Tag Archives: U.S. renewable energy development

Canadian company reboots northern Minnesota solar panel factory

By Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Ontario-based Heliene, Inc. has begun operations in a 25,000-square-foot factory in Mountain Iron, a city of nearly 3,000 people on Minnesota’s Iron Range, and it plans to hire 130 employees by September . . . Minnesota’s growing community solar garden program, the largest in the country, has been a boon for the company, and Illinois may represent the next big market for Heliene.  Read more here.

Thinkstock Photo

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS

WEC Energy bets on solar, wind and natural gas. So, what about coal?, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin Public Service, the subsidiary of WEC Energy Group that operates in northeastern Wisconsin, and Madison Gas and Electric plan to invest a total of $390 million to buy 300 megawatts of generating capacity — enough electricity for more than 70,000 residential customers — in two solar power projects . . . WEC also plans to invest $424 million in wind projects in Illinois and Nebraska that will sell power to other companies.

MORE NEWS & COMMENTARY FROM OTHER STATES

FEATURED RESOURCE: LOW-INCOME SOLAR POLICY GUIDE

The Low-Income Solar Policy Guide was originally developed and launched in 2016 by nonprofits GRID AlternativesVote Solar, and the Center for Social Inclusion, to help drive the proposal and adoption of new low-income solar policies and programs, both as stand-alone efforts and as part of broader renewable energy programs. GRID Alternatives and Vote Solar are current contributing partners to the Guide. It is meant to be a tool for policymakers, community leaders and others who are working on solar access at the federal, state and local level.
Resources Include:
Financing
Federal And State Tax Credits
Grants And Technical Assistance

NEW EV ANALYSIS

Electric vs. Diesel vs. Natural Gas: Which Bus is Best for the Climate?, by Jimmy O’Dea, Vehicles Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists

GLOBAL NEWS

No Longer a Novelty, Clean Energy Technologies Boom All Across the US

By Julia Pyper, Greentech Media

Today, renewable energy is taking off in virtually every state in the nation. A new report and interactive map released this week by Environment America takes stock of U.S. clean energy progress to date. It finds that leadership is no longer concentrated in select parts of the country, but that it is distributed across states with varying economic and democratic makeups. “You’re seeing an evolution that’s happening everywhere; and it will be interesting to see what will happen 10 years from now,” [Rob Sargent, energy program leader at Environment America] said. The “Renewables on the Rise” report highlights how much has changed in a relatively short period of time, which can be easy to forget.

Read more here.

According to the report, Nebraska is 10th in the nation in wind-energy development. 

St. Louis sets 100 percent renewable energy target

By Alexander Laska, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Add it to the list – another city has made a 100 percent renewable energy pledge. On Friday, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen passed a measure to power the city entirely on renewables by 2035. In doing so, St. Louis became the 47th city – and the largest in the Midwest so far – to make a 100 percent clean energy commitment. Other major cities to announce 100 percent commitments include Atlanta, San Diego, Salt Lake City, and Chicago. Some cities – such as Aspen, Colorado; Burlington, Vermont; and Georgetown, Texas – have already hit their targets.

Click here to read more.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Fortune 500’s, traditional utilities: Everyone is buying wind power

 By Tom Kiernan, CEO, American Wind Energy Association
Huffington Post Contributor

Our research team ran the numbers, and the wind industry’s third quarter results paint a clear picture: wind power is in high demand across all sectors of the electricity market. Look no further than American Electric Power’s (AEP) Wind Catcher project in Oklahoma, announced during the third quarter. It will be one of the world’s largest wind farms once completed. “There’s a rebalancing of the generation resources, not only in our company but in this country, that’s going on,” said Nick Akins, the chief executive of AEP. “This project is consistent with our strategy of investing in the energy resources of the future, and it will save our customers money while providing economic benefits to communities.”

Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

WIND ENERGY RESOURCES

Moniz: Utilities should prepare for very low carbon future

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

AWEA’s Second Quarter 2017 Report: Top 5 story lines

By Hannah Hunt, Into the Wind, American Wind Energy Association Blog

Among the story lines:

  1. The U.S. wind industry reported 25,819 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity under construction or in advanced development during the second quarter, a 41 percent increase over this time last year. That includes a combined 3,841 MW in new announcements. And nearly 80 percent of that activity is found in the Midwest, Texas and the Mountain West.
  2. Kansas just became the fifth state to surpass 5,000 MW of installed capacity, with enough wind power to supply 1.5 million average homes. Kansas wind supports nearly 6,000 in-state jobs and makes lease payments up to $15 million a year to its farmers and ranchers for hosting turbines.

Read more about the report’s top 5 story lines here.

Referenced in Hannah Hunt’s article:
Gov. Brownback: Wind power could supply 50 percent of Kansas electricity
Kansas has proven it can quickly develop its wind power potential. In 2011, wind created only eight percent of the state’s electricity, only a third of what it does today. This growth has been good for the state’s families and businesses, helping them keep more money in their pockets while supporting up to 6,000 well-paying jobs. Through 2050, wind could save consumers over $1.6 billion on their electric bills, on top of nearly $4 billion in savings resulting from protection against conventional fuel price fluctuations.

Also referenced in the article: Winds of Change video from Westar Energy that shows how wind energy is benefiting Kansas families and businesses. Click image to watch it.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Wind Power: Propelling America into the 21st century, Into the Wind

Renewable Energy Booming after a Decade of Progress

Environment America News Release

The United States generates nearly eight times as much electricity from the sun and the wind than it did in 2007 – enough to power more than 25 million homes – and the average American uses 10 percent less energy than he or she did 10 years ago, according to a new report by Environment America Research and Policy Center. The report, Renewables on the Rise: A Decade of Progress Toward a Clean Energy Future, also cites a 20-fold increase in battery storage of electricity and the meteoric rise in sales of electric cars – from virtually none in 2007 to nearly 160,000 last year – as evidence that despite attempted rollbacks in Washington, a clean energy revolution is under way across the U.S. Read the entire release.

Download the Report

California is shattering solar records. This bill could take renewable energy to the next level.

By Sammy Roth, The Desert Sun

Introduced by Assembly member Kevin Mullin, D-San Mateo, the bill would create a “clean peak energy standard” for California utilities. By 2029, utilities like Southern California Edison, PG&E and SDG&E would be required to get 40 percent of their energy from clean sources during “peak demand” periods — the handful of hours each day when homes and businesses use the most energy — on at least 15 days each month. That requirement would encourage the development of battery storage systems, which could soak up excess solar generation during the middle of the day and release that energy onto the grid after sundown, reducing the need for gas plants. The bill could also speed the adoption of energy efficiency and conservation programs that reduce electricity use during peak periods. Click here to read more. 

Photo by Jay Calderon, The Desert Sun: NextEra’s 250-megawatt McCoy solar project, just west of Blythe, California.

MORE GOOD NEWS  

NRDC Report: Replacing Coal with Renewables and Energy Efficiency Can Lead U.S. to Cleaner Future

Press release excerpt

“The shift away from coal, and the ongoing retirement of aging coal plants, presents our country with an historic opportunity,” said Starla Yeh, the report’s co-author and a senior policy analyst in NRDC’s Climate and Clean Air Program. “The U.S. is perfectly positioned to lead a global transition to clean energy, modernize its electricity grid, enlist tens of thousands of Americans in new efficiency and clean energy jobs—and help protect the planet from climate devastation.”

Even Robert Murray, CEO of the largest U.S. private coal miner, said earlier this year that coal employment “can’t be brought back to where it was before the election of Barack Obama.” And Brian Corbett, spokesman for DTE Energy which provides electricity to several million customers in Michigan, has said: “Many of our coal plants are aging and need to be replaced with cleaner, modern generating technologies, which is what our customers are asking of us and we plan to continue working to achieve these goals.” Read the entire release here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, NRDC lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment.

Community solar exploding in Minnesota

Minnesota Community Solar

1,003 community solar proposals are awaiting action from Xcel Energy, Minnesota’s largest electric utility. 

Written by Daniel Cusick, Climate Wire. Republished by Midwest Energy News

“It’s bigger than anyone ever anticipated, and bigger things are coming,” said [Ellen] Anderson, who, before joining academia, spent decades working on Minnesota energy policy as a state senator, as chairwoman of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and as senior policy adviser to Gov. Mark Dayton (D).

Anderson was among the more than 80 people, both experts and neophytes, gathered here last week for the last of four regional workshops on community solar sponsored by the Department of Energy’s National Community Solar Partnership. Click to read more.

National Community Solar Partnership

Photo: The community solar garden is just one model of solar energy project developing around the state; the electrical cooperative is another. This array of panels in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota was built by Lake Region Electric Cooperative workers. Credit: Ann Arbor Miller | MPR News file

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED VIEWING & READING
Nebraska working to catch up on wind energy, KETV video
North American leaders to pledge more reliance on renewables, Associated Press / Nebraska TV. “The transformation of the American energy sector that’s underway is going to continue,” [Brian Deese, senior adviser to President Obama] said. “That has been driven by some of the policy choices this president has made, but it’s also being driven by market forces that are bringing down the cost of clean energy at rates that even the smartest analysts weren’t predicting only a couple of years ago.”
Obama To Set New Clean Energy Goal: 50 Percent Carbon-Free Power By 2025, NET Nebraska
Dialogue before dispute: Clean energy groups call on regulators for uniform rate design approach: Over 30 consumer, renewable energy and environmental groups are calling on NARUC to set a ‘holistic’ model for rate reforms, Utility Dive
Survey: Global interest in efficiency at ‘all-time high’, Utility Dive
The new EV playbook: How utilities can gain from the coming boom in electric vehicles: Electric vehicles can offer grid services at bargain prices of charging is done when and where utilities need it, Utility Dive
Resilient Cities: Some Great Examples, EDM Digest