Monthly Archives: January 2022

Biden Revives ‘Clean Energy’ Program With $1B Loan Guarantee

By Matthew Daly, Associated Press
U.S. News & World Report

The Energy Department said it would guarantee up to $1 billion in loans to help a Nebraska company scale up production of “clean” hydrogen to convert natural gas into commercial products used in manufacturing and agriculture.

The revived loan program is part of President Joe Biden’s efforts to slash planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, amid legislative gridlock that has stalled a $2 trillion package of social and environmental initiatives. It’s among the tools he can use without new legislation. Read more here.

Research paper Daly references in the article, published by Energy Science & Engineering:
How green is blue hydrogen?,
by Robert W. Howarth and Mark Z. Jacobson


Loan Programs Office (LPO)
LPO has more than $40 billion in loans and loan guarantees available to help deploy large-scale energy infrastructure projects in the United States. Over the past decade, LPO has closed more than $30 billion of deals across a variety of energy sectors.


Previously Posted

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY’S HYDROGEN SHOT

The Department of Energy’s first Energy Earthshot, launched June 7, 2021—Hydrogen Shot—seeks to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to $1 per 1 kilogram in 1 decade.

The Hydrogen Shot establishes a framework and foundation for clean hydrogen deployment in the American Jobs Plan, which includes support for demonstration projects. Industries are beginning to implement clean hydrogen to reduce emissions, yet many hurdles remain to deploying it at scale.

Achieving the Hydrogen Shot’s 80% cost reduction goal can unlock new markets for hydrogen, including steel manufacturing, clean ammonia, energy storage, and heavy-duty trucks. This would create more clean energy jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and position America to compete in the clean energy market on a global scale. These efforts would ensure that environmental protection and benefits for local communities are a priority.

GREEN HYDROGEN NEWS

Here’s why one solar industry veteran is betting big on clean hydrogen, CNBC


Raffi Garabedian
 spent a dozen years developing solar panel technology at First Solar, a photovoltaics company that currently has a market value around $8 billion. The technologist then went on to co-found clean hydrogen start-up Electric Hydrogen, which he’s currently building out as its CEO.

UNO Magazine: Big Future for Tiny Homes

University of Nebraska Omaha News Center

Focused on the future of tiny houses, Bing Chen, Ph.D., a UNL professor of electrical and computer engineering based out of Omaha’s Peter Kiewit Institute, envisions a future filled with tiny, environmentally friendly houses.

Over the past two years, Chen, along with students from Metropolitan Community College, have taken the first steps to making his vision a reality. Earlier this year, this multidisciplinary team completed construction of a 400-square-foot prototype of a sustainable, ADA-compliant home that one day could be mass produced and easily transported almost anywhere in the country.

The construction students framed the home, created the floor, erected side walls, wired the home for electricity and installed heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The finished 20-foot x 20-foot home, which was built on MCC’s campus, will be moved on a flatbed trailer to a location near UNO’s Baxter Arena this coming spring. Learn more here.

Read the UNO Magazine online as a Flipbook or download a PDF.

Previously Posted

OPPD Continues Strong Focus On Reliability & Resilience For Future Generation

OPPD News Release, January 20, 2022

During this week’s all-committees meeting for the OPPD Board of Directors, utility leaders discussed resource planning work. OPPD must submit an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) every five years as part of a long-term contract to receive hydroelectric power. The utility uses comprehensive decision-support tools to evaluate resource options for the IRP, which serves as a road map for future generation and power purchases.

This latest IRP will take into account recently released findings from OPPD’s latest portfolio modeling process to move the utility toward its goal of net-zero carbon by 2050. The plan also includes the district’s Power with Purpose project to add up to 600 megawatts (MW) of solar generation with natural gas backup to power our growing communities, as well as the retirement of North Omaha Station units 1-3 and repowering of units 4-5 to run on natural gas.

Board officer positions for 2022

During today’s monthly board meeting, directors elected officer positions for the coming year, opting to retain the positions held in 2021. They also confirmed standing committee assignments for 2022.

LES YEAR-END REPORT & ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

 

 

NPPD RESOURCES

 

 

 

‘Build Back Better’ Hit a Wall, but Climate Action Could Move Forward

By Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman, New York Times

The climate portion of Build Back Better includes about $555 billion aimed at moving the American economy away from its 150-year-old reliance on fossil fuels and toward clean energy sources. Instead of penalties to punish polluters, the bill offers incentives for industries, utilities and individuals to shift from burning oil, gas and coal for energy and transportation to using wind, solar and other forms of power that do not emit carbon dioxide, the most plentiful of the greenhouse gases that are warming the world.

It would provide about $320 billion in tax credits for producers and buyers of wind, solar and nuclear power. Buyers of electric vehicles would receive up to $12,500 in tax credits. It would extend existing tax credits to lower costs for homeowners of installing solar panels, geothermal pumps and small wind turbines, covering up to 30 percent of the bills. Read more here.

APPA FACT SHEET OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

The Need for Direct Payment Of Refundable Tax Credits for Public Power

APPA believes that if Congress intends to create incentives in pursuit of national energy and climate goals, it should realize that tax-based incentives will not have the market-wide reach of direct grants and other incentives. As a result, the association believes that tax-based incentives should be drafted to accommodate tax-exempt entities, including public power utilities. 

UTILITY DIVE SERIES

2022 Outlook: FERC expected to prioritize transmission, power markets and gas infrastructure, by Ethan Howland, Senior Reporter

This is the third part of Utility Dive’s 2022 Outlook Series.

With its oversight of interstate transmission and wholesale power markets, FERC, an independent agency, has a major role in the energy transition. “FERC’s regulation is central to the resilient, reliable future grid that’s already developing,” John Moore, director of the Sustainable FERC Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said.

Potential changes to the transmission system are driven by the growth of renewable energy, especially in areas that are far from major population centers, according to Moore. Other developments that are driving a focus on transmission planning include the development of offshore wind farms and the shift away from fossil fuels for cars, trucks and buildings, which will drive up electricity use, Moore said.

Referenced in the article: FERC’s new Office of Public Participation
Upcoming Resources for the Future Webinar: Policy Leadership Series with FERC Commissioner Allison Clements, January 25, 2022 at 10 a.m. Central Time


Fourth Part of Utility Dive’s 2022 Series 

2022 Outlook: US solar and wind boom continues despite supply chain woes, Build Back Better uncertainty,  by Iulia Gheorghiu

 

INTERIOR DEPARTMENT NEWS

Interior’s 2022 energy strategy: 3 things to watch, E&E News

Interior’s efforts will include authorizing solar energy in Western deserts and leasing waters in the Atlantic Ocean to offshore wind developers, as well as reexamining the rules that govern decommissioning offshore pipelines, drilling for oil and digging for federal coal . . . Meanwhile, renewables are about to get a boost on public lands.

Additional Recommended Reading: Offshore wind: a key to unlocking the American transition to a clean, reliable and affordable energy future, American Clean Power Association

USDA NEWS RELEASES

USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations Highlights 2021 Accomplishments to Advance Equity and Opportunity for Tribal Nations and Communities

“USDA and the federal government have a distinct relationship with tribal nations,” said USDA Office of Tribal Relations Director Heather Dawn Thompson. “We are embarking on new initiatives to reframe approaches to how USDA serves Indian Country and promotes government-to-government relationships with tribal nations.” 

MIDAMERICAN ENERGY NEWS RELEASE

MidAmerican Energy proposes $3.9 billion “Wind PRIME” renewable energy project

In a filing with the Iowa Utilities Board, MidAmerican’s proposed project, called Wind PRIME, would add 2,042 megawatts of wind generation and 50 megawatts of solar generation. The company also proposed conducting feasibility studies focused on other clean generation technologies, including carbon capture, energy storage and small modular nuclear reactors.

FEATURED EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION

The Zero Energy Project is a non-profit educational organization whose goal is to help home buyers, builders, designers, and real estate professionals take meaningful steps towards radically reducing carbon emissions and energy bills by building zero net energy homes and near zero energy homes.

We envision the day when positive energy homes, which produce more energy than they consume, will power electric vehicles as well as homes, so that everyone can live well with less expense and without fear of energy price spikes, while greatly reducing our carbon emissions.

Zero Energy Project’s Directory of Zero Energy Building Professionals
Recent Blog Post: Net-Zero vs Passive House: What are the Similarities and Differences?

DOE BETTER BUILDINGS WEBINAR

PV Valuation: How Solar PV Adds Value to Your Assets, February 1, 2022, 10 a.m. CT

Rooftop solar is a common renewable energy strategy, and owners and operators are now exploring potential financial benefits to the value of commercial and industrial properties. Learn from several building owners and managers on how they made the business case for solar PV and found increased asset value during appraisal or at the time of sale. This webinar will highlight multiple building types and financial models for solar PV.

DOE Releases Guidebook to Boost Solar Energy Use in Communities

U.S. Department of Energy News Release

DOE’s “Solar Power in Your Community” Provides Proven Strategies for Local Governments to Increase Equitable Access to Clean Power, Solar App+ Online Tool Cuts Solar Permit Time to Less than One Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released the third edition of Solar Power in Your Community,” DOE’s guidebook to help local governments unlock environmental and economic benefits of increased solar deployment in their communities. This latest edition contains nearly 40 case studies from around the country that show field-tested approaches to reduce solar market barriers, highlights new technologies and strategies to maximize the benefits of solar, such as combining solar with energy storage to improve resilience, and emphasizes strategies for improving the equity of solar deployment at the local level. These efforts support the deployment of more solar energy to reach the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of achieving 100% clean electricity by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050.  

“DOE’s solar guidebook is a must-have reference for local governments interested in using proven strategies to speed up going solar and cut energy bills for their residents,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “From reducing solar permitting delays and other soft costs to expanding solar benefits to renters and other non-traditional solar users, we’re providing more localities with the tools to succeed in delivering cheaper, cleaner power while generating good-paying local jobs.” 

The Solar Power in Your Community guidebook is a one-stop-shop for information about solar deployment, providing best practices, case studies, and links to resources developed by DOE, the National Laboratories, and other trusted sources.  

Since the guidebook was originally published in 2009, solar power costs have decreased 80% and federal incentives have spurred dramatic increases in solar deployment. However, soft costs like unnecessary paperwork, red tape, and other burdensome requirements increase costs and discourage solar companies from moving to an area. By streamlining these requirements and taking other steps to encourage solar development, DOE is supporting communities to become “open for solar business.” 

DOE’s solar guidebook encourages local governments to: 

  • Adopt SolarAPP+ tool to rapidly approve residential solar installation permits:
    DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory released results from its SolarAPP+ (Solar Automated Permit Processing) tool pilot in five communities in California and Arizona. The results show that SolarAPP+ reduced the average permit review time to less than one day, enabled projects to be installed and inspected 12 days faster, and saved the pilot communities over 2,000 hours of staff time. Learn more about the results and sign up to use the tool
  • Join the SolSmart 60 campaign to expand solar deployment: The SolSmart 60 Campaign aims to get 60 new communities designated as SolSmart Gold, Silver, or Bronze for making it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar. So far, 21 local communities have earned distinction for their solar deployment practices since September 2021. The program offers free technical assistance to help any municipality, county, or regional organization remove obstacles to going solar and reduce the soft costs that can hold back growth. SolSmart’s team of national experts in solar energy and local government have helped these jurisdictions implement best practices and take decisive action to encourage the expansion of solar energy. 
  • Receive free technical assistance to develop community solar programs: The National Community Solar Partnership is a coalition of community solar stakeholders working to expand access to community solar, particularly to those with low-to-moderate incomes, renters, and other community members for whom traditional rooftop solar is unavailable. Local governments can join the partnership to receive free technical assistance to develop community solar programs. 

As part of DOE’s effort to ensure that local governments know about DOE resources, Secretary Granholm will keynote the Annual Summit of the National Community Solar Partnership on January 25 at 10 a.m. Central Time. The Secretary will discuss community solar deployment with Governor Jay Inslee of Washington and Governor JB Pritzker of Illinois. 

For regular event updates and access to exclusive National Community Solar Partnership resources and opportunities, register to join the Partnership. Membership is free and open to any community solar stakeholder in the U.S.

If you have any questions, please reach out to communitysolar@ee.doe.gov for more information.

2022 Outlook: Top US power sector trends to watch

By Kavya Balaraman, Ethan Howland, Robert Walton, Iulia Gheorghiu

This is the first piece in Utility Dive’s four-part 2022 outlook series
examining key policies and trends driving the U.S. power sector.

At the start of the Biden administration’s second year, government agencies are beginning to implement the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the bipartisan infrastructure package Congress passed last year. Concerns remain high about the reliability and security of the U.S. power grid, and the future of the Build Back Better bill and its clean-energy provisions remains uncertain. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which now has a Democratic majority and a full complement of commissioners, is poised to play a key role in how much the administration’s climate and energy policies advance. Read more here.

Second Part of Utility Dive’s 2022 Outlook Series: A new recognition is coming of rate design’s critical role in the energy transition, by Herman K. Trabish

ENERGY STORAGE

‘Large quantities of energy storage’ can balance the US grid all-year-round, NREL study finds,
by Andy Colthorpe, Energy Storage News

The synergies between diurnal energy storage and solar PV are better than for wind energy, although it will have an important role to play in integrating both renewable energy types, the study found.

According to a new report from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), energy storage’s ability to store overgeneration from solar and wind power plants means it can contribute to the energy mix when most needed, even in the most conservative scenarios of variable renewable energy deployment. Photo Credit: Dennis Schroeder / NREL

Also by Andy Colthorpe: North America’s largest Li-ion battery recycling giga-facility to ‘take on as much as possible’ from ESS sector, Energy Storage News

ARTICLES WRITTEN BY TINA CASEY FOR CLEAN TECHNICA

Energy Efficient, Transparent Solar Windows: You Really Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
More than 20 billion square feet of windows are installed every year, and the leading firm Andersen Corporation apparently plans to make some of those billions into energy efficient, transparent solar energy generators that could kick the pace of global energy decarbonization into high gear.

The Solid-State Energy Storage Dam Is About To Bust Wide Open
Electric vehicles are supposed to be the biggest market for new solid-state battery technology, but stationary energy storage is suddenly in the running, too.

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA NEWS RELEASE & REPORT

President Biden’s first year in office marks progress on numerous environmental fronts

The progress report, President Biden’s First Year: A year of restoring lost environmental protections, documents the Biden administration’s work on 20 “priority actions” that enjoy broad support and have significant environmental impact. Although much of the media attention this past year has focused on big ticket bills like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Build Back Better Act, which still has an uncertain fate in Congress, the actions highlighted in the report are worthy of recognition as well. These include:

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

DOWNLOADABLE COLORING BOOK

Solar Energy Workbook

Download and color this FREE copy of the Solar Energy Workbook, then send it back to the American Solar Energy Society as a PDF. The organization will review it and reward you with an International Certificate “as appreciation of your dedication and efforts.” Click the above link for complete instructions.

USDA Launches Pilot Program to Deploy Renewable Energy Infrastructure to People in Rural Towns

USDA News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 19, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the Department is making up to $10 million available to help people living in rural towns develop community renewable energy projects that will help them cut their energy costs and contribute to the nationwide effort to reduce pollution that contributes to climate change. These funds will be targeted to help people who live in communities that have been historically underinvested and disinvested.

USDA is making the funds available through the new Rural Energy Pilot Program to help the people of rural America build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before. Through this program, USDA is supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to making environmental justice a part of every agency’s mission to address the disproportionate health, environmental, economic and climate impacts on disadvantaged communities. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Highlights Key Work in 2021 to Combat Climate Change, USDA News Release, January 18, 2022

“Climate change threatens our food security, safety, and the environment we all depend on, but USDA is taking action to respond,” said Vilsack. “Working closely alongside our partners and those we serve, we are conserving precious natural resources, supporting climate smart forestry and agriculture, helping agricultural producers make their operations more climate friendly and resilient to climate change, and protecting communities from wildfire.”

USDA Resource: Climate Solutions

DOE Kicks Off Recruitment to Support Implementation of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

U.S. Department of Energy News Release

“Clean Energy Corps” Hiring Campaign and Applicant Portal To Streamline
The Largest DOE Staff Expansion In More Than Four Decades

“This is an open call for all Americans who are passionate about taking a proactive role in tackling the climate crisis and want to join the team that is best positioned to lead this transformative work,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Solving the world’s greatest challenge will require the inclusion of all voices, perspectives and experiences – and we need people like you to ensure that DOE fulfills on our commitment to accelerating the clean energy transition to reduce emissions and save our planet.” 

The Department is now collecting resumes for the Clean Energy Corps through the newly launched DOE Applicant Portal, part of a streamlined application process that will allow applicants to align their talents with their passions by indicating specific areas of interest and allowing hiring managers to review candidate profiles simultaneously. The Department will assemble the Clean Energy Corps to mirror the diversity within America and ensure the inclusion of workers who have lived in communities impacted by climate change. DOE is seeking candidates with interest in leading the clean energy transition through the following industries: Read more here.

  • Watch Secretary Granholm’s message for Clean Energy Corps applicants HERE.
  • Anyone interested in joining the Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Corps can submit their resume, skills, and areas of interest at energy.gov/cleanenergycorps.  

Additional Recommended Reading

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Hits the Ground Running 60 Days into Infrastructure Implementation, The White House Briefing Room

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Races to Deploy Clean Energy that Creates Jobs and Lowers Costs

The White House Briefing Room, January 12, 2022

New Actions Advance Offshore Wind, Leverage Public Lands for Clean Energy, and
Build the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Transmission Lines

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is making major leaps forward on wind, solar, transmission, and other clean energy projects to create high-quality jobs and deliver affordable, carbon pollution-free electricity across the country. Seven federal agencies are announcing clean energy projects and plans that demonstrate the Administration’s unwavering commitment to creating cleaner and cheaper energy, and the actions showcase President Biden’s unprecedented coordination activating the entire government to fight climate change, produce good-paying, union jobs, and accelerate America’s clean energy economy. These actions include: Read more here.

RELATED READING

NPPD NEWS RELEASE

Jerry Chlopek elected NPPD Board Chair for 2022

Columbus, Neb. – Jerry Chlopek of Columbus was elected as Chair of Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD) Board of Directors for 2022 following that body’s annual election of officers Wednesday in Columbus.

Also elected were Melissa Freelend of Kearney as first vice chair, Ed Schrock of Holdrege/Elm Creek as second vice chair, and Wayne Williams as secretary. NPPD Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Laura Kapustka was elected treasurer.

FROM OPPD THE WIRE

ALSO IN THE NEWS

New Year, New Opportunities to Strengthen Nebraska

By Governor Pete Ricketts, Nebraska.Gov

For the sake of Nebraska’s next generation, we should find ways to spend responsibly for years to come. That includes this year, when we have the unique task of deciding how to spend funds Nebraska received as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. It’s imperative that these ARPA dollars go toward one-time projects. This is one-time money and must be spent as such. Otherwise, we risk growing government spending at an untenable rate. These funds can help our state better recover from COVID’s economic impact, strengthen public health and safety, and continue to invest in our skilled workforce. This is an excellent opportunity to fund infrastructure projects across our state that will benefit Nebraskans for generations to come. Read more here.

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS

NEBRASKA BROADBAND

MORE INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS & OPINION

THE “OTHER” INFRASTRUCTURE BILL – BUILD BACK BETTER