Category Archives: Energy Storage

SMUD unveils unique Energy StorageShares program

By Ethan Howland, American Public Power Association

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District, a California public power utility, has developed a unique program that allows the public power utility to partner with customers to install battery systems where they are most needed on the grid. The program, unveiled in January, aims to align the benefit commercial customers would see by installing on-site storage with the locational needs of the grid, according to James Frasher, a member of SMUD’s distributed energy storage group.

Instead of installing behind-the-meter storage that would lower a customer’s demand charge, but not particularly benefit SMUD’s distribution system, the customer can buy a “share” of a battery system installed in a location with a distribution feeder system that is maxed out and is in line to be upgraded, Frasher said. Continue reading here.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District Website

Additional Recommended Reading

As Xcel moves toward coal-free, will natural gas remain part of energy mix?

By Kirsti Marohn, Minnesota Public Radio

“We’re concerned that natural gas plants that are being built today are very likely to be too expensive to make sense to operate before they’re even paid off,” said Annie Levenson-Falk, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Minnesota, which advocates on behalf of electric ratepayers. Levenson-Falk pointed to a recent report from the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute that found that 90 percent of the gas plants being built today will be uneconomical by 2035 — around the time Xcel’s proposed Becker plant would likely be in operation. The company’s plans say it would build the new natural gas plant in the mid-2020s. Read more here.

NON-WIRES ALTERNATIVES

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

GLOBAL DIVESTMENT / REINVESTMENT 

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Photo Credit: Xcel Energy

At a crossroads: The connected future of EVs, solar, energy storage and software

Contributed article for Utility Dive by Wes Doane, Event Director, Intersolar North America and Lior Handelsman, VP of Marketing & Product Strategy, Founder, SolarEdge

As a new decade dawns, there’s cause for optimism that the 2020s will see the transition to clean energy accelerate. Prices of renewable energy and battery technologies are at an all-time low, and the number of electric vehicle (EV) sales are on the rise.

Analysts predict that by 2040, more than half of all vehicles on the road will be electric. With transportation contributing to nearly 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, electrifying how people get from point A to point B is a critical step in reducing our global carbon footprint. Continue reading here.

MORE EV NEWS

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Opinion: Investment in Missouri lowers electricity bills and creates jobs for residents

Contributed by Lee Barker, The Missouri Times

Missourians do not like living paycheck to paycheck paying high utility bills and soon many won’t have to. The Grain Belt Express Transmission Line will lower the cost of utility bills to dozens of communities throughout the state. When built, the Grain Belt Express will deliver low-cost wind and solar power from Kansas to Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. In Missouri, the line will span eight counties delivering at least 500 megawatts of low-cost energy (and probably much more). Read more here.

Lee Barker is the former city administrator for Higginsville, Missouri.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

In an American Wind Energy Association session moderated by Dave Price, political director of WHO-TV and carried live by Politico, the panelists said they hope to see Iowa’s already strong wind industry — one of the largest in the nation — double or triple its size in the next couple of decades.

SOLAR WITH JUSTICE REPORT

The sun shines for all: Community solar for low-income populations, by Meena Dayak, American Public Power Association. The Solar with Justice report from the Clean Energy States Alliance notes that participation in the solar economy can help ease the disproportionate social and economic burdens that low- to moderate-income households bear by helping to reduce electricity bills, provide jobs, and build sustainable communities. “Solar can also make decision-making more democratic by giving residents of under-resourced communities more control over their energy choices,” the report states.

ENERGY STORAGE

LOCAL CLIMATE SOLUTIONS

Look Locally For Solutions to Climate Crisis, Guest Column, Hibbing Daily Tribune
Recently we had the chance to visit a factory producing solar panels, and to hear about grassroots clean energy projects popping up all over northeastern Minnesota. The “we” was a group of about two dozen people from Duluth and the Iron Range. We were participating in an event on January 7 called Let There Be Light: Solar Initiatives Close to Home. 

WISCONSIN’S SOLAR SCHOOLS PROGRAM

Wisconsin Schools Asked To Plan For Solar Projects, Wisconsin Public Radio
The Solar on Schools program is asking K-12 schools in Wisconsin to consider installing solar panels as part of their energy mix. The program wants to attract 100 schools in the next four years to install the renewable energy source. The program is a joint venture between the Coulliard Solar Foundation in Deerfield and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association based in Custer. 

CARBON-NEUTRAL CAMPUS CELEBRATES ACHIEVEMENT

Colorado College achieves decade-long goal of carbon neutrality, The Gazette
In 2007, Colorado College sophomore David Amster-Olszewski circulated a petition that 70% of the school’s 2,000 students signed in 10 days, calling for the campus to commit to reaching carbon neutrality. Two years later, the campus set 2020 as the date to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from certain campus operations and use renewable energy sources. On Jan. 24, the college celebrated the realization of that goal.

SAVING ENERGY & MONEY

Alliant Energy study uses artificial intelligence to hunt down phantom power, target waste, Wisconsin State Journal. A 2015 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimated nearly a quarter of all household electricity use in the United States is consumed by appliances and other equipment in standby mode. Over the course of a year, that can add up to more than $300 worth of electricity for the average Wisconsin household and the equivalent output of 50 large power plants. Using off-the-shelf Sense home monitoring devices powered by artificial intelligence, the Madison-based utility and the consulting firm Cadmus determined most customers can cut their overall use by 9% just by tracking down and eliminating some of this phantom load.

ELECTRIC & SELF-DRIVING CARS

GM commits to $2.2 billion investment and 2,200 jobs at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, Detroit Free Press. The automaker said Monday the plant will provide 2,200 jobs as it shifts to become the company’s first all-electric vehicle plant. Detroit-Hamtramck will start production of an all-electric pickup in late 2021, then build the Cruise Origin, an all-electric self-driving car.

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT

Iowa Farmers Union takes aim at climate change

By Perry Beeman, Times-Republican

The Iowa Farmers Union has launched a farm by farm attack on climate change, hoping to persuade its members to plant crops that can help sweep heat-trapping carbon from the air. IFU President Aaron Heley Lehman said the federal government’s failure to set up a system that would allow farmers to sell pollution-fighting credits to large companies and others that emit greenhouse gases have forced the group to turn to its independent farmer-members to see if they can fight the problem at home. “Farmer policy has been to recognize climate change and to look for farmer solutions,” Lehman said. Read more here.

NATURAL CLIMATE SOLUTIONS

Trend: Companies warm to nature-based solutions, by Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Director, GreenBiz Group. A study led by Ohio State University found that in 75 percent of the countries assessed, it was cheaper to use plants to mitigate air pollution than using technological inventions such as smokestack scrubbers.

ENERGY STORAGE

HOME ENERGY STORAGE 

Creating Energy Independence With Solar Panels And Storage Battery Systems In The Home, contributed Forbes article by Sheri Koones, real estate expert and author of Downsize: Living Large in a Small House and six other books.

GREEN HYDROGEN

SOLAR SCHOOLS

New WI Program Aims to Boost Solar Power in Schools, WXPR
The Midwest Renewable Energy Association has announced a plan to provide grants of $20,000 each to up to 100 schools to install a solar [system] on their campus. Amanda Schienebeck, the association’s solar-program coordinator, said they hope to join the small but growing wave of states embracing this type of energy for academic structures.

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA 

Statement: Vanderbilt University announces first step in transitioning its campus to 100 percent renewable energy, Environment America News Release

Renewable Energy 101: Tools to Move Your Campus to 100% Clean Energy

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Careers in Solar Energy

By Sarah Lozanova, Earth911

The solar energy industry is booming across the United States and beyond.      If you are interested in entering the solar energy field, there are a variety of different careers available.   Read more here.

MORE NEWS, OPINION & RESOURCES

SOLAR LEASES FOR LANDOWNERS

Understanding Important Solar Lease Terms, Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net

ENERGY STORAGE

2020 Outlook: Renewables, resilience and reliability needs will drive storage, by Kavya Balaraman, Utility Dive. Thirty-two states currently include storage in their planning requirement and more than 20 states have passed some type of legislation providing incentives, target or planning rules for storage, according to Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO at the Energy Storage Association (ESA).

“If transmission costs continue to increase and distribution companies can make investments on the distribution system… I think they’re going to deploy storage to avoid transmission charges.” – Judy Chang, Principal, Brattle Group

Rhode Island Gov. steers state toward 100% renewable electricity by 2030

Environment America News Release

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The rapidly growing group of states looking to thwart climate change by adopting 100% renewable energy policies has a new member. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed an executive order establishing the goal of meeting all of the state’s electricity needs with renewable energy by 2030. The state’s Office of Energy Resources is now tasked with creating a plan to meet the governor’s goal, and a complete analysis is expected by the end of the year. Continue reading here.

Environment America’s Goal: Convince 10 states, 50 college campuses and key cities to go 100% renewable. Learn more here.

 ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

ENERGY STORAGE

EV NEWS

ANNOUNCING NEW SMART PHONE GAME

Five 2020 Energy Predictions: Solar Surge, Coal Crash, Gas Exorcism, Clean Energy Incentives, Public Mobilization

Forbes Contributor Silvio Marcacci
Energy Innovation’s Communications Director

2019 may have been the year clean energy irreversibly turned a corner toward dominance in the United States. After all, who could have foreseen last January that America would realize existing coal can’t compete against new renewables, see new solar-plus-storage beat new natural gas generation on price, have 13 states and territories committed to 100% clean electricity, or envision a path to nationwide net zero emissions?

So what will 2020 hold? Increasingly ambitious state policy combined with fast-falling technology prices could mean record renewable energy installations. Expanding efforts to decarbonize U.S. power supplies and buildings could shutter fossil fuel infrastructure faster than ever. Five leading energy and climate policy experts shared their predictions for the year and decade ahead with Energy Innovation Communications Director Silvio Marcacci. Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

RENEWABLE ENERGY & WILDLIFE 

EV NEWS

8 electric truck and van companies to watch in 2020, by contributor Shane Downing, GreenBiz
In recent months, we’ve shone attention on companies racing to bring electric aviation to the skies in the coming decades. Now, it’s time to spotlight startups and automotive giants working to electrify dirty delivery and distribution trucks in the coming years.

NEW GREEN BIZ REPORT

The State of Green Business, 2020, by Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Director, GreenBiz Group
Today, we publish our 13th annual State of Green Business report, examining the key trends and metrics about corporate sustainability: how, and how well, companies are making progress in assessing and minimizing their impacts and embracing a range of strategies that move them forward in significant ways. It’s our annual report card on progress by the world’s largest companies: the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the United States and the 1,200 largest in the world. It’s a free download. The report was produced in partnership with Trucost, part of financial information and analytics giant S&P Global.

Renewable advocates highlight ‘most effective’ path to net-zero emissions as House releases clean energy proposal

By Matthew Bandyk, Utility Dive

A combination of a federal clean energy standard, a technology-neutral tax credit, a carbon pricing approach and transmission regulation reforms is the “most effective scenario” in which the U.S. achieves dramatic greenhouse gas emissions reductions by the middle of the century, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) said in a report released Thursday as House Democrats prepare a sweeping piece of legislation intended to achieve nationwide net-zero emissions by 2050.

The House Energy & Commerce Committee released a framework on Wednesday laying out the major provisions of the CLEAN Future Act, a planned bill that would combine a federal Clean Electricity Standard with measures like energy efficiency targets for buildings, a national climate bank proposal and incentives for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Flickr; Tim Evanson

More On The CLEAN Future Act: New Jersey Congressman announces CLEAN Future Act, Renewable Energy Magazine

CONSERVATIVE ENERGY NETWORK SURVEY

Survey Says Clean Energy Policy Is Important Across Party Lines, CleanTechnica
“This survey demonstrates that there is strong support for progress in clean energy policy across the nation—and significantly among conservatives as well,” said Mark Pischea, president and CEO of CEN. “

FEATURED PODCASTS

RESEARCH

Our Most-Read Research Spotlights From 2019, Greentech Media
The top GTM stories that drew from Wood Mackenzie research.

GTM WEBINARS

Two upcoming Greentech Media research webinars: An Accelerated View of the Energy Transition, January 14 and A New Chapter for the North American Wind Market, January 30.

TRI-STATE

Tri-State to shut New Mexico, Colorado coal plants by 2030, but move may not satisfy unhappy members, Utility Dive. The G&T utility will close the Escalante Station coal plant near Prewitt, N.M., by end of 2020, and the Craig Station plant and associated Colowyo Mine in northwest Colorado by 2030. But it is not clear the announcement will quell a rebellion among some Tri-State’s members who want lower rates and the ability to develop their own local renewable power. According to the Sierra Club, Tri-State charges its 43 co-ops in Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Nebraska rates that are approximately 20% above average.

ON-FARM SOLAR

On-Farm Solar Grows as Farmers See Economic Rewards—and Risks, Civil Eats
From struggling dairy operations to massive grain operations, farms are starting to see the light as on-farm solar proves to be an important income stream.

STORAGE

ORNL Researchers Create Geothermal Energy Storage System, Renewable Energy Magazine
Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers created a geothermal energy storage system that could reduce peak electricity demand up to 37 percent in homes while helping balance grid operations.

DOE’S ENERGY STORAGE GRAND CHALLENGE

DOE unveils plan to make US global storage leader by 2030, reduce foreign dependence, Utility Dive

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT

U.S. Department of Energy Launches Energy Storage Grand Challenge

DOE News Release, January 8, 2020

WASHINGTON D.C. –  Today, U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette announced the launch of the Energy Storage Grand Challenge, a comprehensive program to accelerate the development, commercialization, and utilization of next-generation energy storage technologies and sustain American global leadership in energy storage. The Grand Challenge builds on the $158 million Advanced Energy Storage Initiative announced in President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget request.

“Energy storage is key to capturing the full value of our diverse energy resources,” said Secretary Brouillette. “Through this Grand Challenge, we will deploy the Department’s extensive resources and expertise to address the technology development, commercialization, manufacturing, valuation, and workforce challenges to position the U.S. for global leadership in the energy storage technologies of the future.” Continue reading here.

About the Energy Storage Grand Challenge