Category Archives: Research

New ILSR Report & Q&A With John Farrell: A Solar Power & Energy Storage Revolution Is Upon Us

By Jake Richardson, CleanTechnica

new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance describes some of the implications of the growing solar power and energy storage trend as it relates to the current, centralized utility-based electricity distribution model. Because solar and energy storage can be cost competitive with grid electricity prices in some places, consumers now have an alternative to only using utility-based electricity. Report author John Farrell answered some questions for CleanTechnica.

Continue here.

Proposed coal, nuclear power plant bailout could exceed $34 billion

American Wind Energy Association News Release

WASHINGTON – Today, a new report was released by The Brattle Group, a leading consultant on utility operations and energy markets, analyzing the cost of providing extra financial support to uncompetitive U.S. power plants. The independent assessment was commissioned by a diverse group of energy industry associations representing natural gas, oil, energy efficiency, storage, grid services, solar, wind and other renewables, to estimate the cost of the Trump Administration’s proposed plan to bail out failing coal and nuclear plants across the country.

National business groups: Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), American Petroleum Institute (API), American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Electricity Consumers Resource Council (ELCON), Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA) and Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA), which funded the Brattle Group report, issued the following statements on the findings: Click here to read more.

Download the Report: The Cost of Preventing Baseload Retirements

Pixabay Photo

No Longer a Novelty, Clean Energy Technologies Boom All Across the US

By Julia Pyper, Greentech Media

Today, renewable energy is taking off in virtually every state in the nation. A new report and interactive map released this week by Environment America takes stock of U.S. clean energy progress to date. It finds that leadership is no longer concentrated in select parts of the country, but that it is distributed across states with varying economic and democratic makeups. “You’re seeing an evolution that’s happening everywhere; and it will be interesting to see what will happen 10 years from now,” [Rob Sargent, energy program leader at Environment America] said. The “Renewables on the Rise” report highlights how much has changed in a relatively short period of time, which can be easy to forget.

Read more here.

According to the report, Nebraska is 10th in the nation in wind-energy development. 

CleanChoice Energy Offers New Renewable Energy Broker Program

Posted by Betsy Lillian, Solar Industry Magazine

CleanChoice Energy, a renewable energy company providing 100% clean electricity to customers across the country, has launched the CleanChoice Energy Broker Program . . . The new program will initially be available to partners serving Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. Read more here.

iStock Photo

MORE NATIONAL NEWS

  • Energy Storage Gets Its Day in Congress, Greentech Media
    The House Energy and Commerce Committee invited experts to testify on what federal storage policy should look like.
  • Show me the money: The business opportunity for grid-interactive buildings, GreenBiz
    Studies by NREL and Clean Energy Group estimate that demand charges above $15/kW make battery storage economic, and GTM Research claims that by 2021, $11/kW demand charges will make battery storage economic. A recent study (PDF) by NREL found that “some of the country’s highest demand charges were found to be in states not typically known for high electricity prices, such as Colorado, Nebraska, Arizona, and Georgia.” If you haven’t checked your bill recently, check again.

ADDITIONAL CLEAN ENERGY NEWS

NEW REPORT
Report details ‘bottom-up’ climate strategies for cities, states, Smart Cities Dive

OP-ED
Philadelphia finds a new way to support low-income solar, PV Magazine
In this op-ed for pv magazine, Bentham Paulos examines how Philadelphia is using Solarize to bring the benefits of solar to low-income residents.

TRANSMISSION PROJECT NEWS
Missouri Supreme Court gives new life to $2B Grain Belt Express transmission project, Utility Dive. The proposed 780-mile transmission line would move wind energy from western Kansas to utilities and customers in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and neighboring states. 

New Research Shows a Solar Revolution in Rural America

News Release, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

ARLINGTON, Va. –The rapid acceleration of solar development by America’s electric cooperatives is transforming the energy landscape in rural America. According to a new report, electric co-ops today own or purchase more than nine times as much solar energy as they did in 2013.

In 2013, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) received a grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to help electric cooperatives remove barriers to solar development. Through the ensuing Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration (SUNDA) project, NRECA worked with 17 electric cooperatives to develop models and resources for co-ops interested in developing solar energy. Continue here.

Download Report: A Solar Revolution in Rural America
SUNDA Project

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • NRECA’s Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) Award
    In May, SEPA announced their 2018 Power Players Awards. The awards “honor utilities, their partners, and individual thought leaders providing the vision, models and momentum for the electric power industry’s smart transition to a clean, modern energy future.” The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) was one of three recipients of the Innovative Partner of the Year Award in recognition of the SUNDA Project. 
  • NRECA and Industry Groups: EVs Are Viable Tool to Meet Fuel Standards, by Cathy Cash
    At least 150 NRECA member co-ops provide off-peak charging rates for EV users. Dozens of electric co-ops across the country have programs that implement charging infrastructure in their service territory.

Thinkstock Photo

Electric Power Research Institute wins $1.8 million to develop solar forecasting technology

By Kelsey Misbrener, Solar Power World

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) announced [yesterday] a $1.8 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office to develop and demonstrate new methods to operate power systems with high penetrations of solar power. The award is part of the Solar Energy Technologies Office’s Solar Forecasting 2 funding program to advance predictive modeling capabilities for solar generation for more accurate forecasts of solar generation levels. Solar Forecasting 2 projects are designed to enable electric utilities to better manage the variability and uncertainty of solar power and improve grid reliability. Continue here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST TO SOLAR PROFESSIONALS
Use personal stories to sell more solar, Solar Power World Contributor

City purchases hybrid cars

By Colin Larson, Fremont Tribune

Over the past several years the City of Fremont has made strides toward promoting and developing clean energy in the community. One community solar farm already drawing power from the sun and another currently being developed. Now, the city recently purchased five plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) Kia Niro crossover vehicles with help from a grant from the Nebraska Environment Trust through the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance. The city received a $300,000 grant towards Solar Farm No. 2, 50 percent of the cost of two ChargePoint public electric vehicle charging stations, and 50 percent of the cost of five qualified vehicle. Qualified vehicles are those that are all electric, or are PHEV. Continue here.

The 2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle is capable of going fully electric (EV mode) with the push of a button for trips around town. – Kia.Com

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

EVs could drive 38% rise in US electricity demand, DOE lab finds, Smart Cities Dive
Rising electricity demand could lead to sustained absolute growth of 80 terawatt-hours per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

In Farm Country, Grappling With the Taboo of Talking about Climate Change

By Bryce Oates, Climate, Rural Environment and Agriculture Project, Civil Eats

Despite the heated political rhetoric on both sides of the issue, the realities of the changing climate are driving farmers of all stripes to take action . . . [The] evidence that agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—as well the role farm practices can play in both mitigating and helping farmers adapt to climate change—has only mounted. And while some advocates are working to bring the conversation to the fore among rural communities, others are more focused on supporting farmers to change their practices and build healthy soil, regardless of what language they use. Read the entire article here.

iStock Photo: Farmer surveying drought conditions.

LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION

  • USDA Climate Hubs
    Our new national and regional websites are designed to ensure that stakeholders from around the Nation can quickly and easily find the information they need to manage climate change risks and ensure the resilience of their production systems.
  • Northern Plains Climate Hub
    The Northern Plains Climate Hub, which serves Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota, delivers science-based knowledge, practical information, management & conservation strategies, and decision tools to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners with the goal of helping them adapt to weather variability and changing climatic conditions.
  • National Farmers Union’s Climate Column
  • Nebraska Farmers Union
    Nebraska Farmers Union members approved five top priorities for 2018 at their last state convention. These Special Orders of Business include: Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and Net Metering: The members of the Nebraska Farmers Union support an increase of the maximum guaranteed access level for net-metering from 25 kilowatts to 100 kilowatts.  Secondly, the members support changing and updating current state law to allow single owners the option of aggregating their multiple meters for the purpose of net metering.
  • The Nebraska State Climate Office (NSCO) is an organization dedicated to delivering science-based climate services at the local and state level. NSCO’s focus is on weather and climate monitoring, climate services, and stakeholder engagement. NSCO’s office includes operation of the Nebraska Mesonet, a state-wide weather observation network with nearly 70 locations across Nebraska that assess local conditions.

NSCO’s Links to More Information

ADDITIONAL PUBLICATIONS OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

FEATURED YOUTH CLIMATE ACTION: OUR CHILDREN’S TRUST
Our Children’s Trust elevates the voice of youth to secure the legal right to a stable climate and healthy atmosphere for the benefit of all present and future generations. Through our programs, youth participate in advocacy, public education and civic engagement to ensure the viability of all natural systems in accordance with science. 

Our mission is to protect earth’s atmosphere and natural systems for present and future generations. We lead a game-changing legal campaign seeking systemic, science-based emissions reductions and climate recovery policy at all levels of government. We give young people, those with most at stake in the climate crisis, a voice to favorably impact their futures.

YouTube Video: 

RECOMMENDED BOOK

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
By Paul Hawken  (Editor), Tom Steyer (Foreword)

The 100 most substantive solutions to reverse global warming, based on meticulous
research by leading scientists and policymakers around the world.

UMN Morris To Take Part In First Statewide Solar Congress

By Jennie Ray, University of Minnesota Morris News

What: Minnesota Solar Congress
Who: Solar United Neighbors, University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center, Minnesota Farmers Union, Renewing the Countryside, University of Minnesota Morris, Clean Energy Resource Teams, Sustainable Farming Association – Western Chapter
When: Saturday, July 21, 11 am to 4 pm
Where: University of Minnesota West Central Research & Outreach Center, 46352 State Highway 329, Morris, Minnesota 56267

The University of Minnesota Morris will take part in the first annual Minnesota Solar Congress on Saturday, July 21. Hosted by Solar United Neighbors, the Congress is a free daylong event filled with educational and social opportunities for solar enthusiasts. Open to the public. 
Click here for additional details. 

MORE CLEAN ENERGY NEWS & OPINION

EV / EV INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS

  • Q&A: Midwest partnership pushing to expand EV infrastructure in region, Energy News Network
    Charge Up is pressing utilities to expand charging infrastructure and advocating for money from the $2.8 billion Volkswagen emissions cheating settlement to be spent on electric school buses and public transit, which can play a key role in kickstarting electric vehicle deployment. The group includes the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Clean Fuels Ohio, Great Plains Institute, the Ecology Center, and Fresh Energy. 
    Charge Up Midwest 
  • Chevrolet to boost Bolt EV production by 20% to meet demand, CNET
    The Bolt EV has proven more popular than expected in North America and South Korea.

Free market coalition protests plan to bail out uneconomic power plants

By Greg Alvarez, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

As the administration considers plans to subsidize uneconomic coal and nuclear plants, a broad coalition has opposed the idea. From environmentalists to oil and gas groups and grid operatorsmany voices have said this is an unnecessary step that would harm American families and businesses.

Recently, another coalition emerged. A group of free market organizations–led by the National Taxpayers Union and including Americans for Prosperity, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, and others–sent a letter to the president explaining their concerns. Here’s what they had to say: Continue reading here.

Pixabay Photo

RESOURCES FOR THE FUTURE ISSUES NEW STUDY
Trump’s coal plan would boost mining jobs, but also premature deaths, says new study,  Washington Examiner 

President Trump’s push to save coal-fired power plants would put miners back to work, but it would also cause more premature deaths that could cancel out those benefits, according to a new study by environmental economists. Resources for the Future issued the study Thursday focused on the effects of the Trump administration’s proposal on emissions, mortality from those emissions, and coal mine jobs.

“Our simulation results indicate that, each year, one American would die from air pollution for every 2 to 4.5 coal mining jobs supported by the policy,” according to the authors of the study, Daniel Shawhan and Paul Picciano.

Download the study: Retirements and Funerals: The Emission, Mortality, and Coal-Mine Employment Effects of a Two-Year Delay in Coal and Nuclear Power Plant Retirements