Ask a Scientist – December 2017, Union of Concerned Scientists
This month we asked Dave Cooke, a UCS senior vehicles analyst, to set the record straight on the status of US automakers. Cooke, who has a PhD in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of the new report, “In Need of a U-Turn: Automakers’ History of Intransigence and Opportunity for Change.”
Read more here.
Dave Cooke is a senior vehicles analyst in the Clean Vehicles Program, specializing in both light- and heavy-duty fuel economy. He conducts research on fuel efficiency technologies and the implications for oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions across the transportation sector. Dr. Cooke received his Ph.D. in condensed matter physics in 2010 from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to this, he received his BS in physics from Harvey Mudd College in 2002 and his MS in physics from the University of California, San Diego in 2004.
ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST
- Fremont Energy Discussion focuses on renewables, Fremont Tribune
- National Grid’s ($114 million) future is rising in West Seneca, The Buffalo News
National Grid launched the upgrade just over a year ago, with O’Connell Electric as the prime contractor. The work has stayed on schedule despite a wet spring, said John Burke, National Grid’s operations director. “I’ve been at National Grid for 30 years, and this is the biggest project I’ve seen,” Burke said. Materials for the facility came from a variety of sources, including steel from Nebraska and locally supplied stone and concrete.
- Dozens Of U.S. Mayors Declare Support For Solar, Solar Industry Magazine
- Community Solar Coalition Works To Drive Future Development, Solar Industry Magazine
- Developer proposing five-turbine community wind project on Tug Hill, Watertown Daily Times
- About Small and Community Wind, American Wind Energy Association
- Fort Collins mayor speaks at University Cities Conference, North Forty News
He described the Fort ZED project as an example of collaboration between the university, the municipally-owned electric utility and 13 private sector partners to reduce peak-load energy demand by up to 30 percent in two parts of the city. The partners were able to showcase their technology for customers all over the world.
- 3 California gas plants could be replaced with energy storage, Utility Dive
- Power play: How a small co-op wants to open Nevada’s electricity market and own it, Utility Dive: Valley Electric Association is taking on NV Energy and dreaming big.
- Fifteen states and the District of Columbia currently have retail competition, which allows end-use customers to choose between incumbent utilities and competitive retail suppliers for electricity purchases, National Rural Electric Association
- Exxon Agrees to Disclose Climate Risks Under Pressure from Investors, Inside Climate News
- In Kids’ Climate Lawsuit, Judges Question Government Effort to Get Case Dismissed, Inside Climate News
By Madeline Ostrander, Sierra Club
In the past few years, several other states—including New York, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Illinois—have passed laws enabling solar garden programs. But Minnesota’s is currently the biggest and arguably most successful, in part because it places no upper limits on the amount of solar that can be developed in the state. “The success speaks for itself at this point,” says John Farrell, a Minneapolis-based energy expert for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “We’ve got more community solar than any other state. We’re going to continue to lead for quite a while.” Although Minnesota is hardly known for sunny weather, so far its residents seem to have an insatiable appetite for solar energy production. Read more here.
Photo by XXLPhoto/IStock
ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST
- Solar turned on, Kearney Hub Opinion
- Resources For Nebraska Communities Considering A Community Solar Project
- Report: wind power helps lower Iowa greenhouse gas emissions, Radio Iowa
- 2017 Case Study Report: Cities Are Ready For 100% Clean Energy, Sierra Club
- Fuel for Discussion Podcast Series – Episode 2: Energy Policy Outlook for 2018, Clean Energy Business Network
- World Bank to end financial support for oil and gas exploration: The Guardian
- Canada Teams Up With World Bank To Support Clean Energy Transition In Developing Countries & Small Island States, CleanTechnica
- Broad coalition unveils $17.6 billion plan to rebuild Puerto Rico’s grid, PV Magazine
Under the leadership of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Puerto Rico Energy Resiliency Working Group (PRERWG) released a 63-page plan to build a more resilient power system for the U.S. territory, following the devastation by two hurricanes earlier this year.
- Energy storage sees significant growth as more utilities include it in long-term plans, Utility Dive Deployments grew 46% in the third quarter and are expected to rise nearly nine-fold by 2022, GTM and ESA report.
- Almost half of all U.S. electricity customers have smart meters: EIA, American Public Power Association
- San Francisco’s transit system announces wind deal, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog
Written by Mike Hughlett, Minneapolis Star Tribune,
Published by Wisconsin State Journal
Wind service technician is by far the fastest-growing occupation in the country, with an expected growth rate of 108 percent between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The agency says the median annual pay for a wind service technician in 2016 was $52,260.
[Will] Osborn, a 43-year-old Nebraska native, served 12 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, and afterward got a wind turbine technical degree from a community college. He’s been working for Vestas since 2011 and is the company’s lead technician at the Black Oak wind farm near Sauk Centre. Click here to read more.
Photo:: Nebraska native Will Osborn, left, and Shane Keck work on a wind sensor that was out of alignment while Chris Berg works inside near Sauk Centre, Minnesota. Credit: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
- David Barnhill: Green jobs essential for state’s future, Madison.Com. David Barnhill is emeritus director of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where he taught a senior seminar in climate change.
- From Paris to Bonn to Iowa, we must keep America’s clean energy economy on track, Des Moines Register, Iowa View Contributor: Troy Van Beek is a former Navy SEAL and the founder of Ideal Energy, a veteran-owned solar energy company based in Fairfield.
- Iowa airports going green, saving on energy costs, The Gazette. When the next phase of a $50 million remodeling of the passenger terminal at the Eastern Iowa Airport is completed, 738 solar panels mounted on the roof will reduce energy costs along with a geothermal heating and cooling system.
- CU Boulder team gets $2 million grant to study energy use in homes, Denver Business Journal
- Has California built its last natural gas plant?, Utility Dive
- Montana utility considers closing coal plant, Utility Dive
- Clean, Green & Renewable Energy: Environment America Programs
- Solar power’s popularity is on the rise in Saskatchewan, Regina Leader-Post
- Mexico: Third auction sees 1.3 GW of contracted solar capacity, PV Magazine. Solar was awarded 55% of the contracted energy and 58.3% of the clean energy certificates in Mexico’s latest auction. It concluded with an average price of $20.57/MWh, which represents a world record.
- Clean Energy: Reinventing Japanese power, New Straits Times
- At least 40% of the world’s power will come from renewable sources by 2040 — here are the companies leading the charge, Business Insider
- Proposed alliance to phase out coal focusing on increasing renewable energy, such as hydro, Hydro World
- 10 Facts About Solar Energy That Might Surprise You, The Social Fool / The Motley Fool
- Global investments in new energy storage capacity to tally US$103 billion between 2016 and 2030, a new BNEF report says, Canadian Manufacturing
- BNEF Predicts Explosive Energy Storage Growth On Both Sides Of The Meter, CleanTechnica
American Wind Energy Association Press Release
Joint filing from broad array of groups takes aim at financial “Beneficiaries” as the only entities to support the DOE proposal – and whose filings fail to establish that the proposed subsidies are needed or legally valid. Read more here.
- NV Energy boasts ‘lowest-cost’ PPAs for 2 proposed solar projects, Utility Dive
- Strong winds blow away records across the U.S., Into the Wind, AWEA Blog
- As solar booms in Michigan, townships tackle land use questions, Midwest Energy News
- Wells Fargo Powered By 100% Renewables Across The World, North American Wind Power
- ESA: US grid, economy, jobs to benefit from 35GW of energy storage by 2025, Energy Storage Association News
- Download Report: 35×25: A Vision for Energy Storage
- Energy storage gets a bigger seat at the utility planning table, Utility Dive
The growing inclusion of storage in integrated resource plans is, to some extent, the next step in the evolution of the technology at utility-scale.
- New Zealand plans to power its grid with 100% renewables by 2025, Inhabitat
- 100% Renewable Electricity to Power the World by 2050? It’s Happening, Study Says, EcoWatch
- House passes hydropower bill backed by Association, American Public Power
WASHINGTON – Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced [yesterday] that USDA is investing $2.5 billion in rural electric infrastructure improvements to help create jobs and support economic development in 27 states.
“These significant investments will help develop and maintain modern, reliable electric infrastructure that businesses and rural communities need in a 21st Century economy,” Perdue said. “The loans I am announcing today will help utilities and cooperatives build new transmission and distribution lines, upgrade networks and facilities, and better manage the power grid.” Click here to read more.
Midwest States Receiving USDA Electric Loans: Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin
ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST
- Military microgrid spending could top $1B annually by 2026, Navigant finds, Utility Dive
The United States military uses more petroleum than any other entity in the world, but over the next 10 years it plans to ramp up its microgrid spending in an effort to reduce fossil fuel dependence, according to a new report from Navigant Research.
- Empire District Electric Company has filed an application with the Missouri Public Service Commission requesting permission to construct a $1,5 billion wind energy project in Southwest Missouri and eventually close the Asbury coal plant, Joplin Globe
- Dutch pension fund invests $384 million in three U.S. projects, PV Magazine
- Portland General to spend up to $100M for 39 MW of energy storage, Utility Dive
- Policies for energy storage continue to move forward during Q3, PV Magazine
- Taylor Community School Corporation unveils finished solar park, Kokomo Tribune
- What midsize firms can learn from Organic Valley’s community solar deal, GreenBiz
- Bill would allow Tesla to open dealerships in Wisconsin, enabling the electric car manufacturer to sell its vehicles directly to customers, WBAY
- Bennet Leads Effort to Ensure Federal Funding Can Be Used to Rebuild More Resilient and Clean Energy Systems After Disasters, Energy Storage Association News
- Listen Up: Designing a Reliable Electric Grid, by The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World
The People’s Film Festival: An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power will be shown Monday, November 6th at 7pm in the Common Room at First Unitarian Church, 3114 Harney Street in Omaha.
By Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News
It’s rare to see millennials attending a PUC hearing, or even someone not on the payroll of an organization involved in the process. But administrative law judge Ann O’Reilly accepted the argument by Youth Climate Intervenors that their generation will disproportionately feel the burden of climate change.
“In a landmark decision she granted us standing,” said Akilah Sanders-Reed, the 23-year-old who founded the group. “She acknowledged we (young people) had a stake in it and that we deserved a seat at the table. What that means is that the Youth Climate Intervenors have the same rights in that courtroom as Enbridge Energy does.” Read more here.
ALSO IN THE NEWS
- Solar costs to fall 60% over the next decade: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) forecasts as much as 90 GW of new solar additions annually across the globe over the next few years, driving a 60% reduction in costs, PV Magazine
- Facebook’s Nebraska Data Center Will be Powered by Wind, Renewable Energy Magazine
- Iowa lights way to a solar future as largest solar garden comes online: Known more for its wind than its solar resources, Alliant Energy Iowa has brought a 6.2 MW solar project online. PV Magazine
- Energy efficiency as a resource: The power of getting more from less, Utility Dive Guest Opinion by Ryan Katofsky, vice president, industry analysis, at national business group Advanced Energy Economy. This is the third in a 7-part series from AEE that addresses how the power sector can successfully transition to a 21st Century Electricity System.
- California allocates $55M for energy storage in low income neighborhoods, Utility Dive
- Sonnen seeks to work with US utilities, not replace them, Energy Storage News
- South Portland starts farming solar energy, The Forecaster. The new solar array is at the city’s 34-acre capped landfill at 929 Highland Ave., behind the transfer station and new public services facility.
- Solar record-breaking China aims for 50GW installed in 2017, Inhabitat
- World’s first floating wind farm goes online in Scotland, Inquirer
- Jeff Bezos smashing that champagne bottle: the story behind the story, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog
Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive
While the Trump Administration is taking a number of steps to bolster coal-fired generation and rescind climate regulations, electric utilities should prepare for a very low-carbon future, former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told Utility Dive at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas last week.
Despite the White House’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, “there is no going back on the fight against climate and the innovation prize is enormous,” Moniz said. “We are talking about multi-trillion-dollar markets. The real issue is that the U.S. needs to capture a big part of that market to keep its innovation edge.” Click here to read more.
ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST
- Universal energy access by 2030 is now within reach says IEA, Press Release, Renewable Energy Magazine
- New Texas wind farm is Amazon’s largest, Utility Dive
- The Corporate Renewables Market Is Ready for Smaller Buyers, Rocky Mountain Institute Outlet
- Clean Power Plan Repeal Won’t Stop Clean Energy Future in IL, Natural Resources Defense Council
- A Tidal Wave of Local Clean Energy in California, Rocky Mountain Institute Outlet
- Georgia Power Announces New Community Solar Program, Solar Industry
- New website: Shared Mobility Principles For Livable Cities. A consortium of transport experts, led by Zipcar cofounder Robin Chase, recently launched Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities to help guide urban decision makers and stakeholders toward new mobility options that benefit all.
- These City Bus Routes Are Going All Electric – and Saving Money, Inside Climate News
Electric bus startup Proterra is leading a shift away from diesel-powered public transit to help cities save money, improve health and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
- 4 Questions About Climate Change and the California Fires, Inside Climate News
- Devastation in Puerto Rico Could Produce a Revolutionary Power Grid, Brookings
- Butterfly Wings Could Lead the Way to More Efficient Solar Panels, Renewable Energy Magazine
- Tesla wins contract to supply Powerpacks at world’s first solar+wind+storage project, Electrek
- Listen Up: Running a Successful Local Solar Business, The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World
The company says it has powered small islands, such as Ta’u in American Samoa. There, it installed a solar grid which can power the entire island and store enough electricity for three days without any sun. “The Tesla team has done this for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico, too,” Mr Musk tweeted.
Click here to read more.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
- Elon Musk says Tesla can help rebuild Puerto Rico’s grid. Governor says ‘let’s talk,’ Utility Dive
- Storms Spur $22 Billion Investment in Battery-Packed Grids, Bloomberg
- California energy storage siting bill signed into law, Utility Dive
- Harvard survey: Only one-third of businesses have developed resiliency plans, Utility Dive
- How Target uses demand response to cut energy, supply chain costs: Target boasts 815 locations in 31 states enrolled in 140 different programs, Utility Dive
- After first year, on-bill financing by Michigan utility enabling bigger efficiency upgrades, Midwest Energy News
- Minnesota solar garden program passes 100-megawatt milestone, with 180 more community solar projects in the design and construction phase. The Community Solar Garden program was created by the legislature and launched in 2014, Star Tribune
- Xcel claims nation’s largest community solar capacity, PV Magazine
- Editorial praises Ameren Missouri’s announcement that it will add at least 700 megawatts of wind generation by 2020, The Missourian
- IEA: Renewable electricity set to grow 40 per cent globally by 2022, Eco-Business
- China leading in green energy growth, China Daily
Right Light is a free app that helps you choose the right energy-efficient LED bulbs for your purposes.
By Jennifer Deloney, Associate Editor, Renewable Energy World
A new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) said that innovation is enabling more corporate solar procurement, with new purchasing models, declining costs, and increased interest by corporate purchasers driving this segment.
NREL said that as of July, corporate customers have contracted for more than 2,300 MW of utility-scale solar PV. In addition, corporate procurement of utility-scale solar PV grew from about 1 percent of annual installed utility scale capacity in 2014 to 9 percent in 2016, and it accounted for 17 percent so far this year. Click here to learn more.
ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST
- Why It’s time to fully embrace America’s energy grid diversification, Utility Dive Guest Opinion
U.S. regulators should help drive more distributed resources into the grid, ICF’s Philip Mihlmester writes, recommending how they can do so to the benefit of energy consumers and utilities.
- Grid resilience depends on distribution-scale solar, GreenBiz
- Trio of new bills in Congress aim to support energy storage deployment, Utility Dive
- Senators want more than $1 billion to promote energy storage answers, PV Magazine
- 4 Utilities Betting Billions on Renewable Energy, Madison State Journal
- New Climate Action Financing Platform Announced by World Bank and UN, SDG Knowledge Hub
- Accelerating The Global Transition To 100% Renewable Energy, Clean Technica
- Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races, The Guardian
- 6 Ways to Encourage American Solar Manufacturing Without Import Duties, Greentech Media
- Suniva, SolarWorld offer revised proposals for trade action, PV Magazine
- As DiCaprio’s Foundation Grows, New Grants to Solar, Lions and More, Inside Philanthropy
By Katie Stevenson, News Editor, Northwest Missourian
“Tenaska is developing a 200 to 300-megawatt wind project near Maryville in Nodaway County,” Ten Kley [Director of Strategic Development & Acquisitions at Tenaska] said. “Since we first started talking to landowners in April, we have signed agreements for the majority of the acres needed to construct the project, and we are driving toward completion of our leasing efforts.”
The Tenaska wind farm will boost the local economy, according to Ten Kley. The total estimated construction will cost between $200 million to $300 million but will also increase tax revenue to the local government. Continue reading.
Photo: Tenaska Headquarters in Omaha
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
- Tenaska energy crucial for Maryville, Opinion, Northwest Missourian
- National Clean Energy Week: What wind power means to rural America, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog
- Renewable energy works for Iowa: Guest View by Warren McKenna, Manager of Farmers Electric Cooperative in Kalona, Quad City Times
- Mid-Michigan church shows off solar project, answers questions, WILX
- Mich. Utility Flips Switch On Community Solar Garden, Solar Industry
- KVCC wind turbine program still an industry leader after 8 years, Michigan Live
- Through small-scale test runs in Illinois, Ameren experiments with self-sufficient microgrid,
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
- How advocates helped lead Michigan’s capital city to a future without coal, Midwest Energy News
- Mountain West Transmission Group moves to join SPP, Utility Dive
- Battery Storage Still Needs Solar for Growth: Some solar-charged storage units qualify for federal subsidy, Bloomberg Markets
- First Fully Geothermal Community in US Located in Georgia, Renewable Energy Magazine
- Metro Transit getting 3 all-electric buses in 2019, Wisconsin State Journal
- North Carolina joins climate alliance to meet Paris accord target, Utility Dive
- Solar Panel Tariff Threat: 8 Questions Homeowners Are Asking, Inside Climate News
A 15 percent jump in residential solar system prices would be more likely, based on the latest average price figures from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
- Argentina to extend exemption from custom duties for solar imports until the end of 2018,
PV Magazine International