Construction and permitting for large solar facilities like those located in the desert at the border of California and Nevada is nearly non-existent. Uncertainty over expiring tax credits is only partly to blame.
The bloom is off the rose for utility-scale solar projects, just five years after the Obama Administration made a big push for such projects as part of a nationwide renewable energy program. The lack of utility-scale projects stands in stark contrast to exponential growth in distributed, roof-top solar installations.
“Of the 365 federal solar applications since 2009, just 20 plants are on track to be built. Only three large-scale solar facilities have gone online, two in California and one in Nevada. The first auction of public land for solar developers, an event once highly anticipated by federal planners, failed to draw a single bid last fall,” reports Julie Cart.
Blame for the lack of projects can be found in the sunset for the current investment tax credit, scheduled to drop from 30 percent to 10 percent at the end of 2016. The lack of investments is also a result of the initial success by utilities in meeting renewable portfolio standards in states like California: “...utilities in many states are on track to meet those requirements, giving them less incentive to buy higher-priced solar energy —especially as a steep decline in natural gas prices has cut the cost of power from gas-fired generators.”
Amtrak Ramping Up Infrastructure Projects
Thanks to federal funding from the 2021 infrastructure act, the agency plans to triple its investment in infrastructure improvements and new routes in the next two years.
Ending Downtown San Francisco’s ‘Doom Loop’
A new public space project offers an ambitious vision—so why is the city implementing it at such a small scale?
Proposal Would Transform L.A.’s ‘Freeway to Nowhere’ Into Park, Housing
A never-completed freeway segment could see new life as a mixed-use development with housing, commercial space, and one of the county’s largest parks.
Why Brand New Cities Won’t Solve Our Urban Problems
Building cities takes time and resources. Why not spend them on fixing the ones we have?
Former Brooklyn Sugar Refinery Reopens as All-Electric Office Tower
A historic building was reimagined as a 15-story office tower powered by renewable energy.
NHTSA: Traffic Fatalities Decline for Fifth Straight Quarter
Traffic deaths were 3.3 percent lower in the first half of 2023 than the same period last year, but not all states saw the same results.
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Mpact: Mobility, Community, Possibility
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
City of San Carlos
National Capital Planning Commission
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.