Small-scale and micro hydropower technologies are helping bring distributed electricity generation to remote areas around the world. The impacts on the environment are negligible and the economics are competitive. The worldwide market potential is fairly small in terms of overall megawatts (MWs) but for those locations without power today, a new micro-hydro system can make a tremendous difference in people’s lives.
Already a renewable fuels policy leader, the state of Minnesota is considering adopting a stricter mandate for biofuels content in the state’s gasoline supplies. Governor Pawlenty announced his support for a 20 percent ethanol content and a handful of bills have been introduced at the legislature to implement the goal.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is scheduled to vote tomorrow (1/27/05) on who will control about $400 million in state energy efficiency funds [see CPUC proceeding R0108028] Community aggregation advocate groups including Local Power and Women’s Energy Matters are demanding that the CPUC let community choice aggregators (CCAs) control and administer their own efficiency programs rather than give all the money and co… Read More
Hundreds of communities around the country have committed financial resources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency improvements and through purchases of renewable fueled electricity from their local utilities. A new trend appears to be emerging as part of these efforts – some communities are investigating direct ownership of energy projects and recent actions in Portland, Oregon illustrate this nicely.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) began an investigation in April 2004 via a diverse working group to explore a variety of issues associated with the deployment of distributed generation (DG) including interconnection rules – formally referred to as Rule 21. Implementation of California’s standardized interconnection rules issued in 2000 have been an important priority for California because it eliminated a significant barrier to the safe and cost-effective deployment of DG in the State.
Many state legislators around the country have returned to their respective capitol buildings for another year of debate. We’ve run across a few interesting proposals involving distributed generation. A Connecticut proposal would provide an increased rate of return for distribution utilities to build distributed generation projects rather than new transmission lines.… Read More
An effort spearheaded by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance resulted in a coalition of groups petitioning the MN Public Utilities Commission requesting that they establish the rules and technological infrastructure to allow citizens to easily monitor and participate in energy decisionmaking. This is an example of Democratic Energy in action. Minnesota isn’t the only state behind the curve either. A quick survey of other state regulatory agencies that oversee energy issues indicates that groups in many states may want to replicate the petition filed in Minnesota.
Since enactment of the nation’s first state mandate for nearly all diesel fuel sold in the state to contain a small percentage of biodiesel, there was always some uncertainty whether or not production facilities would be built to meet the goal in the law. Language in the law would have allowed the mandate to never take effect unless the in-state production reached 8,000,000 gallons per year. With the opening of one plant in December and two more under construction, the mandate is expected to come into force at the end of June 2005.
One of the world’s fastest growing energy technologies is wind power. Landowners on windy sites face a choice – to lease their land to wind developers or to own the turbines themselves. Leasing land provides a landowner with a relatively risk free venture with a steady stream of income. Owning a wind energy project involves more risk but offers landowners significantly more potential revenue.… Read More