DNREC Division of Energy & Climate announces changes to Energy Efficiency Investment Fund availability

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Energy & Climate has announced that the Energy Efficiency Investment Fund (EEIF) is no longer accepting new applications for the prescriptive portion of the funding program, and that custom applications will be considered on a modified basis. In addition, Energy Assessment Grant applications will no longer be accepted.

Established in 2011, the EEIF was created to help Delaware businesses make strategic investments in capital equipment and facility upgrades to help lower operating costs, reduce energy consumption and improve environmental performance. The fund was intended to be capitalized annually with the first $5 million in public utility tax receipts. The program was fully funded for its first two years of operation, and continued with reduced funding for two additional years. For fiscal year 2016, no new funding was appropriated, necessitating the suspension of select portions of the program.

All prescriptive and custom applications received prior to July 1, 2015 will continue to be reviewed and approved accordingly. However, prescriptive applications – including prescriptive lighting and lighting controls, vending misers, and natural gas heating and water heating equipment – that were received on or after July 1, 2015 will not be considered. Custom applications received on or after July 1, 2015 will be considered on a modified basis, as the custom portion of the program is still accepting modified custom applications for process and manufacturing improvements, compressed air systems, pumping systems and variable speed drives.

“The EEIF program has experienced a significant increase in the number of applications resulting from the prescriptive application process that was introduced with the re-launch of the program in July of 2014,” said Energy Program Administrator Robert Underwood, Division of Energy & Climate. “In the first three years of EEIF through Fiscal Year 2014, there were 56 applications awarded. By comparison, 322 applications were awarded in Fiscal Year 2015 alone.”

“We understand that these changes will affect our valued business partners and contractors in the short term, but we continue to work on innovative ways to reestablish funding for the program that will allow us to fully open EEIF in the future,” Underwood added.

For more information the EEIF, please visit the Energy Efficiency Investment Fund pages.

Media Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 51


Delaware to continue climate change fight, pushing ahead with Clean Power Plan objectives

Despite CPP setback from Supreme Court stay, DNREC to host listening session and public workshop March 1 on path forward

DOVER – The State of Delaware will continue preparing for implementation of the Clean Power Plan, undeterred by a Supreme Court stay of the EPA’s proposed rule issued Feb. 9. DNREC has scheduled a public workshop and listening session for March 1 in Dover to discuss the state’s strategy toward meeting the objectives of the Clean Power Plan, and to gather input from citizens on this essential part of the fight against climate change and its impacts on Delawareans.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions from power plants while encouraging clean and renewable energy across the country, was temporarily suspended on Tuesday in the face of legal opposition. Delaware Governor Jack Markell was “disappointed in the Supreme Court’s action, but optimistic that the Clean Power Plan will be upheld when the courts review the merits of the case” and followed by declaring that, “We remain determined to move forward in responding to the issue of climate change.”

“As a Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) state, Delaware has led the country in working to curtail greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector,” Gov. Markell said, “and we will continue to do so regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision to stay the Clean Power Plan rule. As a coastal state, we are acutely aware of the serious threats of climate change and sea level rise, and the Clean Power Plan represents a sensible and flexible approach for states to make the changes required to protect our economy and quality of life.”

Without the significant reduction of heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollutants, Delaware faces projected increased days of extreme temperatures, stronger storms, rising sea levels, and costly damage to agriculture, industry, and public health and resources.

“We understand that the legal issues of the Clean Power Plan need to work themselves out, but we must continue the strong actions we have taken through our participation in RGGI, the Delaware Climate Change Impact Assessment and Executive Order 41, which has directed agencies to identify steps we can take to further reduce emissions and adapt,” said DNREC Secretary David Small. “Along with many other states, we will continue to develop our plans to comply with the Clean Power Plan – and gathering feedback from stakeholders in the energy sector, conservation organizations and the public is an important part of that process. ”

Sec. Small noted that as of 2014, RGGI states including Delaware have seen carbon pollution from the power sector decrease by over 40 percent, and have benefitted from lower energy costs and positive job creation.

DNREC’s March 1 workshop and informal listening session will provide an opportunity for public input on methods for reducing carbon pollution from power plants, and how Delaware can achieve the goals of the Clean Power Plan in ways that are both environmentally and economically sustainable, while also maintaining the integrity of the state’s and region’s electrical infrastructure. The session will be held from 6 – 8 p.m. in the DNREC Auditorium, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901. More information can be found on the Division of Air Quality’s website.

For more information on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, visit http://www.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan.

For more information on climate change impacts and action in Delaware, visit http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/energy/Pages/The-Delaware-Climate-Impact-Assessment.aspx.

Media Contact: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 41


Delaware Division of Energy & Climate reminds applicants of Feb. 29 deadline for Alternative Fueling Infrastructure Grants

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Energy & Climate is accepting proposals for the Delaware Alternative Fueling Infrastructure Grant Program, through Feb. 29. Funding is available for projects that expand the availability of alternative fueling stations in Delaware, thereby encouraging Delawareans and state-based fleets to increase their use of alternative-fueled vehicles, including but not exclusive to electric, propane, natural gas and hydrogen-powered vehicles.

“Across Delaware, there has been growing enthusiasm for the use of alternative-fueled vehicles, which provide many economic, environmental and public health benefits for our state,” said Climate Section Administrator Susan Love, Division of Energy & Climate. “The Delaware Alternative Fueling Infrastructure Grant Program aims to support and spur the progress of alternative fueling projects in Delaware, so Delaware drivers and fleets can feel comfortable and confident in their choice to drive alternative-fueled vehicles.”

Delaware Alternative Fueling Infrastructure Grant Program
Grant funding will be awarded on a competitive basis. Any Delaware-based business, county, municipality, state agency, academic institution or non-governmental organization is invited to apply. Applications are due no later than 4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 29, 2016.

Approximately $1.4 million in grants (with the maximum for each award $500,000) is available to offset the costs of equipment associated with the installation of private or public alternative-fueling infrastructure, including but not limited to:

  • DC “fast” electric vehicle charging stations
  • Natural gas fueling stations
  • Propane fueling stations
  • Hydrogen fueling stations

The grant opportunity is part of the Delaware Clean Transportation Incentive Program, which encourages the use of alternative-fueled vehicles and provides a foundation for developing the infrastructure to support them. Through this program, Delawareans and Delaware businesses have the option to find a fuel and a vehicle that best meets their needs, while growing Delaware’s clean energy economy.

Additional Clean Transportation Incentive Programs
Complementing this grant program, rebates are still available under the Delaware Clean Transportation Incentive Program for purchasers of electric, plug-in hybrid electric, propane, and natural gas vehicles, electric vehicle charging stations and natural gas-powered heavy duty trucks.

Funding for the Delaware Clean Transportation Incentive Program and its Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Grant program is made possible by Delaware’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

For more information about the Alternative Fueling Infrastructure Grants, including the request for proposals and application form, please visit www.de.gov/cleantransportation or the Delaware Alternative Fueling Infrastructure Grants webpage.

For further questions, contact Kathy Harris at 302-735-3480, or email DNREC.Transportation@delaware.gov.

Media Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 7


Sea Level Rise Awareness Week Sept. 14 – 22 encourages citizens to take actions to reduce impacts of sea level rise and climate change

WILMINGTON (Sept. 12, 2013) – At the DuPont Environmental Education Center on the Wilmington Riverfront, Governor Jack Markell, DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara, EPA Region 3 Administrator Shawn M. Garvin, Delaware Nature Society Exec. Dir. Brian Winslow and Delaware Wild Lands  Exec. Dir. Kate Hackett joined with environmental organizations to announce the kick-off of Delaware’s first Sea Level Rise Awareness Week, Sept. 14 – 22. The week of activities, being sponsored by 14 Delaware environmental advocacy groups, was organized to raise awareness and encourage citizens to take actions to help reduce the potential impacts of sea level rise and climate change.

“Sea Level Rise Awareness Week encourages Delawareans to get involved in activities that will help reduce the potential impacts of sea level rise,” said Governor Markell. “I want to thank the environmental groups for sponsoring events that educate and encourage citizens to take common sense actions to protect our natural resources and the quality of life we enjoy in the first state.”

As a low-lying coastal state, Delaware is vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise. These effects will be experienced statewide and will impact Delaware’s communities, economy, natural resources and quality of life. The state is working to proactively address these potential impacts, most recently by developing recommendations for adapting to sea level rise, approved by the Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee.

“Sea Level Rise Awareness Week will increase awareness and understanding of the challenges facing Delaware, as the state with the lowest average elevation in the nation,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “Making Delaware more resilient to heavy rains, extreme storms, higher temperatures, and sea level rise through strategic investments and actions is critical to ensuring public safety, improving public health, growing the economy, and conserving our natural resources. I encourage all Delawareans to take advantage of the outstanding events and activities being offered and take simple actions in their daily lives that will reduce their carbon footprint and improve the state’s resiliency to sea level rise.”

The campaign to raise awareness about sea level rise – SOS Delaware – includes a new website with resources, information, and a downloadable brochure on the actions citizens can take to reduce the impacts of sea level rise. The website includes Sea Level Rise Awareness Week events and activities scheduled in all three counties – including volunteer tree plantings, field trips and educational presentations. In addition, a new sea level rise video by Wilmington filmmaker Michael Oates will be featured on WHYY-TV’s Delaware First program at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13. After the premier, the film will be screened during Sea Level Rise Awareness Week events and will be available online at www.sosdelaware.org.

“With its 381 miles of shoreline— including the diverse flora and fauna of the Delaware Bay Estuary—Delaware is particularly susceptible to increased coastal erosion and wetlands inundation from sea level rise,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “That’s why it’s so essential we take action now.”

“This is a great opportunity for the Delaware Nature Society to get to work together with other organizations on the common goal of raising public awareness about sea level rise,” said Brian Winslow, Executive Director of the Delaware Nature Society. “Through education, advocacy and conservation, the Delaware Nature Society works to improve Delaware’s environment.”

“Standing at the edge of Delaware Wild Lands’ Milford Neck property,” Kate Hackett, Executive Director of Delaware Wild Lands says, “I can readily see how sea level rise is impacting our saltmarsh, freshwater wetlands, and coastal forests. Given the pace of these changes, we at Delaware Wild Lands are working and reworking our restoration plans to increase resiliency of our natural resources and wildlife habitat.  And it is critical that we – as organizations, as individuals, as a community, and as a State – do the same. It’s easy to get started.  For ideas, visit SOSDelaware.org.”

The 14 collaborative sponsors of Sea Level Rise Awareness Week are: Delaware Nature Society; Delaware Center for Horticulture; Delaware Wild Lands; Delaware Center for the Inland Bays; Partnership for the Delaware Estuary; The Nature Conservancy – Delaware Chapter; Clean Air Council; Sierra Club – Delaware Chapter; Delaware Interfaith Power & Light; Delaware Greenways; GreenWatch Institute; League of Women Voters of Delaware; Delmarva Ornithological Society; and Delaware Audubon.

The Delaware legislature endorsed this statewide initiative, when in June the 147th General Assembly passed a House Concurrent Resolution (HRC-17) officially proclaiming September 14 – 22 as Sea Level Rise Awareness Week.

For more information visit, www.SOSDelaware.org.

Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902


Delaware Named a Top State for Solar Energy Ranked 7th in the Nation for Solar Power; 5th for Solar Installations in 2012

DOVER (July 23, 2013) – Delaware is among the states leading the nation in solar energy – ranked 7th per capita for cumulative solar installations and 5th per capita for solar installations in 2012 – according to the report, Lighting the Way: What We Can Learn from America’s Top 12 Solar States, released today by Environment America Research & Policy Center. The report attributed Delaware’s leadership, energy legislation, strong public policies and innovative financing options for the solar boom in the state.

“Encouraging solar power is the right thing to do for the environment and our economy,” said Governor Jack Markell. “We are aggressively working toward a clean energy future in Delaware, demonstrating we can have both a strong economy and a healthy environment. That means creating a robust market for solar and other clean energy systems, creating clean energy jobs, expanding our solar industry, and improving air quality by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.”

According to the report, America has more than three times as much solar capacity today as in 2010, and more than 10 times as much as in 2007. The price of solar energy is falling rapidly, and more and more Americans are reaping the benefits of solar’s clean, sustainable, locally-generated power.

Delaware’s growth in solar power has been tremendous. From Dec. 2008 through Dec. 2012, the state’s solar capacity grew from 2 Megawatts (MW) to 44 MW, with last year’s capacity increasing by 41 percent over the previous year.

To date, nearly 1,500 solar energy systems have been installed on government buildings, businesses, schools and homes in Delaware. Today, a total of 50 MW of solar capacity is currently connected to the grid.

“Working closely with the local solar industry, Delaware has emerged as a national leader in solar energy by adopting progressive policies and programs that have led to a 25 fold increase in new solar installations since 2008,” said Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Collin O’Mara. “Delaware’s commitment to solar energy is paying dividends in terms of cleaner energy, lower costs, and new jobs for Delawareans. The State’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards, Green Energy Fund, Solar Renewable Energy Credit auctions with the Sustainable Energy Utility, and state procurement policies have all helped support the deployment of nearly 1,500 systems, sharply reduce the cost of solar energy, and provide entrepreneurial opportunities for installers and manufacturers.  Environmentally, through these investments, we are improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions as an important part of our climate strategy.”

In the report, Delaware was cited with other leading solar states for cutting-edge energy legislation and policies that are among the most aggressive in the county. The Renewable Portfolio Standard (25 percent of the state’s electricity will come from renewable energy sources by 2025) and the solar carve out (3.5 percent from solar by 2025) are creating vigorous markets for solar energy. The state’s strong net metering and interconnection policies, which allow customers to sell excess solar power back to the grid, are among the most progressive in the country. Though Executive Order 18, state government is leading by example by procuring 1 percent of its electricity procurement from in-state solar energy, while bringing down the overall cost of power for state agencies.

Delaware has been innovative in the use of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) by utilities to meet their obligation to obtain a portion of their electricity from solar power.  Working closely with the State’s Renewable Energy Task Force and Delmarva Power and Light, Delaware’s Sustainable Energy Utility  has helped create a stable market for new solar power projects in Delaware by conducting auctions for long term SREC contracts on behalf of Delmarva Power.  Delmarva Power buys most of its SRECs through this long-term contracting mechanism, which make it easier to finance new projects of all sizes. As a result of competition and market efficiencies, installation costs and corresponding SREC prices have fallen sharply in the last two years, which means much lower compliance costs for ratepayers.

“This kind of recognition is proof positive of the efforts we’ve made to expand our use of renewable energy,” said Sen. Harris B. McDowell III, D-Wilmington North, whose efforts helped shape most of the state’s energy policy. “I’m pleased that Delaware’s Sustainable Energy Utility is an important part of this success in supporting and financing solar energy projects and stabilizing the energy market through our Solar Renewable Energy Credit program that’s kept solar power a growth industry in Delaware.”

 “Delaware’s solar success is the result of the cooperation between legislators, the administration, DNREC, the utilities, solar energy system owners and the solar industry,” said Dale Davis, president of the Delaware Solar Energy Coalition. “Forward looking legislation enacted several years ago established the Renewable Energy Taskforce, a vehicle for these stakeholders to design balanced programs and regulations that have sped the adoption of solar power, created skilled jobs, and controlled costs. This open dialog and the innovative financing model brought by the Sustainable Energy Utility, has created a stabilized market allowing owners to recoup their investments over time and made our clean energy jobs sustainable. In 2012, in addition to the utility’s own investments in large scale solar, Delaware’s cutting edge programs created $60 million in private investment on systems ranging in size from residential to 2 Megawatts. By 2020 solar power will have added $408 million in local spending to fuel Delaware’s economy.”

Environment America’s report recognized Delaware as offering financial incentives that are encouraging businesses and homeowners to “go solar.” Since 2002 Delaware’s Green Energy Program has funded almost $29 million in solar rebates for more than 1,400 systems for homeowners, small businesses, schools and non-profit agencies. Through the federal Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant program, fifteen of the state’s towns, including Newport, Bowers Beach, and Ellendale, installed solar power systems on their municipal buildings. These policies and programs are helping Delawareans take advantage of the 30 percent federal investment tax credit for solar PV installations on residential and commercial properties.

The Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation, a wholesale electric utility and its nine member municipalities, have collectively invested in Delaware’s largest PV facilities – the Milford Solar Farm generating more than 13 MW and the 10 MW Dover Sun Park. Wilmington, Dover, and Kent and New Castle County governments have installed solar power on their office and public works facilities. Currently under construction is a 230 kW solar array at a municipal building in Newark that should go online by October.

Delaware’s solar energy industry has created jobs. In addition to jobs in solar panel materials and manufacturing at DuPont, Motech and Solar Dock, Delaware employs about 440 full time workers in solar installation jobs, mostly with small, locally-owned solar installers.

For more information, visit the Delaware Division of Energy & Climate’s website, http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/energy/Pages/default.aspx.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Environment America is a federation of 29 state-based, citizen-funded, environmental advocacy organizations working toward a cleaner, greener, healthier future.