Incentives for Wind and Solar in Limbo, Energy Storage Crucial to Energy Technologies, Teeth Taken out of Light Bulb Regs

Renewable Energy Activists are fighting to keep tax and grant programs alive, but it doesn't appear that this GOP controlled Congress is inclined toward their efforts.  The Solar industry is fighting to renew the 1603 Treasury grant program which gives renewable and solar developers cash payments of up to 30% of their project costs in lieu of future tax credits.  At the same time the wind industry is actively working Congress to extend their Production Tax Credit which pays wind farm owners 2.2 cents for every kilowatt hour of energy it produces during the first decade of operation.   Both solar and wind industries argue that a decision needs to be made sooner than later for future planning purposes, but it looks like Congress will adjourn for 2011 without consideration of these programs.

Energy Storage Systems are considered a crucial component of the future energy system, enabling the widespread adoption of everything from renewable energy, smart grid technologies and backup power, to electric vehicles and portable devices.  A New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that  the development of electric energy storage technologies is currently being driven by factors such as grid stability and reliability, the need to integrate intermittent renewable energy generators, and the push to limit greenhouse gas emissions and use energy resources more efficiently.

In a last minute deal, the House GOP successfully killed new energy efficiency rules for light bulbs when House and Senate negotiators included a rider to block enforcement of the regulations in the year-end spending bill.  Normally, industry loves it when GOP fights business regulations. but companies like General Electric millions of dollars prepping for the new rules and say pulling the plug now could cost them. The looming possibility of the new standards, signed into law by President Bush in 2007, and the fact that places like Europe, Australia, Brazil and China have already put similar measures in place has already transformed the industry.  For years I have stockpiled hundreds of what will soon be illegal 'incandescent  bulbs'.  The legal energy efficient bulbs' ugly and cold light are a bane to good decorating and a happy home.