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Federal and State Structures to Support Financing Utility-Scale Solar Projects and the Business Models Designed to Utilize Them

Description: Utility-scale solar projects have grown rapidly in number and size over the last few years, driven in part by strong renewable portfolio standards (RPS) and federal incentives designed to stimulate investment in renewable energy technologies. This report provides an overview of such policies, as well as the project financial structures they enable, based on industry literature, publicly available data, and questionnaires conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Date: April 1, 2012
Creator: Mendelsohn, M. & Kreycik, C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Green Power Marketing in the United States: A Status Report (2008 Data)

Description: Voluntary consumer decisions to buy electricity supplied from renewable energy sources represent a powerful market support mechanism for renewable energy development. In the early 1990s, a small number of U.S. utilities began offering 'green power' options to their customers. Since then, these products have become more prevalent, both from traditional utilities and from renewable energy marketers operating in states that have introduced competition into their retail electricity markets or offering renewable energy certificates (RECs) online. Today, more than half of all U.S. electricity customers have an option to purchase some type of green power product directly from a retail electricity provider, while all consumers have the option to purchase RECs. This report documents green power marketing activities and trends in the United States including utility green pricing programs offered in regulated electricity markets; green power marketing activity in competitive electricity markets, as well as green power sold to voluntary purchasers in the form of RECs; and renewable energy sold as greenhouse gas offsets in the United States. These sections are followed by a discussion of key market trends and issues. The final section offers conclusions and observations.
Date: September 1, 2009
Creator: Bird, L.; Kreycik, C. & Friedman, B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Green Power Marketing in the United States: A Status Report (11th Edition)

Description: This report documents green power marketing activities and trends in the United States. It presents aggregate green power sales data for all voluntary purchase markets across the United States. It also provides summary data on utility green pricing programs offered in regulated electricity markets and green power marketing activity in competitive electricity markets, as well as green power sold to voluntary purchasers in the form of renewable energy certificates. Key market trends and issues are also discussed.
Date: October 1, 2008
Creator: Bird, L.; Kreycik, C. & Friedman, B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

State Clean Energy Practices: Renewable Fuel Standards

Description: The State Clean Energy Policies Analysis (SCEPA) project is supported by the Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program within the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. This project seeks to quantify the impacts of existing state policies, and to identify crucial policy attributes and their potential applicability to other states. The goal is to assist states in determining which clean energy policies or policy portfolios will best accomplish their environmental, economic, and security goals. For example, renewable fuel standards (RFS) policies are a mechanism for developing a market for renewable fuels in the transportation sector. This flexible market-based policy, when properly executed, can correct for market failures and promote growth of the renewable fuels industry better than a more command-oriented approach. The policy attempts to correct market failures such as embedded fossil fuel infrastructure and culture, risk associated with developing renewable fuels, consumer information gaps, and lack of quantification of the non-economic costs and benefits of both renewable and fossil-based fuels. This report focuses on renewable fuel standards policies, which are being analyzed as part of this project.
Date: July 1, 2008
Creator: Mosey, G. & Kreycik, C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Feed-in Tariff Policy: Design, Implementation, and RPS Policy Interactions

Description: Feed-in tariff (FIT) policies are implemented in more than 40 countries around the world and are cited as the primary reason for the success of the German and Spanish renewable energy markets. As a result of that success, FIT policy proposals are starting to gain traction in several U.S. states and municipalities. Experience from Europe is also beginning to demonstrate that properly designed FITs may be more cost-effective than renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which make use of competitive solicitations. This article explores the design and operation of feed-in tariff policies, including a FIT policy definition, payment-structure options, and payment differentiation. The article also touches on the potential interactions between FIT policies and RPS policies at the state level.
Date: March 1, 2009
Creator: Cory, K.; Couture, T. & Kreycik, C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Framework for State-Level Renewable Energy Market Potential Studies

Description: State-level policymakers are relying on estimates of the market potential for renewable energy resources as they set goals and develop policies to accelerate the development of these resources. Therefore, accuracy of such estimates should be understood and possibly improved to appropriately support these decisions. This document provides a framework and next steps for state officials who require estimates of renewable energy market potential. The report gives insight into how to conduct a market potential study, including what supporting data are needed and what types of assumptions need to be made. The report distinguishes between goal-oriented studies and other types of studies, and explains the benefits of each.
Date: January 1, 2010
Creator: Kreycik, C.; Vimmerstedt, L. & Doris, E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Financing Public Sector Projects with Clean Renewable Energy Bonds; Fact Sheet Series on Financing Renewable Energy Projects, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Description: Clean renewable energy bonds (CREBs) present a low-cost opportunity for public entities to issue bonds to finance renewable energy projects. The federal government lowers the cost of debt by providing a tax credit to the bondholder in lieu of interest payments from the issuer. Because CREBs are theoretically interest free, they may be more attractive than traditional tax-exempt municipal bonds. In February 2009, Congress appropriated a total of $2.4 billion for the "New CREBs" program. No more than one-third of the budget may be allocated to each of the eligible entities: governmental bodies, electric cooperatives, and public power providers. Applications for this round of "New CREBs" were due to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on August 4, 2009. There is no indication Congress will extend the CREBs program; thus going forward, only projects that are approved under the 2009 round will be able to issue CREBs. This factsheet explains the CREBs mechanism and provides guidance on procedures related to issuing CREBs.
Date: December 1, 2009
Creator: Kreycik, C. & Couglin, J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Policy Overview and Options for Maximizing the Role of Policy in Geothermal Electricity Development

Description: Geothermal electricity production capacity has grown over time because of multiple factors, including its renewable, baseload, and domestic attributes; volatile and high prices for competing technologies; and policy intervention. Overarching federal policies, namely the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), provided certainty to project investors in the 1980s, leading to a boom in geothermal development. In addition to market expansion through PURPA, research and development policies provided an investment of public dollars toward developing technologies and reducing costs over time to increase the market competitiveness of geothermal electricity. Together, these efforts are cited as the primary policy drivers for the currently installed capacity. Informing policy decisions depends on the combined impacts of policies at the federal and state level on geothermal development. Identifying high-impact suites of policies for different contexts, and the government levels best equipped to implement them, would provide a wealth of information to both policy makers and project developers.
Date: September 1, 2009
Creator: Doris, E.; Kreycik, C. & Young, K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Procurement Options for New Renewable Electricity Supply

Description: State renewable portfolio standard (RPS) policies require utilities and load-serving entities (LSEs) to procure renewable energy generation. Utility procurement options may be a function of state policy and regulatory preferences, and in some cases, may be dictated by legislative authority. Utilities and LSEs commonly use competitive solicitations or bilateral contracting to procure renewable energy supply to meet RPS mandates. However, policymakers and regulators in several states are beginning to explore the use of alternatives, namely feed-in tariffs (FITs) and auctions to procure renewable energy supply. This report evaluates four procurement strategies (competitive solicitations, bilateral contracting, FITs, and auctions) against four main criteria: (1) pricing; (2) complexity and efficiency of the procurement process; (3) impacts on developers access to markets; and (4) ability to complement utility decision-making processes. These criteria were chosen because they take into account the perspective of each group of stakeholders: ratepayers, regulators, utilities, investors, and developers.
Date: December 1, 2011
Creator: Kreycik, C. E.; Couture, T. D. & Cory, K. S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) Markets: Status and Trends

Description: This paper examines experience in solar renewable energy certificate (SREC) markets in the United States. It describes how SREC markets function--key policy design provisions, eligible technologies, state and regional eligibility rules, solar alternative compliance payments, measurement and verification methods, long-term contracting provisions, and rate caps. It also examines the trends of SREC markets--trading volumes, sourcing trends, trends in the size of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems driven by these markets, and trends in price and compliance. Throughout, the paper explores key issues and challenges facing SREC markets and attempts by policymakers to address some of these market barriers. Data and information presented in this report are derived from SREC tracking systems, brokers and auctions, published reports, and information gleaned from market participants and interviews with state regulators responsible for SREC market implementation. The last section summarizes key findings.
Date: November 1, 2011
Creator: Bird, L.; Heeter, J. & Kreycik, C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Innovative Feed-In Tariff Designs that Limit Policy Costs

Description: Feed-in tariffs (FITs) are the most prevalent renewable energy policy used globally to date, and there are many benefits to the certainty offered in the marketplace to reduce development risks and associated financing costs and to grow the renewable energy industry. However, concerns over escalating costs in jurisdictions with FIT policies have led to increased attention on cost control in renewable energy policy design. In recent years, policy mechanisms for containing FIT costs have become more refined, allowing policymakers to exert greater control on policy outcomes and on the resulting costs to ratepayers. As policymakers and regulators in the United States begin to explore the use of FITs, careful consideration must be given to the ways in which policy design can be used to balance the policies' advantages while bounding its costs. This report explores mechanisms that policymakers have implemented to limit FIT policy costs. If designed clearly and transparently, such mechanisms can align policymaker and market expectations for project deployment. Three different policy tools are evaluated: (1) caps, (2) payment level adjustment mechanisms, and (3) auction-based designs. The report employs case studies to explore the strengths and weaknesses of these three cost containment tools. These tools are then evaluated with a set of criteria including predictability for policymakers and the marketplace and the potential for unintended consequences.
Date: June 1, 2011
Creator: Kreycik, C.; Couture, T. D. & Cory, K. S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Impact of Financial Structure on the Cost of Solar Energy

Description: To stimulate investment in renewable energy generation projects, the federal government developed a series of support structures that reduce taxes for eligible investors--the investment tax credit, the production tax credit, and accelerated depreciation. The nature of these tax incentives often requires an outside investor and a complex financial arrangement to allocate risk and reward among the parties. These financial arrangements are generally categorized as 'advanced financial structures.' Among renewable energy technologies, advanced financial structures were first widely deployed by the wind industry and are now being explored by the solar industry to support significant scale-up in project development. This report describes four of the most prevalent financial structures used by the renewable sector and evaluates the impact of financial structure on energy costs for utility-scale solar projects that use photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies.
Date: March 1, 2012
Creator: Mendelsohn, M.; Kreycik, C.; Bird, L.; Schwabe, P. & Cory, K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Examination of the Regional Supply and Demand Balance for Renewable Electricity in the United States through 2015: Projecting from 2009 through 2015 (Revised)

Description: This report examines the balance between the demand and supply of new renewable electricity in the United States on a regional basis through 2015. It expands on a 2007 NREL study that assessed the supply and demand balance on a national basis. As with the earlier study, this analysis relies on estimates of renewable energy supplies compared to demand for renewable energy generation needed to meet existing state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) policies in 28 states, as well as demand by consumers who voluntarily purchase renewable energy. However, it does not address demand by utilities that may procure cost-effective renewables through an integrated resource planning process or otherwise.
Date: June 1, 2010
Creator: Bird, L.; Hurlbut, D.; Donohoo, P.; Cory, K. & Kreycik, C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Solar Photovoltaic Financing: Deployment by Federal Government Agencies

Description: The goal of this report is to examine how federal agencies can finance on-site PV projects. It explains state-level cash incentives available, the importance of solar renewable energy certificate revenues (in certain markets), existing financing structures, as well as innovative financing structures being used by federal agencies to deploy on-site PV. Specific examples from the DOD, DOE, and other federal agencies are highlighted to explain federal project financing in detail.
Date: July 1, 2009
Creator: Cory, K.; Coggeshall, C.; Coughlin, J. & Kreycik, C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Policymaker's Guide to Feed-in Tariff Policy Design

Description: Feed-in tariffs (FITs) are the most widely used renewable energy policy in the world for driving accelerating renewable energy (RE) deployment, accounting for a greater share of RE development than either tax incentives or renewable portfolio standard (RPS) policies. FITs have generated significant RE deployment, helping bring the countries that have implemented them successfully to the forefront of the global RE industry. In the European Union (EU), FIT policies have led to the deployment of more than 15,000 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) power and more than 55,000 MW of wind power between 2000 and the end of 2009. In total, FITs are responsible for approximately 75% of global PV and 45% of global wind deployment. Countries such as Germany, in particular, have demonstrated that FITs can be used as a powerful policy tool to drive RE deployment and help meet combined energy security and emissions reductions objectives. This policymaker's guide provides a detailed analysis of FIT policy design and implementation and identifies a set of best practices that have been effective at quickly stimulating the deployment of large amounts of RE generation. Although the discussion is aimed primarily at decision makers who have decided that a FIT policy best suits their needs, exploration of FIT policies can also help inform a choice among alternative renewable energy policies.
Date: July 1, 2010
Creator: Couture, T. D.; Cory, K.; Kreycik, C. & Williams, E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department