This month’s Washington Update provides insight into a number of energy-related developments at the federal level, including President Trump’s recently proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018, the Senate’s failed efforts to turn back the Obama administration’s methane rule, and several pieces of legislation related to energy efficiency.
With President-Elect Donald Trump and his administration officially moving into the White House this Friday, the landscape of energy policy, investment, and incentives could see major changes in 2017. Given this backdrop, it seems like a good time to review some of the most important trends and policies concerning clean energy that we covered in 2016.
Here are 2016’s top 5 most popular blog posts at Energy Tech Matters:
Financial advisory and asset management firm Lazard recently published its annual report on the costs of electricity generation technologies, finding that the costs for clean energy projects continue to decrease. The tenth version of Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE 10.0) shows that the cost of large-scale solar projects continue to rapidly decline, falling by 11% in 2016 and thus 85% since 2009. This makes new solar projects competitive with natural gas power plants in some regions of the U.S., even before federal investment tax credits, and in many regions across the country, wind projects are the lowest cost option among all energy technologies, before federal tax credits. To learn more about Lazard’s report, read on!
On December 15, 2016, the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) released an in-depth research report providing guidance for the evolving electric power sector. The MITEI report, The Utility of the Future, proposes major regulatory, policy, and market overhauls to electric power systems around the world for efficient integration of distributed and centralized energy resources. Through a set of analysis-based recommendations, the comprehensive study has two overarching proposals: the development of a comprehensive system of prices and regulated charges that apply to all network users, and the removal of inefficient barriers that currently impede the integration and competition of distributed and centralized resources. To learn more about MITEI’s report, read on! Continue Reading MIT Energy Initiative Releases Report for Evolving Electric Power Sector
Passage of a tax package is another possible item on Congress’ list for the lame duck session, which is discussed in a recent ML Strategies alert. Three dozen tax provisions are scheduled to expire December 31, about half of which pertain to energy provisions. Congress approved last December a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations and $680 billion tax extenders package and adjourned for the first session of the 114th Congress. To learn more about the tax extenders package, read on!
Earlier this year, Massachusetts passed legislation that will require the state’s distribution utilities to purchase carbon-free electricity from hydropower and on and offshore wind farms under long-term contracts for up to 30% of the state’s electricity supply. Despite opposition from incumbent generators and large consumers over concerns that the bill would interfere with market competition, Democratic legislators found common ground with Republican Governor Charlie Baker to enact historic “clean energy” legislation that will transform the fuels used to generate the state’s power while significantly reducing its carbon-footprint. To learn more, read on!
The U.S.’s offshore wind industry is poised for a burst of activity after faltering for several years on the heels of the stalled Cape Wind project in Massachusetts. The country’s first offshore wind farm will open this fall off the coast of Rhode Island. To read more about this project, continue reading!
Last Sunday, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a compromise energy bill to significantly increase electricity produced by renewable energy sources. The state’s utilities will be required to purchase power from on and offshore wind farms, as well as power from hydroelectric dams located largely in Canada. Governor Baker is expected sign the bill in short order, as he has strongly supported purchasing imports of clean energy. To learn more about this bill, read on!
On July 15, the Los Angeles Times Summit on renewable energy brought together government officials, academics, regulators, fossil fuel executives, and renewable energy advocates to discuss the challenges California faces in meeting the state’s goal of supplying 50% of its electricity through clean energy by 2030.
Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom affirmed California’s commitment to its renewable energy goal despite issues concerning electricity costs, economic stagnation, and consistent sourcing in his remarks at the summit. However, he also acknowledged, “We have to be sensitive to issues related to energy costs.” To learn more about the summit, continue reading!
In a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that it currently makes economic sense to combine large-scale energy storage systems with renewable energy projects, such as wind and solar farms, in some locations. However, this window of opportunity for investment may not last. The research team concluded that as the cost of wind and solar power systems decreases, the cost of storage systems must also come down. Otherwise, at some point it will be more profitable to add more generating capacity rather than more storage capacity. Read on for more details on the study, including the states examined and a comparison of the costs of different storage technologies.