New law provides more certainty for energy markets
Nevada’s shifting energy policy may be a microcosm of wider U.S. policy, as Gov. Bill Sandoval this week signed a bill that reinstates net metering for photovoltaic solar power systems.
The Nevada Public Utilities Commission eliminated net metering in late 2015, which created uncertainty in the renewable energy market. The new law reinstates a framework for owners of solar panels in the state to get reimbursed for excess energy they generate. Continue reading “Nevada restores solar net metering”→
FRISCO — A grassroots Colorado coalition of government leaders, business and environmental organizations want to increase the production of solar power tenfold in the next 15 years, but the effort faces a major challenge, as Xcel Energy wants to cut the rate it pays to consumers who feed power into the grid.
Renewable energy advocates said the utility’s arguement is flawed: A comprehensive study done by Crossborder Energy found that far from being a subsidy, net metering contributes up to $11 million in benefits each year to the grid. The debate over net metering is currently before the PUC as part of Xcel’s 2014 Renewable Energy Standard Compliance Plan.
Net metering requires investor-owned utilities to credit customers who invest in solar panels for the excess electricity they supply the electrical grid at the retail rate. Net metering is fundamental to the viability of rooftop solar for both homes and businesses.
Germany forges ahead with ambitious renewable energy plans
By Bob Berwyn
MUNICH, GERMANY — It’s been a whirlwind week of travels here in the ‘old country’ where I grew up, but as I scan the news from back home in the USA and Colorado about the politics of renewable energy, I’m still thinking about what I saw as we flew into Frankfurt a little more than a week ago.
The U.S. Senate is playing politics with wind power, and presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he would do away with even the most harmless way to promote renewable power, the so-called wind energy production tax credits.
Meanwhile, even from 30,000 feet, the change in the German landscape is striking — hundreds, and even thousands, of power-generating wind turbines dot the countryside, in small clusters near villages, in lines along ridge tops, and in seemingly random clumps around some of the larger cities.
Seduced by cheap natural gas, U.S. may lose ground in the path away from fossil fuels
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Closing in on the peak of the presidential election season, it’s probably too much to expect honesty from politicians desperate to get elected or re-elected.
But it’s especially disturbing to hear lies about things that can easily be proved with fact-based reality checks. Energy is one of those issues that’s been twisted beyond recognition by the Republican Party, mainly because so many of the GOP’s candidates are heavily financed by fossil fuel companies — and by the way, so are plenty of Democrats.
Photovoltaic plant will pump groundwater for farm irrigation
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —Fruit growers in a remote region of Chile plan to boost their output by building a 300-kilowatt photovoltaic plant in the Atacama Desert. The solar power facility will help the farmers pump groundwater in a region where a thriving mining industry competes fiercely for scarce electricity.
USGS report says impacts of large-scale installations are not well-understood
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —Ramping up large-scale solar power installations could have unintended environmental consequences, including significant impact to wildlife, according to a new study by the US Geological Survey’s Southwest Biological Science Center.
The report calls for more extensive studies on how to balance solar energy development with resource conservation before rushing headlong into the renewable energy future. It can downloaded at this website for the remainder of the month.
The issues raised with regard to rare and endangered species like the Agassiz’s desert tortoise present a conundrum of sorts, for if fossil fuel use continues unabated, the climate may become too warm for those species to survive — solar energy development or not.
Renewable energy a big part of town’s long-term sustainability plan
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A new array of solar panels in Breckenridge will generate 10 percent of the town’s municipal electricity consumption, officials said Tuesday after flipping a ceremonial switch to turn the system on.
Installed at seven locations, the combined arrays will save the town more than $900,000 in the next 20 years and offset about 18,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions. Installations are complete on the town’s ice rink, rec center and vehicle maintenance shop, and work is under way to finish arrays at several other town facilities.