Utility commissioners question whether customers will benefit from the windfall now available to regulated utilities.

The Republican tax reform bill is now law, meaning that as of January 1 the corporate tax rate dropped significantly from 35 to 21 percent. Republican lawmakers suggested that windfall could go to bettering products, lowering prices, and generally boosting the economy. Critics argue the extra money will line the pockets of shareholders. 

The debate is now consuming Public Utility Commission (PUC) meetings across the country, as regulated utilities face the question of how to apportion potentially billions of dollars not available just last month.

“It’s a big pot of money that you can use for a customer refund. On the other hand, if you’ve

Watt It Takes: A History of Greentech Media With Scott Clavenna

We spend most of our time talking about other companies. For our first podcast of the year, we're turning the tables and reflecting on GTM.

In this edition of Watt It Takes, Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch interviews GTM Co-Founder Scott Clavenna about the origins of our company, the challenges of being a startup in the cleantech world, and our recent acquisition by Wood Mackenzie. 

Watt It Takes is a live interview series produced by Powerhouse in partnership with GTM. The conversation was recorded live in Oakland, California.

As we prepare for the onslaught of news in 2018, this interview will give you more insight

Low heating bills and modest operating costs make them a good fit for affordable housing

Reduced energy demands coupled with a national effort to reduce carbon emissions are making affordable housing projects built to the PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. standard more attractive in Canada.

Karen's Place, a 42-unit project in Ottawa, became the country's first Passivhaus apartment building when it was completed last year, according to an article posted by CBC News. A handful of additional projects are now in the planning stage.

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Why Gender Is Key to African Off-Grid Solar Energy Sales

Gender equality could have a significant impact on rural electrification moves in sub-Saharan Africa, new data suggests.

Fenix International, which sells off-grid solar kits in Uganda and Zambia, has uncovered a gender difference: Although only 20 percent of its kits are purchased by women, they bring in more new clients than men. 

In 2016, Fenix got about 60 percent of its sales through personal referrals, according to Erin Boehmer, a data scientist at Fenix. A third of these sales came via customers who had provided more than one referral, with eight out of 10 referrers being men. 

Digging deeper into the data, though, it

Behind-the-meter solar and energy storage systems are hitting the grid at a breakneck pace. But will they be efficiently managed and monetized?
With flexibility management software, they can.
“Utilities recognize that there will be a large increase in behind-the-meter storage and PV over time, and electric vehicles as well,” said Quique Schwarz, chief data scientist at AutoGrid, a software company that helps utilities aggregate, optimize, and control distributed energy resources in real time.
“But without a flexibility management platform that can extract value from aggregated portfolios of diverse DERs, the individual assets that are out there are going to be underutilized," said Schwarz.
Case in point:

The National Playbook for Creating an Energy Innovation Powerhouse

What are the most effective ways that national governments can foster energy innovation?

A team of researchers affiliated with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University recently published a paper in Nature with some answers.

The authors, led by Gabriel Chan, an assistant professor of science, technology and environmental policy at the University of Minnesota, first identify some positive trends.

In 2016, OECD member countries spent $16.6 billion on energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D), compared with $10 billion in 2000. And there is no shortage of national and global energy initiatives getting launched, such as

SunEdison is back, but with a

SunEdison, a company once poised to become the first renewable energy supermajor, emerged last week from Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a much smaller version of its former self.

The company’s reorganization plan, approved last July by the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, became effective on December 29. SunEdison now exists as a newly restructured, privately held firm.

Richard Katz will serve as chairman and CEO of the reorganized company. John Dubel, who led the restructuring, previously held the CEO title. Dubel was named chief executive when Ahmad Chatila stepped down in June 2016.

“SunEdison emerges

The U.K. could be come a world-leading storage market as batteries get paired with renewables.

Britain could have a 12-gigawatt battery market by 2021, according to a parliamentary policy group.

The paper was written by the U.K. Renewable Energy Association (REA) and an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Energy Storage, an interest group made up of members of the House of Lords and House of Commons.

Hitting that 12-gigawatt target will require major policy support, however.

The figure assumes a scenario in which all the policies contained in the U.K. government’s July 2017 smart systems and flexibility plan are rolled out on schedule and in parallel with other reforms, including tax incentives. 

In practice, a medium

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Qatar Green Leaders is a Green Building Certification Management & Training Company, dedicated to helping its clients achieve the most feasible LEED / GSAS certification.

We are a privately-owned Qatari company established in June 2011 and operating from Doha, Qatar.

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