House Passes Bill to Boost Tribal Renewable Energy

Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved S. 245, the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2017 (the Bill), which is designed to allow Native American tribes to take greater control over energy development on their lands and to reduce the amount of governmental red tape.

The Bill, which was passed by the Senate in November 2017, directs the Department of Interior to provide tribes with technical assistance in planning their energy resource development programs. Further, the Bill expands the Department of Energy’s Indian energy education planning and management assistance program to make intertribal organizations eligible for grants and to allow grants to be used to increase the capacity of tribes to manage energy development and energy efficiency programs.

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Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program Application Opens

U.S. Department of Commerce Sets Stage for New Countervailing Duties on Chinese Solar Panels

On November 26, 2018 at 12:00 PM ET, the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program begins accepting applications. The initial SMART application period ends at 11:59 PM ET on Friday, November 30, 2018. During this initial 5 business day period, all applications received will be treated has having been submitted at the same time for the purposes of placing the projects in a Capacity Block. For projects generating 25 kW AC or less, the projects will be placed in the order that the contract was executed. Projects generating more than 25 kW AC will be placed in Capacity Blocks in the order that their Interconnection Services Agreement was executed. All applications received on or after 12:00 AM ET December 1, 2018, will be reviewed and placed into Capacity Blocks on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Nevada Voters Approve 50% Renewable Portfolio Standard by 2030

Last week, Nevada voters approved a ballot measure, Question 6, which would increase the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 50% by 2030. The proposal embodied by Question 6 would be an amendment to Nevada’s Constitution.

Under current Nevada law, utilities are required to obtain 20% of their electricity from renewable energy sources, which will escalate to 25% by 2025. As such, the effect of Question 6, should it go into law, would be to effectively double the state’s RPS.

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CA Self-Generation Incentive Program Extension Signed Into Law

California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 700 into law on September 27, 2018, extending the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) for an additional five years.

As previously discussed in our blog post here, SGIP extends the current January 1, 2021 expiration date until January 1, 2026, and provides rebates for the installation of energy storage systems and certain eligible technologies including wind turbines, pressure reduction turbines, fuel cells, waste heat capture and combined heat and power, internal combustion engines, microturbines and gas turbines (although the bill provides that after January 1, 2020, nonrenewable generation technologies will not be eligible for rebates under the SGIP). 75% of total rebates under the program are designated for energy storage technologies.

The new law will take effect on January 1, 2019.

CA Enacts 100% Carbon-Free Energy Standard

Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 100 into law on Monday, setting in place a 100% renewable electricity target for California by 2045.

The law, which we discussed in our prior blog post here, calls for a state-wide renewable energy target of 60% by 2030, with an interim target of 50% by the end of 2026 and a final 100% target by 2045. At the signing ceremony, Brown also announced an executive order directing California to achieve carbon neutrality, meaning it would remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it emits, also by 2045. The order, which could be rescinded by a future governor after Brown terms out in 2019, instructs the California Air Resources Board to develop a framework for reaching carbon neutrality.

The law will take effect in January, and California will then join Hawaii as the only two states that have pledged to eliminate fossil fuels from their electric grids by 2045.