One of the biggest developments in the renewable energy marketplace in the last 12–24 months has been the rapid growth in corporate renewables purchases. A vanguard of commercial and industrial companies is now playing an increasingly important role in the evolution of renewables—both in terms of their growing share of the market and their increasingly sophisticated needs and procurement approaches. As a result of this influence, ACORE worked with PwC to survey companies headquartered in the U.S. to better understand what is driving corporate renewables purchases, and what is holding companies back from doing even more.
On May 5, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued favorable updated guidance on Production Tax Credit (PTC) implementation issues following last December’s multi-year extension by Congress. In December, 2015, Congress extended the PTC through 2019 with a 20% step-down in value each year from 2017 through 2019, after which the credit phases out. This extension is expected to drive the deployment of 19 gigawatts of additional wind capacity by 2021.
Key features of this updated guidance include:
Summary of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, Emissions Trading and Clean Energy Incentive Program
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP) sets state-specific CO2 emission reduction standards on existing fossil-fuel generating units (EGUs) to be achieved by 2030. The final CPP sets uniform national standards for EGUs based on averaging the emissions rates within the three interconnections (Eastern, Western and Texas) and sets performance standards for EGUs based on the “best system of emission reduction,” or BSER, Building Blocks 1-3. Building Blocks 1 and 2 account for efficiency improvements and increased dispatch (peaking) of existing power plants. Building Block 3 accounts for new renewable generation and estimates total penetration of domestic renewable capacity at 28% by 2030.
Electrification of Transportation & Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Investment by California Utilities
Introduction – Emerging Electric Utility Business Models & Electrification of Transportation
In January 2013, the Edison Electric Institute released a report, Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business, warning of disruptive factors reducing revenue streams and threatening the electric utility business model. These factors include, increased usage of distributed generation and intermittent renewable energy resources, growing need for demand side management technologies, and slower growth in electricity demand.
Potential Impact on Electric Vehicle (EV) Incentives
In 1974, Congress enacted the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards to improve the fuel efficiency of passenger vehicles and reduce oil imports. In April 2010, and August 2012, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the 2012 – 2016 CAFE standards and 2017 – 2025 CAFE standards, respectively. These CAFE standards included vehicle efficiency standards and, for the first time, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards, calculated in grams of carbon dioxide (CO2)/mile. There are also incentives for advanced vehicles, including electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles, herein referred to as “EVs.”
On March 11, 2016, Governor Kate Brown of Oregon signed the Clean Energy and Coal Transition Act. This legislation eliminates coal from Oregon’s energy portfolio and requires the state’s largest utilities to generate 50 percent of their electricity from renewable energy resources by 2040. The legislation also requires utilities to propose investments in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. The simultaneous transition to renewable energy power generation and the electrification of transportation is a win-win for Oregon, utilities and energy customers. It ensures the benefits of renewable energy power generation, including carbon reduction and cleaner emissions, are multiplied across the transportation sector.