Congress: Picking energy losers, over clean energy winners

Congress just released its propose “tax reform” plan – and it’s a doozie. Instead of promoting renewable energy and electric vehicles, the plan would slash those incentives – while giving a massive bailout to the failing nuclear industry.

Two years ago, Congress passed a massive overhaul for the wind and solar industries that gave a clear path for phasing-out tax credits for those industries. The newly proposed “tax reform” plan reneges on that promise made two years ago and threatens hundreds of billions of dollars in clean, domestic, renewable energy development.

The wildly popular, and effective tax credit for electric vehicles has produced many jobs, cut pollution, and increased our energy security. But now Congress’s “tax reform” plan would totally eliminate the electric vehicle tax credit, and slams on the breaks of an American industry.

Meanwhile, Congress would extend $6 billion worth of subsidies to the failing nuclear industry.

Click here to tell Congress to support clean energy and electric vehicles.

Time for Virgin Islands to Transfer Power, to Renewables

There’s already a high level of self-sufficiency in St. Croix – where many, many homes rely almost entirely on rainwater cisterns for their freshwater supply. As batteries and residential renewable energy become cheaper, many residents may willfully follow Mr. Boyd’s footsteps, and begin to fully opt-out of the Virgin Island electric system by going off grid. But for economies of scale, utility-scale renewables and large batteries can pack a big economic punch. Lower systemwide power prices can help reduce electric bills, but also attract new companies seeking paradise on a dime. Meanwhile, brandishing ecological credentials could improve the islands’ largest industry: tourism. In the Netherlands, tourists readily pay for windmill and wind farm excursions.
As the Virgin Islands celebrate the 100th anniversary of Transfer Day, let’s hope it won’t take another 100 years for renewable energy.

Lafayette restores smart solar policy

Late on November 7th, a local Lafayette, Louisiana newspaper (The Independent) posted a story: “About-face: LUS seeks repeal of ‘solar tax’ ordinance”. Lafayette is restoring its smart solar policy!

Local utility quietly clouds solar future

But this past August, our local electric utility company passed perhaps the worst solar power policy in the south. Lafayette Utilities System (LUS) introduced an extremely complicated electric, water and sewer rate increase the same week historic, 1,000-year flooding occurred in Louisiana. The new rate structure for net metered customers, including solar power families like mine, is likely to double monthly electric bills, and double the length of time it takes for a solar panel system to pay for itself. The new policy effectively acts as a giant tax on solar power. Solar tax credits are being phased out, and when coupled with LUS’s new solar tax, it is unlikely that solar power systems would ever pay for themselves.

North Carolina’s Secret Agenda to Destroy Renewable Energy

North Carolina’s Senate Bill 843 was introduced recently, and if implemented, would flush the entire renewable energy industry down the toilet.

Dirt cheap renewables beating fossil fuels on price

Wind energy has reached record low prices. Wind energy has reached $32-$77 per megawatt hour (MWh) without federal incentives. If the federal Production Tax Credit or Investment Tax Credit is included, wind energy pricing may be $14-$63/MWh.
Utility-scale solar power has reached record low prices. Solar power has reached $50-$70/MWh without federal incentives.

A Bright, Sunny Forecast for the Tennessee Valley

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is farsighted, not shortsighted, when it comes to its efforts to evaluate and plan for solar power in its future. The 2015 Draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) provides the clearest, sharpest look ever by a Southeastern utility at solar energy as a resource – and not a threat – to this amazing, clean energy opportunity. [...]

Utilities and the Distributed Energy Paradigm Shift

This is the second blog in a series on the growth of distributed energy in the U.S. The first, “The Calm before the Solar Storm,” was posted May 29. In a move reminiscent of “Who Killed the Electric Car,” we’re hearing grumblings from the investor-owned utility (IOU) industry that advances in distributed energy technologies are [...]