New Jersey is commited to alternative energy development. Below is an outline of the updated rebate program.

Should you want to know more about structuring your investment in alternative energy, contact Hutchinson Business Solutions

You may email george@hbsadvantage.com

 

Last DSIRE Review: 02/02/2009  

Incentive Type: State Rebate Program
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Anaerobic Digestion, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Tribal Government, Fed. Government, Institutional
Incentive Amount: $0.15 – $5/W DC (varies by technology, capacity and applicant type); bonus rebate of $0.25/W is available for New Jersey sourced systems and equipment.
Maximum Incentive: Determined by capacity and rebate amounts for PV;
60% of eligible costs for sustainable biomass and fuel cell systems up to 10 kW;
30% for sustainable biomass and fuel cell systems greater than 10 kW;
For wind energy systems, 120% of estimated system performance at a reference wind speed of 11.4 mph
Eligible System Size: Residential PV: 10 kW DC maximum
Non-residential PV: 50 kW DC maximum
Fuel Cells and Sustainable Biomass: 1 MW AC maximum
Wind: 750,000 kWh annual energy production maximum
Output should not exceed 100% of the historical or expected (if new construction) consumption.
Equipment Requirements: Systems must be new, UL-listed (PV), in compliance with all applicable performance and safety standards, and must carry a minimum 5-year warranty on all equipment.
Installation Requirements: Installation must comply with all federal, state and local codes; must meet detailed siting criteria specified in program guidelines
Program Budget: $47,297,167 (new 2009 funding for all technologies)
Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits: Remains with project owner
Funding Source: New Jersey Societal Benefits Charge
Expiration Date 2009 Program Opening Date: 02/03/2009
Closing Date, First Cycle: 04/30/2009 (funding cycles only apply to PV)
Project Review/Certification OCE has a right to inspect all systems prior to issuing rebate
Website: http://www.njcleanenergy.com/
renewable-energy/programs/renewable-energy-incentive-program
Authority 1: N.J. Stat. § 48:3-60 (2008)
Date Enacted: 1999
Effective Date: March 2001 (for rebate program)

 


Summary:

  Note: The incentive amounts listed below are available for 2009 program year applications. Systems that are not eligible to receive rebates remain eligible to generate Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) and may be eligible for specialized programs based in the SREC market.  
 
New Jersey’s 1999 electric restructuring legislation provides for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy through a “Societal Benefits Charge” (SBC) collected from all customers of electric public utilities. In March 2001, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) approved funding for renewable-energy programs, including a customer-sited renewables rebate program for homes, businesses, institutions and non-profits.  
 
Eligible technologies include fuel cells, photovoltaic (PV) systems, small wind-energy systems and/or sustainable biomass-energy technologies. Systems must have at least a five-year, all-inclusive warranty. Eligible systems should be sized to produce no more than 100% of the historical or expected (if new construction) amount of electricity consumed at a system’s site. It is important to note that system capacity limits and rebate amounts (including those for system additions) are calculated on a “per site” basis. In other words, for program purposes multiple systems on the same parcel or located on adjacent or contiguous properties under common ownership are aggregated together as a single system.  
 
In addition, effective January 28, 2008, all agricultural, commercial, industrial, non-profit and SUNLIT customers must apply for a receive a Tax Clearance Certificate from the New Jersey Division of Taxation in order to be eligible for financial assistance under this program. The objective of this new requirement is to ensure that all recipients of taxpayer funded support are in full compliance with their state tax obligations. This mandate does not affect residential customers.  
 
PV Systems  
PV systems (also known as solar-electric systems) are eligible for incentives based on the rated DC capacity of the system installed and the applicable sector. Under the 2009 program residential systems up to 10 kW and non-residential systems up to 50 kW are are eligible for incentives. In the past rebates have been reduced by 15% for owner-installed systems, although this distinction does not appear on the 2009 applications. Residential customers that participate in the OCE Home Performance with Energy Star or the Residential New Home Construction programs are eligible for slightly higher incentives.  
 
Beginning in 2009, incentive levels will be decreased as certain installed capacity benchmarks (6 MW per block) are reached. The standard incentive decline is expected to be $0.20/W at the end of each capacity block, although this may be adjusted based on how rapidly the capacity benchmarks are reached. In order to avoid the creation of lengthy application queues, the program will operate using 4-month funding cycles. Applicants that do not make it into a funding cycle must reapply once the next cycle opens. Below are the initial rebate levels for new 2009 applications:

  • Standard Residential (10 kW maximum): $1.55 per watt  
  • Residential w/energy audit (10 kW maximum): $1.75 per watt  
  • Non-residential (50 kW maximum): $1.00 per watt  
  • NJ-Sourced Bonus: $0.25 per watt for projects that use systems or components manufactured or assembled in New Jersey

Sustainable Biomass and Fuel Cell Systems  
These systems are currently eligible for incentive levels beginning at $5 per watt (up to 60% of a system’s cost) for systems up to 10 kW in capacity. Larger systems receive incrementally lower rebate amounts, with a 30% maximum. (Single-family rebate applications are limited to the first 10 kW of project capacity.) The rebate schedule is as follows:

  • $3.00 per watt for the first 10 kW for systems greater than 10 kW  
  • $2.00 per watt for the next 90 kW of system size  
  • $1.50 per watt for the next 400 kW of system size  
  • $0.15 per watt for system capacity in excess of 500 kW, up to 1 MW  
  • NJ-Sourced Bonus: $0.25 per watt for projects that use systems or components manufactured or assembled in New Jersey

Wind Energy Systems  
Effective beginning with the 2008 calendar year, wind energy systems will receive rebates based on expected performance rather than nameplate capacity. The Expected Performance Based Buydown (EPBB) rebate will be calculated according to the estimated first-year annual energy output, which itself is based on the estimated 50 meter wind speed at the site, the proposed tower height, and the performance curve of the proposed turbine. The per kilowatt-hour ($ per kWh) value of the rebate is determined by the estimated output as follows:

  • $3.20 per annual kWh for the first 16,000 kWh of estimated energy production.  
  • $0.50 per annual kWh for estimated energy production between 16,000 kWh and 750,000 kWh.
  • NJ-Sourced Bonus: $0.25 per watt for projects that use systems or components manufactured or assembled in New Jersey

The incentive is capped at 120% of the of the estimated system specific performance at a reference speed of 11.4 mph. A performance calculator tool and a list of eligible wind energy systems will be available shortly on the program website.  
 
The New Jersey Clean Energy Program web site provides all application materials, complete funding schedule and information about current incentive levels. Click here for the latest statistics on the number and types of projects supported through this incentive program.


 
Contact:

  Public Information – Renewable Energy Program
New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
Office of Clean Energy
c/o Conservation Services Group
75 Lincoln Highway
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: (866) 657-6278
Web site: http://www.njcleanenergy.com/renewable-energy/home/home
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 By Peter Whoriskey

In Record Numbers, Employers Move to Block Unemployment Payouts

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 12, 2009; Page A01

 

It’s hard enough to lose a job. But for a growing proportion of U.S. workers, the troubles really set in when they apply for unemployment benefits.

This Story

More than a quarter of people applying for such claims have their rights to the benefit challenged as employers increasingly act to block payouts to former workers.

The proportion of claims disputed by former employers and state agencies has reached record levels in recent years, according to the Labor Department numbers tallied by the Urban Institute.

Under state and federal laws, employees who are fired for misbehavior or quit voluntarily are ineligible for unemployment compensation. When jobless claims are blocked, employers save money because their unemployment insurance rates are based on the amount of the benefits their workers collect.

As unemployment rolls swell in the recession, many workers seem surprised to find their benefits challenged, their former bosses providing testimony against them. On one recent morning in what amounts to one of Maryland’s unemployment courts, employees and employers squared off at conference tables to rehash reports of bad customer service, anger management and absenteeism.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Kenneth M. Brown, who lost his job as a hotel electrician in October.

He began collecting benefits of $380 a week but then discovered that his former employer, the owners of the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, were appealing to block his unemployment benefits. The hotel alleged that he had been fired for being deceptive with a supervisor.

“A big corporation like that. . . . It was hard enough to be terminated,” he said. “But for them to try to take away the unemployment benefits — I just thought that was heartless.”

 

After a Post reporter turned up at the hearing, the hotel’s representative withdrew the appeal and declined to comment. A hotel spokesperson later said the company does not comment on legal matters. Brown will continue to collect benefits, which he, his wife and three young children rely on to make monthly mortgage payments on their Upper Marlboro home.

Unemployment compensation programs are administered by the states and funded by payroll taxes that employers pay. In 2007, employers put up about $31.5 billion in such taxes, and those taxes typically rise during and after recessions, as states seek to replenish the funds.

With each successful claim raising a company’s costs, many firms resist letting employees collect the benefit if they consider it undeserved.

“In some of these cases, employers feel like there’s some matter of principle involved,” said Coleman Walsh, chief administrative law judge in Virginia, who has handled many such disputes. But, he said, “nowadays it appears their motivation has more to do with the impact on their unemployment insurance tax rate. Employers by and large are more aware of unemployment as a cost of business.”

The cost of unemployment insurance has created an industry of “third-party agents” — companies that specialize in helping employers deal with the unemployment insurance administration. These firms represent employers in disputes with former employees over jobless benefits.

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One of the largest is …., a St. Louis company active in the Washington area, which claims more than 8,000 clients.

The company’s Web site says that it removes “over $6 billion in unemployment claims liability annually.”

Joyce Dear, chief operations officer for tax management services at …., said firms such as hers help bring to light the issues surrounding an employee’s departure.

“You are limited to what is permissible,” she said. “What an employer can do is provide the facts around a separation. The awarding of the benefits is in the hands of the state.”

Wayne Vroman, a researcher at the Urban Institute, has documented the rise of challenges to unemployment claims using the Labor Department data. He found that the proportion of claims challenged on the basis of misconduct has more than doubled, to 16 percent, since the late 1980s. Claims disputed on the grounds that the worker simply quit represent about 10 percent of the otherwise eligible applications.

Even as more employers have alleged employee misconduct, their success rate has stayed relatively stable — they lose on such issues about two-thirds of the time.

“What is clear is that employers have become more willing to contest claims from claimants,” Vroman said of the data.

Hearing officers and others in the industry said it isn’t clear why the number of challenges to unemployment claims has grown. The labor force has changed over the years, with less of it devoted to manufacturing and more of it from the service sector.

Some suggested the rise in disputed benefits stems from the fact that it is easier today for employers to track claims and try to block those they consider unwarranted.

“Automation has contributed to the ease with which protests from the employer can be filed,” said Doug Holmes, president of UWC Strategy, a group that claims large and small employers among its members and represents their interests in unemployment matters.

Others speculated that changes in the law have made it easier for employers to block unemployment claims.

Rick McHugh, a staff attorney for the National Employment Law Project who began handling such cases in the 1970s, said court rulings have slowly enlarged the definition of employee misconduct, making it easier for employers to say they rightfully fired a worker.

“The courts are just not showing as much sympathy for employees who get fired,” he said. “There’s a higher standard of behavior that is expected of employees.”

For example, back in 1941, the Wisconsin Supreme Court considered the case of a cab driver who’d had three accidents in two weeks and also shorted the company on a 40 cent fare, turning in only 25 cents.

The court ruled that the driver was entitled to unemployment benefits because unintentionally careless or shoddy work did not constitute misconduct. It’s unlikely, McHugh said, that the case would be determined the same way today.

In many states, hearings are held daily on unemployment claims. The outcome most often turns on whether the former employee was guilty of misconduct.

With employees and employers as adversaries, it’s often difficult to determine the facts of a case, and just as difficult at times to separate misconduct from incompetence, which is not a reason to withhold the benefits.

During a day of hearings this week in Wheaton, human resources personnel sat across tables from former employees, and the discussion often turned to written warnings, company handbooks and who-told-what-to-whom.

A former assistant manager at Ri Ra, an Irish Bar in Bethesda, fended off complaints that, among other things, he’d failed to greet guests at the door and one time poured a beer for himself after hours.

A Verizon technician was charged with, in company terms, “detour and frolic.”

And a former salesman at Ethan Allen complained that there was no way he could have made his $35,000 sales quota — and that’s why he quit.

“It’s almost like a daily soap opera — but it’s real life,” veteran hearing examiner Scott Karp said. “In this economic climate, the threshold for what employers consider minimum acceptable behavior has changed. They decide they’re not going to put up with it anymore, so they start documenting the employee’s behavior and often enough, the issue winds up here.”

Our Perspective:

Unemployment claims are a much overlooked business expense.

Did you know that Unemployment Tax is the 2nd largest Employer mandated tax?

Basically, the Unemployment Fund can be seen as being a checking account with the state.

The state determines what your rate is.

The rate determines how much money you put into this account to pay claims.

Then the state notifies you how much they have taken out of the account to pay claims.

How do you know these rates are correct?

How do you know your reserves are correct?

How do you know if you are paying the proper amount for each claim?

Many business never ask this question!

This is one of the only employer taxes that you can control!

You could be overpaying unemployment taxes into the fund.

You may be overpaying claims!

You may be paying for claims that are not your responsibility!

We have worked with clients to review their rates and have provided a long term solution to manage their claims. As a result, we have reduced their rates and reduced the contribution they have to annually pay into the unemployment fund.

Would you like to know more, email george@hbsadvantage.com or you may call

856-857-1230.

We have clients who have operations thruout the United States.

We are a boutique firm with success with many high profile clients.

Visit us on the web to learn more

www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

Written by Jeff Schweitzer As reported in Huffington Post Green

A sad fact of modern life is that our ability to plan for long-term energy independence is stymied by fluctuating oil prices. At $150 per barrel and $4.00 per gallon, gas-guzzling SUVs were being dropped faster than quarters at a slot convention in Las Vegas. Panic selling of large cars was fueled by punditry calling for permanently high fuel prices, with some talking heads ruminating about $200 per barrel. Politicians were falling over each other to demand a switch to renewable energies. We wondered with pious regret why the country had not invested more heavily in solar and wind power.

How quickly we forget. At $40 per barrel, we have developed an intense case of amnesia and have quickly mortgaged our future for more immediate gratification. We learned exactly nothing from the oil crisis of the 1970s or from any subsequent spike in oil prices. With every peak we express regret at our shortsightedness and promise to reform, never to drink again, and then with every valley we forget our commitment to a better future, and pick up the bottle once more.

We are behaving like alcoholics oscillating between bouts of sobriety and weakness because that is precisely what we are: oil addicts. Exhibit A is the precipitous decline in hybrid values, which are down almost 24% from the peak last summer simply because fuel is now cheaper. That rational market response is a rather pathetic reflection of our collective obsession with the short-term at the expense of a healthy future.

We need an intervention. We need to change our ways. We need help. Like all addicts, we will not get sober alone. Market forces alone will not come to our rescue. Ronald Reagan famously said that government is the problem, not the solution. He could not have been more wrong.

The immediate demands of the market cannot properly anticipate our longer-term future needs. The current price of oil, for example, does not incorporate the value of energy independence, and with that the commensurate benefits to national security. The cost of gasoline fails to include the future costs of climate change. Refineries do not consider the costs of protecting sources of oil in the Middle East in their price structure. The temporal gap between market forces and societal goals cannot be bridged by appealing to the magic of free enterprise. Government must play a catalytic role.

The time has come for society to pay the true environmental and national security price tag of burning fossil fuels. Even during these times of economic crises, gasoline must be taxed so that the actual costs to society are recovered and properly reflected in the price of fuel. The revenue generated from such a carbon tax must then be used to fund renewable energy infrastructure development and research.

Reliance on foreign oil from the world’s most unstable regions is one of our greatest national security threats. Dumping six billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year is one of our greatest environmental threats. We can solve both problems with an aggressive move to renewable energies. To do so, we must not fall prey to the bad habits of our addiction every time a bottle of our poison comes down in price.

We have a moral obligation to bequeath to our children a world that is at least as good as the one we inherited from our parents. We will not meet that obligation if we cannot see past the next fiscal quarter. Our government policies and personal actions must look toward a more distant horizon. We have to move beyond our ridiculous propensity to abandon our quest for energy independence with every dip in the price of oil. We can do better than this.

Our Perspective:

Alternative Energy is the new Buzzword. We are poised to enter a new energy era. Are we willing to take that step? We can’t afford not to!

Let us know your thoughts? You may leave a comment or email george@hbsadvantage.com

By Philip Elliott  from AP

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s aides say the administration will work with Congress on his budget proposal, but energy independence is not subject to wheeling and dealing.

Obama planned to make the case Monday for a budget proposal that invests billions in research designed to reduce climate change and guarantees loans for companies that develop clean energy technologies. Obama has tied his first budget proposal as president to a renewable energy program to help the United States move toward energy independence.

In a fact sheet released Monday, the White House said Obama’s meeting with “clean energy entrepreneurs and leaders of the research community” will outline an energy program that draws on the administration’s $787 billion stimulus package for $39 billion at the Department of Energy and $20 billion in tax incentives for clean energy.

It also disclosed that his 10-year budget proposal contains spending of nearly $75 billion to make permanent existing tax cuts for energy research and experimentation.

“The president is prepared to negotiate on this budget with folks like those at this table … and the president’s been very clear about this, as has our budget director: We don’t expect these folks to sign on the dotted line,” said Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden’s economics adviser.

“What we do expect and what we are going to stand very firm on _ because this president, this vice president have made this clear _ that there are these priorities that brought them to the dance here: energy reform, health care reform, education, all done in the context of a budget that cuts the deficit in half over our first term.”

Obama and his aides plan an aggressive push to deliver a $3.6 trillion budget that contains many of his campaign promises. He plans to speak about the energy portion of his budget at the White House on Monday, highlighting research and development in clean energy. He also will highlight how part of the $787 billion economic stimulus package already is working to create much-needed jobs.

Obama plans to follow that with a prime-time news conference on Tuesday. The president is back in campaign mode as he stumps for a budget proposal that, so far, has faced opposition from members of both parties.

Democrats worry the plan inflates deficit spending; the Congressional Budget Office estimates Obama’s budget would generate $9.3 trillion in red ink over the next decade. Republicans say it would impose massive tax increases, including on polluters; Washington could raise billions from companies that use unclean fuels, what GOP leaders called a carbon tax.

Obama said the country must provide incentives for so-called green businesses.

“I realize there are those who say these plans are too ambitious to enact,” Obama said in his weekly video and Internet message. “To that I say that the challenges we face are too large to ignore. I didn’t come here to pass on our problems to the next president or the next generation. I came here to solve them.”

Bernstein spoke Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Written by Paul Krugman  NY Times

The Geithner plan has now been leaked in detail. It’s exactly the plan that was widely analyzed — and found wanting — a couple of weeks ago. The zombie ideas have won.

The Obama administration is now completely wedded to the idea that there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the financial system — that what we’re facing is the equivalent of a run on an essentially sound bank. As Tim Duy put it, there are no bad assets, only misunderstood assets. And if we get investors to understand that toxic waste is really, truly worth much more than anyone is willing to pay for it, all our problems will be solved.

To this end the plan proposes to create funds in which private investors put in a small amount of their own money, and in return get large, non-recourse loans from the taxpayer, with which to buy bad — I mean misunderstood — assets. This is supposed to lead to fair prices because the funds will engage in competitive bidding.

But it’s immediately obvious, if you think about it, that these funds will have skewed incentives. In effect, Treasury will be creating — deliberately! — the functional equivalent of Texas S&Ls in the 1980s: financial operations with very little capital but lots of government-guaranteed liabilities. For the private investors, this is an open invitation to play heads I win, tails the taxpayers lose. So sure, these investors will be ready to pay high prices for toxic waste. After all, the stuff might be worth something; and if it isn’t, that’s someone else’s problem.

Or to put it another way, Treasury has decided that what we have is nothing but a confidence problem, which it proposes to cure by creating massive moral hazard.

This plan will produce big gains for banks that didn’t actually need any help; it will, however, do little to reassure the public about banks that are seriously undercapitalized. And I fear that when the plan fails, as it almost surely will, the administration will have shot its bolt: it won’t be able to come back to Congress for a plan that might actually work.

What an awful mess.

Let us know your thoughts? You may leave a comment.

As reported in Huffington Post Green

Austin, Texas, is getting closer to its self-imposed goal of using more renewable energy, and creating jobs in the bargain. The Texas-sized solar plant being planned would be the largest in the Unite States, according to Austin Energy.

The Council approved an agreement under which the City’s municipally-owned electric utility, Austin Energy, will purchase all of the electricity produced over a 25-year term by a 30 megawatt (MW) solar project to be built on city-owned property located about 20 miles from downtown Austin.
Gemini Solar Development Company, LLC, one of 15 companies competing for the massive project, will construct, own and manage the solar facility. The project of photovoltaic solar panels will span approximately 320 acres, producing energy each year sufficient to power about 5,000 homes. Austin Energy will pay about $10 million per year for the power.

The solar project represents a major step towards fulfilling a Council goal to develop 100 MW of solar capacity for Austin by 2020. The Council also has set a goal that 30 percent of the power delivered to customers by Austin Energy by 2020 will come from renewable resources. Construction on the project is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2010 and completed by the end of that year. The project will result in at least 600 local construction jobs.

 

The Austin American-Statesman said that critics remain — they’re worried about the financial
aspects of the plan, like how much the power will cost.

By unanimous vote, the council approved a partnership with Gemini Solar Development Co. to build and operate the facility and sell all its power to Austin at $10 million a year for 25 years. City officials say it would help them get closer to the city’s goal of using more renewable energy.
Other questions remain that critics said they would raise at the meeting. The city won’t say how much the power from the plant would cost, although most estimates are around 16.5 cents a kilowatt hour — more than most other types of power. Even that calculation is foggy, though, because federal tax credits could reduce the construction cost, thus making the electricity cheaper. But the city isn’t sure how much cheaper. The credits weren’t factored into Gemini Solar Development’s pitch.

 

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

 

OSLO (Reuters) – Investments of $750 billion could create a “Green New Deal” to revive the world economy and protect the environment, perhaps aided by a tax on oil, the head of the U.N. environment agency said on Thursday.

 

Achim Steiner said spending should focus on five environmental sectors including improved energy efficiency for buildings and solar or wind power to create jobs, curb poverty and fight climate change.

 

“The opportunity must not be lost,” Steiner, head of the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP), told Reuters of a UNEP study that will be put to world leaders meeting in London on April 2 to work out how to spur the ailing economy.

 

The UNEP report said investments of one percent of global gross domestic product, or about $750 billion, could bankroll a “Global Green New Deal” inspired by the “New Deal” of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt that helped end the depression of the 1930s.

 

Investments should be split between more energy efficient buildings, renewable energies, better transport, improved agriculture and measures to safeguard nature — such as fresh water, forests or coral reefs, it said.

 

Thursday’s study adds details of spending after UNEP called for a Green New Deal late last year.

 

Steiner also said that the world urgently needed funds to jump start a U.N. deal to fight global warming, due to be agreed in Copenhagen in December to succeed the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012.

 

He floated the possibility of taxing oil in rich nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to help a new pact become the cornerstone of a greener economy.

 

“If, for argument’s sake, you were to put a five-year levy in OECD countries of $5 a barrel, you would generate $100 billion per annum. It translates into roughly 3 cents per liter,” he said.

 

UNNOTICED

 

“It would be almost, if not totally, unnoticed by the consumer,” he said, especially since oil prices have fallen from more than $140 a barrel at mid-2008 peaks to about $40.

 

A barrel of oil contains 158 liters and OECD consumption is about 20 billion barrels a year, he said. “This is just one example, there may be many others,” of funding, he said.

 

“I am concerned about the prospect of a meaningful deal in Copenhagen if there is not a significant financial package on the table,” he said. Cash would encourage poor nations to step up actions to curb rising greenhouse gas emissions.

 

“The argument that we cannot afford this does not, on any serious analysis, hold much water — especially given the cost to the global economy of failure to act on climate change,” he said.

 

Carbon markets, which could also be a source of funds to help fight climate change, were unlikely to contribute enough cash in early years of a new climate deal, he said.

 

Steiner said there were promising signs that economic stimulus packages by many nations, ranging from the United States to China, were being tailored to help a shift toward greener growth and away from dependence on fossil fuels.

 

The U.N. Climate Panel says that greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels are a prime cause of warming that will cause more heatwaves, droughts, rising sea levels and more powerful storms.

Written by Robert Redford

In his State of the Union address, President Obama noted that although America invented solar energy technology, we have fallen behind countries like Germany and Japan in producing it. He is right of course.

I remember when America was leading the pack on clean energy in the 1970s. We abdicated that leadership thanks to the influence of a fossil fuel industry with deep pockets and friends in the White House. But Obama reminded us of an important aspect of the American character: ingenuity. We are a nation of innovators, and we can harness that resourcefulness again to build a better future.

I saw that ingenuity emerge three decades ago, when the promise of renewable energy became clear to many of us. We were so eager to spread the word about solar power that we created “Sun Day,” the solar equivalent of Earth Day. We had events from Maine to Chicago to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir even agreed to participate in one event.

People were just starting to get excited about pollution-free power, but then Ronald Reagan became president and took the solar panels off the White House and the policies promoting renewable energy were stripped from the books.

In 1975 I produced a short film called “The Solar Film.” The people interviewed say they like how solar power cuts down on their bills, doesn’t have to be imported, and makes them worry less about terrorists. All of those benefits remain extremely relevant today, but we have lost three decades in the effort to extend them to more Americans.

I was too early in my efforts to promote solar power, but now is the time. We are getting a second chance–another American trait. If we don’t seize this moment, we will be too late to get the competitive advantage in a global marketplace, too late for the economic dividends, and too late to stave off the worst of global warming.

The Obama administration wants to see America double our supply of renewable energy in the next three years. Many lawmakers want to pass a national renewable portfolio standard, which would require a certain percentage of our country’s electricity generation to come from clean sources like solar and wind. Congress will likely vote this year on a bill to limit global warming pollution that will dramatically expand the market for clean power. These are the kind of bold, visionary actions we need right now. I urge you to call on your representatives to support them.

In this time of economic crisis and uncertainty, I am reminded of being a child during World War II. I have no nostalgia for the turmoil and suffering of those days, but I do recall the communal effort, the sense that we all rallied around to support the greater good. Today we are trying to achieve the greater good of shared prosperity, and I believe it will be built on a clean and affordable energy economy. With enough resourcefulness, I know we can do it this time around..

Last DSIRE Review: 02/02/2009  

Incentive Type: State Rebate Program
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Anaerobic Digestion, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Tribal Government, Fed. Government, Institutional
Incentive Amount: $0.15 – $5/W DC (varies by technology, capacity and applicant type); bonus rebate of $0.25/W is available for New Jersey sourced systems and equipment.
Maximum Incentive: Determined by capacity and rebate amounts for PV;
60% of eligible costs for sustainable biomass and fuel cell systems up to 10 kW;
30% for sustainable biomass and fuel cell systems greater than 10 kW;
For wind energy systems, 120% of estimated system performance at a reference wind speed of 11.4 mph
Eligible System Size: Residential PV: 10 kW DC maximum
Non-residential PV: 50 kW DC maximum
Fuel Cells and Sustainable Biomass: 1 MW AC maximum
Wind: 750,000 kWh annual energy production maximum
Output should not exceed 100% of the historical or expected (if new construction) consumption.
Equipment Requirements: Systems must be new, UL-listed (PV), in compliance with all applicable performance and safety standards, and must carry a minimum 5-year warranty on all equipment.
Installation Requirements: Installation must comply with all federal, state and local codes; must meet detailed siting criteria specified in program guidelines
Program Budget: $47,297,167 (new 2009 funding for all technologies)
Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits: Remains with project owner
Funding Source: New Jersey Societal Benefits Charge
Expiration Date 2009 Program Opening Date: 02/03/2009
Closing Date, First Cycle: 04/30/2009 (funding cycles only apply to PV)
Project Review/Certification OCE has a right to inspect all systems prior to issuing rebate
Website: http://www.njcleanenergy.com/
renewable-energy/programs/renewable-energy-incentive-program
Authority 1: N.J. Stat. § 48:3-60 (2008)
Date Enacted: 1999
Effective Date: March 2001 (for rebate program)

 


Summary:

  Note: The incentive amounts listed below are available for 2009 program year applications. Systems that are not eligible to receive rebates remain eligible to generate Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) and may be eligible for specialized programs based in the SREC market.  
 
New Jersey’s 1999 electric restructuring legislation provides for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy through a “Societal Benefits Charge” (SBC) collected from all customers of electric public utilities. In March 2001, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) approved funding for renewable-energy programs, including a customer-sited renewables rebate program for homes, businesses, institutions and non-profits.  
 
Eligible technologies include fuel cells, photovoltaic (PV) systems, small wind-energy systems and/or sustainable biomass-energy technologies. Systems must have at least a five-year, all-inclusive warranty. Eligible systems should be sized to produce no more than 100% of the historical or expected (if new construction) amount of electricity consumed at a system’s site. It is important to note that system capacity limits and rebate amounts (including those for system additions) are calculated on a “per site” basis. In other words, for program purposes multiple systems on the same parcel or located on adjacent or contiguous properties under common ownership are aggregated together as a single system.  
 
In addition, effective January 28, 2008, all agricultural, commercial, industrial, non-profit and SUNLIT customers must apply for a receive a Tax Clearance Certificate from the New Jersey Division of Taxation in order to be eligible for financial assistance under this program. The objective of this new requirement is to ensure that all recipients of taxpayer funded support are in full compliance with their state tax obligations. This mandate does not affect residential customers.  
 
PV Systems  
PV systems (also known as solar-electric systems) are eligible for incentives based on the rated DC capacity of the system installed and the applicable sector. Under the 2009 program residential systems up to 10 kW and non-residential systems up to 50 kW are are eligible for incentives. In the past rebates have been reduced by 15% for owner-installed systems, although this distinction does not appear on the 2009 applications. Residential customers that participate in the OCE Home Performance with Energy Star or the Residential New Home Construction programs are eligible for slightly higher incentives.  
 
Beginning in 2009, incentive levels will be decreased as certain installed capacity benchmarks (6 MW per block) are reached. The standard incentive decline is expected to be $0.20/W at the end of each capacity block, although this may be adjusted based on how rapidly the capacity benchmarks are reached. In order to avoid the creation of lengthy application queues, the program will operate using 4-month funding cycles. Applicants that do not make it into a funding cycle must reapply once the next cycle opens. Below are the initial rebate levels for new 2009 applications:

  • Standard Residential (10 kW maximum): $1.55 per watt  
  • Residential w/energy audit (10 kW maximum): $1.75 per watt  
  • Non-residential (50 kW maximum): $1.00 per watt  
  • NJ-Sourced Bonus: $0.25 per watt for projects that use systems or components manufactured or assembled in New Jersey

Sustainable Biomass and Fuel Cell Systems  
These systems are currently eligible for incentive levels beginning at $5 per watt (up to 60% of a system’s cost) for systems up to 10 kW in capacity. Larger systems receive incrementally lower rebate amounts, with a 30% maximum. (Single-family rebate applications are limited to the first 10 kW of project capacity.) The rebate schedule is as follows:

  • $3.00 per watt for the first 10 kW for systems greater than 10 kW  
  • $2.00 per watt for the next 90 kW of system size  
  • $1.50 per watt for the next 400 kW of system size  
  • $0.15 per watt for system capacity in excess of 500 kW, up to 1 MW  
  • NJ-Sourced Bonus: $0.25 per watt for projects that use systems or components manufactured or assembled in New Jersey

Wind Energy Systems  
Effective beginning with the 2008 calendar year, wind energy systems will receive rebates based on expected performance rather than nameplate capacity. The Expected Performance Based Buydown (EPBB) rebate will be calculated according to the estimated first-year annual energy output, which itself is based on the estimated 50 meter wind speed at the site, the proposed tower height, and the performance curve of the proposed turbine. The per kilowatt-hour ($ per kWh) value of the rebate is determined by the estimated output as follows:

  • $3.20 per annual kWh for the first 16,000 kWh of estimated energy production.  
  • $0.50 per annual kWh for estimated energy production between 16,000 kWh and 750,000 kWh.
  • NJ-Sourced Bonus: $0.25 per watt for projects that use systems or components manufactured or assembled in New Jersey

The incentive is capped at 120% of the of the estimated system specific performance at a reference speed of 11.4 mph. A performance calculator tool and a list of eligible wind energy systems will be available shortly on the program website.  
 
The New Jersey Clean Energy Program web site provides all application materials, complete funding schedule and information about current incentive levels. Click here for the latest statistics on the number and types of projects supported through this incentive program.


 
Contact:

  Public Information – Renewable Energy Program
New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
Office of Clean Energy
c/o Conservation Services Group
75 Lincoln Highway
Iselin, NJ 08830
Phone: (866) 657-6278
Web site: http://www.njcleanenergy.com/renewable-energy/home/home

Should you want to know more about how to incorporate Federal and State incentives into a viable alternative energy solution for your organization or business; contact Hutchinson Business Solutions.  You may email george@hbsadvantage.com

Written by Sharon Begley

Political will and a price on CO2 won’t be enough to bring about low-carbon energy sources.

By all means, swap out your regular light bulbs for compact fluorescents, take the bus, weatherize your home and install solar panels on your roof. Oh, heck, go crazy: tell your senators to give the nuclear industry everything it wants so it starts building reactors again. But while you’re doing all that to reduce the world’s energy use and cut emissions of greenhouse gases, keep this in mind: even if we scale up existing technologies to mind-bending levels, such as finishing one nuclear plant every other day for the next 40 years, we’ll still fall short of how much low-carbon energy will be needed to keep atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide below what scientists now recognize as the point of no return.

As the world gets closer to a consensus that we need to slash CO2 emissions, a debate is raging over whether we can achieve the required cuts by scaling up existing technologies or whether we need “transformational” scientific breakthroughs. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which assesses the causes, magnitude and impacts of global warming, said in 2007 that “currently available” technologies and those on the cusp of commercialization can bring enough zero-carbon energy online to avoid catastrophic climate change. And I regularly get reports from renewable-energy and environmental groups arguing that off-the-shelf technologies, fully deployed, can get us there. In the opposite corner is the Department of Energy, which in December concluded that we need breakthroughs in physics and chemistry that are “beyond our present reach” to, for instance, triple the efficiency of solar panels; DOE secretary Steven Chu has said we need Nobel caliber breakthroughs.

That is also the view of energy chemist Nate Lewis of the California Institute of Technology. “It’s not true that all the technologies are available and we just need the political will to deploy them,” he says. “My concern, and that of most scientists working on energy, is that we are not anywhere close to where we need to be. We are too focused on cutting emissions 20 percent by 2020—but you can always shave 20 percent off” through, say, efficiency and conservation. By focusing on easy, near-term cuts, we may miss the boat on what’s needed by 2050, when CO2 emissions will have to be 80 percent below today’s to keep atmospheric levels no higher than 450 parts per million. (We’re now at 386 ppm, compared with 280 before the Industrial Revolution.) That’s 80 percent less emissions from much greater use of energy.

Lewis’s numbers show the enormous challenge we face. The world used 14 trillion watts (14 terawatts) of power in 2006. Assuming minimal population growth (to 9 billion people), slow economic growth (1.6 percent a year, practically recession level) and—this is key—unprecedented energy efficiency (improvements of 500 percent relative to current U.S. levels, worldwide), it will use 28 terawatts in 2050. (In a business-as-usual scenario, we would need 45 terawatts.) Simple physics shows that in order to keep CO2 to 450 ppm, 26.5 of those terawatts must be zero-carbon. That’s a lot of solar, wind, hydro, biofuels and nuclear, especially since renewables kicked in a measly 0.2 terawatts in 2006 and nuclear provided 0.9 terawatts. Are you a fan of nuclear? To get 10 terawatts, less than half of what we’ll need in 2050, Lewis calculates, we’d have to build 10,000 reactors, or one every other day starting now. Do you like wind? If you use every single breeze that blows on land, you’ll get 10 or 15 terawatts. Since it’s impossible to capture all the wind, a more realistic number is 3 terawatts, or 1 million state-of-the art turbines, and even that requires storing the energy—something we don’t know how to do—for when the wind doesn’t blow. Solar? To get 10 terawatts by 2050, Lewis calculates, we’d need to cover 1 million roofs with panels every day from now until then. “It would take an army,” he says. Obama promised green jobs, but still.

Hence the need for Nobel-caliber discoveries. Lewis’s research is on artificial photosynthesis, in which a material (to be determined, thus the research) absorbs sunlight and water and produces hydrogen for fuel but zero CO2. “If we could figure out how to make and deploy such a system, the capacity would be essentially infinite,” he says. Another need is for transmission lines that don’t leak 80 percent of what they carry, says physicist David Pines of the University of California, Davis. “The technology is not remotely there,” he says. “We’re going to have to discover yet another family of superconductors [which do not lose current] that are easily made into wires” and that work at the temperature of liquid nitrogen, a coolant.

Prospects stink for discovering what we need to discover, especially when you consider that to get the right energy mix in 2050, given how long it takes to capitalize and deploy new technologies, we need breakthroughs soon, not in 2049. Yet despite the pressing need, DOE spent a pitiful $2 billion to $3 billion on nondefense, basic energy R&D last year, less than one fifth what we spent in the 1970s and 1980s. A new report from the Brookings Institution calls for $20 billion to $30 billion a year and—to improve the odds of success—revamping the nation’s energy labs, which today are “too far removed from the marketplace to produce the kind of transformational research we need for new energy technologies,” says Brookings’s Mark Muro. The clock is ticking.

Our Perspective:

For too long we have rested on our laurels. We have continued to improve on products which have a finite life. These improvements have brought better efficiency and lowered emissions but they were based on fossil fuels.

Today more than ever the buzzword is alternative energy. These products are still in their infancy but they do represent a true alternative. More dollars should be targeted to enhancing their capabilities and increasing their efficiencies.

The answer to our energy crisis will not be found with any one solution. Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Fuel Cells and perhaps something soon to be introduced will all play a pertinent part.

Americans have always risen to the challenge. Should we be able to accept this challenge we can lead the energy evolution and provide real change. We must realize that we are all one and there is a delicate balance in the universe that must be maintained. Over the last 200 years we have effected this balance with the thought of progress. Responsible progress is needed.

We must now accept this responsibility!

Interested in learning more about incorporating alternative energy solutions for your organization or business? We specialize in setting up financial structures that incorporate the Federal and State incentives available which provide a ROI that finally makes sense.

Let us know your thoughts? You may leave a comment or email george@hbsadvantage.com

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