Monthly Archives: November 2020

4 strategies to rapidly scale clean energy in the next decade

Smart Cities Dive guest post by Cameron Bard, senior director for market development at DSD Renewables and adjunct faculty instructor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs.

To fully realize our shared climate goals and rapidly rebuild our economy, we must prioritize and enact policies to accelerate the national transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. The good news is, even amidst the most unprecedented time in generations, we know how. Outlined below are four strategies to create a healthier and more equitable economy, with real-world examples of where and how they’ve already been implemented. Read more here.

Wikimedia Commons Photo

ARTICLES BY ZACHARY SHAHAN

FEDERAL RESERVE HIGHLIGHTS CLIMATE RISKS TO U.S. ECONOMY

The Federal Reserve’s new signals on climate change and risk. NRDC article by Sarah Dougherty, Senior Green Finance Manager. Republished by GreenBiz.

While the Trump administration continues to ignore the danger of climate change, a surprising new actor has broken out to take it seriously: the Federal Reserve System.  The Fed, the U.S. central bank, has moved from irregular mentions to a concerted effort to roll out a spate of new ideas and endeavors that highlight the risks of climate change to our financial system. As part of this effort, in recent weeks the Fed has:

  • Included climate change as a risk to the economy in its biannual report for the first time; 
  • Discussed its essential behind the scenes work on climate change that will enable the Fed to move much more quickly into the next stages of action; and 
  • Testified to Congress that they asked to join a group of banks that are working to ensure the financial system meets the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Previously Posted: In first for Fed, U.S. central bank says climate poses stability risks, Reuters

ENERGY STORAGE ASSOCIATION

What the US energy storage industry could look like under Biden-Harris, Energy Storage News
In an exclusive first interview for international press since the elections, Energy-Storage News speaks with CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman about the Energy Storage Association’s hopes, ambitions and policy asks as 2021 begins to come into view.

MORE ORGANIZATIONS & ALLIANCES LEADING AMERICA’S ENERGY TRANSITION

American Clean Power Association
The American Clean Power Association works to champion policies that will transform the U.S. power grid to a low-cost, reliable and renewable power system. By uniting the power of wind, solar, transmission and storage companies, along with manufacturers and construction companies, developers and owners/operators, utilities, financial firms and corporate purchasers, our goal is to make renewables the dominant energy source in the United States. Previously Posted: AWEA Introduces New Trade Group, the American Clean Power Association, Greentech Media

Clean Power For America
Clean Power for America is leading a nationwide movement to support the smarter, fairer energy policies we need to unleash the promise of renewable energy. Clean Power for America is a project of the American Wind Energy Association.

Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance
The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance consists of organizations representing farmers, ranchers, forest owners, the food sector, state governments and environmental advocates. Read the Alliance’s full recommendations – They cover six areas of focus: soil health, livestock and dairy, forests and wood products, energy, research, and food loss and waste. The alliance welcomes additional members. Email inquires@agclimatealliance.com with questions about membership or climate policy recommendations.

Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance
The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) is an alliance of large clean energy buyers, energy providers, and service providers that is unlocking the marketplace for all non-residential energy buyers to lead a rapid transition to a cleaner, prosperous, zero-carbon energy future. REBA was founded on the premise that large energy buyers have a unique voice and the collective power to drive market change. Now Available for REBA Members: The Accelerating the Decarbonization Impact of Energy Procurement Primer. Download a preview.

U.S. Climate Alliance
The United States Climate Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of 25 governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Alliance represents 55 percent of the U.S. population and an $11.7 trillion economy – an economy larger than all countries but the United States and China. The climate and clean energy policies in Alliance states have attracted billions of dollars of new investment and helped create more than 1.7 million clean energy jobs, over half the U.S. total. Independent analysis highlighted in the Alliance’s 2019 Annual Report shows that Alliance States are not only outpacing non-Alliance states in reducing their emissions, they are also growing their economies at a faster pace. Download Fact Sheet.

We Are Still In
Over the past four years, nearly 4,000 U.S. cities, states, tribal nations, businesses, universities, health care organizations, faith groups, and cultural institutions have formed the largest American coalition in support of climate action in history. These local leaders come from all fifty states and represent over half of the U.S. population, nearly two-thirds of its economy, and more than half of the country’s emissions. They are backed by over two-thirds of Americans who have consistently supported U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement.

Together, they have been guided by the knowledge that bold climate action will make our economy stronger and our nation more resilient to the impacts of climate change. They understand that the pursuit of a clean energy future will help us recover from COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis, while providing us our best opportunity to address systemic inequities that have forced vulnerable communities to bear the brunt of climate impacts and environmental injustice. 

Cash pours into Nebraska Public Power District board of directors campaigns

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News. Network

Candidates in this month’s board of directors election for Nebraska’s largest utility drew record-breaking campaign contributions, making it the most expensive contest in history even before the final receipts are counted. The seven candidates for four board seats on the November general election ballot had collectively taken in more than $175,000 through Oct. 19. That’s more than twice the total raised in 2018 and quadruple the 2016 haul. Money poured in from environmental groups, large industrial customers, and others hoping to steer the agenda for the Nebraska Public Power District board, which has emerged as a frontline for clean energy policy in the state. Continue reading here.

More articles written by Karen Uhlenhuth:

OPPD NEWS

LED streetlight replacements top 50,000 fixtures

UNL will aim for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

By Chris Dunker, Lincoln Journal Star

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will begin implementing a sweeping environmental and sustainability plan that strives to make the campus carbon neutral by 2050. The 2020 Environment, Sustainability and Resilience Master Plan outlines UNL’s “aspirational goals” to reducing its carbon footprint, building a “sustainability-centric” culture, and establishing the university as a national leader in these areas. Chancellor Ronnie Green said the goals and objectives outlined in the plan are ambitious and reflect a bold vision for UNL’s future. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Sustainability, resilience master plan earns final approval, by Troy Fedderson, UNL Communication, Nebraska Today Editor

The master plan was generated by the Chancellor’s Environment, Sustainability and Resilience Commission, which includes nearly 70 members representing student, faculty and staff. The group was formed in answer to a directive from Chancellor Ronnie Green in his 2019 State of the University Address. The commission is led by co-chairs Prabhakar “Prabs” Shrestha, director of sustainability, and Dave Gosselin, director of the sustainability initiative and environmental studies. Chancellor Ronnie Green and other senior leaders gave final approval to the plan on Nov. 4.

Environment, Sustainability and Resilience Master Plan

Photo Credit: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Books, reports for jump-starting U.S. climate action in 2021

By Michael Svoboda, Ph.D. Yale Climate Connections

In the midst of a Coronavirus-dominated Thanksgiving season, the climate-concerned find themselves scurrying for ways the incoming Biden/Harris administration can best move forward on climate action, whatever the political obstacles. Real action on climate change will require difficult, long-term efforts to organize and maintain a broad and diverse coalition of interests – and do so in the face of concerted and well-funded opposition. Several individuals and organizations have been thinking through various approaches, and the results of their efforts are now available in new books and reports highlighted below. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Resources

Local Climate Action

Previously Posted: Mayor Releases Draft Climate Action Plan, News Release, City of Lincoln Mayor’s Office

New Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance

A Sustainable Harvest, American Farm Bureau
Just last week we announced a historic alliance with organizations representing farmers, ranchers, forest owners, the food sector, state governments and environmental advocates, called the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance. The founding members are diverse, but we are united around the goal of developing and promoting voluntary, market- and incentive-based climate solutions. At the American Farm Bureau, we are proud of agriculture’s sustainability story, and we believe that we can continue to build on that success together. This new alliance was formed in February and has been working diligently to develop 40 recommendations built around three key principles:

Virtual Conversation Hosted By The Union of Concerned Scientists

Connecting Faith, Climate, and Justice, December 8, 2020, 6 pm CT
Join the Union of Concerned Scientists and faith leaders for a virtual discussion about how traditions can inform advocacy and action in response to climate change and racial justice.

A new era for Tri-State

By Allen Best, Mountain Town News

Tri-State Generation and Transmission last week promised to deliver what Colorado wants, an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. As for how it will deliver on that pledge, it remains a bit of a mystery. Less coal production, obviously. More wind and solar, ditto. And, as has been highlighted in recent filings, more transmission to get electricity from renewable sources to its 16 member co-operatives in Colorado. Continue reading here.

Previously Posted

Tri-State Association members are located in four states: Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Nebraska.

Power from the Prairie aims to link West Coast sun with Midwest wind

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

The missing link between California solar power and Midwest wind energy may be a 600-mile stretch from southwestern Wyoming to northwestern Iowa. A pair of energy consultants with Upper Midwest roots are promoting a $9.5 billion vision for an interstate transmission-plus-storage project aimed at connecting two long-separated regional electricity grids.

Rob Schulte and Fred Fletcher believe their Power from the Prairie concept would produce massive benefits for utilities, customers and the country’s clean energy transition, enabling variable wind and solar resources from multiple regions to backfill and balance each other out on the grid. Continue reading here.

About the Interconnection Seams Study Karen Uhlenhuth references: How a Plan to Save the Power System Disappeared, The Atlantic and Investigate West

Photo Credit: Dori / Wikimedia Commons

Also published today by Energy News Network:
‘Dark money’ group raises fears in Illinois energy negotiations, by Kari Lydersen
A mysterious group has spent more than a quarter million dollars promoting a vague agenda that’s critical of Illinois utilities’ clean energy transitions.

Meeting the Climate Moment With a 100-Day Agenda for Solar

By Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA President & CEO, SEIA Blog

I want to share our vision for the next decade, and more specifically, for our new President-elect. It goes without saying that this is an exciting time to be in the solar industry. We are now 32x bigger than we were a decade ago and this $18 billion industry supports American families in every state. Solar is a job-creating engine with bipartisan support and helps to bring clean, affordable electricity to millions. That’s why big businesses like Walmart and Amazon are investing in solar and why 90% of Americans, regardless of political beliefs, support solar. Continue reading here.

Eight mayors: We need a Marshall Plan for Middle America

Opinion by William Peduto, Jamael Tito Brown, Nan Whaley, Andrew Ginther, John Cranley, Steve Williams, Ron Dulaney Jr. and Greg Fischer
Published by The Washington Post

According to our research, taking advantage of our community assets, geographic positioning and the strengths of our regional markets can help create over 400,000 jobs across the region by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades to buildings, energy infrastructure and transportation assets. Read more here.

The writers are the mayors of Pittsburgh; Youngstown, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Cincinnati; Huntington, W.Va.; Morgantown, W.Va.; and Louisville.

MORE ON LES’ DECARBONIZATION GOAL

Lincoln Electric System board adopts 100% net decarbonization goal by 2040, American Public Power Association

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & VIEWING

GREENBIZ VIDEOS

LES Board Commits to Net Zero Carbon by 2040

By Lincoln Electric System | November 22, 2020, KRVN

LINCOLN – The Lincoln Electric System Board Friday passed a resolution setting a goal for the utility to achieve net-zero carbon by 2040. With the passage of the goal, LES joins dozens of other utilities and cities that have passed similar measures, including the Omaha Public Power District.

“As LES Board Members, our fiduciary responsibility is to ratepayers. Across the country, clean energy like wind and solar is becoming cheaper while coal is becoming more costly,” said Lucas Sabalka, an LES Board Member. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Jeff Bezos announces nearly $800 million in grants to 16 groups fighting climate change

By Allen Kim, CNN

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced Monday that he will give $791 million in grants as part of his Bezos Earth Fund to 16 organizations that are working to protect the environment. The fund is part of the CEO’s $10 billion pledge to support scientists, activists, NGOs and organizations working to protect the environment. The full list of grantees are a mix of big name NGOs, labs, reforestation and climate justice groups.

They include: The Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund, ClimateWorks Foundation, Dream Corps Green For All, Eden Reforestation Projects, Energy Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, NDN Collective, Rocky Mountain Institute, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, The Solutions Project, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund. Read more here.

U.S. CLIMATE ALLIANCE 

U.S. Climate Alliance Urges Federal Action on the Climate Crisis, News Release
The Executive Director of the bipartisan United States Climate Alliance today issued the following statement regarding the Alliance’s continued commitment to address climate change and how the election outcome has created an opportunity for the U.S. federal government, in close partnership with states, to restore national climate leadership: 

Our states will continue to act on climate change, doing so with increased urgency and ambition, in line with science.  We will embrace the significant economic opportunities presented by our climate leadership, focusing on an equitable and just transition while investing in community- and family-sustaining clean energy jobs.  And we will continue to cooperate through the U.S. Climate Alliance – a bipartisan coalition of 25 governors – because together we move further and faster. 

CLIMATE MAYORS

Climate Mayors Announces New Chair, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, News Release
Today, Climate Mayors, the network of 468 U.S. mayors across the country committed to leading bold climate action and upholding the Paris Climate Agreement, announced that Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh will become the next Chair of the nationwide coalition. In this role, Mayor Walsh will help catalyze climate-forward actions taken at the local level, provide an example of climate action for leaders at all levels of government, and advocate for an economic recovery founded in equity and environmental stewardship.

OCEAN-BASED CLIMATE SOLUTIONS BILL

Congress Takes Up Ocean Climate Action, Expert Blog by Valerie Cleland, NRDC
The House Natural Resources Committee has begun tackling the monumental Ocean-Based Climate Solutions bill (H.R. 8632). The first of its kind to address the ocean side of climate changethe bill sets a truly exciting precedent for ocean climate action legislationThe hearing addressed blue carbon, the ban on offshore drilling, the need for marine protected areas, the pathway for expanding offshore wind, and more.

SOLSMART

Since 2016, the SolSmart program has provided in-depth technical assistance to hundreds of local governments nationwide and has awarded over 380 cities, towns, counties, and regional organizations with SolSmart designations for their solar achievements. 

Solar Energy: SolSmart’s Toolkit for Local Governments
This toolkit helps local governments and community stakeholders in cities, counties, and small towns design and implement plans to encourage solar energy development.

Learn More  About SolSmart Here.