Archive for ferc

Solar facility that could power 500 Marin homes

By Janis Mara, Marin IJ

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Roy Phillips, president of REP Energy, leads a tour of an abandoned quarry on June 9 in Novato. His company, REP Energy, wants to build a solar energy facility at the site near the McIsaac Dairy west of Novato. The quarry, no longer in use, was mined for the mineral serpentine, a source of asbestos. (Frankie Frost — Marin Independent Journal)

A proposed solar facility just outside Novato that could generate enough electricity to power more than 500 Marin homes is up for approval at the Marin Planning Commission meeting Monday.

Located on the isolated grounds of a former rock quarry, the solar farm would have 4,272 solar panels up to 6 and a half feet high on 11.5 acres of the 952-acre quarry. The $6 million project would generate 1.98 megawatts of electricity, delivered to Marin Clean Energy via nearby power lines.

The quarry was once mined for serpentine rock, which contains asbestos. Quarry operations shut down in 1990.

Installations like the solar project “are a good way to use formerly disturbed locations” like the quarry, said Andrew Campbell, the executive director of the Energy Institute at Haas, a research and teaching facility at the University of California at Berkeley.

Campbell said the proposed location also was beneficial because it is close to the people who would use the energy.

“Having the generation close to an area where consumers are also has benefits, since some power is lost when it is transmitted over long distances,” the executive director said.

The site is west of the city of Novato, east of Stafford Lake and about a mile north of Novato Boulevard. It is not visible from the road. County staff has recommended that the permit be granted, with some qualifications.

Crawford Cooley and Beverly Potter, who own the former quarry, would lease the land to San Rafael-based Danlin Solar, along with San Rafael-based REP Energy. Those two companies would own and build the solar installation.

“That’s a pretty typical arrangement,” Campbell said.

“Solar is a green energy source, no doubt about it. There is no pollution or greenhouse gas emitted at the place where you are generating the power,” the executive director said.

“This would be quite a win if it happened. The people who are very concerned about seeing beautiful agricultural land taken up with solar panels have a valid point. You’d hate to lose a lot of natural Marin. That makes this an ideal project because it’s sitting in an abandoned quarry essentially on bare rock,” said Bob Spofford, vice president of Sustainable San Rafael.

“Solar is in some ways the most ideal of all alternative energy because it doesn’t make noise, it doesn’t pollute, it produces power close to the time when it’s most needed, and it does not harm wildlife,” said Spofford.

Addressing Spofford’s last point, “Photovoltaic panels definitely do not kill birds,” said Michael D. McGehee, a Stanford University associate professor and a senior fellow at the university’s Precourt Institute for Energy. McGehee teaches classes on solar cells. Wind turbines such as the ones at Altamont do pose a danger to avian life, perhaps causing some to confuse the effects of this alternative energy source with those of solar, McGehee said.

No letters of opposition to the project had been received by the staff by Friday.

The state Office of Mines Reclamation and the Department of Public works oversaw the reclamation of the land since the 1990s, according to the county staff report. The project is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act because it will not cause environmental impacts, the staff report said.

“My job is to work with clients to help them avoid environmental impacts,” said Dana Riggs, a project biologist with San Rafael-based WRA Environmental Consultants. “We planned it (the project) in a manner to avoid impacts on sensitive resources including species and habitat,” Riggs said.

If the permit is granted, construction could begin as early as mid-August and wrap up by November, according to Frank Gobar of Danlin Solar.

California Feed-in Tariff for Poor Communities Passes Assembly

May 31, 2012

By Paul Gipe

A bill to create feed-in tariffs for the poor and the disadvantaged passed the California Assembly on 30 May 2012.

The “Solar for All” bill, AB 1990, passed the House by a vote of 49 to 27 and was reported to the Senate.

The move is the first significant action on feed-in tariffs in California during this legislative session. It is also the first time in North America that advocates for the poor and disadvantaged have called for equal opportunity to develop renewable energy through the use of feed-in tariffs.

Introduced by Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), the bill would create feed-in tariffs for 375 MW of small-scale renewable generation that would be specifically designed for disadvantaged communities.

The bill is sponsored by the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA).

CEJA’s bill has received support from some 70 non-governmental organizations that includes a who’s who of the California environmental and social justice community, including Sierra Club California, Union of Concerned Scientists, Natural Resources Defense Council, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), and Environment California.

Though CEJA dubs the legislation “Solar for All”, the bill itself calls for “clean energy contracts” from all “eligible renewable energy resources” in California.

  • Project size cap: 500 kW
  • Program cap: 375 MW by 2020 at a “regular annual pace”
  • Term: minimum of 20 years
  • Program launch: 2014
  • Tariffs: “sufficient to stimulate the market” in low-income communities, create a diverse range of project sizes and achieve the environmental justice objectives
  • Reporting: annual
  • Administration and Rate Setting: Public Utility Commission (PUC) & local public utilities
  • Cost recovery: ratepayers
  • Cost cap: 0.375% of forecast retails sales in 2020
  • “Eligible” Technologies: Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Geothermal Electric, Municipal Solid Waste, Energy Storage, Anaerobic Digestion, Small Hydroelectric, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Ocean Thermal, Biodiesel, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels

It is not clear whether AB 1990 directs the PUC to set tariffs in two bands for those living in disadvantaged communities who can use federal tax subsidies and those who cannot. The bill only notes that the PUC is to take this into account during its deliberations.

AB 1990 contains a potentially onerous provision requiring that each renewable generator be “inspected” by a licensed contractor every two years.

Though utilities are obligated to provide “expedited interconnection,” they are exempted from the act’s requirements if they claim the grid is “inadequate”, that the generator doesn’t meet the utility’s interconnection requirement, or that the “aggregate of all small-scale renewable generating facilities on a distribution circuit would adversely impact utility operation and load restoration efforts of the distribution system”

Despite these limitations, the introduction alone of AB 1990 by CEJA should put to rest concerns that feed-in tariffs are a regressive form of taxation that penalize the poor. Rather, environmental justice organizers see feed-in tariffs as a more equitable policy tool than existing California programs for developing renewable energy.

CEJA: Solar for All Passes Assembly

AB 1990 Bill Status

AB 1990 Bill History

AB 1990

California Watch: Solar rooftops sought in poor communities

What’s New on Feed-in Tariffs

  • California Feed-in Tariff for Poor Communities Passes Assembly–A bill to create feed-in tariffs for the poor and the disadvantaged passed the California Assembly on 30 May 2012. The “Solar for All” bill, AB 1990, passed the House by a vote of 49 to 27 and was reported to the Senate. . .
  • Canadian Auto Workers: WTO Called Upon to Dismiss Japan, EU Challenge to Ontario Renewable Energy Policy–Canadian NGOs and labour unions, including the CAW, have sent an amicus curiae submission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) prior to a May 15 hearing into Japan’s and the European Union’s joint attack on the Ontario Green Energy Act. . .
  • Japan Times: Leveling the field for renewables–The government has drawn up a design for Japan’s feed-in tariff system to promote the generation of electricity through renewable energy sources. In a nutshell, it has decided the prices at which the nation’s major power companies buy such electricity and the duration of contracts. In principle they must buy all such energy. It is hoped that this system, expected to take effect in July, will help expand the generation and use of renewable energy, and accelerate advances in related technologies. Electricity fees may rise. The government should fully explain the need for the system and how it will work. . .
  • Karl-Friedrich Lenz’s analysis of Japan’s Feed-in Tariffs–The second fundamental flaw is the fact that the proposal doesn’t distinguish between onshore and offshore wind. That difference has a rather large influence on cost. Therefore, German law pays 8.93 cents for onshore and 15 cents for offshore wind. . .
  • Chronicle Herald: Nova Scotia Plans to Tap into Tidal Energy with FITs–Energy Minister Charlie Parker said his department will ask the province’s Utility and Review Board later this year to begin the process of setting a rate, or feed-in tariff, for the companies working on development projects in the Bay of Fundy. . .
  • Anglican Diocese of Oxford: Solar Feed-in Tariff put on a “predictable, certain and sustainable footing”–Churches exploring solar pv should note that buildings with an Energy Performance Certificate rating of less than D will get a reduced tariff rate. Calls have previously been made to examine possible exemptions from this and the national Church of England Shrinking the Footprint campaign has been responding to the consultation and having discussions with DECC with particular emphasis on the issues for churches in achieving an A – D rated Energy Performance Certificate. It is, however, possible to wire panels on one building into another which is easier to upgrade e.g panels on a church roof wired into a church hall. . .
  • Malaysian Reserve: RE industry may see change in feed-in-tariff, says SEDA–The Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) is looking at adjusting the feed-in-tariff (FiT) for renewable energy (RE) before it calls for the next round of quote in July/ August 2012 as there is an imbalance in the RE resource mix. At a recent talk on renewable energy updates, SEDA chief executive officer Badriyah Abdul Malek highlighted that almost half of the installed capacity for RE being generated, since the beginning of the FiT on Dec 1, 2011, was using solar energy which could be a “wrong signal” for the market. . .
  • Vermont Ups Feed-in Tariff Program Cap Slightly–Vermont’s Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill into law 18 May 2012 that slightly increases the cap on the state’s Standard Offer Contract program. Senate Bill 214 extends the small existing 50 MW program by a modest amount. . .
  • Saudi Arabia Launches Massive Renewable Program with Hybrid FITs–While North America continues to dawdle on the road to the renewable revolution, the conservative, oil-rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has proposed one of the most sweeping and massive moves to renewable energy on the planet. . .

Nuclear Power, Japan, Feed-in Tariffs, and the Rapid Development of Renewables

  • Andrew Dewit: A Crossroads for Japan: Revive Nuclear or Go Green?–May 5 marked the shutdown of the last of Japan’s 50 viable nuclear reactors, with poor prospects for any restarts before the summer. The central government, the nuclear industry, most big business associations, and many international observers seem convinced that this will invite chaos through escalating fossil fuel costs and the risk of blackouts. But polls suggest a growing segment of the Japanese population see things differently. . .
  • Mainichi: Atomic Energy panel members call for independent probe into secret meetings–Some members of a Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) panel working out new nuclear energy policy have called for a third-party probe into revelations that business operators in favor of the nuclear fuel cycle project were invited to secret meetings before an assessment was altered to help promote the project. . .
  • Guardian: Only renewables – not nuclear – could be too cheap to meter–Germany’s long support for wind and solar energy is delivering zero-cost electricity at times. In contrast, the UK’s new energy policy seeks to underwrite the rising cost of nuclear. . .

 

What’s New on Solar Energy

 

What’s New on Community Power

  • Renewable Energy Tour to Germany & the World Wind Energy Conference 2012–The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association is leading a tour to renewable energy sites in Germany June 30 to July 8 including participation in the World Wind Energy Association Conference in Bonn, and visits to a biogas plant, a wind turbine manufacture, community-owned wind turbines, a leading research institute on grid integration, and a solar power plant. . .
  • Aaron Bartley: Community Power vs. the Kochs–In Germany, where the stranglehold of corporate energy has been loosened, renewables now comprise 20 percent, of national energy production, thanks to national policies such as feed-in tariffs which guarantee a stable price for power produced by wind, solar and geothermal systems. More than half of German energy is now produced in decentralized sites like homes, farms and community co-ops. This trend toward distributed generation conflicts directly with the corporate energy paradigm of centralized control. The German model shows that national policies can have a transformative impact that both increases overall renewable energy production while placing ownership in the hands of farmers, small businesses and homeowners. . .
  • Mount Alexander Community Wind–Mount Alexander Community Wind is a community driven project seeking to establish a locally owned and operated wind plant to supply a significant portion of the energy needs of our Shire. Clean renewable energy will be generated to replace energy derived from burning non-renewable coal. . .

 

What’s New on Wind Energy


This feed-in tariff news update is sponsored by the , An Environmental Trust, and the David Blittersdorf Family Foundation in cooperation with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. The views expressed are those of Paul Gipe and are not necessarily those of the sponsors.



JCM Capital Launches $10,000,000 Solar Development Capital Fund for FIT Projects in Ontario, Canada

TORONTO, Apr 24, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — JCM Capital (JCM) announced today that they have launched a $10 million solar development capital fund that will invest in early-stage photovoltaic (PV) projects installed on large commercial and industrial buildings across Ontario, leveraging the Province’s Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program. The aim of the fund is to target application-ready projects to be submitted into the upcoming Ontario Power Authority’s (OPA) application window, and as such, assist with early-stage development costs such as FIT application fees, structural engineering assessments, FIT security deposits and grid connection impact assessment (CIA) costs. The fund will also invest in Ontario-based FIT contracted projects that have not yet reached commercial operation.

CEO of JCM, Christian Wray stated that despite the recent changes to the Province’s Green Energy Program, the fund will ensure that necessary capital is available for quality projects that meet the requirements of the revised FIT 2.0 program. “JCM has and will continue to support the small to mid-size solar market in Ontario with the belief that our investment in distributed solar power generation will provide the maximum benefit to all stakeholders. The fund creates a unique solution for local PV development companies that have few options when funding early-stage projects that require significant risk capital.” Wray also noted that JCM has a strong track record in working with solar developers in Ontario and looks forward to partnering with and supporting other experienced developers as the program continues.

To date JCM has successfully deployed over $5 million of development capital, enabling the advancement of an initial 20MW commercial rooftop solar portfolio. When completed, the aggregate construction costs of this initial portfolio will exceed $80 million and will offset approximately 20,000 tons of harmful C02 from being released into the earth’s atmosphere – the equivalent of planting 2 million trees or removing 60,000 cars from the road.

The fund will also help create further jobs in accordance with the Province’s Green Energy Act initiative.

For more information, please visit www.jcmcapital.ca

About JCM Capital (JCM)

JCM Capital is a financial advisory company that focuses primarily on financing and the co-development of solar energy projects in Ontario, Canada. The Company provides commercial solar energy developers early-stage development capital and/or equity financing solutions for ‘construction-ready’ and operational solar projects while offering strategic and project management support. Current portfolios include rooftop and ground-mounted projects spanning from Southwestern to Eastern Ontario. The Company is looking to expand it’s reach through the cultivation of new partnerships and associations.

SOURCE: JCM Capital

Defense Department releases energy conservation roadmap

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

 

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Department of Defense Seal.
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WASHINGTON (3/12/12) – The Defense Department Friday released an implementation plan for cutting energy consumption in military operations

Officials released a strategy in June outlining the need for energy conservation in military operations. In the plan released, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta reiterates that the department must do its part to reduce U.S. fuel consumption not only to save money, but also to have less reliance on foreign oil and to improve security for U.S. forces who transport fuel into battle spaces.

“Energy security means a reliable, secure and affordable supply of energy for military missions, today and in the future,” the secretary said.

The implementation plan outlines a three-part strategy of reducing the demand for energy, securing diverse options beyond fossil fuels, and building energy security considerations into all military planning.

“This is a question of making sure the whole department is executing this strategy and using energy to support military operations better and interoperable and in a way that supports the whole department better,” said Sharon E. Burke, assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs.

The plan creates a Defense Operational Energy Board to oversee the department’s progress. Military services and DOD agencies are to report to the board on their energy consumption last year and projected consumption for the next five years, the plan says. The board will work with the services and agencies on actions needed to improve their consumption baselines.

The services have reported goals for:

  • The Army to have 16 “Net Zero” installations by 2020 and 25 by 2030 — installations that do not use more energy or water than they produce and reduce waste by recycling;
  • The Navy to reduce fuel consumption afloat by 15 percent by 2020;
  • The Air Force to increase aviation energy efficiency by 10 percent by 2020; and
  • The Marine Corps to increase energy efficiency on the battlefield by 50 percent by 2025, and, as a result, reduce daily fuel consumption per Marine by 50 percent in the same time.

The combatant commands will then report to the board on how they guide their forces to improve energy performance and efficiency, such as the ability to field fuel quickly and the use of alternative energy technologies.

The board is to develop department-wide energy performance metrics in consultation with the DOD components and based on consumption baselines.

The assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering is to assess the department’s gaps in energy science and technology and report recommendations to the board.

The plan also calls for:

  • Improving operational energy security at fixed installations;
  • Promoting the development of alternative fuels;
  • Incorporating energy security considerations into requirements and acquisitions; and
  • Adapting policy, doctrine, military education and combatant command activities to support reduced demand of energy.

“Even though the strategy and implementation plan is new,” Burke said, “the department has been making progress for some time in using less energy – more fight for less fuel. We haven’t been standing still on this.”

Soldiers and Marines have reduced their energy consumption in Afghanistan by using solar rechargeable batteries, solar microgrids, more efficient tents and better fixed shelters, Burke said.

Also, the Army is using generators at its forward operating bases that are 20 percent more efficient, and become even more efficient by being wired together. The Navy, too, has made good progress by incorporating energy considerations into its acquisitions process, she said.

Less demand for energy and more conservation lessen the risk to troops to transport fuel through battle zones, she said.

“When you’re focused on the fight, the most important thing is that the energy be there — and that’s how it should be,” Burke said. “But people also are beginning to understand there is a cost to using and moving that much fuel.”

Stateside, Fort Bliss, Texas, and Fort Carson, Colo., as well as the Oregon National Guard, are showing progress toward the Army’s Net Zero goal, the plan released today says.

“There’s a lot of good things going on, and a lot more needs to happen,” Burke said. The department’s energy conservation effort, she added, is both a challenge and an opportunity.

“Energy … shapes our missions, and we can shape it,” she said.
As part of the implementation plan, Panetta wrote that the rising global demand for energy, changing geopolitics and new threats will make the cost and availability of energy even less certain in the future.

“Energy security is an imperative – our economic well-being and international interests depend on it,” he said.

The Solar Sell-off Has Gotten Ridiculous

By Travis Hoium

Solar stocks took another drubbing yesterday, this time on word that Italy’s debt had been downgraded by S&P. If it isn’t changes to a feed-in tariff, it’s economic concerns, or falling oil prices, and now … it’s debt ratings?

The downgrade and solar
Does the Italy downgrade really have anything to do with solar stocks? Ratepayers essentially pay for feed-in tariffs, and Italy’s government finances have little to do with solar, save for setting policy and providing other incentives. And with sustainable changes made to the feed-in tariff earlier this year, I think it is unlikely additional changes will be made soon.

There’s also the fact that solar is one of the few things Italy can point to as a success right now. One of the reason Italy’s debt was downgraded was the prospect of stagnant growth, something the solar industry can help improve.

So while a downgrade of Italy’s debt isn’t good news, don’t you think the market has taken it a little too far this time?

Case of the falling euro
One of the bigger problems for solar manufacturers is a constantly falling euro. That is a concern for China overall, because the EU is a major trade partner with China and is one of the biggest buyers of solar panels from Chinese manufacturers.

That’s one of the reasons we’ve heard about China possibly buying the debt of troubled EU members in recent weeks. If European countries begin to default on their debt and the euro falls, then China will be affected too. China doesn’t want that to happen.

Problems in Europe overshadow solar’s growth everywhere else
Investors are quick to panic over concerns about solar’s demand, but they’re also typically slow to realize where new demand will come from. In 2008, when Spain was a major demand market and feed-in tariffs collapsed from overinstallation, everyone panicked. But Germany and Italy picked up the slack, and 2010 was a record year for the industry.

We will likely see a similar progression, with Germany and Italy becoming slightly smaller but more consistent demand sources within the next year, based on updated feed-in tariff plans. In addition, Japan, China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the U.S. are also growing demand sources. In particular, China and the U.S. have a lot of capacity to build solar plants, and with costs falling, the economics play into solar developers’ hands.

Are all of these companies going bankrupt?
Yesterday a friend asked me, “How long is the solar panic of 2011 gonna last? … These companies are priced like they’re going out of business.” While I don’t have the answer to when the market will see value in solar stocks, I can point to fundamentals that investors increasingly should be considering. Value investors often look at price/book value as a way to gauge a stock’s value. A price/book value less than 1 indicates that a stock may be a good value, while growth stocks typically trade above a ratio of 1.

Japan Renewable Feed-in-Tariff Passes, While Ontario Faces Battles

Published on September 8, 2011 | By Shira Honig
Source: Climatico

While Ontario’s ambitious feed-in-tariff (FIT) policy is being put to the test by domestic and international opposition, including a challenge from Japan, Japan has just achieved a major breakthrough for its own FIT policy as it continues to recover from the tsunami and nuclear disaster this past March. Both examples will have implications for renewable energy policies and trade worldwide.

Currently in place in more than 40 countries – most notably in Germany, whose early leadership made it the world’s leading solar power – FIT policies boost initial development in renewable technologies by providing developers with above-market rates guaranteed over a long-term contract, usually 15-20 years. When designed well, they deliver long-term emissions reductions while providing a stable rate of return for clean-tech developers and reasonable costs for the consumer. When costs are not controlled over time, however, an FIT can be doomed to follow the example of Spain, whose program created a rush of solar development that ultimately led to a bust.

Ontario’s FIT Program Faces Many Challenges

The Green Energy Act (GEA) was passed in 2009 in Ontario, Canada, by the Liberal Party as a way to position the province as a long-term renewable energy leader while phasing out coal, spurring clean-tech investment and boosting the economy by creating jobs through domestic content requirements. The Act’s FIT program covers biomass, biogas, landfill gas, on-shore wind, solar photovoltaics (PV) and waterpower. So far, it has created 13,000 jobs and attracted $20 billionin private-sector investment.

Two years later, however, it is facing three international challenges. First, in a dispute initiated under the World Trade Organization (WTO) last year, Japan is calling the Act’s domestic content requirements a prohibited subsidy that discriminates against imported products and violates key elements of international trade law. Europe likewise objects to the domestic requirements in its own complaint it initiated in the WTO last month. The third challenge comes from Mesa Power Group, owned by T. Boone Pickens, who filed a compaint in July under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), alleging that Ontario made last-minute, discriminatory changes to its FIT rules, preventing the company from winning contracts for two wind projects it was hoping to build in the province.

The Act also faces significant domestic opposition in Ontario. Some of the opposition comes from communities fighting the construction of wind turbines in their neighborhoods. Some of it comes from a $7 billion deal made in 2010 between the Ontario government and South Korean-owned Samsung, which has sparked anger and which oddly dismisses Ontario’s own goal of promoting local over foreign companies.

Much opposition comes from the Act’s purported role in rising household energy bills. Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, in advance of a provincial election in October, has promised to cancel the FIT program and the Samsung contract, hoping he can oust the Liberals on the perception that the Act’s rising costs hurt the economy. Yet as Pembina Institute shows, the rising prices are due to such factors as the introduction of smart metering and the much-needed replacement of aging infrastructure – and prices would rise even without renewable investment. Others note that prices are expected to fall in the long-term.

As Japan Challenges Ontario’s FIT, it Passes its Own

Meanwhile, as the composition of the Ontario-Japan WTO dispute panel got underway, Japan passed a renewable energy FIT law that will go into effect next July. Some details of the policy remain undecided, but the tariff will cover solar PV, wind, biomass, geothermal and small hydroelectric generation. An overall review will occur every three years, and tariffs and contract terms will be reviewed annually.

Given the long-standing political strength of the nuclear industry in Japan, the measure would not have passed if it weren’t for the Fukushima disaster, as well as the controversies surrounding the government’s handling of it. The powerful but heavily criticized Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will not be responsible for implementing the FIT system; rather, that responsibility will go to a special parliamentary committee.

The law reflects the large shift in public opinion on nuclear energy since the tsunami and disaster at Fukushima, as well as the pressure government officials have been under to phase out atomic power. While it may be considered a victory for long-silenced renewable energy supporters, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is attempting to convince a fearful public that Japan’s precarious position cannot be overcome without any nuclear in the mix.

Implications – and Questions – From Both Cases

The implications of these related examples are likely to be significant. For example, Japan’s new policy could help it recover its leadership in solar PV technology, along with Germany, and place it in competition with China, which last month established its own solar FIT program. (In another parallel example, China’s wind FIT program is currently being challenged by the United States for its support of domestic wind turbine manufacturers, considered also to be an illegal protective subsidy).

It is not certain, however, that Japan’s policy, if successful, will affect other countries’ nuclear policies, given that each country’s nuclear energy needs and capacities are different.  It is also not certain whether Japan will implement its own domestic requirements as part of its FIT policy, but this is unlikely while its own case against Ontario remains open.

With regard to Ontario, it is unclear whether its FIT program is more at risk from the three international challenges or from domestic opposition. Certainly, however, a repeal of the Act would render the WTO and NAFTA challenges moot, leaving the protective subsidy question unanswered

Deutsche Bank ranks German feed-in tariffs as best policy for renewable energy

Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors (Frankfurt, Germany) has issued a report which identifies German feed-in tariffs as the “best in class” renewable energy policy, and states that the program will allow PV to grow to 7% of the nation’s electricity supply by 2020.

“The German Feed-in Tariff for PV: Managing Volume Success with Price Response” cites an evolving policy structure and the ability to manage demand through price as critical to the success of the German program.

“Germany’s policy continues to drive renewable energy at scale, supported by binding, ambitious targets, a mature renewable energy sector, and an integrated climate and energy policy framework that exhibits longevity and supports investor security,” states Deutsche Bank in the report.

“We believe that Germany’s integrated climate and energy policy has been and will remain a key contributor to making solar energy competitive with on-peak fossil-fuel-fired electricity by 2014.”

 

German approach includes lack of caps

The report notes that solar and other renewables will play a more important role due to the German government’s planned phase-out of nuclear power.

Deutsche Bank also notes that the lack of a cap to the program has allowed Germany to serve as a demand “backstop” for the global solar market even as other markets have contracted. When faced with greater than anticipated installations, other large European PV markets placed limitations on PV growth.

Germany has shown considerable restraint in managing feed-in tariff digressions, and has also not imposed dramatic program cuts as Spain, the United Kingdom and other nations have done. These severe cuts have been disastrous for domestic PV industries.

Ernst & Young report confirms benefits of FITS

The Deutsche Bank report is the latest to confirm that European-style FITs are the most successful policy mechanism for renewable energy development in the world.

Ernst & Young’s 2011 “Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices”, published in February 2011, also noted that fixed-rate FITs are less costly than competitive solicitations, due to a lower risk profile and greater certainty.

The report also notes that fixed-rate FITs are easier to understand by both investors and finance providers, and tend to attract broader market participation.

 

 

 

2011-08-22 | Courtesy:Deutsche Bank AG, Ernst & Young  | solarserver.com © Heindl Server GmbH

Our editorial selection of breaking solar news is published at:
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U.S. Senate Introduces Controversial Transmission Cost-Allocation Legislation

by Michael Bates

A group of U.S. senators has introduced legislation that adds a new voice to the ongoing dialogue among the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and other stakeholders related to transmission cost allocation.

The Electric Transmission Customer Protection Act is intended to prevent FERC from applying cost-recovery mechanisms for interstate transmission projects beyond where the upgrades will have an immediate, direct benefit.

This position is at odds with a current proposed rule in FERC’s docket that seeks to implement a methodology that spreads infrastructure costs regionally among a wide range of consumers. The senators claim the commission’s rule would inequitably “spread the associated costs to customers outside of the area immediately serviced by the new transmission lines.”

“The principle that the costs ratepayers pay should be directly related to the benefits they receive from a transmission project needs to be absolutely clear in FERC’s regulations,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in a press release. “Right now, it isn’t.”

The act – put forth by Wyden and U.S. Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Richard Burr, R-N.C.; and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. – would “protect consumers from footing the bill for energy projects that serve no benefit for their state or region,” the sponsors said.

The proposed measure drew swift reaction from the industry.

“The beneficiaries of investments in transmission should bear its costs, and those customers who do not benefit should not be liable for transmission costs,” says Jim Hoecker, counsel to industry trade group WIRES and a former FERC chairman. “That’s fair.”

However, he notes that the legislation that has been proposed is unnecessary, saying that promoting a fair methodology is “exactly what FERC is doing.”

WIRES maintains that although the bill is “ostensibly intended to protect consumers from unwarranted energy and infrastructure costs,” the end result will “thwart needed investment in the high-voltage grid and curtail the nation’s ability to develop domestic energy resources.”

The group adds that the act would place an “unprecedented” limitation on FERC’s authority to appropriately allocate transmission costs – a function the commission has handled for nearly eight decades.