Monthly Archives: October 2019

Windy Beginnings: The first 100 GW and what it brought to America

By John Hensley, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Over 99 percent of wind projects are located in rural areas, and they bring nearly unmatched economic development opportunities. Today, there are more than 1,100 wind farms operating in 41 states and two U.S. territories. These projects represent over $194 billion in capital investment and are a source of economic growth throughout the country. Importantly, investment in local communities doesn’t stop once the project is built. Every year the industry contributes more than a billion dollars in land lease payments and state and local tax payments across the U.S. These funds are a drought proof, cash crop for farmers and ranchers and can often make the different in keeping local schools open. Read more here.

For Ohio farmers, wind turbine revenue helps take the sting out of a ‘bad’ year

By Kathiann M. Kowalski, Energy News Network

Wind energy advocates say this year’s disappointing growing season in Ohio is a prime example why state lawmakers should be trying to make it easier, not harder, for farmers to put wind turbines on their properties. Unusually wet weather made it a bad year for many Ohio farmers, but those with wind turbines on their land had a welcome and predictable source of additional income to make up for some of the losses. About a sixth of Ohio’s farm acreage couldn’t be planted, according to data released this month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. Read more here. 

USDA Resource: Prevented or Delayed Planting

Photo: Wind turbines in Blue Creek Township, Ohio. Credit: Nyttend / Wikimedia Commons

Also Written By Kathiann Kowalski

ADDITIONAL. RECOMMENDED READING

TRIBAL UTILITY-SCALE SOLAR

NM Native American Tribe Plans Solar Farm to Provide Renewable Energy Source, Inside Sources
A New Mexico Native American tribe plans to build a 50-megawatt solar farm, which includes a 20-megawatt battery storage unit, making it the first tribally owned, utility-scale solar project in the nation, according to a new report. The Jicarilla Apache tribe’s solar power project would transmit a large portion of its electricity to Albuquerque through the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), according to an Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) report.

SOLAR SCHOOLS

Solar power is coming to five schools in Newport News, Williamsburg Yorktown Daily
The city’s public school system has partnered with Sun Tribe Solar to add solar power panels at five schools. Installation starts in 2020. See the full pdf presentation here.

PACE FINANCING 

A $60,000 solar project, with no money down. Program helps Colorado businesses finance renewable energy projects, Colorado Sun. The Colorado legislature passed a bill authorizing the program in 2013. More than 35 states, plus the District of Columbia, have C-PACE enabling legislation, and more than $1 billion in projects have been financed so far. The program’s administrative costs are paid via a 2.5% fee (not to exceed $50,000 per project) added to each C-PACE project, which is typically included in the total financed amount. Program and projects are solely financed through private capital.

TRANSMISSION NEWS

  • SPP Board Directs Construction of 44 Transmission Projects, Transmission & Distribution World These upgrades will facilitate reliable delivery of lower-cost generation.
  • A penny for your powerlines, PV Magazine
    Research by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggests that overall costs of transmission needed to integrate variable renewables is between 0.1-1¢/kWh, on top of the 2.9-4.6¢/kWh utility scale wind and solar power costs.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS 

8 Countries (Besides the US) With Solar Under $25 Per Megawatt-Hour, Greentech Media
Around the world, solar power price records just keep on coming.

OPINION

How utilities wield bad science to stunt clean energy, Utility Dive. Contributed article by Greer Ryan, the Renewable Energy and Research Specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity, and Emma Searson, the Go Solar Campaign Director at Environment America.

This is especially true of distributed solar — small-scale solar installations on homes and businesses. These systems help everyone, not just those with solar panels on their roofs, by delivering reliable, pollution-free energy to our communities. They also bring enormous benefits to wildlife and wild places. For example, solar panels paired with native plant restoration can provide habitat for threatened pollinators. But because of utilities’ actions, distributed solar is being held back from its full potential. To fully realize the advantages of using the sun’s energy to power our communities, we need to fundamentally change the way we value energy sources.

More Than 70 Associations Back Renewable Energy Extension Act

Solar Energy Industries Association News Release

More than 70 organizations representing farmers, homebuilders, environmental groups, electric cooperatives and a variety of other industries sent a letter to Congress urging them to pass the Renewable Energy Extension Act.

“It’s not every day that you see higher ed advocates and farm families agree on energy policy,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Extending the Investment Tax Credit is common sense and this effort shows us just how many people, communities, and interests it touches. Whether you want to reduce emissions, stimulate economic investment, or create jobs, we’re showing Congress that the ITC is a proven policy that can do all of those things.” Read the entire news release here.

Join SEIA’s campaign to extend the ITC: seia.org/defendtheitc

Nebraska has bright renewable energy future, leaders say

By Matt Olberding, Lincoln Journal Star

Nebraska is continuing to grow its renewable energy footprint, particularly when it comes to wind and solar. “There’s a lot of upside potential in our state because we have tremendous wind and solar resources,” John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union, told attendees at the 2019 Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference and Exhibition. Hundreds of business executives, community leaders, landowners and others are attending the two-day event at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln. Continue reading here.

Midlands Voices: Nebraska’s wind industry generates over $3 million for counties

By Lucas Nelson, a policy associate for the Center for Rural Affairs,
Omaha World-Herald

Tax revenue from wind projects in Nebraska is primarily derived from a nameplate capacity tax and property taxes. Projects in the state have generated about $3 million in revenue just for local schools, and additional revenue supports other services for counties.

The state’s nameplate capacity tax is equal to $3,518 per megawatt of energy. The tax is assessed on wind energy facilities based on their total potential for energy generation — the average turbine has a capacity of about three megawatts. Read more here.

A Disastrous Disconnect

By Rachel Leven and Zach Goldstein, Center for Public Integrity

Nine of the 10 states that emit the most heat-trapping carbon dioxide pollution per person helped block the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which would have been the largest effort by the U.S. government to limit climate change. Four of those states, including Kentucky, were among those most often hit by disasters in the past 10 years — generally powerful storms, which science shows are worsening as the planet warms.

In Nebraska, the state with the ninth-highest carbon dioxide emissions per person, Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts’ administration has questioned whether climate science is settled while relying on a hazard mitigation plan calling climate change “an increasingly important factor” in local risks. Read more here.

State of Nebraska Photo: Floodwaters cover an area near Schuyler in the Spring of 2019.

About The Center for Public Integrity
Founded in 1989 by veteran journalist Charles Lewis, the Center for Public Integrity is one of the oldest and largest nonprofit news organizations in the country. Our Pulitzer Prize-winning newsroom is composed of reporters, editors and data journalists who dig deep and deliver national and international investigative journalism of enduring significance. Our mission: To protect democracy and inspire change using investigative reporting that exposes betrayals of the public trust by powerful interests.

DOE Selects NRECA for Wind Energy Research Initiative

NRECA News Release

The Department of Energy has selected the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to research small-scale, community-based wind energy solutions that can be deployed by electric cooperatives. NRECA is partnering with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Hoss Consulting and Mana Group LLC on research to develop business models and technologies for wind projects that can benefit cooperative consumer-members, communities and their electric distribution cooperatives, and rural generation and transmission cooperatives. NRECA will team with co-ops around the country to evaluate and deploy diverse types of distributed wind projects. The project aims to increase understanding of the potential benefits of distributed wind and reduce market barriers for the adoption of these technologies in rural areas. Continue reading here.

DOE Resource
Small Wind Guidebook, WINDExchange, Department of Energy

Former Exxon Scientists Tell Congress of Oil Giant’s Climate Research Before Exxon Turned to Denial

By Maryanne Lavelle, InsideClimate News

The scientists’ work for Exxon was featured in an award-winning 2015 investigation by InsideClimate News that explored the company’s shift from climate research to climate denial and was mentioned in a video played as the hearing opened.  “In order to understand and confront the crisis we are facing, we must recognize the disastrous deception that brought us to the brink,” committee chairman Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said. Read more here.

InsideClimate News’ Pulitzer Prize-finalist series: Exxon: The Road Not Taken

Previously Posted
Report says ExxonMobil misled public for decades, The Los Angeles Times. Republished by The Omaha World-Herald

Additional Recommended Reading

OPPD looking to build largest solar farm in Nebraska, still need public’s input

By DeLaun Dillard, KETV

The Omaha Public Power District wants to invest in a brighter and cleaner future, and the company’s CEO says solar energy is the best way to make that happen. “We want to make sure that decisions we make around the future generation, we maintain our current reliability and resiliency,” said OPPD CEO Tim Burke. “That’s important for us as a company but it’s really important for our community. OPPD is looking to build a solar farm with between 400 and 600 megawatts. Read the rest of the post or watch the video here.

OPPD’s board of directors wants public input before they make a final decision on November 14th. Comments will be accepted through the end of the day, Friday, November 8th here.

Photo Credit: American Public Power Association

Low-carbon cities are a $24 trillion opportunity

By Leah Lazer, Catlyne Haddaoui, and Jake Wellman, GreenBiz

A new report from the Coalition for Urban Transitions, “Climate Emergency, Urban Opportunity,” finds that low-carbon cities can reduce emissions while offering tremendous economic opportunities. Researchers found that investing in 16 low-carbon measures in cities could cut global urban emissions by 90 percent by 2050 and has a net present value of almost $24 trillion, equivalent to nearly one-third of the global GDP in 2018. This means that between now and 2050, the total benefits of these investments will exceed their total costs by almost $24 trillion. Broken down by years, an average annual investment of $1.8 trillion (about 2 percent of global GDP in 2018) would yield returns of $2.8 trillion per year by 2030, and $6.9 trillion per year by 2050. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Keith J. Semmelink / Flickr – Omaha skyline

ALSO IN THE NEWS

CORPORATE NEWS

REPORT: UTILITIES’ SELF-SCHEDULING COSTS FOR RATEPAYERS

Inefficient coal plant scheduling cost ratepayers $3.5B from 2015 to 2017, report says, by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive. Regulated utilities cost ratepayers over $3.5 billion from 2015 to 2017 through uneconomic coal practices, according to a report released Tuesday from the Sierra Club. Vertically-integrated utilities consistently operated coal units based on their own scheduling rather than relying on market signals to determine when running that plant would be most economic, the report found. The practice, known as self-scheduling, became common when there were fewer cost-effective alternative resources, but now hinders the ability of other resources, wind and solar, to compete in power markets, research has previously found.

GLOBAL COAL DIVESTMENT

Over 100 and counting, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
To date, over 100 and counting globally significant financial institutions have announced their divestment from coal mining and/or coal-fired power plants. New announcements are occurring on average every week.

INTERVIEW

#Solar100’s Adam Browning: The Michael Jordan of Solar Policy, PV Magazine
In this #Solar100 interview, Richard Matsui, Founder and CEO of kWh Analytics, speaks with Adam Browning, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Vote Solar.

ENERGY STORAGE

EV CHARGING

EV Connect Raises $12M for Electric Vehicle Charging Software, Greentech Media
The L.A. startup wants to let customers mix and match charging hardware and software controls to suit their needs.