Tag Archives: Renewable Energy Portfolios

Financing solar energy: Georgia’s special problem

In most states, financing solar energy is largely a matter of learning all the local ropes. In Georgia, there’s a bigger problem.

Michael Mendelsohn wrote for RMI 5 December 2012, How Do We Lower Solar Installation Costs and Open the Market to Securitized Portfolios: Standardize and Harmonize,

Soft costs can be pretty tough. The cost of solar installations can be generally separated into “hard” costs — representing primary components such as modules, racking, inverters — and soft costs including legal, permitting, and financing. While the former group — particularly modules — have dropped dramatically over the last several years, the latter have not. According to a recent NREL analysis, these costs represent roughly 30% of both residential and utility installations (slightly less for commercial-host systems). See Figure 1.

In fact, soft costs are so critical to the overall success of solar adoption, their reduction is a primary focus of the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative to make solar energy cost-competitive. In order to reduce the cost of financing, NREL recently completed and continues to work on various efforts to tap public capital markets and enable other vehicles that securitize project portfolios.

We’ll come back to tapping public capital markets and the like, because that’s the key to what Georgia Solar Utilities (GaSU) is trying to do. But there’s a special problem in Georgia, buried in the next paragraph:

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ALEC responds to Sierra Club report

Received yesterday on Sierra Club reports on big fossil fuel’s coordinated attack on clean energy. My comments below. -jsq

Although the Sierra Club was notified of the errors in their report, they have yet to address them. In addition, neither fact checking nor communication was attempted by the Sierra Club on claims made in this report.

In response to this error-filled report , here is a short statement and brief fact check.


-Todd Wynn

And if you follow that link you find these things:

The American Legislative Exchange Council is not against renewable energy in any form….

ALEC believes that free markets in energy produce more options, more energy, lower prices and less economic disruptions. Also, ALEC believes that mandates to transform the energy sector and use renewable energy sources place the government in the unfair position of choosing winners and losers, keeping alive industries that are dependent on special interest lobbying. ALEC opposes mandates and therefore opposes infighting among fuel sources. ALEC also believes that government programs designed to encourage and advance energy technologies should not reduce energy choices or supply. They should not limit the production of electricity, for example, to only politically preferable technologies.

Translation: ALEC opposes renewable energy portfolio (REP) standards, which is one of the main points of the Sierra Club report. So ALEC’s rebuttal actually supports that point.

The rest of ALEC’s response is fiddling around the edges about Continue reading

Sierra Club reports on big fossil fuel’s coordinated attack on clean energy

Sierra Club has dug up the money trail connecting fossil fuel companies funding with current legislative attempts to block renewable energy such as solar and wind. And there’s our old friend ALEC!

Sierra Club PR today, “Clean Energy Under Siege” Study Follows Money Trail Behind Campaign Against Renewable Energy

If well-funded opponents of clean energy are willing to commit resources to hurting their enemies at the federal level, it only follows that they would pursue their goals in state and local venues as well.

Client/Parent Total
ConocoPhillips $20,557,043
Royal Dutch Shell $14,790,000
Exxon Mobil $12,730,000
Chevron Corp. $9,510,000

State Renewable Portfolio Standards have long been regarded as a major driver for the addition of renewable energy generation. RPS’s have been established in some form in 30 states and generally require a utility to produce an increasing percentage of the electricity they sell from renewable sources. Wind energy has been a particular beneficiary of state RPS laws and has also helped lower the overall cost of electricity in many of those states.

Groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are a clear and present threat to state RPS laws. ALEC describes itself as a nonprofit group that “works to advance the fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government, and federalism at the state level….”23 ALEC’s modus operandi is to provide state lawmakers with “model legislation” that will carry out the goals of its corporate members.

They have had significant success with several initiatives. One high-profile example is the “stand your ground” law — ALEC-authored legislation that was implemented nearly word-for-word across several states.

Let’s not forget Georgia’s HB 87 “anti-immigration” law, based on a model bill that ALEC-affiliated legislators proposed in at least 24 states. A law that actually creates new misdemeanors and felonies that feed the private prison industry, such as Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which tried to build a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia.

ALEC is also pushing a charter school law that the Georgia legislature passed that put a referendum on November’s ballot to authorize Atlanta overriding local school boards. Privatizing schools would do no more to improve education than privatizing prisons has done to improve incarceration. It’s all about fiddling laws for the profit of ALEC’s cronies.

Today, ALEC is in the process of approving anti-RPS language to send to willing sponsors in state Houses across the nation.

Here’s the gist of the whole thing:

It is a testament to the success and rapid growth of clean-energy resources that they are now regarded as enough of a threat to draw fire from some of the largest, most powerful corporations on the planet.

Those would be the corporations that are making historic record profits by Continue reading