SEIA Eyes Renewables Language in Energy Bill

With possibly as little time as one week remaining in conference on the once-a-decade Energy Bill, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is urging their supporters to keep the pressure on their elected representatives. Although SEIA has not yet seen the tax or electricity sections (which will contain the tax credits as well as any net metering and interconnection provisions) the renewables and R&D sections have emerged, while the Energy Conference Committee drafting language for certain sections of the Energy Bill.

Washington, D.C. – September 30, 2003 [] Renewables: (1.) Federal Photovoltaics Purchase: the original Oberstar provision for Federal purchase of photovoltaics remains, authorized at US$300M through 2008. While it still needs to be appropriated (through the GSA), this is a highly significant provision. (2.) Federal Renewables Purchase Requirement: The Federal government will be required to purchase 7.5 percent of its annual electricity usage from renewable sources by 2011. Of note for PV and concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies, double credit will be given to power produced by agencies from installations physically located on Federal facilities, Federal public lands, or tribal lands. (3.) A variety of studies and resource assesments (island energy security, national solar resource assesment) are likely to be positive for solar energy. Research and Development: (This includes authorized increases to the overall renewables research budget, including SEIA’s core research provisions, which will need to be appropriated in the coming year.) (1.) $210 million (authorized) out through 2008 will be used to develop Concentrating Solar Power for hydrogen and electricity production applications. (2.) Language to develop hybrid distributed power systems, which integrate a small intermittent renewable source and a nonintermittent electrical generator. (3.) Language that would establish a 2.5 cent / kWh / $10M / year incentive to demonstrate uninterruptible power supplies to facilities “in critical need of secure, reliable, rapidly available, high-quality power for critical governmental, industrial, or commercial applications,” as determined in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security. We will try to get some specific language for this section to explicltly encourage solar integration into these systems. Indian Energy: The Indian Energy title includes very aggressive loan incentives up to 90 percent that could be promising for solar development on Indian lands. According to SEIA, the currently existing research programs that are funded through a separate appropriations process should come to a head within the next several weeks. The full available renewables section of the Energy Bill can be downloaded as a .pdf from SEIA’s website at the link below. SEIA added that if there was ever an ideal time to spend a few minutes writing a letter to a senator, this is it.