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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

WEEKLY SOLAR REVIEW


California has long been a pioneer in solar energy.  In 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, declared:

     We can't just rely on sunlight.  We've got to bottle the sunlight.

Read how Brown united utilities, industry and the State Legislature to work together toward common goals.  However, even previous governor, Arnold Schwarzennegar, a Republican, was pro-solar.  Something about that Californian attitude.

California is the state with the largest population, and Texas is #2, with huge solar/wind potential, but a combination of leadership philosophy and regulatory attitudes have stymied renewable energy growth in the state.  Texas is the biggest state without net-metering.  Incentives are minimal.  Utilities have tended to best influence lawmakers, minimizing residential initiatives.  It seems that the Sun is not rising in Texas.

The third largest state, New York, however, appears to be progressive, for the power industry is moving ahead on distributed energy using clean options.  The New York State Public Service Commission (NYSPSC), chaired by Audrey Zibelman, is proactively identifying solutions to maintain the transition.  Spurring them along is the Environmental Defense Fund, directed in the New York Region by Rory Christian.  The NYSPSC announced the Benefit Cost Analysis Order to:
  • Value carbon emissions
  • Consider a portfolio of distributed energy resources.
  • Apply the benefit-cost analysis to renewable energy tariffs.
The purpose is to correctly price carbon emissions to result in more clean, distributed generation investments.  Then, there are the states of Alabama, North Dakota and Wyoming, all with Republican governors, the ONLY three states last year not taking any significant actions related to solar policy.

Some states are better endowed naturally.  Red is good for solar power and blue for wind energy (Hey NREL, where is Hawaii?):


Further, the top five energy policy trends today are:
  • Net Metering vs Net Billing
  • Fixed Charges
  • Cost Benefit Analysis
  • Community Solar
  • Purchase Power Legislation
Renewable Energy World will host WHERE THE FUTURE UNFOLDS in Orlando from December 13-15.  Good gathering to participate in as you vacation in Florida this Winter.  Yes, oil is only around $42/barrel, but that is, incredibly enough, 50% higher compared to what it was only a little more than two months ago.


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