More Renewable Energy Solutions
Clean Renewable Energy Bonds
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58) created Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) as a new financing tool for electric cooperatives, public power systems and units of state and local government to build renewable electricity projects. CREBs are special-purpose tax credit bonds which provide the equivalent of an interest-free loan. Bondholders receive a tax credit on their federal income taxes instead of an interest payment from the bond issuer. This is a valuable incentive for entities that are otherwise ineligible for the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) which is available only to for-profit entities. Consult the following documents to learn more about the CREBs program and application procedures:
IRS Guidelines on the CREB Program (issued 3/6/06)
Guide to CREBs written by the law firm of Hunton & Williams [pdf file]
Guide to CREBs written by National Rural Electric Cooperative Association [pdf file]
IRS Disclosure Report on 2007 CREB awardees [pdf file]
Internal Revenue Service Bulletin – March 2006
ELPC is working on many fronts to increase the use of less-polluting, energy efficient, and renewable electricity generation. One goal is to reduce reliance on old, dirty, centralized power plants and advance “distributed generation” – literally shifting some generation of electricity to wind turbines, photovoltaic panels, combined heat & power (CHP) systems, and other clean and efficient resources that are distributed across the electric grid and are often sited at a customer’s home or small business.
In order to accomplish this structural shift, state policies must be reformed. Statewide interconnection standards make it easier to connect solar panels, wind turbines and other clean energy systems to the electric grid. These standards streamline the interconnection process by including uniform engineering requirements, reasonable fees and timelines, standard application forms and legal agreements, and “expedited review” for small projects.
Net metering is a special metering and billing agreement between utilities and their customers that allows customers to sell excess electricity back to the grid and gives customers a financial incentive to invest in renewable sources of energy. When a net metering customer’s renewable generator is producing more power than the customer needs, the electric meter runs backward, generating credits. At the end of the billing period, the customer is only charged for the “net” power that they consume.
ELPC’s “Model Net Metering and Interconnection Standards for Renewable Energy Systems” were developed with the input of industry experts and reflect recent best practices at the state level. Although the model contains both net metering and interconnection standards, these two parts can be used separately. To make it easier, the Net Metering Standards [pdf file] and Interconnection Standards [pdf file] are also available as two separate documents.
ELPC leads broad coalitions of clean energy advocates and entrepreneurs to promote distributed generation and the necessary state policy changes across the Midwest and Great Plains. ELPC’s advocacy and technical expertise has helped Illinois, Michigan and South Dakota finalize their interconnection standards, and has moved Iowa’s rules toward completion.
In addition to our leadership in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and South Dakota, ELPC is providing key regional perspective and expertise to support similar projects across the region. We expect our current and future work to significantly reduce existing barriers to distributed generation, which will help diversify electricity generation, provide economic benefits, and encourage the development of efficient and clean sources of power in the Midwest and Great Plains.
The boom in clean energy development, especially wind power, presents a tremendous opportunity for economic growth in the Midwest, and some of the best long-term opportunities will come directly from the manufacturing of wind turbine components. Visit RepoweringtheMidwest.org, ELPC’s website devoted to news, research reports and other resources aimed at advancing the region’s clean energy revolution.