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’s2017 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 hereto read more.
Photo: Mountain View Solar in Maryland collaborates with a local community college on a summer internship program.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.