Renewable Energy Tax Credits News Briefs - July 2015

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

On May 26, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, chairman and vice chairman of the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, sent a letter to House and Senate leadership advocating for the approval of a multiyear extension for the production tax credit (PTC) and investment tax credit (ITC). The letter discusses how the renewable energy tax credits (RETCs) made possible the growth of the American wind industry and thousands of renewable energy jobs in recent years. The chairman and vice chairman write that they anticipate that wind energy will be competitive with traditional energy sources soon given innovation in the industry. They also contend that it is important to recognize all public policy benefits of wind energy. The letter closes by urging House and Senate leadership to act promptly to provide a stable federal policy on which citizens and industries can rely. The letter is available at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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On May 19, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the release of the report, “Enabling Wind Power Nationwide.” The report is based on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind Vision report, which quantifies the economic, social and environmental benefits of a strong wind energy future. Moniz said the report shows how the United States can unlock the potential for wind energy deployment in all 50 states, which would be made possible through the next generation of larger wind turbines. In a press release, Moniz reports that wind generation has more than tripled in the United States in just six years, exceeding 4.5 percent of total generation, and the DOE is focused on expanding its clean power potential to every state in the country. The report suggests that advanced wind energy systems will generate more electricity per dollar invested and further decrease the cost of wind energy.

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released a report May 28 that indicates that renewable energy’s share of United States energy consumption is the highest since the 1930s. EIA found that renewable energy accounted for 9.8 percent of total domestic energy consumption in 2014, making this the highest renewable energy share since the 1930s, when wood was a much larger contributor to domestic energy supply. The report also stated that renewable energy use grew an average of 5 percent per year over the 2001-2014 period. The increase was attributed to the growing use of wind, solar and biofuels. EIA also noted that approximately 13 percent of renewable energy used in the United States is now consumed in the transportation sector, which experienced the largest percentage growth in renewable consumption from 2001 to 2014. The report is available at the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) released its, “Q1 2015 U.S. Solar Market Insight Report” June 9. The quarterly report said the United States residential solar market grew 76 percent over the first quarter of 2014, with an installation of 437 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaics (PV) in the first three months of 2015. The non-residential market installed 225 MW in the first quarter of the year. Results also indicated that collectively, more than 51 percent of all new electric generating capacity in the U.S. came from solar in Q1 2015. In addition, 66,440 individual solar systems came online in Q1 2015, bringing the total to nearly 700,000 nationwide. Rhone Resch, SEIA president and chief executive officer, said in a press release that solar continues to be the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the United States, and that by 2016 the U.S. will be generating enough clean solar energy to power 8 million homes. The report is available at the Solar Energy Industries Association.

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On June 1, Sally Jewell, secretary of the interior, announced the approval of the first three solar energy projects to benefit from the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Western Solar plan. The Western Solar plan allows for a streamlined permitting process by focusing development in solar energy zones with the highest resource potential and lowest conflicts. The three solar energy projects, Invenergy’s Harry Allen Solar Energy Center; First Solar’s Playa Solar Project; and NV Energy’s Dry Lake Solar Energy Center, will be constructed on public lands in Clark County, Nev. They are expected to generate up to 440 megawatts of energy and to create up to 1,900 construction jobs.

Journal Category: 
Renewable Energy Tax Credits