BREAKING: DC City Legislators Give Final Approval to 100% Clean Electricity Mandate By 2032


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WASHINGTON – In the wake of alarming federal and international climate reports, elected leaders of the District of Columbia — representing nearly 700,000 people in the nation’s capital city — today gave final approval to a bill to mandate 100 percent of the city’s electricity come from clean renewable power by the year 2032. This represents the strongest legislative mandate of its kind of any state in America.

The “Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act of 2018” also creates enormous incentives for electric cars, sets groundbreaking efficiency standards for existing buildings, and expands a pollution fee on electricity, natural gas and home-heating oil. It then invests that carbon revenue in a special “Green Bank” for clean energy loans and efficiency and solar programs for low and moderate income residents..

“After the Trump Adminstration’s shameful performance at the Poland climate talks, this bill in the nation’s capital is a real beacon of hope,” said Mike Tidwell, Director of the CCAN Action Fund, a sister group of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.  “This bill was two years in the making, and involved everyone from neighborhood moms to top business leaders to champions on the DC Council. We’re going to send clean energy to the White House and members of Congress whether they’re ready for it or not.”

CCAN Action Fund extends special thanks to Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) for her dogged leadership in working with advocates to write this bill and seeing it through the legislative process from start to finish. And thanks to Councilmember Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7) who as former mayor of the city set a guiding vision for action with his landmark Sustainable DC Plan. And thanks to leading supporters, including the DC Chapter of the Sierra Club, Citizens Climate Lobby, Interfaith Power & Light DC.MD.NoVa, Moms Clean Air Force, SEIU Local 32BJ, 350DC, DCEN, Coalition for a Resilient DC and many others.

“This bill should be a boost to advocates nationwide,” said Camila Thorndike, DC campaign director for CCAN Action Fund. “Finally some good news out of Washington. We did it. The people of DC ignored our delinquent federal leadership and made 100 percent renewable power a reality for our city over the next decade. If we can do it, states across America can do it too.”

The DC bill sets a very high bar for states across the country. California has set a goal of at least 60% clean electricity by 2030 and Maryland, next door, is poised to pass a 50%-by-2030 renewable electricity bill in early 2019. Both states are looking to get to 100% clean electricity soon after 2030 but have not finalized plans.

“We invite other states to set their goals very high for clean renewable power and then fight like hell,” said Thorndike. “That’s what we did in DC and what others thought was impossible is now going to happen. We are thrilled.”

The legislation also authorizes the District to put a fee on transportation fuels if Virginia or Maryland commit to the same. The bill will create efficiency standards for existing buildings, fund the new Green Bank, and boost local programs to assist low-income residents as the District transitions to more sustainable clean energy systems. It will also adjust the vehicle excise tax to incentivize clean cars and make owning dirty vehicles more expensive.

Here’s a summary of the bill’s main features

The Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018, or “Clean Energy DC Act,” is the result of more than
two years of advocacy and three months of working group meetings with environmental advocates, the
energy and utility sectors, and the business community.

If enacted, this bill would make DC a world leader on climate change. It would transition the
District to 100% clean electricity by 2032 — the strongest renewable energy bill in the country — while
investing in energy efficiency, creating groundbreaking building standards, and funding local programs to help
low-income residents and make the city a sustainable place to live.

The Clean Energy DC Act would accomplish the following:

1. Transition DC to 100% renewable energy by 2032
By increasing the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 100% by 2032, all District electricity would come from
renewable energy like wind and solar. It also ensures that all renewable electricity is sourced from states in our
regional electricity grid, known as the PJM. This would be the strongest clean energy law in the country!

2. Increase funding for local sustainability initiatives, creating jobs and helping low-income residents By
increasing the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund (SETF) fee on fossil fuels, DC will be able to provide funding for
local sustainability initiatives. This revenue would fund the Green Bank at $15 million per year in 2020 and 2021,
and $10 million per year for the next 4 years, investing in programs that help business switch to clean energy
and create good green jobs. One-fifth of all the funds raised would be directed to programs that benefit lowincome residents, including ratepayer assistance and energy efficiency, weatherization, and fuel-switching

3. Create groundbreaking building efficiency standards
Not only does this policy create the strongest building efficiency standards in the country, it provides resources
to achieve these new standards. These standards should significantly increase efficiency and renewable jobs in
DC, while reducing the money flowing out of DC for energy imports and making DC buildings more competitive.

4. Reduce Transportation Sector Emissions
Under this policy, Mayor Bowser could commit DC to future regional initiatives that would reduce
transportation emissions and impose a carbon fee on motor fuel. It also revises DC’s vehicle excise tax to
depend on fuel efficiency, incentivizing the purchase of more fuel-efficient cars in the District.
DC can lead the way to reign in carbon emissions and bring clean energy to everyone.
Behind the Bill

There are more than 100 DC organizations and businesses supporting this bill, as part of the “DC Climate
Coalition” (formerly known as the “Put A Price On It, DC” coalition). While this coalition initially formed around
a proposal for a carbon “fee-and-rebate” policy. While our carbon pricing proposal remains the best way of
cutting carbon emissions while supporting DC’s economy and residents, the Clean Energy DC Act also strongly
positions the District as a national climate leader. This bill reflects our campaign’s hard-won principles of
strong, economy-wide emission reductions with a focus on equity.

How policies can make or brake solar development in the Southeast

Third party financing can enable solar growth, but faces hurdles in several states. Some utilities are not compensating for solar’s value on the grid and leveling charges specific to solar owners.

Utilities in the sunny Southeast face challenging policy questions from the region’s spiking demand for solar.The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) expects the region’s cumulative 6 GW at the end of 2017 to reach 15 GW by 2021, driven largely by utility-scale solar.. But this growth confronts utilities with big questions about costs and benefits.

The Rates of Solar website, launched in October by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) shows that many Southeastern utilities have policies that limit distributed solar growth, and finds “two trends,” SELC Staff Attorney Lauren Bowen told Utility Dive. “One is that many utilities charge small solar owners extra fees and the other is that they do not compensate solar’s full value. Those things dramatically impact the solar value proposition.”

Southeastern states “are making great progress in large scale solar, but rooftop penetrations are still relatively low,” she added. “The focus of policy should be on encouraging the market because consumers want solar, but some utility policies put the brakes on market growth.” In Florida, Sunrun, one of the biggest national solar installers, won a major victory at the Public Service Commission (PSC) in April by getting a form of third party ownership of solar approved.

“Third-party ownership of solar has driven residential solar market growth across the country, but Florida did not allow it,” Sunrun Chief Policy Officer Anne Hoskins, a former Maryland utility commissioner, told Utility Dive. “After the PSC rejected our initial proposal for a no-upfront-cost leasing program, we used their feedback to develop a proposal that fits state statutes and satisfied the commission.” Sunrun expects third party ownership to drive new residential solar growth in Florida, while the SELC is keeping an eye on compensation and charges leveled by utilities on solar owners.

Third party ownership

Florida’s PSC unanimously bypassed the state’s prohibition against third-parties selling electricity and now allows consumers to lease residential arrays of up to 2 MW without upfront costs and maintenance costs, Hoskins said.

Customer interest in access to solar and solar plus storage systems for resilience has increased in the aftermath of 2017 and 2018 hurricanes and floods, she said. But many Southeastern utilities’ punitive fixed charges, low compensation rates and prohibition against leases work against solar development.

That is beginning to shift, and some form of third-party solar ownership is now also available in the Carolinas and Georgia.

“Utilities are asking regulators to approve billion dollar investments for grid modernization that customers will pay for,” Hoskins said. “We are suggesting they consider how new distributed energy resources can defer the need for that spending.”

Some regulators and utility leaders assume distributed resources impose costs, she said. “It is time for a technical assessment of their full value, including resilience.”

Solar is growing quickly in the Southeast.

Charges, compensation, and solar “makers” and “brakers”

Resilience concerns are beginning to boost the Southeast residential solar market, but economics remain the main driver, strongly influenced by policy, SELC’s Bowen said.

SELC defines “brakers” and “makers” as utilities which have policies that are either detrimental or supportive of distributed solar growth.

Two of SELC’s three solar “braker” utilities, require customers who own solar to pay “a solar-specific fixed charge” that keeps their bills high, compromising the solar value proposition, Bowen said.

Alabama Power‘s $25/month fee is “one of the highest solar-specific charges in the Southeast,” Bowen said. “Over a residential solar system’s life, a customer pays $9,000 extra, which eliminates at least half the bill savings that would drive rooftop solar growth.”

After SELC filed a lawsuit with Alabama regulators questioning the charge’s validity, Alabama Power increased the fee from $5,00/kW to $5.42/kW.

The charge is for Alabama Power’s costs to have infrastructure “at-the-ready” to back-up customers when their on-site generation is not producing, spokesperson Michael Sznajderman emailed Utility Dive. It prevents the “shifting” of those costs to other customers.

North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Energy has a $53/month charge to solar customers that is $29/month more than the charge to customers without solar, which “sends a strong signal to customers that they will not benefit financially from solar,” Bowen said.

Like Alabama Power, Blue Ridge justifies the charge as preventing a shift of costs to non-solar owners.

Utility fixed charges to residential customers are not justifiable, SACE Solar Program Director Bryan Jacob told Utility Dive, because “most businesses don’t get that kind of income certainty. … People don’t pay a fixed fee for using a grocery store or restaurant because those costs are embedded in the things they buy, and can be in utilities’ per-kW charge.”

The other kind of policy that affects the solar value proposition is compensation to solar owners for the generation their arrays send to the grid, which helps offset the cost of solar, Bowen said. Retail rate net energy metering, “is a positive driver for solar growth, but many utilities compensate far less than what the customer pays for grid electricity.”

Alabama Power compensates solar owners for electricity sent to the grid at $0.04/kW, but charges a $0.127/kWh retail rate. SELC found. One Blue Ridge Energy offering compensates at the wholesale rate and another offsets the retail rate but requires a higher solar-specific charge.

By contrast, SELC solar “makers,” like BARC Electric in Virginia and North Carolina’s Brunswick Electric, compensate solar owners at the retail rate and have no solar-specific fees, Bowen said.

Although “customer demand is important for developing solar supportive policies” state leadership is another important driver, according to Bowen.

In South Carolina, policymakers, utility leaders, and renewables advocates anticipating customer demand collaborated to pass Act 236 in 2014, which instituted a wide range of policies and programs to support solar growth, including third party ownership, retail rate net energy metering compensation and avoided solar-specific charges.

Now solar is growing so fast, policymakers are being forced to look closer at the Act’s limitations.

A tale of two utilities

SELC and SACE both rank utilities on solar growth by separate sets of criteria. The rankings find the same two large Southeastern utilities earned special recognition.

“Duke Energy was in our highest category and [The Tennessee Valley Authority] was in our lowest category,” for solar growth, SACE’s Jacob said.

Southeastern utilities vary in how much solar they’re building.

TVA has “no need for new energy and capacity, but [has] responded to customer demand with year-over-year growth in renewables,” TVA Director of Business Development and Renewables Tammie Bartlett told Utility Dive. She said the utility shares the goals of SACE and SELC and “[doesn’t] have an explanation” for its low ranking.

TVA’s installed solar capacity was 382 MW at the end of 2017. This year, to meet Facebook’s demand for renewables to power a planned facility, TVA signed contracts for 377 MW of new utility-scale solar. Duke Energy had 2,979 MW of installed capacity at the end of 2017 and expects to add an estimated 300 MW this year.

TVA was ranked low by both groups because it has built comparatively less utility-scale solar than other utilities in the region and because SACE’s “participation in four meetings with the TVA solar Stakeholder Advisory Group produced no progress,” Jacob said.

TVA also has not supported distributed solar growth by clarifying the legality of third-party ownership and its residential solar programs are “two bad alternatives” which seem designed to “stifle” growth, said Bowen.

One is a 20-year, buy-all, sell-all contract that prevents customers with on-site generation from offsetting the retail cost of electricity, Bowen said. And it is capped at 10 MW/year, which limits growth and creates “boom and bust” demand cycles with which local solar installers struggle.

The other offering allows use of on-site generation but compensates exported electricity at $0.024/kW, which is “a fraction” of the retail price and “one of the lowest solar credit prices in the region,” Bowen said.

The buy-all, sell-all program is “comparable” to a retail rate compensation program because “it provides a consistent compensation rate with a clear return on investment over time,” Bartlett clarified, adding TVA also offers a third option which allows customers to use on-site generation, and includes a community solar program.

Duke Energy was named a “sunriser” by SACE and a solar “maker” by SELC. Guided by state policy, which it took a role in shaping in the Carolinas and Florida, Duke offers retail rate compensation, imposes no solar-specific charges and works with third-party lease providers.

“It starts with recognizing customer demand,” Duke Energy spokesperson Randy Wheeless told Utility Dive. “We partnered with stakeholders, including environmental groups and solar installers, to work out policies that led to programs that offer what customers are asking for.”

Duke’s strategy is to identify programs that are “acceptable to regulators” and that work “for the utility, solar businesses, at the residential, commercial-industrial, and large scale levels,” Wheeless said.

All eyes on South Carolina

Because Duke remains active in shaping policy, it is “a utility to watch” in the 2019 debate over changes to Act 236 in South Carolina, Bowen said.

Jacob agreed. Skyrocketing distributed solar growth in South Carolina has led to a new stakeholder process, he said. There will be a reconsideration of the retail rate compensation, solar charges, legalization of third party ownership, rebates and program caps that made growth possible and “Duke may introduce new solar-specific fixed charges in 2019 rate cases.”

Sunrun is focused on growing solar in states where third-party ownership is now legal and is waiting to see whether South Carolina takes a step backward or a step toward the future, Hoskins said.

“If utilities continue to double down on central station generation and fixed charges, it will eventually be so uneconomic that customers will find ways to curtail their usage,” she said. “We should instead work together to integrate distributed resources to support the grid.”


Comments from People’s Counsel for the District of Columbia Sandra Mattavous-Frye on today’s Council action

Author: Kellie Armstead Didigu, Public Affairs Specialist: Email: Office:  202-626-5124   Released: December 18, 2018

“The Office of the People’s Counsel commends DC Council passage of the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act and strongly supports its goals. As Councilmembers have stated, there are many moving parts to the bill, some of which remain a concern. However, I am pleased that since the first vote, OPC’s concerns about the bottom line’s impact on consumers’ utility bills were heard. Going forward as the advocate for consumers, OPC will work to ensure that any transition to a cleaner energy future does not require that District ratepayers bear unfair financial burdens. OPC recognizes the urgency in acting now to address climate change for future generations but at the same time keeping utilities affordable must be at the forefront of all initiatives. The challenge is how to balance these competing objectives. OPC is prepared to work with the Council and stakeholders to meet that challenge.

“OPC also is pleased that the Council has passed the DC Water Consumer Protection Amendment Actwhich grants OPC the authority to represent District residents in DC Water matters. OPCappreciates the Council’s confidence in the Office’s ability to expand its mission to now advocate, educate and protect DC Water consumers.”  

Willie L. Phillips Confirmed as Chair of the DC PSC

Author: Kellie Armstead Didigu, Public Affairs Specialist: Email: Office:  202-626-5124   Released: December 18, 2018

(Washington, D.C.) Today, Willie L. Phillips was confirmed as the new Chair of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia effective December 18, 2018 for a term ending June 30, 2022.  Commissioner Phillips was nominated by Mayor Muriel A. Bowser and confirmed by the DC Council.  Commissioner Phillips was first appointed as a Commissioner in 2014.

“Having served as a regulatory attorney and Commissioner, it is a great honor to be confirmed today as Chair.  I look forward to working with my fellow Commissioners and our excellent Staff, as we tackle the pressing issues before the Commission, including infrastructure improvement, grid modernization, and consumer education,” stated Commissioner Phillips.

Commissioner Phillips is an experienced regulatory attorney combining over a decade of legal expertise in private practice and as in-house counsel. Commissioner Phillips has an extensive background in the areas of public utility regulation, bulk power system reliability, and corporate governance.

Prior to coming to the Commission, Commissioner Phillips served as Assistant General Counsel for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), a not-for-profit international regulatory authority, in Washington, D.C. Before joining NERC, Phillips was an attorney at Van Ness Feldman LLP in Washington, D.C., where he advised clients on regulatory compliance and policy matters and assisted on litigation and administrative proceedings on the Federal and State level. He has also worked as an aide on Capitol Hill.

Commissioner Phillips is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), where he serves on the Committee on Electricity, and he is Second Vice President of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (MACRUC). He also serves on the Advisory Council to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Harvard Electricity Policy Group, Keystone Policy Center Energy Board, Energy Bar Association, Dentons Smart Cities & Communities Think Tank, and American Association of Blacks in Energy. And he serves on the Board of Directors of the Organization of PJM States, Inc. (OPSI) and the Living Classrooms Foundation of the National Capital Region.

Commissioner Phillips has a Juris Doctor degree from Howard University School of Law and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Montevallo. He is also a member of the District of Columbia Bar and Alabama State Bar Association.


The Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia is an independent agency established by Congress in 1913 to regulate electric, natural gas, and telecommunications companies in the District of Columbia.




Kellie Armstead Didigu

Media Relations Specialist

Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia

1325 G Street N.W., Suite 800

Washington, D.C. 20005
202-626-5124 Office | 202-626-9210 fax |

Interview with Tracey Woods Vice President of Operation On AABE Upcoming Events

Publisher: American Association of Blacks in Energy  Date: c. 18, 2018

Savings up to $450!
Capitol Hill Day
Inaugural American Association of Blacks in Energy (Association) Capitol Hill Day, February 26, 2019, in Washington, DC.
Join us for the Inaugural American Association of Blacks in Energy (Association) Capitol Hill Day, February 26, 2019, in Washington, DC.
Since its founding the Association has been the leader in informing and educating policy makers on energy issues, including impacts on diverse communities. As industry leaders and company executives the Inaugural Capitol Hill will provide an opportunity to meet with your legislative Representatives, Senators, and Congressional staff to discuss significant policy issues.
There are a number of important policy issues that affect our energy future. Join us at the AABE Capitol Hill Day as we offer perspectives on energy’s impact for our work, our lives and our communities. To register click here.
Energy Policy Summit
The American Association of Blacks in Energy Policy Summit, February 27 – 28, 2019 in Washington, DC.
The Energy Summit convenes key stakeholders to give voice to people of color on energy policy issues. The summit provides valuable dialogue with policy leaders about economic opportunities and the impact on underserved populations. To register click here.
AABE National Conference
The American Association of Blacks in Energy for our 42nd National Conference in Indianapolis, IN on April 30 – May 3, 2019.
This year’s theme “Energizing the Future for Customers and Communities” will bring together energy industry experts, visionaries and corporate executives to lead discussions around emerging policies, technology advancements, innovative solutions and partnering opportunities designed to create a sustainable future. Register today click here.
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Federal Farm Bill Clears More than $160 Million in Funding for Land Grant HBCUs

Publisher: HBCUDigest Published: Dec. 12,2018

President Donald Trump is expected to sign a $867 billion agricultural appropriations and regulation legislative package that will grant more than $100 million to historically black land grant institutions nationwide.

Elected officials in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed the farm bill with overwhelming bipartisan support, clearing the way for the nation’s 19 HBCUs with agricultural training and research missions to receive historic funding for student scholarships, research and development and support for auxiliary campus enterprises.

The bill mandates federal reporting on states’ compliance with matching requirements for funding granted to HBCUs through land grant programs within the Department of Agriculture. In 2017, nine of the 19 land-grant black colleges were forced to file waivers to keep federal funding after states did not match the appropriations for academic and cooperative extension programming.

The Farm Bill also clears the following HBCU-exclusive funding over the next five years:

  • $95 million to land-grant HBCUs for student scholarships and grants
  • $50 million to support three HBCU Centers of Excellence in agricultural workforce development, nutrition and food security, economic development and emerging technologies.
  • $15 million for HBCU cooperative extension and research

The bill also legalizes hemp growth and manufacturing, clearing the way for existing programs at schools like Tennessee State University and Southern University to expand research and development programs for medicinal and textile production.

“As one of the nation’s oldest HBCUs and land grant institutions, we take seriously our mission to educate and to contribute to society at every level. The Farm Bill will be beneficial as we enhance our research and innovation contributions to our state, nation and beyond,” said Southern University System President Ray Belton.

It will also be the first version of a federal farm bill to fully include Central State University as a designated land-grant institution. It received its federal status in 2014, the same year that the last version of the Farm Bill was passed.

“Having the necessary funding through this amendment will be really beneficial not only to Central State but to the entire state of Ohio,” Central State President Cynthia Jackson-Hammond told the Dayton Daily News in June. 

Other officials throughout the HBCU community applauded the historic bill for significant investments in black colleges’ support of minority farming and agribusiness development.

“We are very pleased that many of the legislative priorities that the 1890 Council of Presidents identified early on are included in the proposed Farm Bill,” said Kent Smith, President of Langston University and Chair of the Council of 1890 Presidents. “Several members, including Rep. Alma Adams, Senator Sherrod Brown, Rep. David Scott, Chairman Conaway and Chairman Roberts; Ranking Members Stabenow and Peterson and their incredible staffs have been wonderful to work with throughout the process.  We look to the President signing the bill which will help our students and schools immensely.”

“The Farm Bill Conference Committee Report contains multiple wins for our 1890 institutions including the elimination of the Carry-Over Provision; increased transparency regarding the state-matching requirement; $50 million for three Centers of Excellence at three 1890 universities; and the authorization of $80 million in scholarship funds for HBCU students,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, Thurgood Marshall College Fund president and CEO. “As a former president of one of our 1890 universities, I have first-hand knowledge of the tremendous impact the new Farm Bill will have directly on our campuses and in the communities they serve while fulfilling the land-grant mission. We at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund would like to thank all of the HBCU community’s legislative advocates and Farm Bill Conferees for listening to our priorities throughout this process and including all of these critical measures in the report.”

“Kentucky State University serves an important role in agricultural research and extension across the state of Kentucky and beyond,” said KSU President M. Christopher Brown II. “Our aquaculture program ranks among the top five nationally, and our work with small and under-resourced farms across the state will be expanded under this new legislation.  The legalization of hemp for agricultural research and production aligns to our farm innovation and revitalization efforts with farmers in the Bluegrass and others struggling with the decimation of the tobacco crop.”

“Personally, I earned all three of my academic degrees at land-grant universities.  My professional career has prioritized employment within land-grant universities. And I have served as the president or institutional executive officer of three 1890 land-grant universities.  Without question, the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill signals the nation’s commitment to opportunities for education and training for citizens, equitable access to higher quality of life for communities, and economic development in metropolitan and rural areas throughout our country.”

Industrial Hemp Pilot Program in North Carolina

Publisher: North Carolina Department of Agriculture &  Customer Services : Published 12/12/18

hemp oil, flour and seeds

For centuries, industrial hemp (plant species Cannabis sativa) has been a source of fiber and oilseed used worldwide to produce a variety of industrial and consumer products. Currently, more than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity, which is sold on the world market. In the United States, however, production is strictly controlled under existing drug enforcement laws. Currently there is no large-scale commercial production in the United States and the U.S. market depends on imports.

The 113th Congress made significant changes to U.S. policies regarding industrial hemp during the omnibus farm bill debate. The Agricultural Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-79) provided that certain research institutions and state departments of agriculture may grow industrial hemp, as part of an agricultural pilot program, if allowed under state laws where the institution or state department of agriculture is located. The FY2015 appropriations (P.L. 113-235) further blocked federal law enforcement authorities from interfering with state agencies, growers, and agricultural research. (From “Hemp as an agricultural commodity,” Congressional Research Service)

Hemp production has been legalized in North Carolina, but only as part of the state’s pilot program as allowed under federal law. As such, it will still be awhile before the first fields are planted. The N.C. General Assembly passed Senate Bill 313 in 2015, allowing the Industrial Hemp Commission to develop the rules and licensing structure necessary to stay within federal laws. The law was modified in 2016 in House Bill 992. The Industrial Hemp Commission adopted temporary rules for review in February 2017. The Rules Review Commission of the Office of Admin

The final text of the 2018 Farm Bill was released yesterday, and industrial hemp legalization made the cut. It also de-schedules CBD oil and puts it in the realm of the FDA. (yay!) Votes to send the legislation to President Trump’s desk are expected this week. The bipartisan provision, championed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), will enable U.S. farmers to cultivate, process, and sell hemp. If the bill passes and President Trump signs it, hemp legalization will go into effect on January 1, according to VoteHemp. istrative Hearings voted to approve these rules Feb. 16.


10th Annual HBCU Foreign Policy Conference

Author:U.S._Department_of_Education” < : Published Fri, Dec 07, 2018

10th Annual HBCU Foreign Policy Conference

The Bureau of Public Affairs is excited to welcome students and faculty of Historically and Predominately Black Colleges and Universities to the U.S Department of State for the 10th Annual HBCU Foreign Policy Conference. The agenda will feature senior State Department officials, diplomatic simulation sessions, and career and scholarship info.

Friday, February 15, 2019 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM EST
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U.S Department of State
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10th Annual HBCU Foreign Policy Conference

The Bureau of Public Affairs is excited to welcome students and faculty of Historically and Predominately Black Colleges and Universities to the U.S Department of State for the 10th Annual HBCU Foreign Policy Conference. The agenda will feature senior State Department officials, diplomatic simulation sessions, and career and scholarship info.

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What will DC’s new clean energy bill actually do?

 Author: Andrew Zimdahl | Managing Partner :  honeydewadvisors.comEnergy EfficiencySolar Published: Dec. 3, 2018

What will DC’s new clean energy bill actually do?

 t. 518.209.4194 | Honeydew Energy Advisors LLC

On Tuesday, November 27th 2018, DC City Council voted unanimously to move forward the most ambitious bill to combat climate change in the nation. A second vote to bring the The Clean Energy Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018 into law will occur later in December, per the Council’s standard legislative process. The overall goal of the bill is to cut the District’s carbon emissions by half by 2032 and completely eliminate emissions by the midpoint of the century. Here’s a quick overview of the major provisions of the bill.

Increase funding to the Green Finance Authority, or Green Bank, through increased utility fees. This is estimated to cost households around $3.10 per month total. An average commercial ratepayer who uses 500,000 kWh of electricity and 50,000 therms of gas annually can expect to pay an additional $283 monthly, with fees on electricity declining slightly until they plateau after 2032.

Increase the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Last augmented in 2016, the RPS represents a goal for the percentage of electricity a jurisdiction consumes from renewable energy sources. If the District fails to hit this goal, energy suppliers will be penalized through the Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP) system. There is a specific quota for DC based solar energy within this goal, often referred to as the “solar carve-out”. The RPS is one of the fundamental drivers of demand for Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), which is the most important revenue stream for solar investments in DC. The chart directly below contrasts current and proposed RPS; below the same for solar carve outs:

Establish a building energy performance standard program. Building on the benchmarking requirements of the Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008, this program mandates building energy performance assessments, which will cycle every 5 years. These cycles will begin for all buildings over 50,000 square feet of floor space in 2021; 25,000 sqft in 2023; and 10,000 sqft in 2026. These assessments will show buildings how to reduce their energy consumption by 20% over 5 years. DOEE will establish exemption criteria for building owners that demonstrate financial distress, renovation, demolition, or sale. DOEE will also establish an ACP for buildings who fail to comply and avail $3mm to assist low income properties’ compliance.

This legislation also mandates that the Mayor establish a Transportation Electrification Program that will require all high occupancy and commercial fleet vehicles to be low or zero emission. Like other aspects of this bill, it will be implemented in phases. The goal is to have 50% of all such vehicles be “zero or low emission” by 2030; 75% by 2035, and 100% by 2045. The main tool for enforcing this program will come in the form of excise taxes on vehicle registrations through the DC Department of Motor Vehicles.

Finally, bowing to lobbying from Exelon, this bill permits PEPCO to recover costs and lost revenue from energy efficiency and demand response programs. FYI, a demand response program incentivizes high volume electric users to avoid using energy during peak usage times (like hot summer days). In other words, ratepayers will be using fewer kWhs and paying more for each kWh. Any fee will be subject to approval of the District Public Service Commission (PSC).

It’s important to underscore that most provisions of The Clean Energy Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018 will be rolled out as an iterative process between the Mayor’s office, Department of Energy and Environment, and other stakeholders. Specific benchmarks, penalties, fees, and such are yet to be explicated. This bill includes money to fund a study to determine more precise compliance and administrative costs to implement the legislative goals.

Feel free to reach out to Honeydew Energy Advisors if you have any questions about this bill.

DCSEU Seeking Solar Contractors and Developers for Solar for All

Author :DCSEU: Published Dec. 5, 2018

solar panels

The District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE)’s “Solar for All” program, which kicked off in 2016, is designed to decrease energy costs for thousands of low-income DC families. The DCSEU is implementing a new round of “Solar for All” initiatives in FY 2019 that will complement and build upon earlier “Solar for All” work in the District.

In support of this program, the DCSEU has released two Requests for Proposals (RFPs) seeking the following:

  • Developers to build community renewable energy facilities (CREFs).
  • Contractors to install solar systems on roughly 100 income-qualified DC single family households.

In total, the DCSEU’s “Solar for All” work is expected to benefit up to 6,800 income-qualified DC households over the next three years.


  • December 13, 2018: Informational webinar at 1:00 p.m. EST (details to follow)
  • December 17, 2018: All questions must be submitted via email to by 5:00 p.m. EST
  • December 21, 2018: Written responses to questions posted by 5:00 p.m. EST
  • January 9, 2019: All proposal responses must be submitted electronically to by 5:00 p.m. EST.

Solar for All

Solar for All aims to bring the benefits of solar energy to 100,000 low- and moderate-income households in the District of Columbia. DC’s Department of Energy and Environment implementing the program through several grantee organizations across the District, who are installing solar on single-family homes and developing community solar projects to benefit renters and residents in multifamily buildings. All Solar for All participants should expect to see a 50% savings on their electric bill over 15 years. To qualify, residents must meet the income guidelines below.

Eligibility: Household income is 80% of the area median income (AMI) or lower.

Persons in household









Income threshold $65,650 $75,000 $84,400 $93,750 $101,250 $108,750 $116,250 $123,750

Options for Single Family Homeowners

Two Solar for All grantees are currently installing Solar for All projects for single family homeowners. Solar United Neighbors of DC and GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic.
Solar United Neighbors of DC’s 51st State Solar Co-op brings DC residents together to make solar more affordable through bulk purchasing. Homeowners own the solar panels, receive credit for all electricity produced, and will receive additional income from revenue generated by their Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) starting five years after the installation. For income-qualified residents, Solar United Neighbors will pay for the full installation of panels. Learn more about the 51st State Solar Co-op.

How to apply: Contact Yesenia Rivera, DC Program Director at or by phone at (240) 523-3948.
Grid Alternatives Mid-Atlantic provides solar installations to income-qualified single-family homeowners through Solar Works DC, the District’s solar installation and job training program. In addition to preparing residents to enter careers in solar and related industries, Solar Works DC reduces energy costs for low- and moderate-income homeowners by installing solar systems on their homes. Homeowners will lease their solar systems at no cost to them and will receive at least 50% credit for all electricity produced by the panels. Learn more at Grid Alternatives Mid-Atlantic.

How to apply: Contact Jacqueline Treiger, Senior Outreach Coordinator by phone at (202) 517-8858 or by email

Community Solar
Community solar provides the benefits of solar to residents who can’t install systems on their home, including renters and homeowners whose rooftops are shaded or need repairs. A community solar project is not located on the home, but offsite, and the benefiting household (called a subscriber) receives a credit on their electric bill each month.

How can I participate in Solar for All’s community solar projects?

Several organizations are a part of DOEE’s Solar for All community solar initiative. Two programs are currently accepting applications. District residents interested in participating should reach out to those organizations directly using the contact information provided below.

Additionally, in late 2019, DOEE plans to open enrollment for a variety of new community solar projects currently in the pipeline.

Currently open for subscribers:

Groundswell is installing solar on houses of worship including at the DuPont Park Seventh Day Adventist Church in Ward 7. Up to 350 income-eligible households will receive energy credit subscriptions at no cost. Visit or contact for more information.

Neighborhood Solar Equity is installing solar on a local university and plans to provide benefits to income-eligible households in the District. For more information, visit Neighborhood Solar Equity or contact

To verify whether a solar developer/contractor is operating as part of DOEE’s official Solar for All program, please email or call 311.

For more information about Solar for All, contact Mike Matthews at (202) 536-7666 or

Contact TTY:

Author: Power Africa : Published December 3, 2018

“Five years ago, a prominent African working to bring electricity to the world criticized those who said solar lanterns provide electricity access. He said that
solar lanterns just “shine a light on poverty.” At that time, I tended to agree.
But after learning about and seeing the impact that solar lanterns have on people, and understanding how solar lanterns are displacing expensive, dirty, and dangerous kerosene, I changed my mind.”
— Andrew M. Herscowitz, Coordinator for Power Africa

EERE Success Story—X Marks the Spot: Solar Site Design Goes High Tech

Author: Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy: Published October 29, 2018

Success Story: Location, Location, Location

Smart Power Maps, a software tool developed by GeoCF with funding from SETO, helps solar developers determine the best place to install large-scale systems quickly and efficiently. The company invented a mapping platform that pairs a site’s characteristics with financial modeling tools that can help developers predict how much solar energy a system can generate at a particular site and how long it would take to pay back that system. Smart Power Maps has already been used to evaluate more than 250 gigawatts of solar projects, and GeoCF recently entered into an exclusive license agreement with Texas-based project developer 7X Energy. Read more.

the 2 megawatts CoServ Solar Station

A worker watches the sunrise at the 2 megawatts CoServ Solar Station in Krugerville, Texas. Photo by Ken Oltmann/CoSer

Utility-scale solar plants—ones that exceed 2 megawatts (MW)—can power thousands of homes and are being built faster than any other type of solar system in the country. However, finding an ideal location for these plants, which can occupy hundreds of acres of land, isn’t easy.

Just like a homebuilder may prioritize locations in a certain school district or so many feet away from a known flood zone, a utility-scale solar developer needs to find a site that can meet a complex set of energy production and grid-related demands. These factors can quickly complicate a project before construction even begins, causing developers to spend time and money on expensive studies.

Solar software company GeoCF is tackling these questions with technology that can reduce the complexity of finding a site, helping users save thousands of dollars.

With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) in 2015, GeoCF created a first-of-its-kind mapping and economic projection software tool that can simplify site selection. Called Smart Power MapsTM, the platform combines geospatial data, county-level data, and area-specific characteristics to evaluate site suitability and acquire necessary permissions for development.

The resulting platform is a map that includes thousands of data points ranging from a site’s topography to its property taxes and proximity to transmission lines. This data is used to model how much electricity a solar system could produce and assess local financial impact, improving the ability to find a site that yields the best return on investment. Smart Power MapsTM also reveals potential challenges in permitting, array design, and construction, thereby reducing the time it takes to connect to the grid and begin producing power. These features can make a solar project more attractive to investors, helping to lower interest rates and lead to even more savings over the lifetime of the solar system.

SETO helped GeoCF take its platform from an early-stage version, which offered a limited range of regions and features, to a comprehensive tool that includes the entire country. It added new map layers that contain information related to soil types, comprehensive floodplains, wells, pipelines, and provides developers access to additional detailed information. In addition, GeoCF worked with SETO to automate the calculation of grid-related constraints, greatly reducing site evaluation times.

Smart Power Maps has been used to evaluate more than 250 gigawatts of potential solar projects and its technology was so impactful, Austin, Texas-based utility-scale solar developer 7X Energy, Inc. secured an exclusive license with GeoCF to use its Smart Power Maps technology in June 2017. 7X Energy used Smart Power Maps to jointly develop one of the largest solar PV projects in Texas—the 315 MW Phoebe Solar Project. They use Smart Power Maps to support optimal project design, minimizing risks and leadings to a lower cost of solar electricity for its clients.

Learn more about the Solar Energy Technologies Office’s technology to market research.

Energy storage industry pushes for clarity on tax credit eligibility

Dive Brief:

  • A coalition of groups led by the Energy Storage Association (ESA) is calling on lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate to clarify that energy storage systems qualify for the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), an incentive they say could help clean energy companies obtain financing, compete internationally and grow.
  • Bipartisan legislation in both houses of Congress would “ensure a level playing field” for storage resources, according to ESA. The Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act (H.R. 4649 / S. 1868) would apply to utility-scale battery projects as well as smaller residential systems.
  • Already this year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a letterdetermining that new storage projects can access the credit when installed with new ITC-eligible technologies. In September, a pair of lawmakers asked for clarification on whether retrofitted storage systems can access the credit as well.
Dive Insight:

Clean energy technologies are looking to the lame duck Congressional session for support, with battery storage joining electric vehicles in lobbying lawmakers on the way out.

Clarifying that energy storage projects may utilize the ITC “would provide greater certainty to investors and businesses,” ESA and other groups said in a Nov. 26 letter to Congressional leaders. The two bills in Congress, they argue, “would allow a diversity of U.S. companies to better obtain financing, scale, create jobs, and become more competitive internationally in the fast-growing global storage market.”

ESA’s lobbying attempts are being joined by seven other groups, including the American Wind Energy Association, the Solar Energy Industries Association and Advanced Energy Economy.

Earlier this month, Tesla, GM, ChargePoint and other electric vehicle advocacy groups called for Congress to continue federal tax credits supporting emissions-free car sales. Proponents say there is support on both sides of the aisle, but they must also beat back legislation proposed by Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., that calls for eliminating the credit altogether.

For energy storage, ESA and other groups say a growing number of technologies want access to the ITC and therefore batteries need the assistance to ensure a level playing field. All storage technologies, including batteries, pumped hydro, compressed air and others, would be eligible for the ITC, “ensuring technology neutrality so companies can choose the optimal solution to meet their needs,” they said.

Nov. 25, 2018 The Black Blogger Remembers Lawrence Guyot (1939-2012)

Joe Smoke Provoked Perspectives: The Black Blogger Nov. 25, 2018
If a man’s worth is predicated not the value in a bank account but in the value placed in how that man’s life work was dedicated to uplift others, then Lawrence Guyot lived a life that amassed riches beyond measure. Today, The Black Blogger looks back 6 years to remember a black man who gave his all and then some more to see that our community gained full citizenship and human rights. Thanks, Ancestor Lawrence Guyot for your contributions. May you rest forever in eternal peace.
 WASHINGTON — Lawrence Guyot, a civil rights leader who survived jailhouse beatings in the Deep South in the 1960s and went on to encourage generations to get involved, has died. He was 73.
Guyot had a history of heart problems and suffered from diabetes, and died at home in Mount Rainier, Md., his daughter Julie Guyot-Diangone said late Saturday. She said he died sometime Thursday night; other media reported he passed away Friday.
A Mississippi native, Guyot (pronounced GHEE-ott) worked for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and served as director of the 1964 Freedom Summer Project, which brought thousands of young people to the state to register blacks to vote despite a history of violence and intimidation by authorities. He also chaired the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which sought to have blacks included among the state’s delegates to the 1964 Democratic National Convention. The bid was rejected, but another civil rights activist, Fannie Lou Hamer, addressed the convention during a nationally televised appearance.
Guyot was severely beaten several times, including at the notorious Mississippi State Penitentiary known as Parchman Farm. He continued to speak on voting rights until his death, including encouraging people to cast ballots for President Barack Obama.
“He was a civil rights field worker right up to the end,” Guyot-Diangone said.
Guyot participated in the 40th anniversary of the Freedom Summer Project to make sure a new generation could learn about the civil rights movement.
“There is nothing like having risked your life with people over something immensely important to you,” he told The Clarion-Ledger in 2004. “As Churchill said, there’s nothing more exhilarating than to have been shot at — and missed.”
His daughter said she recently saw him on a bus encouraging people to register to vote and asking about their political views. She said he was an early backer of gay marriage, noting that when he married a white woman, interracial marriage was illegal in some states. He met his wife Monica while they both worked for racial equality.
“He followed justice,” his daughter said. “He followed what was consistent with his values, not what was fashionable. He just pushed people along with him.”
Susan Glisson, executive director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi, called Guyot “a towering figure, a real warrior for freedom and justice.”
“He loved to mentor young people. That’s how I met him,” she said.
When she attended Ole Miss, students reached out to civil rights activists and Guyot responded.
“He was very opinionated,” she said. “But always — he always backed up his opinions with detailed facts. He always pushed you to think more deeply and to be more strategic. It could be long days of debate about the way forward. But once the path was set, there was nobody more committed to the path.”
Glisson said Guyot’s efforts helped lay the groundwork for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“Mississippi has more black elected officials than any other state in the country, and that’s a direct tribute to his work,” she said.
Guyot was born in Pass Christian, Miss., on July 17, 1939. He became active in civil rights while attending Tougaloo College in Mississippi, and graduated in 1963. Guyot received a law degree in 1971 from Rutgers University, and then moved to Washington, where he worked to elect fellow Mississippian and civil rights activist Marion Barry as mayor in 1978.
“When he came to Washington, he continued his revolutionary zeal,” Barry told The Washington Post on Friday. “He was always busy working for the people.”
Guyot worked for the District of Columbia government in various capacities and as a neighborhood advisory commissioner.
D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton told The Post in 2007 that she first met Guyot within days of his beating at a jail in Winona, Miss. “Because of Larry Guyot, I understood what it meant to live with terror and to walk straight into it,” she told the newspaper. On Friday, she called Guyot “an unsung hero” of the civil rights movement.
“Very few Mississippians were willing to risk their lives at that time,” she said. “But Guyot did.”
In recent months, his daughter said he was concerned about what he said were Republican efforts to limit access to the polls. As his health was failing, he voted early because he wanted to make sure his vote was counted, he told the AFRO newspaper.

D.C.’s largest solar array proposed for Northeast site owned by Catholic Charities

By   – Digital Producer, Washington Business Journal  Updated 
By   – Digital Producer, Washington Business Journal

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington has submitted plans for what will be one of, if not the, largest solar arrays in D.C., in an effort to cut its energy costs and fund improvements to its facilities.

The project, to be located on 14 acres surrounding the Gift of Peace House and convent at 2800 Otis St. NE in Woodridge, will involve the installation of 4,778 solar panels, with a total mounted height of 7 feet, according to filings with the D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment. The array is expected to generate 1.72 megawatts of energy.

For comparison, H.D. Woodson High School at 540 55th St. NE, which tops the District’s list of highest solar energy generators, produces 611 kilowatts of energy from its array. Solar arrays currently located atop about 50 D.C. government sites, from schools to recreation centers to warehouses, generate more than 11 megawatts.

Catholic Charities owns the Woodridge land and will lease it to a developer to build the array — and receive credit on its Pepco account for the energy generated. Design plans for the array were produced by Millersville, Maryland-based Solar Energy Services Inc.

A Catholic Charities spokeswoman declined to name the solar developer, how much the land will be leased for or how much the panels will cost. She did say the effort would save the charity an estimated $200,000 a year. Catholic Charities intends to use those funds toward maintenance and repairs to the Gift of Peace House, run by the Missionaries of Charity, which shelters 38 terminally ill men, women and children.

Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa of Calcutta, founded the Missionaries of Charity and opened the D.C. Gift of Peace House in 1986 largely to serve those dying from AIDS.

The array, which Catholic Charities hopes to launch next year, will be closed off by a 6-foot-tall fence.