Category Archives: Electric Vehicles

DeSantis net-metering veto highlights path for solar in red states, advocates say

By Dan Haugen, Energy News Network

Gov. DeSantis’ veto “definitely turned some heads,” said Tyler Duvelius, external affairs director for Conservatives for Clean Energy, but it maybe shouldn’t have been a complete shock given his previous actions on clean energy and climate. “In a sense, he was listening to his constituents in Florida, but I also think that clean energy is something Gov. DeSantis cares about as an economic driver for Florida,” Duvelius said. And in that sense, he sees DeSantis as part of a growing movement of conservatives who are starting to cut red tape and promote clean energy industries in their states. He cited Texas Gov. Greg AbbottIowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt as examples of conservatives who are promoting clean energy in their states.  Read more here.

Net Metering in Nebraska

If your local utility is not one of these, search its website for resources on net metering.

Previously Posted: Utilities push back against growth of rooftop solar panels, NBC News

Photo: Jerry Buechler, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, cleans the 28 solar panels on his roof in 2019. He is a retired firefighter and the founder of the Treasure Coast Solar Co-op. Credit: Leah Voss, TCPalm via Imagn Content Services, LLC 

Also Of Potential Interest

Solar Industry Launches Nonprofit to Alleviate Clean Energy Roadblocks

SEIA News Release

While the organization will focus on a variety of issues, one emerging challenge in the solar industry is land use. Siting clean energy projects requires community engagement and long-term planning that minimizes impact to the environment and surrounding community. These projects must also account for access to transmission lines, upgrades to grid infrastructure, and several other factors that can affect the outcome of a large-scale solar project. SI2’s first research project will create best practices for solar companies looking to create large-scale solar projects and other resources that will help the industry navigate these challenges. Read more here. 

To learn more about the new nonprofit, visit Solar and Storage Industries Institute (SI2): www.ssii.org 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING  

NFS Note: As the Energy Information Association (EIA) data show, Nebraska and Iowa continue to lag behind most states on Solar as a Percentage of Total Generation (SPG): Nebraska 0.17% / Iowa 0.47%. Both states, however, are national leaders on Solar + Wind as a percentage of Total Generation (SWPG): Nebraska – 31.22% / Iowa – 67% (currently #1).

FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Lincoln officials announce new electric vehicle infrastructure plan

By Nolan Dorn, KLKN TV

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Lincoln officials announced a new initiative on Thursday that is aimed at helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Lancaster County. The main goal of the Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan is to help the city become more electric-car friendly.  It will create the infrastructure needed for those electric vehicles. Leaders across the county hope that this plan will help people use renewable resources and move away from fossil fuels. Continue reading here.

OMAHA

Saving Planet Omaha: City Takes First Steps toward A Greener Future, But Challenges Remain, by Regan Thomas, The Reader

To date, 417 cities, including 35 of the 50 largest, have some form of plan to address adverse weather effects. Today, about one in three Americans live in a place that has a Climate Action Plan.

For Omaha to catch up to other cities like Des Moines, Lincoln and even Crete, which all have or have started a Climate Action Plan, city officials need to work effectively, said Craig Moody, managing principal at Verdis Group, a sustainability and climate planning consultancy in Omaha. Moody’s organization has long helped cities like Lincoln build their own plans, and one week after last August’s flash foods, Moody published a blog giving cities a how-to guide for “one of the most important things a community can do to accelerate climate action,” saying these documents are meant to be used, not sit on a shelf.

Additional Recommended Reading: For Earth Day, key facts about Americans’ views of climate change and renewable energy, Pew Research Center

NEW ENVIRONMENT AMERICA REPORT

Shining Cities 2022: The Top U.S. Cities for Solar Energy,
Environment America Research & Policy Center

Solar power continues to expand rapidly. The United States now has 121.4 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity, producing enough solar energy to power more than 23 million homes. Millions of Americans have invested in solar energy and millions more are ready to join them.

America’s major cities have played a key role in the clean energy revolution and stand to reap tremendous benefits from solar energy. As population centers, they are major sources of electricity demand and, with millions of solar rooftops, they can be major sources of clean energy production as well.

Additional Recommended Reading: From Earth Day 1970 to 2022: A story of progress 
The rise of solar power since the first Earth Day is just one example of how far we’ve come.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

New Department of Energy Partnership Will Boost Low-Income Community Solar Subscriptions

Department of Energy News Release

Yesterday, the White House announced a new partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that will develop and pilot a digital platform to enable more low-income households to access community solar by connecting project developers with Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) recipients.

The LIHEAP program, run by HHS, assists eligible low-income households with home energy costs. Connecting NCSP with this existing program will reduce the cost of customer acquisition, lower low-income household electricity bills, and speed the deployment of community solar projects.

Community solar programs make solar more accessible to all Americans, particularly to those with low-to-moderate incomes because it allowed energy users to subscribe to a shared system of solar panels, often located within their community. At least 21 states and the District of Columbia have developed community solar-related programs that have direct carve-outs for low-and-moderate income customers.

A persistent problem identified by community solar developers is identifying subscribers that meet income eligibility requirements. Access to pre-qualified applicants through LIHEAP could fill a portion of subscriptions for community solar systems while delivering energy assistance and providing long-term energy burden reductions.

A collaborative team from NCSP, HHS, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will develop the platform. The team will coordinate with utilities, state and local governments, and industry, and plans to pilot the platform in 3-5 states as part of the NCSP States Collaborative. This partnership will support NCSP’s target to enable community solar systems to power the equivalent of 5 million households and create $1 billion in energy bill savings by 2025.

About National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP)
National Community Solar Partnership is an active group of community members, developers, utilities, financial institutions, and governments dedicated to increasing access to community solar for all U.S. households. Partners receive access to technical assistance, resources, training, events, and a platform for connecting with other collaborative partners. Join NCSP to receive program updates and announcements about future opportunities and how you can participate.

Helpful Links

Additional $25 Million DOE Solar Funding Opportunity 

EERE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office has announced a $25 million funding opportunity for projects that will enable communities to use solar energy and solar-plus storage to prevent power disruptions caused by extreme weather events. Learn more about this $25M Solar Energy Funding Opportunity.

Attend a webinar: Renewables Advancing Community Energy Resilience Funding Opportunity Announcement, April 27, 12 pm CT

More Department of Energy News & Resources

Omaha Metro Transit launches new electric buses, has plans to expand

By Marlo Lundak, WOW TV

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – It’s been a two-year process, but Metro Transit launched its first electric buses Tuesday morning. The company made the announcement Monday, stating the buses were made possible by a competitive federal grant and thanks to support from the Nebraska Environmental Trust. We are really looking to make sure that we are protecting our region, that we’re still viable, a great place to live, work, and play in the future and into future generations,” Metro Transit’s CEO, Lauren Cencic, tells 6 News Tuesday. The new buses will catch your eye, but not your ear, they’re extremely quiet. Continue reading or watch the video here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Omaha metro area will draft climate action plan, by Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald

When the plan is in place, Omaha will join several hundred other cities in the U.S. with strategies for confronting climate change. Lincoln, the Kansas City metropolitan area and the Twin Cities already have plans. Des Moines is developing one. The Nebraska Legislature has rejected calls for a statewide plan. Asked “why now?” Mayor Jean Stothert said in an email to The World-Herald that the time is right to take advantage of local efforts. “Omaha has been implementing sustainability measures for some time now without the need for a formal plan,” she wrote. 

‘I think we have a wake-up call right now’ — FERC’s Phillips touts transmission’s reliability benefit

By Larry Pearl, Senior Editor, Utility Dive


There is “a clear need for substantial transmission build-out to accommodate new generation,” [FERC Commissioner] Phillips said while highlighting the ambitious renewable energy goals around the country.

“In order to get these necessary transmission projects financed, we must address the continuing barriers to regional and interregional transmission investment,” he added. Read more here.


RELATED READING

Grid operators’ ‘seam’ study paves way for renewable expansion, E&E News

The study identified seven transmission projects along the MISO-SPP boundary that would cost $1.65 billion and enable 28 gigawatts of new generation capacity — and perhaps as much as 53 GW — across MISO and SPP combined. The latter estimate, based on modeling by SPP, would roughly double the combined wind and solar capacity that currently exists in the two regions.

NEW AMERICAN CLEAN POWER ASSOCIATION INITIATIVE

Clean Power Industry Commits to Initiative for Energy Transition that Benefits Workers, Communities, and Those Historically Left Behind

WASHINGTON DC, March 23, 2022 – The American Clean Power Association (ACP), on behalf of its over 700 member companies, today announced its Energy Transition for All initiative – an industry-wide framework to ensure that workers, communities, and those historically left behind stand to benefit from the rapid growth of the clean power sector in the United States. The initiative was launched today with the release of a report containing an outline of multi-year industry objectives to realize those goals.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

NEW AT OPPD & LES: TRADE ALLY PROGRAMS

Electric Vehicles Don’t Have To Be Elitist – They Can Erode Social Inequities

Contributed by Marshall Shepherd, Forbes

I am unapologetically a supporter of electric vehicles (EVs) and have thoroughly enjoyed mine. It has eradicated my gasoline bill, and my home power bill has not significantly changed thanks to my power company’s EV rate. I ride in the toll lanes in Georgia without fees and will claim my tax rebate this season. To be clear, I understand the environmental issues associated with batteries and have been pleasantly surprised with the amount of charging stations in the Southeast.

The bipartisan infrastructure law that was recently passed will move the needle even further on charging access. All of this is a good thing for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Oddly, when I (or someone else) shares their enthusiasm for EVs, there is a strange and almost vitriolic reaction from some corners. A common narrative is that “everyone cannot afford them” or “stop being an elitist.” Continue reading here.

About the Writer
Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, a leading international expert in weather and climate, was the 2013 President of American Meteorological Society (AMS) and is Director of the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Atmospheric Sciences Program. Dr. Shepherd is the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor and hosts The Weather Channel’s Weather Geeks Podcast, which can be found at all podcast outlets.

MORE EV NEWS & RESOURCES

Volkswagen officially unveils its ID.Buzz EV, the hippie bus reborn, by Andrew Tarantola, Senior Editor, Engadget

The Microbus is back, baby! Nearly 75 years since the first Volkswagen Type 2 rolled off its assembly line and into the annals of Americana as an icon of 1960s counterculture, VW is re-releasing the emblematic vehicle — this time as a full EV.

Learn more about electric vehicles at the links below. If your local utility is not on this list but provides information on its website about EVs, please let us know by sending an email to: nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com.

Additional Links – Local & National

Related Reading

American Battery Factory plans battery cell gigafactories to support U.S. storage market, Utility Dive. DOE said in December that there are 13 new EV battery cell gigafactories coming to the U.S. by 2026.

There’s new momentum in Congress for a climate bill, but a lot of questions on what it could include

By Ella Nilsen and Lauren Fox, CNN

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has cracked open the door for negotiations on a slimmed-down version of President Joe Biden’s climate and economic bill following months of little progress on the issue. Manchin outlined his counteroffer this week, confirming that climate and clean energy provisions will be some of the few original pieces of Biden’s original Build Back Better bill he wants to pass through a Democrat-only bill. Manchin is also calling for Democrats to raise taxes on corporations and America’s wealthy and use that revenue to reduce the budget deficit and spend on new climate programs. Read more here.

Watch the following brief video at the same above link: CNN asks West Virginia residents about climate change. 

Previously Posted

NEW FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

ENERGY SAVER.GOV NEWS & RESOURCES

  • Energy Saver 101 Infographic: Home Energy Audits
    A home energy assessment is the first step to saving energy and money. Sometimes called an energy audit, a home energy assessment helps you learn how you use energy, determine where it’s being wasted, and prioritize efficiency upgrades. Making energy efficiency upgrades identified in a home energy assessment can save 5-30 percent on your monthly energy bill while also ensuring the health and safety of your house.
  • New Plug-in Electric Vehicle Sales in the United States Nearly Doubled from 2020 to 2021
    Sales of new light-duty plug-in electric vehicles, including all-electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), nearly doubled from 308,000 in 2020 to 608,000 in 2021.

Related Links

Midlands Voices: Infrastructure funds will serve critical needs for Nebraska and Iowa

By David G. Brown and Drew Kamp, Omaha World-Herald

For many years you’ve heard complaints about the neglected state of our nation’s roads and bridges. This neglect is due to inadequate funding directed toward the care and maintenance of these critical components of our daily lives. More recently we’ve heard about the growing digital divide in rural America. Fortunately, passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has injected much-needed funding to address these longstanding issues.

It cannot be forgotten that this important and necessary piece of legislation became law with bipartisan and bicameral support. Thanks to senators including Chuck Grassley and Deb Fischer, and House members including Reps. Cindy Axne and Don Bacon, communities like Council Bluffs and Omaha will have access to money for much-needed infrastructure improvements. Continue reading here. Requires digital subscription.

David G. Brown is president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber. Drew Kamp is president and CEO of the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce.

RELATED

FEATURED COMMENTARY

NEBRASKA NEWS

‘Build Back Better’ Hit a Wall, but Climate Action Could Move Forward

By Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman, New York Times

The climate portion of Build Back Better includes about $555 billion aimed at moving the American economy away from its 150-year-old reliance on fossil fuels and toward clean energy sources. Instead of penalties to punish polluters, the bill offers incentives for industries, utilities and individuals to shift from burning oil, gas and coal for energy and transportation to using wind, solar and other forms of power that do not emit carbon dioxide, the most plentiful of the greenhouse gases that are warming the world.

It would provide about $320 billion in tax credits for producers and buyers of wind, solar and nuclear power. Buyers of electric vehicles would receive up to $12,500 in tax credits. It would extend existing tax credits to lower costs for homeowners of installing solar panels, geothermal pumps and small wind turbines, covering up to 30 percent of the bills. Read more here.

APPA FACT SHEET OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

The Need for Direct Payment Of Refundable Tax Credits for Public Power

APPA believes that if Congress intends to create incentives in pursuit of national energy and climate goals, it should realize that tax-based incentives will not have the market-wide reach of direct grants and other incentives. As a result, the association believes that tax-based incentives should be drafted to accommodate tax-exempt entities, including public power utilities. 

UTILITY DIVE SERIES

2022 Outlook: FERC expected to prioritize transmission, power markets and gas infrastructure, by Ethan Howland, Senior Reporter

This is the third part of Utility Dive’s 2022 Outlook Series.

With its oversight of interstate transmission and wholesale power markets, FERC, an independent agency, has a major role in the energy transition. “FERC’s regulation is central to the resilient, reliable future grid that’s already developing,” John Moore, director of the Sustainable FERC Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said.

Potential changes to the transmission system are driven by the growth of renewable energy, especially in areas that are far from major population centers, according to Moore. Other developments that are driving a focus on transmission planning include the development of offshore wind farms and the shift away from fossil fuels for cars, trucks and buildings, which will drive up electricity use, Moore said.

Referenced in the article: FERC’s new Office of Public Participation
Upcoming Resources for the Future Webinar: Policy Leadership Series with FERC Commissioner Allison Clements, January 25, 2022 at 10 a.m. Central Time


Fourth Part of Utility Dive’s 2022 Series 

2022 Outlook: US solar and wind boom continues despite supply chain woes, Build Back Better uncertainty,  by Iulia Gheorghiu

 

INTERIOR DEPARTMENT NEWS

Interior’s 2022 energy strategy: 3 things to watch, E&E News

Interior’s efforts will include authorizing solar energy in Western deserts and leasing waters in the Atlantic Ocean to offshore wind developers, as well as reexamining the rules that govern decommissioning offshore pipelines, drilling for oil and digging for federal coal . . . Meanwhile, renewables are about to get a boost on public lands.

Additional Recommended Reading: Offshore wind: a key to unlocking the American transition to a clean, reliable and affordable energy future, American Clean Power Association

USDA NEWS RELEASES

USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations Highlights 2021 Accomplishments to Advance Equity and Opportunity for Tribal Nations and Communities

“USDA and the federal government have a distinct relationship with tribal nations,” said USDA Office of Tribal Relations Director Heather Dawn Thompson. “We are embarking on new initiatives to reframe approaches to how USDA serves Indian Country and promotes government-to-government relationships with tribal nations.” 

MIDAMERICAN ENERGY NEWS RELEASE

MidAmerican Energy proposes $3.9 billion “Wind PRIME” renewable energy project

In a filing with the Iowa Utilities Board, MidAmerican’s proposed project, called Wind PRIME, would add 2,042 megawatts of wind generation and 50 megawatts of solar generation. The company also proposed conducting feasibility studies focused on other clean generation technologies, including carbon capture, energy storage and small modular nuclear reactors.

FEATURED EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION

The Zero Energy Project is a non-profit educational organization whose goal is to help home buyers, builders, designers, and real estate professionals take meaningful steps towards radically reducing carbon emissions and energy bills by building zero net energy homes and near zero energy homes.

We envision the day when positive energy homes, which produce more energy than they consume, will power electric vehicles as well as homes, so that everyone can live well with less expense and without fear of energy price spikes, while greatly reducing our carbon emissions.

Zero Energy Project’s Directory of Zero Energy Building Professionals
Recent Blog Post: Net-Zero vs Passive House: What are the Similarities and Differences?

DOE BETTER BUILDINGS WEBINAR

PV Valuation: How Solar PV Adds Value to Your Assets, February 1, 2022, 10 a.m. CT

Rooftop solar is a common renewable energy strategy, and owners and operators are now exploring potential financial benefits to the value of commercial and industrial properties. Learn from several building owners and managers on how they made the business case for solar PV and found increased asset value during appraisal or at the time of sale. This webinar will highlight multiple building types and financial models for solar PV.