Tom Plant

Recent Posts

Giving States the Credit They Deserve for Global Leadership

Posted by Tom Plant on Oct 2, 2014 10:00:00 AM

As the UN summit on climate in New York City came to a close last week, all eyes were on the United States as the world’s leading economy. Yet, those seeking action from the U.S. should actually be looking at the states and what they’re already doing. As international climate talks open up to “sub-national” participants, states may get a chance to take their rightful place among the world’s advanced energy leaders.

wind-generation-by-state

It may be hard to imagine the U.S. Senate ratifying an international agreement on climate change (which requires a two-thirds vote). But every year states around the country pass legislation to move advanced energy forward to serve a growing U.S. and global market. As documented in AEE’s Advanced Energy Technologies for Greenhouse Gas Reduction, advanced energy products and services improve the electric power system in myriad ways – and reduce emissions associated with climate change as well.

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Topics: State Policy

STATE: Iowa Ruling Shows the Way to Third Party Solar Without Legislation

Posted by Tom Plant on Aug 28, 2014 1:42:00 PM

photo-by-les-stocktonThird party financing of solar energy has become a hot commodity around the country.  Historically, individuals or businesses that wanted solar power had to pay for the system up front and then realize the savings over time. Essentially, the first kWh cost $16,000 or more, but then the electricity is free as long as the panels last.  Solar owners who bought systems this way always got the question, “how long does it take that system to payoff?” (Funny, I’m not aware of any electric utility saying the bill they send you is going down because they’ve “paid off” their power plants, but I digress.)

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Topics: State Policy

STATE: Delaware Passes SB 150, Paving the Way for More Energy Efficiency

Posted by Tom Plant on Jul 24, 2014 12:25:00 PM

In 2007, Delaware established a Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU). The idea was to create an entity that would emulate the great success of Vermont’s efficiency utility, vaulting Delaware into a leading position in energy efficiency. Unfortunately, Delaware has continued to lag behind its neighbors – it was rated 22nd in the country in ACEEE’s most recent scorecard.

delaware-ee-spending

Per capita investments in energy efficiency in the Northeast: gas and electric programs across sectors [1]
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Topics: State Policy

STATE: In Mass., Compromise Pairs Net Metering With Declining Solar Incentives

Posted by Tom Plant on Jul 10, 2014 10:41:00 AM

rooftop_solarIn states around the country, there have been attacks on the net metering policies that support distributed resources, primarily solar power systems. Utilities claim these policies give solar system owners a pass on paying for the infrastructure that connects them to the grid. Advocates claim that net metering gives solar system owners appropriate compensation, on a kW-hour for kW-hour basis, for the excess generation they provide to the grid by offsetting electricity they get from the grid when the sun’s not shining.

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Topics: State Policy

STATE: National Lab Shows RPS Pays Off at Low Cost

Posted by Tom Plant on Jun 12, 2014 2:50:00 PM

RPS-LawrenceBerkleyLabRenewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) have been tremendously successful in driving both renewable energy investment and deployment of renewable resources in the U.S.  Two-thirds of all non-hydro renewable capacity additions since 1998 – 46 gigawatts – have happened in states with RPS policies. Manufacturing facilities for wind power have cropped up across the country while utilities have seen the costs of renewable power plummet. Through this process, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has done numerous reports on RPS policies to help policymakers evaluate their effectiveness.

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Topics: State Policy