California Governor signs 33% renewable energy standard into law; Iowa approves solar, wind tax credits; CO passes hydro bill; NY announces fuel cell incentives; Oregon mandates 5% biodiesel.
California Governor Jerry Brown today signed into law a bill that raises the bar on the state's renewable energy standard (RES).
The bill requires the state's pubicly-owned utilities to produce or purchase 33% renewable energy by 2020. Previously, the mandate was 20% by 2010.
This new RES is the most ambitious in the US by far. It was signed into law today at the opening of a new SunPower/Flextronics solar manufacturing facility in California. The facility is expected to create more than 100 renewable energy jobs.
Iowa Senate Approves Solar, Wind Tax Credits
Solar and wind energy tax credits passed through the Iowa Senate this month. The credits equal 30% of the cost of construction or installation, subject to a maximum credit of $15,000 for commercial or agricultural construction.
If signed into law, the tax credits would be refundable or alternatively applied against tax liabilities for the following tax year. They will also be retroactive to Jan. 1.
According to a recent American Wind Energy Association report, Iowa now leads the US in wind power production. The state produces roughly 15% of its electricity with windpower, up from 7% in 2008.
Colorado Passes Bipartisan Hydro Bill
The Colorado House by a 65-0 vote passed an amended version of a hydroelectric power bill (HB1083), which now moves to Gov. John Hickenlooper's desk awaiting his signature to become law.
It passed unanimously through two committee hearings, two votes in the House and a vote in the Senate - more than 180 votes cast, and not one in opposition. The bill adds hydroelectric and pumped-hydro operations to the list of new energy technologies that the Public Utilities Commission can consider.
The bill is seen as a first step in bringing an $800 million pumped hydro project to Colorado. TransCanada is considering building the project, known as South Slope.
Read the full story in the Chieftan.
New York Announces Fuel Cell Incentives
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced an incentive program for businesses, hospitals or other large power consumers interested in installing fuel cells.
The technology allows users to generate some of their own power from clean energy, using less energy from the electric grid.
NYSERDA's Customer-Sited Tier Fuel Cell Program will provide up to $21.6 million through 2015. The program provides an incentive toward the cost of fuel cell installation, plus payments over the first three years of operation based on power produced.
Companies can collect a total payment of up to $1 million for fuel cells, based on the size of the project. Funding is awarded to applications received on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Oregon Mandates 5% Biodiesel Blend
On April 1, Oregon became the second US state to require that most diesel fuel contain at least 5% biodiesel (B5).
The state already had a 2% biodiesel (B2) requirement. Oregon's B5 requirement was scheduled to be triggered when the in-state production capacity reached 15 million gallons annually, which the biodiesel plants recently accomplished. The requirement will generate about 25 million gallons of biodiesel demand annually.
Minnesota was the first state to pass a B2 biodiesel requirement, which has since increased to B5. The state's required volume of biodiesel is scheduled to rise to B10 by 2012, and B20 by 2015.
Washington and Pennsylvania both have a B2 requirement in effect. Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts and New Mexico have all passed similar legislation that hasn't yet taken effect.