Category Archives: Electric Vehicles

Solar and wind’s competitiveness over coal is accelerating, analysis shows

By Kathiann M. Kowalski, Energy News Network

“The Energy Innovation analysis does not factor in the
social costs of coal-fired power plants.”

The May 5 analysis comes from Energy Innovation: Policy & Technology, based in San Francisco. The work highlights the accelerating pace of the clean energy transition, even aside from the social costs of coal plant pollution.

“Out of the 235 plants in the U.S. coal fleet, 182 plants, or 80 percent, are uneconomic or already retiring,” according to the report, which counted plants in service in 2018. Put another way, the share of total U.S. coal plant capacity from that year that won’t be competitive beyond the next few years has climbed from roughly five-eighths to three-fourths in just two years. Read more here.

NPPD Photo: Gerald Gentleman 1,365MW coal-fired power plant in Sutherland

Kathiann M. Kowalski

Kathiann M. Kowalski is the author of 25 books and more than 600 articles, and writes often on science and policy issues. In addition to her journalism career, Kathi is an alumna of Harvard Law School and has spent 15 years practicing law. She is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Science Writers. Kathi covers the state of Ohio. More by Kathiann M. Kowalski

Previously Posted Articles by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

  • Solar firm buying land rights near coal plants with eye toward transmission
    Josh Case, Photosol’s chief executive officer, intends to develop two arrays — one with 400 megawatts and one with 250 megawatts — on 5,000 acres he has under lease option near Nebraska’s Gerald Gentleman station. He pays an annual fee to maintain the option to lease the acreage. The projects would include 325 MW of battery storage.
  • Nebraska utility could slash emissions at little or no added cost, studies show
    The Nebraska Public Power District, which serves most of the state’s population outside the cities of Omaha and Lincoln, last year hired two firms to forecast the potential impact of federal carbon regulations. The results, by Ascend Analytics and Siemens, both conclude that the utility could significantly reduce its exposure to such policies without burdening customers with severe rate hikes. 

HIGH-CAPACITY EV CHARGERS 

Report finds increase in high-capacity EV chargers could benefit utilities, by Peter Maloney, American Public Power Association

The premise of the report, Charging Smart, is that an increase in the maximum power level of residential electric vehicle (EV) chargers is imminent and will likely reach the highest charger levels within a decade, leading to increased costs for utilities by shifting charging load to times of day when electricity is more expensive. 

The authors recommended that utilities should explore time variant rate options, as well as hybrid pricing options that offer higher fixed rates from 6am to midnight and discounted fixed rates from midnight to 6am. Utilities should also consider incentives for the deployment of smart charging technologies, such as owner-operated programmable charging systems and direct charge control functions in conjunction with pricing signals. And, finally, the authors say utilities should establish outreach campaigns to influence customer behaviors to shift charging patterns. 

“What’s so promising about this analysis is the clear opportunity to push innovation that will use vehicle electrification to create a more reliable electric grid and maximize greenhouse gas reductions,” Suzanne Russo, Pecan Street CEO, said in a statement.

As clean energy jobs recover, can they lift left-behind U.S. communities?

By Jack GrahamThomson Reuters Foundation News Release

Whether in building electric cars or making homes more energy efficient, clean energy jobs are rapidly recovering from the COVID-19 downturn and could help support rural and other left-behind U.S. communities, a business analysis has found. While they represent 2% of total private sector employment in the United States, they make up more than 10% in rural Midwestern areas such as Pulaski County in Illinois and Jefferson County in Nebraska, E2 noted. Read more here.

Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)
Environmental Entrepreneurs is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital.

Annual Report

Clean Jobs America 2021: After Hard Year, Promise of Unparalleled Jobs Growth. FAQs about the report are available here.

Additional Recommended Reading

LOCAL SOLAR FOR ALL NEWS RELEASE

Broad coalition asks Congress to expand local rooftop and community solar power for all
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A coalition of advocates representing civil rights, indigenous, environment, equity, rural, and business organizations is calling on Congress to prioritize the equitable and just deployment of renewable energy through policies that support expanding local rooftop and community solar power for all.

MINNESOTA’S COMMUNITY SOLAR

Community solar surge strains Minnesota’s interconnection queue, by  Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

Minnesota lawmakers passed the state’s community garden solar law in 2013 and Xcel began formally accepting applications a year later. Projects must have a minimum of five customers and subscribers are limited to no more than 40% of power generation.

Today, Xcel’s community solar queue includes 515 projects that, if completed, will add 483 megawatts of capacity to its grid. The challenge is that many substations where the projects can connect to the grid are near capacity but still attracting multiple proposals, the utility said in its recent report to regulators.

Also Written by Frank Jossi: 

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

UC-Berkeley Report Claims Electric Cars Will Save Americans $2.7 Trillion, Create 2 Million Jobs, CleanTechnica

 

new report by the University of California at Berkeley makes several bold claims.

 

 

Additional Recommended Reading

CLEAN ENERGY ANALYSIS

Where progressives and conservatives agree on clean energy, by Sarah Golden, GreenBiz
From an ideological perspective, it’s curious that clean energy became a partisan issue. Looking at it as a technology, there is a ton to like about renewables across the political spectrum. This hasn’t escaped political conservatives outside the beltway.

A number of conservative groups champion clean energy, from the Conservative Energy Network (CEN) and Young Conservatives for Energy Reform (YCER) to the Christian Coalition for AmericaAs the federal government considers a massive infrastructure bill that would spur clean energy growth and decarbonize the economy, it’s worth looking at where the conservative and progressive ideologies align on clean energy, and where they diverge.

NEW GLOBAL FINANCE PLAN

Carney, Kerry launch global finance plan to boost climate action
LONDON (Reuters) – UN climate envoy Mark Carney and U.S. peer John Kerry on Wednesday announced a new plan to boost efforts by the financial system to help move the global economy to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.  [The] new group – Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) – will bring existing net zero initiatives together under one umbrella to help ensure all sub-sector efforts are consistent and ambitious.

Kerry’s support for the project follows a series of meetings with different chief executives from the financial sector over the last few months. So far, more than 160 firms with assets of at least $70 trillion have signed up, of which 43 are banks – as part of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) – including Barclays, Morgan Stanley and HSBC and Citi.

GLOBAL SURVEY OF WIND ENERGY EXPERTS ON COSTS

Predictions for Wind Energy Costs Drop Significantly, Renewable Energy Magazine.

Technology and commercial advancements are expected to continue to drive down the cost of wind energy, according to a survey led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) of the world’s foremost wind power experts.
Experts anticipate cost reductions of 17%-35% by 2035 and 37%-49% by 2050, driven by bigger and more efficient turbines, lower capital and operating costs, and other advancements. The findings are described in an article in the journal Nature Energy.

8 Days, 2 Kids, 2700 Miles, 1 Tesla — Lessons Learned From A Cross Country EV Road Trip

By Joe Wachunas, CleanTechnica

In Nebraska, we stayed in a cabin at an RV park and had access
to a 240 volt charger typically used by RVs.”

Our EV surpassed any ICE [Internal Combustion Engine] car in fueling cost and pollution reduction and came close to matching the traditional auto in how easy it was to “fill’er up.” In total, it took 41 hours of driving and 5 hours of charging to go 2,747 miles. Here are 9 “road trip” lessons we learned along the way. Read more here.

Learn more about EVs in an Earth Day Webinar devoted to electric vehicles April 22.. 

Joe Wachunas ives in Portland, Oregon, and works for the nonprofit Forth, which promotes electric transportation. He is also involved with Electrify Now because he believes that electrifying everything, from transportation to homes, is the quickest path to an equitable, clean energy future. And of course, Joe and his family live in an all-electric home and drive an EV.


PRESIDENT BIDEN’S EV INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN

 

 

 

 

MORE EV NEWS

NEBRASKA’S LARGEST UTILITIES’ EV PROGRAMS

If you receive power from another utility, check the website for EV programs and incentives.

LINKS TO MORE EV NEWS & RESOURCES

Michigan solar supporters make new push to eliminate rooftop solar caps

By Tom Perkins, Energy News Network

A bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers has introduced legislation to eliminate a 1% cap on distributed energy in the state’s investor-owned utility territories. It’s the third time in recent years that such legislation has been introduced. Though utilities and their political allies have successfully blocked it to date, advocates see an opportunity with a change in state Republican caucus leadership and Michigan’s burgeoning solar industry approaching the cap in some utility territories. The bill also has support from a broad swath of legislators for reasons having to do with job creation, energy freedom and the environment. Read more here.

Photo Credit: David Marvin / Creative Commons. The Michigan Statehouse in Lansing.

Additional Recommended Reading
Commentary: To build energy resilience in Michigan, we must challenge DTE, Energy News Network

NPPD’S CURRENT RENEWABLE ENERGY LIMIT & TWO RECENT STUDIES

Kearney’s Solar Farm

Previously posted articles by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network:

  • Nebraska solar farm highlights tension between cities, electricity wholesaler
    The city of Norfolk, Nebraska, soon will celebrate its first solar farm — and the last one allowed under a contract with its electricity wholesaler. The 8.5-megawatt community solar project is being developed in partnership with the Nebraska Public Power District, which supplies power to most of the state outside of Omaha and Lincoln. The hitch for Norfolk is that the public utility’s contracts prevent municipal customers from generating more than 10% of their peak load from alternative sources, a threshold the city expects to reach with this project. “Northeast Nebraska is the renewable energy hotbed of the state,” said Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning. “I’d much rather use clean energy that’s made in our backyard than haul it in on a coal train from Wyoming, which is the status quo in Nebraska.”
  • Nebraska utility could slash emissions at little or no added cost, studies show
    A pair of reports by independent consultants both conclude that the Nebraska Public Power District could eliminate most of its carbon emissions without having to spend significantly more than it would otherwise for power.

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA REPORT

Electrifying America’s buildings by 2050 could be like taking 65 million cars off the road
Entitled Electric Buildings: Repowering Homes and Businesses for Our Health and Environment, the study documents the benefits of electrifying the majority of buildings in America for consumers and the environment. In addition, the report ranks states by their capacity to decrease greenhouse gas emissions through building electrification.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE (RMI) REPORT

Build Back Better Homes: How to Unlock America’s Single-Family Green Mortgage Market

Residential energy efficiency reduces emissions and delivers a wealth of other societal benefits, but homeowners often lack access to low-cost financing to improve the performance of their homes. The mortgage industry is well positioned to fill this gapA new RMI report proposes practical solutions to reduce friction in originating and securitizing single-family green mortgage products. This untapped opportunity can create a new market with a total potential value of $2.2 trillion over 10 years.

RMI EVENTS

  • Decarbonizing America’s Buildings: Preparing for a Carbon-Neutral Future
    April 13: In this webinar, RMI’s Michael Gartman joins Brad Liljequist and Heath Mackay from the construction engineering firm McKinstry for a discussion on decarbonizing the buildings sector. The speakers will outline proven strategies for transitioning buildings to zero carbon in terms of both operational emissions and embodied emissions in the building’s materials.
  • Advanced Building Construction Summit
    April 28: The inaugural ABC Summit convenes experts from the public and private sectors to share insights and experiences around high-performing, decarbonized, affordable construction.

CANARY MEDIA

The Rocky Mountain Institute has launched Canary Media, independent energy journalism powered by former Greentech Media staff and David Roberts. 

Canary Media will cover the global effort to combat climate change from business, technology, and policy perspectives. Editors include Eric Wesoff, Jeff St. John, and David Roberts.

EV INFRASTRUCTURE

UNITED PARCEL SERVICE (UPS)

UPS Orders 10 Electric Vertical Takeoff & Landing Aircraft, CleanTechnica
10 BETA aircraft will be delivered in 2024, if all goes according to plan, and UPS has an option to buy up to 150 at the agreed-upon terms. Last year, UPS ordered 10,000 electric vehicles from EV startup Arrival as well.

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan

The White House Briefing Room

The President’s American Jobs Plan is a historic public investment – consisting principally of one-time capital investments in our nation’s productivity and long-term growth. It will invest about 1 percent of GDP per year over eight years to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure, revitalize manufacturing, invest in basic research and science, shore up supply chains, and solidify our care infrastructure. These are investments that leading economists agree will give Americans good jobs now and will pay off for future generations by leaving the country more competitive and our communities stronger. In total, the plan will invest about $2 trillion this decade. If passed alongside President Biden’s Made in America corporate tax plan, it will be fully paid for within the next 15 years and reduce deficits in the years after. Read more here. 

Additional Recommended Reading & Viewing

Here’s how Biden’s infrastructure package will likely tackle climate change

By Emma Newburger, CNBC


The president is expected to introduce up to $3 trillion in spending on efforts to boost the economy, including rebuilding aging infrastructure like highways, bridges and rail lines, and investing in technologies to reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.


Some of the policies on the table include:

  • Installing thousands of new electric vehicle charging stations
  • Funds to build energy-efficient homes
  • Constructing new electric power lines

Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Build America Bonds may be key to financing Biden’s infrastructure, by Thomas Frank, CNBC 
The bonds allow states and counties, which manage the majority of U.S. infrastructure, to float debt with interest costs subsidized by the federal government. Build America Bonds entered U.S. markets more than a decade ago as the Obama administration sought ways to finance capital projects across the country and jumpstart the economy in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

President Biden Invites 40 World Leaders to Leaders Summit on Climate, The White House Briefing Room, March 26, 2021. Today, President Biden invited 40 world leaders to the Leaders Summit on Climate he will host on April 22 and 23.  The virtual Leaders Summit will be live streamed for public viewing.

How infrastructure is banking on green banks

By Heather Clancy, Editorial Director, GreenBiz Group

Quick, what do Alaska, Maine and South Carolina have in common? 

All three U.S. states are seriously evaluating the creation of green banks — financing institutions created with the explicit mission of combining public and private funds to invest in climate solutions and green infrastructure. They would join roughly 20 other U.S. jurisdictions that have used this mechanism to drive more than $5 billion in clean energy investments as of the end of 2019, including Connecticut, Florida, Michigan and Washington, D.C. 

Alaska is so invested in the idea that Rep. Don Young, a Republican who championed Deb Haaland’s nomination as Interior Secretary, last week stepped across the aisle again to become a co-sponsor of the latest legislation to create a national-level green bank. The bill would make $100 billion of public funds available for a nonprofit organization that would provide financing and other support to regional, state and local green banks — an amount the sponsors say could catalyze $884 billion in green infrastructure investments over the next decade and help create 4 million clean economy jobs within the next four years. Continue reading here.

LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Tri-State’s clean energy, cost reduction efforts have not quelled member exit interest

By Robert Watson, Utility Dive

There are now at least seven rural electric cooperatives considering what it would cost to leave the service of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a sign that the utility’s efforts to reduce costs and carbon emissions have not appeased its membership. The cooperatives include Wheat Belt Public Power and Northwest Rural Public Power in Nebraska. Read more here.

Previously Posted: Co-ops trying to leave Tri-State say the electric utility is “stonewalling” by refusing to calculate the price to exit, The Colorado Sun

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

TAX INCENTIVES

Ditto says public power access to clean energy tax incentives is ‘low hanging fruit’, American Public Power Association
Allowing public power utilities to have access to clean energy tax incentives is “low hanging fruit” in terms of policy-related action that can be taken in the short term in order to incentivize not-for-profit utilities to build their own clean energy generation, said Joy Ditto, President and CEO of the American Public Power Association (APPA) on March 22.

OFFSHORE WIND

Report: Offshore Wind Has the Potential to Meet 90% of 2050 US Electricity Demand, Environment  + Energy Leader

This finding comes from Offshore Wind for America, a new report released by Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group which examines US offshore wind potential by coastal region and by state. Offshore Wind for America also documents the status of existing projects and technological advances.

EPRI’S SOLAR RESEARCH  

EPRI Receives DOE Funding to Research the Transmission of Solar Information, Solar Industry
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), an institution that conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity, says it will receive a $2 million contract from the U.S. Energy Department (DOE) to explore how information about solar energy spreads among consumers. To learn more about EPRI’s solar research, click here.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES & INFRASTRUCTURE

THE WIRE: HOW DOES THAT WORK?


Infographic: Anatomy of a power pole, by Jason Kuiper

OPPD has a lot of power lines. How many? 15,567 miles worth of power lines. Or enough to stretch from Omaha, Neb., around the earth and back at our higher latitude.

Haaland: Era where tribes on backburner over

By Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times

In her first press conference as secretary of the Interior Wednesday, Deb Haaland promised to repair the nation-to-nation relationship between tribes and the federal government and to enact real consultation with tribes on important issues — not just within Interior but across the federal government.

Appropriately enough, the first Native American Interior secretary chose members of the Native American Journalists Association for the Zoom conference, which she scheduled for her very first day on the job. Continue reading here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

GUEST COLUMN: Renewable energy is a good bet

Contributed by David Fredrick, The Courier

Waverly has a long-term agreement with the Municipal Electricity Association of Nebraska. It is my understanding that we must guarantee the purchase of amounts of power managed by MEAN, most of which is generated by fossil fuels. Because of this guarantee, we have not increased our generation of renewable energy. Also, MEAN has not significantly increased its supply of renewable energy. Are there better means to increase our use and generation of renewable energy? Here are some considerations: Continue reading here.

David Fredrick of Waverly is a retired diplomat and college employee. A Waverly City Council member in the 1960s, his master’s thesis included a history of the Waverly electric utility.

Fredrick references a “first-of-its-kind” analysis conducted by Iowa Auditor Rob Sand, which is described in the following article: Auditor: Local governments could save combined $375M with average solar installations, Iowa Capital Dispatch

Previously Posted

Will Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska remain reliant on coal?, Clean Cooperative
One striking finding in the SDSG [Sustainable Development Strategies Group] report: coal accounted for 61% of MEAN’s resource mix in 2017, according to its 2017 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). And in contrast to major power suppliers for other Colorado towns and cities like Platte River Power Authority and Xcel Energy, MEAN expects that coal will remain a large portion of its energy mix, and even increase slightly to 64% by 2030.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEAN Board Approves Resolution On Vision For Carbon Neutrality By 2050, NMPP News Release

The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) Board of Directors at its board meeting on Jan. 23,  [2020] in Kearney, Neb., approved a resolution laying out a vision to a carbon neutral power resource portfolio by 2050. The resolution authorizes MEAN’s staff to collaboratively work with the MEAN Power Supply Committee to construct policies around resource planning, portfolio optimization and emissions reduction to support future actions to achieve the 2050 carbon neutral goal. Read more here.

ResolutionMEAN 2050 Vision of Carbon Neutrality

About MEAN
The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) is the not-for-profit wholesale electricity supply organization of NMPP Energy. Created in 1981, MEAN provides cost-based power supply, transmission and related services to 69 participating communities in four states: Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming.

MEAN Members/Participants

About NMPP Energy
NMPP Energy is a member-driven coalition of four organizations based in Lincoln, Neb., serving nearly 200 member communities in six Midwest and Rocky Mountain states. NMPP Energy’s organizations fulfill separate needs to their respective member communities. Collectively, they subscribe to the core philosophies of local control and working together to provide reliable, cost-based energy and energy-related services.

NMPP Energy Members 

American Public Power Association ResourcePublic Power in Nebraska