Monthly Archives: April 2020

GTM Podcast: Fighting Energy Injustice and Coronavirus in African American Communities

By Julia Pyper, Greentech Media

In this episode of Political Climate, the fifth in our “Path to Zero” series with Third Way, we look at how COVID-19 and climate change are affecting Black communities, and how these issues can be tackled in tandem. Read more here.

Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute. “Path to Zero” is created in partnership with the public policy think tank Third Way. Episodes air monthly on the Political Climate podcast feed.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED GTM PODCAST

Watt It Takes: From Self-Replicating Machines to Decarbonization
By Stephen Lacey, Greentech Media

This week on Watt It Takes: Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch sits down with Saul Griffith, the founder and chief scientist at Other Lab. Saul Griffith has a PhD in materials science and information theory. He’s co-founded over a dozen companies. And now he’s determined to prove that we already have what it takes to decarbonize the economy. “The reality is I think it’s still possible to completely decarbonize by 2030 and save everyone money. And we just got to start thinking about it correctly,” says Saul in this interview.

New Report: States Are Laying a Road Map for Climate Leadership

By Sam RickettsRita ClifftonLola Oduyeru, and Bill Holland,
Center for American Progress

There are important lessons that a future U.S. president and Congress should derive from state progress across the country, as well as that of local governments and tribal nations, as they begin to craft a transformative national agenda. Such an agenda should be based on investing in good jobs; building a sustainable economy; creating standards for effective and sustained pollution reductions at the national and local levels; committing to justice and equity; and ending the federal handouts that prop up fossil fuel corporations and their pollution. Read the entire report here.

Download the report as a PDF.

About the Authors
Sam Ricketts is a senior fellow for Energy and Environment at the Center for American Progress. Rita Cliffton is a research associate for Climate and Energy Policy at the Center. Lola Oduyeru is a manager for State and Local Government Affairs at the Center. Bill Holland is the senior director for State Advocacy and Policy at the League of Conservation Voters.

Nebraska is specifically referenced in the report under the topics:

Progress in each key economic sector/Electricity
Nebraska’s Dollar and Energy Saving loan programs were the first in the nation to utilize innovative public financing to deploy energy efficiency projects. Source: National Association of State Energy Officials, U.S. State Energy Program Update: State Projects and Programs Implemented by the State Energy Offices Utilizing SEP Funding

 Agriculture and Land
For farmers who adopt cover crop practices, Iowa offers discounted crop insurance and cost-sharing and Nebraska provides financial incentives. Source: The Izaak Walton League of America, State and Local Soil Health Strategies: Building Soil Health Policy from the Ground Up

Public Domain Photo: U.S. Capitol Building

Solar beats gas when utilities use all-source procurements

By William Driscoll, PV Magazine

With an all-source procurement, a utility solicits bids to identify the costs of solar, wind and storage, which can be “significantly less expensive than new gas,” as an Indiana utility found. A clean energy group calls for state regulators to require all-source procurements, for the vertically integrated utilities that serve half the country. The report’s authors are offering a webinar to discuss their findings on Thursday, April 30. The report is titled “Making the most of the power plant market: Best practices for all-source electric generation procurement.” The ten case studies are presented in an appendix. The authors are John D. Wilson, Mike O’Boyle, Ron Lehr and Mark Detsky. Read more here.

MORE U.S. NEWS

GLOBAL NEWS

DISTRIBUTED WIND & MICROGRIDS

Struggling Distributed Wind Sector Eyes Role in Microgrids Market, Greentech Media
Makers of small wind turbines have been crushed by solar energy. New R&D funding and a possible role in microgrids keep the sector hopeful.

WOODEN WIND TOWERS

First Wooden Wind Power Tower Erected In Sweden, Renewable Energy Magazine
The wind towers in wood can be built at a significantly lower cost than steel, which lowers the production cost of the wind power-generated electricity. The carbon dioxide absorbed by trees as they grow is stored in the wooden towers, which means that the wind turbines are climate neutral right from the start.

EV NEWS

Clean energy a common concern for Nebraska utility board candidates

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

Four of 11 seats on the Nebraska Public Power District board will be decided by voters in the November general election.

Several candidates running to fill seats on the board of Nebraska’s largest utility have indicated they want to speed the company’s transition from coal to renewable power. If they’re elected in November, the Nebraska Public Power District would be the second large public utility in the state run by a board trending strongly toward more support for renewable energy. The Omaha Public Power District has already adopted a more aggressive stance toward clean energy subsequent to the election of clean energy advocates in the last couple elections, especially last November. Continue reading here.

Photo by Rich / Flickr / Creative Commons: Wind turbines near Elgin, Nebraska

MORE NPPD NEWS

Judge orders injunction preventing NPPD from ending power contracts with 3 wind farms, Hastings Tribune. This article originally ran on journalstar.com.

Power, plants: Seed mixes and ag innovation for PV solar

By Rob Davis, Director, Center for Pollinators in Energy at Fresh Energy

Driven by rapidly declining costs and 100 percent clean energy commitments from corporations and municipalities, demand for large-scale solar energy development is surging. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) forecasts farmers and other landowners will lease 2-3 million acres of land for ground-mounted solar arrays by 2030, a 10-fold increase from 2020.

This rapid bloom in leasing land to produce solar energy isn’t just a lifeline for farmers looking to stabilize on-farm income, it’s also a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create habitat at scale to help species critical to agriculture and ecosystem health. Climate change and loss of habitat pose significant threats to honey bees, bumblebees, monarch butterflies and a wide variety of pollinators. A recent global analysis found that 40 percent of pollinator species may be at risk of extinction in the coming years. Continue reading here,

Photo by Rob Davis, Fresh Energy: ENGIE project in Vermont

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

AWEA INTO THE WIND BLOG POSTS

American wind power supports COVID-19 relief efforts in communities across the country
Our society and economy continue to grapple with the unprecedented challenges COVID-19 presents. Ensuring the wind energy workforce’s safety and protecting U.S. wind jobs remains the top priority, and when the economy can safely reopen, wind power stands ready to play a leading role in the recovery. However, communities across the country are struggling right now, and the U.S. wind industry is doing its part to aid in the recovery effort.

Fact check: New Michael Moore-backed documentary full of errors, fundamentally misunderstands electric systemA new Michael Moore-backed documentary has been released that examines the climate crisis and the lack of progress made so far in combating the problem. Unfortunately, and somewhat strangely, the filmmakers chose to focus much of their attention erroneously critiquing a leading climate solution—renewable energy. Let’s set the record straight on where this film gets it wrong. See this article for an in-depth look at the film’s problematic portrayal of solar power.

FROM WIND EXCHANGE – DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWSLETTER

The wind industry needs a broad range of workers, including turbine engineers, project developers, and supply chain managers, to support growth. Unfortunately, employers report difficulty hiring well-qualified candidates to support this growth, while graduates have also had difficulty finding jobs. Follow these tips from wind energy professionals to help narrow this gap and learn how to breeze into the wind energy workforce.

ROOFTOP WIND

Rooftop Wind Power Might Take off by Using Key Principle of Flight, by Scientific American, EcoWatch

Solar panels perched on the roofs of houses and other buildings are an increasingly common sight in the U.S., but rooftop wind systems have never caught on. Past efforts to scale down the towering turbines that generate wind power to something that might sit on a home have been plagued by too many technical problems to make such devices practical. Now, however, a new design could circumvent those issues by harnessing the same principle that creates lift for airplane wings.

Image: An artist’s rendering of AeroMINES along the edge of a roof and combined with solar arrays. Sandia National Laboratories

GOOGLE

Google Tests Load-Shifting at Data Centers to Capture the Grid’s Peak Clean Energy Hours, Greentech Media. In its quest for 24/7 renewables, Google tries scheduling “non-urgent” computing tasks at times of maximum wind and solar output.

Previously Posted: Google is a member of two regional transmission organizations: Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and the Southwest Power Pool (SPP).

The global corporation is also a member of RE100 and the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA).

Nebraska Christian Schools’ online auction includes 10-kilowatt solar system

Nebraska Christian Schools is holding their annual auction online from April 23-25. The event has over 400 “silent auction” items and 22 big-ticket “live auction” items up for bid, including a 10-kilowatt ground-mounted solar system donated by Wayne Williams, owner of Interconnection Systems Inc based in Central City. 

You can use your phone, tablet, computer, or other device to bid on items, pre-set your maximum bid on your favorite items, or “Buy Now” to ensure you get what you’re after. 

To preview items, visit text2bid.net/preview/ncs. To place bids, simply text NCS (all caps) to 71760.

Bidding opens today, April 23 starting at 8 am and ends on April 25 at 4 pm for silent auction items and 9 pm for live auction items. Everyone is welcome to participate. We look forward to “seeing” you there, and we thank you for your support.

To view Interconnection Systems’ auction item, click the above link, select “Live Auction Items” and scroll over to L120.

Description

Let Wayne Williams and his team at Interconnection Systems make your dreams of saving money on energy bills for years to become a reality. The system includes solar racking for 36 solar modules, inverter, and monitoring system to keep track of energy generation. 

Wayne and his team will work with you through the whole process, assist with negotiations with your power company, and provide all the education you will need to get the most out of your system.

Once the equipment is ordered and received, the system takes 1-2 weeks to install. You’ll need a southern-facing plot of ground to make best use of the sun’s power.

Save close to $200 a month on your energy bill all while receiving a tax credit of 26% in 2020, and a business depreciation of 20-25%. The system return on investment is anywhere from 8-10 years for businesses. Energy storage can be added at the time of the solar system installation or added at a later date for an additional cost.

The system comes with a 1-year warranty on installation and manufacturers’ warranties: of 20 years on the solar panels and 10 years on the inverters.

The winning bidder must have the installation location of the system to lie within the Kearney to Omaha areas in Nebraska.

If you have ever considered a solar energy system, this is an amazing opportunity to support Nebraska Christian Schools, save on energy consumption, cut your energy bills, get a 26% Investment Tax Credit (this percent will decrease 4% next year), and if it is used for a business you qualify under Section 179 under the IRS code for business equipment depreciation.

That’s getting pretty close having it 1/2 paid for with the offset of tax savings.

Opening Bid: $10,000

Can EDF Make Big Money in Small-Scale Renewables?

By Karl-Erik Stromsta, Greentech Media

The world’s leading nuclear power generator is betting big on a future of small-scale, distributed energy. Électricité de France operates 58 nuclear reactors in its home country and owns stakes in several U.S. nuclear plants that it’s now moving to sell. But EDF’s biggest stamp on the American power market has come in large-scale renewables: Its San Diego-based EDF Renewables North America subsidiary has developed and now operates gigawatts of wind and solar farms across the country. Now, EDF Renewables is trying to replicate that success on a much smaller scale. How it fares in the distributed space will be of great interest to other 20th-century energy giants feeling their way toward a transformed, low-carbon future. Read more here.

Photo Credit: EDF

MORE ENERGY TRANSITION ARTICLES

OPPD NEWS RELEASE

OPPD Named An Environmental Champion
The Environmental Dedication Index and other findings are from the Cogent Syndicated Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study from Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics firm. The study looked at 140 utilities, overall. OPPD is among 31 utilities that received the Environmental Champion designation, based on customer scores. Some areas ranked include a utility’s encouragement of “green” initiatives for buildings and vehicles, and support for environmental causes. OPPD President & CEO Timothy J. Burke spoke to a number of these efforts during the virtual Earth Day Omaha celebration Saturday.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Smaller Cities Like St. Louis Lead on Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Defense Council
St. Louis passed its highly ambitious Building Energy Performance Standard (BEPS) ordinance, making it the fourth jurisdiction in the United States and first in the Midwest to do so. Mayor Lyda Krewson is expected to officially sign the ordinance into law in the coming weeks. With the adoption of this policy, the city will accomplish a major goal in creating more energy-efficient buildings.

ELECTRIFICATION

Dear efficiency advocates: Don’t fear electrification, Utility Dive article contributed by Richard Oberg, an energy efficiency implementer with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

T. BOONE PICKENS & LAZARD’S LCOE ANALYSIS

Dear Oil Executive, Is There A Lack Of Imagination?, by Daryl Elliott, CleanTechnica
T. Boone Pickens, a former oil and business magnate, now deceased, built a ton of wind turbines. Most of that work was done when wind power was costly, before an adequate grid transmission line architecture had been built, and during his Midwest natural gas scheme boondoggle. The combination of these points had him claiming that he lost money, but at the time of his passing, he was still looking to build more wind turbines because if we examine Lazard’s most recent LCOE (Levelized Cost Of Energy) analysis, we see that onshore grid wind power, along with grid-scale solar, is among the least expensive new production energy sources. Wind power is best when built with battery storage so that electricity can be delivered to the grid smoothly around the clock as needed. Might you oil execs want to partner with Tesla to build some grid-level storage plants? Capitalism can make strange bedfellows. 

CLEAN AIR 

Himalayas Visible For The First Time In 30 Years In India, CleanTechnica

Celebrate Earth Day Live 2020!

As you know, today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the annual celebration of the environmental movement. According to EarthDay.org, in 1970 approximately 20 million Americans gathered to advocate for greater protection of our planet. Since then, activists all around the world have come together every year to mark the day. Visit Earth Day Live to learn what they are doing and how you can become involved.

Happy 50th Earth Day from all of us at Nebraskans for Solar!

Earth Day Live

Report: Natural gas is a loser for long-term utility shareholder value

By Matthew Bandyk, Utility Dive

Investment into new natural gas infrastructure like pipelines and power plants is “incompatible” with long-term shareholder value, and thus it is in the best interest of the investor community to push utilities away from natural gas, according to a new report from corporate social responsibility group As You Sow and environmental consulting firm Energy Innovation.

The report points to data from Lazard showing that unsubsidized solar plus battery storage already, in some cases, is cheaper than natural gas. It cites the example of NV Energy [a Berkshire Hathaway Energy company], which in 2019 procured 1,200 MW of solar at $20 per MWh and 580 MW of four-hour battery storage for $13 per MWh. The low end of Lazard’s 2019 estimate for the levelized cost of electricity from a new natural gas-fired combined-cycle plant is $44 per MWh. Read more here.

 

 

Our mission is to promote environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies Our vision is a safe, just, and sustainable world in which protecting the environment and human rights is central to corporate decision making. Corporations are responsible for most of the pressing social and environmental problems we face today — we believe corporations must be a willing part of the solutions. We make that happen. As shareholder advocates, we directly engage corporate CEOs, senior management, and institutional investors to change corporations from the inside out. Website: As You Sow

More About Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis
Renewable Energy Prices Hit Record Lows: How Can Utilities Benefit From Unstoppable Solar And Wind?, Forbes article contributed by Silvio Marcacci, Communications Director, Energy Innovation

Additional Related Reading
Utility Investors Risk Billions In Rush To Natural Gas: Is It A Bridge To Climate Breakdown?, Forbes article contributed by Michael O’Boyle, director of electricity policy at Energy Innovation, where he leads its U.S. power sector transformation program.

 

 


Energy Innovation
is a nonpartisan climate policy think tank delivering high-quality research and original analysis to help policymakers make informed energy policy choices. Energy Innovation accelerates the clean energy transition by supporting the policies and strategies that most effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Website: Energy Innovation

MORE ON CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY

FREE SCIENCE BASED TARGETS WEBINAR TOMORROW

Demystifying and Achieving Science-based Targets through Sustainable Procurement & Supplier Engagement, April 22 at 12 pm. Presenters: Cynthia Cummis, Director of Private Sector Climate Mitigation, World Resources Institute, and Noora Singh, Director, Global Sustainability, PepsiCo. Register here.

The Science Based Targets Initiative is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments. 

NFL SOLAR PROJECTS

POWERHOME installs solar system on Pittsburgh Steelers stadium, Solar Power World
“Heinz Field is the fourth NFL facility to utilize POWERHOME to help meet sustainability goals,” said Jayson Waller, CEO of POWERHOME. “Large commercial sites like this help us educate consumers about the simplicity and benefits of renewable energy. We hope to encourage thousands of Steelers fans to consider solar energy and think more about the environment.”

SOLAR PANELS

HYDROGEN

Renewable Energy Magazine: What Place for Hydrogen? An interview with Professor Armin Schnettler, Executive Vice President and CEO of the New Energy Business at Siemens Energy, on the impact of hydrogen on the global green energy market.