Category Archives: Research

Despite Climate Change Setbacks, Al Gore ‘Comes Down On The Side Of Hope’

 By Steve Inskeep, NET Nebraska

Former Vice President Al Gore helped shape the conversation about climate change with An Inconvenient Truth. Now he’s back with a sequel — called An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Powerdue out next month — and it follows Gore as he continues the crusade he made famous with that first film. The movie shows Gore standing in Miami floodwater, flying over imploding boulders of ice in Greenland and in Paris — trying to push the climate agreement over the finish line. Continue reading.

Photo: When it comes to convincing climate change deniers, Al Gore says, “Mother Nature is more persuasive than the scientific community.” Credit: Claire Harbage/NPR 

WATCH THE TRAILER
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Paramount  Pictures

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Uncertainty Ahead For Farmers Depending On Government Climate Research

Déjà Vu as Co-ops Lead in Satisfaction

By Michael W. Kahn
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Strong showings from electric cooperatives, as well as greater satisfaction among all electric consumers, are among the highlights of a new J.D. Power report. The firm’s 2017 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study shows several co-ops with top-of-the-chart scores besting many investor-owned and municipal utilities. Read more here.

Facts from NRECA’s Website on Cooperatives and Renewable Energy

  • Electric cooperatives across the country are actively expanding their future portfolios to include an array of renewable energy
  • Currently, 95% of NRECA’s distribution members offer renewable options to 40 million Americans
  • Co-ops own nearly 1.3 GW of renewable capacity and have long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) for more than 7.3 GW – in addition to roughly 10 GW of preference power contracts with federal hydroelectric facilities.

Solar Deployment and Co-Op Solar

  • By the end of 2017, the total solar energy capacity of America’s electric cooperatives will be five times what it was two years ago.
  • This year, co-ops are on pace to add 480 MW of solar, which would bring their total capacity to 872 MW. This more than quadruples the 180 MW reached in 2015 and represents a 20-fold increase over the 37 MW capacity in 2010.
  • In addition, over the last two years, cooperatives have expanded their solar footprint from 34 states to 44 states.
  • 133 cooperatives in 30 states offer community solar programs

Energy storage already cost-competitive in commercial sector, finds study

By Ian Clover, PV Magazine

Cheaper battery prices sees storage playing a broader role in energy markets, particularly for commercial customers seeking to reduce peak consumption, research from McKinsey shows. Continue reading.

Battery storage costs are falling, prompting an uptake among prosumers and leading to new challenges for utilities, finds the report. Image: Anesco

Report: Vast majority of Americans want more solar and wind energy

Key Findings from the National Surveys on Energy and Environment (NSEE) latest report include the following:

  1. A majority (66%) of Americans believe that it is their state’s responsibility to address the issue of global warming in the absence of federal action.
  2. There is very high support for renewable energy (79%) and efficiency (81%) mandates, two established state-level policy options to reduce carbon emissions from the electricity sector.
  3. There is even greater support for increasing the use of solar energy (89%) and wind energy (83%) at the state level outside of the context of a mandate. This increase in support is largely attributable to Republicans who, while slightly more inclined to oppose a renewable energy mandate in their state, show very strong support for increasing wind and solar use.

Click here to read the entire report.

The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy, housed at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, conducts and supports applied policy research designed to inform state, local, and urban policy issues. Through integrated research, teaching, and outreach involving academic researchers, students, policymakers and practitioners, the center seeks to foster understanding of today’s state and local policy problems, and to find effective solutions.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

New report: Adding renewables keeps the lights on and money in America’s pockets

By Greg Alvarez, head editor and writer for Into the Wind, American Wind Energy Association Blog

[On Tuesday], a new report from Analysis Group reconfirmed an important point: adding renewable energy to America’s electricity grid strengthens reliability and saves consumers money. AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan penned a column in the Huffington Post explaining some of Analysis Group’s findings. Here are a few highlights: Continue reading.

Read the Huffington Post column here.

Watch the American Wind Energy video: Wind power: Keeping the lights on

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Wind power: An economic engine for rural America

Deloitte says millennials are driving solar expansion

By Frank Andorka, PV Magazine 

Almost 60% of consumers said they would switch electricity providers if they could gain access to renewable-energy sources . . . And the report says the solar revolution is being driven in large part by the much-maligned “millenials.” Almost two-thirds (64%) told Deloitte they are either “extremely” or “very” interested in installing solar panels – a 611% increase over last year. More than half of them are “extremely” or “very” interested in participating in a community solar installation . . . Businesses want to get in on the action, too. According to Deloitte, 60% of businesses want to have some form of on-site generation, nearly double the percentage from last year. Read more here.

Image: Creative Commons

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Report: Utility-scale solar prices drop below $1/watt for first time

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Solar capacity additions are continuing to amass while the installed price-per-watt falls, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report.

Continue reading.

Photo Credit: Greentech Media

National Business Groups Send U.S. Dept. of Energy Analyses Showing Diverse Energy Sources Protect Electric Reliability

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today four national business groups representing the range of advanced and renewable energy companies in the United States submitted materials to U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to inform the energy market study he called for last month. The four groups developed separate analyses, based on existing sources and industry experience, showing that changing energy sources – more use of natural gas, renewable energy, and energy management sources in addition to resources like coal and nuclear power – far from threatening electric system reliability, increase it in important ways while saving consumers money . . . The four industry organizations submitted separate documents to inform the DOE in its study of the electric power system and reliability:

Read the entire news release here.

Why utilities are more confident than ever about renewable energy growth

Concerns about integrating high levels of wind and solar are waning,
Utility Dive’s sector survey shows. By 
Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive  

At the turn of the millennium, only wide-eyed dreamers in the power sector would have claimed renewable energy would play a major role on the U.S. grid. Wind and solar were simply too expensive and too difficult to integrate. Fast-forward to 2017, and that dream is becoming a reality, according to a survey of more than 600 utility professionals. More than 80% of North American utility employees expect renewable energy to increase moderately or significantly in their service areas over the next decade, according to Utility Dive’s fourth annual State of the Electric Utility (SEU) survey.

Continue reading.

In discussing consumer sentiment as a factor pushing utilities toward clean energy, the author mentions OPPD’s new renewable energy tariff  “to lure tech companies to its service area,” and Puget Sound Energy’s novel green tariff.

National guidebook maps the way toward ‘tipping points’ in solar adoption

By Heather Fitzgerald, Yale News

Backed by research out of Yale and Duke, a newly released guidebook details a range of best practices for boosting the adoption of rooftop solar power. Titled “Solarize Your Community,” the national guidebook makes the case for “contagious” rooftop solar. The findings are distilled from a three-year study of successful campaigns in Connecticut that tripled the number of rooftop installations, reduced the average cost of residential solar by 20% to 30%, and created local jobs in participating communities. Continue reading.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Download Solarize Your Community: An Evidence-Based Guide for Accelerating the Adoption of Residential Solar

  • Digital version click HERE
  • Printable version click HERE
  • Printable step-by-step timeline click HERE