Author Archives: Stephen Lacey

Yikes! Darrell Issa Doesn’t Know Difference between Tax Credits & Loan Guarantees

January 26th, 2012 | by Stephen Lacey

What’s the only thing worse than turning a Congressional investigation into a months-long political circus? The leaders of that investigation not having a firm grasp of the policies they’re supposed to be examining. California Republican Darrell Issa chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, one of the top bodies responsible for looking into the loan guarantee to the now-bankrupt solar manufacturer Solyndra. So you’d think that Mr. Issa would, after almost four months of investigation, be able to distinguish the extraordinary differences between a tax credit and a loan guarantee


“No Evidence” that Wind Turbine Syndrome Actually Exists

January 23rd, 2012 | by Stephen Lacey

If we want wind to continue growing, more turbines will need to be placed in our communities and close to our backyards. And that will inevitably cause more social friction. Wind supporters cannot discount concerns from local residents about noise and visual impact. With proper communication between developers and communities, many of the potential conflicts can be mitigated or avoided.


Stop the Environment vs Economy Nonsense… or ‘risk becoming irrelevant’, Leading Investor Says (VIDEO)

January 19th, 2012 | by Stephen Lacey

A top GE executive is calling the political battle between economy and environment “nonsense.” In a video interview (featured below) at an international clean energy investment conferencelast week, Mark Vachon, vice president of GE’s successful Ecomagination program, hailed “environmental performance” as a key driver for business.


$6 Million More Spent on Bogus Solyndra Ads

January 19th, 2012 | by Stephen Lacey

The Koch-funded political advocacy organization Americans for Prosperity is unleashing another multi-million campaign to play up the Solyndra bankruptcy in key election states. After the release of 180,000 pages of documents and months of a heavily-politicized Congressional investigation that included testimony from Energy Secretary Steven Chu, there is still no evidence that the loan guarantee issued to the now-bankrupt solar company Solyndra was a political favor, or that any official in the Administration did anything illegal.


States Need to Develop Entire Clean Energy Economy, Report Finds

January 13th, 2012 | by Stephen Lacey

Congressional commitment to action on clean energy policy in 2012 is about as secure as Kim Kardashian’s wedding vows. So with states once again representing the major driver for renewable energy, how can they keep the momentum going at a time when federal enthusiasm is at its lowest level in years? The key, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution, is for states to focus not just on project-level deployment, but to shift some funds toward support broader sustainable economic goals that foster the clean energy economy from the ground up. And there are still a fair amount of funds to work with on the state level, as the below map illustrates:


Cleantech Venture Investments Up 13% in 2011 — Solar the Leader

January 10th, 2012 | by Stephen Lacey

As emerging clean technology companies reach stages of growth that require enormous amounts of deployment capital, investment figures for 2011 reflect that market dynamic. Last year, global corporate and venture capital investments in cleantech grew 13% over 2010, reaching almost $9 billion, according to preliminary figures released from the Cleantech Group. Most of those investments are going to companies that have already picked up one or more rounds of funding, with 85% of dollars flowing into Series B rounds or later. The most stunning increase in activity last year was in mergers and acquisitions, which grew by 154% in 2011. Because it’s often more attractive for cleantech companies to merge with a mature corporate parent rather than go public, the amount of exits in M&A have shot up dramatically.


Record State Energy-Efficiency Investments in 2011

January 5th, 2012 | by Stephen Lacey

Driven by the growing number of energy-efficiency standards in states around the U.S., ratepayer budgets for efficiency programs climbed to record levels in 2011, to $6.8 billion. That’s a 25% increase over 2010 investments, putting the country on track to invest roughly $12 billion by 2020


80% of Contracts in Latest Brazil Power Auction Are for Wind Power

December 22nd, 2011 | by Stephen Lacey

In Brazil’s latest power auction earlier this week — a process in which developers bid for contracts with the country’s national electricity agency — more than 80% of contracts were for wind projects. This follows an auction in August that brought in power contracts for wind that were below the bidding price of natural gas plants


Renewable Energy Standard Lies — The Next Big Thing?

December 20th, 2011 | by Stephen Lacey

The truth can be very inconvenient. With real-world experience and numerous non-partisan research organizations showing over and over again that state-level renewable energy targets have not substantially driven up electricity rates, clean energy opponents are simply creating their own numbers


Solar 1/3 of World Energy Supply in 2060? Conservative IEA Thinks So

December 3rd, 2011 | by Stephen Lacey

The International Energy Agency is notoriously conservative on projections for renewable energy. The agency has embraced the need for more clean electricity and fuels to address climate change and peak oil, but its outlook for the future is usually far more conservative than how reality plays out. So when an official at the IEA says we could get up to one third of our global energy supply from solar photovoltaics, concentrating solar power, and solar hot water by 2060, that’s a fairly big piece of news. But even that projection may be conservative.


Harry Reid Slams Tar Sands Pipeline ($$ Better Spent on Clean Energy)

October 24th, 2011 | by Stephen Lacey

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is weighing in on Keystone XL, the controversial 1,700 mile pipeline that would bring carbon-intensive crude across the U.S. from Alberta’s tar sands to refineries in the Gulf Coast. In a letter sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this month, Reid expressed concerns about the environmental impact of the project


NIMBYism Kills 45% of Clean Energy Projects

October 24th, 2011 | by Stephen Lacey

Almost half of clean energy projects proposed in recent years have been delayed or abandoned due to local opposition, according to a March report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That’s a lot of development potential denied


PACE Program in Babylon Rockin’ It (VIDEO)

October 8th, 2011 | by Stephen Lacey

Sammy Chu knows that energy efficiency creates local jobs. He’s seen it for himself. As director of Long Island Green Homes, a local financing program based around Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), Chu has seen the creation of dozens of new contractor positions that have helped his home town of Babylon, New York, invest millions of dollars in efficiency retrofits



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