Category Archives: NewsBlog

SEIA Statement on the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following is a statement from Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), on today’s release of the 2018 Farm Bill conference report:

“We’re pleased to see continued bipartisan support for the Rural Energy for America Program, which enables the spread of renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements throughout America’s heartland. This USDA program finances projects in every state, helping entrepreneurs in rural communities reduce their energy costs.

Solar power is an affordable, clean, job-producing solution that America’s farmers and small businesses can greatly benefit from. We urge Congress to pass this important legislation before the end of the year.”  – SEIA News Release

USDA Rural Energy for America Program
Nebraska USDA Rural Development

Top Senate Democrat calls for permanent renewable energy, storage, EV tax credits

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

Last Thursday, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Democratic Leader in the Senate, sent a letter to President Trump demanding that any infrastructure package taken up in 2019 include “policies and funding to transition to a clean energy economy and mitigate the risks that the United States is already facing due to climate change.”

And in a list of policies that Schumer says should be included, the top item is “permanent tax incentives for domestic production of clean electricity and storage, energy efficient homes and commercial buildings, electric vehicles, and modernizing the electric grid.” In concrete terms, this could mean an extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar and energy storage, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind and the federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

ENERGY STORAGE ITC: AWEA NEWS RELEASE

Yesterday a coalition of more than 150 companies and energy groups issued a letter to Congressional leadership asking for a stand-alone storage Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act would ensure a level playing field for energy storage to compete with all other energy resources currently eligible for the ITC.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) signed onto the letter and issued the following statement in support:

“Energy storage technology will play an important role as we build an even more affordable and reliable electricity grid for the 21st Century,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “We’re asking Congress to reduce uncertainty for investors by creating a stand-alone energy storage ITC for which all storage technologies can qualify. A level playing field for the full range of storage technologies will ensure consumers benefit from competition and will boost job-creating investment in infrastructure projects, including new opportunities for wind farm development.”
Read the entire news release here.

Mars, Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase: Insights From Early Adopters Of Corporate Climate Policy

By Jeff McMahon, Forbes

It’s a story of stunning progress and staggering challenges. Some of the first corporations to make climate commitments have found that clean energy saves them money wherever they can find it, but often they can’t find it where they need it most.

Mars Corporation, for example, has signed power purchase agreements with wind farms in Texas, Mexico and Scotland and with a solar farm in Australia. In each case, the agreement covers 100 percent of the power demand for the direct operations of a Mars facility.
Continue reading here.

Photo by Mars Corporation: Mars candies and pet foods are powered in part by the Moy Wind Farm in Scotland.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Commitments to renewable energy are a great start — what comes next?, GreenBiz. This essay was contributed by one of the NGOs that make up the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), a consortium dedicated to growing large buyer demand for renewable power and helping utilities and others meet it. 


To date, 158 RE100 companies have made a commitment to go ‘100% renewable’. Read about the actions they are taking and why here.


COP24 NEWS


Cop24 live blog
PV Magazine’s Max Hall will be pounding the vast spaces of the COP24 venue in Katowice to bring you the latest developments in Poland and trying to shine a light on solar’s presence here.


NEW INVESTMENT ALLIANCE

  • The U.S. Alliance for Sustainable Finance (USASF), based in New York City, will work to encourage more climate-friendly and sustainable finance innovation across the U.S. capital markets. This initiative brings together private sector actors in line with the aim of meeting the United States’ targets of the Paris Agreement.
  • Wall Street staking claim for sustainable finance supremacy, by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine. The press release noted that research indicates a sevenfold increase in global clean energy investment — $2.4T annually versus the current investment levels of $333.5B as estimated by BloombergNEF — is needed to limit the most devastating effects of climate change.

Decarbonizing enterprise: The path to 100 percent corporate renewable energy

Center Stage Podcast, GreenBiz

It’s clear that 100 percent renewable energy is imperative to fight climate change. And it’s already starting. Chris Clark, president at Xcel Energy; Bill Weihl, former sustainability and energy efficiency manager at Facebook; and Neha Palmer, head of energy strategy at Google talked about how to push and pull all companies, utilities and the public toward accessible 100 percent renewable energy. Listen to the Podcast
More Center Stage Podcasts

ALSO IN THE NEWS

HAPPENING IN OTHER STATES

SOLAR MODULE NEWS


Solar module lifetime predictions are getting better,
PV Magazine
NREL has proposed a new methodology for determining solar module degradation rates, taking into account measurement challenges such as sensor drift, inverter nuances, soiling and others – keeping the focus on the solar modules themselves. Image: NREL, Hit me with your SunShot


ENERGY SECURITY

100% Renewable Energy As Catalyst For Achieving Peace & Justice
By Rob van Riet, Director of the Climate Energy Program at the World Future Council and a regular contributor to The Beam
Unlike fossil fuels, which are characterized by the uneven geographical distribution of natural reserves, RE is abundant across regions and countries. Photo by Justin Holzgrove, DOE’s Hit me with your SunShot


HOW DOES THAT WORK? SERIES

Mutual Aid, by Jason Kuiper, The Wire, OPPD Blog

WHAT IS IT?
 Mutual aid is an agreement through which other utilities offer their restoration services after natural disasters strike and cause widespread power outages. OPPD has been on both sides of the aisle. Photo: OPPD trucks line up in Tampa, Florida, part of the mutual aid deployed to help restore power following a hurricane.

Colorado co-op seeks exit from coal-heavy Tri-State to pursue renewables

By Gavin Bade, Utility Dive

[Delta Montrose Electric Association’s] decision to leave Tri-State demonstrates how the increasing competitiveness of renewable energy is upending the economics of power production in the American West.

Tri-State is a generation and transmission provider that supplies power to more than 40 rural cooperatives across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. While it has increased renewable energy in recent years, coal is still its largest source of electricity — around half its capacity — and member co-ops are required to purchase all but 5% of their power from the company. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Flickr: Jimmy Thomas

SEIA Hosts Day of Understanding to Address Bias and Advance Diversity and Inclusion

Solar Energy Industries Association News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) joins more than 150 organizations for the “Day of Understanding” hosted by CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion to address bias and increase understanding in the workplace and beyond. “Improving the diversity of the solar industry is one of my top priorities and I know to succeed I must start with my own organization,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. For more information on the Day of Understanding and how you can get involved by signing the “I Act On” pledge, go to www.ceoaction.com. Read the entire news release here.

Related

This Is Why I’m Pledging To Make The Solar Industry More Diverse

By Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA President and CEO
Published by Huffington Post

RESOURCES

Four key takeaways from a Michigan utility’s clean energy transition

By Andy Balaskovitz, Midwest Energy News

In a speech this week to a large, business-friendly crowd in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe presented an economic case for solar power, electric vehicles and moving past coal. The company closed seven Michigan coal plants in 2016, cutting carbon emissions 25 percent without hurting its workforce. As the company focuses on solar in the coming years, Poppe said electric vehicles will play a growing role in the company’s “triple bottom line” principle of serving people, the planet and prosperity. Read more here.

Photo: Consumers Energy’s community solar array at Grand Valley State University.

MORE CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION NEWS

EIA says 4 GW of coal-fired capacity may retire by end of 2019, American Public Power Association. So far in 2018, 11 GW of coal-fired generating capacity has retired through September, and another 3 GW are expected to retire in the final three months of the year, based on data reported to EIA by plant owners and operators. “If these plants retire as planned, 2018 will be the second-highest year for coal retirements. Another 4 GW of capacity are planning to retire by the end of 2019,” EIA reported.

U.S. energy storage storm grows in strength, PV Magazine

A Wood Mackenzie report shows U.S. energy storage deployments tripling in capacity during Q3 ’18 versus last year’s volume, while noting that the future pipeline growth rate doubled versus prior quarters to reach a 33 GW of future projects.


NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

EV NEWS

 

New plans by VW, Tesla and BYD support predictions that EV sales are set to skyrocket, PV Magazine

 

 

Major Study Shows Electric Bikes Good For Health, CleanTechnica
There was moderate evidence that e-cycling provided physical activity of at least moderate intensity, which was lower than the intensity elicited during conventional cycling, but higher than that during walking. There was also moderate evidence that e-cycling can improve cardiorespiratory fitness in physically inactive individuals. Photo: Omaha QuikByke Kiosk

ENERGY CONSERVATION

 

Rule your attic, save on energy costs, The Wire, OPPD Blog

100 Cities Agree: 100% Clean Energy For All

Written by Jodie Van Horn, Director of Sierra Club’s Ready For 100 Campaign

The Ready For 100 campaign began with an incredible idea: that the United States can be powered by 100% clean, renewable energy. The idea was initially ridiculed. Skeptics said we could never achieve such an ambitious, idealistic vision. We heard every version of “no,” “can’t,” “won’t,” and “shouldn’t.” We were laughed out of rooms.

So we did what anyone with a bold idea and a dream for a better future does: we persisted, and we organized. Just three years since Ready For 100 launched, we have helped build a strong, diverse movement of residents, businesses, faith leaders, community groups, and city leaders all across the country who are calling for 100% clean energy for 100% of the people. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Final hurdle cleared in California’s solar mandate for new homes

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

In the words of Kelly Knutsen, it’s officially official. Today the California Building Standards Commission unanimously voted to confirm a change to the state’s building code which will require that all newly built low-rise (three stories or less) residential units in the state either incorporate rooftop solar or hold a community solar contract, starting in 2020.

“These highly energy efficient and solar-powered homes will save families money on their energy bills from the moment they walk through their front door,” stated Knutsen, the director of technology advancement for the California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA). Knutsen also notes that this will include a solar plus storage option. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Lincoln, Nebraska-based GRNE Solar, “The Sun Haven.”

 

News Release: California Solar Building Requirement Crosses Finish Line, Solar Energy Industries Association

 

From bedroom community to business hotspot

By Tony Dreibus, Freelance Writer, The Wire, OPPD Blog

Sarpy County for years was known as a bedroom community, an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Recently, it’s become a destination for companies seeking available land, access to major roadways and a steady supply of potential employees. Facebook is one such company. The social network in April 2017 announced it was going to build a facility near Highway 50 and Capehart Road. Less than a year later, the company said the project would consist of six buildings instead of two. Read more here.

Facebook Photo

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS

NEW REPORT

Solar Homes: The Next Step for Clean Energy, Environment America and Frontier Group

Installing solar panels on all new homes is a common-sense step that would create a wave of clean, renewable energy, reduce dangerous greenhouse gas emissions, cut air pollution, save consumers money and help to create a more resilient electric grid. Download the Report.

HAPPENING IN OTHER STATES

Milwaukee eyes its own rooftop solar mandate with a California clone,
PV Magazine

The proposed legislation would require all new residential units in the city to include solar arrays, starting in 2019. A July poll by Morning Consult found that nearly 2/3 of Americans would support a solar mandate for new homes.

NATIONAL LEADERSHIP AWARDS

The Utility Dive Awards for 2018
The awards recognize the utility industry’s top disruptors and innovators. These executives and companies are key leaders in the sector’s pivotal transition.
Utility of the Year: Xcel
CEO of the Year: Jim Robo, NextEra Energy
Green Initiative of the Year: Washington, DC’s Green Bank

EV NEWS

1M EVs in the US ‘a step in our journey’ to combat climate change,
Smart Cities Dive
Image: License plate belonging to Don Cox, Stanford University Emeritus Professor and adjunct professor in UNL’s College of Engineering. His avocation is electric vehicles; he has taught EV classes at UNL and UNO. Owner of four Teslas, Don is known to generously offer demo rides to other EV enthusiasts, including students and colleagues.