New York Makes Big Commitments to Solar Power; White House Doubles Clean Energy Goal; Conservative Group’s Plan to Punish Solar Users Revealed

SunEdison, New York Team Up for Gotham’s Largest Solar Project

SunEdison and New York Mayor Michale Bloomberg introduced a renewable energy project to be built in the Freshkills area, once the site of the largest landfill in the world, according to an announcement. Soon to become the biggest park in the City, and now also the site of the largest solar power installation ever developed within the five boroughs.  The deal with SunEdison will increase the amount of solar energy produced in New York City by 50 percent.

The project is scheduled to break ground in the second half of 2015, and will consist of two photovoltaic systems totaling up to 10 megawatts (MW) in size, and will use between 30,000 and 35,000 high efficiency solar panels installed across 47 acres in the park.

New York Governor Announces $30 Million in NY-Sun Funds for Large Solar Projects

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $30 million in funding has been made available under the NY-Sun Competitive Photovoltaic (PV) Program to encourage large-scale solar and biogas projects in the Hudson Valley and New York City.  As a result, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is seeking proposals for PV and renewable biogas systems larger than 200 kilowatts for businesses, factories, municipal buildings, and other larger commercial and industrial customers in the region. Proposals must be submitted by December 30, 2013 and projects must be installed, interconnected to the grid and operational by April 30, 2015.

White House directs U.S. agencies to double renewable energy use by 2020

President Barack Obama ordered federal agencies to get at least 20 percent of their energy supply from renewable sources by 2020, double the current rate, according to Reuters.  It’s an extension of an executive order the President issued in 2009 that called on the federal government to be a clean energy leader.  Federal agencies will also be tasked with using an industry-developed tool called the Green Button to manage energy consumption and reduce electricity usage, according to the memo.

ALEC Readies Legislative Push to Penalize Homeowners Who Install Solar Panels

An alliance of corporations and conservative activists known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) has mobilized efforts to punish homeowners who install their own solar panels, calling them “freeriders,” in legislation that they hope would also weaken state clean energy regs, and blocking the EPA’s enforcement powers, according to a story in the Guardian.

Alec’s plans were revealed when the group gathered for its policy summit in Washington. Nearly 800 state legislators and business leaders attend the three-day event, which includes Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson and Wisconsin Congressman and former VP candidate Paul Ryan.

Alec plans to promote a suite of bills and resolutions in 2014, all of which aim at blocking the administration from cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and state governments from promoting the expansion of wind and solar power via regulations known as Renewable Portfolio Standards.

John Eick, the legislative analyst for Alec’s energy, environment and agriculture program, told the Guardian the group will look at how homeowners with solar panels are paid for feeding surplus electricity back into the grid. “They should be paying to distribute the surplus electricity,” he said. In November, Arizona became the first state to charge customers for installing solar panels, about $5 a month.

The group sponsored at least 77 energy bills in 34 states in 2013. According to a related story in Mother Jones magazine, most of these bills failed.

Tags: Policy , Solar

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