Report Shows Bipartisan Support for Boosting Clean Energy

Public News Service

LINCOLN, Neb. — Support for renewable energy in the U.S. cuts across party lines, according to a new Yale University report. Three in four Republicans surveyed are in favor of increased funding for clean energy research, generating power on public lands and giving tax rebates for installing solar. Support was even higher among Democrats.

John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union, says boosting renewable energy would create new jobs, and provide property tax relief by adding to local tax bases. He adds wind and solar also can help farmers. Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Nebraska’s wind energy continues to grow, Norfolk Daily News
A newly released report indicates that Nebraska is a top five state in recruiting direct business purchases of wind energy. Commercial and industrial companies bought 4,447 megawatts (MW) of U.S. wind capacity last year, setting a new record for annual procurements and bringing total corporate agreements for wind power to 16,857 MW, according to the first Wind Powers American Business report from the American Wind Energy Association.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

  • In Iowa, conservative group looks to counter local wind, solar opposition, Energy News Network. A conservative promoter of clean energy has launched an initiative in Iowa to help counter local opposition to wind and solar developments. The Iowa Land & Liberty Coalition, a project of the Iowa Conservative Energy Forum, will focus on building support for renewables in counties that have either rejected large renewable projects or considered adopting restrictions.
  • Xcel Energy proposes one of largest packages of energy investments in state history, Xcel News Release, Business Wire. As part of Xcel Energy’s commitment to helping customers and the state recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the company’s proposal would include almost $3 billion of accelerated and incremental projects that will create jobs, advance the transition to cleaner energy, and keep customer bills stable.
  • Residents call on Colorado Springs Utilities to focus on a renewable energy, not natural gas, The Gazette. Residents pointed out moving to renewable energy could come with less risk because wind is free and natural gas could be subject to the uncertain pricing of commodity markets and unknown future regulations because it produces greenhouses gases, including methane.
  • Massachusetts lawmakers ask Liberty Mutual to stop financing fossil fuels, Energy News Network. Liberty Mutual’s clients include some major, and controversial, fossil fuel projects, including the expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline, the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline in Canada and the Pacific Northwest, and the Mariner East II natural gas pipeline in Pennsylvania. Further, the insurer has $8.9 billion invested in fossil fuel companies or utilities that make extensive use of fossil fuels.
  • Bringing solar to the heart of coal country, PV Magazine
    The Solar Workgroup of Southwest Virginia, spurred on by Virginia’s pro-solar legislative spring, has released a request for qualifications, seeking a partner to co-develop commercial-scale solar projects in seven coal counties.
  • Electrification Can Supercharge California’s Post-COVID Economy, Forbes article contributed by Hal Harvey , CEO of Energy Innovation, a San Francisco-based energy and environmental policy firm. The path is clear: Decarbonize the electric grid, then electrify everything—creating good jobs and thriving clean tech industries along the way. California has gotten off to a great start with the power grid, as more than half our electricity already comes from carbon-free sources, and this should reach almost 80% by 2030. This creates further benefits: Cleaning up the grid will automatically clean up transportation and buildings, which are the state’s first and fourth biggest carbon polluters.
  • 8minute Solar Nabs Its First Supply Deal With California Community-Choice Aggregators, Greentech Media. 8minute, which develops solar and storage, has already inked deals for projects with all of California’s large investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Electric & Gas. But the project announced this week is the developer’s first foray in the world of CCAs, which have increasingly pulled customers and thus demand from California’s traditional utilities.  
  • New initiative to bring more solar energy to La Crosse County, WXOW
    La Crosse County, the City of La Crosse and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) created a new initiative to bring more solar energy to the area. Grow Solar is the name of the new plan, and it aims to help area home and business owners access cheaper installations of solar energy.
  • Double-Sided Solar Panels to Increase Energy Savings, Inside Indiana Business
    An environmentally friendly apartment building in Valparaiso is the first in Indiana to use a double-sided solar panel to further reduce electric costs.

BLM LAND-USE POLICIES 

Solar opportunities ‘ignored’ across 100 million acres in the Southwest, PV Magazine
The Bureau of Land Management “has ignored most possibilities” for utility-scale solar “on its vast land holdings across the solar-rich Southwest,” says a paper. Renewable energy development accounts for less than 1% of economic activity on BLM lands, while oil and gas account for 70%, according to BLM data. IEEFA analysts Karl Cates, Seth Feaster and Dennis Wamsted wrote the paper, titled “Federal Land Agency Lags on Solar Development Approvals Across Southwest U.S.”

SOLAR SCHOOLS

Amherst school officials interested in pursuing solar energy panels on buildings, Lynchburg News & Advance. The project would be funded through a power purchase agreement, which would permit a solar provider to install and maintain the panels and operating equipment on the division’s buildings. The costs of the equipment, installation, and maintenance would be assumed by the solar provider and the financing company that works in conjunction with the solar provider, according to Wells.

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Resource: What is a solar power purchase agreement?

CHANGES IN WIND TURBINES

3D printing, wooden materials and dizzying heights: How wind turbines are changing, CNBC
Wind turbines are growing in size and productivity thanks to advances in technology. 
The techniques used to build these turbines are also beginning to change.

GLOBAL INVESTMENT IN RENEWABLES

Goldman Sachs Sees $16 Trillion Investment In Renewables By 2030, CleanTechnica
Goldman Sachs analyst Michele Della Vigna and her colleagues have issued a research note for investors that claims investments in renewable energy are set to overtake those in oil and gas for the first time next year. They think the clean energy field, including biofuels, will be a $16 trillion investment opportunity between now and 2030, according to a report by Bloomberg. The research note says renewables will represent about 25% of all energy spending in 2021 — up from 15% in 2014. The research note says clean energy could drive $1 to $2 trillion a year in infrastructure investment between now and 2030 and create 15 to 20 million jobs globally.

Previously Posted: U.S. overtakes China as most attractive country for renewables investment, Reuters