Governor Carney Signs Three Environmental Bills

Legislation encourages adoption of solar power and electric vehicles, curbing balloon releases

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Friday joined members of the General Assembly and environmental advocates at a Wilmington-based solar array to sign three environmentally focused bills that will help expand the use of renewable energy, reduce carbon emissions, and protect Delaware’s fragile ecosystems from the harmful effects of plastic waste.

“It takes all of us working together to address the existential threat of climate change in our communities,” said Governor John Carney. “It is my pleasure to finish the great work of Senator Stephanie Hansen, members of the General Assembly and advocates across the state, and sign these important pieces of legislation to protect our state’s environment for future generations.”

 
All three bills signed Friday were sponsored by Senator Stephanie Hansen, who chairs the Senate Environment & Energy Committee.

“These measures – along with the updated Renewable Portfolio Standards signed by the governor in February – mark significant steps forward in Delaware’s energy policies and our stewardship of the natural environment,” said Senator Stephanie Hansen. “None of these bills would have been possible without input from dozens of environmentalists, community groups, businesses and advocates who were willing to put aside their differences to help forge policies that will lead to a healthier, cleaner and more sustainable Delaware.”

Governor Carney stands behind a podium at a bill signing ceremony event located at a solar array in Wilmington.Signed at the site of a 2-megawatt solar array near the confluence of the Brandywine Creek and Christina River owned by Soltage LLC, Senate Bill 2 is designed to accelerate the adoption of community-based photovoltaic systems in Delaware.

The legislation creates a legal framework that will allow residents to enjoy the cost savings and low-carbon footprint of solar power without needing to install photovoltaic panels on their own properties. Instead, neighbors and community groups can receive a credit on their electric bill by subscribing to a centrally located community solar project, which can now be developed under a variety of ownership, management, and contract models.

Delaware law has allowed for community-owned solar generation facilities since 2010, when the shared solar concept was still being tested throughout most of the country. Today, at least 40 states and the District of Columbia host at least one community solar project with most located in Maine, Minnesota, New York and Colorado.

Under a regulatory process implemented by the Public Service Commission with consumer protections provided by the Delaware Department of Justice, SB 2 requires all community solar projects in Delaware to serve a diverse customer base that includes low-income and middle-class households — an environmental justice component that will ensure solar energy is available to all Delawareans.

“The Public Service Commission looks forward to working with stakeholders on community solar certification requirements and important customer protections which will allow more Delawareans to participate in this exciting, fast growing market,” said Matt Hartigan, Director of the Public Service Commission.

“Senate Bill 2 addresses barriers to community solar development in our state,” said Drew Slater, Public Advocate. “This legislation was a collaborative approach with many stakeholders and through forums held by Senator Hansen. It is a testament to everyone’s hard work that this legislation received overwhelming support from the General Assembly and is enacted into law by Governor Carney this afternoon.”

“Soltage is excited to see Senate Bill 2 passed today, as we know first-hand the impact it will have on Delaware’s solar economy and community solar buyers,” said Soltage CEO and Co-Founder, Jesse Grossman. “This type of legislation is key for opening up clean energy markets, driving economic growth and job creation in the state, and ultimately, helping the country achieve the decarbonization needed to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis.”

Governor Carney on Friday also signed Senate Bill 21, an amendment to the Delaware Energy Act that encourages the adoption of electric vehicles by creating a more accessible charging-station infrastructure in the First State. The legislation specifically allows state agencies to charge employees and the public a fee for the use of charging stations on state property so long as those fees do not exceed the agency’s cost.

Finally, Governor Carney signed Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 24, legislation that makes it unlawful to intentionally release balloons filled with air or lighter-than-air gases. Releasing four balloons or fewer is considered littering and a first offense is punishable by a fine of at least $25. A mass release of five or more balloons carries a civil penalty of $250 and up to eight hours of community service on first offense.

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Community Leaders Unveil All-Electric Bus, Ag Pod and Solar + Battery Storage Technology at The Warehouse

Innovative Approach Provides Wilmington Teens with Educational Opportunities in Sustainability

Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) bus unveiled June 14 at The Warehouse in WilmingtonVehicle-to-Grid (V2G) bus unveiled June 14 at The Warehouse. An electric zero emissions bus that is the The Warehouse’s new cleaner transportation option for visitors of The WRK Group, including The Warehouse, REACH Riverside and Kingswood Community Center.

Community leaders gathered today at The Warehouse, a service partner of The WRK Group, to welcome three new clean energy technologies as part of the Energize The Warehouse initiative — a collaboration between Delmarva Power, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and many other community partners. The initiative is helping The Warehouse further its mission to revolutionize teen engagement by serving as a place for local teens to learn about clean energy, electric transportation, and sustainable farming and agriculture.

The initiative supports vocational and educational opportunities alongside each new technology, helping teens explore the energy industry and develop the skills needed to fill future energy jobs across Delaware and the broader region. Beyond the educational component of these technologies, they also offer solutions to some of the challenges facing the community, including improving access to food, transportation and reducing energy costs.

The Warehouse will host new three new technologies:

  • Agricultural (Ag) Pod – A sustainable indoor vertical growing environment for produce that allows communities to grow food year-round. This technology was supported by Delmarva Power, the DNREC Community Environmental Project Fund, the Electric Power Institute (EPRI) and Planting To Feed Inc.
  • Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Bus – Electric, zero emissions bus, providing a cleaner transportation option for visitors of The WRK Group, including The Warehouse, REACH Riverside and Kingswood Community Center. This technology was supported by Delmarva Power, Exelon, the DNREC Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund, and the University of Delaware.
  • Solar and Battery Storage System – Provides clean solar energy to The Warehouse and allows the organization to save money on energy costs. This technology was supported by Delmarva Power, the DNREC Green Energy Fund, and CMI Solar & Electric.

“This is transformational for the community,” said Logan S. Herring, Sr., CEO of The WRK Group. “We are feeding our neighbors with fresh and healthy produce from the Ag Pod. We are transporting our friends and family to The Warehouse and beyond with cleaner technology. We are creating a culture where a commitment to clean energy is normal and expected. We are so thankful to all of our partners for investing their time and energy into Riverside and making us an example in clean technology.”

“Combining clean, renewable energy sources with agriculture and food production, especially for high needs areas, is bringing together the best of what Delaware’s future should look like. It also helps us address climate change and protect our planet,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “I want to thank Delmarva Power, DNREC and The WRK Group for the innovation they have shown as partners to help educate the community, especially our youth, on the benefits of sustainability and future career possibilities. This partnership is the perfect example of how we will build a stronger, healthier Delaware.”

“The Teen Warehouse has, in a very short time, become a focal point for idea sharing, innovative thinking and a desire to learn,” said Mayor Mike Purzycki. “The fact that it all happens in an environment that is energized by teens is both meaningful and hopeful. I am honored to be part of the announcement for this clean energy initiative and express my thanks to Delmarva Power (the city’s LED lighting technology partner) and DNREC (Wilmington’s partner for countless environmental achievements) for helping to transform teen learning and new skill sets into solutions that can benefit our neighborhoods and our city as a whole.”

“It is inspiring to see so many partners come together in a unified front with the goal of supporting our youth’s educational needs and the needs of the communities where we live and work,” said Dave Velazquez, president and CEO of Pepco Holdings, which includes Delmarva Power. “Energize The Warehouse is bringing cutting-edge technologies to our community and delivering an incredible hands-on learning opportunity for our local students. I hope we can help build a foundation for their future interests in clean energy technology and help them develop into the energy leaders we need moving forward.”

“Together with businesses and community partners such as The Warehouse, Delaware is transitioning to cleaner transportation and renewable energy sources that will reduce our overall greenhouse gas emissions,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Additionally, not only will this project result in The Warehouse saving money on energy costs, but it will also provide opportunities for young adults and local colleges to work with solar technology and learn about its benefits.”

“We’re pleased to be working with The Warehouse on the addition of their new vehicle to grid bus,” said Willett Kempton, professor at the University of Delaware. “This technology provides The Warehouse flexibility in their energy usage from utilizing stored energy from the bus to supporting the regional power grid. I see this technology becoming increasingly important both locally and nationally, and I’m grateful that we get to partner with such an innovative organization as The Warehouse.”

“Indoor farming has great potential to provide local produce year-round using less energy and water – supporting decarbonization in the agriculture industry,” said Rob Chapman, senior vice president of Energy Delivery and Customer Solutions for EPRI. “EPRI’s indoor agriculture research bolsters sustainable communities while educating project collaborators, local stakeholders, and the next generation of farmers.”

“We are very excited to partner with the Teen Warehouse, Delmarva Power and EPRI on the Ag Pod,” said Jessica Wescott, founder and executive director of Planting to Feed. “We believe access to quality foods should be a right and not a determinant of your ZIP code. Emerging technologies like the Ag Pod will help to eliminate barriers to quality foods in a sustainable way.”

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

About Delmarva Power
Delmarva Power is a unit of Exelon Corporation (Nasdaq: EXC), the nation’s leading energy provider, with approximately 10 million customers. Delmarva Power provides safe and reliable energy service to approximately 532,000 electric customers in Delaware and Maryland and approximately 136,000 natural gas customers in northern Delaware.

About The Warehouse
The Warehouse is a service delivery partner of REACH Riverside Development Corporation and operates with a “For Teens, By Teens” culture that is youth driven and adult led. It brings together more than 140 youth-serving partner organizations to provide a variety of programs focused on recreation, education, arts, career, and health. For more information on The Warehouse visit www.teenwarehouse.org or follow us on social media.

Media Contacts:
DNREC: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

Delmarva Power: Timothy Stokes, 866-655-2237 (media hotline)

The Warehouse: Melody Phillips, mphillips@teenwarehouse.org


Delaware Solar Installation Grant Incentive Increased

Delmarva Power Customers Benefit from Green Energy Fund

Solar power installations for Delmarva Power customers in Delaware have become more affordable with grant increases announced this month by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

A program of the DNREC Green Energy Fund, grants for residential solar installations are being increased from $0.50/watt to $0.60/watt, with the maximum grant increased to $5,000. This increase is designed to provide a reasonable incentive for homeowners to optimize the size of rooftop solar for their personal needs.

Grants for commercial solar installations are being set at $0.60/watt up to a maximum grant of $25,000. Commercial grants were previously capped at $3,000 due to limited funding.

The state legislature established the Green Energy Fund in 1999. It is funded by Delmarva Power electric customers, who are then eligible to access the Green Energy Fund for renewable energy projects. Grant amounts are adjusted periodically to respond to changing market conditions.

“Supporting the development of small scale solar has been an essential part of our strategy to promote Delaware’s renewable energy industry and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin.

Since its inception, the Green Energy Fund has supported the installation of 4,764 solar energy systems.

Information on the Green Energy Fund can be found at de.gov/greenenergy or by emailing DNREC_GreenEnergyProgram@delaware.gov.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov, Jim Lee, jamesw.lee@delaware.gov

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Superior Court dismisses lawsuit against DNREC challenging Delaware’s participation in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

The logo for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental ControlDOVER – Delaware Superior Court Judge Richard F. Stokes has dismissed a lawsuit that challenged Delaware’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cooperative program among nine states that reduces carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and funds energy efficiency and renewable energy programs in RGGI states, including Delaware.

The lawsuit, Stevenson, et al. v. Delaware Department of Natural Resource and Environmental Control, et al., was brought in December 2013 by David T. Stevenson, R. Christian Hudson, and John A. Moore, who claimed that the state’s participation in the program caused an increase in their electric bills. Judge Stokes issued his decision dismissing the suit June 26, stating that the plaintiffs, after more than four years of litigation, had failed to demonstrate that RGGI affected their electric bills.

“We are pleased the Court’s decision allows Delaware to continue with this market-based, environmentally-conscious and cost-effective collaboration that reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions and supports a clean energy economy,” said Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “RGGI is vital in supporting energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean transportation programs that save Delawareans energy and money. RGGI helps us provide for our energy needs while reducing our contributions to climate change.

“DNREC is pleased to continue our involvement with RGGI, and also to be the state agency that directs the benefits this landmark regional initiative brings to the people of Delaware,” Secretary Garvin said.

Delaware has participated in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative since its inception in 2008, and is one of nine current member states along with Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. RGGI sets a cap on overall carbon dioxide emissions, and sells emissions allowances to electricity generators through a competitive auction.

In June 2008, the Delaware General Assembly approved Delaware’s participation in RGGI through Senate Bill 263, which also mandated that Delaware use RGGI proceeds to fund programs that promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, and low-income programs. These programs help residents, businesses, local governments, and non-profits lower their energy use and costs, support cleaner air quality, and through rebates and incentives also have helped over 750 Delaware drivers in buying electric vehicles for their transportation needs.

The Superior Court’s decision can be found on the State of Delaware website at https://courts.delaware.gov/Opinions/Download.aspx?id=275020 .

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

Vol. 48, No. 175

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DNREC announces new director of the Division of Energy & Climate

DOVER – The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control this week introduced Andrea Kreiner as DNREC’s new director of the Division of Energy & Climate.

For more than 13 years, Kreiner has owned and operated a sustainability-focused consulting business that provides services to government, universities, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations. She previously served as a policy advisor for Governor Ruth Ann Minner. Kreiner also is a Sustainability and Society adjunct instructor at Delaware Technical Community College, and a former DNREC employee who worked in the area of pollution prevention for more than 10 years.

Director Kreiner received her Master of Science degree in resource economics from the University of Rhode Island, and earned, with distinction, a Bachelor of Science degree in applied economics and business management specializing in energy economics from Cornell University. She has more than 25 years of experience in the environmental field and has written numerous publications.

Vol. 48, No. 36

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