Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States is co-edited by John Dernbach,
director of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center at Widener University in
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.
Dernbach and Gerrard have partnered with Richard Horsch, a retired partner from the
international law firm White & Case LLP, to assemble a network of attorneys around the country to donate their time and turn the book’s recommendations into model climate laws and
regulation. Dernbach and Gerrard also plan to launch a website in May that will be a platform to provide resources and information to policymakers, lawyers and advocates. Read more here.
More than 80 percent of home buyers say energy-efficient features are important, a truth that’s reflected by data showing homes with solar energy systems fetch higher prices. A new Zillow® analysis shows homes with solar-energy systems sold for 4.1 percent more on average than others nationwide in the past year[ii]. The sale premium varies by market – 5.4 percent in New York, 4.4 percent in San Francisco and 3.6 percent in Los Angeles, for example. This Earth Day, Zillow is highlighting a green initiative that helps inform homeowners and buyers about their own solar potential by putting a Sun Number on more than 84 million homes nationwide. The Sun Number provides a sense of each home’s solar-energy potential and the energy savings that comes with it. Read the entire news release here.
Photo by SWT Energy based in Lincoln: Janece and Dwayne’s 10.6-kilowatt photovoltaic
array, with south- and west-facing solar panels on their home and garage. Their home’s heating and cooling systems are both electric.
Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy legislative session over in the great state of
Michigan, where policy makers are considering the idea that putting solar panels on farmland is a good thing. If the state does relax its restrictions, look for other US states to amp up the solar power rush. Read more here.
Homeowners play a role in Atlanta’s Clean Energy Plan, Atlanta Journal Constitution Developed by the Mayor’s Office of Resilience, the Clean Energy Plan was approved in March by the City Council. It offers the framework to overhaul energy usage of municipal operations and the community with short- and long-term strategies aimed at achieving 100% clean energy by 2035.
With development and energy demands soaring worldwide, there is an opportunity for clean, renewable energy to supplant fossil fuels and take over as the main form of electricity generation. New findings published by the International Renewable Energy Agency
(IRENA) have emphasized the need to scale up efforts to transition
away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. Continue reading here.
Four Midwestern rural electric cooperatives are installing smart batteries in the homes of a few customers to test whether they can economically reduce peak demand or provide other
benefits to customers or their systems. The co-ops came together through a professional association and pooled their purchasing power to buy the batteries, which have built-in
management systems that allow them to, for example, monitor energy use. Continue reading here.
Image Credit: SWT Energy
ALSO IN THE NEWS
Puerto Rico governor signs 100% renewable energy mandate, Utility Dive. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló on Thursday signed into law a 100% renewable energy mandate that the hurricane-battered
island must meet by 2050. The Public Energy Policy Law of Puerto Rico, passed last month by territory legislators, directs the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to source 40% of its power from
renewables by 2025 and cease burning coal in 2028 on its way to 100% renewables. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
It’s official: Chicago will go 100% renewable, PV Magazine The City Council has approved Mayor Emanuel’s plan to transition the entire city’s electricity supply to renewable energy by 2035, which makes Chicago the largest U.S. city to set a 100% renewable energy commitment.
The Solar Bill of Rights passes its first hurdle, PV Magazine The California Senate Energy Committee has given its 11-0 blessing to a bill enshrining in law the right of citizens to generate their own electricity and participate in wholesale power markets.
Rapid EV adoption could lower rates for Ill. consumers, American Public Power Association Under what the report calls “optimized charging” all electric vehicle owners would charge their vehicles between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. “Unmanaged charging” assumes EV owners charge their vehicles between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Under the optimized scenario, the report found that by 2030 all Illinois electricity consumers could save between $238 million and $2 billion in energy costs, between $32 million and $124 million in capacity costs, and between $198 million and $536 million in residential electricity delivery rates.
Solar power is expanding rapidly. The United States now has over 60 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaic (PV)
capacity installed – enough to power nearly one in every 11 homes in America. Hundreds of thousands of
Americans have invested in solar energy and millions more are ready to join them. America’s major cities have played a key role in the clean energy
revolution and stand to reap tremendous benefits from solar energy. As population centers, they are major sources of electricity demand and, with millions of rooftops suitable for solar panels, they have the potential to be major sources of clean energy production as well.
A total of 133,176 farms and ranches use renewable energy producing systems, more than double the 57,299 in 2012.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture, spanning some 6.4 million new points of information about America’s farms and ranches and those who operate them, including new data about on-farm decision making, down to the county level. Information collected by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) directly from farmers and ranchers tells us both farm numbers and land in farms have ongoing small percentage declines since the last Census in 2012. At the same time, there continue to be more of the largest and smallest operations and fewer middle-sized farms. The average age of all farmers and ranchers continues to rise.Read the entire news release here.
Email to Nebraska clean energy advocacy / action groups from Ken Winston, Director of Policy & Outreach, Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light:
LB 243, the bill to create a Healthy Soils Task Force, passed this morning by a vote of 43 to zero. It has more than enough votes to overcome a veto (hopefully that won’t be necessary) and has the emergency clause, which means it will go into effect as soon as it is signed.
Hormel Foods recently announced a virtual power
purchase agreement (VPPA) for wind energy. Through this and other initiatives, the company will be supplied by almost 50% renewable wind power. In addition, the
project will result in a reduction of approximately 197,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
The new wind farm will be located near Milligan,
Nebraska. Construction is expected to be completed in 2020. The farm will be capable of generating 74 MW of power and an estimated 349,000 MWh of electricity each year. Read more here.
NPPD/city relationship remains a strong one,by Melanie Wilkinson, York News-Times
Looking to the future, NPPD is considering a solar power generation facility for York, as the organization continues to look at renewable energy options.
Supersized solar in the Midwest, by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine Long seen as a slow region for solar deployment, the U.S. Midwest has seen an explosion of project development in recent years. And while there is still a lot of speculation and uncertainty, one way or another this region is going to see major development.
The Navajo and Hopi have fought hard to hold onto coal. Three generations have worked for the west’s largest coal-fired power plant, the Navajo Generating Station. The tribes have relied heavily on its revenue. So when the Phoenix-based Salt River Project announced it was shutting down the plant at the end of the year, the tribe scrambled to find a buyer or — as a last resort — purchase the plant themselves. It finally came down to a vote late last month at a Navajo
Nation CouncilSpecial Session meeting. The delegates deliberated for eight hours. Read more here.
After years of hard work and dedication, a third of the power generated around the world is now linked to renewable energy. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) just
released new data that shows impressive growth in both wind and solar energy, which has
contributed to the changes in energy sources around the globe. Read more here.
Largescale solar project planned, Gunnison Country Times PV panels eyed for five Gunnison County buildings: Since county buildings are served by the City of Gunnison, a three-way agreement must be reached between the city, the county and the city’s energy provider, Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN). This is a requirement by MEAN for any solar project over 25 kW. The agreement would specify the price at which MEAN will buy back any excess energy produced by the county. Currently, MEAN will pay about 4 cents for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) put back on the city’s grid for projects under 25kW. However, the county’s rate must be negotiated with MEAN because of the large size of the project to ensure adequate infrastructure is in place, said Gunnison City Manager Russ Forrest.
$2.4B Wind Transmission Project Gains Momentum and Investors, Energy News-Record SOO Green Renewable Rail: The project, named for Canadian Pacific Railway’s Soo line, would run an underground high-voltage direct current transmission line along 349 miles of the rail firm’s existing U.S. track, from Mason City, Iowa, to near Chicago. Right-of-way is in place for about 85% of the route.
Illinois is beginning to build a robust solar industry in the wake of passing its Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016, and they’re in the process of following it up with a Clean Energy Jobs Act this year. And they’re not the only Midwestern state to join the Solar Revolution. Minnesota is the birthplace of the best community solar program in the nation, and Michigan is (albeit slowly) bringing its solar policies into the 21st century.
Utilities and state regulators take note: As of April 1, 114 U.S. cities have officially declared they want 100% renewables for their electric power needs in the next one to two decades. That will be a big change in electricity use. And it doesn’t stop there. Over 300 U.S. localities have
committed to a renewables or climate change goal, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI), which just received $70 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies to help make that change happen. And, led by local efforts, three states have committed to 100% carbon-free. Another dozen are moving that way. Continue reading here.