By Brad Plumer and Ivan Penn, New York Times
The phone call to the Eugene Water & Electric Board was startling. A group of homeowners, fearing a storm could knock down nearby power lines and ignite wildfires, was asking the Oregon utility to turn off their electricity. “I about fell out of my chair,” said Rodney Price, the utility’s assistant general manager, of the people who were voluntarily asking to live in the dark in September, during one of the worst fire seasons Oregon had ever seen. It was a sign of growing angst, he said. “We’re seeing more and more widespread impacts of climate change. It’s clear it’s impacting how we do our business.” Across the United States, power companies are scrambling to keep up with a barrage of extreme weather from a rapidly warming climate. Continue reading here.
Photo: Smoke from the Dixie Fire near a Pacific Gas & Electric power station in California this month. Credit: John G. Mabanglo/EPA
States With Climate Action Plans, Center For Climate & Energy Solutions
- As climate risk disclosures loom, US utilities must not evade accountability, Utility Dive
In the United States and around the world, regulators are calling on companies to disclose the climate emergency’s massive threats to their bottom lines and their business models.
- SEC may require climate risk disclosures in expanded 10-Ks: Gensler, CFO Dive
The stakes of disclosure are rising for publicly traded companies as both institutional and retail investment surges into assets tied to environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles. Sustainability related financing has tripled since 2015, with a tenfold increase in flows to ESG funds, an eight-fold increase in sustainable debt issuance and a doubling in the value of ESG-related deals by private equity and venture capital firms, according to a report by Generation Investment Management.
- FACT SHEET: President Biden Directs Agencies to Analyze and Mitigate the Risk Climate Change Poses to Homeowners and Consumers, Businesses and Workers, and the Financial System and Federal Government Itself, The White House Briefing Room, May 20, 2021
The President’s Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk will help the American people better understand how climate change can impact their financial security. It will strengthen the U.S. financial system. And it will inform concrete decisions that the federal government can take to mitigate the risks of climate change.
As Indiana coal plants close, advocates say gas power should not replace them, by Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network
As it retires a coal-fired power plant, CenterPoint Energy is pushing to build a smaller gas plant than one that was rejected two years ago by Indiana regulators. Consumer and environmental groups still say it’s unnecessary. “After the proposed gas combustion turbines are built, they propose to run them 2% to 10% of the time,” said Sameer Doshi, senior attorney in Earthjustice’s coal program, which is representing Citizens Action Coalition in state and federal proceedings around CenterPoint’s proposal. “Whereas customers would be billed for the entire construction cost of the plant as well as the capital cost of the new pipeline. We intend to show a combination of market purchases, demand response, and increased renewables deployment with storage would be able to fill in the gaps” left by the retiring coal plants.
Social cost of methane changes the equation for Colorado utility policy, by Allen Best, Energy News Network
Colorado is believed to be the first state in the nation to apply the social cost of methane to a broad range of regulatory decisions. A batch of new laws are expected to dramatically improve the case for building energy conservation. The social cost of methane emissions was set most recently at $1,756 per short ton by the U.S. Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, compared to $68 for carbon dioxide. Both metrics estimate the economic damages of releasing emissions into the atmosphere.
- Methane Leaks Erase Some of the Climate Benefits of Natural Gas, Scientific American
The switch from coal to gas has driven down CO2 emissions, but leaks negate much of those gains in the short term.
- A National Estimate of Methane Leakage from Pipeline Mains in Natural Gas Local Distribution Systems, American Chemical Society
COLORADO SOLAR GROUP PURCHASE CAMPAIGN
Local ‘Solarize’ campaign boosts Garfield County solar energy investment, Post Independent
The recent Solarize Garfield County campaign generated $2.8 million in rooftop solar and battery investment, added nearly a megawatt of renewable energy to the grid and helped county residents bank $270,000 in rebates, according to recent figures released by Carbondale-based Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER).
FEATURED AGRIVOLTAICS RESEARCH
Beneath Solar Panels, the Seeds of Opportunity Sprout, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
To better understand the benefits of—and barriers to—low-impact solar development, the Innovative Site Preparation and Impact Reductions on the Environment (InSPIRE) project brings together researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Argonne National Laboratory, universities, local governments, environmental and clean energy groups, and industry partners. The project is funded by DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.
“It doesn’t have to be an either-or choice. For all our agriculturally productive land, let’s help PV developers and farmers plan out these solar projects so that farmers can get under the arrays and continue to work the land for the next 20 or 30 years.” —Gerry Palano, energy program coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Agriculture
Emerging solar panel recycling market ripe with opportunity, but barriers remain, Waste Dive
The U.S. is likely to see significant volumes of end-of-life panels, creating opportunities for safe, sustainable recycling or reuse. Some states are looking at product stewardship to avoid disposal.
In some places in the US, the permitting process can take just a few days less than forever. In many other places in the US, it can take weeks or months (as in, several months). There are not many places where it happens in the course of a week. Europe and Australia don’t seem to have a permitting problem anything like this. Permits are quick and easy. The US, for some reason, is slow to adapt. One promising initiative is the new SolarAPP+ initiative. It is helping to streamline the solar permitting process in places around the country. As simple as it sounds, this is one of the most exciting developments in the US solar industry in years.
Additional Recommended Reading: Tesla will open its charging network to all EV brands