Category Archives: Financing

Renewable energy funds available for farmers

By Cody Smith, Policy Associate at The Center for Rural Affairs, Record Herald

In July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced more than $400 million available for farmers and rural business owners under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP, a farm bill program, provides financing for energy efficiency upgrades like insulation, lighting, and HVAC systems. Renewable energy systems like solar panels, anaerobic digesters, and wind turbines are also eligible. For both farmers and rural business owners, these systems can help cut energy costs—keeping money in rural economies across the nation. Read more here.

Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action-oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.

Related Reading

BNEF: Corporations signed contracts for 8.6 GW of clean energy in 2019

By Michelle Froese, Windpower Engineering

U.S. corporations bought 5.95 GW of clean energy in 2019, closing in on the 2018 total, according to BloombergNEF’s (BNEF) recently published, 2H 2019 Corporate Energy Market Outlook. The report shows that companies are once again flocking to Texas – historically the largest corporate procurement market in the country – where 40% of the activity in 2019 has occurred. However, just 1 GW of deals in the U.S. have come from green tariffs with regulated utilities. It is unlikely to reach the 2.6 GW seen in all of 2018.

This may be a result of buyer apprehension, as several companies have been involved in highly publicized legal battles with regulated utilities over clean energy buying. Companies are instead favoring the virtual PPA model, which has made up 82% of all U.S. deals in 2019. Read more here.

Resources for Businesses


RE100:
191 RE100 companies have made a commitment to go ‘100% renewable’. Read about the actions they are taking and why.

Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA)
In 2018, four leading NGOS — Rocky Mountain InstituteWorld Wildlife FundWorld Resources Institute, and Business for Social Responsibility — merged their renewable energy programs, the Business Renewables Center, the Future of Internet Power, the Buyers Principles, and Green Tariff programs. This programmatic consolidation builds upon their collective success and offers a single streamlined solution.

REBA’s goal is to catalyze 60 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy by 2025, and expand the number of organizations buying clean power from dozens today to tens of thousands.

 

U.S. Renewable Energy Map: A Guide for Corporate Buyers,
World Resources Institute

 

Save the Date!
September 12, 2019 at 7 pm – Nebraskans for Solar’s September Speaker: David Bracht, Attorney With Kutak Rock and Former Nebraska Energy Office Director, UNO’s Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, Rooms 201 & 205. Mr. Bracht will provide an overview of Nebraska’s wind and solar development and our state’s potential for future growth.

Specific topics will include:

  • power purchase agreements
  • virtual power purchase agreements
  • commercial and industrial use of solar
  • the potential for combined solar and battery installations
  • incentives and depreciation

GreenBiz Webcasts

How an organic dairy’s quest for clean energy spread solar across Wisconsin

Written by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

As Wisconsin’s largest-ever solar project comes online this summer, the multi-site, multi-state partnership behind the development offers a potential model for how organizations can band together to meet clean energy goals. The Butter Solar Project consists of 32 megawatts installed at 10 locations feeding into 13 municipal utilities in three states. A who’s who of co-op grocery store shelves including Organic Valley, Dr. Bronner’s and Clif Bar have signed on to buy the renewable credits along with the city of Madison. It all started with a quest by Organic Valley to operate on 100% renewable energy before the project mushroomed into a much larger initiative, said Eric Udelhofen, project director for the developer, OneEnergy Renewables.
Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading
Organic Valley Becomes 100 Percent Renewably Powered, Company News Release

Photo by OneEnergy Renewables: The largest installation of the Butter Solar Project, in Arcadia, Wisconsin. Organic Valley “provided financial assistance to more than 200 farmer members to install solar arrays on their dairies.”

About Frank Jossi

Frank Jossi is an independent journalist and consultant based in St. Paul and a longtime contributor to Midwest Energy News. His articles have appeared in more than 50 publications, including Minnesota Monthly, Wired, the Los Angeles Times, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota Technology, Finance & Commerce and others. Frank has also been a Humphrey policy fellow at the University of Minnesota, a Fulbright journalism teacher in Pakistan and Albania, and a program director of the World Press Institute at Macalester College.

RE100: Organic Valley is one of 191 RE100 companies that have made a commitment to go ‘100% renewable’. Organic Valley is a US-based cooperative of farmers producing award-winning organic milk, cheese, butter, soy milk, and other products.

The case for a U.S. federal green bank

Contributed Article by Ilmi Granoff, PV Magazine

In this post ClimateWorks makes the argument that whether you are looking to support innovation or deployment of existing clean energy solutions, a federal Green Bank would be a powerful tool for advancing the energy transition. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Flickr

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FEATURED STUDY

10 Breakthrough Technologies Can Help Feed the World Without Destroying It, World Resources Institute. How can the world feed nearly 10 billion people by 2050 while also advancing economic development, protecting and restoring forests, and stabilizing the climate? It won’t be easy and will require major new efforts, but it can be done. Our new World Resources Report: Creating a Sustainable Food Future, co-issued by the World Bank, UN Environment Programme and UN Development Programme, recommends a menu of 22 solutions served over five courses:

USDA Has More Than $400 Million Still Available for Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Loan Guarantees

USDA News Release

Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley encourages farmers, rural small businesses and agricultural producers to apply for financing in a key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program that provides grants and loan guarantees to help lower their energy costs. Read more here.

LINKS TO ADDITIONAL PROGRAM INFORMATION

LINKS TO INCENTIVES & MORE 

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems and small wind turbines: 30% through December 31, 2019. Small wind: 100 kilowatts or less. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

SEIA Infographic 

LES Solar Incentive
Additionally, LES customers may qualify for a one-time capacity payment of up to $1,000 per kilowatt of peak demand reduced. The total amount customers can receive is determined by the system size and primary direction the system is facing, for example:

  • Southern facing fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $375.
  • Western facing or single or dual axis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.

    Source: 
    Customer-owned Renewable Generation

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

More Farm Energy Resources

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Cost of Rooftop Solar Power Set for Another Steep Plunge

Written by Tina Casey, Triple Pundit

Rooftop solar arrays can be a valuable asset for businesses seeking clean power, and new financing tools make it easier than ever to avoid up-front costs. However, the process of buying a rooftop solar array can still be intimidating. It is not unusual for solar customers to lose interest after their project gets bogged down by long processing times for permits, inspections and grid connections. That’s about to change, if the new “SolarApp” program goes according to plan. Continue reading here.

About Tina Casey

Tina writes frequently for TriplePundit and other websites, with a focus on military, government and corporate sustainability, clean tech research and emerging energy technologies. She is a former Deputy Director of Public Affairs of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and author of books and articles on recycling and other conservation themes. She is currently Deputy Director of Public Information for the County of Union, New Jersey.

Read more stories by Tina Casey.

Image credit: Biel Morro/Unsplash

Rural America could power a renewable economy – but first we need to solve coal debt

By Joe Smyth, Clean Cooperative

As prices for new wind and solar projects continue to drop, renewable energy is booming across the United States, surpassing coal earlier this year for the first time ever. And most renewable energy projects are built in rural areas, harnessing abundant wind and solar resources. Yet the electric cooperatives that power most of rural America remain particularly reliant on coal – in part because of billions of dollars in debt on increasingly uneconomic coal plants.

Solving this coal debt problem in rural America is the focus of a new report by the Center for Rural Affairs, We Own It, and CURE (Clean Up the River Environment). Rural Electrification 2.0: The Transition to a Clean Energy Economy explores strategies that policymakers and electric cooperatives could pursue to restructure or eliminate debt that is currently tied up with uneconomic coal plants. Continue reading here.

NRECA Infographic: While electric cooperatives have begun to add more new renewable energy projects in recent years, overall they still remain more reliant on coal than other utilities. According to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, coal accounts for 40% of electric cooperatives’ fuel mix, compared to 27% nationally. – Joe Smyth

Smyth’s list of recommended reading on electric cooperatives and coal debt:

He also provides a list of further reading on presidential candidates’ plans on climate, energy, and food.

Free Greentech Media & Microgrid Knowledge Resources for Businesses, Nonprofits and Utilities

Checklist for Engaging Your Utility on Renewable Power: An energy buyer’s guide to finding the right partners to achieve your clean energy goals.

While large corporations were responsible for nearly 6 gigawatts’ worth of wind and solar power-purchase agreements last year, the options for affordable, clean, low-carbon energy are increasingly available to companies of all sizes. And when it comes to choosing an energy partner, the distribution utility that already serves your organization may be the best place to start. In this paper, Greentech Media discusses a framework for engaging your utility to move toward achieving your clean energy goals, whether the driver is sustainability, reliability, cost savings or a combination thereof.
Download the white paper here.

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The Evolution of Distributed Energy Resources

In the words of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, we will enter a time soon when we no longer make our morning toast with energy sent from a power plant hundreds of miles away. Peduto is describing an evolution toward a more decentralized power grid, a shifting away from electricity delivered via large central power plants and long transmission lines.

While energy industry insiders are well aware of these changes, many energy consumers are not. For those managing large energy budgets, such as commercial operations, industrial facilities, hospitals and universities, this can mean money left on the table. Microgrid Knowledge produced this report, sponsored by NRG Energy, Inc., to help these sectors understand the suite of new energy options. Download the white paper here.

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How Corporations Can Embrace Distributed Energy Like Never Before

Distributed energy is an increasingly valuable player for any sustainable company that has a focus on integrating environmental and economic considerations into every aspect of the business, from supply chain management to workforce development to energy, to redefine business as usual. Whether companies want to hit sustainability goals, manage risk or optimize assets for financial gain, the expanding use of DERs is creating significant opportunities to power business in new ways.

In this white paper, Centrica Business Solutions outlines how a mix of sophisticated partnerships across the energy landscape, along with innovative financing and technology collaboration, can unlock flexible energy solutions for businesses of all sizes to embrace energy management like never before.  Download the paper here.

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2019 Trends in Utility Renewable Energy Financing

U.S. utilities of all sizes are now actively investing in lowest-cost energy options while also seeking low-carbon alternatives as states step up their clean energy mandates, with various states looking at 50 to 100 percent clean energy standards between now and 2050. Although the path for utilities to achieve scale in renewable investment varies, there are some interesting near-term issues that are relevant to a large swath of utilities.

In this white paper, CohnReznick and CohnReznick Capital experts dissect those issues, including the impact of build-transfer agreements, the challenges of third-party tax equity and the opportunity to better serve commercial & industrial clients in this shifting landscape. Download the paper here.

Mondelez International Signs VPPA for 65 MW from Texas Solar Farm

By Alyssa Danigelis, Energy Manager Today

Mondelez International signed a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with Enel Green Power North America for a 65-MW portion of the renewable company’s Roadrunner solar farm in Texas. EGPNA has been on a roll. Last year saw Starbucks and Kohler signing agreements as well as Facebook and Adobe snapping up energy from the 320-MW Rattlesnake Creek wind farm. Late last year, Enel’s Hill Topper wind farm in Illinois began operations. Then the Rattlesnake Creek wind farm in Nebraska started operations in January. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Enel Green Power

Previously Posted Virtual Power Purchase Agreements

Resources

Renewable Energy Aggregation & Purchase Agreements

Educational Opportunities

US Green Bank Act of 2019 Introduced in House; Companion to Recent Senate Bill

Coalition for Green Capital News Release


US Representatives Jim Himes (D-CT) and 13 colleagues have introduced the US Green Bank Act of 2019, companion to a recent Senate bill of the same name introduced in May. The introduction builds momentum for the Green Bank proposal and demonstrates a broad base of support. Like the Senate bill, the new bill establishes a US Green Bank. Green Banks are institutions that seek to achieve the greatest possible greenhouse gas reduction impact while reducing consumer energy costs. They achieve this by investing public dollars in ways that mobilize additional private capital. Continue reading here. 

For more information on the US Green Bank Act of 2019, see Representative Himes’ StatementSenator Murphy’s Statement on the Senate bill, and CGC’s Bill Summary. For more information on existing US Green Banks, see the American Green Bank Consortium’s Annual Industry Report.

About  CGC
The Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) is a non-profit organization focused on accelerating the growth of clean energy through the creation of Green Banks. CGC offers a unique and proven capacity as the leading creator, advocate, and expert on Green Banks since 2009 and works directly to support the formation of Green Banks with governmental and civil society partners. CGC also provides on-going consulting and guidance to operating Green Banks.