Commercial solar projects now allowed on Michigan farmland
Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer and the state’s agriculture director decided to allow land currently enrolled in the Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program to be used for commercial solar array purposes. Developers previously had trouble siting solar on farmland that was preserved for agricultural use only, so this move opens up more greenfield solar opportunities.
Maine governor signs three renewable energy bills
Governor Janet Mills signed three bills that will spur renewable energy development in Maine, according to WMTW. The bills create a goal to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, double the RPS and create new solar incentive programs. “Codifying these goals sends a strong signal that the nascent solar market in Maine is about to take off, bringing clean energy, jobs and new investments along with it,” said Sean Gallagher, VP of state affairs at SEIA, in a statement.
New Hampshire governor vetoes net-metering expansion for second time
Concord, New Hampshire
New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu has again vetoed a bill that would have raised the size of projects that would qualify for net metering. This bill would have raised the qualifying project size from 1 MW up to 5 MW. Sununu said in his veto message that he made the decision because the bill was “a regressive cost burden on citizens that benefits large-scale solar developers while hurting all ratepayers,” but NHPR reported that utilities say net metering is only a minor driver of rate increases. There’s still a chance for the legislature to override Sununu’s veto.
Oregon’s climate bill is dead
A plan in Oregon that would have established a cap-and-trade policy to cap carbon emissions and make polluting entities pay for greenhouse gas production has died after Republican senators fled the state, according to NPR. The GOP exodus prevented a quorum on the Senate floor, so the Democratic majority couldn’t vote on the bill. Senate President Peter Courtney announced that the Senate didn’t have the votes to pass the bill on June 25, in what NPR describes as an apparent attempt to bring Republicans back to the statehouse.
Salt Lake City moves faster toward 100% RPS
Salt Lake City, Utah
The 2019 site of Solar Power International became even more worthy after the city moved up its goal to reach 100% renewable energy by two years, according to Fox 13. Salt Lake City now aims to be carbon-free by 2030 instead of 2032. The mayor said all city buildings will already be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2020.
North Carolina solar decommissioning bill is relaxed
Raleigh, North Carolina
A North Carolina senator adjusted his original bill that set a September 2019 deadline for setting decommissioning and cleanup rules for solar projects after getting pushback from solar lobbyists, according to the Carolina Journal. His new proposed bill gives regulators until 2022 to study environmental impacts involved with solar decommissioning and adopt rules for dismantling and disposing of utility-scale solar facilities and batteries.
Survey finds 70% of Americans support nationwide solar mandate on new homes
A new study by a research group on behalf of Vivint Solar found 70% of Americans would support a nationwide mandate requiring solar panels to be installed on all newly built homes. The survey of 2,000 U.S. adults age 25 and up also found that significant others and environmental experts are the most influential when deciding to install residential solar for the good of the environment, while politicians are the least influential.
New York sets goal for enough solar to power 1 million homes
Albany, New York
After two years of work, the Million Solar Strong coalition finally succeeded in its mission: The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act passed the legislature and is expected to be signed by the governor. The law sets a goal for New York to procure 6 GW of solar power, enough solar to power 1 million homes, by 2025. The bill also requires at least 70% of New York’s electric generation to come from renewables by 2030.
EPA officially replaces Clean Power Plan
The Trump administration took a big step to protect the coal industry by replacing the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan with one that would keep coal plants open longer and leave carbon regulations to the states, according to The New York Times. Multiple state attorneys general have already said they plan to sue and block the new regulation called the Affordable Clean Energy rule.