Outgoing Michigan Governor Rick Snyder vetoes tax exemptions for alternative energy systems – In a veto letter issued Dec. 28, Snyder raised technical concerns with House Bill 5143, which passed the House of Representatives 106-3 and passed the Senate 38-0. By default, Snyder also vetoed HB 5680, which was tie-barred to HB 5143. Removing property taxes from residential and commercial PV systems has proved popular across the nation as a way to provide an economic bump to projects with tight margins, but in Michigan this reform will have to wait for the next administration.
South Carolina coalition rolls out 100 Day Clean Energy Agenda for 2019 – The 100 Day Clean Energy Agenda put out by SEIA and allies involves pushing the following policies: eliminating the net metering cap for residential solar; ensuring fair and transparent rates for both residential and large-scale solar; allowing businesses to contract directly with independent clean power providers; ensuring fair and timely contracts for large-scale solar providers; and making solar available and accessible to all South Carolinians, regardless of income. The coalition is reaching out to 750,000 voters and follows on the concessions to the solar industry as part of the $9 billion nuclear plant loss in South Carolina.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) is running for president in 2020 – While we have seen a number of Democrats step forward for 2020, Inslee is the first to put such a strong emphasis on combatting climate change as a central focus of his candidacy. This follows on his plan to completely decarbonize electricity in Washington by 2045. Full coverage in the Atlantic.
Massachusetts’ new electric hybrid buses to be powered by BAE Systems – the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has ordered 194 electric-hybrid buses using the BAE Systems Series-ER extended range propulsion system. The battery is recharged by both an on-board generator set, using a down-sized internal combustion engine, and by regenerative energy produced when the bus slows to a stop. While these aren’t pure electric buses, it is a significant move forward for the electrification of transportation, which has become the largest sector for greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
3 MW of community solar comes online in Michigan – Harvest Energy Solutions has put online 3 community solar projects, each 1.0 MWac in capacity. The power generated by these systems will be sold to Cassopolis, MI – based energy provider Midwest Energy & Communications (MEC) thanks to a program offered by Wolverine Power Co-op.
And speaking of community solar, El Paso Electric has releases a request for proposals for its New Mexico community solar program – The projects sought under this part of the program will have a total capacity of two (2) megawatts (MW). EPE will evaluate proposals to include considerations on overall project cost and bidder experience and will only consider submissions that can develop on an EPE-owned site in Doña Ana County. What’s most interesting about this RFP is that the utility has already determined the site and all the details, what we’re really talking about here is contractors doing their best to offer a package.