Renewable Energy Tax Credits News Briefs - July 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

Renewable energy companies have formed the Financing America’s Investment in Renewables (FAIR) coalition to advocate for a change in the law that allows natural resources-based energy projects, but not renewable energy projects, to use master limited partnerships (MLPs). The proposal was introduced in Congress as the bipartisan Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act. The coalition developed a website, www.faircoalition.org, to inform the public of the progress of the act, S. 795. Copies of the legislation can also be found at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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KPMG Global Energy Institute (KPMG) released its annual energy survey, Energy Industry Outlook Survey, in May. KPMG asked more than 100 senior executives in the energy industry whether they believed the United States can attain energy independence by 2030. KPMG reports that 62 percent of those asked said that the country can attain energy independence by 2030. That percentage is up from 52 percent in last year’s survey. The results also show a 10 percent decrease, to 17 percent, in respondents who previously believed the United States would never attain energy independence. Approximately 23 percent of the original 62 percent now report thinking energy independence is possible by as soon as 2020.

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The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released its assessment of leading utility green power programs in June. NREL has developed rankings of utility retail electricity sales and the lowest price premium charged for a green power program using new renewable resources. Results showed that the top 10 programs support more than 4.2 million in megawatt hours (MWh) of voluntary green power in 2012, up from 3.9 million MWh in 2010. NREL reports that wind energy is the most used renewable energy, representing approximately 85 percent of electricity generated for green energy programs nationwide.

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Ernest Moniz was sworn in as Energy Secretary after receiving a unanimous Senate vote of 97-0. Moniz was the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was a faculty member there from 1973 to when he was sworn in. Moniz served as the founding director of the MIT Energy Initiative and of the MIT Laboratory for Energy and the Environment, and also headed the physics department and the Bated Linear Accelerator Center. From 1997 to January 2001, Moniz worked as undersecretary of the Department of Energy (DOE), where he was responsible for overseeing the DOE’s science and energy programs. He was also associate director for science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President from 1995 to 1997. Moniz earned a B.S. in physics from Boston College, a doctorate in theoretical physics from Stanford University and honorary degrees from the University of Athens, the University of Erlangen-Nurenberg and Michigan State University.***

The nation’s first grid-connected offshore wind turbine prototype was launched off the coast of Castine, Maine in May. Recognized as the first of its kind, by the DOE, the prototype represents the first concrete-composite floating platform wind turbine to be deployed in the world. The DOE provided an investment of a $12 million grant over five years to the University of Maine and its project partners, for designing, engineering and testing of floating offshore wind turbines, as well as the construction and operation of the 65-foot-tall prototype. The DOE also commissioned a report titled, “Offshore Wind Market and Economic Analysis, Annual Market Assessment,” which stated that a U.S. offshore wind industry could support up to 200,000 manufacturing, construction, operation and supply chain jobs across the country and drive over $70 billion in annual investments by 2030.

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The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry, released a new report, “Enlisting the Sun: Powering the U.S. Military with Solar Energy,” in honor of Armed Services Day in May. The report, which is the first of its kind, details how solar technologies are being deployed by the military. Currently, 31 states and the District of Columbia have Air Force, Army and Navy bases powered by more than 130 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems.

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Three renewable energy projects are expected to provide enough electricity to power almost 200,000 homes, according to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. The Quartzsite solar energy project, located in La Paz County, Ariz., is 100MW and is expected to create 438 jobs during peak season and 47 full-time jobs. When operational, the facility will generate enough clean power to meet the needs of an estimated 30,000 homes. Midland solar energy project, a 350MW solar photovoltaic facility, will provide enough electricity to power about 105,000 homes and generate a peak construction workforce of about 350 employees and up to 10 permanent jobs. The New York Canyon Geothermal project and electrical transmission facility is 70MW and will create an estimated 150 peak construction jobs and 16 full- and part-time operational jobs.

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The city of Lemoore, Calif. and Chevron Energy Solutions partnered to construct a solar installation that will power the city’s domestic water wells, a wastewater treatment plant, police department and several other facilities. The solar project is predicted to generate 3.1MW of electricity and reduce electric purchase by close to 100 percent for most of the facilities. The facility is expected to save Lemoore close to $45 million. Chevron Energy Solutions was hired to design, engineer, build, operate and maintain the solar installation. The project is expected to be completed in May 2014.

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SEIA and the Electricity Storage Association (ESA) announced a partnership in May to aid the growth of solar energy markets and to increase the rate of deployment of grid-scale energy storage systems across the United States. The two organizations will work on communication efforts, policy activities promoting solar energy and energy storage.

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