Supreme Court Stay, Energy "Miracles" and Apple Green Bonds

Your February Cleantech Roundup.

Clean Energy Trust’s monthly cleantech roundup recaps the most relevant news on the cleantech sector, from policy changes to technology updates and investment news. It’s all things clean energy, finance, policy, and technology.

National

In a surprising development, the Supreme Court issued a stay on the Clean Power Plan. This means that the rule cannot be enforced until a deciding case is brought to the Supreme Court. While the case will be heard in an expedited fashion, the final ruling is not expected until 2017, when a new President will be in office. Further, Justice Scalia recently unexpectedly passed away. Justice Scalia’s passing may result in a court that will be more favorable to the Clean Power Plan when it is reheard.

The Supreme Court upheld FERC’s Order 745, ruling in favor of demand response. The ruling clears up uncertainty and should allow demand response to grow dramatically in the coming years. The takeaway is that demand response (wherein customers curtail power consumption, typically in exchange for financial rewards) must be treated and paid equally to traditional supply side resources, such as a power plant. Some merchant power generators opposed this rule because it creates more competition for them, even though it will also lead to lower power prices, and avoids unnecessary new plant construction. This ruling will provide certainty for new and emerging business models related to traditional demand response, behavioral demand response, customer engagement, and other energy efficiency business segments.

State

In New Jersey, a bill that would eventually require 80% of the state’s energy to come from renewable resources cleared a Senate committee. Should it pass, New Jersey would have the second highest renewables standard in the nation, above Vermont’s 75% by 2032 and behind only Hawaii’s 100% by 2045.

Recommended Reading

Bill Gates believes the world needs an “energy miracle” to fight climate change, but he’s optimistic about our chances. Tech Insider met with Gates to discuss his annual letter, in which he talks about bringing electricity to the billion people who don’t have it. Many people in the industry, including our own Ben Gaddy, have mixed feelings about the attention Bill Gates is bringing to our field.

Apple distributed $1.5 billion in bonds towards financing clean energy projects across its global business operations, the largest green bond issued by a U.S. corporation.

Venture capital-backed startups have been a growing trend in recent years. While San Francisco, Boston, and New York have historically dominated startup activity and funding, new evidence indicates that a significant amount of early stage capital is dispersing across the United States.

By Emily Achler | March 7, 2016