Archive for November, 2010

PRESIDENT OF CLEAN CURRENTS SPEAKS AT U.S. CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING ON UPCOMING INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE TALKS

Posted on November 24, 2010. Filed under: News |

Calls for Clear Policies to Address Climate Change and Incentivize Clean Energy Business Sector; Citing Maryland Model

(ROCKVILLE, MD, Nov. 17, 2010) – Gary Skulnik, President of Clean Currents, will be speaking to the House International Affairs Committee of the United States Congress on the eve of the next round of international climate talks to be held in Cancun, Mexico.  Mr. Skulnik is speaking on a panel as a voice for U.S. businesses that support efforts to reduce the greenhouse gases that scientists say are causing dangerous climate change.  Clean Currents, a Maryland based company, is a leader in the clean energy industry in the Mid Atlantic.

“We want to tell the story of how the Maryland model of government leadership in setting strong market parameters and putting a price on carbon is helping the clean energy sector grow in the state while reducing greenhouse gases,” Skulnik says. “The Maryland model is one that the country and the international community can and should follow.”

In the past six years, mainly under Governor Martin O’Malley’s leadership, Maryland has passed legislation to put a price on pollution and incentivize clean energy growth, including:

  • Renewable Portfolio Standard – Requires electricity companies to utilize a growing amount of clean energy as part of their portfolio and provides substantial financial incentives for the installation of solar photovoltaic systems.
  • Healthy Air Act – Requires coal plants to dramatically reduce pollution and committed Maryland to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to cut carbon emissions from power plants in east coast states.
  • Global Warming Solutions Act – Requires Maryland to reduce greenhouse gases across the entire economy of the state.
  • Clean Cars Act – Requires a cleaner mix of cars sold in the state.
  • Clean Energy Grants – Provides state grants for the installation of solar, geothermal or wind systems.
  • Empower Maryland Act – Requires a reduction in energy use per capita.

“Maryland’s actions have sent a clear signal that clean energy companies can grow and invest in the state,” noted Skulnik. “The same thing will happen if we adopt similar measures on a national or international level.”

The talks are set to begin November 29 and run through December 10 in Cancun, Mexico.

Clean Currents supports the Obama Administration’s push for a Climate Fund to help developing companies’ more quickly transition to a clean energy economy in addition to other measures to reduce greenhouse gases and spark further private sector growth in the clean energy industry.

About Clean Currents

Clean Currents is the Mid-Atlantic’s leading, independent green energy company.  Clean Currents provides wind power through the electric grid to residents and businesses in Washington DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware at rates that are competitive with local utility rates.  Clean Currents has built a vibrant green community in the region, counting over 7,000 residential and 500 commercial customers.  The highlight of its green community is the “Green Neighborhood Challenge”, which is an engaging and educational way for area groups to become involved in learning more about green energy and sustainability.

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Atlantic Offshore Wind Announcement – Happening Now

Posted on November 23, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior announces Atlantic Wind Initiative:  “Smart from the Start

  • This initiative builds on Cape Wind lessons to shorten the amount of time to complete leasing process for offshore wind projects. Cape Wind took 8 years!
  • Smart from the Start will also build off lessons from large scale solar development in the Southwest.
  • Additional leases to be issued in 2011 and 2012.
  • Next 60 days: identify high potential Wind Energy Areas (low environmental conflict) Already gathering info on DE and MD. If environmental review is passed, leases will be rewarded.
  • Change in regulations of Federal oceans management: elimination of a step that could save a year or more in permitting process.
  • Moving forward and contracting timeframe on for getting offshore built.

Comments from state and federal leaders:

Governor Martin O’Malley: Regulatory framework was too complex and needs to be shortened. “This is an important step today…the battle from a cleaner greener future will take more than a few days…it will take relentless follow up…Maryland stands with you to harness this tremendous resource”

Senator Tom Carper (DE): “Common sense rules and regulation provide predictability and certainty for businesses who need predictability, who need certainty” Want to make sure that all the peices are made in the US and help boost the US economy. Need to extend investment and production tax credits that will expire before projects will get built.

Senator Chris Coons (DE): The business community needs speed and reliability in order to get projects built”

Congressman John Sarbanes (MD): ZThis initiative hits the big 3 targets: 1) Advances environmental soundness and prudence going forward, 2) advances energy independence,  3) creates jobs. Domestic supply chain is a very exciting opportunity.

Jim Lanard, Offshore Wind Development Coalition: “Very important step…what we’ve been looking for and waiting for for years” Cannot underestimate the signals this announcement will send to supply chain partners to invest soon. Regulatory certainty will bring jobs to the US.

Predesignation of offshore wind zones will alllow the timeline for implementation to shrink.

Gov. O’Malley: In Maryland, the offshore wind resource is much greater than onshore wind. It will be important for Maryland to figure out how to enter into LT purchase contracts to give developers financial certainty.

Salazar: LT policy framework is crucial for lasting renewable development. What form will that take is still up for debate. Singular unique opportunity to do something major to take charge of the power needs of the US.

Regulatory approach will help advance investor interest: Designating high priority areas. All government effort in the next 6 months (DoD, FAA, NOAA, Coast Guard) pull information into prospectus to provide to investment public and ask who will invest. Expect to be in the leasing stage within a year with more information that has every been amassed. Once a company gets a lease, they will have less work to do because they will already have so much information. This will increase investor interest- already a good investment. Also, at the same time incentivize and promote offshore transmission lines- lots of synergies here.

 See other posts on offshore wind here.

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Oversubscribed SREC Market Threatens Future Growth of Solar in DC

Posted on November 19, 2010. Filed under: News, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Solar installations in the District of Columbia have been growing rapidly over the last several years thanks to the District’s popular Renenewable Energy Incentive Program (REIP) as well as numerous Solar Co-Ops that have sprung up around the city. But the growing number of residents and businesses in the District taking advantage of solar is also growing because of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). An RPS requires electricity suppliers to generate a certain percenatage of their load with renewable energy. The solar carve out DC’s RPS requires suppliers to include .028% solar in 2010 and escalates to require .35% in 2019.

 How does this impact people who want to install solar? In order to meet these requirements, suppliers purchase Solar Renewable Energy Credits from solar installations. For every 1000kwh a solar system generation, one SREC is created. Owners of a solar installation are paid for these credits as long as electricity suppliers need to buy them to meet the RPS. The price of credits varies based on the Alternative Compliance Payment that utilities must pay if they do not meet the RPS as well as the supply of SRECs in the market.

Currently, the DC market is in trouble. According to Sol Systems, the market is severely oversupplied with over 16,000 more SRECs being created than required by the RPS. 10,000 of these are out-of-state SRECs from a large 10MW solar generator in Illinois. This generator was accepted into the DC market because at the legislation is currently written, generators from the PJM region can sell SRECs into the DC market.

If amendments are not made, it is likely that the DC SREC market will crash in the near future and an important source of financing for DC solar installations will decline or dissappear.

The solar community lead by Sol Systems and the Mt. Pleasant Solar Co-Op are reaching out to DC Council members to push for legislation that will change the RPS regulations to expand the DC SREC market and include a carve out for SRECs produced in DC.

If you’re a DC resident, let your elected official know that you support solar in DC through a strong SREC market. Clean Currents has joined Sol Systems and others in the solar community in reaching out to Councilmember Mary Cheh about on this issue and hope she will be an advocate for improving the DC RPS.  Stay posted for Action Alerts from Clean Currently if (when!) important RPS legislation is considered by the DC Council.

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How Can Maryland Maintain A Steady Source of Funding for Clean Energy Programs?

Posted on November 17, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The economic recession has crunched state budgets and made priorities even more difficult to juggle. In Maryland, popular clean energy programs like the residenital solar grant have struggled to maintain steady sources of funding. Most of these programs are funded through proceeds from Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auctions. As a result of the recession, auction clearing prices have fallen and proceeds have been unstable.

Plus, the RGGI proceeds pot is too attractive to avoid reallocation towards other state programs in tough budgetary conditions.

How can we solve this dearth of steady funding for MD Clean Energy Programs? We think a public benefit fund is a great model for Maryland to follow. Read more about the funding challenges in Maryland and how a Clean Energy Benefit Fund can help the state maintain sustainable funding for clean energy programs in our latest white paper available here.

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Make Everyday Earth Day

Posted on November 9, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Today, we held an educational webinar with information on how to incorporate environmentally friendly habits into one’s daily life. Here are a few highlights…

Jason Schwartz, President of B.Kind Organic and Natural Foods, spoke about living sustainably and what it takes to adopt the practices we hear so much about. Schwartz said we need to make the commitment personal. Don’t just try to do something because you think you have to; define how that action is meaningful to you. Whatever you choose to do should be something you care about and should become something you enjoy doing. This will also ensure you continue to keep that practice a part of your life!

Edward Stierli from Repower at Home discussed energy efficiency and VAMPIRE POWER! Did you know that simply keeping electronics plugged-in, even when in their “off” mode, still uses power? And did you know that 60% of us never even touch our thermostats other than to turn the system on and off? We can save lots of money and energy by adjusting the temperature at night and when we leave the house – but many of us never even think to do this.

Cheval Force Opp, writer for Washington Gardener Magazine, educated us on composting. We learned about how we may already be composting without even realizing it, the importance of microorganisms, and how to set-up both hot and cold compost piles. You can choose to compost slowly (2 years) or quickly (2 months) depending on the type of pile and how often you want to tend to it. For a healthy and efficient compost pile, it is also key to have a greater proportion of brown (high-nitrogen content) materials such as leaves, paper, and sawdust; and a smaller proportion of green (carbon-rich) materials such grass clippings, fruits and vegetables, and hair.

View the Make Everyday Earth Day PowerPoint.

Learn more About Presenters for Everyday Earth Day

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