Monthly Archives: March 2019

Midlands Voices: Don’t just rebuild after the flooding. Rethink.

The writer, Josh Moenning, is the mayor of Norfolk, Nebraska.
Midlands Voices, Omaha World-Herald

Rural Nebraska is staring into the face of a herculean rebuilding effort. But what if we looked at this huge lift, this daunting work toward
recovery, as a chance for reinvestment in our future? What if we used this opportunity not just to rebuild, but to rethink and revitalize rural
Nebraska?

Read more here.

4 Ways Local Solar Projects Benefit Cities

By Lacey Shaver, World Resources Institute Blog

When a city decides to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, headlines follow. But the work has only just begun. Cities have many options for generating and purchasing renewable electricity, each of which comes with distinct benefits and challenges. Read more here.

Flickr Photo: Black Rock Solar

About the Renewables Accelerator
Together with Bloomberg Philanthropies, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, World Resources Institute formed the American Cities Climate Challenge Renewables Accelerator to provide technical support to all U.S. cities as they explore new and innovative strategies for procuring renewable energy to meet their goals. Tools and Resources.

THE NEW REBA PROGRAM

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Clean energy groups bring models to a modeling fight

By William Driscoll, PV Magazine

In states with a weak renewables standard, or none at all, a key battle over an electric utility’s solar deployment plan is fought in a regulatory proceeding triggered by the utility’s filing of an integrated resource plan (IRP)—at least in the 33 states that require utility IRPs.

In theory, to develop an IRP, a utility uses an optimization model that spits out the least-cost mix of future generation resources to meet projected demand, plus a reserve margin.  As prices for solar, wind, and storage fall, you would expect to see these plans reflecting an increasing percentage of renewable generation. Yet a utility controls the inputs to the model, and selects which scenarios to consider, so it can skew the model results in ways that disadvantage solar and other clean energy resources. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Rob Davis, Fresh Energy 

Understanding IRPs: How Utilities Plan for the Future, AEE Blog

William Driscoll, MPA, JD, is an energy and environmental policy analyst who has worked primarily for the United States Environmental Protection Agency via the firm ICF Consulting.
More articles from William Driscoll

Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance Expanding Membership Opportunities

Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance News Release, PR Newswire

Google, Facebook, General Motors and Walmart, along with over 300 other companies, launched the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) today—the largest group of corporate renewable energy buyers in the United States. By working to unlock the marketplace for organizations to buy renewable energy, REBA hopes to bring more than 60 gigawatts of new renewables online in the United States by 2025. Read more here.

Recommended Viewing
What is REBA?, Two-minute video by REBA on Vimeo.

MORE ABOUT REBA’S MISSION & NEW MEMBERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES 

Since 2014, the REBA community has grown to over 200 large energy buyers, and over 150 clean energy developers and service providers. Participants in the REBA community have been a part of 95% of all large-scale US corporate renewable energy deals to date.

With dedicated expertise from four successful nonprofit programs that have helped organizations break through barriers in renewable energy procurement in recent years, REBA’s goal is to catalyze 60 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy by 2025, and expand the number of organizations buying clean power from dozens today to tens of thousands.

In 2018, four leading NGOS — Rocky Mountain InstituteWorld Wildlife FundWorld Resources Institute, and Business for Social Responsibility — merged their renewable energy programs, the Business Renewables Center, the Future of Internet Power, the Buyers Principles, and Green Tariff programs. This programmatic consolidation builds upon their collective success and offers a single streamlined solution.

Today’s REBA seeks to grow the market for end-user backed renewables from dozens to thousands of organizations nationwide, while advocating for an energy system that meets the needs of all.

REBA is a national membership association open to all non-residential energy buyers, supporting the entire clean energy transaction involving buyers, developers, and service providers of renewable energy.

REBA also collaborates with nonprofits, governments, and universities. Discounted membership pricing is available, as well as partnership opportunities.

Visit the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance website to learn more: www.rebuyers.org 

Statement: House leaders unveil bill to help U.S. meet Paris Climate Agreement goals

Environment America News Release

Today leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives announced the
introduction this week of H.R. 9: The Climate Action Now Act.

“The United States is uniquely capable of developing and implementing the solutions we need — transitioning to a society completely powered by clean energy, electrifying our cars, and expanding mass transit and bike lanes. We have the research universities and institutions, the renewable energy technology, and most of all, the indomitable spirit of innovation that has powered America for more than 200 years. All we need is the political will to make it happen.

This bill is just a first step in solving the climate crisis and maintaining our global standing. We sincerely hope this is a building block on our road to a 100 percent carbon-neutral future, which is what science tells us is crucial to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.  Environment America looks forward to working with these leaders and anybody — no matter their political party or where they’re from — who wants to join the effort.” Read the entire statement here.

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA’S  CLIMATE ACTION RESOURCES

Environment America’s priorities are working to urge campuses, cities and states to lead the way to 100% renewable power, go big on solar, and harness the abundant wind power off the Atlantic coast. Environment America’s 100% Renewable campaign is focused on three arenas: college and university campuses, cities and states, and Congress.

Learn more about Environment America’s Clean, Green & Renewable Energy campaigns here.

Previously Posted
Mayors join call for more solar power, Norfolk Daily News

Enel Green Power acquires US renewable developer Tradewind Energy

News Release, Enel Green Power

Enel Green Power has closed an agreement today to purchase Kansas-based renewable developer Tradewind Energy, Inc. Under the agreement, EGP purchased all of Tradewind’s development platform comprising of 13 GW of wind, solar and storage projects located throughout the US. Read more here.

Tradewind Energy Photo: Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm in Dixon County, Nebraska

Additional Recommended Reading

Enel acquires US developer Tradewind, by David Weston, Wind Power Monthly
The Kansas-based developer Tradewind has worked with Enel in the US since 2006, on a number of major wind projects across the US. Roughly 3.9GW of Enel’s North American operating wind portfolio was developed by Tradewind. This included the 400MW Cimarron Bend project in Kansas, and the 200MW Rattlesnake Creek site in Nebraska, which is providing power to social media giant Facebook

More About the Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm
The 101–turbine Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm was constructed by Enel Green Power and is located between the towns of Allen, Emerson, and Wakefield in Dixon County. The wind farm became operational December 18, 2018. Maximum capacity is 318,150 kilowatts (or 318.15 megawatts), enough power for approximately 90,000 homes. Facebook is planning to purchase 200 megawatts.
Source: Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Energy Office

How the Green New Deal Can Unify Rather than Divide Us

Written by Ken Kimmel, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists

The “Green New Deal,” which seemed to spring out of nowhere, has captured the attention of many of us who recognize that the need to prevent runaway climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. Its inspiring title calls to mind an era when our country worked together to pull out of a depression. Its main proponents are young people—who better than the up-and-coming generation to demand that the former one leaves behind a world that is habitable? And, it calls for action on a scale that aligns with the best available science.

Unfortunately, many who oppose acting on climate change are using the Green New Deal as a political football . . . Those of us who want the United States to lead on climate change, whether such action is called a Green New Deal, or another inspiring frame (e.g., 100% clean energy by mid-century) must not let this happen. The key is to define the Green New Deal before the caricatures stick, by showing that, while it is ambitious, it is realistic and affordable. We can succeed if we follow these principles: Continue reading here.

Previously posted YouTube video exemplifying local “micro” Green New Deals sprouting up all across the country: How one small city sowed the seeds for its own Green New Deal

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Puerto Rico passes 100% renewable energy bill as it aims for storm resilience, Utility Dive
The U.S. territory will join Hawaii, California and Washington, D.C., with its 100% RPS target, which includes interim goals of 40% renewables by 2025 and 50% by 2040. Photo Credit: Flickr user Ricardo’s Photography

NEW REPORT

Battery Power’s Latest Plunge in Costs Threatens Coal, Gas, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

The most striking finding in this [levelized cost of electricity update], for the first-half of 2019, is on the cost improvements in lithium-ion batteries. These are opening up new opportunities for them to balance a renewables-heavy generation mix. Batteries co-located with solar or wind projects are starting to compete, in many markets and without subsidy, with coal- and gas-fired generation for the provision of ‘dispatchable power’ that can be delivered whenever the grid needs it. 

NEW DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY SOLAR RESEARCH PROJECT

News Release: Department of Energy Announces $130 Million for Early-Stage Solar Research Project
Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $130 million for new research to advance early-stage solar technologies. These projects will help to achieve affordable and reliable energy to enhance America’s economic growth and energy security . . . This funding program targets five research areas: photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), soft costs reduction, innovations in manufacturing, and solar systems integration. These projects will make solar energy more affordable, reliable, and secure, while working to boost domestic solar manufacturing, reduce red tape, and make PV more resilient to cyberattack.

Previously Announced DOE Funding for Solar Energy Integration

For more information on the Solar Energy Technologies Office, visit their website HERE.

Analysis: New wind, solar cheaper than operating most existing coal plants

By Kathiann M. Kowalski, Energy News Network

Locally generated solar and wind energy could already replace almost three-fourths of electricity made by U.S. coal plants for less than the cost of continuing to operate those plants, according to an analysis released today by two clean energy research groups.

By 2025, the share of “at risk” coal generation will jump from 74 percent to 86 percent, adds the report by Energy Innovation Policy & Technology in San Francisco and Boulder-based Vibrant Clean Energy. “We’re not talking about replacing every coal plant overnight,” said report co-author Eric Gimon at Energy Innovation. “What we’re saying is every coal plant should be looked at.” How do coal plants compare to solar or wind energy in the analysis? Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading 

Photo by SoCore Energy: Kearney Solar Farm

Kathiann M. Kowalski is the author of 25 books and more than 600 articles, and writes often on science and policy issues. In addition to her journalism career, Kathi is an alumna of Harvard Law School and has spent 15 years practicing law. She is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Science Writers.

ALSO PUBLISHED BY ENERGY NEWS NETWORK

Small Iowa town hopes benchmarking makes big impact on energy efficiency, by Karen Uhlenhuth

As state lawmakers and investor-owned utilities in Iowa retreat from energy efficiency investments, Bloomfield stands in stark contrast. The building benchmarking program is part of an aggressive plan to tap efficiency and renewables to meet a goal of total energy independence by 2030 for the small town of about 2,700 people in far southeastern Iowa. Photo by Jo Naylor, Flickr, Creative Commons: Bloomfield, Iowa

Microgrid boosters hope Michigan ‘energy district’ will spur more interest, by Andy Balaskovitz

Microgrid advocates hope a Michigan utility’s proposed “energy district” can help demonstrate the technology and spur more interest in similar projects. Consumers Energy announced plans last month for a smart energy district on a 4-square-block area near the utility’s headquarters in Jackson. Though not formally a microgrid, the plan calls for developing a “smart energy community” around renewables, battery storage and electric vehicles, mirroring concepts of interconnected “smart cities.” Photo Credit: Consumers Energy

Want to aid those impacted by flooding? There are dozens of ways to help

  By Betsie Freeman, Omaha World-Herald
OWH staff writers Julie Anderson, Kevin Coffey and
Kelsey Stewart contributed to this report.

Read the report here.

Photo by Erin Duffy, Omaha World-Herald: Riverview Community Church in Ashland has become a distribution center for flood relief supplies.

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) News Release, March 21, 2019
FEMA Disaster Declaration Approved for Part of Nebraska Affected by Weather Events –  Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Nine counties were approved to receive individual assistance including: Butler, Cass, Colfax, Dodge, Douglas, Nemaha, Sarpy, Saunders and Washington were approved. In addition, 65 counties and 5 tribal nations were approved for public assistance. Counties that were not initially approved could still be declared. Counties not included for individual assistance as part of today’s disaster declaration are being reviewed by FEMA as damage assessments continue. Homeowners and businesses that have had damages are encouraged to report those to local emergency management. As counties qualify, they will be added.

New toolkit provides U.S. cities with ten ways to go solar

Environment America News Release

With local municipalities playing an increasingly important role in the clean energy revolution, Environment America Research and Policy Center released a new toolkit to support cities and towns nationwide in capturing more clean renewable energy from the sun. Ten Ways Your Community Can Go Solar offers practical ways to take advantage of millions of available rooftops across the country.

“If we’re going to forestall catastrophic climate change and protect our cities and towns from the effects of extreme weather, there’s nothing better than clean, locally harvested renewable power,” said Susan Rakov, chair of Environment America Research and Policy Center’s Clean Energy Program. “Rooftop solar can make communities cleaner, safer and more self-reliant. Cities and towns need to put the pieces in place to help this technology thrive.” Read more here.

Links to Solar Energy Incentives & Additional Resources

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems: 30% to December 31, 2019.
Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Additionally, LES customers may qualify for a one-time capacity payment of up to $1,000 per kilowatt of peak demand reduced. The total amount customers can receive is determined by the system size and primary direction the system is facing, for example:

  • Southern facing fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $375.
  • Western facing or single or dualaxis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.

Source: Customer-owned Renewable Generation

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources