Monthly Archives: July 2019

Minn. storage law may put pressure on gas-fired peakers

By Ethan Howland, American Public Power Association

Under an omnibus energy and jobs bill that was signed into law on May 31 utilities must assess how energy storage could meet generation and capacity needs as well as provide ancillary services. The bill includes several additional provisions aimed at jump starting energy storage in the state. When seeking to build power plants or power lines, utilities must show that energy storage cannot more cost effectively meet customer demand.

study released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in June found that a “substantial portion” of peaking capacity in the United States could be replaced by energy storage facilities. The capacity of the national peaking power fleet is about 261 GW and about 150 GW of that capacity is likely to retire over the next 20 years, NREL estimated. That could lead to the potential for about 28 GW of 4-hour battery storage that could serve as peaking capacity, NREL said. Read more here.

Previously Posted Article by Ethan Howland
Report puts $4.5 trillion price tag on grid decarbonization

ALSO IN THE NEWS

The Road To A 100% Clean Economy

The 100% clean economy won’t be made in D.C.—it will be led by our businesses, our entrepreneurs, and tens of thousands of local civic and community leaders committed to creating a better future. 

Contributor Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense Fund President, Forbes

The 100% Clean Economy Act announced this week in Congress is the roadmap America needs to drive urgent action that matches the scale of the problem. It provides a starting point and a finish line for business and government working together to solve the climate crisis.

The bill, which will soon be introduced in the House by Rep. Donald McEachin of Virginia, will commit the U.S. to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. That means that by midcentury we’ll release no more climate pollution into the atmosphere than we can remove—across all sectors of the economy. This ambitious goal is consistent with what science tells us we need to do in order to help avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Read more here. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • Markets and Technology May Hold Out the Real Green New Deal: Part I, Forbes
    For business, and especially for big companies with capital and the vision to use it wisely, there is no more pressing issue or greater opportunity than climate change. 
  • Markets and Technology May Hold Out the Real Green New Deal: Part II, Forbes
    There’s been heated debate about the application of environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles to investing. While the U.S. hasn’t yet caught up with Europe in adopting these measures, the tide is turning, with the percentage of American institutional investors spurning ESG outright having decreased this past year from over half (51 percent) to just over a third (34 percent), according to an annual investing survey. This means—following the ‘E’ in ESG—that more business leaders are ready to run with the notion that investing in decarbonization is not only good for the planet, it’s imperative to remain relevant in the market. 

CLIMATE CHANGE / CLIMATE ACTION NEWS

FEATURED RESOURCES

Center For Climate And Energy Solutions (C2ES): U.S. State Climate Action Plans
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and strengthen resilience to climate impacts. A key objective is a national market-based program to reduce emissions cost-effectively. We believe a sound climate strategy is essential to ensure a strong, sustainable economy.

The Center For Climate Strategies
The Center for Climate Strategies (CCS) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization located in Washington, DC with a small business subsidiary, Collaborative Systems and Strategies, LLC (CSS). It provides government officials and stakeholders worldwide with the expertise and assistance needed to develop and implement solutions that meet immediate and long-term climate, economic, energy, environmental, and equity goals. CCS serves as a catalyst for actions at the national, state, provincial, and local levels in all economic sectors to meet the unique needs of each country and region.

Introducing Megapack: Utility-Scale Energy Storage

Tesla News Release

For utility-size installations like the upcoming Moss Landing project in California with PG&E, Megapack will act as a sustainable alternative to natural gas “peaker” power plants. Peaker power plants fire up whenever the local utility grid can’t provide enough power to meet peak demand. They cost millions of dollars per day to operate and are some of the least efficient and dirtiest plants on the grid. Instead, a Megapack installation can use stored excess solar or wind energy to support the grid’s peak loads. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Tesla

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FARM ENERGY NEWS

Can the Sun Cool Sows?, contributed by the University of Minnesota, Pork Magazine
Food retailers and consumers worldwide are pressuring food producers (farmers) to reduce the use of fossil fuels and lower the carbon footprint of their production systems. Over the last couple years, researchers at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) have been involved in a project entitled “Greening of Agriculture”. This project focuses on methods to reduce the use of fossil fuels in production agriculture.

Referenced in the Article
2019 Midwest Farm Energy Conference  Resources: Power Point Presentations (PDF) and YouTube Videos

Small Missouri utility proposes big pivot to clean energy in latest resource plan

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

Missouri’s smallest investor-owned utility is charting a dramatically different course two years after being acquired by new owners. The Empire District Electric Co. in Joplin, Missouri, serves about 173,000 customers in southwestern Missouri and parts of Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Its current capacity consists of about 65% natural gas, 30% coal and 5% renewables in the form of wind and hydropower. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Lucia Bourgeois / U.S. Department of Energy

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Powering the world from Piedmont; GenPro’s bright future

By Brent Zell, Black Hills Business Correspondent, Rapid City Journal

Dwight Patterson can talk about western Nebraska and the Bahamas in a short span and make it all connect. Patterson, the founder and CEO of GenPro Energy Solutions that has its South Dakota office in Piedmont, can discuss the 5.2-megawatt solar electric project that the company is getting ready to break ground on in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. And a short time later, he can detail a project in the Bahamas that involves creating and storing energy. Read more here.

Previously Posted
Expert Team Launches New Nebraska Solar Energy Initiative, Sol Systems News Release

With a long history of serving Nebraska communities, Mesner Development assembled a team of solar energy experts, including GenPro Energy Solutions for site development and construction and Sol Systems for project development and power purchase agreements. To date, the companies comprising N-Solar have developed, constructed, or financed a combined 17.6 megawatts of solar electric generating capacity across Nebraska.

N-Solar News Story: New Community Solar Project Coming To Scottsbluff

NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar Program

Request Community Solar: If you are an NPPD customer and would like to request community solar for your community, click here to submit the SunWise Community Solar Interest Form.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

House and Senate Introduce Legislation for 5-Year Extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit

Solar Energy Industries Association News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA), Paul Cook (R-CA), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) have introduced companion bills with a five-year 30% extension of Section 48 and Section 25D Solar Investment Tax Credits (ITC). The Renewable Energy Extension Act will call for the extension of the tax credits.

Following is a statement from Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, urging lawmakers to pass this critical legislation:

Continue Reading Here.

MAYORS FOR SOLAR ENERGY

 

More than 250 mayors nationwide sign letter calling for increased solar power, Environment America News Release
Municipal leaders from all 50 states support more clean energy from the sun.


MORE NEWS & OPINION

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

SOLSMART NEWS

Southwest Virginia Communities Achieve National Recognition for Advancing Solar Energy Growth, News Release, Appalachian Voices. Eight Southwest Virginia communities have achieved designation under the national SolSmart program for encouraging the growth of local solar energy markets, at a time when several major solar installations on schools, businesses, and community centers are poised to begin across the region. These communities were each awarded a SolSmart designation for taking local action to reduce the time and expense required to install solar energy systems. 

Federal Grant to Help Fund Six Electric Buses

News Release, City of Lincoln Mayor’s Office

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird has announced a $2.6 million federal transit grant that will support the City’s sustainability efforts by promoting the use of electric buses. The grant is from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration as part of the Low- or No-Emission Vehicle Program (Low-No).

The City has been planning to replace six buses, and the grant will allow them to be replaced with electric buses rather than ones fueled by diesel or compressed natural gas (CNG). The grant will also fund three charging stations and additional training. The new buses will replace six diesel buses built in 2004. Each of those buses has logged an average of 450,000 miles. The electric buses are expected to be delivered in the second quarter of 2021 and in service the summer of 2021. Read more here.

Commentary: With Energy Freedom Act, South Carolina takes steps toward resilience

By Shelley Robbins, Upstate Forever and Marriele Mango, Clean Energy Group Published by Energy News Network

The recently passed Energy Freedom Act supports a more resilient, clean energy future for South Carolina by supporting solar PV and battery storage technologies. The act promotes more economical systems for utility customers and requires utilities to explore the investments in solar-plus-storage generation assets. In both cases, recognizing the monetary value of resilience is an essential piece to further solar-plus-storage development in the state.  Signed by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster in May 2019, the Energy Freedom Act, also referred to as Act 62, is the result of years of community and clean energy industry advocacy. Read more here.

Photo by Jason A G / Flickr / Creative Commons: The South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia.

Related News Story
Future is bright for solar energy in South Carolina after Energy Freedom Act, WIS TV
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, companies have installed 18,000 solar systems in South Carolina. Over the next year five years, they predict 22,000 new systems will be installed. Solar companies said the new law removed caps on net metering and leasing, which means more customers will be incentivized to put solar on their roofs at their homes and businesses.

Local Commentary
Land produces energy, too, by Art Tanderup of Neligh, The Grand Island Independent
We live in a time when farmers are struggling. They were struggling before the trade negotiations and recent flooding. Several weren’t even able to plant this year’s crop because of weather conditions throughout the spring. Opportunities for new farm income are critical. Fortunately for Nebraska farmers, wind energy is in a boom period in the state right now.

Also In the News

New UCS Report

Your Favorite Cereals Could Help Farmers, Reduce Soil Erosion and Farm Runoff, and Take a Bite Out of Climate Change, Union of Concerned Scientists Blog. Leading cereal-makers can help curb water pollution, combat climate change, and keep farmers profitable by making modest shifts in their grain purchasing practices, according to a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). “Champions of Breakfast: How Cereal-Makers Can Help Save Our Soil, Support Farmers, And Take a Bite Out of Climate Change” shows how relatively small commitments by companies to source more sustainable ingredients could encourage farmers to build healthy soil.

Corporate Solar Investments Surge in United States, Report Finds

Solar Energy Industries Association News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tech giant Apple is now the leading procurer of corporate solar in the United States with nearly 400 megawatts (MW) of total installed capacity, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association’s Solar Means Business 2018 report. This report puts the power of corporate commitments to clean energy on display, as the world’s largest and most-recognizable companies turn to solar energy in historic numbers.

This 7th edition of the Solar Means Business report notes that each week 6.6 million people visit a Walmart store with onsite solar, Amazon’s solar installations offset the CO2 equivalent of more than 200 million miles of truck deliveries, and Apple’s solar facilities generate enough electricity each year to charge more than 60 billion smartphones. For more key takeaways, graphics, rankings and the report’s underlying data, go to SEIA’s digital Solar Means Business 2018 page at www.solarmeansbusiness.comRead the entire news release here.

Also In The News
The billion-dollar battery boom, PV Magazine
Corporations are buying up batteries and investing in their companies like it’s going out of style.

Opportunity Zones May Spur Microgrid Development

By Ken Silverstein, Microgrid Knowledge

Opportunity zones, created in the US as part of the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, are making a splash among green energy and microgrid investors.  “Opportunity zones create tax incentives for investors in real estate, businesses and assets in areas that might not otherwise draw investment,” says John Beidle, chief executive of New Energy Opportunities, in an interview with Microgrid Knowledge. “The further stacking of tax incentives in these areas for microgrid facilities is really a once in a lifetime opportunity especially if new employment is brought into these areas.”

An Economic Innovation Group analysis estimates $6.1 trillion in unrealized capital gains held by US households and corporations as of the end of 2017. “Even a small fraction of these gains reinvested into opportunity zones would make it the largest economic development initiative in the country,” says John Lettieri, founder of the group, in congressional testimony. Read more here.

Nonprofit Economic Innovation Group (EIG) Image: Opportunity Zones.

EIG is a bipartisan public policy organization that combines innovative research and data-driven advocacy to address America’s most pressing economic challenges. From their headquarters in the nation’s capital, EIG convenes leading experts from the public and private sectors, develops original research, and advances creative policy proposals that bring new jobs, investment, and economic dynamism to U.S. communities.

Additional Recommended Reading

Opportunity Zones Resources

Microgrid Knowledge Resources