Category Archives: Community-Scale / Utility-Scale Solar

Large-Scale Solar Siting: Encouraging Ecosystem Enhancement and Conservation While Producing Much Needed Zero-Carbon Electricity

Solar Energy Industries Association News Release

This new Solar and Storage Industries Institute policy brief proposes a siting framework for large-scale solar projects which will produce much needed zero-carbon electricity and can serve important ecosystem enhancement and conservation roles. This paper argues that large-scale solar projects should be designed and operated to maximize preservation of our natural capital and ecosystems and sited to minimize negative impacts on land. Read more here.

Download the paper: Large-Scale Solar Siting: Encouraging Ecosystem Enhancement and Conservation While Producing Much Needed Zero-Carbon Electricity

More about the Solar and Storage Industries Institute: Solar Industry Launches Nonprofit to Alleviate Clean Energy Roadblocks

Additional Recommended Reading 

Solar Industry Highlights the Work that Lies Ahead After String of Policy Success
The U.S. solar market is expected to produce over $600 billion in economic activity in the next decade, three-times more than it would have without the IRA. Over this period, emissions offsets from solar will increase from 139 million metric tons (MMT) annually to 492 MMT annually. There is strong public support for clean energy. Solar is the most popular power source and 75% of respondents say they would welcome a solar farm in their communities, according to the message testing survey.

Photo Credit: Associated Press/Heather Ainsworth

Remarks by Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall at the First Meeting of the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council

The White House Briefing Room

In an effort to build in more resilience, we also need to consider ways to address the tension between “build back fast” and Build Back Better. For example, when we restore essential services to a community in the wake of a disaster, we want to actually leave that community stronger than it was before. We’re working on that in real time in Puerto Rico. Fundamentally, we need to build more resilient infrastructure to withstand future threats and simultaneously expand the economic opportunities that come with more modern infrastructure – like broadband. Read more here.

GLOBAL CLEAN ENERGY ACTION FORUM

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm opened the three-day Global Clean Energy Action Forum (GCEAF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by challenging the international energy community to redouble its support for the global clean energy transition. Representatives from 34 countries, anchored by the Ministers and Heads of Delegations from the Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation, along with participants from industry, civil society, the financial sector, organized labor, and academia, were among those gathered for the three-day conference’s first forum.

Over the course of the conference, DOE announced a series of exciting new initiatives and funding opportunities that will accelerate our progress towards the Biden Administration’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Chair’s Summary: Global Clean Energy Action Forum 2022

DOE’s Energy Earthshot Initiatives

DOE Launches New Energy Earthshot To Cut Industrial Heating Emissions By 85 Percent

The latest DOE Energy Earthshots Initiative™ seeks to develop cost-competitive solutions for industrial heat with at least 85% lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.

There are five other Earthshots: 

The Hydrogen Shot is designed to accelerate innovations and spur demand of clean hydrogen by reducing the cost by 80%. This cost reduction could unlock new markets for hydrogen, including steel manufacturing, clean ammonia, energy storage, and heavy-duty trucks.

The Long Duration Storage Shot aims to achieve a low-cost storage method for electricity generated by clean power by reducing the cost of grid-scale energy storage by 90% for systems that deliver 10+ hours of duration.

The Carbon Negative Shot is a call for innovation in technologies and approaches that will remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it at massive scales for less than $100 per metric ton.

The Enhanced Geothermal Shot is a department-wide effort to dramatically reduce the cost of enhanced geothermal systems by 90%, to $45 per megawatt hour by 2035.

The goal of the Floating Offshore Wind Shot is to drive down costs to $45 per megawatt hour by 2035 to spur U.S. leadership in floating offshore wind technology, accelerate decarbonization, and deliver benefits for coastal communities.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED EPA REGION 7 RESOURCES 

Draft EPA Region 7 Climate Adaptation Implementation Plan For Fiscal Years 2022-2026

EPA Region 7 is made up of four states and nine tribal nations. Its states, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Iowa, span three geographical regions defined by The Fourth National Climate Assessment.

The Climate Assessment’s Midwest region includes Missouri and Iowa, the Northern Great Plains region includes Nebraska, and the Southern Great Plains region includes Kansas. The Climate Assessment identifies water, agriculture, indigenous peoples, and human health as main areas impacted by climate change across the three regions.

EPA’s Climate Change Website 
EPA Research

‘We farm the sun’: For some Wisconsin dairy farmers, solar energy is a new source of income

By Jana Rose Schleis, Wisconsin Public Radio

Cows graze near a field of solar panels Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, in Two Rivers, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Farmers have what solar energy companies need: land. Across the state, partnerships between dairy farms and energy companies are increasing, changing the landscape and providing farmers extra revenue in a sometimes unpredictable market. That unpredictability can take the form of a years long dip in milk prices, or unfortunate weather. Wisconsin had record-setting rainfall in 2018 and 2019, increasing the challenges farmers faced. Read more here.

Nebraskans for Solar Note: In addition to earning extra income by leasing land for renewable energy development, farmers and ranchers in every state also can save significant amounts of money on their own energy bills by taking advantage of available incentives for solar, small wind, battery storage, energy efficiency upgrades and other clean energy projects.

These incentives include the following:

When it comes to the climate, if we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem

By David E. Corbin, Ph.D., Midlands Voices, Omaha World-Herald

Well, it’s official: OPPD will be burning coal at the North Omaha plant for three years longer than they promised. They got themselves into a real fix. Those who live in North Omaha will bear the brunt of the polluted air for three more years.

Omaha is already ranked in the top 10 cities in the U.S. for asthma rates and North Omaha has the highest rates within Omaha. So, what should be done? The resolution that the OPPD Board passed in August acknowledged the need to not only engage the North Omaha community, but to also diminish the impact on North Omaha of burning coal for three more years. Continue reading here.

David Corbin is the energy committee chair of the Nebraska Sierra Club and an advisory board member of the American Public Health Association’s Center for Climate, Health & Equity. He also is a former Nebraskans for Solar board member who currently serves as volunteer editor/writer of our organization’s Facebook site.

Additional Recommended Reading: Recently David posted an excerpt on Nebraskans for Solar’s Facebook from an article published by The Reader announcing the good news that  “the Douglas County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday to approve a joint grant application with Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) to install a solar power generation project at the closed State Street landfill.

Recommended resource for other Nebraska communities interested in a similar project:
Rocky Mountain Institute: The Future of Landfills is Bright: How State and Local Governments Can Leverage Landfill Solar to Bring Clean Energy and Jobs to Communities across America,

PUBLISHED BY OPPD THE WIRE

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST 

Links related to several of David Corbin’s references in his op-ed: 

Nebraskans for Solar Note
Nebraska has 166 publicly owned utilities governed by community-elected boards. These include public power districts, municipal utilities, and electric cooperatives. Visit the website of the Nebraska Power Association for a list of all of them.

STATES’ CLIMATE ADAPTATION PLANS

EPA Regional Climate Adaptation Contacts & State Websites

Great Plains
Nebraska and other Great Plains states: No State Level Climate Adaptation Website Currently Identified

Midwest

Illinois Illinois Climate Adaptation Toolkit
Indiana Environmental Resilience Institute Toolkit
Iowa Climate Change
Michigan Michigan Department of Health & Human Services – Resilience Efforts at the National and Local Levels
Minnesota Adapting to a Changing Climate
Missouri No State Level Climate Adaptation Website Currently Identified
Ohio No State Level Climate Adaptation Website Currently Identified
Wisconsin What are Wisconsin’s possible Adaptation Strategies?

Christmas In August: Electric Utilities Hit Renewable Pay Dirt With IRA Passage

By Llewellyn King, Forbes

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Image: Electric cooperatives 
cover more than half the nation’s land area. 

The great prizes are the extension to not-for-profit utilities of the investment tax credits and production tax credits normally associated with tax-paying entities. These will be recovered by the not-for-profit utilities through “direct pay,” which means just that: a check.

As not-for-profit utilities don’t have an income tax liability, they have had in the past to collaborate with for-profit companies to reap any of the tax credit benefits. Now they will get a direct payment from the Treasury Department. Continue reading here. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

FACT SHEET: Inflation Reduction Act Advances Environmental Justice

The White House Briefing Room

The Inflation Reduction Act builds on the historic investments in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and advances his Justice40 Initiative, which will deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of climate and clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities. In total, hundreds of federal programs, including those established by the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Law, representing historic investments are being reimagined and transformed to meet the Justice40 goal and maximize benefits to disadvantaged communities. Read more here.

ALSO FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

ACP CEO Heather Zichal Statement on President Biden Signing the Inflation Reduction Act into Law

American Clean Power Association 

“With the stroke of the pen, a clean energy future is now the law of the land. This does for climate change and clean energy what the creation of Social Security did for America’s senior citizens. This law will put millions more Americans to work, ensure clean, renewable and reliable domestic energy is powering every American home, and save American consumers money.”  Continue reading here.

MORE NEWS RELEASES

“This new law will help the United States deploy enough clean energy to substantially decarbonize the electric grid and tackle climate change. It features long-term investments in clean energy and new incentives for energy storage, which give solar and storage businesses a stable policy environment and the certainty they need to deploy clean energy and meet the President’s ambitious climate goals. The bill also includes Senator Ossoff’s Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act, which will support domestic solar production through new tax credits, lay the groundwork for thousands of new manufacturing jobs by the end of the decade, and usher in a new era for solar manufacturing in the United States.” Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA President and CEO 

“With this legislation, America can finally move beyond years of on-again, off-again renewable tax credits to a long-term clean energy tax platform that will provide renewable companies with the stability they need to do business. This legislation will spur vital new investment that will help deploy thousands of megawatts of new renewable power, create hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, lower the cost of electricity for American families, and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We look forward to working with the Biden administration as they implement this law and build on it with additional measures to deliver the clean energy future Americans want and scientists say we desperately need.” – Gregory Wetstone, ACORE President and CEO

The Inflation Reduction Act includes long-term extensions of critical tax incentives supporting the deployment of all three wind applications – land-based, offshore and distributed – and new programs to support the siting and construction of high-voltage transmission lines, which will be important for both land-based and offshore wind. Also included are new production-based tax credits for domestic manufacturing and supply of wind components and equipment, which will provide strong incentives to onshore key supply chains of wind turbines and related components. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Princeton: Solar deployment to increase fivefold under Inflation Reduction Act

By Ryan Kennedy, PV Magazine

Princeton University released a Rapid Energy Policy Evaluation and Analysis Toolkit (REPEAT) in collaboration with Dartmouth College, Evolved Energy Research, and Carbon Impact Consulting, outlining the potential impact of the bill should it become law.

The impact on the US solar industry would be huge, to say the least. Princeton said solar deployment may accelerate from 2020 rates of 10 GW of capacity added per year to nearly five times as much by 2024, adding 49 GW of utility-scale solar each year. Solar deployment may be well over 100 GW per year by 2030, said Princeton. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Public Power Would Gain Access to Direct Payment of Tax Credits under Energy, Climate Deal, American Public Power Association
Public power utilities, rural electric cooperatives, the Tennessee Valley Authority, state and local governments, and other tax-exempt entities would have access to refundable direct payment tax credits under an energy and climate agreement announced on July 27.

Previously Posted APPA Issue Brief: The Need for Direct Payment of Refundable Tax Credits for Public Power

Inflation Reduction Act Of 2022

Legislative Text

Summaries

 Source: Senate Democrats Website

Economic Benefits And Free Market Principles: Why Community Solar Is Gaining Popularity With Conservatives

By Allison Steele, Coalition For Community Solar Access

When Michigan joined a list of states that are moving to create a community solar market, it happened because a Republican state representative teamed up with a Democratic colleague. “It’s rare these days to find an issue that is truly bipartisan and is a win-win for everyone,” said Republican Rep. Michele Hoitenga in a statement announcing the legislation she cosponsored, which would enable a community solar market in her state if it passes.

“Community solar is one of those rare issues.” Clean energy was once a topic largely associated with the Left. But in recent years, the community solar industry has gained conservative and Republican allies who see clear benefits that align with their values: investing in renewable energy saves money, increases market competition and creates jobs.  Continue reading here.

Referenced in the article: House Republicans unveil energy, climate strategy, The Hill

The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) is a national Coalition of businesses and non-profits working to expand customer choice and access to solar for all American households and businesses through community solar. Our mission is to empower every American energy consumer with the option to choose local, clean, and affordable community solar. We work with customers, utilities, local stakeholders, and policymakers to develop and implement policies and best practices that ensure community solar programs provide a win, win, win for all, starting with the customer.

Also In The News

The Energy & Environmental Building Alliance Joins the American Solar Energy Society in Showcasing Innovations to Help Consumers Cut Rising Energy Costs and Assert Their Energy Independence via the ASES National Solar Tour

American Solar Energy Society News Release, PR Newswire

Registration Now Open for Contractors and Sustainable Living Advocates Seeking to
Host or Sponsor Free, Open House Tours Showcasing Money-Saving Innovations for
Homes, Businesses, Commercial Structures and Non-Profits via the
October 1-2 National Solar Tour, America’s Largest Grassroots Solar Living Event

BOULDER, Colo., July 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Hot on the heels of Independence Day, the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is partnering with the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) to inspire net zero, solar-powered and sustainable living improvements to help people assert their energy independence and combat runaway energy costs on properties of all scope and scale via the 27th ASES National Solar Tour, America’s largest concurrent collection of free, in-person and virtual open house tours. Read the entire news release here.

FROM SOLAR POWER WORLD

July solar policy snapshots: A guide to recent legislation and research throughout the country
Illinois rule changes will simplify solar + storage interconnection, Springfield, Illinois
The Illinois Commerce Commission recently revised the state’s rules regarding how solar and other DERs connect to the distribution grid. The changes will reduce the time and cost to interconnect and make it easier to use energy storage to balance intermittent resources.

IN NEBRASKA

NEW CENTER FOR RURAL AFFAIRS GUIDE

Decommissioning Solar Energy Systems Resource Guide

Falling equipment costs coupled with increased demand for clean energy have led to a rapid rise in solar development over the past decade, a trend expected to continue, especially in rural areas. But, local governments also need to think about what happens to the sites that reach the end of their life cycles. The Center’s new guide outlines management options and recommendations of what information should be included in decommissioning plans.