On August 11th, 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) released its final set of proposed regulations for the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program, which aims to deploy another 1,600 MW of new solar resources in the Commonwealth.
In early April 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) partnered with investor-owned electric distribution companies across the state to jointly issue a request for proposals (RFP) for renewable energy generation. The mission of the RFP is to ultimately help the state meet goals outlined by energy diversity legislation signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker in August 2016. By the time the initial deadline closed on July 27th, the state had received nearly four dozen bids for a contract to add more renewable power to its energy portfolio.
With President-Elect Donald Trump and his administration officially moving into the White House this Friday, the landscape of energy policy, investment, and incentives could see major changes in 2017. Given this backdrop, it seems like a good time to review some of the most important trends and policies concerning clean energy that we covered in 2016.
Here are 2016’s top 5 most popular blog posts at Energy Tech Matters:
Financial advisory and asset management firm Lazard recently published its annual report on the costs of electricity generation technologies, finding that the costs for clean energy projects continue to decrease. The tenth version of Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE 10.0) shows that the cost of large-scale solar projects continue to rapidly decline, falling by 11% in 2016 and thus 85% since 2009. This makes new solar projects competitive with natural gas power plants in some regions of the U.S., even before federal investment tax credits, and in many regions across the country, wind projects are the lowest cost option among all energy technologies, before federal tax credits. To learn more about Lazard’s report, read on!
On December 15, 2016, the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) released an in-depth research report providing guidance for the evolving electric power sector. The MITEI report, The Utility of the Future, proposes major regulatory, policy, and market overhauls to electric power systems around the world for efficient integration of distributed and centralized energy resources. Through a set of analysis-based recommendations, the comprehensive study has two overarching proposals: the development of a comprehensive system of prices and regulated charges that apply to all network users, and the removal of inefficient barriers that currently impede the integration and competition of distributed and centralized resources. To learn more about MITEI’s report, read on! Continue Reading MIT Energy Initiative Releases Report for Evolving Electric Power Sector
Passage of a tax package is another possible item on Congress’ list for the lame duck session, which is discussed in a recent ML Strategies alert. Three dozen tax provisions are scheduled to expire December 31, about half of which pertain to energy provisions. Congress approved last December a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations and $680 billion tax extenders package and adjourned for the first session of the 114th Congress. To learn more about the tax extenders package, read on!
After ending formal sessions in July, Massachusetts lawmakers will convene in informal sessions for the remainder of the year, and no controversial legislative matters are expected to pass during this time.
Below ML Strategies presents its forecast and analysis of the key developments to expect in Massachusetts on energy-related matters for the remainder of this year and into the 2017-2018 legislative session. The complete forecast, which covers a wider array of topics, can be read here. To learn more about Massachusetts’ energy forecast, read on!
In December 2015, 195 nations and the European Union formally pledged to meet nationally determined emissions-reduction targets in the Paris Agreement. Since then, many experts have observed that the national targets are not sufficient in meeting the goal of limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius.
However, Jessika Trancik of the MIT Institute of Data, Systems, and Society recently presented research results that demonstrated that there is a mutually reinforcing cycle between emissions-reduction policies and technology development. Her analysis illustrates that for countries to meet their emissions-reduction pledges in the Paris Agreement, they need to deploy low-carbon technologies, which will spur technology innovation, lower costs, and ultimately enable further deployment of these technologies. To learn more about this cycle, read on!
On July 15, the Los Angeles Times Summit on renewable energy brought together government officials, academics, regulators, fossil fuel executives, and renewable energy advocates to discuss the challenges California faces in meeting the state’s goal of supplying 50% of its electricity through clean energy by 2030.
Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom affirmed California’s commitment to its renewable energy goal despite issues concerning electricity costs, economic stagnation, and consistent sourcing in his remarks at the summit. However, he also acknowledged, “We have to be sensitive to issues related to energy costs.” To learn more about the summit, continue reading!
In a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that it currently makes economic sense to combine large-scale energy storage systems with renewable energy projects, such as wind and solar farms, in some locations. However, this window of opportunity for investment may not last. The research team concluded that as the cost of wind and solar power systems decreases, the cost of storage systems must also come down. Otherwise, at some point it will be more profitable to add more generating capacity rather than more storage capacity. Read on for more details on the study, including the states examined and a comparison of the costs of different storage technologies.