Category Archives: Electric Vehicles

Solar Industry Outlines a Policy Agenda for the Biden Administration, 117th Congress

SEIA News Release, November 12, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is releasing a suite of policies and executive actions that it is asking President-elect Biden and the newly elected Congress to act on during their first 100 days in office.

“Our 100-day agenda aligns with President-elect Biden’s vision to build back better, and represents a critical opportunity to meet the moment of the climate era with equity and justice at the forefront,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Even as we face a likely divided government, every facet of this agenda has had bipartisan support. Now is the time to take action to generate economic opportunities for Americans in a way that promotes competition and addresses the climate crisis.” Read more here.

GREEN BIZ 350 PODCAST

Episode 245: How President-elect Joe Biden could help U.S. farmers, by Heather Clancy, Joel Makower & Jim Giles

TRANSMISSION

Transmission troubles? A solution could be lying along rail lines and next generation highways, Utility Dive. Recent studies, including the landmark and reportedly suppressed Department of Energy Seam study, show expanded transmission is critical. But two key barriers — where to put the new lines and how to pay for them — still slow development, according to a June 2020 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report to Congress. Allocation of the new lines’ costs remains unresolved, but new approaches to siting are attracting attention.

TRI-STATE

Tri-State ups the amount of greenhouse gases it will cut in Colorado by adding wind and solar generation, The Colorado Sun. Colorado’s second biggest electricity provider – Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association – upped its goal for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to an 80% cut by 2030 – putting itself in line with other utilities in the state. Tri-State is joining with North Dakota-based Basin Electric Power Cooperative, the Deseret Power Cooperative in Utah, the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska and the federal Western Area Power Administration to explore joining the Southwest Power Pool (SPP).

Tri-State is a nonprofit cooperative of 45 members, including 42 electric distribution cooperatives and public power districts in four states: Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. Together, they provide power to more than a million electricity consumers.

CROWDFUNDED TRIBAL SOLAR 

Crowdfunded solar puts Red Lake Nation on a path to energy sovereignty, by Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

“We have to prove that we can do this and we have to do this not only for ourselves but for other tribal nations,” said Red Lake member Bob Blake, the founder and owner of Solar Bear installation company. The workforce training center solar array is the second of 12 solar projects planned for the reservation. The first sits not far away atop the Red Lake Government Center, a building distinguished by incorporating a two-story face of an eagle with wings spread across the facade. The projects are the first two solar installations in Minnesota to be financed through crowdfunding, in which dozens of small investors lend to businesses to support entrepreneurs and their products. The tribe has a separate initiative to construct a utility-scale 13-megawatt solar farm in partnership with Allete, one of the region’s primary electricity providers.

GEOTHERMAL

The Earth itself could provide carbon-free heat for buildings, by David Roberts, Vox
What exactly are the technologies that can provide heat from the Earth? There are two basic categories. Let’s start by looking at the smaller side.

NEBRASKA’S FIRST ALL-GEOTHERMAL NEIGHBORHOOD

The Bridges is a unique neighborhood being developed in Lincoln, Nebraska of lakefront lots and traditional lots. Geothermal energy is featured throughout the entire development, which is landscaped with miles of trails and covered bridges. Download a brochure.

GAS BANS GROWING IN CALIFORNIA

San Francisco’s gas ban on new buildings could prompt statewide action, Utility Dive
The vote adds San Francisco to the growing list of nearly 40 California cities to pass such ordinances since Berkeley’s historic ban in July 2019.

FINANCIAL RISKS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

In first for Fed, U.S. central bank says climate poses stability risks, Reuters
The U.S. Federal Reserve for the first time called out climate change among risks enumerated in its biannual financial stability report, and warned about the potential for abrupt changes in asset values in response to a warming planet. “Acute hazards, such as storms, floods, or wildfires, may cause investors to update their perceptions of the value of real or financial assets suddenly,” Fed Governor Lael Brainard said in comments attached to the report, released Monday.

EV CHARGING STATIONS 

NREL report says EV charging stations continued strong growth in early 2020, American Public Power Association

The report’s statistics tap data from the Alternative Fueling Station Locator, which NREL said is the most widely used tool on the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center. The report is available here.

EV REBATES 

Prairie Island tribe prepares to chart course toward zero emissions

By Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

The Prairie Island Indian Community in Minnesota is expected to name a consultant this month to help propel the tribe toward net-zero emissions. The tribe announced its intent to offset all of its energy emissions in early 2018, but details have been sparse about how — or how fast — it would proceed. The process is expected to pick up in the coming months thanks in part to $46 million in funding allocated last spring by the Minnesota Legislature.

Shelley Buck, president of the Prairie Island Tribal Council, said the effort has the potential to “change the narrative” of a community that has long been associated with its close proximity to the Xcel Energy nuclear power plant and radioactive waste storage facility that shares its namesake. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Bobby Bloomer

Previously Posted: Solar Bear helps tribes seize sovereignty, economic opportunities with renewable energy, Tribal Business News. Post includes links to news stories about the Nebraska Winnebago Tribe’s renewable energy development.

TRIBAL ENERGY WEBINAR SERIES

Tribal Energy Success Stories
December 9, 2020―12 pm to 2 pm. Hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy, 2020 Tribal Energy Webinar Series

Many tribes across Indian Country have had energy successes. Each situation is unique, with differing reasons, approaches, and challenges. By sharing the successes of other tribes, we can gain valuable inspiration and insights. This webinar will share a few of these tribal energy success stories. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required.

EQUITABLE ENERGY TRANSITION

Ready for 100 Coordinator calls for equitable energy transition in Chicago, Medill News Service, Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism

The writer, Emily Little, a health, environment and science reporter at Medill, interviews Kyra Woods, “the Ready for 100 Coordinator for the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club. [Woods] works to develop partnerships across the city of Chicago to ensure a just and equitable energy transition.”

Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Website

EV EQUITY

With bans on gas-powered vehicles, here are key steps to increase EV equity, GreenBiz article contributed by Pamela Gordon, Managing Director, PGS Consults, Presidio Graduate School

At Presidio Graduate School, we see affordability of EVs as being both an equity and a diversity factor. Some of our professors reserve an empty seat in their classroom representing those who are not able to join the discussion. Although most new product and service adoptions are at first expensive before becoming more affordable, it’s time to buck the old way of targeting markets that inherently exclude those not usually in the room.

THE ENERGY GANG PODCAST

The Role of the Customer in Utility Zero-Carbon Targets, Greentech Media
In this special podcast from Opower and Oracle, we map out the ways utilities and customers can work together to slash emissions.

SOO GREEN TRANSMISSION LINE UPDATE

Underground electric transmission line moving ahead, Radio Iowa
Neil Jones, Soo Green’s vice president of real estate, says they’re working to pair up companies known as “shippers” that are interested in “transmission capacity rights,” generation companies or utilities that want to sell power on the line, and customers interested in buying that power. The buyers and sellers may be utilities, data centers, and others who want to buy Renewable Energy Credits. They’d pay for access rights to fund operations while ratepayers in Iowa would not be charged at all. Jones says Soo Green needs a permit from the Iowa Utilities Board to proceed and filed a petition in September.

SOO Green Transmission Project Website

MISO GRID CONGESTION

The clean energy benefits slipping through states’ fingers, Utility Dive article contributed by John Moore, Director of the Sustainable FERC Project

From 2016 through October 15, 2020, developers withdrew 278 wind, solar and battery storage or hybrid solar-storage projects from the Queue, and this just counts withdrawn clean energy projects that had reached advanced stages of the interconnection study process. If they’d been built, they would have supplied nearly 35,000 MW, enough to power more than 8 million homes and create about 72,000 jobs. The median wage for jobs in clean energy today is about $24 an hour.

Also written by John Moore: Time For SPP To Commit To Competitive Clean Energy

INSPIRING RENEWABLE ENERGY PARTNERSHIP

Vanderbilt and Nashville undertake bold new renewable energy partnership to address climate change, Vanderbilt News

Vanderbilt University and the city of Nashville, Tennessee, have announced a Green Invest partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Nashville Electric Service—a collaboration that will allow the region to take a bold step forward in expanding availability and access to renewable energy at a critical time in global efforts to address the threat of climate change. Through this new partnership, Vanderbilt is tackling climate change head-on by working towards its goal of powering its campus entirely through renewable energy and committing to carbon neutrality.

Learn more about the university’s sustainability efforts.

FEATURED NATIONAL SOLAR INSTALLATION

Southwest Virginia bike shop is now a beacon for solar power in the region, by Elizabeth McGowan, Energy News Network

A 16-kilowatt array on the roof of Iron Works Cycling is the first successful project for a regional group trying to seed solar projects across seven coalfield counties.

FEATURED NEBRASKA SOLAR PROJECT

10-kilowatt solar array at Duchesne Academy, an independent, college-preparatory school for young women in Omaha. Interconnection Systems Inc (ISI), based in Central City, installed the project in 2019. The energy generated by the solar system powers multiple classrooms, including the school’s science, technology, engineering, arts and math lab. where students can integrate data from the solar system into coursework. See Solar Examples for descriptions and photos of more Nebraska projects.

ISI’s current projects include two in Nebraska:

  • Elkhorn: 8.3MW
  • ​Valley: 1MW

ISI Careers

Congratulations to Wayne Williams, owner of Interconnection Systems Inc!
Williams wins Subdivision 7 seat on NPPD board, Grand Island Independent

RECENTLY PUBLISHED CLEAN ENERGY JOBS REPORT

The Clean Jobs, Better Jobs report is the first comprehensive analysis of wages and benefits across the clean energy sector. According to the report, workers in renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid modernization and storage, clean fuels and clean vehicles earned a median hourly wage of $23.89 in 2019 compared with the national median wage of $19.14. In addition, jobs in many clean energy sectors are more likely to be unionized and come with health care and retirement benefits than the rest of the private sector, the analysis shows.

E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), and the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) produced the report in partnership with BW Research.

New studies find grid modernization accelerates cost-effective renewable energy growth

By John Hensley, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Renewable energy has begun to dominate new electric generation capacity additions over the past several years for a variety of reasons – plummeting technology costs, increasing efficiency, and corresponding demand from the public and private sector, among others. However, to fully realize a 21st century clean energy economy we need to update our electric system to meet today’s needs, modernize the grid, and expand access to renewables through transmission infrastructure. Now, two new studies show how transmission investments can accelerate clean energy growth while saving money for American families and businesses. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Nebraska Public Power District

NPPD’S R-Project Newsroom
Nebraska Public Power District’s Board of Directors voted to award a construction contract to Forbes Brothers Timberline Construction, Inc., of Rapid City, S.D. for the R-Project transmission line.

SEIA Blog: Solar + EVs: Two Peas in a Pod

IOWA’S RENEWABLE ENERGY & TRANSMISSION

Experts: Iowa’s renewable energy growth depends on better transmission, Iowa Capital Dispatch
Iowa could become an even bigger leader in renewable energy, especially if renewable hydrogen is developed and transmission lines are improved, a panel of university, government and corporate leaders said Wednesday

MICHIGAN STUDY QUANTIFIES RETURN ON CLEAN ENERGY INVESTMENT

Commentary: Clean energy is good economic policy for Michigan, by Laura Sherman / Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, Energy News Network

Last month Gov. Gretchen Whitmer set a goal for Michigan to be carbon-neutral by 2050, a bold move that will bring more jobs and industry to the state. We can measure the economic growth and jobs that these energy innovations have already brought to Michigan and can continue to bring—not in 10, 20 or 30 years, but right now. A new report from the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC) does just that. It quantifies how increasing investment into advanced energy through a future federal stimulus package could energize the state’s economy, and finds that these investments would generate a return on the order of eight times the level of public spending for Michigan. 

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA’S “RENEWABLES ON THE RISE 2020” REPORT

The 2020 edition of a report by Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group
Clean energy technology has boomed in the last decade, enabling Americans to envision a future powered by 100 percent renewable energy. “Renewables on the Rise 2020” tells the story of the dramatic growth of clean energy. The data story below explains how strong state renewable energy commitments have helped to spark the clean energy revolution. The interactive charts enable you to explore how clean energy technology is growing in your state. And the six fact sheets provide a detailed look at the key technologies driving America toward clean, renewable energy — from electric vehicles to offshore wind power — and the hope they provide for the future. 

Environment America’s 100% Campaigns

CLEAN ENERGY JOBS ANALYSIS

Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), and the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) commissioned BW Research to analyze clean energy job wages and benefits.

The Clean Jobs, Better Jobs report is the first comprehensive analysis of wages and benefits across the clean energy sector. According to the report, workers in renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid modernization and storage, clean fuels and clean vehicles earned a median hourly wage of $23.89 in 2019 compared with the national median wage of $19.14. In addition, jobs in many clean energy sectors are more likely to be unionized and come with health care and retirement benefits than the rest of the private sector, the analysis shows.


REIMAGINE APPALACHIA

Clean energy, infrastructure plan could bring 489,000 jobs to Ohio, Pa., Farm and Dairy
ReImagine Appalachia’s plan, released in July, lays out how to build and modernize infrastructure, repair the land and create jobs through public investment in Appalachia’s Ohio River Valley. Reimagine Appalachia is a coalition of more than 75 grassroots organizations from Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. It calls for, among other things, encouraging regenerative agriculture practices, reviving the Civilian Conservation Corps, increasing clean energy use, expanding broadband, building a sustainable transportation system and creating “good union jobs.”

GREEN HYDROGEN CHARGING STATIONS

World’s First Green Hydrogen Universal Charging Station for Electric and Hydrogen Vehicles, H2-Greenforce, Extends Preferred Series A Funding Raising up to $12 Million to Debut Green Island™, H2 Greenforce LLC News Release, PR Newswire

About H2-Greenforce: Founded in 2019 in New Jersey, H2’s mission is to decarbonize our planet through production of green electricity. H2-Greenforce combines its own proprietary green hydrogen technology and know-how, with advanced industrial components to build self-sustainable electric infrastructure. H2-Greenforce is a trademark of H2-Greenforce LLC in the United States and other countries.

CLIMATE ACTION 100+ NEWS

Investors call on major US polluters to clean up lobbying activities, by Cecilia Keating, GreenBiz
It is just the latest intervention from Climate Action 100+, which is backed by more than 500 global investors representing $47 trillion of assets worldwide and aims to ramp up climate ambition from companies it has identified as collectively responsible for up to 80 percent of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Companies targeted by the campaign span a number of polluting sectors, including oil and gas, consumer goods, power and transportation, and have been identified as “systematically important” to the net zero transition by the campaign.

FEATURED LOCAL RESOURCES TO HELP YOU SAVE ENERGY & MONEY

The High-Performance All-Electric Home

By Joe Wachunas, CleanTechnica

A short 15 months ago, Berkeley, California launched the city-led electrification movement by (essentially) banning gas in all new construction. Then, in a blink of an eye, over 35 cities across California and the United States followed Berkeley’s lead.  Thus, we find ourselves at an inflection point where the all-electric home seems poised to become the default clean energy abode of the future. And there are many additional benefits to all-electric homes for both consumers and builders that make reasons for fuel switching even more compelling. Read more here.

Related Reading

Also written by Joe Wachunas: On the Cutting Edge of Vehicle to Grid. CleanTechnica

TESLA SOLAR ROOF INSTALLATION

Tesla Solar Roof Install Time Lapse – 40 Squares in 4 days, YouTube Video 
Weddle and Sons Roofing just completed a 15kW Tesla Solar Roof installation near Topeka, Kansas. 

Tesla Solar Roof Website
Weddle & Sons Roofing offices in Lincoln and Omaha
Installing A Tesla Solar Roof, by Weddle & Sons Roofing

SOLAR & ENERGY STORAGE FINANCING

Service Finance Company to deliver competitive and convenient financing packages for Panasonic brand solar modules and EverVolt™ energy storage systems, Panasonic News Release

Panasonic and Service Finance Company today announced PowerOn, a new home energy storage financing program exclusively for Panasonic EverVolt™ Certified Installers that enables them to offer 100% financing to homeowners who buy a complete energy storage system including EverVolt™ battery storage and Panasonic brand solar modules, or EverVolt™ battery storage.

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT

Corporate renewable energy procurement jumps 45% in 2020, Solar Power World
More than any other country, the United States has a growing portion of new renewable energy projects being built to meet demand coming directly from corporations.

EDF RENEWABLES  & GEENEX SOLAR

EDF Renewables North America and Geenex Solar Transact on a 4.5 gigawatt (GWac) Solar Development Portfolio, EDF Renewables News Release. The portfolio of project assets in the transaction exceed 20 solar projects in various stages of development.

Previously Posted News Release: EDF Renewables acquires Nebraska wind project

Milligan 1 Wind Project Website
Milligan 1 Wind is a $350 million investment in Saline County. The 300 MW wind farm project will generate clean energy for more than 100,000 homes, boost the local economy with millions in new spending, produce $45 million in total tax revenue, and create more than 200 jobs while sustaining 150 small family farmers and landowners with stable lease payments of more than $50 million over the life of the project. The project is planned to begin operation in late 2020.

CARBON OFFSETS

Michigan officials look to state forests as an offset for carbon emissions, by Tom Perkins, Energy News Network. Skeptics worry the plan will give polluters an inexpensive and imprecise option to meet future emission targets.

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA: SOLAR GROWN™ HONEY

Clif Family Introduces Solar Grown™ Honey and Honey Spreads Adding to Its Line of Artisan Foods: Harvested From Honey Bee Hives on Pollinator-friendly Solar Farms, The New Products Demonstrate a Productive Use of the Land Around Ground-Mounted Solar Panels.

Solar Grown™ Honey & Honey Spreads. Free shipping on orders of $40 or more.

Ørsted completes Willow Creek Wind Farm and takes final investment decision on Western Trail Wind Energy

Ørsted News Release

Willow Creek Wind is a 103MW project located in Butte County, South Dakota. As the second Ørsted project in SPP (Southwest Power Pool) territory, it further diversifies the operational portfolio into a market which will play an important part of Ørsted’s growth in North America. BHE Renewables, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company, provided tax equity for Willow Creek as part of a portfolio with the 230MW Plum Creek project in Nebraska, which was commissioned in June this year. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Ørsted

Orsted on the road at 367MW Western Trail, reNEWS.Biz
With the completion of Willow Creek and addition of Western Trail Wind, Orsted’s onshore business now has 2.7GW in operation and under construction.

Previously Posted

NEW ENERGY BLUE

2 million tons of CO2 saved every year by converting ag waste to auto fuel, New Energy Blue News Release, PR Newswire

The company’s first five Midwestern sites are surrounded by abundant harvest residues to feed the refineries. Farmers’ corn stalks and grain straws will be converted into nearly 180,000,000 gallons of 2G ethanol annually; operating energy and process water come from the biomass itself. All sites have rail access to North America’s low-carbon fuel markets. New Energy Blue was forged by a decade of work and $250 million, invested by Ørsted, now the Danish world leader in wind energy, to prove Inbicon biomass conversion technology at commercial scale. “Our team transformed Inbicon technology into a profitable, sustainable business model ready to build-out today,” says [Thomas Corle, CEO of New Energy Blue].

“LIGHT UP NAVAJO” PROJECT PARTNERSHIP

APPA wins national award for electrifying homes in the Navajo Nation, American Public Power Association

The American Public Power Association has earned an American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) “Power of A Summit Award” for the Light Up Navajo project, a partnership with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA), which connected hundreds of Navajo households to the electric grid for the first time.

INDIANA’S POWER UP SOLAR & JOBS PROGRAM

Q&A: NAACP climate justice organizer on ‘black to green’ employment pipeline, Energy News Network
In an interview with the Energy News Network, Denise Abdul-Rahman, a climate justice organizer for the NAACP, explained how smart grid technology and clean energy jobs training fit within the mission of the Evansville NAACP by providing opportunities for local residents.

PUBLISHED BY FORBES

LINCOLN ELECTRIC SYSTEM NEWS RELEASE

LES gives EV update for Drive Electric Week
Drive Electric Week, Sept. 26 – Oct. 4, is an annual event to highlight the climate, clean air and cost savings benefits provided by electric vehicles. Beginning in 2011, this year marks the national event’s 10th Anniversary. It has grown from celebrations in 29 cities across the country in 2011 to over 300 individual events in 2019.

EV MAINTENANCE & REPAIR COSTS

It’s Official — Consumer Reports Confirms EV Owners Spend Half As Much On Maintenance, CleanTechnica

Data is king, and when it comes to information on the frequency of repairs on automobiles, Consumer Reports has more data than anyone. For its latest report, it did a deep dive into the data from its 2019 and 2020 reliability surveys of electric and gasoline powered vehicles. After crunching all the numbers, Consumer Reports says “drivers of electric vehicles are saving an average of 50% on maintenance and repair over the life of a vehicle compared to owners of gas-powered vehicles.”

EIA’S ELECTRIC POWER MONTHLY REPORT

Solar and wind generation continue to expand rapidly while coal is in a tailspin, PV Magazine
The Energy Information Administration’s most recent Electric Power Monthly report shows that solar has accounted for nearly 3.4% of the country’s generation so far in 2020, with wind being responsible for another 8.5%. Meanwhile, coal has plummeted to just 17.8% of the nation’s total, down nearly 30% from just last year.

GRAIN BELT EXPRESS TRANSMISSION LINE

Gov. Laura Kelly announces nearly 1,000 permanent jobs, $8 billion of total investment to Kansas, High Plains Journal

Gov. Laura Kelly joined Kansas Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary for Business Development Bill Murphy and Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for Invenergy Kris Zadlo on Sept. 30 to announce Invenergy’s new Grain Belt Express transmission line. Grain Belt Express is an approximately 800-mile high voltage direct current transmission line being developed by Invenergy Transmission. It will deliver up to 4,000 megawatts of low-cost, homegrown clean energy from western Kansas to millions of Americans in the Midwest and other regions. Learn more at: www.grainbeltexpress.com

Michigan vows to go carbon neutral by 2050, increase oversight of utility resource plans

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, D, on Wednesday signed an executive order committing her state to going carbon-neutral by 2050. It follows the governor’s commitment last year to reach the U.S. goals under the Paris Climate Agreement — reducing greenhouse gas emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Michigan’s new emissions reduction target is the most ambitious yet to come from a Midwest state, and calls for the state’s energy and environmental regulator to have additional oversight over utility integrated resource plans (IRPs). Its two largest utilities — DTE Energy and Consumers Energy — have goals to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and 2040, respectively. Read more here.

Previously Posted News Release: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Joins U.S. Climate Alliance

More About The Coalition

  • United States Climate Alliance Fact Sheet
    The United States Climate Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of 25 governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Alliance is led by state governments and is focused on state-to-state cooperation to accelerate the deployment of climate solutions needed to help each achieve their climate goals. The Alliance represents 55 percent of the U.S. population and an $11.7 trillion economy – an economy larger than all countries but the United States and China.
  • Climate Alliance Governors
  • Climate Alliance Principles

Climate Alliance Publication (PDF): Solar Deployment Guidebook: A Resource for State & Local Governments

DTE ENERGY & CONSUMERS ENERGY NEWS RELEASE

DTE Energy and Consumers Energy pledge to help build extensive Midwest electric vehicle charging network, Globe Newswire

According to the Edison Electric Institute, more than 1.4 million EVs are in use today, a number expected to grow to nearly 20 million by 2030. The Institute anticipates that a robust network of EV charging stations will be required to serve the needs of these drivers. Companies joining DTE Energy and Consumers Energy in the charging network’s memorandum of cooperation include Ameren Missouri, Ameren Illinois, Oklahoma Gas and Energy, and Evergy (covering parts of Missouri and Kansas). Additional companies have expressed interest and may soon join the collaborative effort.

MORE NEWS FROM STATES

Can solar power save rural America?, Farm and Dairy
The sun is shining in Pennsylvania and Ohio. At least, solar developers hope so. They’re flocking to the two states, seeking out land leases and pitching projects that would put more renewable energy onto the grid. Solar development is touted as a win all around. It’s not extractive. It’s renewable. It allows farmers and landowners new opportunities to make money from their properties.

Solar panels shine a light on bee habitats, Southernminn.com
September is National Honey Month, and while there’s still concern over struggling bee populations, a Minnesota project has helped establish a new approach to make these pollinators thrive again. Several groups, including Fresh Energy, have played a role in making Minnesota the first state to adopt a regional standard for pollinator-friendly habitats within solar farms.

Solar Dominates Maine’s Largest Renewables Procurement on Record, Greentech Media
Average winning contract rates were 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour, according to reporting from the Portland Press Herald. That price is competitive with incumbent power in the region, Maine PUC Chair Philip Bartlett II told the newspaper. 

Alaska’s pro-oil Republican governor is quietly pushing green energy projectsKTOO
Renewables make an especially compelling case in Alaska, where electricity costs nearly twice the national average. And the Eklutna hydroelectric concept isn’t the only renewable power idea to draw [Governor] Dunleavy’s interest. The governor has also quietly pitched Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, on Alaska’s wind power potential, with Buffett responding in a letter that he hopes he can “join forces” with Dunleavy. Executives from one of Buffett’s companies, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, have held a series of meetings with the governor and senior administration officials.

States That Grew Rich From Fossil-Fuels Need to Figure Out What’s Next, contributed by The Conversation, U.S. News & World Report. These are very challenging times for U.S. fossil fuel-producing states, such as WyomingAlaska and North Dakota. The COVID-19 economic downturn has reduced energy demand, with uncertain prospects for the extent of its recovery. Meanwhilerising concern about climate change and the declining cost of renewable energy are precipitating a sharp decline in demand for coal in particular.

INNOVATIVE TRANSITION STRATEGY: SOLAR-FOR-COAL SWAPS

Electric co-ops lead growing wave of early coal plant retirements with ‘solar-for-coal swaps’, PV Magazine. A new white paper from Energy Innovation, an energy policy firm, suggests that one way to speed up the process may be found in the “solar-for-coal swaps” that a small number of U.S. electric cooperatives have successfully completed. As the name implies, the main idea here is for a utility to swap out power from aging coal plants for solar generation. Private sector financing for the swap allows the coal plants to be bought and then retired ahead of schedule.

UPCOMING WEBINAR

Clean Energy Group
: An Introduction to Virtual Power Plants, September 28, 12 pm to 1 pm 

Recommended Reading: Propelling the transition: The battle for control of virtual power plants is just beginning, Utility Dive

The largest power plants in the the U.S. — massive feats of engineering like the over 5,000 foot-long, 6,800-MW capacity Grand Coulee Dam — are proving to be no match in scale to the combined power of the rooftops and basements of homes and businesses across the country. Distributed energy, including rooftop solar, on-site batteries to store electricity and more, are on track to grow to nearly 400 GW in the U.S. by 2025, according to projections from Wood Mackenzie, significantly greater than the amount of coal or nuclear power capacity in the U.S. today. As virtual power plants develop, there is a growing debate about the degree to which the future of distributed energy management will be controlled by large utilities or third-party aggregators.

Photo by Sonnen: The all-electric Soleil Lofts apartment community in Herriman, Utah, a virtual power plant managed by Rocky Mountain Power, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE).

‘Game-Changer’ FERC Order Opens Up Wholesale Grid Markets to Distributed Energy Resources

By Jeff St. John, Senior Editor, Greentech Media

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) passed Order 2222, which is intended to allow small distributed energy resources, like rooftop solar and behind-the-meter batteries, to participate in energy, capacity, and ancillary services markets operated by regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs).

RTOs and ISOs oversee the transmission grids serving electricity to two-thirds of the country. Much of the impact of the order will depend on how market rules are designed to incorporate distributed resources, which are predicted to reach 380 gigawatts of installed capacity across the country’s grid by 2025. RTOs and ISOs will have 270 days to file implementation compliance plans after Order 2222 goes into effect in 60 days. Read more here.

MORE ON ORDER 2222

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

SOLSMART

Since 2016, SolSmart has provided in-depth technical assistance to hundreds of local governments nationwide and has awarded over 370 cities, towns, counties, and regional organizations with SolSmart designations for their solar achievements. If you are interested in becoming a SolSmart community, click one of these links: 

Request A Consultation
Apply For Designation 

U.S. AIRPORTS ADOPTING SOLAR

CU Denver Researcher Analyzes the Use of Solar Energy at U.S. Airports, CU Denver News
By studying 488 public airports in the United States, University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs researcher Serena Kim, PhD, found that 20% of them have adopted solar photovoltaic (PV), commonly known as solar panels, over the last decade. Solar photovoltaic (PV) is the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. 

NET-ZERO GLOBAL ECONOMY

Net Zero by 2050 Is Achievable, Affordable, and Will Improve Lives, Rocky Mountain Institute
A net-zero global economy is technically and economically possible by the middle of this century. The technologies and business solutions needed to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero are already available or close to being brought to market. That is the encouraging conclusion of the latest report, Making Mission Possible, by the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC).

Commentary: Residential solar as an equity building asset

By John Blattner, solar sales executive at Pearl Certification, a national firm
that certifies high performing homes, Energy News Network

Recent surveys have shown that 69% of prospective buyers want — and are willing to pay for — energy-efficient and high-performing homes. Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z are especially interested in investing in renewable energy and homes that allow them to live out their environmentally conscious values. Yet relying on values-driven purchases alone is not enough in this economy, and few homebuyers are aware of the true long-term value that solar adds to the home. Read more here.

HOME ENERGY STORAGE

Read All About It: What’s New In Home Energy Storage Research, CleanTechnica
Household renewable energy generation through the use of solar panels is becoming more commonplace as installation costs are lessening and electricity prices are rising. Solar energy is an intermittent source, only generated during the day and subject to interference from weather and seasonal variation. The feasibility and limitations of various renewable energyenergy storage, grid-tied and off-the-grid systems are ripe research topics in academia and tech.

ELECTRIFICATION OF BUILDINGS

How to Accelerate the Electrification of Buildings in the Midwest, Greentech Media
Even in states with harsh winters, the economics and outlook for building electrification are changing quickly, the author writes.

US SOLAR MARKET

US Solar Market Performed Better Than Expected During Pandemic’s Worst Months, Greentech Media
Even with an uncertain road ahead, the solar market is still expected to grow in 2020, with capacity additions expected to rise 37 percent year-over-year. That’s because while the coronavirus chilled residential installations, the large-scale market continued its upward trajectory in the second quarter. “The volume of projects that we’ve seen announced in Q1 and Q2 has been pretty high,” said Colin Smith, a WoodMac senior solar analyst. “The development pipeline is the biggest we’ve ever seen.”

FIRST SOLAR ENTERS DG MARKET

First Solar changes course: now selling its thin-film solar panels into the distributed generation market, PV Magazine. The utility-scale solar pioneer and specialist is going small. After decades of avoiding distributed generation, its distributors will now offer First Solar’s series 6 modules to “projects and customers of all shapes and sizes.”

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT

Walmart provides U.S. suppliers increased renewable energy access, Chain Store Age
Walmart is entering a partnership to help remove carbon dioxide from its supply chain. The discount giant is collaborating with energy management and automation provider Schneider Electric in a new program designed to educate Walmart suppliers about renewable energy purchases and accelerate renewable energy adoption through aggregate power purchase agreements (PPA). Known as the Gigaton PPA Program (GPPA), the initiative directly supports Walmart’s Project Gigaton, which aims to avoid one gigaton (one billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide from the retailer’s global value chain by 2030. 

Boeing signs solar power deal for Mesa site in Arizona, Renewables Now
Boeing wants to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2025 and ultimately power its operations with 100% renewable energy. Two of the company’s sites already run on 100% renewables, namely Renton, Washington and Charleston, South Carolina.

SOLAR TRACKER POWERED BY AIR

Sunfolding looks to disrupt the tracker industry with air pneumatics, PV Magazine
With $32 million in series B funding and an ever-growing project pipeline, air-based tracker startup, Sunfolding, is hoping to increase its hold in the tracker market with tech that’s simple, light and can be installed on terrain previously thought untouchable.

Sunfolding White Paper – The Power of Air: How pneumatics, a 360-year-old technology, is accelerating growth in large-scale solar

GM

With New Wireless EV Battery System, GM Is Determined To Kill Off Gasmobiles (Eventually), CleanTechnica. If you’re thinking this new wireless system has something to do with wireless EV charging, not exactly. The focus is on introducing new EV models and new battery technology more efficiently, at less cost. GM claims that the new system, developed with the firm Analog Systems, is the first of its kind for any auto manufacturer.

ØRSTED’S TRANSITION STORY

How one fossil fuel company became a green giant, E&E News
In the United States, 27 utilities have pledged to reach carbon free or net-zero emissions by 2050, according to the Smart Electric Power Alliance. That list includes major power companies like American Electric Power, Duke Energy Corp. and Xcel Energy Inc.

Ørsted offers a potentially tantalizing example. Its finances have benefited greatly from the shift, a stark rejoinder to long-standing arguments that swapping fossil fuels for renewables is a money-losing proposition. Last year, a panel of judges at the Harvard Business Review ranked Ørsted as one of the top corporate makeovers of the last decade behind the likes of Netflix, Amazon.com and Microsoft. It was the only energy company on the list.

Previously Posted: Ørsted completes the onshore Plum Creek Wind project, Ørsted News Release

Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Postponed

After careful consideration, the Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Planning Committee has made the decision to postpone the 2020 conference. Updates on the 2021 conference dates will be provided at: www.nebraskawsc.com

OPPD’S DECARBONIZATION STUDY

Pathways to Decarbonization, OPPD Community Connect
What is decarbonization? Simply, it’s the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, commonly referred to as our carbon footprint. Although carbon dioxide (CO2) occurs naturally in the Earth’s atmosphere, human activities over the last century have significantly increased levels of greenhouse gases. These include burning fossil fuels for energy and transportation, and removing trees (deforestation) to enable other land uses, such as clearing rainforests for agricultural purposes.

OPPD is working across four areas of focus to develop a roadmap for making progress towards the utility’s net-zero carbon production goal. Learn more and share your ideas about OPPD’s work related to Energy Portfolio, Internal OperationsCustomer and Community.

NREL’S PV COST PROJECTIONS

NREL’s solar cost projections plummet in new forecast, PV Magazine 
The lower projected costs for PV could help guide some utilities to plan for more PV capacity, as the utilities develop their long-term resource plans.

CLIMATE ACTION

States Are Doing What Big Government Won’t to Stop Climate Change, and Want Stimulus Funds to Help, InsideClimate News

This story is part of a collaboration between InsideClimate News and The Nation as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalistic collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story. This article focuses on rural areas; to read how green recovery spending can impact cities, click here.

SOLAR POLICY

September solar policy snapshots, Solar Power World
A guide to recent legislation and research throughout the country.

FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION

FERC details carbon pricing conference as groups blast renewables, consumer and women exclusions, by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Federal regulators on Friday announced details of a much-anticipated technical conference on carbon pricing, following a request from a broad group of renewable energy, gas and power groups for the commission to look at the issue more closely, but some stakeholders expressed disappointment with the lineup, decrying a lack of representation from renewable energy and consumer advocates, as well as lack of gender diversity.

GREEN HYDROGEN

Trickle Of Green Hydrogen Turns Into Flood Of Good News For Renewables, by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica

Wind and solar developers are eyeballing green hydrogen as a pathway for future growth, and it looks like they won’t have to depend on the transportation sector for sole support. That’s because hydrogen has many other uses, aside from being used to power fuel cell electric vehicles. Take the vehicles out of the equation and you still have the potential for rapid growth in demand for green hydrogen — and therefore in the demand for wind and solar farms, too.

ZERO-EMISSION EV DRIVING

Enel X Partners with Uber to Support Zero-Emission EV Driving in the U.S. through New JuiceEco Product, Enel X News Release. Today Enel X, the leading provider of innovative energy and electric mobility solutions, introduced JuiceEco, a new option for electric vehicle (EV) drivers to power their rides with 100% renewable energy in the U.S. Available exclusively through Enel X, JuiceEco provides Green-e® certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to match the consumption of any EV anywhere in the US with carbon-free electricity.

Uber pledges zero emissions platform by 2040, by Senior Editor Kristin Musulin, Smart Cities Dive Uber announced Tuesday a commitment to becoming a zero emissions mobility platform across its 10,000 cities and six continents by 2040. The company is striving for 100% of its rides to take place in zero-emission vehicles, public transit and micromobility.

TESLA ENERGY

Tesla Energy ramps hiring at Giga New York for accelerated solar production, Teslarati
Tesla is hiring for over 30 different positions at Giga New York, the facility where the company manufactures its solar products. Recent job listings on LinkedIn for the company’s facility in Buffalo indicate a wide variety of skills are being sought, including but not limited to engineering, equipment maintenance, production operations, and roof installers.


Certified Tesla Solar Roof Installer in
Nebraska: Weddle & Sons Roofing
Office locations in Lincoln and Omaha

Installing A Tesla Solar Roof, by Weddle & Sons Roofing


“EARTH FOCUS” SEASON 3 

An Episode Guide to ‘Earth Focus’ Season 3, KCET Original Series

“Earth Focus” features investigative reports and in-depth stories about our changing environment and how it affects people around the world. In this new season, “Earth Focus” examines the politics of the environment, including global youth climate activists, the transition away from coal in South Africa, curbing illegal gold mining in Peru, and the environmental politics of the New West.

 Episode 1: The Youth Climate Movement Around the World

Report: Climate risks compound financial challenges for Midwest nuclear plants

By Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

A report released last week by Moody’s Investor Services found that five of Exelon’s six Illinois plants are at “high risk” and/or more extreme “red flag” risk for both heat and water stress. Exelon’s Quad Cities plant on the Mississippi River, meanwhile, is considered at high risk of flooding.  Other Midwestern plants are also considered at high risk for heat and/or water stress, including the Davis-Besse plant in Ohio, NextEra Energy Resources’ Point Beach plant in Wisconsin, NextEra’s Duane Arnold Energy Center in Iowa, Entergy’s Palisades plant in Michigan and Northern States Power Company’s Monticello plant in Minnesota, which is also at high risk of flooding. Continue reading here.

AP Photo/Nati Harnik: The Fort Calhoun nuclear power station in Nebraska was severely damaged by flooding in 2011 and shut down a few years later.

NUCLEAR FUSION RESEARCH

Department of Energy Announces $29 Million in Fusion Energy Technology Development, DOE News ReleaseToday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $29 million in funding for 14 projects as part of the Galvanizing Advances in Market-aligned fusion for an Overabundance of Watts (GAMOW) program.

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

Korean group buying into 852 MW of US wind farms, Renewables Now
A group of South Korean infrastructure investors has agreed to buy a 49.9% stake in an 852-MW portfolio of US wind farms in a deal with an implied aggregate enterprise value of USD 1.5 billion. 

About the Nebraska wind farm Included in the purchase: The 118–turbine Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Farm located in Antelope, Boone, and Madison counties began commercial operation in March 2014. Maximum capacity is 200,600 kilowatts (or 200.6 megawatts). The average annual output could power 60,000 homes. Omaha Public Power District has committed to buy the total 200.6 megawatts. Source: Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy 

BLOOMBERG NEW ENERGY FINANCE

Solar brings 45% of world’s new power capacity in 2019 – BNEF, Renewables Now
With record 118 GW of commissioned capacity, solar photovoltaic (PV) was the main new power generation technology source in 2019, accounting for 45% of the world’s newly-installed capacity, BloombergNEF (BNEF) says.

ØRSTED

Orsted, the World’s Offshore Wind Giant, Gets Serious About Solar, Greentech Media
Ørsted’s intense focus on offshore wind makes its push into solar all the more noteworthy, signaling a coming era of renewable energy “majors” capable of building the full range of technologies. When the Permian Energy Center comes online next year, Ørsted will be the first company to own U.S. plants spanning solar, onshore wind, offshore wind and battery storage.

Archived Nebraska News Story: Ørsted completes the onshore Plum Creek Wind project

REPURPOSING COAL ASH BASIN SITES FOR SOLAR DEVELOPMENT

Solar energy project planned for Snyder County coal ash basin site, PennLive.com
The project is funded entirely with private capital but the owners say they will receive a federal investment tax credit. “The process associated with repurposing these basins maintains their environmental integrity while allowing the land to be repurposed in a safe, effective way,” the developers say.

SEARCHABLE DATABASE OF POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS

LevelTen Energy flips the switch on global PPA marketplace, PV Magazine
For corporates with a global footprint, there is now a single place to view and compare the risk and value of each PPA available in North America and Europe.

GTECH

The Next Step for Corporate Sustainability: 24/7/365 Carbon-Free Energy Matching, Greentech Media. Corporations increasingly want locally generated renewable power that matches their consumption in near-real-time. Move over REC, and make way for the GTECH.

ELECTRIC TRUCKS

Electric trucks are gaining ground over natural gas in the waste industry, Utility Dive
Natural gas-powered vehicles have been the industry’s preferred form of alternative fuel for years, but while investments continue, 2020 is shaping up to be the year that electric breaks through.

CIRCULARITY FOR EV BATTERIES

Tesla’s co-founder is pioneering a circular system for electric vehicle batteries, GreenBiz
Redwood Materials is a startup founded by former Tesla chief technology officer JB Straubel. The company, featured in a lengthy Wall Street Journal article over the weekend, has a plan to take scrap metal from EV battery production and use that for the raw materials of other EV batteries. By sourcing leftover materials from current factories, the company can help lower the cost of batteries and also reduce considerable waste. Redwood Materials is already working with Panasonic (Tesla’s battery partner) to take scrap metal from the Gigafactory in Nevada. Straubel says that in 10 years he thinks the company can deliver battery materials for half the cost of mined materials. 

VALUE OF STORAGE

Going beyond Order 841 to more meaningful FERC storage policyUtility Dive article contributed by Sean Baur, engineering manager for GlidePath and a 2020 fellow with the Clean Energy Leadership Institute. Only with more fundamental changes can wholesale markets start to recognize the full value of storage, and finally allow it to fairly compete evenly with the resources it will need to replace as part of a larger clean energy transition.