Two pieces of legislation have been passed recently by the U.S. Congress contain some provisions that will provide financial incentives for distributed energy technologies including biomass, wind, solar and geothermal. The Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 [H.R. 1380] and the 2004 American Jobs Creation Act [H.R. 4520] have been signed into law by President Bush. Some of these incentives are new, some are extensions of incentives that have lapsed with the inability of Congress to pass a comprehensive energy bill in the past two years.
On October 14, 2004 the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released a joint statement related to new FCC rules to facilitate the widespread adoption of broadband internet access over electric power lines, known as Access BPL [Action by the Commission, October 14, 2004 by Report and Order (FCC 04-245)]. The BPL ruling will not only provide households with another option in broadband internet service but it is expected to lead utilties to provide more efficient management of their power supply system, and ensure increased operational reliability.… Read More
Note: This article was originally published in the April 2002 issue of Democratic Energy
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD’s) Advantage Home program requires a home to consume 25-50 percent less energy for cooling than the existing state energy code allows. When coupled with rooftop solar cells, these Solar Advantage homes are nearly energy self-sufficient on an annual basis. A Solar Advantage Home can result in $450 in yearly energy cost savings for homeowners.
Themedia simply report on California’s shortfall of thousands of megawatts and limit the discussion to President Bush’s energy plan and Gov. Gray Davis’ plea for wholesale rate caps. They’re missing the real story. California may need thousands of megawatts of generating capacity in the long run, but the rolling blackouts hit only a few blocks at a time. This summers’ electricity crisis, therefore, isn’t going to be dealt with in Washington or even Sacramento, but at the local and neighborhood level.
Sometimes doing the right thing is almost too simple. Requiring publicly funded construction projects to produce no net increase in greenhouse gas emissions is one example: it’s hard to find the down side. By David Morris… Read More
This policy brief by David Morris and John Bailey from November 1998, looked at potential changes to utility property taxes in Minnesota. The state was re-examining the utility tax structure in light of the restructuring of electricity occurring throughout the country. The rationale for this re-examination is that if Minnesota were to deregulate its electricity sector, customers would be able to buy electricity from any supplier. If taxes were imposed on in-state power plants but not on out-of-state suppliers, it would result in a competitive disadvantage to in-state generators.… Read More
"From the hills of Seattle to the flatlands of Davis, from the industrial city of Hartford to the universty town of Madison, cities are beginning to redefine their role in our society," begins this important essay. For Morris the new role should should include inducing the widest distribution of productive capacity. New technologies make possible a more self-conscious and organic city. Local self-reliance becomes a strategy that embraces economic, environmental, and political goals. Morris argues that we have had far too much government and far too little governance. Government is bureaucratic. Governance is democratic. Communities can design their future. The new city-state emerge. … Read More