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Adam Browning's Posts

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New York passes clean energy financing bill

The New York State Legislature has not, of late, been able to agree on anything -- the budget, same-sex marriage, and even, for awhile, which party was in the majority. But there is one thing they are unanimous about: clean energy finanancing. Last night, by a vote of 192-0, the famously combative body passed S66004-a/A 4000A-a, a bill that enables municipalities in the state to set up special financing districts to help residents finance investments in energy efficiency and solar.  Called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), it's a model that allows cities to issue bonds to help residents finance investments …

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Supermodels doing their part for the climate change cause

Apparently, a group of supermodels were on their way to a strip poker game when someone convinced them to say a few words in support of everyone's favorite climate organization, 350.org.  Video here.    

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LADWP asks public for input on solar plans

When it comes to sustainability, Los Angeles has its work cut out for it. Sure, they are world leaders in recycling … if you count dialogue. Or plot lines. But it is going to take awhile for the famously car-centric city to develop climate-friendly transit, and the utility is the dirtiest in the state. So it is welcome news to see the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power continue to work on solar initiatives. You may remember last spring, when Measure B failed at the polls. This was widely seen as a referendum on the process, not on solar …

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Does the Wall Street Journal employ anyone who understands energy markets?

Actually, I think they do.  I think Keith Johnson knows quite a bit about energy markets.  Which makes this hit job on solar subsidies, published before the Senate considers national renewable energy legislation, so disturbing. After chronicling the problems of the Spanish solar industry, the article goes on to say: "Clean-energy skeptics, however, point to Spain as a cautionary tale of a government policy that created a speculative bubble with disastrous consequences. Some Republicans have cited Spain's solar bubble and bust as an example of how unsustainable government clean-energy pushes are ... California and New Jersey, which lead the U.S. …

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California proposes new program for 1 GW of renewables

The California Public Utilities Commission issued a new proposal today designed to significantly increase the amount of solar energy installed in the state. It is kind of like a feed-in tariff, but different.  Call it a feed-in tariff v2.0. The proposed program would require utilities to purchase electricity from mid-size solar and other renewable energy technologies of 1 to 10 MW.  At least twice a year, utilities would issue a request for proposals for qualifying renewable projects.  The regulatory body would set a revenue requirement for each solicitation (i.e. the total amount of money that could be spent).  Utilities would …

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Solar wars

Note to utilities: solar is popular with your customers.  Earlier in the month in Colorado, Xcel proposed a scheme to charge their customers who install a solar installation an extra fee.  After 5 days of intense public outcry, they withdrew the plan.  For now. And in New Mexico, Public Service of New Mexico  (the largest utility in the state) is trying to eliminate customer solar incentives in the state--essentially, declaring war on the state's solar industry.  It's an incredibly aggressive move.  We are working with the Renewable Energy Industry Association of New Mexico, who officially filed to intervene in the …

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Solar is getting cheap

Much of the rhetoric against energy legislation of any kind—and at any level—centers on cost.  So advocates spend a lot of time explaining why continuing with the status quo is not a low cost option: clean(er) coal is not cheap, and nukes are really expensive.  To say nothing of terraforming Mars. The other half of the equation is the cost of renewables.  And when it comes to solar, there are some really extraordinary recent developments: selling prices for photovoltaic solar modules have come down about 40 percent in the last six months alone.  It’s only August, but I’m going to …

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Renewable energy is more exciting than cap-and-trade!

I've long thought that the message framing around renewable energy is much more appealing (Let's make clean energy cheaper!  Build the industries of the future!  Cool technology and jobs for everyone!  It'll be like the dotcom boom all over again!  But without the dumb names!) than that of carbon cap-and-trade (Let's put a price on carbon!  Make fossil fuels more expensive!). And it turns out that most Americans agree--at least, according to a new poll by Burson-Marsteller.  When asked their preference for addressing energy needs, a dominant plurality identified increasing use of renewable energy (34%), with only 9% preferring the …

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Yes, green jobs do exist and are good for the economy

Remember that transparently hackjob Spanish report titled "Green jobs are like negative jobs, only worse" (or something) that made the rounds of the fossil lobby (in and out of Congress) earlier in the year?  The one that George Will thought worthy of bringing to the nation's attention the same week the House voted on Waxman-Markey? Well, in case the fact the George Will found it fascinating isn't enough proof of its wrongness, the American Wind Energy Association just posted a great round-up of debunking.

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Tracking property tax financing programs for renewable and energy efficiency investments

Berkeley's program for leveraging property taxes to help homeowners finance investments in solar and energy efficiency is taking off--San Francisco was the latest to announce a new program.  To date, 11 states (and counting) have enacted enabling legislation allowing local municipalities to follow suit.  Which ones?  The good folks at the Interstate Renewable Energy Council have conveniently added a category to their DSIRE website of all things renewable to help you keep track of the phenomenon.

Read more: Climate & Energy