Tax Breaks & Subsidies and California
They'll reach that target with energy already under contract, creating a bust for developers that were hoping for continued growth, experts said at the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) regional summit. ..."For you as developers, the bad news of California being incredibly successful is that we really don't need a lot of contracts right now."
Experts differ on whether subsidies are the most sensible way to move toward cleaner energy and whether they are a good deal for taxpayers.
But there is wide agreement that no state has used federal help more aggressively than California and that a sudden shift in direction by the White House would stymie the state's progress.
The power generated by the mega-plants will be among the most expensive renewable energy in the country. ...Stanford University economist Frank Wolak said the state's renewable energy strategy could boost electricity rates 10% to 20%, depending on a number of factors. Potentially, consumers' bills could go up by 50%.
"It is easily in the billions of dollars," he said.
Lisa Linowes, executive director of the Industrial Wind Action Group, a watchdog organization based in New Hampshire, argues the end of the tax credit need not be fatal. She sees new wind installations as more dependent on state renewable energy laws than the tax credit.
Solar Trust for America received $2.1 billion in conditional loan guarantees from the Department of Energy -- "the largest amount ever offered to a solar project," according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu -- for a project near Blythe, Calif., but declared bankruptcy within a year. It is unclear how much of the guarantee, if any, was actually awarded.
Dozens of renewable energy plants being built to meet California's tough global warming laws, including a major Spanish-owned solar plant in the Mojave Desert, are so overpriced they will increase consumers' energy bills for decades, according to the independent watchdog arm of the state's s utility regulator.
The government support - which includes loan guarantees, cash grants and contracts that require electric customers to pay higher rates - largely eliminated the risk to the private investors and almost guaranteed them large profits for years to come. The beneficiaries include financial firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, conglomerates like General Electric, utilities like Exelon and NRG - even Google.
"As our investigation continues, we hope to hear directly from Solyndra's executives next week - the same executives who visited Capitol Hill as part of a PR campaign in July and misrepresented the company's financial situation," the lawmakers said.
The intent to prevent California's utilities from using out-of-state wind and solar generation to meet the new 33% RPS requirement is not obvious from the provisions of the bills. The exclusion results from a change in the requirements concerning the "delivery" of generation to California. Under California's current RPS legislation, in order to qualify as an eligible renewable energy resource such that California's utilities can count that generation against their RPS requirements, out-of-state generators are required to deliver the electricity to California simultaneous with its generation.
California increasingly is depending on solar energy to meet its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the state's landmark 2006 global warming law. According to regulators, utilities received 30% more bids for solar power projects in 2008 than in the previous year while wind farm proposals dropped by half and "very few" geothermal tenders were filed.
The fact that utilities received 24,000 megawatts' worth of renewable energy bids last year (more than enough, if built, to meet the 33% renewable energy target) speaks to the frothy state of the market.
If California expands its renewable power generation to be a third of electricity delivered in the state by 2020, it may cost $60 billion, the state's utility regulator said in a report issued on Thursday.
It is more costly to make electricity with renewable power -- solar, wind, geothermal and other sources that emit no or low amounts of global-warming greenhouse gases -- than with natural gas, nuclear and coal power plants. ...On Tuesday, California voters overwhelmingly -- 65 percent of the vote -- rejected a statewide ballot measure that would have required 50 percent of power to be generated from renewables by 2025.
As California takes its first baby steps toward implementing the most aggressive climate-change policy in the country, experts debate the economic feasibility of attaining the state`s goals.
Its overarching policy lies in the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which requires greenhouse gas emissions in the state to fall back to 1990 levels by 2020. One of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger`s executive orders, S-3-25, addresses long-term goals by aiming at an 80 percent emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2050.
The state`s ability to reach these goals holds implications not only for Californians, but the rest of the nation`s climate-change policy as well, Samuel Thernstrom, director of the American Enterprise Institute`s program on culture and freedom, said at a panel discussion last week.
Wind turbines flourishing in California's Altamont and Tehachapi passes need tighter federal regulation, environmentalists told lawmakers Tuesday.
Wind energy officials disagree. Thus the battle is joined, at a politically sensitive time.
With tax credits up in the air and a long-awaited study arriving on how wind turbines kill birds and bats, strong opinions are blowing across Capitol Hill.
As often happens, the central policy question pits rules against recommendations.
California's innovative financing plan to help relatively small renewable energy firms get their power to market over high-voltage transmission lines won approval from federal regulators on Thursday.
Developers of new power plants generally pay the cost for building high-voltage "trunklines" to connect their plants to utilities that deliver the power to consumers.
But most renewable energy companies are smaller firms that develop wind, solar or geothermal resources in remote locations that need new lines, which they often cannot afford to build.
The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave the OK for the California Independent System Operator to spread the cost of building the new lines among the utilities that receive the power.
California property owners are poised to gain yet another reason to go green.
In a decision closely watched by the solar industry, the California Public Utilities Commission recently signaled its intent to award the ownership of credits earned from renewable energy sources to the residential and commercial owners of such systems — and not to the utility companies.
If this preliminary decision by the PUC becomes final during its Jan. 11 meeting, it will allow the state to establish a market where these renewable energy credits can be bought and sold.
The PUC has wrestled with the question of who owns the credits for the past two years.
Californians voted down a proposition that would have imposed a tax on oil companies drilling in the state.
Fifty-four percent of voters rejected the initiative.
Western Wind Energy Corporation has reviewed the wind energy marketplace across the United States and has determined to seek new wind energy development opportunities in California. The strategy is focused at 30 sites totaling over 1,200 Megawatts.
Hollywood celebrities, Silicon Valley tycoons and energy companies are waging a multi-million dollar campaign battle over plans for a Californian oil tax.
They are fighting over Proposition 87, which proposes raising $4bn (£2.1bn) to fund alternative energy projects by taxing oil production in California.......
Backers of the proposition claim it will fund a $4bn programme aimed at reducing the state's petrol consumption by 25%, promoting wind, solar and bio fuel energy alternatives and reducing air pollution.
Its critics say the tax will drive up petrol prices, increase California's reliance on foreign oil and create an unaccountable bureaucracy to spend the proceeds.
Wells Fargo & Co. became the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the country after an agreement to buy renewable energy certificates to support wind energy.
Wind farms in Kansas, Nebraska and California will play a role in Colorado Springs Utilities’ compliance with a voter-approved mandate on renewable energy.
But homes and businesses in Colorado Springs won’t be getting electricity produced by harnessing wind in those places. Instead, renewable energy credits will be logged into Colorado Springs Utilities’ books.