Texas led the pack in state-level energy-related carbon dioxide emissions from 2000-2010, having produced more than 7.5 billion metric tons of CO2 over the period, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) The EIA has begun to provide state-level energy-related carbon dioxide emissions data, showing that over the 2000-2010 period, Texas far outpaced other… Keep reading →
To date, California schools and public agencies that have gone solar have saved $2.5 billion in energy costs-real money that lets cash-strapped districts hold on to teachers and enables communities to maintain services. California homeowners have saved their neighbors $92.2 million by producing electricity that doesn’t need to be shipped across expensive, inefficient transmission lines from a dirty, utility-owned generator-which means their fellow ratepayers pay less for maintaining existing lines and building new ones. And solar’s created 43,000 jobs in the state.
But now California’s utilities-and utilities across the United States-are working to undermine the policies that make solar a great deal for the state. They’re doing this by attacking a key tenet of rooftop solar: the right to get a fair credit for the energy your system produces when you’re not using it. Keep reading →
Sometimes getting bigger isn’t the same as growing up. California’s cleantech economy has slowed its intense growth cycle in recent months, but the emergence of new credit-worthy investors and intensifying technology innovation in the state has helped consolidate the gains of the last few years.
That’s the message of the latest California Green Innovation Index, released today by the organization Next 10 and compiled by Collaborative Economics. Keep reading →
California regulators released the state’s first draft regulations for hydraulic fracturing. The industry views the move as a positive start to drive oil and gas development in California, which has some of the strictest well safety regulations. The move could result in dramatic expansion of drilling activities in the state’s Monterey Shale, a major oil play that could substantially contribute to the domestic energy supply.
On December 18, 2012, California’s Department of Conservation released preliminary regulations for hydraulic fracturing, after a series of public discussions held this year to address environmental concerns. The draft rules, if passed, would require drilling companies to test well integrity and report test results to regulators before beginning fracturing operations. The proposal also seeks to require companies to maintain an online database of fracturing locations and chemical composition of fracturing fluids. It would however, provide an exemption for operators seeking protection for proprietary chemical composition information. The formal rulemaking process, expected to begin in early 2013 with further public hearings, could be finalized in about one year. Keep reading →
California regulators will direct the state’s largest utilities to return 85% of cap-and-trade proceeds to ratepayers. The move, which comes about a month after the successful completion of California’s first carbon allowance auction, aims at offsetting higher electricity costs resulting from the cap-and-trade program, by providing a “climate dividend” on utility bills.
On December 20, 1012, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously approved a plan to distribute the utility sector’s carbon allowance revenues to ratepayers in the form of a biennial “climate dividend.” The plan directs three major investor-owned utilities – Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric – to return 85% of proceeds from the sale of carbon allowances to ratepayers as rebates through the life of the cap-and-trade program. The dividend, estimated to range from $20 to $40, will appear as an automatic credit on utility bills every six months starting July 2013. The amount of money that will go to ratepayers in the form of rebates from 2013 through 2020 ranges from $5.7 billion to $22.6 billion. Keep reading →
James Hughes, CEO of First Solar, recently gave a hugely interesting interview to Australia’s Renew Economy in which he discussed his company’s future, the state of the global solar market.
Hughes’ views on utility scale v. rooftop solar are intriguing and worth reading, as First Solar is one of the largest solar manufacturers in the world and a major player in the U.S. utility-scale solar market. The company has paid considerably less attention to small-scale commercial and residential solar, and this focus is reflected in Hughes’ comments about the future of distributed renewable energy generation: Keep reading →
In a remarkable document, the head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s division office in Palm Springs, Calif., is asking that regulators put off approval of proposed power tower solar projects in order to get data on the impact they could have on birds and bats.
The request to the California Energy Commission and other regulators – first reported by Chris Clarke on the ReWire blog – comes as BrightSource Energy, which is more than halfway done with the Ivanpah plant in the Mojave Desert, is pursuing permits to build the Rio Mesa and Hidden Hills power tower projects in the Southern California desert. This type of concentrating solar power technology uses heliostats – large mirrors – to direct light onto a receiving tower, where water or other fluids can be heated and then used to produce energy. Keep reading →
The appeal of distributed generation is growing as the economics improve sharply, and a perfect storm of delayed infrastructure investment, falling prices for distributed renewable energy sources and a series of high profile centralized transmission grid failures mean the business is approaching a “tipping point.”
“We’re looking at a mass exodus away from the centralized utilities,” Gen110 Co-founder and CEO Jason Brown told Breaking Energy in a recent follow-up to an interview following a successful round of fund-raising by heavy-hitter venture capital firms earlier this year. Since the beginning of the year Gen110 has gone from being able to meet utility prices for electricity provision for one in ten homes to forecasting it will be able to match utility rates for three in ten by the end of this year. Keep reading →