Monthly Archives: May 2022

IPCC Outlines Opportunities For Action In Rural Communities To Address Climate Change

By Nick Summers, Center for Rural Affairs

A recent report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reaffirms the importance of climate action in rural communities, calling on those communities to adapt to and mitigate climate impacts to preserve their own prosperity and protect food and energy security globally. The report takes a comprehensive look at the specific vulnerabilities of systems and communities and identifies pathways for adaptation and mitigation. Continue reading here.

Related Blog Posts

More CFRA Resources

FACT SHEET: U.S.- Japan Climate Partnership

The White House Briefing Room

Recognizing that the path to energy security runs through clean energy, the United States and Japan intend to build on their cooperation to increase climate ambition, including through decarbonization and clean energy, and continue to lead on their respective domestic climate efforts and on accelerating international climate action. The two sides intend to reinforce bilateral cooperation in the priority areas below to achieve their 2050 net zero goals and their aligned 2030 nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, alongside promoting a global trajectory consistent with keeping global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach. The two sides intend to further cooperate and accelerate respective action by: Click here to learn more.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION NEWS

Renewable energy and storage advocate, Glick, nominated for another FERC term, PV Magazine

President Biden’s nomination of the chairman, popular among renewable energy advocates, comes as the commission looks to finalize major reforms to its electric regional transmission planning and cost allocation requirements.

FEATURED SOLAR ENERGY NEWS STORY

Former US Ambassador Andrew Young pushes for more solar energy in Georgia, 11Alive.com

He said Sunday at a press event, that this is all in an effort to have reliable power during storms, save money on his energy bill, and help reduce climate change.


SOLAR POWER WORLD RESOURCE

U.S. solar panel manufacturers – Updated May 2022
This is a current list of U.S. solar panel manufacturers/assemblers that produce solar panels for the traditional residential, commercial and utility-scale markets. This data was collected by Solar Power World editors and will be continually updated as facilities are started and/or expanded. If there is a facility update not included on this list, please contact editor Kelly Pickerel: kpickerel@wtwhmedia.com.

Initiatives Shaping Workforce To Better Serve Customers As We ‘Power The Future’

OPPD News Release, May 19, 2022

Omaha Public Power District is working to develop our strategic vision of Powering the Future to 2050, with a number of strategic initiatives helping to lay the path forward. During their monthly board meeting this evening, the OPPD Board of Directors received an update on two of them – Workplace Transformation and Technology Platform.

These and other initiatives underway take into account dynamic trends and issues that continue to shape the future of the electricity industry, including carbon emissions and climate change, emerging sources of competition, the future role of electricity markets, smart technology, evolving customer desires and more.

This week, OPPD management provided directors with an update on the utility’s Power with Purpose project to add up to 600 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale solar and natural gas generation. The increased generation capacity will help maintain long-term reliability and resiliency of the system.

Board members are considering making revisions to Strategic Directive 11: Economic Development. A redlined document is available for public viewing at OPPDCommunityConnect.com. We welcome feedback on the proposed changes. Comments will be accepted through June 12. The board will consider all input received prior to voting on any amendments, which they expect to do at their next regular monthly meeting on June 16.

Read the entire news release here.

ATTENTION: LES & NPPD CUSTOMERS

 

Lincoln Electric System Webinar, May 26, 12-1 pm:  Shedding the light on solar

 

 

NPPD surveying residential customers: The 2022 Residential Appliance Survey will be sent out May 24

 

EPA Regional Administrator Meg McCollister Urges School Districts, Tribes and School Bus Operators in Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska to Apply for $500M In Available Funding for Clean School Buses

Environmental Protection Agency News Release, May 20, 2022

“This historic investment under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will forever transform school bus fleets across the United States,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “These funding opportunities to replace older, heavily-polluting buses will result in healthier air for many of the 25 million American children who rely on school buses, many of whom live in overburdened and underserved communities. Today we take a major step toward a future where clean, zero-emissions school buses are the American standard.”

“This new funding can make a big impact for children across Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska and the nine tribal nations here,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meghan A. McCollister. “I urge all eligible school districts, tribes, and school bus operators to make the time this summer to apply for Clean School Bus rebates. Applications will be accepted until August 19, 2022. Over the next five years, this program will deliver $5 billion to school districts to improve our bus fleets and improve health and safety for our kids and communities.” Questions about applying may be directed to CleanSchoolBus@epa.gov.

Read the entire news release here.

Note: This is the first competition that EPA is running through the Clean School Bus program. The Agency will also launch a grant competition later this year. Further Clean School Bus competitions funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will be run every year over the next five years. To learn more about the rebate programs, applicant eligibility, selection process, and informational webinar dates, visit www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus. 

Links to more information:

Links to U.S. PIRG Reports & Blog

UPCOMING DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY WEBINAR

180 Day Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Briefing, Monday, May 23rd at 10:30 am CT
The U.S. Department of Energy is hosting this 30-minute webinar with Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Infrastructure Kathleen Hogan to provide updates on the implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and to share the progress made in its first 180 days. The webinar will feature updates on the $10 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding already released as well as a preview of upcoming funding opportunities. In addition, it will highlight how equity and the Justice40 initiative are being incorporated into BIL programs and allow time for a Q&A. Submit your questions via the link in your registration confirmation email.

UPDATED DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY CAREER MAPS

For anyone seeking a job in clean energy, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has created various interactive and user-friendly maps to help you think about what your career can look like in clean energy. Each map is organized into easily navigated sections based on degreed versus vocational careers, making for clearer roles and paths.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

FEATURED CLIMATE EDUCATION & ACTION RESOURCES

  • UNICEF: Talking to your child about climate change: How to engage children on the issue with hope and positivity. Numerous links to resources are provided.
  • Talk Climate.Org resource pages are designed to support justice-based climate education, to provide guidance for productive and empowering climate conversations, and to offer ways to take climate action.

Department of Energy Update

Sent by Email, May 18, 2022

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a series of announcements involving its Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) offices. In case you missed them, read on for a short summary of an exciting day for clean energy.

Subscribe to Energy.gov Updates here

From The White House Briefing Room: White House Releases Technical Assistance Guide to Help Communities Unlock Resources From Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Today, the White House released a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law technical assistance guide to help state, local, Tribal and territorial governments navigate, access, and deploy infrastructure resources that will build a better America. The Biden Administration has identified over $700 million in dedicated funding across more than 65 technical assistance programs. In addition to highlighting federal government technical assistance, the White House Infrastructure Implementation Team has engaged with a range of external stakeholders including, philanthropic, labor and nonprofit organizations, to highlight available nongovernmental resources and create a pipeline to assist communities in quickly and equitably accessing and deploying federal infrastructure funding.

Over 90% of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s historic funding will be deployed by non-federal partners. In the past, too many communities have lacked the resources to apply for and deploy transformative infrastructure opportunities. This guide, building on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Guidebook and Rural Playbook, highlights programs that help communities navigate programs and resources that can help them deliver infrastructure projects.  While some of these programs offer hands-on and intensive planning and delivery support for communities, others are more self-directed resources and tools such as webinars and websites, or funding that can support project planning.

Hundreds of environmental, consumer groups request investigation of electric utility industry

Contributed by Solar United Neighbors, Solar Power World

More than 230 consumer, environmental and public interest groups urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the electric utility industry for widespread abuses. These include bribery, fake dark-money campaigns and denying customers access to renewable energy.

Some of the abuses described in the petition include:

  • An Ohio utility, FirstEnergy, paid $60 million in bribes to the Ohio House speaker’s political machine. In return, the utility secured a $1 billion ratepayer-funded bailout for several of its unprofitable nuclear and coal plants.
  • Florida Power and Light spent millions of dollars on political consultants who engineered a scheme to siphon votes to third-party “ghost candidates” from candidates committed to holding utilities accountable, according to reporting by the Orlando Sentinel. The ghost candidate won in all three races. One utility opponent lost by just 32 votes.
  • A recent national survey found that nearly three-quarters of solar developers experience delays in interconnecting projects to the electric grid. Eighty-five percent of respondents specifically named utility noncompliance with interconnection procedures as a problem. These delays can increase the cost of distributed solar projects and cause customers to back out of long-delayed projects. Minnesota regulators fined Xcel Energy $1 million for failing to keep pace with a backlog of projects. Two years later the backlog remains a barrier to solar growth.

Read more here.

Photo: Federal Trade Commission building. Credit: Wikipedia

MORE U.S. NEWS

Summary: The U.S. economy has been deeply impacted by supply chain constraints. These constraints are due to shortages of labor and multiple classes of materials, causing disruptions on a global level. For public power utilities, the ability to provide reliable and affordable power to homes, businesses, and critical facilities is foundational to both their business model and the recovery and expansion of the U.S. economy. Prioritization of critical electric infrastructure and the electric industry’s critical functions during this period of material shortages and delays is necessary to prevent further economic slowdown and ensure electric reliability.

GLOBAL NEWS

Greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rises, ocean heat levels and acidification, all set new records during 2021, while some glaciers reached the point of no return, according to the latest flagship report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), published on Wednesday. The State of the Climate 2021 indicates that extreme weather – the day-to-day face of climate change – wreaked a heavy toll of human lives, triggered shocks for food and water security, and led to hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses last year.

INNOVATIVE COOPERATIVE VENTURE

Democratizing clean energy: cooperative allows regular folks to profit from solar development, Wisconsin State Journal

A new venture is offering Wisconsin residents and businesses an opportunity to profit from solar energy development. A joint venture of Renew Wisconsin and a group of solar developers and installers, SolarShare Wisconsin co-op allows regular people — regardless of wealth — to invest in small-scale solar farms by pooling their money . . . Unlike large-scale solar farms, which require hundreds or thousands of acres and can generate local opposition, projects of that size can typically be built on less than 40 acres and connected directly to the local distribution grid rather than long-distance transmission lines.

Nebraskans for Solar Note: Nebraska has many very small towns and villages with fewer than 1000 residents where small-scale solar projects could provide a significant percentage of their electricity needs.

DeSantis net-metering veto highlights path for solar in red states, advocates say

By Dan Haugen, Energy News Network

Gov. DeSantis’ veto “definitely turned some heads,” said Tyler Duvelius, external affairs director for Conservatives for Clean Energy, but it maybe shouldn’t have been a complete shock given his previous actions on clean energy and climate. “In a sense, he was listening to his constituents in Florida, but I also think that clean energy is something Gov. DeSantis cares about as an economic driver for Florida,” Duvelius said. And in that sense, he sees DeSantis as part of a growing movement of conservatives who are starting to cut red tape and promote clean energy industries in their states. He cited Texas Gov. Greg AbbottIowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt as examples of conservatives who are promoting clean energy in their states.  Read more here.

Net Metering in Nebraska

If your local utility is not one of these, search its website for resources on net metering.

Previously Posted: Utilities push back against growth of rooftop solar panels, NBC News

Photo: Jerry Buechler, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, cleans the 28 solar panels on his roof in 2019. He is a retired firefighter and the founder of the Treasure Coast Solar Co-op. Credit: Leah Voss, TCPalm via Imagn Content Services, LLC 

Also Of Potential Interest

DOE Funding Opportunity For Agrivoltaics Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) announced the Foundational Agrivoltaic Research for Megawatt Scale (FARMS) funding opportunity, which will award $8 million in funding for projects that examine how agrivoltaics can scale up to provide new economic opportunities to farmers, rural communities, and the solar industry. Agrivoltaics is defined as agricultural production, such as crop production, livestock grazing, and pollinator habitat that exist underneath solar panels and/or in between rows of solar panels.

Projects will conduct a range of activities, including integrated agriculture-energy impact studies examining how agrivoltaic designs impact both agriculture production and energy production. Some projects will study how agrivoltaics can fit into existing agricultural communities and economies or enable new ones, while others will develop resources that will lower the barriers of entry to agrivoltaics, making it easier for agricultural producers and solar developers to benefit from these opportunities.

SETO’s goal is to reduce barriers to the deployment of utility- and community-scale solar energy necessary to meet the Biden administration’s goals for equitably decarbonizing the electricity sector by 2035. Scaling up the co-location of solar energy and agriculture has the potential to and provide additional benefits to farmers, rural communities, and the solar industry.

DOE expects to make between 4 and 6 awards under FARMS, each ranging from $1-2 million. SETO is interested in projects that partner with farmers who are pursuing climate-smart and sustainable agriculture and are considering agrivoltaics to enhance the economic efficiency and sustainability of small- and medium-size farms. Additionally, SETO is interested in projects that offer economic benefits to underserved communities in agricultural regions.

To facilitate the formation of teams, SETO is providing a Teaming Partner List where interested parties who would like to apply to the FOA, but not as the prime applicant, may express interest to potential partners.

Prior to submitting a full application for this opportunity, a mandatory letter of intent is due on June 1, 2022 at 5 p.m. ET.

SETO will host an informational webinar on May 12, 2022 at 3 p.m. ET to discuss the funding program and the areas of focus. Register for the webinar.

Learn more about this funding opportunity and other open funding opportunities within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

UNL CENTER FOR AGRICULTURAL PROFITIBILITY WEBINAR

Managing Through Drought with USDA Conservation and Assistance Programs
May 12 at Noon CT

Drought conditions persist across much of the country and both livestock and crop producers face losses and continuing challenges for their operations. This webinar will cover USDA emergency assistance programs to help producers cope with losses as well as on-going conservation programs to help producers prepare for and manage through drought.

MORE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

SEI SOLAR TRAINING PROGRAMS

Rundown of Solar Energy International’s upcoming 2022 solar training programs, Solar Builder Magazine

For 30 years, Solar Energy International (SEI) has been dedicated to training the global solar energy workforce. SEI delivers hands-on experience, safety, and technical skills solar training to scale the global workforce at a pace to that significantly impacts climate change — whether that’s equipping utilities with the skills to operate large-scale solar farms, or helping people access clean, reliable energy for the first time. SEI offers online training as well as in-person workshops at its facilities in Paonia, Colorado.

SEI’s Solar Professional Certificate Program (SPCP) is the industry’s most comprehensive training program. With custom program tracks, SPCP prepares professionals with foundational solar skills and technical theory in the solar industry segment of their choice. All SPCP tracks are a combination of hands-on, safety, and technical skills training.

FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY JOB SEEKERS

  • Solar Workforce Development, Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO)
  • Google Search
    Solar Energy Jobs
    Wind Energy Jobs
    An additional search strategy is to check for jobs listings on the websites of solar and wind energy companies that have installed renewable energy projects in Nebraska.

FAST COMPANY’S 2022 WORLD-CHANGING IDEAS AWARDS

Every year, Fast Company’s World-Changing Ideas Awards honor the innovative ways businesses and organizations are tackling the biggest challenges of our time. Amid the seemingly endless stream of disastrous news, these awards provide more than 1,000 reasons to feel some hope. One thousand fifty-three, to be exact. That’s the total number of honorees that our judges chose to recognize from the nearly 3,000 applications we received.

Ducheneaux hopes for 27 million CRP acres, praises White House initiative

The Hagstrom Report, The Fence Post

Zach Ducheneaux, administrator of the Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency, told The Hagstrom Report today, May 3, that he still hopes the Conservation Reserve Program will grow to 27 million acres by 2023, the maximum allowed by Congress under the 2018 farm bill, even though the current statistics on the program make that goal look difficult. The issue is important because the Biden administration has said that land in the CRP sequesters carbon, helping American agriculture contribute to efforts to mitigate climate change.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA has accepted 2 million acres into the CRP program, but he also noted that producers submitted re-enrollment offers for just over half of the 3.4 million acres expiring this year and offered only 400,000 acres of new land, compared with 700,000 new acres last year. Read more here.

The Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup deadline is May 13, 2022.

Questions? Email Zach Ducheneaux: zachducheneaux@usda.gov or call (202) 941-4675.

USDA News Release, May 3, 2022: USDA Accepts 2 Million Acres in Offers Through Conservation Reserve Program General Signup

Solar Industry Launches Nonprofit to Alleviate Clean Energy Roadblocks

SEIA News Release

While the organization will focus on a variety of issues, one emerging challenge in the solar industry is land use. Siting clean energy projects requires community engagement and long-term planning that minimizes impact to the environment and surrounding community. These projects must also account for access to transmission lines, upgrades to grid infrastructure, and several other factors that can affect the outcome of a large-scale solar project. SI2’s first research project will create best practices for solar companies looking to create large-scale solar projects and other resources that will help the industry navigate these challenges. Read more here. 

To learn more about the new nonprofit, visit Solar and Storage Industries Institute (SI2): www.ssii.org 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING  

NFS Note: As the Energy Information Association (EIA) data show, Nebraska and Iowa continue to lag behind most states on Solar as a Percentage of Total Generation (SPG): Nebraska 0.17% / Iowa 0.47%. Both states, however, are national leaders on Solar + Wind as a percentage of Total Generation (SWPG): Nebraska – 31.22% / Iowa – 67% (currently #1).

FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY