Archive for December, 2010

Washington State’s Cash for Appliances officially closes

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Washington State’s Cash for Appliance program has officially closed. The State published this notice: “Due to the overwhelming response to the program, we were unable to provide rebates for all of the applications we received. Applications received after November 15th will not be processed and will not be returned. Final rebate checks will be issued during the week of December 27th. Cash for Appliances Washington delivered more than $5.6 million in rebates to Washington residents and over 40,000 customers participated in the program. The program was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and administered by the Washington State Department of Commerce.”

Congress Extends Some Energy Efficiency Credits Through 2011

Monday, December 20th, 2010

The left is not fully satisfied. Neither is the right. However, the recently enacted “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010” (Tax Relief Act) provides significant relief to the energy industry and alleviates the pressure of trying to seal the deal on many projects before the end of the year.

Of particular note, the grant in lieu of tax credit provisions related to the investment tax credit has been extended for one additional year. Now, qualifying property, including wind turbines and solar panels must be placed into service by the end of 2011 or satisfy the applicable requirements that construction began by the end of 2011. The stress of properly structuring a deal to qualify for the grant by the end of this year is now relieved. Have a great holiday!

The grant was not the only energy related provision extended. For individuals looking to make energy efficient improvements on their homes, the tax credit is extended for one additional year. However, the 30% tax credit (limited to $1,500) that existed for 2009 and 2010 is reduced to 10% (limited to $500) in 2011. In addition, the credit is limited to certain amounts based on the type of energy efficient improvement made.

Prior to 2010, contractors were eligible for maximum tax credit of $2,000 per home for construction of a new energy efficient home. This credit has now been extended retroactively for 2010 and renewed for 2011.

In addition, the Tax Relief Act extends the income and excise tax credit and refund provisions for bio-diesel and renewable diesel fuel. This extension is retroactive and applies for 2010 and 2011.

For those of you wondering if purchasing charging equipment for alternative fuel vehicles will get you a tax credit, the answer is yes. However, the credit for 2011 is reduced to 30%, limited to $30,000 for depreciable property (businesses) and $1,000 for non-depreciable property (individuals).

That is a quick run-down on some of the energy related provisions contained within the Tax Relief Act. The biggest impact will no doubt be extension of the grant provisions and extension of the bio-diesel related provisions, which will provide some certainty for the next year and should bolster further development.

Read more . . .

The Peak Project Demand Response Pilot Takes Off

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

OPALCO has launched a demand response pilot called The Peak Project. The Peak Project aims to install demand response units (DRUs) on electric water heaters and Home Area Network devices in homes with central electric heating systems. See The Peak Project page for more information.

The first round of outreach targeted the Spring Point to West Sound area and response has been very good. More than 70 members have called in for a brief interview with Program Coordinator Marian O’Brien. The interviews take just a few minutes and if a member has an electric water heater, an installation can be scheduled right away with a local electrical contractor. Members with the previous Load Management Receiver (LMR) devices are having those units replaced with the installation of the new DRU units. The installation times vary, but are averaging about 1-and-a-half hours.

The Home Area Network installations will begin in January and include two devices:  a new programmable Smart Thermostat and In Home Display. These installations will go into homes with forced air electric heating, or electric heat pumps.

There are still installation slots available for the week of December 13th for demand response units on electric water heaters. We are still looking for member to participate in the Home Area Network installations beginning in January. Call Marian at 376-3587 to schedule.

Check out a recent news story from the New York Times about this regional pilot.

Whale Museum Showcases LED Lighting: Open House 12/14

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

The public is invited to an open house on Tuesday, December 14th at The Whale Museum from 2-4 pm to showcase their LED Lighting Project. Co-hosted by OPALCO and The Whale Museum, hot cider and cookies will be served and energy efficient door prizes awarded. Guests will be invited to check out the new super-efficient LED lighting, compare it to older existing lighting and share their opinions. The Whale Museum is located at 62 First Street North in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

The Whale Museum is participating in a regional demonstration project to test LED lighting. Through the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), OPALCO provided The Whale Museum with about 30 LED bulbs (Cree PAR 38 12-watt lamps) which museum staff used to replace many incandescents in the museum store and exhibit hall. The projected energy savings amount to about 3,600 kWh each year – or about $250.

Read the full story . . .