Tag Archives: Rocky Mountain Institute

Steps to success for utilities moving into community solar projects – Featuring Fremont’s solar farms

By Kim Riley, Daily Energy Insider

U.S. electric utility companies plan new or additional renewable energy investments, particularly in solar, thanks to the enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which retained renewable energy development incentives, according to industry analysts . . . Among the many shared renewable energy models is the utility-sponsored model in which utilities provide customers with the option to purchase renewable energy from a shared facility at a fixed rate (which might be a bit higher than the current retail rate) for a set term (usually a number of years, say 10 or 20 years) that’s designed to provide protection and stability against rising rates for grid electricity, SEIA says. Brian Newton, city administrator and general utility manager for the City of Fremont, Neb., convinced local officials and residents with tweaks to the utility-sponsored model that the adoption of renewable energy was a smart choice for their rural town, which is located about 35 miles northwest of Omaha, population roughly 27,000. Read more here.

Photo Courtesy of Troy Schaben, Assistant City Administrator, Fremont Department of Utilities: Fremont’s First Solar Farm. The city’s second solar farm is being built by GenPro Energy Solutions.

RELATED READING
Fremont moves forward on second solar farm due to high demand, by James Farrell, Fremont Tribune

FREE RESOURCES

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

OF POTENTIAL INTEREST TO FAITH COMMUNITIES

Interfaith Power & Light’s 2018 Faith Climate Action Week starts tomorrow, April 14th. A kit accompanies this event, which includes everything faith communities need to implement Climate Action Week activities. The kit can be used any time during 2018. Everyone who participates in Faith Climate Action Week will receive an invitation to a special webinar with Happening filmmaker Jamie Redford and Climate Champion NV State Senator Pat Spearman on April 20th.

To learn more and download the free kit, click here.

New Rocky Mountain Institute Report: The Progress and Potential for Community-Scale Solar

The Rocky Mountain Institute believes the Community-Scale Solar (CSS) segment sits in an economic sweet spot in the market and represents an economic opportunity of as much as $30 billion. Read more here.

Thinkstock Photo – RMI

NEWS FROM OTHER NEIGHBORING STATES

GLOBAL NEWS
Visa Commits to 100% Renewable Electricity by End of 2019: Supports industry progress by joining RE100 Initiative and Business Renewables Center, signing Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles.

This initiative could counteract the impact of the U.S. solar tariffs

Written by Heather Clancy, GreenBiz

The initiative could have a particularly profound impact for on-site or smaller community-scale projects ranging from 1 megawatt to 10 MWs in size, according to the RMI team. “The corporate buyer will get a lower cost over time,” said Kiernan Coleman, senior associate at
RMI . . . RMI CEO Jules Kortenhorst likened the effort to the Department of Energy’s highly successful SunShot Initiative — formed back in 2011 with the aim of cutting the costs of solar energy by 75 percent. Read more here.

Photo: Kearney Community Solar

RMI Press Release Announcing The Initiative
2018 Solar Cost Reductions Will Offset Impact of New Tariffs on Panel Prices

Modular, pre-engineered and pre-assembled solar product to lower costs by additional $0.20/Wp in 2018, according to Rocky Mountain Institute and industry leaders.

Boulder, Colorado – Rocky Mountain Institute and 35 solar energy industry leaders committed to develop an ultra-low-cost solar product able to operate in a variety of environments at fully installed costs as low as $0.50/Wp. Participants at the Rocky Mountain Institute-hosted event, representing at least 15 gigawatts of solar capacity—equivalent to the capacity of 25 average-sized coal plants—identified an opportunity to reduce costs by $0.20/Wp in 2018 alone. Reducing costs at this scale would mitigate the effect of newly applied trade restrictions on solar components, keeping the solar energy industry on a maintained cost-reduction pathway. Continue reading here.

Wp (watt peak capacity) = a solar panel’s maximum power output under optimal conditions.  1,000 Wp = 1 kWp.

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

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

GM Makes Its Largest Green Energy Purchase To Date

cq5dam-web-1280-1280DETROIT — General Motors has made its largest renewable energy procurement to date, purchasing enough wind power to equal the electricity needs of 16 of its U.S. facilities, including business offices in Fort Worth and Austin, Texas, a major assembly and stamping complex in Arlington, Texas, and 13 parts warehouses east of the Mississippi River . . . “GM’s commitment to renewable energy is helping transform the way electricity is produced, distributed and consumed around the world, and we’re doing it in a way that makes our company and communities stronger,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM global manager of Renewable Energy.

Read the entire news release.

Photo: Wind farm from which General Motors procures green energy through a power purchase agreement for the corporation’s manufacturing operations in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Business Renewables Center
General Motors is a founding member of the Business Renewables Center (BRC), an organization backed by the Rocky Mountain Institute. The mission of BRC’s nearly 160 members is to streamline and accelerate corporate purchasing of large-scale wind and solar energy. Nearly two-thirds of Fortune 100 and nearly half of Fortune 500 companies have set ambitious renewable energy or related sustainability targets. General Motors has the goal of sourcing 100% of its energy from renewables.

Tesla-SolarCity Merger Talks Are Only The Tip of the Energy Cloud

By Dexter Gauntlett, Renewable Energy World

EnergyCloudThe Tesla-SolarCity proposed merger is really just the tip of the energy cloud: “This emerging energy cloud landscape, a concept that borrows from cloud computing, represents a range of technical, commercial, environmental, and regulatory changes that challenge the traditional hub-and-spoke grid architecture.” [Elon Musk]. Click to read more.

In an upcoming webinar titled The Integrated DER Ecosystem, Navigant Research and two industry leaders, SolarCity and Generate Capital, will discuss how these bundling trends, in addition to other advances in the DER landscape, present opportunities and challenges in the market. The transition to the energy cloud is a bumpy path, but it is already redefining the grid architecture and customer relationships of the future.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
The US has 10GW of Utility-Scale PV Projects Under Construction: It took decades to install the first 10 cumulative gigawatts of PV. Now we’re going to see that figure matched in a matter of months. Greentech Media
Solar Contagion and Lessons for Other Energy Upgrades, Rocky Mountain Institute
Experts: Growth of renewables in energy mix highlights need for grid modernization, Daily Energy Insider
What If All U.S. Coal Workers Were Retrained to Work in Solar?, Harvard Business Review
Hampshire College is first U.S. college to go 100% solar, estimating that it will save up to $400,000 per year, WDTN

Beatrice moves toward wind energy

By Alex Zorn, Beatrice Daily Sun

brokenbow1

The city of Beatrice is taking the first step in planning a local wind power generation facility. The City Council approved an application at its Monday meeting for Nebraska Public Power District to do a review of electrical capacity and transmission, in order to assess the feasibility of a wind generation facility. The application was originally recommended by the Board of Public Works at a prior meeting and is the first step in what will be an ongoing process. Click to read more. 

Photo: Wind-farm turbine near the small, centrally-located city of Broken Bow. Credit: Caroline Jezierski

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Refining Nebraska’s approach to economic development, Plattsmouth Journal / Fremont Tribune
6 Signs The Big Global Switch To Solar Has Already Begun, Oil Price.Com
Solar Working for All Americans, Solar Energy Industries Association Blog
10 Reasons Why We Love Community Solar, Forbes
Iowa City Climate Action Plan: Creating a Regenerative City In The Heartland, Huffington Post
Hundreds Rally in Chicago to Support the EPA’s Clean Energy Incentive Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
How Electrifying Railroads Could Help Us Transition from Fossil Fuels and Power Rural Economies, In These Times / Rural America Post
How Kansas City became the EV mecca of the Midwest, ClimateWire, E&E Publishing
Electric Vehicles: How to make a clean car even cleaner, ClimateWire, E&E Publishing
Tesla and SolarCity to Combine, SolarCity Media Release
Alliant Energy Announces $1 Billion Wind Project, Transmission & Distribution World Magazine
Alliant pursues wind energy plans in Wisconsin after major Iowa wind investment, Utility Dive
An Energy Storage Mandate Could Be Coming Soon to Massachusetts, Greentech Media
Energy Storage Procurement Guidance Documents for MunicipalitiesClean Energy States Alliance
Report Release: An Integrative Business Model for Net Zero Energy Districts, Rocky Mountain Institute  

Minnesota advocates ‘pleasantly surprised’ with new U.S. Bancorp climate policy

Written by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

us-bank

Minnesota climate activists say they are “pleasantly surprised” after Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp issued a new environmental policy in June that will reduce lending for coal-fired power plants, coal mines and other environmentally harmful projects. Two bank officials have been meeting with MN350 members for the past several months on a new environmental policy that would discourage lending to fossil fuel interests. Advocates say the policy move — which they add could be stronger — is important because U.S. Bancorp (the parent company of U.S. Bank) is one of the largest financial services companies in the United States. Click to read more.

Photo: Climate activists outside U.S. Bancorp’s headquarters in Minneapolis. Credit: MN350

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Deutsche Bank Pulls Back from Deals in Coal-Mining Sector, The New York Times
Solar energy powers Iowa jobs, The Gazette
North Dakota panel approves proposed $250 million wind farm, Bismarck Tribune
Regulators pave way for 102-megawatt wind farm in western Wisconsin, Journal Sentinel
Sonnen Launches a Home Battery for Self-Consumption at a 40% Reduced Cost, GreenTech Media
22 Proposed Microgrid Sites in Boston Could Save $1 Billion, Microgrid Knowledge
Student prompts schools to consider renewable energy, Winston-Salem Journal
Could Net-Zero Energy Schools Improve Children’s Education?, Rocky Mountain Institute
Solar car team prepares for race at Homestead, Beatrice Daily Sun
Utilities rebuild an aging lexicon to keep pace with change, EnergyWire

The first step to community solar for all

By Kieran Coleman and Laurie Guevara-Stone. Posted on Green Biz. First published by Rocky Mountain Institute

boardmansolarfarm

Communities are a critical actor in the global effort to combat climate change. More than 1,000 locally elected officials from around the world were present at the Paris Climate Conference talks. Their voices, representing distant communities, were widely recognized as drivers of the international agreement. In the United States, communities and governments continue to drive toward more sustainable, inclusive economies by leveraging local solar power — most recently, in the form of community-scale solar. A unique benefit of community-scale solar projects is their very community orientation, which enables “community-supported development.” . Continue reading.

Photo: Aerial view of Boardman Hill Solar Farm in Rutland, Vermont.

New U.S. Map Shows Where Companies Can Buy Renewable Energy Through the Grid

Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance / World Resources Institute

REBA map

The Corporate Renewable Strategy Map reveals where large energy buyers can access the renewable energy they want at the scale they need through their utility. This interactive tool tracks their options in different states.

Companies can use this map to consider siting new facilities and to prioritize their renewable energy purchasing strategies. It highlights green tariff programs and other utility energy products that allow customers to meet their clean energy goals and lower electricity costs.
It compares each product to the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles.

Buyers’ Principles signatories, including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, GM, Yahoo, IKEA and approximately 100 others, need to buy nearly 44 million megawatt hours of renewable energy across the US by 2020. States that offer products can compete for this economic development, and companies can more effectively access this information using the interactive Corporate Renewable Strategy Map and other Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) resources.

Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
New U.S. Map Shows Companies Where to Buy the Renewable Energy They Want, World Resources Institute
A New Chapter for Renewable Energy Buyers, Rocky Mountain Institute