Contact Rep. Todd Young to Extend Clean Energy Technology Tax Incentives

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   June 23, 2016  /   Posted in cogeneration/CHP, Federal energy legislation, geothermal, Uncategorized  /   No Comments

Cong Todd YoungHomeTodd Young

Please find below a suggested sample letter to send to Congressman Todd Young. Even if Young is not your Member of Congress, please consider sending him a message since he is now also the Indiana Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Here is a link to his Congressional offices: https://toddyoung.house.gov/office-locations-and-hours/

 

Dear Congressman Todd Young:

I am writing to request your support for legislation extending the Sec. 48 and 25D tax incentives for clean energy technologies and to ask that you work to include these provisions in the next possible legislative vehicle.

H.R. 2029, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, extended and gradually ramped down the Sec. 48 business investment tax credit (ITC) and Sec. 25D residential tax incentive for solar while also allowing projects to qualify so long as they have commenced construction before the deadline. While these changes are important, we are concerned that other technologies that currently access these credits—such as: combined heat and power (CHP), microturbines, fuel cells, small wind, and geothermal—will be disadvantaged if not provided equitable long-term certainty regarding tax incentives.

 

  • Please consider cosponsoring H.R. 5167, the Technologies for Energy Security Act, bipartisan legislation recently introduced by Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Pat Meehan (R-PA), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). This bill would extend Sec. 48 and 25D for all technologies left out of H.R. 2029, and gradually ramp down the incentives for those technologies that are eligible for a credit of 30 percent of the capital costs of equipment.

 

  • In addition, as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, please do everything possible to include an extension of the ITC in the next available tax vehicle.

 

  • Finally, I hope you will support clarifying the existing ITC to add waste heat to power as a qualifying technology. Waste heat to power (WHP) captures exhaust from industrial processes and uses it to generate electricity with no additional combustion and no additional The Senate Finance Committee approved bipartisan legislation last year (S. 913) that would add WHP as a qualifying technology to the ITC; however, this provision was left out of the final agreement in December.

All clean and efficient energy technologies should be treated fairly. A deal that includes an across-the-board ITC extension needs to come together soon in order to give businesses the certainty needed to begin planning projects that take years to complete.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Sincerely,

SNL: Corporates still hunting for renewable energy deals

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   June 23, 2016  /   Posted in solar, Uncategorized  /   No Comments

Corporates still hunting for renewable energy deals

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Corporate buyers are expected to remain a source of demand for renewable electricity as companies install solar panels and sign power purchase agreements in order to meet sustainability goals, generate return on investment and limit exposure to changing energy prices, according to PwC.

A survey of 63 "major" U.S. corporations active in renewable energy markets found 72% of respondents are pursuing deals to buy more renewables, PwC said June 20, with the vast majority identifying solar as the "most important" renewable energy technology to their organization. Respondents included information, communication and technology companies, retail and consumer firms, manufacturers and financial services companies, among others.

"One of the biggest developments in the renewable energy marketplace in the last 12-24 months has been the rapid growth in corporate renewables purchases," PwC said in a report on the survey. "Their share of renewables is growing, their demands of providers are rising, and their approaches to energy procurement are becoming more sophisticated."

Onsite PPAs remain the most popular purchasing option. However, of those companies actively pursuing deals, 58% said they intend to sign more traditional offsite PPAs, with 30% planning to pursue virtual PPAs — long-term, fixed-price energy contracts in which electricity is sold into the market rather than used directly by the customer.

More than 90% of respondents said they will try to buy power directly from project developers, while half said they will try to work through a utility.

Last year, nonutility buyers accounted for more than half of all contracted wind power, up from 23% in 2014 and 5% in 2013, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

The top reasons companies gave for not pursuing renewable energy purchases were lack of corporate mandates, unattractive return on investment and contract durations.

Respondents to the PwC survey ranked advanced meters, energy management software and energy storage as the most important ancillary technologies for measuring and monitoring corporate energy use.

Nestlé’s interstate on I-69 sign going solar; Bunny to be powered by the sun

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   June 19, 2016  /   Posted in solar  /   No Comments

Nestlé's interstate sign going solar

Nestlé's interstate sign going solar

Bunny to be powered by the sun

Editor's Note: This is not a new story but I was reminded that I had not reported on this solar project yet when driving on I-69 recently.

ANDERSON – The Nestlé Bunny sign along Interstate 69 in the near future will be powered by solar panels.

Nestlé has installed 365 solar panels along the interstate to generate 157,000 kilowatts of electricity annually, Matt Willis, project engineer, said Friday.

The Bunny sign is approximately 50 feet tall.

Jeff Buck, the engineering manager at Nestlé's Anderson plant, said the electricity generated by the solar panels will power the “Bunny” sign and be used for additional lighting of the manufacturing and distribution operation at the intersection of 73rd Street and Layton Road.

“This is part of a worldwide initiative by Nestlé to use green energy,” Buck said. “This is one of the systems we’re using.”

Nestlé first started exploring alternative energy to power the sign in the second quarter of 2015. The company considered wind turbines but decided on solar power because of lower maintenance costs and greater reliability.

The solar panels are expected to be in operation for the sign and lighting of the plant by April, according to Buck.

Nestlé officials have no plans to expand the set of solar panels now under construction in Anderson. The work is being done by Fredericks Construction and Gaylord Electric.

Edie Burge of Nestlé corporate communications wouldn't say how much the solar panel project costs or how much it will save the company in electrical costs, citing company policy.

“This is a shared value with the community,” Buck said. “By using solar energy, it makes more electrical energy available to other customers.”

Bryan Kaniuk, Anderson factory manager, said Nestlé is currently looking to hire six electrical control technicians. The Anderson facility employs 750 people.

Opened in 2009, the Nestlé Anderson plant produces Coffee-Mate non-dairy creamer and is the sole production site for Nesquik ready-to-drink in the U.S. It also serves as a storage and distribution center for other refrigerated Nestlé products.

Nestlé expanded the Anderson plant in 2014 following a $72 million investment to add a seventh production line to increase the production capacity for Boost and Carnation Breakfast Essentials.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.

IL law doesn’t require ComEd to grant net metering benefit to community solar projects, panel says

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   June 17, 2016  /   Posted in Net Metering  /   No Comments

IL law doesn't require ComEd to grant net metering benefit to community solar projects, panel says

Dana Herra Jun. 16, 2016, 3:21pm


A state appellate court has rejected a claim by the Citizens Utility Board that ComEd should extend the special metering it allows customers who generate their own green energy to groups of people supporting community green energy projects.

CUB and the Environmental Defense Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing environmental problems, asked the Illinois Commerce Commission to approve a community-owned solar pilot program in ComEd’s service territory. The two organizations also asked the ICC to order ComEd to modify its rate structure and schedule of fixed charges – collectively known as ComEd’s “tariff” - to allow groups of customers who band together to support renewable energy facilities not located on their individual properties to receive the same kind of net metering benefits held by those who generate renewable energy at their own homes or businesses.

Net electrical metering is provided through a rider on the ComEd tariff. The metering service is offered to eligible ComEd customers who generate electricity through renewable sources like solar panels or wind turbines located on the customers’ own premises. These customers can export the electricity they generate to the electric grid, offsetting their own utility charges.

In February of 2015, CUB and EDF approached the ICC for approval of a community-owned solar project and proposed a modified rider that would allow the customers participating in this project, but not located on the same premises as the solar panels, to enjoy the benefits of net metering. According to court documents, the organizations did not see this as a new service, just an amendment to the eligibility definition in the existing rider.

ComEd moved to dismiss the petition. The utility provider said it had considered the proposal and decided not to extend the definition of who is eligible for net metering, and argued that the Public Utilities Act prohibits the ICC from requiring it to do so. ComEd said the act also allows only a utility to initiate a rate change.

The commission granted the motion to dismiss. According to court documents, the commission concluded the new rider is different enough that it should be considered a new program, not an amendment to an existing service, and the commission lacked authority under the Public Utilities Act to require its adoption. The commission pointed out the new rider would require ComEd to offer net metering to customers not defined as eligible for the program by statute. Since the current tariff only requires ComEd to provide net metering to eligible customers until the load of net meter customers reaches 5 percent of the previous year’s peak demand, expanding the definition of eligible customers would likely cause that milestone to be met sooner, and customers eligible for the service under the current tariff could be denied.

CUB and EDF first filed for a rehearing and were denied. They then appealed, petitioning a direct review of the commission’s decision by the appellate court.

However, on June 10, a three-justice panel of the Illinois First District Appellate Court rejected the arguments raised by CUB and EDF. The court’s opinion as authored by Justice Thomas E. Hoffman, with justices Mary K. Rochford and Mathias W. Delort concurring.

“The Commission is an administrative agency responsible for setting utility rates, whose powers and duties are set forth in the Act,” the court wrote. “Consequently, we give substantial deference to the Commission’s decisions in light of its expertise in the area of utility rate making.”

The court added that it would not reverse an order or decision of the ICC unless it found the commission acted outside its jurisdiction, the decision was not supported by substantial evidence, or the commission violated the law or the Constitution in arriving at its decision. Since none of those factors were met, the court affirmed the commission’s finding.

Kokomo (IN) Plan Commission approves solar park at former Continental Steel site

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   June 16, 2016  /   Posted in Duke Energy, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), solar  /   No Comments

Development of Kokomo solar park moves forward

Plan Commission approves solar park at former Continental Steel site

The Kokomo Plan Commission approved the development plan Tuesday of a solar park at the former site of the Continental Steel plant.

The approval comes after last month’s favorable recommendation from the city plat committee for the project, which will encompass roughly 26 acres at 1201 W. Markland Ave. and include 21,000 solar panels producing seven megawatts of energy.

The solar park – originally slated for completion by the end of 2015 and expected to cost $10 million – is being developed by Inovateus Solar, a solar-integration company based in South Bend that has developed solar-energy facilities in 26 states.

With the plan commission’s approval, Inovateus Solar is expected to begin construction work immediately and likely finish this fall, according to Austin Williams, an Inovateus Solar senior account executive who provided the timeline after last month’s plat committee meeting.

Williams could not be reached Wednesday for further comment.

Tuesday’s approval comes after the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approved a 20-year purchased-power agreement last August between the company and Duke Energy, which will buy the electricity and distribute it on the grid.

"The usage lines up with between 500 to 1,000 [homes], but one guy could use quite a bit more than the other so it's really, really hard to tell," explained Williams about the potential impact of the park's energy distribution.

Duke Energy Indiana’s operations provide about 7,500 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 810,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area, making it the state’s largest electric supplier, according to a Duke press release.

In relation, Inovateus Solar and city officials are working to finalize a lease which matches the 20-year term with Duke. Williams noted the lease could eventually be extended if the panels are still producing power.

“We looked for areas where there was plenty of power draw, plenty of power load, and energy infrastructure,” he explained about the decision to build a park in Kokomo. “With Kokomo as a high industrial area, that was top of the list to start checking out.

“When we starting finding these brownfield sites it really made a lot of sense, and then the city got really excited because they’ve been vacant for a while. Kokomo is a good choice because it’s really got the population we need and the energy infrastructure,” he added later.

Formerly, the Continental Steel site was listed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of most dangerous sites because of the high levels of toxic pollutants in the soil.

Continental Steel went bankrupt in 1986, and studies revealed the 183-acre property was contaminated with solvents, PCBs and lead. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the EPA spent more than $40 million to clean up the site.

City Engineer Carey Stranahan said in a previous interview the city is on board with the new facility, which will revitalize a piece of property that has been vacant for decades.

“The reason we were interested in turning this property into a renewable energy opportunity is because we can reuse property that previously compromised the environment,” he said. “Solar energy has a very low impact on the environment, which was attractive to us.

“This also reduces maintenance by the city. We will be receiving revenue, but we will not have to invest too many resources,” he said.

George Myers can be reached at 765-454-8585, by email at george.myers@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @gpmyerskt.


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