Monthly Archives: July 2022

MISO board approves $10.3B transmission plan to support 53 GW of renewables

By Ethan Howland, Utility Dive

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s board on Monday approved a $10.3 billion transmission plan that could support about 53 GW of wind, solar, hybrid and stand-alone battery projects found in state and utility clean energy goals in its northern and central regions.

While the projects were designed to maintain grid reliability amid a changing generation mix, MISO estimates that it will bring $23.2 billion to $52.2 billion in present value net benefits over 40 years, including up to $19.9 billion in congestion and fuel cost savings, according to a presentation by Aubrey Johnson, MISO vice president of system planning and competitive transmission. Next …. Continue reading here.

Upcoming Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Webinar

What Do Regional Transmission Organizations Do?, With Casey Cathey, Director of System Planning at Southwest Power Pool, August 17, 2022 at 10 a.m. This seminar will cover a variety of responsibilities of the Southwest Power Pool Regional Transmission Organization, such as transmission planning, resource adequacy, operations, and energy markets. Register here 

Questions? Please contact John Hansen, Conference Chair: john@nebraskafarmersunion.org, 402-580-8815 or Anita Scheuler, Conference Administrator: admin@nebraskawsc.com, 402-304-2790.

MidAmerican Energy News Releases

Solar ITC Extension

EV News – Utility Dive 

Reconciliation package includes billions of dollars in climate spending

News Release, Appalachian Voices 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, released a new budget reconciliation deal — the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 — to address climate and energy, the price of prescription drugs and tax reform.

The package includes $369 billion in climate and energy spending and permanently restores a tax on coal to support the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, which helps provide medical care and a living stipend to miners with black lung if the coal company they worked for goes bankrupt. Also included is more than $10 billion to support rural electric cooperatives and the rural communities they serve with transitioning to renewable energy and energy efficiency. Because of Senate procedures, the package can be passed with a simple majority  . . . Continue reading here

Appalachian Voices is a leading nonprofit advocate for a healthy environment and just economy in the Appalachian region, and a driving force in America’s shift from fossil fuels to a clean energy future.

Related Reading

Announced Today: A New Public/Private Economic Coalition

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces Six New Actions to Lower Electricity Bills for Working Families

The White House Briefing Room

Boosted by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Actions to Connect More States and Families to Affordable, Reliable Solar Projects and Create Clean Energy Jobs

President Biden is laser focused on lowering energy costs for working families while creating good-paying jobs and tackling the climate crisis. As extreme heat continues to affect tens of millions of Americans, hitting low-income families harder than others, President Biden is implementing new programs to help maintain a consistent and affordable energy supply to cool their homes.

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing six new actions to lower home electricity costs for hard-hit American families by increasing access to affordable and more reliable clean energy and create clean energy jobs: Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Community shares opinions on possible coal-burning extension at OPPD plant in North Omaha

By Marlo Lundak, WOWT 

OMAHA, Neb. – Sunday afternoon, community members were invited to share their questions, concerns and ideas with an Omaha Public Power District Board member, following last month’s announcement that the company may vote to extend coal-burning operations at its North Omaha plant for three more years.

Eric Williams, the vice chair of the OPPD Board of Directors, hosted the meeting at Miller Park. “I hosted this meeting today to hear comments, questions and concerns about this proposal so I can be as informed as possible when we consider this for board action,” he says. Continue reading or watch the video here.

FEATURED OP-ED ARTICLE

Let the sun shine in — Dr. David Corbin, Norfolk Daily News

OMAHA — I debated whether to respond to the letter writer’s (July 7) excoriation of solar energy, but I decided that I couldn’t let his skewed view of solar energy go unanswered. It is obvious that the writer does not understand the value of solar energy. As we endure this super hot summer, the value of solar becomes evident. When air conditioners are working overtime, solar energy reduces demand on the grid, which can help decrease events like brownouts and rolling blackouts when temperatures rise.

David Corbin is Nebraska Sierra Club’s Energy Committee chair. He also is a former Nebraskans for Solar board member and longtime writer/editor of our Facebook Page, which he continues to administer as a much-appreciated volunteer.

PROPOSED CO2-CONVERTED PIPELINE

Plan to convert natural gas pipeline to CO2 in Lincoln County raising concerns, by Chris Dunker, Lincoln Journal Star

The National Petroleum Council said converting natural gas pipelines to carriers of CO2 was “not a practical option,” particularly over long distances, in a December 2019 report, adding it didn’t believe converted pipelines “would significantly help develop an expanded CO2 pipeline network” in the U.S. Natural gas pipelines have a maximum pressure rating of 1,480-pounds-per-square-inch gauge, which is defined as a Class 600 pipeline by the American National Standards Institute, a nonprofit organization that helps develop consensus standards for products, services and systems. The institute classifies carbon dioxide pipelines as Class 900 designed for 2,200 psi gauge — roughly 700 psi gauge more than those for natural gas.

Nebraska’s Onramp for Good-Paying EV Tech and Clean-Energy Jobs

By Eric Galatas, Producer, Public News Service

Central Community College of Nebraska is putting students of all ages on a path to good-paying jobs in the state’s growing clean-energy sector. Taylor Schneider is the energy technology instructor at the school’s Hastings campus. He said students receive valuable hands-on experience in the latest solar, wind and battery-storage technologies. They also get to climb a wind turbine tower that generates the school’s electricity. Continue reading here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

UTILITY DIVE POSTS

AMERICAN-MADE SOLAR PANELS – A SOLAR POWER WORLD RESOURCE

U.S. solar panel manufacturers – Updated June 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.

See Also: AES Forms US Solar Buyer Consortium with Leading Solar Companies to Invest More Than $6 Billion on Solar Panels to Scale Up Domestic Solar Manufacturing, AES Corporation News Release

Funding for study a rare bright spot in Nebraska’s statewide climate change efforts

By Erin Bamer, Omaha World-Herald

LINCOLN — Kat Woerner has learned not to use the words “climate change” when talking about climate change with some Nebraska politicians. The 22-year-old environmental advocate said the words have a stigma that causes many conservative lawmakers to shut down as soon as they hear them.

These roadblocks have been on display in the Nebraska Legislature, which has made little to no progress in approving climate change legislation in recent years, despite pleas from scientists and advocates. A rare exception came earlier this year when lawmakers appropriated up to $150,000 in federal funding for an update to a statewide climate change report. Continue reading here.

Also Of Potential Interest 

U.S. State Climate Action Plans, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
34 states have released a climate action plan or are in the process of revising or developing one.

National Climate Task Force: Take Climate Action in Your Community, The White House

Manchin opens door to climate spending after July inflation numbers

By Hans Nichols, Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) claimed that he didn’t close the door to a climate and energy package with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, but that he’s ready to support a plan to lower prescription drugs costs this month.

Driving the news: Manchin used one of his favorite venues — a popular West Virginia radio show hosted by Hoppy Kercheval — to say that he simply wants more time before deciding on legislation that raises corporate taxes and invests up to $300 billion in clean energy. Continue reading here.

PATRIOTIC MILLIONAIRES

Why Congress needs to make taxing the rich part of the plan to address inflation, contributed opinion by Morris Pearl, Fortune, July 8, 2022

To make his plan a reality, Biden now needs Congress to do its part. Thankfully, the notoriously recalcitrant Senator Joe Manchin has publicly expressed his willingness to work with Democrats to pass some form of “skinny” Build Back Better plan that includes tax increases on the rich. Americans of all political stripes want the federal government to fix inflation, and they deserve a solution that doesn’t cause more harm to poor and middle-class Americans. The way to do that isn’t endless rate hikes by the Fed or strongly worded Tweets directed at gas station owners–it’s taxing the wealthy and corporations.

Morris Pearl is a former managing director of BlackRock. He is the chair of the Patriotic Millionaires.

INSTITUTE ON TAXATION AND ECONOMIC POLICY (ITEP)

Tax and Climate Provisions Are What Americans Want and Need, ITEP News Release

In response to conflicting reports on negotiations with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia on tax increases and climate provisions, Amy Hanauer, ITEP Executive Director, released the following statement: 

Sen. Joe Manchin may be uncertain about higher taxes on the rich and corporations, but the American people are not. Large majorities of Americans support the tax reforms that President Biden has fought for, and with good reason. These proposals would ensure that profitable corporations contribute to the society that makes their profits possible. They would ensure that the most fortunate among us pay their fair share to the nation that made their fortunes possible. Sen. Manchin must choose between the interests of a powerful few and the needs of the American people and the planet.

ITEP Analyses of President Biden’s Proposed Corporate Tax Reform

The Institute On Taxation And Economic Policy (ITEP) is a non-profit, non-partisan tax policy organization that conducts rigorous analyses of tax and economic proposals and provides data-driven recommendations on how to shape equitable and sustainable tax systems. ITEP’s expertise and data uniquely enhance federal, state, and local policy debates by revealing how taxes affect both

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

The Made In America Tax Plan
This report describes President Biden’s Made in America tax plan, the goal of which is to make American companies and workers more competitive by eliminating incentives to offshore investment, substantially reducing profit shifting, countering tax competition on corporate rates, and providing tax preferences for clean energy production. Importantly, this tax plan would generate new funding to pay for a sustained increase in investments in infrastructure, research, and support for manufacturing, fully paying for the investments in the American Jobs Plan over a 15-year period and continuing to generate revenue on a permanent basis.

To start, the plan reorients corporate tax revenue toward historical and international norms. Of late, the effective tax rate on U.S. profits of U.S. multinationals—the share of profits that they actually pay in federal income taxes—was just 7.8 percent. And although U.S companies are the most profitable in the world, the United States collects less in corporate tax revenues as a share of GDP than almost any advanced economy in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Additional Recommended Reading: FACT SHEET: The American Jobs PlanThe White House Scroll down to “The Made In America Tax Plan.”

GLOBAL MINIMUM CORPORATE TAX

G20 Signs Off On 15% Global Minimum Corporate Tax—Here’s How It Will Work, Forbes
The new tax system—expected to take effect in 2023—has been agreed to by 132 countries after meetings in July 2021 held by the G20 and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. It sets an effective global minimum tax of 15% on multinationals with more than $890 million in revenue.

DELOITTE ECONOMICS INSTITUTE REPORT

The turning point: A new economic climate in the United States, January 2022

In this report, the Deloitte Economics Institute presents a portrait of a future the US could create if it uses this valuable window of opportunity to rapidly decarbonize its economy. Importantly, this report also demonstrates that the costs of this transformation—an oft-cited barrier— could actually be relatively modest, as compared to the consequences of insufficient action. And the US has everything it needs to rapidly begin this transformation today.

In a Twist, Old Coal Plants Help Deliver Renewable Power. Here’s How

By Elena Shao, New York Times

Building and operating renewable energy projects has long been cheaper than fossil fuel plants. The barrier “is not economics anymore,” said Joseph Rand, a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which conducts research on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy. “The hardest part is securing the interconnection and transmission access.” This makes old coal plants an attractive option as sites for renewable energy projects. Not only are the old plants already wired into the transmission system, they also have substations, which help convert electricity to a supply that’s suitable for use in homes and businesses. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Bill Dickinson/Flickr

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS RELEASE

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $56 Million to Advance U.S. Solar Manufacturing and Lower Energy Costs

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), today announced a slate of new initiatives and $56 million in funding, including $10 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to spur innovation in solar manufacturing and recycling. Together, the funding will help make clean energy more affordable and reliable, create good-paying jobs, and enhance U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. Developing more solar power, the cheapest form of new electricity supply, is key to achieving President Biden’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035. “This administration wants to seize U.S. leadership in solar energy, from manufacturing to recycling, and that means making the right investments to ensure these technologies are made right here at home,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NEW CENTER FOR RURAL AFFAIRS WHITE PAPER

Exploring Siting Guidance: Agriculture Siting Matrices Inform Renewable Energy Siting,
by Lindsay Mouw, Policy Associate, Center for Rural Affairs


Statewide renewable energy siting matrices can help reduce barriers to renewable energy development by providing guidance to local decision makers while improving transparency, trust, and fairness in the siting process. A siting matrix also creates clear standards for future development that project developers can reference before proposing a project.

Exelon, PG&E, PSEG and others call on Congress to pass ‘ambitious’ clean energy spending package

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive

  • Major utilities, solar companies, storage developers and others have called on U.S. lawmakers to pass a reconciliation package that includes tax credits for wind, solar, and batteries, expanded efficiency incentives and support for clean transportation. 
  • Exelon Corp., Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., Public Service Enterprise Group and other companies are working to decarbonize but “corporate action alone is insufficient to meet the scope and scale of the climate crisis,” they said in a July 11 letter to Congressional leadership. Separately, more than 400 solar and storage companies organized by the Solar Energy Industries Association, known as SEIA, also advocated for a reconciliation package. Continue reading here.

SEIA News Releases

Also published by Utility Dive: High energy prices, Ukraine war and rising demand response potential spur energy efficiency efforts, by Herman K. Trabish

BUILDING A BETTER ELECTRIC GRID

What an $8B Western grid project means for U.S. clean energy, E&E News, EnergyWire

A planned 2,000-mile network of electric lines known as the Energy Gateway is more than a project to transport massive amounts of wind and solar energy among Western states that face potential supply shortfalls. It’s also a key piece of the Department of Energy’s clean electricity strategy. The cluster of high-voltage lines, located mostly in Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah, is among two dozen “shovel-ready,” long-distance transmission projects that DOE is counting on to accelerate an enormous expansion of wind and solar power this decade.

MORE NEWS FROM VARIOUS STATES

A New Project in Rural Oregon Is Letting Farmers Test Drive Electric Tractors in the Name of Science, Inside Climate News

With tractors being used in vineyards, berry fields and hobby farms, the EV industry hopes to prove out the promise of electrifying the $38 billion US agricultural vehicle industry.

IOWA WIND ENERGY PROJECT

Fremont County supervisors okay wind energy project, KMAland News

(Sidney) — Plans for a major wind turbine project in KMAland received the Fremont County Board of Supervisors’ approval Wednesday morning. By unanimous vote, the supervisors accepted Invenergy’s application for the proposed Shenandoah Hills wind energy conversion system planned for portions of Page and Fremont counties. Board members took action following a marathon public hearing, in which residents spoke out on the project’s pros and cons

See Also: Shenandoah Hills Wind Energy Center, Invenergy

MORE GOOD NEWS ON SOLAR TARIFFS

US lifts tariffs on solar products from Canada, Mexico, PV Magazine


Canada, the United States, and Mexico signed an agreement to lift Trump-era tariffs, after an independent panel said that the duties violated the provisions of existing trade agreements.

FACT SHEET: White House Announces over $40 Billion in American Rescue Plan Investments in Our Workforce – With More Coming

The White House Briefing Room

On Wednesday, the White House will announce that over $40 Billion in American Rescue Plan funds have been committed to strengthening and expanding our workforce. White House officials will highlight top American Rescue Plan workforce best practices from Governors, Mayors, and County Leaders across the country, and call on more government officials and private sector leaders to expand investments in our workforce. Vice President Kamala Harris will deliver remarks kicking off a half-day White House Summit.

Since passage of the law, states, localities, community colleges, and local organizations have leveraged American Rescue Plan resources to deliver training, expand career paths, encourage more Registered Apprenticeships, provide retention and hiring bonuses in critical industries, and power efforts to help underserved Americans and those who face barriers to employment secure good jobs. These investments in the workforce – along with the American Rescue Plan’s direct payroll support that has saved or restored jobs across a broad set of industries – have contributed to a record 9 Million jobs added since President Biden took office in the fastest and strongest jobs recovery in American history. Continue reading here.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE NEWS

USDA Accepts More than 3.1 Million Acres   in Grassland CRP Signup,  Farm Service Agency, EIN Presswire

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting offers for more than 3.1 million acres from agricultural producers and private landowners through this year’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grassland Signup, the highest in history. This program allows producers and landowners to continue grazing and haying practices while protecting grasslands and promoting plant and animal biodiversity and conservation, and it’s part of the Biden-Harris administration’s broader effort to address climate change and to conserve natural resources

  • Top states included Colorado (642,000 acres), South Dakota (nearly 425,000 acres) and Nebraska (nearly 422,000 acres). 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NEWS

Department Leaders Complete Multi-State Swing to Highlight Legacy Pollution Investments from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

 Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator Winnie Stachelberg traveled this week to highlight recent investments made by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to plug and remediate orphaned oil and gas wells in national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges and on other public lands. Millions of Americans live within a mile of hundreds of thousands of orphaned oil and gas wells, which lead to hazardous pollution, water contamination, and safety hazards for our communities.

The Department recently announced a $33 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in fiscal year 2022 to plug, remediate and reclaim hazardous sites on federal lands – part of a historic $4.7 billion allocated through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to clean up orphaned oil and gas wells across the country. The historic investments will create good-paying, union jobs, catalyze economic growth and revitalization, and reduce dangerous methane leaks.

The Department of the Interior focuses on 8 priorities:

Ways to join the Department of the Interior: