Monthly Archives: October 2022

When red states go green

By Alex Robinson, Corporate Knights

“It’s not really whether we’re going to transition or not. It’s what are we going to transition to.” -Jonathan Naughton, co-director of the Wind Energy Research Center at the University of Wyoming

The Cowboy State is known for its enormous wide-open spaces, national parks such as Yellowstone, ranchers and lots and lots of coal. And yet, the energy transition is quietly happening here. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, Wyoming had more wind-energy project capacity in advanced development or under construction than any other state in the second quarter of 2022, with 6.5 gigawatts (Chokecherry will contribute almost half of this). Wyoming isn’t alone in this regard among conservative states that have historically had fossil-fuel-focused economies. Oil-friendly Texas had the second-highest wind project capacity in advanced development or under construction, with around four gigawatts. Massachusetts – a blue state with a Republican governor since 2015 – came in third. Read more here.

High electricity rates push US homeowners to consider solar

By Anne Fischer, PV Magazine

The cost of electricity is rising in states across the nation. That coupled with the increased frequency of long power outages is pushing more Americans to consider solar. Homeowners are challenged to stretch their budgets now with inflation, supply chain challenges, and rising interest rates. Rocket Solar’s study asked homeowners which home essentials they are spending more on today than a year ago, 61% said electric power—second only to food (85%) and ahead of commuting (39%). Continue reading here.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY NEWS RELEASE

READOUT: Stakeholder Roundtable on Clean Power Generation and the Inflation Reduction Act, October 26, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen participated in a virtual roundtable with key stakeholders on clean power generation and the Inflation Reduction Act. The roundtable is part of a series of discussions the Treasury Department is hosting as it solicits input from the public to inform its work implementing the Inflation Reduction Act. Nearly three quarters of the Inflation Reduction Act’s $369 billion climate change investment – $270 billion – is delivered via tax incentives, putting Treasury at the forefront of this landmark law.

MORE NATIONAL NEWS & RESOURCES

GLOBAL NEWS

Acreage minimums for ag estates lead to lengthy Gering City Council discussion

By Christopher Borro  | Gering Courier, Star-Herald

There were other issues the board heard about where their votes weren’t so divided. They unanimously approved having Mayor Tony Kaufman sign a lease and agreement, generator interconnection agreement and power purchase agreement with SE Municipal Solar, LLC, otherwise known as Sandhills Energy. The agreement allows the company to place a 1.4-megawatt solar unit east of the city’s wastewater plant.

“Basically … Gering has to provide the land. We have to provide the system and connection to our system, and then we will in turn purchase that solar at 0.0399 cents per kilowatt. It’ll be a 25-year agreement and there will a 0.5% escalation every year, so the most we would spend for solar in 25 years would be about 4.5 cents per kilowatt,” City Administrator Pat Heath said. Read more here.

Sandhills Energy

Ribbon cut as York community solar field’s up and running

By Melanie Wilkinson,  York News-Times

YORK – Officials with the City of York, Nebraska Public Power District, GRNE Solar, the Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, York County Development Corporation and others gathered in the heart of the community’s new solar field to cut a ribbon in celebration of the field to be up and running.

They also celebrated York becoming the first (and currently only) NPPD wholesale city in Nebraska to take 100% of the output to power all the city, county and school facilities, as well as the Holthus Field House at York University. York’s solar field is also the third largest of the community fields in NPPD communities. Continue reading here

See more community- and utility-scale projects under development here: Solar Energy Generation in NebraskaNebraska Department of Environment and Energy 

MORE RESOURCES

GRNE Photo

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Nearly $1 Billion from EPA’s Clean School Bus Program for 389 School Districts

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency News Release

Historic investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law headed
to all 50 states in effort to transform America’s school bus fleet.

WASHINGTON (October 26, 2022) — Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the Fiscal Year 2022 recipients of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program rebate competition, awarding nearly $1 billion from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 389 school districts spanning 50 states, Washington, DC, and several Tribes and U.S. territories. The grants will help school districts purchase over 2,400 clean school buses that will accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities.

“President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is accelerating our nation’s transition to electric and low-emission school buses while ensuring a brighter, healthier future for our children,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “As many as 25 million children rely on the bus to get to school each day. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, we are making an unprecedented investment in our children’s health, especially those in communities overburdened by air pollution. This is just the beginning of our work to build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution, and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve.”

View the full list of Clean School Bus award recipients here.
“More applications are under review, and the agency plans to select more to reach the full $965 million in the coming weeks.”

Nebraska Grant Recipients: School Districts Awarded $395,000, 1 Electric Bus Each

  • Summerland Public Schools
  • Raymond Central Public Schools
  • Hay Springs Public Schools
  • Hershey Public Schools
  • McCool Junction Public Schools
  • Southern School District 1

Read the entire news release here.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $84.5 Million to Make Clean Energy Improvements and Lower Energy Costs for K-12 Schools

Department of Energy News Release

 New Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Grant Program and Prize Competition for Public School Energy Improvements Will Save Schools Money and Enhance Learning Environments  

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), today released a Notice of Intent (NOI) announcing $80 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to make K-12 schools more energy efficient and lower their energy costs, including some of the nation’s highest-need schools. The funding is the first tranche of the Renew America’s Schools grant program created by the infrastructure law to provide schools critical energy infrastructure upgrades.

Through the grant program, DOE will fund energy and health improvements in public K-12 schools across the country. Additionally, a new DOE prize program will help resource 25 high-need school districts with the training and tools needed to improve how their schools consume energy. Through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these investments will address the historic inequities of school facilities, reduce school energy costs, and improve health and learning outcomes for children and staff, while also supporting the promise of bringing good-paying jobs to the community.

To learn more about the grant and prize, visit DOE’s webpage on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Improvements at Public School Facilities. 

Stay up to date on the latest Energy funding opportunities, events, and news.

Read the entire news release here.

From The White House Briefing Room: FACT SHEET: Progress on Biden-⁠Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure

Election guide 2022: Omaha Public Power District

Published By The Omaha World-Herald

Two seats on the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors are up for election this year, and both have contested races. The public power utility district serves nearly 400,000 customers in all or parts of 13 eastern Nebraska counties. 

In Subdivision 4, candidates Matt Core and Jim Grotrian are running to replace Rick Yoder. The subdivision includes most of Sarpy County, as well as six counties south of it. In Subdivision 5, incumbent Craig Moody faces a challenge from Kevin Ryan. The subdivision is in Omaha, with the general boundaries being West Maple Road to the north, Saddle Creek Road to the east, the Union Pacific Railroad track to the south, and 132nd Street to the west. Continue reading here.

A Consumer Guide to the Inflation Reduction Act

By Courtney Lindwall, Natural Resources Defense Council

Here’s how to save on electric vehicles, solar panels, heat pumps,
and more via tax credits and rebates.

The Inflation Reduction Act directs an unprecedented $369 billion toward fighting climate change. As a result, we’ll all see innumerable long-term benefits, like reduced energy bills and health-care costs. But the most direct and immediate consumer-focused advantages come in the form of tax credits and rebates for buying emissions-reducing goods and services Here’s how to take advantage of Congress’s big climate moment.

Want updates on these rebates and tax credits? Sign up on the Biden administration’s new consumer-oriented website, which is expected to be updated as the law moves through implementation. Read the entire article here.

Photo Credit: Dennis Schroeder/National Renewable Energy Laboratory

How utilities can ensure everyone benefits from electrification

Sponsored Content by Matt Ross, Senior Product Manager, GridX
Published by Utility Dive 

A trailblazing utility

At the recent E Source conference, I was able to hear from Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) on their efforts to assist LMI customers. SMUD is the 6th largest community owned utility in the United States serving 645,000 customers. It has a zero-carbon goal of 2030 with rates among the lowest in California and has been conscientious of financial burdens carried by their under-resourced customers. 

With its service territory in one of the nation’s priciest housing markets, with two-thirds of Americans living paycheck to paycheck and rising gas prices hitting communities of color and rural households in the US hardest, SMUD has segmented under-resourced customers to identify low/medium income customers, vulnerable commercial customers and develop targeted programs and initiatives. Read more here.

Photo Credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

FARMERS HARVESTING SUNLIGHT

Boost Bottom Line Harvesting Sunshine: Farmers Adopt Solar to Reduce Energy Bills and Boost Bottom Line, by Dan Crummett, Progressive Farmer Contributor

COYLE, Okla. (DTN) — As public utilities and government policies push alternative energy to power the nation’s electrical grid, farmers in certain areas are finding harvesting sunlight can make as much economic sense as harvesting row crops. The key, however, lies in landowner access to “net metering” programs offered by utilities for consumers who install renewable energy systems to offset monthly electrical power purchases.

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) www.dsireusa.org provides state-by-state data, including net metering system capacity limits, for example: 

  • Nebraska: 25kW 
  • Oklahoma: 300kW or less
  • Indiana: 1 MW
  • Iowa: 1 MW
  • Minnesota: 1 MW
  • Illinois: 5 MW

ENERGY STORAGE 

Why You Need Home Batteries — and It’s Not All About Blackouts, by Brian Cooley, CNET

A better priority is to spec your battery system for “rate arbitrage” to save money and be more green every day. The idea is simple: Store excess free energy from your rooftop in your batteries rather than selling it back to a utility that doesn’t like the idea and offers a pittance. Instead, use that stored energy later in the day during peak times to avoid the highest electricity rates while also doing your part to take strain off the grid. It’s the missing piece that makes residential rooftop solar a more comprehensive proposition.

CNET Video: How to Approach Home Batteries if the New 30% Tax Credit Has Your Attention

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & RESOURCES

ØRSTED IN THE NEWS

  • Ørsted to sell 50% stake in US renewables portfolio, Power Engineering International
    The portfolio includes onshore wind farms Lincoln Land Wind, Plum Creek Wind, and Willow Creek Wind as well as the solar farm Muscle Shoals. The total capacity of the portfolio is 862MW. Proceeds from the $410 million asset sale will be used to fund future projects as Ørsted aims to reach 50GW of installed renewable energy capacity globally by 2030.
    About Plum Creek Wind:
    Plum Creek Wind is located in Wayne County, Nebraska. The project generates 230 megawatts of onshore wind power and includes long-term, green corporate power purchase agreements with the J.M. Smucker Company, Vail Resorts and Avery Dennison Corporation. It also provides over $3 million annually in landowner payments and property taxes for local communities. Plum Creek Wind began commercial operations in June 2020.
  • Gigaton PPA: Walmart, Ørsted and Schneider Electric Announce First Cohort for Renewable Energy Supply Chain Program, Corporate News Release
    “Ørsted welcomes the opportunity to work with Walmart suppliers participating in Project Gigaton and Schneider Electric on this unique initiative, which sets the standard for helping companies achieve a sustainable supply chain,” said Ben Pratt, vice president and head of markets and revenue at Ørsted. “This effort aligns with Ørsted’s own net-zero by 2040 supply chain initiative – we understand firsthand that in the realm of decarbonization there are no competitors, only partners. Orsted looks forward to seeing this type of collaborative agreement trend across the industry.”

U.S. MANUFACTURING

PV MAGAZINE POSTS

OPPD Continues Environmental Stewardship Efforts, Reports Progress To Board

OPPD News Release

The annual monitoring report for Strategic Directive (SD) 7: Environmental Stewardship looked at a broad range of efforts and initiatives underway throughout the district, including work to add more renewable generation capacity. Currently, OPPD has more than 1,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable generation capacity, which accounted for 35.4% of our retail energy sales in 2021. This included 31.6% wind, 3.3% hydropower, 0.4% landfill gas and .01% solar generation.

Greener Together

This year, OPPD launched the Greener Together program, where participating customers have an opportunity to select and support specific green projects within our communities. Through this program, participating customers can help select projects supporting environmental sustainability or community betterment. Local organizations can apply for project funding, with the first project application window open until Oct. 31, 2022. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading: Your utility: 5 facts about public power, The Wire