Author Archives: Helen Deffenbacher

From SolSmart: Solar and Storage Guide

Solar + Storage: A Guide for Local Governments is the latest in-depth resource from the SolSmart program. This issue brief outlines the benefits and uses of solar and storage, how to analyze the feasibility and economics of storage within a community, and much more. Community interest in solar energy coupled with storage is increasing, as storage technology rapidly becomes more cost effective and its benefits are more broadly recognized.

The guide outlines: 1) The benefits of solar and energy storage for the electric grid and local governments; 2) Uses of solar and energy storage by local governments; 3) How to understand the feasibility and economics of storage within a community; 4) Key elements to include in requests for proposals (RFPs) involving energy storage; and 5) Resources for communities interested in implementing solar and energy storage. Read it here.

SEIA Leads National Effort to Extend the ITC: Nearly 1,000 Solar Companies Rally Behind Proven, Bipartisan Investment Tax Credit

SEIA News Release

Nearly 1,000 companies from across the U.S. solar industry supply chain sent a letter to Congress calling for the extension of the Section 48 and Section 25D solar investment tax credits (ITC). The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is leading a national coalition to extend the ITC, one of the most successful clean energy tax policies ever created. The ITC was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress in the 2005 Energy Policy Act and enacted by George W. Bush. It was extended in 2015 with bipartisan support.

“If you want to show a commitment to addressing climate change, you extend the solar ITC,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “Supporting this proven policy is the first clear victory that lawmakers can deliver to Americans on climate change. As we debate long-term solutions, now is not the time to abandon the single most successful policy on the books to deploy clean energy in the near-term.” Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY AND STORAGE NEWS

SOLAR SCHOOLS NEWS

GREEN TRANSPORTATION

FEATURED REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE RESOURCE

Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change: A Down-to-Earth Solution to Global Warming, Rodale Institute White Paper

MORE ON TRI-STATE 

Tri-State announces ‘transformative’ plan to provide cleaner, cheaper power, Utility Dive

Tri-State announces transformative Responsible Energy Plan

Tri-State News Release

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is pursuing an aggressive Responsible Energy Plan to transition to a cleaner energy portfolio, while ensuring reliability, increasing member flexibility and with a goal to lower wholesale rates.

“Our membership and board are unified in our pursuit of a cleaner, reliable and lower-cost resource portfolio,” said Rick Gordon, chairman of the cooperative’s board of directors. “We are making a strong and unequivocal commitment to transform Tri-State’s resource portfolio in a prudent and responsible manner.” Continue reading here.

From Tri-State’s Website

Our cooperative approach to a clean grid starts now.
We are pursuing an aggressive transition to a cleaner energy portfolio.

How we are transforming

  1. Developing a Responsible Energy Plan [to] comply with aggressive carbon reduction, renewable energy and resource planning requirements, ensure reliability and affordability and strive to lower wholesale rates while maintaining our strong financial position.
  2. Engaging with former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and the Center for the New Energy Economy to facilitate a stakeholder process that will contribute to our Responsible Energy Plan.
  3. Creating more opportunities for our members to develop local renewable energy by considering the types of memberships and contracts we offer.
  4. Increasing our renewable resources, with new wind and solar projects and a request for proposals for even more projects.
  5. Exploring opportunities with solar and energy services providers to make more community-scale solar, energy storage and electric vehicle infrastructure more available to our members at a lower cost.

Learn more about Tri-State’s Responsible Energy Plan.

Additional Recommended Reading

Expanding customer choices in a renewable energy future

By Ahmad Faruqui and Mariko Geronimo Aydin,
American Public Power Association Blog

This is part of a series of monthly posts reflecting different thought leader perspectives on utility rate design. All five opinion pieces appear in full in Leadership in Rate Design: A Compendium of Essays, which was designed to help public power utilities to rethink rate design strategies in the face of evolving technologies and customer preferences. The essays were developed as part of the Association’s Moving Public Power Forward initiative.

The number of states, cities and counties committed to 100% clean energy is growing dramatically. The 100% clean electricity supply that seemed impossible 10 years ago has now become a tangible and feasible future. With higher renewables penetration, planning for greener electricity becomes less about building individual resources and more about building a resource portfolio and system that — as a whole — is tuned to take advantage of clean power when it is available. One key challenge is what to do about the hour-to-hour and minute-to-minute mismatch between renewables output and electricity consumption. Continue reading here.

Ahmad Faruqui is an internationally recognized energy economist. He has analyzed the efficacy of a variety of tariff structures and carried out a meta-analysis of experimental results. His areas of expertise include demand response, energy efficiency, distributed energy resources, advanced metering infrastructure, plug-in electric vehicles, energy storage, inter-fuel substitution, combined heat and power, microgrids, and demand forecasting. He has worked for nearly 150 clients on five continents and testified before commissions in several states and provinces.

Mariko Geronimo Aydin is an economist with almost fifteen years of experience in analyzing the policies and economics of electricity system planning, regulation and de-regulation of electricity supply, and wholesale electricity markets across the U.S. Mariko specializes in helping clients meet their potential in a changing industry, by evolving utility business models and by developing customer choice, resource planning, and wholesale market refinements that can make the best use of clean, distributed, and customer-driven power supply resources in synergy with more traditional resources.

Photo Credit: American Public Power Association

Busting the myth on energy returns: Renewables to beat fossil fuels

By Michael Mazengarb, RenewEconomy

New research published in the journal Nature Energy has warned that society may be heading towards a ‘net energy cliff’ unless it undertakes a rapid shift to renewables, as fossil fuels become increasingly harder to access. As reserves are depleted, fossil fuel supplies will require exploration in harder to reach places, forcing it further offshore, and digging deeper to reach the remaining supplies, and at greater cost.

The study was completed by researchers at the Sustainability Research Institute at the University of Leeds and has found that manufacturing processes for solar panel and wind turbines have continued to improve, while access to fossil fuel resources continues to get more difficult. Read more here.

Community solar facility taking shape in Washington County

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire, OPPD Blog

A bright summer sun shone down on 35 acres of rural Washington County as officials from OPPD, NextEra Energy Resources and AUI Partners toured the utility’s newly built community solar field. More than 17,500 panels are up and work continues on the site, the first community solar project for OPPD. The project is on track to be completed in the late fall. Continue reading here.

NEWS FROM OTHR STATES

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Scotland produced enough wind energy for double its homes in last 6 months, Treehugger

How to save on your energy bill during this week’s heat wave

By Roseann Moring, Omaha World-Herald

Want to beat the heat without breaking your budget? The Omaha Public Power District’s energy consultant, Eric BenSalah, and media relations specialist, Jodi Baker, offered these tips for efficient cooling of your home during this week’s predicted heat wave.

Continue reading here.

Additional Resources

The Global Energy Map Is Changing Faster Than You Think

By Enrique Dans, Contributor, Forbes

Renewable energy is already the cheapest and most logical way to produce energy without the need for subsidies. By introducing hydroelectric and geothermal energy into the equation, in addition to solar and wind energy, Costa Rica has already managed to go for 300 days in a row without burning fossil fuels to generate electricity. Portugal has managed four days with only renewable energy, the UK, a thousand hours without burning coal, while US states like Colorado are staggered at the cost competitiveness of renewables, even adding a diverse range of storage infrastructure. Within renewable energies, solar stands out for its increasingly lower costs. The goal of generating 100% of the world’s energy from renewable processes is becoming more feasible and cheaper every day. Read more here.

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS & RESOURCES

MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

In conflict of interest case, judge rules board members can’t vote on Cherry County wind project

By Reece Ristau, Omaha World-Herald

A judge on Monday temporarily blocked two Cherry County Board members from voting on a planned wind energy project in the Sand Hills, siding with opponents who argued that those board members have a financial stake in the project’s outcome.

District Judge Mark Kozisek’s order temporarily prohibits board members Tanya Storer and Martin DeNaeyer from “hearing, discussing, considering, influencing or voting” on a conditional use permit for a 19-turbine wind farm planned west of Kilgore. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading
NPPD’s R-Line challenged in court, Rapid City Journal

R-Project: NPPD

  • SOUTHWEST POWER POOL’S ROLE
    NPPD is a member of the Southwest Power Pool, a regional transmission organization. The SPP conducted a study, also known as the Integrated Transmission Plan, to assess the needs of the entire transmission network with the SPP region over the next 10 years. The R-Project is one of numerous projects to come out of that study.
  • STEWARDSHIP
    NPPD is committed to operating in an environmentally responsible manner. We are dedicated to protecting environmental quality while meeting the energy needs of Nebraska. We recognize that how we interact with the environment is of vital importance to you. It is to us, too. That’s why we continuously explore ways to minimize the environmental footprint in all aspects of NPPD’s activities. The landscape of the Sandhills is truly unique, which is why NPPD’s engineering team and environmental experts work together to determine low-impact methods to construct the transmission line. We will employ modern construction techniques when building the line and take precautions around river crossings, creeks, and wetlands.
  • PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT
    NPPD used a thorough and comprehensive public involvement process to site the R-Project transmission line. More than 1,750 individuals attended one of 20 public open houses and public meetings and eight public hearings, providing NPPD with approximately 2,500 comments. The comments were reviewed against more than 50 established line routing criteria that included proximity to occupied residences, towns, villages, and other amenities, plus land use, environmental, engineering, and construction criteria. Learn more here.

Discover 40 plug-in models with this EV Guide

Plug In America Resource

Considering an electric vehicle but not sure what options are available? Plug In America’s popular Electric Vehicle Guide lists 40 currently available all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles with the retail price and mileage range, as of June 2019. The guide is available to download as a PDF.

To compare vehicles in greater detail, visit PlugStar.com. There, you can complete Plug In America’s EV Shopping Assistant, which makes personalized recommendations based on your budget, daily commute, access to charging, and many more considerations. Plus, you can find charging equipment, learn about incentives in your area, and connect with a PlugStar-certified dealer. And their EV Support Program will answer any questions you may have.

NEBRASKA’S LARGEST UTILITIES’ EV PROGRAMS & INCENTIVES