Category Archives: Energy Storage

American Clean Power 3Q market report shows record clean energy capacity growth in 2021

American Clean Power Association News Release

WASHINGTON DC, October 25, 2021 – The Clean Power Quarterly 2021 Q3 Market Report, released today by the American Clean Power Association (ACP), shows the U.S. clean energy industry installed 3,336 MW of new capacity during the third quarter, with additions totaling 15,317 MW in the first three quarters, a 23 percent increase compared to 2020.

Demand for clean power continues to rise with power purchasers and project developers announcing 9,054 MW of new Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) in the third quarter. Overall, a total of 17,442 MW of PPAs have been announced in 2021, a 16 percent increase compared to the same period in 2020. Continue reading here.

INTERCONNECTIONS SEAM STUDY

DOE study details ‘supergrid’ for high levels of renewables, E&E News, Energywire
DOE released a statement last week highlighting a September paper from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) on the NREL study’s major conclusions — the first time the lab’s findings were formally published. IEEE’s report titled The Interconnections Seam Study showed how Sun Belt solar power could be delivered to the Midwest at dusk. Later, the study shows, electricity flows could be reversed to move Great Plains wind power westward.

NEBRASKA CONSERVATION VOTERS PETITION

 NPPD Board Meeting: November 10, 2021 at 8 a.m.

The Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is considering setting a net zero carbon goal, but they won’t do it unless they hear from you! If you haven’t already, sign the petition today to ask Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) to commit to a clean energy future. 

We are the only 100% public power state in the country, so your voice makes a big difference. If you have already signed the petition and would like to know how else you can help, please fill out our volunteer form. – Chelsea Johnson, Deputy Director, Nebraska Conservation Voters

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION LINKS

Monolith Materials: Previously Posted Articles & News Releases

Previously Posted Energy News Network Articles by Karen Uhlenhuth 

ALSO IN THE NEWS

The states that produce the most renewable energy

By Commodity.com, LatticePublishing.com, La Crosse Tribune

To determine the states producing the most renewable energy, researchers at Commodity.com used data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration to calculate the percentage of total electricity generated from renewable sources. Renewable energy sources include: wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and hydroelectric. In the event of a tie, the state with the greater five-year growth in renewable electricity production, between 2015 and 2020, was ranked higher. Here are the states that produce the most renewable energy.

Nebraska’s Rank: 15

  • Percentage of electricity generated from renewables: 28.9%
  • 5-year change in renewable electricity production: +115.7%
  • Total electricity generated from renewables (MWh): 10,648,740
  • Largest renewable energy source: Wind

Read more here.

See utility-scale wind and solar projects under development in our state at these Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy resources:

Additional Recommended Reading: FACT SHEET: President Biden Sets 2030 Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Target Aimed at Creating Good-Paying Union Jobs and Securing U.S. Leadership on Clean Energy Technologies, The White House Briefing Room

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS

UPCOMING OPPD WORKSHOPS

Pathways to Decarbonization WebEx Workshops 5 & 6
Pre-registration is encouraged to receive email reminders and Outlook calendar invites. The workshops are technical in nature and are designed to build from one another. It is highly recommended to watch previously recorded workshops before attending the upcoming ones. A summary video of past workshops is also available. 

  • Workshop 5: Initial Results
    Wednesday, October 27, 4-6 p.m.
  • Workshop 6: Final Results
    Thursday, December 9, 4-6 p.m.

Click here to learn more and pre-register for both.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FERC nominee Phillips uses 3-legged stool analogy in outlining regulatory approach to senators, Utility Dive

Having [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nominee Willie Phillips Jr.], a Democrat, at FERC could help the agency avoid deadlocks on pending issues such as transmission reformsnatural gas infrastructure reviews and the role aggregated demand response can play in wholesale markets. “FERC is at its best with a full complement of commissioners,” FERC Chairman Richard Glick said Tuesday on Twitter.

Previously Posted: Biden’s FERC nominee could pave the way for the administration’s massive clean energy agenda, Canary Media 

CLIMATE POSITIVE BUSINESSES

Panera bakes plan to go climate positive, GreenBiz Group


On Wednesday, fast-casual food chain Panera Bread announced that it plans to work towards a climate-positive business model by 2050. This means Panera will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits each year. Climate positive suggests that it will go a step beyond the popular net-zero carbon emissions movement that has taken the business world by storm over the past two years with commitments from UnileverNestleVerizon and many others.

DOE Awards Nearly $40 Million for Grid Decarbonizing Solar Technologies

Department of Energy News Release
October 19, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today awarded nearly $40 million to 40 projects that are advancing the next generation of solar, storage, and industrial technologies necessary for achieving the Biden-Harris administration’s climate goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035. Specifically, the projects will reduce the cost of solar technologies by increasing the lifespan of photovoltaic (PV) systems from 30 to 50 years, developing technologies that will enable solar to be used in fuel and chemicals production, and advancing novel storage technologies.

“We are laser focused on deploying more solar power and developing more cost-effective technologies to decarbonize our electricity system,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Research to develop stronger and longer-lasting solar panels is critical to addressing the climate crisis. The 40 projects announced today – led by universities and private industry across the country – is an investment in the next generation of innovations that will strengthen the nation’s solar capacity and enhance our grid resilience. Continue reading here.

PV PROJECTS

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Is among the 2021 Photovoltaics Funding Program selectees.

This program will help achieve the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) goal of lowering solar energy costs 50% by 2030. Some of the projects will help extend PV system life. The rest will lay the foundation for continued research that leads to new PV technologies to help achieve a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035 and a net-zero-emissions energy sector by 2050.

UNL’s Project Name: A Hot-Swappable, Fault-Tolerant, Modular Power Converter System for Solar Photovoltaic Plants
DOE Award Amount: $300,000
Cost Share: $75,000
Project Summary: This project will work to prove the concept of a fault-tolerant, modular power converter system for PV plants that does not require disconnection from the solar array to replace components. The system will contain innovations that enable 50% system cost reduction, 90% operation and maintenance (O&M) cost reduction, uninterrupted operation with 50 years of service life, improved manufacturability, and higher power density over the state of the art. The team will design, fabricate and test a 50 kilowatt (kW) prototype with over 99.5% inverter peak efficiency, less than $0.03 per watt system cost, and less than $0.5 kW-year O&M cost.

Read about the individual PV projects and the individual CSP projects.

Learn more about DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office and its research priorities in PV and CSP

FERC weighs grid plan that could revolutionize clean energy

By Miranda Willson, E&E Reporter, Energywire

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is weighing an overhaul of a major rule that critics say impedes the transition to a low-carbon grid while raising electricity bills. The agency has received comments from dozens of state regulators, electric utilities, clean energy groups and private companies on whether it should remove a policy allowing states to block demand response resources from wholesale power markets. Since the rule was established in 2009, an estimated 18 states have taken advantage of the “opt-out” provision.

Supporters of opening wholesale markets nationwide to demand response say it would go a long way in boosting all types of zero-carbon resources. In general, demand response constitutes a range of energy conservation programs — including “smart” thermostats and water heaters — that reduce or shift electric load to balance the power system. That in turn can allow grid operators to rely less on carbon-spewing power plants. Read more hereScroll down to read NPPD’s comments.

See Also:

VIRTUAL POWER PLANTS

Rocky Mountain Power’s distributed battery grid management system puts Utah ‘years ahead’ of California, by Iulia Gheorghiu, Utility Dive

Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) seeks to turn distributed solar into solar-plus-storage grid assets in Utah, announcing on Thursday a partnership between battery manufacturer sonnen and Utah contractor ES Solar to retrofit thousands of solar homes. Distributed resource planning proceedings around the country are looking to solar-plus-storage as a “really good option to replacing other types of necessary grid upgrades,” from upgrading transformers to transmission line sizes, according to Rick Gilliam, Vote Solar’s senior regional director of DER regulatory policy. 

Rocky Mountain Power is a part of Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s PacifiCorp.

Previously Posted: DOE teams with Xcel, Berkshire Hathaway Energy on cybersecurity program to protect clean energy, Utility Dive

CARBON DIOXIDE PIPELINES

Proposed carbon dioxide pipeline draws opposition from Iowa farmers and environmentalists alike, by Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio

At a virtual public meeting Tuesday, speakers railed against the proposal by Summit Carbon Solutions to build a sprawling 2,000 mile long pipeline, more than 700 miles of which would pass through 30 of Iowa’s 99 counties. The Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club is gathering signatures for a petition opposing the Summit project and another pipeline proposed by Navigator CO2 Ventures. The activist group is blasting the approach of CCS as a “false solution” to climate change. The organization, like other progressive-leaning climate advocates, sees CCS [carbon capture and sequestration] as extending a lifeline to carbon-based industries, at a time when the world needs to be ending its dependence on fossil fuels in order to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.

Previously Posted: Nebraska is likely headed for another pipeline controversy — this time over carbon dioxide, by Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald

HEATING BILLS

Expect scorching heating bills this winter, by Carolyn Conte,  News Channel Nebraska
“Utility investments used to be the same for 10 or 20 years, but that’s not the case anymore,” [former Nebraska Director of Energy David Bracht], said, noting the creation of natural renewables energy [using energy from animal waste], solar energy; wind energy; and even battery storage. “And that’s why I’m excited about energy in Nebraska because I think we actually have opportunities in all of those areas.”

NEBRASKA LIHEAP

The LIHEAP Program provides heating assistance, cooling assistance, year round crisis assistance, emergency furnace repair and replacement, fan program and weatherization services for eligible Nebraska citizens/households. LIHEAP in Nebraska is solely funded through a federal grant (no general fund authority for aid).

Panhandle wildfires cause long-term effects

By Grace Pagone, North Platte Bulletin

Farmers and ranchers struggle to recover financially from recent panhandle wildfires that damaged their crops and infrastructure, along with forcing a relocation of cows and calves. Two wildfires burned more than 8,200 acres of pasture and cropland near Scottsbluff and Gering in the Panhandle. Continue reading here.

FEATURED OPINION

Small businesses and family farms would benefit from boost to USDA rural energy grant programGuest Commentary for The Baltimore Sun by Lloyd Ritter, managing partner of Green Capital LLC

As legislators calculate the right balance on how much to spend on infrastructure and clean energy, they should take stock of both the environmental and the economic gains that everyday Americans earn through the transformation to an efficient, clean energy economy. And make no mistake: That the transition is underway, built up from many small projects and successes. Congress can maintain momentum by funding smart policy choices, such as USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program.

Rural Energy for America Program

RENEWABLE ENERGY ON AMERICA’S FARMS & RANCHES

  • According to the latest USDA Census of Agriculture (2017), a total of 133,176 farms and ranches had renewable energy systems, more than double the 57,299 in 2012. Those include solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and methane digesters.
  • 2017 Census by State
  • USDA’s 2022 Census of Agriculture Content Test is underway, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). NASS has been preparing for the 2022 Census of Agriculture since 2018 when they began evaluating the content and design of the previous Census questionnaire and soliciting public input into the 2022 Census.

DOE’S LOAN PROGRAMS OFFICE

There’s $44 Billion in Clean Energy Funds Up For Grabs, by Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg Green

The Energy Department has a little-known investment operation, the Loan Programs Office, with a focus on backing innovative clean technologies in early commercial development. It has more than $40 billion to lend, and during an episode of the podcast he co-hosted, the Energy Gang, [Jigar] Shah was skeptical whether the LPO could accelerate low-carbon technologies quickly. The office was “fundamentally broken,” Shah said. About four months later, the Energy Department hired Shah to run LPO.

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

Over 60 Percent of Battery Storage Coming Online Will Be Co-located, EIA Says, American Public Power Association

Of the 14.5 gigawatts (GW) of battery storage planned to begin to come online between 2021 and 2024, 9.4 GW, or 63 percent, will be co-located with solar power, the EIA said. Another 1.3 GW of battery storage will be co-located at sites with wind turbines or fossil fuel-fired generators, such as natural gas-fired plants. The remaining 4 GW of planned battery storage will be located at standalone sites.

WHAT IS A GIGAWATT?

Gigawatt: The solar energy term you need to know about, by AJ Dellinger, CNET
According to a recent study published by the United States Department of Energy, it hopes to produce 45% of all electricity via solar power. That will require generating 1,600 gigawatts of power. This raises an important question: What is a gigawatt, exactly?

Additional Recommended Reading: DOE Releases Solar Futures Study Providing the Blueprint for a Zero-Carbon Grid

REMEDIATING FOSSIL FUEL SITES

A century later, utilities still face billions in potential liabilities from obsolete manufactured gas plants, by Kavya Balaraman, Senior Reporter, Utility Dive

Thousands of manufactured gas plants dotted the American landscape in the 19th and early 20th century. Today, PG&E, ConEd and other utilities are still dealing with the contamination they left behind.

Happy New (Fiscal) Year! Recapping a Year of Accomplishments at the Wind Energy Technologies Office

DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office 

As Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 comes to a close, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) is celebrating a range of research and funding achievements—from an offshore wind supply chain roadmap to new resources to help communities plan wind energy developments.

Learn more about how WETO’s FY21 accomplishments have helped set the stage for U.S. wind energy to continue to grow.

Visit the Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) for the latest news, events, and updates.

 ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

GREEN CAMPUSES

 Six Months of Solar: DU Pushes Toward Carbon Neutrality Goals, University of Denver News
The project aims to reduce DU’s carbon footprint in line with its 25 sustainability goals to achieve by 2025, and to further carbon neutrality efforts.

OF POTENTIAL INTEREST TO K-12 TEACHERS

NEED Curriculum Samplers

Available for FREE PDF download, these curriculum samplers recombine NEED favorites into a smaller and simpler format, allowing the NEED Project to showcase new curriculum activities before they go into full format. Click here to check them out and share with your colleagues.

Solar Industry Doubles Down on Solar+ Decade Goal, Targets 30% Solar by 2030

SEIA News Release

“The destructive impacts of climate change are happening now, and it’s time to reimagine our entire electricity system,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “The solar industry is leading the way in reducing electricity sector emissions, but we’ll fall far short of the 850 gigawatts we need to reach 30% of electricity generation by 2030 without policy action. It’s time for lawmakers to meet the urgency of this climate moment. If the industry reaches 30% solar by 2030, the solar and storage industry will grow to 1 million workers and add more than $800 billion in new private sector investment. Read the entire news release here.

Learn more about SEIA’s 2030 goals and solar industry’s bold vision for the Solar+ Decade

GREEN POWER LEADERSHIP 

EPA Honors SEIA with the 2021 Green Power Leadership Award for Market Development, SEIA News Release, September 28, 2021

Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the Center for Resource Solutions, unveiled the Green Power Leadership Awards (GPLA) to recognize outstanding achievements in the clean energy marketplace. This year, the GPLAs honored SEIA as a winner in their Market Development category. Watch a brief video here.

U.S. SOLAR MANUFACTURING – LEGISLATION / LEADERSHIP

U.S. SOLAR MANUFACTURERS IN THE NEWS

FORD MOTOR COMPANY

Ford To Lead America’s Shift To Electric Vehicles With New Mega Campus In Tennessee and Twin Battery Plants In Kentucky: $11.4B Investment To Create 11,000 Jobs And Power New Lineup Of Adlvanced. EVs, News Release, Ford Media Center

DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 27, 2021 – Ford Motor Company is announcing plans to bring electric vehicles at scale to American customers with two new massive, environmentally and technologically advanced campuses in Tennessee and Kentucky that will produce the next generation of electric F-Series trucks and the batteries to power future electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

Ford plans to make the largest ever U.S. investment in electric vehicles at one time by any automotive manufacturer and, together with its partner, SK Innovation, plans to invest $11.4 billion and create nearly 11,000 new jobs at the Tennessee and Kentucky mega-sites, strengthening local communities and building on Ford’s position as America’s leading employer of hourly autoworkers.

See Also: FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces Steps to Drive American Leadership Forward on Clean Cars and Trucks, White House Briefing Room

OPPD’S NEW EV GUIDE

Thinking about making the switch? Here’s your EV guide, by Julie Wasson, The Wire

With its new EV guide, OPPD has made it easier than ever to learn about making the switch to electric vehicles. EV 101 explains the basics of owning and operating an EV. The EV calculator provides a personalized estimate that lets you compare vehicle models side-by-side. That can help you understand the near- and long-term costs of switching to an EV, based on your driving habits, electricity use and savings potential.

You can also check out a map of the public charging stations available in the Omaha area and across the state. And you can learn about incentives and rebates available to EV buyers, including OPPD’s rebate program.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

WATCH NOW: Carthage students form business to promote renewable energy, Kenosha News

CCC students get hands-on experience climbing wind turbines

By KSNB, News Channel Nebraska

HASTINGS, Neb. — Central Community College students got some hands-on experience climbing up a 400-foot wind turbine Tuesday. Students involved in the energy technology program are taught about wind, solar and battery storage energy at the Hastings campus. For the wind portion of their learning, they are required to make the climb. Continue reading here.

Previously Posted
CCC introduces unique renewable energy program
, Hastings Tribune, August 28, 2019

Links to More Information About Nebraska Wind & Solar Technology Programs

Bureau of Labor Statistics

U.S. Bureau of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook

Additional Recommended Reading/Resources

About The IREC

For nearly 40 years, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council has made clean energy possible for millions of Americans through cutting-edge solutions that advance renewable energy, electric grid modernization, and energy efficiency. 

Today, our work continues in response to the urgent need to transition to clean energy—to mitigate climate change, improve the resiliency of our communities, and ensure all people benefit from a just transition to a clean energy future.

In 2021, IREC merged with The Solar Foundation, a national nonprofit that has led the advancement of solar energy and solar-compatible technologies since 1977. Together, we are excited to deepen our impact across all clean energy technologies.

Straightening out Gov. Pete Ricketts’ comments

By Charlie Kennedy, NPPD Board Member, Star Herald

I am responding to Governor Pete Ricketts’ “Strengthening Energy Reliability and Independence” opinion article in the Aug. 24 edition of the Star Herald. In 2018 I was elected board director for Nebraska Public Power District’s subdivision 5 which encompasses most of western Nebraska and I ran as a non-partisan independent. Governor Ricketts’ comments and accounts in the article are correct at face level, however some are misleading in support of political views and platform. While I laud our governor for many of his initiatives and successes, I believe that safe, affordable and reliable energy should not be a political issue but rather based on common sense and the best use of emerging technologies.

Continue reading here.

PETE RICKETTS: Strengthening Energy Reliability and Independence, Star Herald

Solar project to fund future for farmer’s daughter

By Will Vraspir, Hastings Tribune

SARONVILLE —What started as a search for a plan to allow local farmer Tom Alberts to provide for his daughter has turned into a project that will benefit the entire community. Looking into an opportunity to provide future financial care for his special-needs daughter, Alika, Alberts contacted Interconnection Systems Inc., in Central City. They are an engineering, procurement and construction company for renewable solar energy and battery energy storage systems. The final agreement created a 1-megawatt solar project on nine acres of Alberts’ land near the corner of U.S. Highway 6 and Spur 18-G. Continue reading here.

An Additional 1 MW Interconnection Systems Inc Project 

Valmont Commemorates Installation of One-Megawatt Solar Field at Valley, Nebraska Facility, Valmont News Release

“Valmont continues to grow the Good Life by investing in Nebraska,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “The newly built solar field in Valley showcases Valmont’s innovation and contributes to the diverse energy resources we have in our state.”