Scott Sklar

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Burning the Future

In Burning the Future: Coal in America, writer/director David Novack examines the explosive forces that have set in motion a groundswell of conflict between the coal industry and residents of West Virginia.

Burning The Future: Coal in America
Watch the official trailer
Federal Research, Development Deployment

The federal government has research and development programs under the US Department of Energy, branding programs under USEPA, and procurement programs coordinated by USDOE and by USDOD.

Date Title
05/28/08 The President's FY 09 budget request for DOE's EE/RE programs
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  • Interconnection Standards Issues

    When Congress facilitated federal court decisions to deregulate the telecommunications industry, they passed a national interconnection standard for telephones - which meant whomever manufactured telephones would have the same voltage, same plugs and same minimal quality standards -- so that phones in any State and with any telephone company could work. As the US Congress has begun fostering a deregulated electric utility environment (passing EPACT in 2005) and many States have moved or are moving towards a less regulated electric utility industry - the same issue faces electric power generation at the customer side of the electric meter (in buildings or on facilities), and the substation or distribution lines, and even at the electric transmission grid.For on-building or on-site electric power generation such as solar photovoltaics, the goal has been to get the solar interconnection components to conform to UL 1741 and then for the system certification to be in compliance with IEEE 1547. Similar IEEE consensus standards between system vendors, component suppliers and the electric utility industry are developed for other distributed energy generation including combined heat and power, fuel cells, microhydropower, modular biomass and small wind systems that are essentially the same as the solar standard.

    Now 39 States have net metering laws based on these two standards and they are all slightly different - from actual component requirements, to whether it's State-wide or utility service territories, and with different size limitations from 2 - 10 - 100 kWs - 2 MWs!

  • Feed-In Tariffs

    Currently many European countries and two U.S. States set high electric rates for renewable energy connected to the electric grid spanning a ten year period. Some Members of Congress will be introducing bills to implement this incentive as a national tool to increase larger-scale renewable energy utility projects.

  • Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS)

    29 States require their electric utilities to meet a certain electric generation percentage from a mix (portfolio) of renewable energy. Texas led the nation and the Distric of Columbia was the most recent adopter. Attempts to have a national Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard has hard going on Capitol Hill. In the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPACT05), the RPS amendment couldn't pass either energy committee. In the 2007 energy bill (EISA07), an RPS passsed the US House of Representatives, but could not overcome opposition in the Senate. The electric utility lobby spent over $15 million to defeat the measure.

  • Tax Credits

    Currently clean energy receives Investment Tax Credits (ITC) for solar, energy efficiency and fuel cells, and a Production Tax Credit (PTC) for biomass power, geothermal and wind.

  • Renewable Energy Bonds (credits)

    Under EPACT05, the IRS was allowed to issue Conservation and Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBS), and since 2006 two offerings by the IRS were fully subscribed for projects for non-profit organization, local governments and Native American Tribes.

  • Programs


Americans and Energy Policy: The Myth of the Partisan Divide

Popular Mechanics Bulb Test

Consumer Articles: Home Efficiency

Programs and Tips

Energy Star is the national program that rates appliances and promotes energy savings activities. Experts at the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Department of Energy have also sorts of programs and tips. Here are three sites: