Illinois would get a “green bank” to finance equity-focused clean energy investments under the latest version of the Clean Energy Jobs Act pending in the state legislature. If the proposal passes, Illinois would join more than a dozen states including Florida, New York and Connecticut that use publicly funded green banks to leverage private investment for renewables, energy efficiency and other projects, especially in communities that have been underrepresented in the clean energy economy. The state-level proposal comes as a federal bill with bipartisan support would create a national green bank — dubbed the Clean Energy Accelerator — that would work in tandem with state banks. Continue reading here.
Photo by Jim Bowen / Creative Commons
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
- Local View: Climate change behind record cold, power woes, Lincoln Journal Star
The writer, Reverend Penny Greer, is president of the board of Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light. She lives in Lincoln.
- Solar panels and batteries on your home could help prevent the next grid disaster, by National Geographic. Even small systems like those that kept the lights on for some Texas homeowners could play a role in protecting the bigger electricity system, experts say.
- An energy strategy worthy of Texas, PV Magazine
The contributing writer, Karl R. Rábago, operates an energy consultancy based in Denver, Colorado. He has served as a Public Utility Commissioner in Texas, as a utility executive with Austin Energy (the City of Austin’s municipal electric utility), and as a regulatory affairs director for AES Wind, which developed wind farms in Texas.
- Sunshine for All: Closing the Solar Energy Gap, Common Dreams
Proven strategies can make solar power available to lower income people.
Recognition of and response to energy poverty in the United States, Nature Energy
A household is energy poor when they cannot meet energy needs. Despite its prevalence, the US has not formally recognized energy poverty as a problem distinct from general poverty at the federal level, which limits effective responses. In this review, the authors examine the measurement and evaluative metrics used by the two federally-funded energy programs focused on reducing high energy bills to understand how program eligibility requirements and congressional funding appropriations have shaped the national understanding and implementation of energy poverty assistance. We find that current measurement and evaluative metrics hinge on the distribution of government resources and the number of vulnerable households assisted, rather than improving household well-being and reducing overall energy poverty.
Understanding Solar+Storage: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Solar PV and Battery Storage, Clean Energy Group Publication
The guide is informed by more than six years of experience through Clean Energy Group’s work with property owners, developers, nonprofits, and communities to advance solar+storage in underserved communities. The questions and topic areas addressed in the guide are based on feedback from nearly one hundred stakeholders who submitted questions about solar+storage.
The information presented in the guide focuses primarily on customer-sited, behind-the-meter solar+storage installations, though much of the information is relevant to other types of projects as well, including storage-only projects and front-of-the-meter solar+storage projects. It is meant to serve as a starting point to establish a foundation of knowledge and understanding for individuals and organizations beginning to explore solar+storage options for their homes, businesses, or community facilities.
A Spanish-language version of this guide is available here.
NYC installing solar at nearly 50 public schools, other facilities, PV Magazine
The 22 MW of solar projects are expected to include some energy storage systems and help New York City and the state meet sustainability goals.
ELECTRIC MACHINES & VEHICLES
AFFORDABLE ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES
Report: Accelerating The Transition To Electric School Buses: How schools, lawmakers, and utilities can work together to speed the transition to zero emission buses. Released by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund.
The vast majority of school buses in the United States run on diesel, a fossil fuel that has been shown to cause numerous health problems, including asthma, bronchitis, and cancer. Diesel exhaust is also a greenhouse gas, which contributes to climate change.
However, there is an alternative: zero-emission battery electric school buses. The technology is here, and electric school buses are ready to roll, but the question remains: how do schools pay for them? While electric buses can save schools money over the lifespan of the bus, the initial price tag of a new electric bus can turn many schools off to the idea of electrification.
Particularly promising options are vehicle-to-grid technology and Pay-As-You-Save (PAYS) programs. By pairing them, “each electric bus could save school districts up to $130,000 per electric bus.”
Download the Report.
FEATURED LEGAL ACTION
Midwest Renewable Energy Association Files Lawsuit to Open Solar and Other Clean Energy Opportunities for Wisconsinites, Earthjustice News Release
STEVENS POINT, WI — The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) filed a lawsuit in Wisconsin Circuit Court to remove barriers preventing Wisconsinites from accessing the benefits of local clean energy development. MREA’s filing asks the court to ensure that the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) sticks to regulating monopoly utility companies and does not illegally interfere with competitive clean energy alternatives for Wisconsin families and businesses.
MREA’s lawsuit specifically challenges two unlawful policies that stifle Wisconsin’s clean energy economy. First, MREA challenges guidance documents from the PSCW that preclude financing options available in most other states where solar energy is more affordable. MREA also challenges a PSCW order that unlawfully prohibits Wisconsin homes and businesses from utilizing market incentives to reduce their power consumption during peak hours and thereby reduce power costs for everyone.
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit public interest environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change.
About The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA)
The Midwest Renewable Energy Association promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration.Together with partners around the Midwest, we work to expand renewable energy adoption through innovative programs, renewable energy training, and educational events. MREA is a nonprofit organization.