Category Archives: NewsBlog

‘Build Back Better’ Hit a Wall, but Climate Action Could Move Forward

By Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman, New York Times

The climate portion of Build Back Better includes about $555 billion aimed at moving the American economy away from its 150-year-old reliance on fossil fuels and toward clean energy sources. Instead of penalties to punish polluters, the bill offers incentives for industries, utilities and individuals to shift from burning oil, gas and coal for energy and transportation to using wind, solar and other forms of power that do not emit carbon dioxide, the most plentiful of the greenhouse gases that are warming the world.

It would provide about $320 billion in tax credits for producers and buyers of wind, solar and nuclear power. Buyers of electric vehicles would receive up to $12,500 in tax credits. It would extend existing tax credits to lower costs for homeowners of installing solar panels, geothermal pumps and small wind turbines, covering up to 30 percent of the bills. Read more here.

APPA FACT SHEET OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

The Need for Direct Payment Of Refundable Tax Credits for Public Power

APPA believes that if Congress intends to create incentives in pursuit of national energy and climate goals, it should realize that tax-based incentives will not have the market-wide reach of direct grants and other incentives. As a result, the association believes that tax-based incentives should be drafted to accommodate tax-exempt entities, including public power utilities. 

UTILITY DIVE SERIES

2022 Outlook: FERC expected to prioritize transmission, power markets and gas infrastructure, by Ethan Howland, Senior Reporter

This is the third part of Utility Dive’s 2022 Outlook Series.

With its oversight of interstate transmission and wholesale power markets, FERC, an independent agency, has a major role in the energy transition. “FERC’s regulation is central to the resilient, reliable future grid that’s already developing,” John Moore, director of the Sustainable FERC Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said.

Potential changes to the transmission system are driven by the growth of renewable energy, especially in areas that are far from major population centers, according to Moore. Other developments that are driving a focus on transmission planning include the development of offshore wind farms and the shift away from fossil fuels for cars, trucks and buildings, which will drive up electricity use, Moore said.

Referenced in the article: FERC’s new Office of Public Participation
Upcoming Resources for the Future Webinar: Policy Leadership Series with FERC Commissioner Allison Clements, January 25, 2022 at 10 a.m. Central Time


Fourth Part of Utility Dive’s 2022 Series 

2022 Outlook: US solar and wind boom continues despite supply chain woes, Build Back Better uncertainty,  by Iulia Gheorghiu

 

INTERIOR DEPARTMENT NEWS

Interior’s 2022 energy strategy: 3 things to watch, E&E News

Interior’s efforts will include authorizing solar energy in Western deserts and leasing waters in the Atlantic Ocean to offshore wind developers, as well as reexamining the rules that govern decommissioning offshore pipelines, drilling for oil and digging for federal coal . . . Meanwhile, renewables are about to get a boost on public lands.

Additional Recommended Reading: Offshore wind: a key to unlocking the American transition to a clean, reliable and affordable energy future, American Clean Power Association

USDA NEWS RELEASES

USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations Highlights 2021 Accomplishments to Advance Equity and Opportunity for Tribal Nations and Communities

“USDA and the federal government have a distinct relationship with tribal nations,” said USDA Office of Tribal Relations Director Heather Dawn Thompson. “We are embarking on new initiatives to reframe approaches to how USDA serves Indian Country and promotes government-to-government relationships with tribal nations.” 

MIDAMERICAN ENERGY NEWS RELEASE

MidAmerican Energy proposes $3.9 billion “Wind PRIME” renewable energy project

In a filing with the Iowa Utilities Board, MidAmerican’s proposed project, called Wind PRIME, would add 2,042 megawatts of wind generation and 50 megawatts of solar generation. The company also proposed conducting feasibility studies focused on other clean generation technologies, including carbon capture, energy storage and small modular nuclear reactors.

FEATURED EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION

The Zero Energy Project is a non-profit educational organization whose goal is to help home buyers, builders, designers, and real estate professionals take meaningful steps towards radically reducing carbon emissions and energy bills by building zero net energy homes and near zero energy homes.

We envision the day when positive energy homes, which produce more energy than they consume, will power electric vehicles as well as homes, so that everyone can live well with less expense and without fear of energy price spikes, while greatly reducing our carbon emissions.

Zero Energy Project’s Directory of Zero Energy Building Professionals
Recent Blog Post: Net-Zero vs Passive House: What are the Similarities and Differences?

DOE BETTER BUILDINGS WEBINAR

PV Valuation: How Solar PV Adds Value to Your Assets, February 1, 2022, 10 a.m. CT

Rooftop solar is a common renewable energy strategy, and owners and operators are now exploring potential financial benefits to the value of commercial and industrial properties. Learn from several building owners and managers on how they made the business case for solar PV and found increased asset value during appraisal or at the time of sale. This webinar will highlight multiple building types and financial models for solar PV.

2022 Outlook: Top US power sector trends to watch

By Kavya Balaraman, Ethan Howland, Robert Walton, Iulia Gheorghiu

This is the first piece in Utility Dive’s four-part 2022 outlook series
examining key policies and trends driving the U.S. power sector.

At the start of the Biden administration’s second year, government agencies are beginning to implement the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the bipartisan infrastructure package Congress passed last year. Concerns remain high about the reliability and security of the U.S. power grid, and the future of the Build Back Better bill and its clean-energy provisions remains uncertain. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which now has a Democratic majority and a full complement of commissioners, is poised to play a key role in how much the administration’s climate and energy policies advance. Read more here.

Second Part of Utility Dive’s 2022 Outlook Series: A new recognition is coming of rate design’s critical role in the energy transition, by Herman K. Trabish

ENERGY STORAGE

‘Large quantities of energy storage’ can balance the US grid all-year-round, NREL study finds,
by Andy Colthorpe, Energy Storage News

The synergies between diurnal energy storage and solar PV are better than for wind energy, although it will have an important role to play in integrating both renewable energy types, the study found.

According to a new report from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), energy storage’s ability to store overgeneration from solar and wind power plants means it can contribute to the energy mix when most needed, even in the most conservative scenarios of variable renewable energy deployment. Photo Credit: Dennis Schroeder / NREL

Also by Andy Colthorpe: North America’s largest Li-ion battery recycling giga-facility to ‘take on as much as possible’ from ESS sector, Energy Storage News

ARTICLES WRITTEN BY TINA CASEY FOR CLEAN TECHNICA

Energy Efficient, Transparent Solar Windows: You Really Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
More than 20 billion square feet of windows are installed every year, and the leading firm Andersen Corporation apparently plans to make some of those billions into energy efficient, transparent solar energy generators that could kick the pace of global energy decarbonization into high gear.

The Solid-State Energy Storage Dam Is About To Bust Wide Open
Electric vehicles are supposed to be the biggest market for new solid-state battery technology, but stationary energy storage is suddenly in the running, too.

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA NEWS RELEASE & REPORT

President Biden’s first year in office marks progress on numerous environmental fronts

The progress report, President Biden’s First Year: A year of restoring lost environmental protections, documents the Biden administration’s work on 20 “priority actions” that enjoy broad support and have significant environmental impact. Although much of the media attention this past year has focused on big ticket bills like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Build Back Better Act, which still has an uncertain fate in Congress, the actions highlighted in the report are worthy of recognition as well. These include:

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

DOWNLOADABLE COLORING BOOK

Solar Energy Workbook

Download and color this FREE copy of the Solar Energy Workbook, then send it back to the American Solar Energy Society as a PDF. The organization will review it and reward you with an International Certificate “as appreciation of your dedication and efforts.” Click the above link for complete instructions.

USDA Launches Pilot Program to Deploy Renewable Energy Infrastructure to People in Rural Towns

USDA News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 19, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the Department is making up to $10 million available to help people living in rural towns develop community renewable energy projects that will help them cut their energy costs and contribute to the nationwide effort to reduce pollution that contributes to climate change. These funds will be targeted to help people who live in communities that have been historically underinvested and disinvested.

USDA is making the funds available through the new Rural Energy Pilot Program to help the people of rural America build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before. Through this program, USDA is supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to making environmental justice a part of every agency’s mission to address the disproportionate health, environmental, economic and climate impacts on disadvantaged communities. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Highlights Key Work in 2021 to Combat Climate Change, USDA News Release, January 18, 2022

“Climate change threatens our food security, safety, and the environment we all depend on, but USDA is taking action to respond,” said Vilsack. “Working closely alongside our partners and those we serve, we are conserving precious natural resources, supporting climate smart forestry and agriculture, helping agricultural producers make their operations more climate friendly and resilient to climate change, and protecting communities from wildfire.”

USDA Resource: Climate Solutions

DOE Kicks Off Recruitment to Support Implementation of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

U.S. Department of Energy News Release

“Clean Energy Corps” Hiring Campaign and Applicant Portal To Streamline
The Largest DOE Staff Expansion In More Than Four Decades

“This is an open call for all Americans who are passionate about taking a proactive role in tackling the climate crisis and want to join the team that is best positioned to lead this transformative work,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Solving the world’s greatest challenge will require the inclusion of all voices, perspectives and experiences – and we need people like you to ensure that DOE fulfills on our commitment to accelerating the clean energy transition to reduce emissions and save our planet.” 

The Department is now collecting resumes for the Clean Energy Corps through the newly launched DOE Applicant Portal, part of a streamlined application process that will allow applicants to align their talents with their passions by indicating specific areas of interest and allowing hiring managers to review candidate profiles simultaneously. The Department will assemble the Clean Energy Corps to mirror the diversity within America and ensure the inclusion of workers who have lived in communities impacted by climate change. DOE is seeking candidates with interest in leading the clean energy transition through the following industries: Read more here.

  • Watch Secretary Granholm’s message for Clean Energy Corps applicants HERE.
  • Anyone interested in joining the Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Corps can submit their resume, skills, and areas of interest at energy.gov/cleanenergycorps.  

Additional Recommended Reading

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Hits the Ground Running 60 Days into Infrastructure Implementation, The White House Briefing Room

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Races to Deploy Clean Energy that Creates Jobs and Lowers Costs

The White House Briefing Room, January 12, 2022

New Actions Advance Offshore Wind, Leverage Public Lands for Clean Energy, and
Build the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Transmission Lines

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is making major leaps forward on wind, solar, transmission, and other clean energy projects to create high-quality jobs and deliver affordable, carbon pollution-free electricity across the country. Seven federal agencies are announcing clean energy projects and plans that demonstrate the Administration’s unwavering commitment to creating cleaner and cheaper energy, and the actions showcase President Biden’s unprecedented coordination activating the entire government to fight climate change, produce good-paying, union jobs, and accelerate America’s clean energy economy. These actions include: Read more here.

RELATED READING

NPPD NEWS RELEASE

Jerry Chlopek elected NPPD Board Chair for 2022

Columbus, Neb. – Jerry Chlopek of Columbus was elected as Chair of Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD) Board of Directors for 2022 following that body’s annual election of officers Wednesday in Columbus.

Also elected were Melissa Freelend of Kearney as first vice chair, Ed Schrock of Holdrege/Elm Creek as second vice chair, and Wayne Williams as secretary. NPPD Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Laura Kapustka was elected treasurer.

FROM OPPD THE WIRE

ALSO IN THE NEWS

2021: DOE Moves At Lightning Speed Toward Clean Energy Goals

The Department of Energy (DOE) had a standout 2021. We pioneered game-changing scientific research, continued to advance our important nuclear security and cleanup missions, and made huge strides to tackle the climate crisis. As America’s “Solutions Department,” DOE is moving at lightning speed to achieve President Biden’s ambitious goals of cutting our carbon emissions in half by 2030, reaching 100% clean electricity by 2035 and getting to net zero by 2050.  Here are our top clean energy accomplishments of 2021:  Continue reading here.

DOE Blog Archive

From The White House Briefing Room

Titan Solar Power is now the national installer for Go Solar Group

By Staff at Solar Builder Magazine

Go Solar Group inked a deal with Titan Solar Power to be its national installation team. Founded in Utah, Go Solar Group has expanded from its sole Salt Lake City office to include brick-and-mortar commercial and residential solar installation crews to Reno, Nevada; San Antonio, Texas; and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Go Solar Group’s installation partnership with Titan Solar Power expands its solar installation access to Arizona, Colorado, Florida, California, Missouri, Illinois, New Jersey, Virginia, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. In 2022, Titan Solar Power plans to expand its installation reach to include Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Alabama, which will also further expand Go Solar Group’s installation outreach. Read more here. 

WORLD’S FIRST NAILABLE SOLAR SHINGLE

GAF Energy Launches Game-Changing Solar Roof to Power Mass Adoption of Clean Energy

This new system incorporates the world’s first nailable solar shingle, the Timberline Solar Energy Shingle™ (ES), which will be assembled domestically at GAF Energy’s manufacturing and R&D facility in San Jose, California—creating American jobs and delivering a revolutionary product with the potential to drive a seismic shift in residential clean energy adoption.

NFS Note: We emailed the company to ask if the GAF Energy solar roof is available in Nebraska. GAF’s reply: “We are not currently serving your area, but we are expanding across the US quickly. We hope to offer clean, renewable energy where you live soon. Our team is hard at work expanding our services and we hope to serve Nebraska customers in the future. So, please stay in touch! Check out our blog for the latest on what’s happening at GAF Energy and in solar.”

GOODYEAR NEWS RELEASES

Goodyear Develops 70% Sustainable Materials Tire With Industry-Leading Innovations


Goodyear’s new tire features three different carbon blacks that are produced from methane, carbon dioxide, and plant-based oil. Initial life cycle assessments demonstrate either reduced carbon emissions compared with current methods of carbon black production or the use of bio-based or waste feedstock sources.

Previously Posted: Goodyear Collaborates With Monolith On Carbon Black; Initial Testing Demonstrates Reduced Emissions

MORE ON MONOLITH MATERIALS


Turquoise hydrogen leader awarded $1bn US government loan to expand commercial facilities tenfold, Recharge News
Neither Monolith nor the Department of Energy (DOE) has explained the exact conditions that must be met for the 20-year loan to be finalized, but the announcement suggests that both are confident it will go ahead.


Fitch Rates Nebraska Public Power District’s General Revs ‘A+’; Outlook Stable
Scroll down to “New Large Customer” for a statement on Monolith Materials.

Solar power projects see the light on former Appalachian coal land

By Carey L. Biron, Thomsen Reuters Foundation News

The U.S. government formally began looking at putting renewable energy installations
on disturbed land – including mines, but also contaminated sites and landfills – in 2008. Since then, the RE-Powering America’s Land program has mapped over 100,000 potential sites covering more than 44 million acres.

DICKENSON COUNTY, Virginia – Looking west from Hazel Mountain, Brad Kreps can see forested hills stretching to the Tennessee border and beyond, but it is the flat, denuded area in front of him he finds exciting.

Surface coal mining ended on this site several years ago. But with a clean-up underway, it is now being prepared for a new chapter in the region’s longstanding role as a major energy producer – this time from a renewable source: the sun.

While using former mining land to generate solar energy has long been discussed, this and five related sites are among the first projects to move forward in the coalfields of the central Appalachian Mountains, as well as nationally. Continue reading here.

Virginia’s Clean Energy Legislation

Previously Posted: Interior Investing Over $260 Million to Help Create Jobs and Revitalize Land in Coal Communities, Department of the Interior News Release

DESERT RENEWABLE ENERGY CONSERVATION PLAN


The Biden Administration seeks to conserve 30% of U.S. land by 2030. The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan is one way to that goal.

See: Road to 30, Center for Western Priorities. Scroll down to learn about this plan and more Ways to Get to 30.

DOI News Release: Interior Department Advances Three Solar Projects in California, Marking Significant Progress to Develop a Clean Energy Economy


The three projects will generate roughly 1,000 megawatts (or 1 gigawatt of power) and are the first projects approved under the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) in the desert regions of seven California counties. 

 

Additional Resources

FEATURED REAP STORY FROM NORTH CAROLINA

Salisbury water buffalo farm installs solar panels with help from Rural Energy for America Program, Salisbury Post 

Caring for the buffalo and making products with their milk is hard work, and it also requires a significant amount of energy. That’s why the couple decided to install solar panels on the roof of their milking parlor and creamery last year. They were excited to find out in the spring they were awarded a $13,000 grant to help finance the project from the United States Department of Agriculture through its Rural Energy for America Program.

Next REAP Application Deadline: March 31, 2022

AMERICAN CLEAN POWER ASSOCIATION NEWS & RESOURCES

Celebrating Clean Power’s Progress and Reflecting on ACP’s First Year
ACP was created to unite the power of America’s clean energy industry. Our trade association brings together wind, solar, transmission and storage companies, along with manufacturers and construction companies, project developers and owners/operators, utilities, financial firms, and corporate purchasers of clean power to advance our shared goals and to transform the U.S. power grid to a low-cost, reliable, and renewable power system. 

Featured ACP Resources

Additional recommended reading on the above topic: Three Myths About Renewable Energy and the Grid, Debunked, by Amory B. Lovins and M.V. Ramana, Yale Environment 360

Renewable energy skeptics argue that because of their variability, wind and solar cannot be the foundation of a dependable electricity grid. But the expansion of renewables and new methods of energy management and storage can lead to a grid that is reliable and clean.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

U.S. can get to 100% clean energy with wind, water, solar and zero nuclear, Stanford professor says

By Catherine Clifford, CNBC

Mark Jacobson, a Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering and the director of its Atmosphere/Energy Program, has been promoting the idea of all renewable energy as the best way forward for more than a decade. His latest calculations toward this ambitious goal were recently published in the scientific journal Renewable Energy.

Transitioning to a clean-energy grid should happen by 2035, the study advises, with at least 80% of that adjustment completed by 2030. For the purposes of Jacobson’s study, his team factored in presumed population growth and efficiency improvements in energy to envision what that would look like in 2050. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & VIEWING

DOE Establishes New Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Department of Energy News Release, December 21, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the establishment of the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, a new DOE office that will help deliver on President Biden’s bold climate agenda, create new, good-paying jobs for American families and workers, and reduce pollution while benefitting disadvantaged communities.


Job Opportunities

Previously Posted

OPPD News 

OPPD awards contract for battery storage project, by Jodi Baker, The Wire


“We expect energy storage will play a vital part in OPPD’s decarbonization efforts as we add more solar, wind, or other forms of renewable energy in the future,” said Collin Sniff, alternative energy contracts manager for OPPD.

 

Featured Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Videos 

 

 

 


Utility-Scale Battery Storage

Presented By:

  • Carter Scott, Director, Energy Strategy, Ranger Power
  • Courtney Kennedy, Alternative Energy Program Manager, Omaha Public Power District
  • Moderator: David Rich, Sustainable Energy Manager, Nebraska Public Power District

Community Scale – Solar Battery Storage
Presented By:

  • Jeff Berggren, Nebraska Program Manager, Genpro Energy Solutions
  • Travis Kepler, Director of Engineering, GRNE
  • Drake Becksted, Contracts Administrator, Interconnection Systems, Inc.
  • Moderator: Josh Moenning, Mayor, City of Norfolk

Letter to the Editor by Heidi Heitkamp 

American Farmers Are Leaning Into a Clean Energy Future: Here’s How We Can Help, Progressive Farmer

It’s undeniable that climate change will impact our country’s farmers, but the more pressing question is, how can we help them leverage the tools necessary to fight back? Unlike in previous years, most American farmers today are ready and willing to embrace their role in implementing natural climate change solutions. According to a recent poll from Farm and Rural Life, approximately 80% of American farmers believe climate change is occurring, and more than half of respondents were concerned about the climate’s impact on their operations. 

Heidi Heitkamp is Director of Agriculture for alliantgroup and former U.S. Senator representing North Dakota from 2013 to 2019.

 NRDC Expert Blog 

Accelerating Progress on Clean Vehicles, by Luke Tonachel, Natural Resources Defense Council 

The United States is getting back on the road to cleaning up transportation pollution. This year, multiple states enacted strong pollution standards for cars and freight trucks, helping to accelerate the shift to pollution-free electric vehicles (EVs). Investments in plugs to charge electric vehicles also grew across the country. And, in a fitting cap to 2021, the Biden administration just finalized standards for new passenger cars that will allow all Americans to drive cleaner, more affordable vehicles.

UMWA statement on Build Back Better legislation

News Release, December 20, 2021

[TRIANGLE, VA.] United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“The United Mine Workers and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have a long and friendly relationship. We remain grateful for his hard work to preserve the pensions and health care of our retirees across the nation, including thousands in West Virginia. He has been at our side as we have worked to preserve coal miners’ jobs in a changing energy marketplace, and we appreciate that very much.

“The Build Back Better (BBB) legislation includes several items that we believe are important for our members and their communities – some of which are part of the UMWA’s Principles for Energy Transition we laid out last spring.

“The bill includes language that would extend the current fee paid by coal companies to fund benefits received by victims of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, or Black Lung. But now that fee will be cut in half, further shifting the burden of paying these benefits away from the coal companies and on to taxpayers.

“The bill includes language that will provide tax incentives to encourage manufacturers to build facilities in the coalfields that would employ thousands of coal miners who have lost their jobs. We support that and are ready to help supply those plants with a trained, professional workforce. But now the potential for those jobs is significantly threatened.

“The bill includes language that would, for the first time, financially penalize outlaw employers that deny workers their rights to form a union on the job. This language is critical to any long-term ability to restore the right to organize in America in the face of ramped-up union-busting by employers. But now there is no path forward for millions of workers to exercise their rights at work.

“For those and other reasons, we are disappointed that the bill will not pass. We urge Senator Manchin to revisit his opposition to this legislation and work with his colleagues to pass something that will help keep coal miners working, and have a meaningful impact on our members, their families, and their communities.

“I also want to reiterate our support for the passage of voting rights legislation as soon as possible, and strongly encourage Senator Manchin and every other Senator to be prepared to do whatever it takes to accomplish that. Anti-democracy legislators and their allies are working every day to roll back the right to vote in America. Failure by the Senate to stand up to that is unacceptable and a dereliction of their duty to the Constitution.”

From The White House Briefing Room

Readout of Investment Roundtable Hosted by the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization

The discussion highlighted how President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are already catalyzing economic activity in energy communities and how the Build Back Better Act will further expand economic opportunity in these communities.