ALEC Plans Attack on Solar Net Metering

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 25 Nov 2013 20:54:00 GMT

At the American Legislative Exchange Council’s upcoming States & Nation Policy Summit, the corporate lobbying group will be considering a resolution aimed to stall rooftop solar deployment.

Green Tech Media’s Stephen Lacey reports:

In early December, ALEC will be holding a task force meeting on energy and environmental issues in Washington, D.C. It has now included net metering on its list of priorities for “model legislation” in 2014.

ALEC recently put together a draft resolution on net metering that will set up discussions at next month’s task force meeting on writing laws changing net metering policies.

As currently written, the resolution lacks detail. But the broad framework mirrors the current debate within utilities about how to restructure crediting mechanisms for solar owners:

  1. Update net metering policies to require that everyone who uses the grid helps pay to maintain it and to keep it operating reliably at all times;
  2. Create a fixed grid charge or other rate mechanisms that recover grid costs from DG systems to ensure that costs are transparent to the customer; and
  3. Ensure electric rates are fair and affordable for all customers and that all customers have safe and reliable electricity.

“The Edison Electric Institute (EEI), a trade group for investor-owned utilities, helped write the resolution with ALEC,” writes Lacey. “And Arizona Public Service, a utility at the center of the battle around net metering policy, is also a member of the organization’s energy and environment task force.”

“We supported them. [...] We worked with them on that resolution,” said Rick Tempchin, executive director of retail energy services at EEI, in a video recorded surreptitiously by the Checks and Balances Project. Lacey continues:

Over the summer, EEI released a report warning that distributed generation technologies like solar “directly threaten the centralized utility model” and called for increased attention on how to manage disruption in the power sector.

Months later, EEI began spending money on a campaign to support changes to net metering policy in Arizona — adding to the $9 million already spent by Arizona Public Service.

The electric utility on ALEC’s corporate board, Energy Future Holdings, tells the public it is committed to supporting renewable energy.

Also on the agenda for the energy task force at the 2013 summit is “Discussion of strategies legislative and private sector members can employ to address EPA’s rulemaking to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.” The task force plans to keep ALEC “on record opposing any EPA efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.”

ALEC’s anti-climate agenda is raising questions about why publicly green companies have recently joined the organization. For example, in 2011, Google invested over $350 million in rooftop-solar deployment. In 2013, Google joined ALEC.

Scaling Up Solar: How Far Can We Go?

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 28 Apr 2010 13:00:00 GMT

The “green” technology boom is being heralded as the next technological revolution, able to lower greenhouse gas emissions, promote economic growth and create millions of new jobs. A number of new policies are being adopted at both the national and local levels to foster the growth and adoption of the new green technologies—including production tax credits for solar, wind and geothermal; renewable portfolio standards; and feed-in tariffs, to name a few. Solar energy has benefitted from increased private investment and public subsidies in recent years but seems to remain ever on the edge of breakthrough.

On April 28, the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host the first in a series of events that will examine the prospects for these potentially game-changing energy technologies to make the shift from alternative to mainstream. Experts from many sectors will discuss the key political and economical barriers and opportunities for utility-scale solar energy. Two panel discussions will explore a wide range of questions, including: What will it take to grow a viable solar industry in the United States? What policies could move solar energy into more widespread use and achieve grid parity? What are the job implications for the United States if other countries take the lead in developing the technology? And what role is public awareness or a lack thereof playing in solar energy adoption?

After the program, panelists will take audience questions.


Charles Ebinger, Senior Fellow and Director, Energy Security Initiative, The Brookings Institution

Keynote Remarks

Stephanie Burns, CEO, Dow Corning

Panel 1: Policy and Economics

  • Moderator: Charles Ebinger, Senior Fellow and Director, Energy Security Initiative, The Brookings Institution
  • Richard Kauffman, CEO, Good Energies
  • Dr. Lola Infante, Director, Generation Fuels and Market Analysis, Edison Electric Institute
  • Charles Hemmeline, Market Transformation, Solar Energies, Technology Program, U.S. Department of Energy

Panel 2: Technology, Market Deployment and Job Development

  • Moderator: John Banks, Nonresident Fellow, Brookings Institution
  • Robert Boehm, Director, Energy Research Center, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Steve Kalland, Director, North Carolina Solar Center, North Carolina State University

The Brookings Institution
Falk Auditorium
1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036


WonkLine: May 11, 2009

Posted by Wonk Room Mon, 11 May 2009 13:08:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.


The House Natural Resources Committee is holding a field hearing today “to discuss the responsible expansion of solar energy in California and across the nation” at the University of California, Riverside Palm Desert Graduate Center.

The New York Times discusses the Intervale Green complex, a “new, green, low-income housing development” by the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation with 128 units, “a large, glass-windowed lobby, two green roofs and a sculpture-filled courtyard.”

Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, and local op-eds in North Carolina and Louisiana repeated the “just wrong” lie that an MIT study found cap and trade is a $3100 tax.

DOE Grants $535 Million Loan Guarantee for Solar Power 1

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 20 Mar 2009 17:55:00 GMT

From the Department of Energy, Energy Secretary Steven Chu today offered a $535 million loan guarantee for Solyndra, Inc. to support the company’s construction of a commercial-scale manufacturing plant for its proprietary cylindrical solar photovoltaic panels. The loan guarantee is conditional on Solyndra satisfying equity commitments. Announcing his first loan guarantee, Chu said:
This investment is part of President Obama’s aggressive strategy to put Americans back to work and reduce our dependence on foreign oil by developing clean, renewable sources of energy. We can create millions of new, good paying jobs that can’t be outsourced. Instead of relying on imports from other countries to meet our energy needs, we’ll rely on America’s innovation, America’s resources, and America’s workers.

Based in Fremont, CA, Solyndra is currently ramping up production in its initial manufacturing facilities. Once finalized, the DOE loan guarantee will enable the company to build and operate its manufacturing processes at full commercial scale.

Solyndra estimates that:
  • The construction of this complex will employ approximately 3,000 people.
  • The operation of the facility will create over 1,000 jobs in the United States.
  • The installation of these panels will create hundreds of additional jobs in the United States.
  • The commercialization of this technology is expected to then be duplicated in multiple other manufacturing facilities.

Secretary Chu initially set a target to have the first conditional commitments out by May.

Energy and the American Way of Life

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 01 Aug 2008 15:15:00 GMT

With rapidly rising energy costs changing the way Americans live and work, and global warming threatening even greater harm to our future prosperity and well-being, it is clear that a fundamental change in America’s energy policy is needed. Bold new policies and leadership can turn these twin crises into historic opportunities.

In that spirit, NDN is pleased to announce that on Friday, Aug. 1, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin will deliver an address on the economic benefits for America in moving from carbon-based fuels to renewable energy sources. Senator Durbin’s remarks will be followed by a panel discussion on “Energy and the American Way of Life.” Both events are hosted by the NDN Green Project.

During the panel discussion, energy leaders and experts will discuss how this transition can take place. The discussion will be moderated by NDN Green Project Director Michael Moynihan. Michael also will be discussing his new paper entitled, Solar Energy: The Case for Action.

Senator Durbin will speak at 11:15 a.m., and the panel will follow the senator’s remarks.

NDN’s Green Project is a program of the Globalization Initiative and seeks to develop the legislative and regulatory framework to address climate change, enhance energy security, and accelerate the development of green technologies to promote economic growth. Through this initiative, NDN serves as a bridge between key stakeholders such as the new clean technology community and public leaders as we build a post-carbon economy. For more on the Green Project’s work, please visit our blog.

Joining us will also be:

  • Roger Efird, President of Suntech America and Solar Energy Industry Association Chairman, and a renewable energy pioneer with over 20 years experience in the solar industry.
  • Greg Kats, head of Good Energies’ Green Buildings and Energy Efficiency investment cluster.
  • Jack D. Hidary, Chairman of Americans for Renewable Energy.
  • Shyam Kannan, LEED® AP, Vice President – Director of Research and Development, RCLCO, a real estate consulting company.


The Phoenix Park Hotel Ballroom 520 N. Capitol Street, NW Washington, D.C.


How Solar Energy Can Help Meet America's Growing Energy Needs

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 11 Jul 2008 14:00:00 GMT

The Optical Society (OSA) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invite you to a briefing to learn how solar energy can play a far greater role in meeting energy needs here in the United States and abroad. Solar power is produced through two main technologies: photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight directly into electricity, and concentrating solar power (CSP), a utility-scale technology that can be combined with thermal storage to provide electricity even when the sun is not shining.

The United States has the potential to greatly expand the use of this clean and abundant source of energy, while also creating jobs and strengthening energy security. Demonstrating this potential is Germany, whose policies have allowed it to become the world leader in solar energy production in spite of relatively low solar resources (comparable to Alaska’s).

The following experts will discuss current and future technologies, U.S. investments in solar R&D by industry and government, and specific policies that can spur future development and promote the widespread use of solar energy:

  • Doug Hall, Technology Director, Glass for Photovoltaic Program, Corning Inc.
  • Chuck Kutscher, Principal Engineer and Manager, Buildings & Thermal Systems Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Scott Clavenna, President & CEO, Greentech Media, Inc.
  • Fred Sissine, Specialist in Energy Policy, Congressional Research Service
  • Rhone Resch, President, Solar Energy Industries Association
  • Carol Werner, EESI and Alex Fong, Optronic Laboratories, Inc., Moderators

This briefing is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to Angela Stark at or 202.416.1443.

OSA is a scientific professional society uniting more than 70,000 professionals from 134 countries, including Nobel Laureates, members of the National Academies of Science and Engineering, and other scientists, engineers, educators, and manufacturers engaged in the science of light, including solar manufacturing and R&D.

Freeing the Grid: Overcoming Barriers to Clean Energy Generation

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 04 Mar 2008 19:00:00 GMT

With prices for oil and gas higher than ever, energy independence is at the forefront of almost everyone’s mind. When your constituents ask you how they can take charge of their energy future while decreasing their monthly electric bills, what do you tell them? In some states model interconnection and net metering laws help individuals and businesses become a part of the solution, but in too many parts of the country the opportunities for renewable energy investment and green job growth are held up by nothing more than senseless policy barriers.

Representatives Jay Inslee and Roscoe Bartlett invite you to attend a briefing by the authors of “Freeing the Grid,” a report that details America’s patchwork of policies that make some states leaders in the booming renewable energy industry, while other states are left behind. You will learn how good net-metering and interconnection policies can help America develop a world-class renewable energy market, strengthen our domestic economy, protect our climate and our environment, increase electric grid stability, and reduce our dependence on costly peak energy.

Our panel of experts will also address how federal legislation, like the Home Energy Generation Act (H.R. 729) can address the problems, remove discrepancies between state policies and invigorate renewable energy deployment in your state AND throughout America.

Panelists include:
  • James Rose, Network for New Energy Choices (NNEC)
  • Chris Cook, SunEdison
  • Adam Browning, The Vote Solar Alliance

We hope that you or a member of your staff can attend, and we look forward to seeing you there. For more information, contact Liz Mustin at or 202-225-6311.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Reviewing FY 2009 Budget Request and Key Tax Incentives

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 14 Feb 2008 19:00:00 GMT

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the House Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Caucus invite you to a briefing addressing the impacts of the President’s FY 2009 budget on energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE/RE) programs, including impacts upon states and low-income consumers. In addition, the urgent need to extend Federal tax incentives for EE/RE will be discussed. Energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies are critical elements of a national energy policy that will meet the nation’s goals of reducing energy imports, moderating energy prices, and improving the economy, national security, the environment and public health.

  • Deborah Estes, Majority Counsel, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
  • Scott Sklar, President, The Stella Group; Chair, Sustainable Energy Coalition Steering Committee
  • Bill Prindle, Deputy Director, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
  • Jeff Genzer, General Counsel, National Association of State Energy Officials; Duncan Weinberg, Genzer & Pembroke

The President’s FY 2009 budget request for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) EE/RE programs is $1.26 billion—essentially flat with the Administration’s FY 2008 budget request and 27 percent below FY 2008 appropriations. Given the volume of voices and concerns about energy security, the huge bills residential and business consumers face, loss of economic competitiveness, environmental degradation, and rising greenhouse gas emissions, the funding priorities reflected in the President’s FY 09 budget appear in conflict with his goals of expanding renewable energy development and making the economy more energy efficient. With dramatically rising energy prices for homes, businesses and drivers, states are concerned by the proposed zeroing out of the Weatherization Assistance Program Grants.

In signing the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA, P.L. 110-140) on December 19, 2007, President Bush said EISA makes “a major step toward reducing our dependence on oil, confronting global climate change, expanding the production of renewable fuels and giving future generations of our country a nation that is stronger, cleaner and more secure.” However, not included in EISA were a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) and an extension of renewable energy and energy efficiency tax incentives. A new economic study by Navigant Consulting finds that over 116,000 US jobs and nearly $19 billion in U.S. investment could be lost in just one year if renewable energy tax credits are not renewed by Congress. See EESI’s FY 2009 DOE Budget Analysis regarding requested funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

This briefing is free and open to the public. No RSVP required. For more information, contact Fred Beck at or 202-662-1892.

Senate Finance Committee Includes Green Jobs, Renewables In Stimulus Package

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 30 Jan 2008 21:39:00 GMT

In today’s executive session on the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, the Senate Finance Committee passed by a 14-7 vote a package that includes $5.6 billion in “green” incentives, including $400 million in new “clean renewable energy bonds”, a one-year extensions for:
  • the renewable electricity production credit
  • solar, fuel cell, and microturbine credits
  • energy-efficient building deductions and credits;
and two-year extensions for:
  • the high-efficiency appliances manufacturing credit
  • stripper well depreciation credit
  • energy-efficient home retrofitting credit

Full details are available here.

Last Friday, 33 senators sent a letter to the Committee leadership urging support for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green jobs incentives.

According to the Sierra Club, by today the number of Senators was up to forty:
Senators who have expressed support for the inclusion of the renewable energy incentives include: Cantwell, Snowe, Wyden, Smith, Klobuchar, Kerry, Sununu, Sanders, Dole, Boxer, Johnson, Allard, Salazar, Mikulski, Stabenow, Murray, Dorgan, Brown, Bayh, Clinton, Collins, Specter, Menendez, Thune, Feingold, Dodd, Levin, Obama, Brownback, Coleman, Murkowski, Feinstein, Schumer, Stevens, Lautenberg, Leahy, Akaka, Kohl, Roberts, Grassley, Bingaman, and Domenici.

A Solar Scenario in Scientific American

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 28 Dec 2007 03:43:00 GMT

In A Solar Grand Plan (Scientific American January 2008), Ken Zweibel (NREL), James Mason (Solar Energy Campaign) and Vasilis Fthenakis (Brookhaven National Photovoltaic Environmental, Health and Safety Research Center) lay out a vision for replacing our fossil fuel-powered electricity production to solar energy. The editorial summary:
A massive switch from coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power plants to solar power plants could supply 69 percent of the U.S.’s electricity and 35 percent of its total energy by 2050.

A vast area of photovoltaic cells would have to be erected in the Southwest. Excess daytime energy would be stored as compressed air in underground caverns to be tapped during nighttime hours.

Large solar concentrator power plants would be built as well.

A new direct-current power transmission backbone would deliver solar electricity across the country.

But $420 billion in subsidies from 2011 to 2050 would be required to fund the infrastructure and make it cost-competitive.

By way of contrast, the Friends of the Earth analysis finds that Lieberman-Warner (S. 2191) allocates approximately $800 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, with about $350 billion to subsidize carbon capture and sequestration specifically. About $350 billion is allocated to all sustainable technologies (wind, solar, biomass, geothermal).

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