The Guardian: Canadians Pull the Plug on Renewable Energy Scheme

The Canadian province of Nova Scotia, on the country’s Atlantic seaboard, has ended a program which gave citizens an incentive to produce renewable energy. The decision, which will initially mean lower prices for energy users, is at odds with widespread warnings that renewable energy must rapidly replace fossil fuels.

The scheme is the Nova Scotia community feed-in tariff (Comfit), which was designed to encourage community-based, local renewable energy projects by guaranteeing a rate per kilowatt-hour for the energy the project fed into the province’s electrical grid.

Canada is not the first country where a feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme has been ended. The U.K., which has stopped supporting onshore wind and solar energy, in 2011 withdrew tax relief from some FITs, leading a number of the larger ones to close.

But Nova Scotia does look set to lose more than it may hope to gain from closing Comfit. Not only will small communities now not gain the investments which would have come to them. The entire province will lose the opportunity to generate the surplus electricity which it could then have profitably exported to its neighbors.

Maui Electric: Maui Electric Proposes to Buy Low-Cost Renewable Energy From Maui’s First Large Solar Projects

Maui Electric Company is proposing to buy electricity from two large solar projects, the first of their kind on Maui. The contracts were filed today with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission for review and approval. If the contracts are approved by the Commission, South Maui Renewable Resources, a Maui-based developer, would build a 2.87-megawatt photovoltaic (PV) project near the Maui Research & Technology Park in Kihei, and Kuia Solar would build a 2.87-megawatt PV project in Lahaina near Lahainaluna School.

These projects are expected to offer up to 5.7 megawatts of solar power to Maui Electric’s grid at the low price of 11.06 cents per kilowatt-hour. Maui Electric does not mark up or take a profit from purchased power, passing the savings directly to Maui customers.

North American Windpower: USDA Invests $63M in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced $63 million in loans and grants for 264 renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects nationwide, through its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

 Eligible agricultural producers and rural small businesses may use REAP funds to make energy-efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems, including wind, solar, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydroelectric, ocean energy, hydrogen and geothermal.

 A list of the projects funded under this recent grant can be found here.

ABC: Idaho Falls Power Reviews Smart Grid Data

After years of testing and research, the results of the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project are in. For individual utilities that participated in the research project, like Idaho Falls Power, the results were a mixed bag.

One of the most promising results from the Smart Grid research was voltage management control. "Typically we haven't had good feedback on the amount of voltage a customer is getting at the end of a line," said Jackie Flowers, general manager at Idaho Falls Power. By lowering the voltage, the city can then save money or save the excess capacity when it's really needed.

Idaho Falls Power also had several hundred consumers voluntarily hooked up smart meters, smart thermostats, and other technologies to help with the test. There were a few problems with the smart grid system, and most dealt with new prototype technologies malfunctioning.