Category Archives: NewsBlog

Ford shifts gears, invests $11 billion in future of electric car production

By Keith Naughton, Ryan Beene and Gabrielle Coppola / Bloomberg News
Published by The Omaha World-Herald

Ford Motor Co. will more than double its spending on electric vehicles, amplifying its investment in a segment that the auto industry sees growing from what’s now just a fraction of the market.
The carmaker will shell out $11 billion to bring 40 electric vehicles to market by 2022, Jim Farley, president of global markets, said during a presentation at the Detroit auto show. That’s up from the $4.5 billion that Ford said in late 2015 it would invest through the end of the decade.
Click here to continue reading.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST
NPPD’s pilot EV charging station incentive program
Nebraska Public Power District, in partnership with its wholesale utility customers, has a need to understand the future impact of electric vehicle charging on the electric distribution system. Electrification of the transportation sector is expected to grow and have a substantial impact on the electricity delivery system. By collecting data on individual charging stations, the utilities can better implement strategies to maintain and improve utility infrastructure. In order to collect this information, the utility is offering an incentive to eligible customers with qualifying equipment. A $200 EnergyWise incentive for the installation of a residential vehicle charging station is available for a limited time from Nebraska Public Power District and your local public power utility.

Interview With John Kostyack & David Gardner — A New Wind Energy Foundation Report (CleanTechnica Exclusive)

By Carolyn Fortune

The Wind Energy Foundation has just released a new report. In it, they talk about the need for US transmission planners to modify their calculations based on the number of big companies that are increasingly signing deals to buy wind and solar power. In this CleanTechnica exclusive, we interview John Kostyack, executive director of the Wind Energy Foundation, and David Gardiner, lead author representing David Gardiner and Associates, about the report and its consequences for broader wind and solar energy access.

Information from the report: “The strongest and often lowest-cost renewable energy resources are located in the central U.S. region, 15 states between the Rockies and the Mississippi River: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. This region accounts for 88% of the country’s wind technical potential and 56% of the country’s utility-scale solar photovoltaic technical potential, yet is home to only 30% of projected 2050 electricity demand. This finding suggests that future transmission is needed to export this electricity from this high-production region to the growing demand outside of this region.”
Read More Here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Center for Rural Affairs Report: Generation and Delivery: The economic impact of transmission infrastructure in rural counties, written by Timothy Collins, consultant, with support from Johnathan Hladik, Policy Program Director

Coal ‘action plan’ finds success: Trump contributor has gotten about half of the items on his wish list

By Michael Biesecker, Associated PressOmaha World-Herald

[The coal wish list Robert Murray, the chairman and CEO of Ohio-based Murray Energy, sent to the White House includes] “pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accords and revoking the Clean Power Plan . . . Under Trump, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has also moved to reconsider rules meant to protect miners from breathing coal and rock
dust — the primary cause of black lung disease — and diesel exhaust, which can cause
cancer . . . Only about 500 coal mining jobs were added in Trump’s first year, bringing the total to about 50,900 nationally, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read more here.

Photo by The Associated Press

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • 2017 U. S. Energy and Employment Report, Department of Energy
    In 2016 Just under 374,000 individuals worked, in whole or in part, for solar firms, with more than 260,000 of those employees spending the majority of their time on solar. There are an additional 102,000 workers employed at wind firms across the nation. The solar workforce increased by 25% in 2016, while wind employment increased by 32%.
  • In coal country: Ohio and other states throughout the region are developing local sources of clean energy and green jobs that are good for people, the planet and profits:

LOCAL GRASSROOTS GROUPS 
Not only businesses but also social entrepreneurs and nonprofits all across Appalachia are leading the region’s transition from coal to renewable energy.  Some of these grassroots groups have been in existence for a number of years, while others are relatively new. All of them, however, share the same mission of creating a post-coal future for their own and neighboring communities. Examples of these groups include:

SOLAR HOLLER
What We Believe: Solar Holler isn’t your typical company. We’re a social enterprise that is focused on bringing clean and local energy within reach of those who need it most–Appalachia’s community organizations, non-profits, municipalities, and our low-income neighbors.  Why is our focus there?  Because every dollar a church, or a library, or a municipality doesn’t spend on utility bills means another dollar is going toward improving our towns and communities. Because West Virginia’s miners and their families powered America’s growth and cities during the 20th Century.  If we have anything to do with it, we’ll power America throughout the 21st Century, too–with clean, renewable energy. And, most importantly, because these hills and hollers are home. Websitewww.solarholler.com 

KENTUCKIANS FOR THE COMMONWEALTH
We are Kentuckians. We believe that today we have our best chance in decades to build New Power in Kentucky. New Power means thousands of new jobs, healthy communities and opportunities for our children. But we have to address the problems caused by Old Power – old political power, old economic power and old energy power. Website: www.kftc.org 

I LOVE MOUNTAINS.ORG
Local, state, and regional organizations across Appalachia are working together to end mountaintop removal and create a prosperous future for the region. Through iLoveMountains.org, members of the Alliance for Appalachia have come together to use cutting edge technology to inform and involve Americans in their efforts to save mountains and communities.

Partners

1. Appalachian Voices
2. Black Warrior Riverkeeper 
3. Center for Coalfield Justice
4. Coal River Mountain Watch
5. Heartwood
6. Keeper of the Mountains Foundation
7. Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
8. Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
9. Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment
10. Sierra Club Environmental Justice
11. Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards
12. SouthWings
13. STAY Project
14. West Virginia Highlands Conservancy

Website: www.ilovemountains.org

Ohio conservatives could shift solar debate in a positive direction

By Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

According to a new poll by Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, 79% of Republicans and independents who identify as conservative (the only groups polled) support the expansion of clean energy and policies to encourage such growth. Among the policy prescriptions those polled support include increasing the state’s renewable energy standard (RES) and changing wind setback rules. Public Opinion Strategies also found 60% of conservatives support requiring utilities to use renewable energy to produce 12.5% of their electricity by 2027, and 76% supported increasing research into battery storage technologies, which most analysts consider the next boom market in the renewable energy economic sector. Most surprising was the finding that 85% of conservative voters voiced willingness to pay more personally for their electricity if sourced from renewable energy sources. Click here to read more.

Ohio Conservative Energy Forum Website

Photo: Pixabay

MORE GOOD NEWS

California regulators choose clean energy and storage over existing gas plants

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

In California and other regions where the transition to renewable energy is most advanced, the tide is turning not only against coal and nuclear power, but against gas plants as well. As the latest evidence of this, last Thursday the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued an order that calls for utility Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) to hold one or more solicitations for energy storage and/or “preferred resources” to address local capacity and voltage needs in two different parts of the state. Continue reading here.

Photo by Pedro Xing

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

UPCOMING ENERGY STORAGE WEBINARS

Solar skilled labor shortage hinders industry growth, but collaboration could change the course

By Kelsey Misbrener, Associate Editor, Solar Power World

 “The overwhelming majority of employers are having difficulty hiring, and then a majority of those are saying it’s costing them—costing them money, costing them jobs. They’re turning down jobs because they just can’t find qualified workers,” said Tim Olson, who wrote The Solar Foundation’s 2017 Solar Training and Jobs Report, a report funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. “Difficult hiring isn’t just unique to the solar industry,” Olson said. “You look at a lot of other skilled labor and general manufacturing positions in the U.S. and there is relatively high difficulty hiring right now—the unemployment rate is hitting all-time lows.” Click here to read more.

Photo: Mountain View Solar in Maryland collaborates with a local community college on a summer internship program.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Bipartisan approach on climate change picks up steam as four members join caucus

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – The addition of four members to the House Climate Solutions Caucus is an indication that momentum is gathering in Congress for a bipartisan approach to address climate change, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) said Tuesday.

Maintaining the caucus protocol of party balance, two Republicans joined with two Democrats this week. The new members are Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT).

“We’re approaching the critical mass needed to introduce meaningful, bipartisan legislation to bring down greenhouse gas emissions,” said CCL Executive Director Mark Reynolds. “We’re particularly excited about the addition of Mark Sanford, the first Republican on the caucus from the Deep South.” Read the entire news release here, which includes statements from the four new members.

IN NEBRASKA

IREC’s 2017 Clean Energy States Honor Roll

ALBANY, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–After a year with a dizzying volume of energy policy activity across the states, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) calls out some favorite success stories, in its 2017 Clean Energy States Honor Roll, announced today. IREC is a 35-year-old national independent not-for-profit organization that works state by state to increase consumer access to clean renewable energy through fact-based policy leadership, quality work force development, and consumer empowerment. Continue reading here.

Trump-appointed regulators reject plan to rescue coal and nuclear plants

By Steven Mufson, The Washington Post

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Monday unanimously rejected a proposal by Energy Secretary Rick Perry that would have propped up nuclear and coal power plants struggling in competitive electricity markets. The independent five-member commission includes four people appointed by President Trump, three of them Republicans. Its decision is
binding . . . “The law and common sense prevailed over special interests today,” John Moore, director of the Sustainable FERC Project Coalition, said in a statement. “The FERC correctly found that the Department of Energy’s proposal violated the basic requirements of the Federal Power Act. Secretary Perry’s plan would have subsidized coal and nuclear plants with a 90-day fuel supply yet Perry never explained why those plants were inherently more reliable or resilient.”

Read the complete article here.

USA: 43.5 GW of utility-scale solar proposed through 2020

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

While the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) continues to struggle with reporting accurate data on existing solar, it has recorded a large volume of proposed projects over the next three years. Read more here.

Photo: Swinerton

ALSO IN THE NEWS