21 May '10
3:48 PM UTC
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  Policy

Energy Secretary Chu Postpones China Trip “To Work on BP Oil Spill”

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has postponed his trip to China, scheduled for next week, after President Obama asked him to stay to continue to oversee the government’s response to the month-old BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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1 April '10
10:00 AM UTC
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  Solar

Suniva: Sold Out of Product Through 2010

Suniva’s future certainly looks bright this morning.

The Norcross, Ga., solar company Chief Executive John Baumstark told Reuters that Suniva through the end of 2010.

Suniva also announced that it is being considered that will be used to built a new 400-megawatt capacity manufacturing plant in Saginaw County, Michigan.

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6 August '09
8:45 AM UTC
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  Policy

ACES… Where Have You Been?

Healthcare, healthcare... but what about climate change...? (The Phoenix Sun)
Healthcare, healthcare… but what about climate change…? (The Phoenix Sun)

Just a short while ago, GER was chronicling the legislative fight in the House, as Rep. Henry Waxman (D- Calif.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, held back-to-back marathon negotiations to secure passage for the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES). As reported by GER, the bill passed. An exhausted Rep. Waxman the consequences of this intense battle as he landed in the hospital just a few days later.  But since then, it has all been about healthcare, healthcare, healthcare, leaving little room for negotiations over a climate change bill.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Collin Peterson (D- Minn.) tells ‘s Lisa Lerer that he’s doubtful a Senate vote on a climate change energy bill will happen anytime soon: “The reality [the health reform bill] is going to happen before cap-and-trade” he says. If that happens, the U.S. would enter the upcoming Copenhagen climate change negotiations without any comprehensive law in the books, weakening the country’s credibility in these vital issues.

What about you? Share your thoughts on the chances for the U.S to have a climate change law by the end of the year. Go to the comments section below.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D- Calif.), Chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and John Kerry (D- Mass.), who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, have to have a bill ready by September 8th, when lawmakers return for their summer recess.  The two senators are not planning to draft a new bill but instead, build on ACES. The outcome could be stronger: CO2 cuts of 20 percent compared to the 17 percent in the House version of the bill. Read More »

15 July '09
8:20 AM UTC
No Comments
  Funding

Details Emerge on Gov. Cash Grants

Last week the Treasury and Energy Departments released details on much awaited grant financing, which along with production and investment tax credits, are expected to help revive a sector hit hard by the economic crisis. Words of the direct cash grant program first began circulating last winter, shortly after the passage of the $740 billion stimulus package. At the time financing in the clean energy space across the board — bank loans, venture capital and private equity — had all but shut down. Although the funding environment has improved, over the long-term clean energy developers are counting on an ongoing public/private partnership to support the Obama administration’s ambitious goals of doubling clean energy production over the next three years.

Regarding the energy grants, market research firm New Energy Finance predicts a spike in applications from cash hungry investors. In a note released yesterday, the firm writes:

The rules themselves appear to represent nearly everything the industry had sought. The federal government’s definition of capital expenditures related to developing a clean energy project are simple and fairly logical, based on existing tax code. Developers backed by non-profit entities such as pension funds may qualify to receive the grant, provided they create the right legal structures. The government will not seek to “claw back” the grants too aggressively unless ownership of the project transfers to a non-qualified entity under the law. The grants are to be issued 60 days after a project is commissioned.

and adds:

Exactly how many projects will apply for the grants is unclear. The Energy Department last week estimated 5,000 applications are possible and that the cost to taxpayers would be aboutUSD 3bn. The first estimate is probably too high and the second is certainly too low as it would result in just 5GW of new nameplate capacity in the US. Given that 8.5GW of wind alone were installed last year that would be a disappointment to the Obama administration which hopes to double clean energy capacity over three years by adding roughly 25GW.

The initial amount of $3 billion is just a start that could peak to $10 billion. Also, important to note that investor will only be able to apply to a single government funding option: cash grant, investment tax credits or production tax credits.