NREL Renewable Energy Study

NREL studyThe National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has just released a seminal study detailing the extent to which renewable energy supply can meet the electricity demands of the continental United States over the next several decades.

The Renewable Electricity Futures Study “explores the implications and challenges of very high renewable electricity generation levels” by 2050, focusing on 80 percent of all U.S. electricity generation from renewable technologies.

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Energy Retrofit Legislation Introduced to Create Jobs and Help Homeowners Reduce Energy Costs

Washington, DC — On March 21, Efficiency First joined Congressman McKinley and Congressman Welch, the US Chamber of Commerce, and other industry leaders to announce the Home Owner Managing Energy Savings (HOMES) Act – bipartisan legislation to provide incentives for homeowners who perform energy retrofits.

Efficiency First Executive Director Jay Murdoch said: “More than any single interest group, it is the contractor and home energy auditor members of Efficiency First who are invited into homes every day – helping to solve real comfort and energy efficiency problems for homeowners.  Because of this close interaction with the homeowner, this is the group that best understands the needs of homeowners and equally important, what motivates them to make the choice to improve their home.  By offering incentives tied back to demonstrated savings, the HOMES Act will be a catalyst and will cause consumers to take action and hire a qualified contractor to make the desired home improvements.”

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Solar 15% Returns Lure Investments From Google to Buffett

A new article in Bloomberg Businessweek is reporting on the shift major investors are making that favors solar energy. According to the article:

U.S. solar developers are luring cash at record rates from investors ranging from Warren Buffett to Google Inc. (GOOG) and KKR & Co. by offering returns on projects four times those available for Treasury securities.

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) together with the biggest Internet search company, the private equity company and insurers MetLife Inc. (MET) and John Hancock Life Insurance Co. poured more than $500 million into renewable energy in the last year. That’s the most ever for companies outside the club of banks and specialist lenders that traditionally back solar energy, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data.

Once so risky that only government backing could draw private capital, solar projects now are making returns of about 15 percent, according to Stanford University’s center for energy policy and finance. That has attracted a wider community of investors eager to cash in on earnings stronger than those for infrastructure projects from toll roads to pipelines.

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