Thursday, September 29, 2011

Renewable Energy Law News from week of 9/26/11

Udall Renewable Fuel Parity Bill Introduced in Senate

U.S. Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, introduced a bill on Sept. 15 that aims to level the playing field for advanced biofuels by altering certain elements of the renewable fuel standard to make it more “technology neutral.” The bill, known as the Renewable Fuel Parity Act of 2011, or S.1564, ultimately makes several changes to the language included in the Section 211 of the Clean Air Act.

According to a copy of the legislation provided by Udall’s office, the act could “improve the [RFS] program by combining the categories of ‘cellulosic biofuel’ and ‘advanced biofuel’ into one technology- and feedstock-neutral category of ‘advanced biofuel.’” The legislation would change the definition of advanced biofuel to mean both renewable fuel, other than corn ethanol, that has greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 50 percent less than the baseline, and cellulosic fuel. It would also add the term “other fuel derived from algae” to the definition. The bill would also remove the term “cellulosic biofuel” from several places within the section.

Read more here.

University Teams to Showcase Affordable, Energy Efficient Living in U. S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011

Collegiate teams featuring over 4,000 students from around the world have descended on the National Mall’s West Potomac Park to showcase the highly energy efficient solar-powered houses they created for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011. Today’s opening ceremony kicks off the biennial competition that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate houses powered by the sun that are affordable, energy efficient, attractive, and easy to live in.

“The Solar Decathlon collegiate teams are showing how clean energy products and efficient building design can help families and businesses reduce energy use and save money,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The event challenges talented students to become pioneers of clean energy technology and helps ensure that our nation remains competitive in the workforce of tomorrow.”

In addition to educating the public about how to save energy and save money, the Solar Decathlon also provides unique training to the next generation of engineers and architects. Over the last decade, the competition has prepared approximately 15,000 students to become future innovators and entrepreneurs in clean energy technology and efficient building design.

Read more here.

Rhode Island Rapidly Implementing Feed-In Tariffs for Distributed Generation

In a move that took North American renewable energy advocates by surprise, tiny Rhode Island has passed a law implementing a limited feed-in tariff and set it on a fast track to implementation.

The law passed the legislature and was signed by Governor Lincoln Chafee on 29 June, 2011. Chafee is a former Republican Senator representing Rhode Island in the US Congress. He joins former Governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, as a GOP or former GOP office holder signing feed-in tariff legislation.

Rhode Island becomes only the second state in the Northeast to implement a feed-in tariff program and one of the few states in the U.S. to do so.

While not the first with a feed-in tariff, Rhode Island may set a record for the rate of implementation. Specific differentiated tariffs must be set by the end of September and the program launched in mid-October.

Read more here.

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