Category Archives: Energy Storage

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

A 100% Renewable Energy Future is Possible, and We Need It

By Paula Garcia, Senior Bilingual Energy Analyst,
Union of Concerned Scientists

Nebraskans for Solar Note: The writer provides a link to information about “a growing number of states that are already committing to 100 percent renewable or carbon-free energy.” As you undoubtedly already know, Nebraska is one of them.

A transition to renewable energy is not just one of the most consequential tools at our fingertips to act on climate, but also represents a great opportunity to increase control over our energy choices, improve the health of our communities and the planet, create jobs and wealth, and much more. But how feasible is this transition? And can this transition benefit us all? 

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)—together with environmental justice groups COPAL in Minnesota, GreenRoots in Massachusetts, and the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition—collaborated on an analysis to look into those questions. On the Road to 100 Percent Renewables examined how two dozen state members of the U.S. Climate Alliance (USCA) can meet all of their electricity needs with renewable energy—while decarbonizing other sectors of the economy and ensuring equitable benefits to all communities. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Dennis Schroeder/NREL/Flickr

Additional Recommended Reading

Solar power for Plattsmouth discussed

By Timothy Rohwer, The Plattsmouth Journal

PLATTSMOUTH – The idea of bringing solar power to Plattsmouth was brought up Monday evening. Craig Vincent, account manager for the Nebraska Public Power District, went before the Plattsmouth City Council to discuss NPPD’s Sunwise Community Solar Program.

“We’ve had discussions with Plattsmouth going on several years now,” Vincent said. “It’s a service to communities to facilitate a solar energy product for communities to use and residents to take advantage of. It is sized to the community.” Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: IEW. Posted on City of Norfolk.Gov.

About NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar Program

NFS Note: NPPD’s contracts allow municipal customers to generate no more than 10% of their peak load from renewable energy sources.

More About Nebraska Public Power District

As a publicly-owned utility and a political subdivision of the State of Nebraska, NPPD is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the people they serve. Our chartered service territory is vast, including all or parts of 84 of Nebraska’s 93 counties. NPPD was formed on Jan. 1, 1970, when Consumers Public Power District, Platte Valley Public Power and Irrigation District (PVPPID) and Nebraska Public Power System merged to become who we are today. NPPD is grounded in serving Nebraska’s energy needs. We are respectful of the rich public power history in the state, yet we are mindful that the state’s energy future is being defined by what we do each and every day.

FEATURED QUOTATION

“We used to talk about affordability and reliability as the imperatives. Now I think
we have a three or four-legged stool. We need sustainability and resilience.”

– Mary Harding, NPPD Board of Directors member and former chair
Source: Midwest Energy News 

MORE ABOUT NEBRASKA’S LARGEST COMMUNITY SOLAR PROJECT

Norfolk’s 8.5-megawatt solar farm nearing completion, Siouxland Proud

The program is made possible through a 30-year partnership between Norfolk’s energy supplier, Nebraska Public Power District, and Sol Customer Solutions. [Mayor Josh] Moenning said there’s much more demand for solar energy these days, specifically from corporations.

“We think this is very forward-looking. A lot of businesses now are looking only for renewable sources, clean sources of energy and we’ll be able to accommodate them to a certain extent with this project and we’re hopeful we can develop more in the future,” said Moenning.

Learn more here: City of Norfolk.Gov
Project Camera Link

Referenced by Mayor Moenning – Corporate Renewable Energy Purchasers

  • Visit Clean Energy Buyers Association for a sampling of corporate members who are among their large renewable energy buyers.
  • American Clean Power Association members also include large corporate renewable energy purchasers.
    > More than 1,000 utilities, cooperatives, municipalities, and Fortune 500 companies buy wind and solar power.
    > Corporate buyers have contracted 46 GW of wind and solar to power their businesses.

Previously Posted Midwest Energy News Story

Nebraska solar farm highlights tension between cities, electricity wholesaler

“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.”

Moenning is happy about the solar project with NPPD, which will also include a 1-megawatt battery, but it doesn’t satisfy his city’s renewable aspirations, and they “absolutely” want more.

ADDITIONAL COMMUNITY SOLAR RESOURCES

Biden invokes Defense Production Act to bolster domestic battery manufacturing for EVs, energy storage

By Ethan Howland, Senior Editor, Utility Dive

 

“We need to embrace all the tools and technologies that can help free us from our dependence on fossil fuels and move us toward more homegrown clean energy technologies made by American companies and American workers,” Biden said during a press briefing Thursday. “We need to end our long-term reliance on China and other countries for inputs that will power the future.” Read more here.

 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS 

DOE Releases New Study Confirming Strong Performance of Energy Efficiency Loans

 

“Energy efficiency is the lowest cost clean energy resource we have,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. “The findings in this study are a compelling invitation to financial institutions to invest with homeowners, states, and local governments to maximize clean energy deployment under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and beyond.

 

NEW GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION CARBON STANDARDS 

GSA to impose first national carbon standard for concrete, E&E News, Climatewire
The procurement arm of the federal government is imposing new limitations on high carbon-emitting building materials for all its major projects, a move that will affect billions of dollars of federal infrastructure investments. The new General Services Administration standards — to be released this morning — will require that federal contractors use climate-friendly concrete and asphalt in all the agency’s major projects. GSA oversees $75 billion in annual contracts, and the agency’s real estate portfolio comprises more than 370 million square feet.

VALMONT INDUSTRIES NEWS RELEASE

Valmont SM Secures Minimum USD $209.0 Million Multi-Year Order with Siemens Gamesa for Production of Rotor Houses for the European Offshore Wind Industry

OMAHA, Neb.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Valmont® Industries, Inc. (NYSE: VMI), a leading global provider of engineered products and services for infrastructure development and irrigation equipment and services for agriculture, today announced that Valmont® SM has entered into a supply agreement with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) to provide components for the next generation of rotor houses for the offshore wind market. The order is the largest single order in Valmont SM’s history.

The U.S. Government Has Ambitious Energy Goals. Community Solar Will Be Key To Achieving Them

By Allison Steele, Coalition For Community Solar Access

Summit Ridge Energy recently unveiled the nation’s largest rooftop community solar array, a 9.2-MW solar project in Maryland that will provide monthly energy savings to about 1,300 residential and small commercial customers across the state. 

“This is a marquee project for Summit Ridge, our capital partners at Hannon Armstrong and the entire community solar industry,” said Steve Reader, CEO of Summit. “Leveraging 23 acres of largely unused roof space to generate energy savings for thousands of Marylanders is precisely the direction our nation’s energy generation strategy needs to head.”  Read more here.

NFS Note: Nebraska has many small towns and villages with fewer than 1,000 residents, rural places that would require a relatively small number of megawatts of community wind and/or solar plus storage to provide 100% of their energy needs.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

U.S. GOVERNMENT’S FISCAL YEAR 2023 BUDGET

Statement by President Joe Biden on the FY 2023 Budget, The White House Briefing Room

Budgets are statements of values, and the budget I am releasing today sends a clear message that we value fiscal responsibility, safety and security at home and around the world, and the investments needed to continue our equitable growth and build a better America.  

My Administration is on track to reduce the federal deficit by more than $1.3 trillion this year, cutting in half the deficit from the last year of the previous Administration and delivering the largest one-year reduction in the deficit in U.S. history. That’s the direct result of my Administration’s strategy to get the pandemic under control and grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out. 

NFS Note: The U.S. federal government’s fiscal year is from October 1 to September 30.

Related 

Also From The White House Briefing Room

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS RELEASES

Midwest Communities
Duluth, Minnesota
Hennepin County, Minnesota
Highland Park, Michigan
Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska
Jackson County, Illinois
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Pembroke Township and Hopkins Park, Illinois

‘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.

Solar power and batteries account for 60% of planned new U.S. electric generation capacity

U.S. Energy Information Administration

Power plant developers and operators expect to add 85 gigawatts (GW) of new generating capacity to the U.S. power grid from 2022 to 2023, 60% (51 GW) of which will be made up of solar power and battery storage projects, according to data reported in our Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory. In many cases, projects combine these technologies.

Battery storage capacity, as well as renewable capacity, significantly increased in the United States during 2021, partly because of tax credits and partly because of falling technology costs, especially for batteries. Depending on the configuration and charging sources, both solar power and battery storage units may be eligible for the solar investment tax credit (ITC), which is scheduled to phase down by 2024. Continue reading here.

Solar farm west of Norfolk could be in commercial use by April

By Austin Svehla, Norfolk Daily News

NPPD entered into an agreement with Sol Customer Solutions, a joint venture between Sol Systems and Arevon Energy Inc. Arevon will manage the asset, and Sol Systems will operate and maintain the array. Sol Systems, along with partners GenPro Energy Solutions and Mesner Development, executed a lease agreement with the City of Norfolk for the land where the solar panels are being installed along Highway 275 near Norfolk’s sewer maintenance facility. Continue reading here.

Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) Resources

SPP, MISO COMPLETE CROSS-SEAM TRANSMISSION STUDY

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.

MISO and SPP complete Joint Targeted Interconnection Queue, Southwest Power Pool

LES’ SUSTAINABLE ENERGY PROGRAM

LES Offers $1.5 Million Of Incentives Through Sustainable Energy Program, American Public Power Association

Since the program’s inception, LES customers have accessed nearly $28 million in program incentives and spent $220 million on energy-efficient equipment and/or services. “In total, energy efficiency projects that received SEP incentives have cumulatively saved more than 800,000 net megawatt-hours, or the equivalent annual electric use of 80,000 single-family homes,” said Marc Shkolnick, LES manager of Energy Services. Additional information about the program is available here.

NEW RESIDENTIAL SOLAR REPORT & WEBINAR FROM BERKELEY LAB

Solar Demographic Trends and Analysis
Berkeley Lab tracks and analyzes solar-adopter demographic characteristics. A central element of this work is a tracking report describing income and other socio-economic trends of residential solar adopters over time and across geographies. The report is based on household-level income and other demographic data for residential solar adopters across the United States, and is intended to serve as a foundational reference document for policy-makers, industry stakeholders, and other researchers interested in demographic trends among residential solar adopters.

The report is published with an accompanying interactive data visualization tool that allows users to further explore the underlying data. Nebraskans for Solar Note: Nebraska is not yet on the map, but data from other states may be of potential interest. 

The authors will host a webinar highlighting key findings from this study on March 17th at 2 pm Central Time. Register here.

‘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.