CLEAN ENERGY

ELPC named the 2018 Regulatory Champion of the Year by Interstate Renewable Energy Council

 (San Francisco, CA) – During an awards ceremony at Intersolar North America, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) today honored its 2018 3iAward recipients, celebrating the nation’s best innovation, ingenuity and inspiration in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The winners are based on a prestigious annual national search.

“Today, we’re proud to recognize our 2018 IREC 3iAward recipients – among the nation’s most extraordinary people, projects and programs making a sustainable energy future a reality,” said IREC Board Chair Larry Shirley.

“Their work is setting new standards – creating solutions to today’s complex renewable energy and energy efficiency challenges – changing communities and our national energy landscape in the process,” added Ken Jurman, IREC board member and chair of the 3iAwards Committee.

“As we honor their achievements, IREC celebrates its 36th year,” Shirley said. “We are more proud than ever of our own history, leading transformative policies and practices that allow millions more Americans to benefit from clean renewable energy.”

Regulatory Champion of the Year
Environmental Law & Policy Center, Chicago IL

Where Midwest regulatory reform issues call for talented public interest environmental entrepreneurs, you’ll find the Environmental Law and Policy Center. Since 1993, ELPC has been improving the quality of life in Midwest communities, now with offices in nine states. Nowhere is ELPC’s handiwork more apparent than in the Illinois Future Energy Jobs bill and the Illinois Power Agency’s Long Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan, both of which will help usher in new wind and solar projects. ELPC has played a pivotal role advancing community solar and interconnection reform in Illinois, Iowa and most recently Minnesota, where consumers and communities experienced major backlogs, delays and costs to connect community solar projects to the grid. Along with IREC and Fresh Energy, ELPC successfully petitioned the Minnesota Public Utility Commission for more transparent, nationally consistent interconnection standards. New common-sense interconnection standards now lay the foundation for more Midwesterners to benefit from clean energy for years to come.

Solar Novus Today: National 3iAward Winners Announced by IREC at Intersolar North America

July 11, 2018

National 3iAward Winners Announced at Intersolar North America

During an awards ceremony at Intersolar North America, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) today honored its 2018 3iAward recipients, celebrating the nation’s best innovation, ingenuity and inspiration in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The winners are based on a prestigious annual national search.

“Today, we’re proud to recognize our 2018 IREC 3iAward recipients – among the nation’s most extraordinary people, projects and programs making a sustainable energy future a reality,” said IREC Board Chair Larry Shirley.

“Their work is setting new standards – creating solutions to today’s complex renewable energy and energy efficiency challenges – changing communities and our national energy landscape in the process,” added Ken Jurman, IREC board member and chair of the 3iAwards Committee.

Regulatory Champion of the Year

Environmental Law & Policy Center, Chicago IL

Where Midwest regulatory reform issues call for talented public interest environmental entrepreneurs, you’ll find the Environmental Law and Policy Center. Since 1993, ELPC has been improving the quality of life in Midwest communities, now with offices in nine states. Nowhere is ELPC’s handiwork more apparent than in the Illinois Future Energy Jobs bill and the Illinois Power Agency’s Long Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan, both of which will help usher in new wind and solar projects. ELPC has played a pivotal role advancing community solar and interconnection reform in Illinois, Iowa and most recently Minnesota, where consumers and communities experienced major backlogs, delays and costs to connect community solar projects to the grid. Along with IREC and Fresh Energy, ELPC successfully petitioned the Minnesota Public Utility Commission for more transparent, nationally consistent interconnection standards. New common sense interconnection standards now lay the foundation for more Midwesterners to benefit from clean energy for years to come.

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Energy News Network: Iowa Utilities Unveil Scaled Back Efficiency Plans Under New State Law

Iowa Utilities Unveil Scaled Back Efficiency Plans Under New State

By Karen Uhlenhuth

Iowans will lose access to home energy audits, insulation rebates, and light bulb discounts under new five-year efficiency plans proposed by utilities.

The plans, filed with the Iowa Utilities Board before a Monday deadline, are the first since a new state law capped the amount of money that utilities spend on the programs. The result is “a huge step back” for energy efficiency in the state, according to clean energy advocates.

MidAmerican Energy and Interstate Power & Light, an Alliant Energy subsidiary, emphasized the bill reductions most customers will see under the plans, but critics predicted those cuts will eventually be absorbed by the cost of new investments to meet growing energy use in the state.

“These plans are significantly smaller and leave significant energy-efficiency savings on the table, even more than in the past,” said Josh Mandelbaum, an attorney for the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Des Moines.

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E&E News: What’s the future for the Midwest in a post-mandate world?

What’s the future for the Midwest in a post-mandate world?

by Jeffrey Tomich

An energy policy wave swept across the Midwest a decade ago as seven states adopted laws from 2006 to 2009 requiring utilities to add increasing amounts of wind and solar energy.

The aim of the clean energy mandates was clear — to slash greenhouse gases and other power plant emissions and generate new jobs and investment.

A decade later, most utilities in states with renewable portfolio standards are either meeting or on track to meet the targets. And some of them, like Minnesota-based Xcel Energy Inc., are announcing plans to blow past clean energy goals, often literally, by adding hundreds of megawatts of new wind capacity.

If there’s an exception, it’s Illinois, which is lagging its 25 percent RPS adopted a decade ago because of an unintended conflict with the state’s retail choice law that restricted funding for renewable energy procurement. But that’s changing quickly with adoption of the 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act, which revamped the RPS and specifically requires 4,300 megawatts of new solar and wind power.

Backers of the renewable energy laws — even some of the utilities subject to them — agree RPS policies played an important role in helping jump-start clean energy transitions in states that adopted them. And in the process, the blossoming of wind and solar energy, along with cheap natural gas and erosion in energy demand, has hastened the retirement of coal plants.

Nationally, about half of all growth in U.S. renewable electricity generation and capacity from 2000 to 2016 was tied to state RPS requirements in the 29 states that have them, according to the most recent annual report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. And compliance costs nationally have been modest, averaging 1.6 percent of retail electricity bills through 2015.

. . . .

Renewable energy advocates are reluctant to say RPS laws are no longer beneficial. The mandates provide policy certainty to developers and utilities alike. But in some markets especially, the presence of a renewable mandate isn’t the death knell for clean energy.

“Renewable portfolio standards in Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota are successful policies that have helped drive wind and solar energy investments in those markets,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center.

“But wind power is taking off in several states without an RPS,” such as Iowa, the Dakotas and Indiana, he said.

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PRESS RELEASE: ELPC Commends US Senate for Preserving Energy Title & REAP in Farm Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ELPC Commends U.S. Senate for Preserving Energy Title & REAP in Farm Bill

Concerns about last-minute amendment to REAP will be addressed in conference

 

Washington, D.C. – Today the U.S. Senate passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill). The Senate Farm Bill continues important energy title programs, including funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) that provides incentives to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Senate bill, which passed 86-11, includes crucial mandatory funding for REAP.

Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate at the Environmental Law & Policy Center, said:

“Thank you to the Senate for continuing REAP with essential mandatory funding. On a bipartisan basis, Senators recognize that REAP has been a very successful program providing broad benefits to agriculture and serving every state.”

Ann Mesnikoff, ELPC’s Federal Legislative Director, added: “The Senate Farm Bill’s continuation of REAP and the energy title with mandatory funding stands in stark contrast to the House partisan bill that eviscerated both the energy title and mandatory funding for REAP and other programs.”

Olsen added. “We will work through the conference process to support REAP in a final 2018 Farm Bill and to address the last-minute damaging changes to the REAP program made on the Senate floor in the Enzi/Wyden amendment.”

“ELPC recognizes the work of Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI and Ranking Member of the Agriculture Committee) deserves great credit for being a champion of the Rural Energy for America Program,” said Mesnikoff.

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WOSU: Bill Would Let Companies Opt Out Of Weaker Renewable Energy Standards

June 26, 2018
Bill Would Let Companies Opt Out Of Weaker Renewable Energy Standards
By Andy Chow

A bill that would overhaul the way Ohio mandates the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency is likely to get a vote in the Senate this week.

The bill would take the amount of renewable energy the state requires to be on the grid, and cut it by a third.

The measure gives more companies the ability to opt out of energy efficiency standards.

Robert Kelter with the Environmental Law and Policy Center says companies that opt out will end up spending more money on their electric bills which will have a ripple effect on all Ohioans.

“It would allow energy customers who really don’t have the knowledge or the expertise about energy efficiency to make the efficiency investments that they should be making,” Kelter said.

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce defends the opt out provision arguing that it allows companies to make energy decisions based on marketplace demands.

LISTEN HERE

PRESS RELEASE: ELPC Pans Passage of the House’s Deeply Flawed Farm Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Andy Olsen, (609)-334-1456

ELPC Pans Passage of the House’s Deeply Flawed Farm Bill

 House Farm Bill Retreats on Farm Energy

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives today narrowly passed its deeply flawed Farm Bill in a revote after failing to pass the same bill last month. Today’s vote was 213-211 in favor. The partisan House Farm Bill eviscerates energy title programs including the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

In response, Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate at the Environmental Law & Policy Center, said:

“The House should have gone back to the drawing board on its failed Farm Bill. Gutting energy title programs including REAP will hurt farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses seeking to improve their bottom lines by investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy. This bill also undermines important conservation programs that bring benefits to farmers across the Midwest including in the Driftless area.”

Ann Mesnikoff, ELPC’s Federal Legislative Director added, “The Senate Farm Bill’s continuation of REAP and the energy title with mandatory funding stands in stark contrast to the flawed House bill that eviscerated both the energy title and mandatory funding for REAP and other programs.”

“We look forward to the Senate taking up their Farm Bill next week and hope that their sensible bipartisan approach to both energy and conservation programs will prevail,” continued Andy Olsen.

REAP provides grants and loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to adopt energy efficiency and renewable energy. REAP has been highly popular with farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses in the Midwest. Demand for the program regularly exceeds available funds.

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Michigan Radio: Environmentalists ask MPSC to Reconsider DTE’s Billion-Dollar Natural Gas Plant

June 21, 2018
Environmentalists ask MPSC to Reconsider DTE’s Billion-Dollar Natural Gas Plant
By Tracy Samilton

Environmental groups haven’t given up trying to stop DTE Energy from building a $1 billion natural gas plant.

The groups are asking the Michigan Public Service Commission to reconsider the permit it approved for the plant.

Margrethe Kearney is with the Environmental Law and Policy Center. She says renewable energy becomes cheaper and more reliable every year.

“And it just doesn’t make sense for Michigan to say we’re going to build a huge natural gas plant, which means of course we won’t be building any of that other stuff,” she says.

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PRESS RELEASE: ELPC Commends US Senate Committee on Agriculture for Preserving Energy Title & REAP in Farm Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ELPC Commends U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture
for Preserving Energy Title & REAP in Farm Bill

Midwest senators step up in bipartisan effort
to protect farmers’ interests in vital energy programs

Washington, D.C. – Today the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) by a vote of 20 to 1. The Senate Farm Bill continues important energy title programs, including funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) that provides incentives to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy. The committee voted to include an amendment to strengthen energy programs with mandatory funding.

Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate at the Environmental Law & Policy Center, said:

“Thank you to the Senators of the Agriculture Committee for continuing REAP with essential mandatory funding. REAP has made a tremendous difference across agricultural sectors and for rural small businesses, bringing a broad range of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency investments.”

Ann Mesnikoff, ELPC’s Federal Legislative Director added “The Senate Farm Bill’s continuation of REAP and the energy title with mandatory funding stands in stark contrast to the failed House bill that eviscerated both the energy title and mandatory funding for REAP and other programs.” The House version of the Farm Bill was defeated by a margin of 198-213 on May 18th.

The committee adopted a bipartisan amendment to restore mandatory funding for programs within the energy title consistent with the 2014 Farm Bill. The bipartisan amendment was led by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) with senators from across the Midwest, including Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).

“Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich. and Ranking Member of the committee) deserves great credit for being a champion of the Rural Energy for America Program,” Olsen added. “Her efforts have advanced a program that helps grow America’s farm energy potential and brings benefits to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses across the country.”

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Midwest Energy News: Illinois bills for solar on farmland await governor’s signature

by Kari Lyderson

A trio of bills awaiting the governor’s signature in Illinois is the latest development in preparing the state for an expected massive influx of solar energy development sparked by the state’s 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act.

The bills seek to standardize and codify requirements and expectations for large-scale ground-mounted solar installations being built on farmland and other rural parcels by solar developers leasing space from landowners.

A great increase in such developments is expected, as the energy law calls for the construction of 3,000 MW of solar and offers incentives in the form of Solar Renewable Energy Credits.

“There’s always concern when you have a new industry come in,” said Kevin Semlow, state legislation director for the Illinois Farm Bureau, which played a lead role in shaping two of the bills. “Our members just wanted that clarity so there’s a starting place when companies come out talking about signing leases. We’ve already seen that there have been numerous companies throughout the state asking for leases.”

Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Centerwhich helped shape all three bills, said the diverse array of groups participating in the discussions show the widespread support for solar in the state.

“When there were just a couple [large solar] projects here and there, they could be treated as one-offs,” Learner said “So the trio of solar energy bills passed in Illinois by a strong bipartisan majority reflects the growing progress of solar energy development…There’s now sufficient development growing and moving forward that it makes sense to flesh out the policy framework.”

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