Advanced Energy Perspectives

Virginia Governor Race is Looking Bright for Advanced Energy

Posted by Dylan Reed

Sep 14, 2017 10:30:00 AM

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Apex Clean Energy, a company headquartered in Charlottesville, is in the planning stages of its first Virginia wind farm.

Over the past four years, Virginians have seen the advanced energy industry grow, as it became a key priority for the McAuliffe Administration. The solar market grew from 18 MW installed in the Commonwealth in 2013 to over 200 MW today, with hundreds more on the way. Gov. McAuliffe also took executive and legislative action to improve the market for energy efficiency, and began regulatory initiatives to modernize the state’s grid with investment in advanced energy technologies. However, with Gov. McAuliffe’s term coming to an end and Election Day fewer than eight weeks away, voters (and the advanced energy industry) are asking how the next governor of Virginia will act on energy issues. Happily, both the Republican nominee – Ed Gillespie – and Democratic nominee – Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam – have announced policies to grow the advanced energy industry, shining a hopeful light in Virginia for what to expect for the next four years.

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Topics: State Policy Update

Renewable Energy Tariffs, Part Two: Meeting the Needs of Nonparticipating Customers

Posted by Caitlin Marquis

Aug 23, 2017 5:29:06 PM

This is Part Two of a two-part blog series on design of utility renewable energy tariffs. Part One (last week) addressed the needs of participating corporate customers, and Part Two considers the needs of nonparticipating customers.

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Last week, we dug into the topic of renewable energy tariffs from the lens of prospective participants, listing out some of the considerations that make the difference between success and failure when it comes to customer uptake. In this post, we turn the tables and look at the same programs from a different perspective—that of nonparticipating customers. This post draws from the lessons offered by AEE Institute’s recent paper, Making Corporate Renewable Energy Purchasing Work for All Utility Customers, which looked at case studies of eight programs across seven states.

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Topics: State Policy Update

Renewable Energy Tariffs, Part One: Meeting the Needs of Participating Customers

Posted by Caitlin Marquis

Aug 17, 2017 9:14:00 AM

This post is Part One of a two-part series on design of utility renewable energy tariffs. Part One addresses the needs of participating customers, and Part Two (next week) considers the needs of nonparticipating customers.

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Followers of the advanced energy sector are, by now, very familiar with the trend of leading companies, cities, universities, and other organizations choosing to source their electricity from renewable energy. To date, the majority of renewable energy projects contracted to meet this demand have been in restructured states, where companies face few regulatory barriers to signing a power purchase agreement (PPA). That’s not to say, however, that states with traditionally regulated utilities are doomed to miss out on the headline-grabbing, job-creating, tax-income-generating benefits of corporate renewable energy deals. On the contrary, utilities in vertically integrated states are developing programs to allow voluntary renewable energy procurement, often termed renewable energy tariffs, or “green” tariffs. But the experience to date of these renewable energy tariffs has been mixed, with some failing to generate much interest from corporate purchase because of their cost or terms, and others questioned for their impact on utility customers who are not part of the program.

A recent policy brief from AEE and new report from AEE Institute consider best practices for design of renewable energy tariffs that meet the needs of both corporate participants and for other utility customers. This post explains what we mean by “renewable energy tariffs,” and walks through the needs and preferences of corporate participants. Next week’s post will dive into detail on designing programs with all customers in mind, including nonparticipants.

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Topics: State Policy Update

Keeping up the PACE in California – and Elsewhere

Posted by Bob Keough

Aug 16, 2017 4:08:06 PM

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Renovating old buildings to be more energy efficient or incorporate renewable energy is a win-win—more efficient homes and businesses, some of them generating electric power themselves, cause less strain on utilities and power generators while also saving money for consumers on their monthly bills—but the renovations often come with an upfront price tag that could take years or decades to pay back. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs allow property owners to borrow money for advanced energy upgrades, then repay the money over time on their property tax bill. What’s not to like? Well, that gets complicated. Until recently, homeowners in much of the country have been unable to benefit from PACE, and now that they can, new challenges have arisen from critics who say consumers do not get adequate protection from fraud. California, where residential PACE is most firmly established, is in the crosshairs – but also on the verge of improvements that would make PACE stronger, and more protective of consumer interests, than ever.  

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Topics: State Policy Update

Ohio Wind Turbine Setback Fix Suffers a Setback

Posted by Ray Fakhoury and Ted Ford

Aug 8, 2017 4:31:32 PM

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Three years ago, the Ohio General Assembly enacted the most restrictive wind turbine siting requirements in the nation, bringing most new wind development in the state to a standstill. Although industry leaders warned of the potential consequences, the new setback language was inserted into a budget bill – with no testimony or debate – and signed by the Governor. With nearly $4.2 billion of wind investments at stake, it’s time to roll back Ohio’s wind setback. Unfortunately, Ohio lawmakers let one opportunity to restore balance to wind siting slip away. Now, the best shot they have is a legislative vehicle full of danger for the advanced energy industry.

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Topics: State Policy Update

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Advanced Energy Perspectives is AEE's blog presenting news, analysis, and commentary on creating an advanced energy economy. Join the conversation!

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