are looking to sustainability. Recently, Bloomberg forecast that two-thirds of the $12.2 trillion global investment in capacity-generation to 2040 will be in the renewables sector. A signal simply of economic progression or of an increasing need for diversification in the energy mix. [Oil and Gas Industry Latest News]
  • Eni’s discovery of potentially the world’s largest natural-gas field off the Egyptian coast will be a game changer for Egypt and the Mediterranean in terms of energy stability, the CEO of the Italian energy giant told CNBC on Monday. Eni said in a press release that the gas field that could satisfy Egypt’s natural gas demand for decades. [CNBC]
  • SolarCity’s goals for the Silevo solar module manufacturing facility under development in Buffalo, New York, are certainly ambitious. Amongst them is to meet production costs of just 50¢/watt for solar modules with a +20% conversion efficiency. Another goal is an annual production output of 1 GW of solar modules [CleanTechnica]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

August 30 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Technological advances mean businesses no longer need to choose between economic growth and climate stability, said former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. Mr Annan told people at an event: “There is no such trade-off, we can have both… What is required is a will.” He noted the progress already made in renewable energy. [AsiaOne]
Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan said technological advances mean businesses no longer need to choose between economic growth and climate stability. Reuters

Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan said technological advances mean businesses no longer need to choose between economic growth and climate stability. Reuters

  • Construction of the first solar power plant in Vietnam began recently in Mo Duc district, central Quang Ngai province, with capital of $37.17 million and a capacity of 19.2 MW. The solar power plant will be built on an area of 24 hectares and use solar photovoltaic technology from Thailand. It is expected to come into operation in mid-2016. [VietNamNet Bridge]
  • In Australia, a new report says that batteries may transform the energy sector, reducing dependence on fossil fuels. It said it would cost only about $4.2 billion (Aus) to have batteries with capacity to deliver 10% demand across the energy grid at peak times. The question is, who should own the batteries, consumers or utilities? [The Australian Financial Review]
  • The Department of Energy and Petrochemicals has released a new solar policy for the Indian state of Gujarat which aims to scale up solar power generation to 10 GW by 2020. The policy aims to achieve targets sustainably while encouraging investors for large-scale solar projects, but emphasizing solar rooftop systems as small as 1 kW. [CleanTechnica]
  • Among the things the White House announced last week is a $1 billion increase in loan guarantees for renewable energy projects, $24 million in new grants for solar research and measures to reduce costs for homeowners to install solar panels. Fossil fuel and utility interests argue that the matter should be left to the free market. [Rapid News Network]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.