Renewable Energy Update - December 2017 #2

by Allen Matkins
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U.S. tax bill to preserve key renewable energy credits, sources say

Reuters - Dec 14 The final version of comprehensive tax legislation being negotiated by House and Senate lawmakers will preserve key renewable energy tax credits that were once at risk of being removed, congressional and business sources said on Thursday. Congressional Republicans reached a deal on tax legislation on Wednesday, clearing the way for final votes next week on a package that would slash the U.S. corporate tax rate to 21 percent and cut taxes for wealthy Americans. Congressional and business sources briefed on the status of these talks have confirmed that the production tax credit for wind energy and the $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit, which the House version of the bill had targeted, will remain in the final bill. Lawmakers have been working to produce a tax package after the Republican-controlled House and Senate passed different versions of legislation. The president of the American Council on Renewable Energy, Gregory Wetstone, sent a note to members on Wednesday saying that he knew “with certainty” that the legislation also did not include the alternative minimum tax (AMT) for corporations that would have reduced the value of the production tax credit (PTC) for wind projects. Meanwhile, the renewable energy industry is awaiting final details on how congressional negotiators will address problems created by a provision included in the Senate-passed bill called the Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT). This measure was intended to prevent multinational companies from abusing the tax code but would make tax credits like the PTC for wind less valuable.

Secretary Perry grants FERC extension on controversial grid ruling

Solar Industry Magazine - Dec 11 U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry has granted a request from Kevin McIntyre, the newly sworn-in chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), for a 30-day extension on the next step of the proposed “Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule.” Since its issuance in late September, the DOE proposal has been widely criticized as a bailout for coal and nuclear, and a number of energy industry groups, including the American Wind Energy Association and Solar Energy Industries Association, have spoken out against the proposal and asked FERC to not adopt the rule.

SDG&E asks San Diego to make decision on competing green power proposals by 2019

San Diego Union-Tribune - Dec 11 The city of San Diego has been considering the formation of a government-run alternative to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to help meet its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. Now, SDG&E has said the city doesn’t have to abandon the investor-owned utility to go all green — but it wants the city to make a decision on the utility’s competing proposal by the first quarter of 2019. The mayor’s office dismissed the idea that the utility had any say in when an endorsement would be made to the City Council, if at all.

Solar is meeting more than 10% of electric demand in three states

PV Magazine - Dec 12 Solar is becoming an increasingly important part of the electric mix in more of the country, and the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration show that this contribution is still led by Western states. Three U.S. states now get 10 percent or more of their electricity from solar. Joining California, which met 13.2 percent of its demand with both solar PV and massive concentrating solar power plants, Nevada and Hawaii reached this milestone in the first nine months of 2017.

Unlocking millions of dollars in state incentives for solar power in L.A. County

UCLA - Dec 12 While Los Angeles County is a national leader in the adoption of residential solar, the homes of low-income households account for less than 1 percent of residential solar capacity across the county, according to new research by the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation and the nonprofit organization GRID Alternatives. This may change. The study found that cities in Los Angeles County could soon unlock millions of dollars annually in state incentives for residential solar on affordable housing. Starting in 2018, California will offer a solar rebate program targeted at putting solar panels on the roofs of affordable housing developments. With an annual budget of up to $100 million, the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing program “could make a big difference toward reversing the current inequity in the distribution of residential solar systems,” said Michael Kadish, executive director of GRID Alternatives Los Angeles, which makes renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities.

Wind turbines may turn slower in a warmer world

Scientific American - Dec 12 New research published in the journal Nature Geoscience suggests that future climate change might cause wind resources to decline across the Northern Hemisphere. These losses could be tempered by increases in wind power potential south of the equator, under severe climate change scenarios. The findings don't disqualify wind as a competitive source of renewable energy, cautioned lead study author Kristopher Karnauskas of the University of Colorado, Boulder. But they do suggest that energy planners should take the future climate into account when creating long-term strategies for renewables.

Recurrent Energy signs PPA with BART for 45MW of California solar

PV-Tech - Dec 8 Canadian Solar subsidiary Recurrent Energy has signed off on a 20-year power purchase agreement for 45 megawatts of PV power with Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), the fifth largest public transit network in the U.S. The PPA, which stands as BART’s first ever PPA for utility-scale PV power, was the result of a renewable energy procurement process that it launched in May 2017 as part of the organization's Wholesale Electricity Portfolio Policy. As part of the policy, BART is required to receive 100 percent of its power from renewable resources by 2045.

Completion of solar electric-generation array near Las Vegas marked

Las Vegas Review-Journal - Dec 11 Officials are celebrating the completion of a utility-scale solar electric generation array near Las Vegas built to power commercial data centers in Northern and Southern Nevada. The industrial-sized Switch Station 1 and Switch Station 2 power plants commissioned Monday at the Apex Industrial Park are designed to generate enough electricity to meet the needs of 46,000 Nevada homes. But the 179 megawatts they’ll be able to put out are dedicated to data infrastructure company Switch for facilities in Reno and Las Vegas.

Powin Energy sells storage projects to esVolta

Utility Dive - Dec 12 Storage system manufacturer Powin Energy Corp. announced yesterday that it has sold over 110 MWh of project assets and contracted pipeline to esVolta, which recently received funding from Blue Sky Alternative Investments LLC to accelerate its growth. The assets include storage projects in California designed to alleviate gas shortages and reliability issues resulting from the Aliso Canyon gas leak.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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