Renewable Energy 101

The renewable energy industry includes some complex, at times even head-scratching, jargon. That’s why we’re breaking down six of the most confusing renewable energy acronyms. So come on, let’s power up your vocabulary. You’ll be an energy genius in no time. Welcome to Renewable Energy 101; class is now in session.

  1. COP21 – Short for Conference of the Parties 21, which pretty much tells you nada. Think of it as the United Nations conference about climate change. Countries from around the word met in Paris last December to hash out an agreement on climate change. The goal? To keep the average global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. Delegates approved a legally binding agreement to prevent the globe from getting hotter.
  1. CPP – The Clean Power Plan is laying down the law on climate pollution, literally. The plan is President Obama’s national legislation that sets first-ever limits on power plant pollution. The goal? To reach a 32% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. To make this happen, every state must submit a plan to achieve the emissions goals by retiring coal-fired facilities, increasing natural gas as a fuel source and incorporating more renewables. Along with the massive health benefits, the plan is expected to improve the economy by creating more renewable energy jobs and providing savings for consumers. Thanks to the CPP, things are looking brighter for the clean energy future.
  1. DER – A distributed energy resource is a smaller power unit that can be combined with other DERs to help meet demand needs. As the grid keeps modernizing, DERs like advanced renewable technologies and storage systems can help make the move to a smarter grid possible.
  1. GHG – If the world of energy existed as a comic book, the villain of the story would be greenhouse gas. A GHG is any gas in the atmosphere that can absorb infrared radiation, contributing to the greenhouse effect. Some of these gases are carbon dioxide, methane and ozone.
  1. ITC – The Investment Tax Credit supports the growth of renewable energy in big ways. It provides a 30% federal tax credit for the cost of solar systems for homes and businesses. Last December, Congress extended the ITC, making it available at the current 30% rate until 2019, with graduated step-downs from 2020 to 2022.
  1. PTC – Think of the Production Tax Credit as the ITC’s favorite cousin. Focused on the growth of wind energy, the PTC provides a 3 cent per kilowatt-hour incentive for the first decade of a wind energy facility’s production. In December, Congress extended this credit for another five years.