Category Archives: NewsBlog

Solar tsunami

By Christian Roselund and John Weaver, PV Magazine

Developers have applied to build 139 GWac of large-scale solar projects in the territory of six grid operators – around five times what is currently online across the country – and that figure doesn’t even cover the entire United States. By any metric, we are looking at an unprecedented boom in solar development over the next five years. Read more here.

Flickr Photo by Juwi Renewable Energies Limited


Electric Power Markets: National Overview

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

 

 

Recently Posted: Capital Dynamics Signs Agreement with Tenaska to Develop Solar Projects, News Release. The transaction includes 14 solar projects with approximately 2,000 megawatts (MW) in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) market. The portfolio represents a large share of all solar projects currently in the MISO North interconnection queue, with projects in Michigan,
Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota.

Nebraska is a member of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) wholesale market.
Based in Little Rock, Arkansas. SPP manages transmission in fourteen states: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. Its membership is comprised of investor-owned utilities, municipal
systems, generation and transmission cooperatives, state authorities, independent power producers, power marketers and independent transmission companies.

Also Published by PV Magazine:

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

INTERVIEW

What’s In Store for U.S. Solar Energy in 2019?, by the Center on Global Energy Policy, Earth Institute, Columbia University. In the latest edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, host Bill Loveless talks to Abigail Ross Hopper, the president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the U.S. trade group for solar energy.

OPPD POSTS RESIDENTIAL SERVICE CHARGE FAQs ON WEBSITE

The final adjustment to the residential service charge begins January 1. Review the Rate Restructuring FAQs for details

FAQ #9:  I am considering installing solar panels and/or wind generation at my home. How would this affect me?
Because the fixed portion of the bill is increasing, customers who wish to install solar or wind to meet part of their energy needs would see an increase in the payback period associated with recovering their investment.

Previously Posted: Are regulators starting to rethink fixed charges?, Utility Dive
[In 2017], regulators only approved 6 out of 84 proposals for higher customer charges, suggesting regulators might be looking for “something better,” Proudlove told Utility Dive. Autumn Proudlove is senior manager of policy research at the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC).

10 Ways Science Based Targets Can Improve Your Business

By Mike Scott, Contributor, Forbes

More than 500 of the world’s largest companies have set targets to cut emissions in line with climate science. The consultancy thinkstep has
explained why the targets are such a powerful business tool, “beyond the obvious ethical reasons for working to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

#10: Younger consumers and workers are more interested in
sustainability than their elders. In 2019, thinkstep says, millennials will overtake baby boomers as the largest generation – and climate change is their number one concern – they want to work for a company they can believe in. “Setting science-based targets is a powerful way to communicate the legitimacy of your brand to current and potential
co-workers and retain their loyalty,” thinkstep says. Read more here.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Divestment Year in Review 2018 — #CleanTechnica Report

Over 1000 institutions with managed investments worth almost $8 trillion have committed to divest from fossil fuels. Go Fossil Free.Org Report: 1000 Divestment Commitments And Counting

  • Money managers: the new warriors of climate change, Financial Times
    Following decades of campaigning by environmentalists and non-government organizations, it is now spreadsheet-analyzing money managers — responsible for the nest eggs of millions of people — who are forming a new generation of climate activists. And these activists are backed by trillions of dollars.
  • 6 times the environment won in 2018, Grist
    Folks across the country, from local city leaders to state attorneys general, are out there chipping away at the biggest existential threat of our time. And they’re actually getting somewhere. Here’s proof.
  • Power Plant Accident Casts New Light On New York’s Dirty Fuel Addiction, Huffington Post
    The bright-blue sky dazzled the city’s residents, but the source of the light — one of New York’s dirtiest power plants — could stoke an already heated debate.

Year-End Reflections and Predictions From a Solar Veteran

Vote Solar’s Adam Browning offers up his picks for the most
important trends of 2018. Published by Greentech Media.

In 2002, when solar was $9 a watt, I co-founded an advocacy organization to bring solar into the mainstream. Solar’s made a lot of progress since then, and 2018 feels like a crucial year in many ways, with some key successes and pivotal developments.

Here’s my list of the most important stories in solar in 2018, and predictions for 2019.

Continue reading here.

Congress should consider nationwide, voluntary reporting

Written by Charles Hernick and Benjamin Backer, Guest Opinion, The Hill

voluntary federal framework for carbon reporting and offset exchange would increase transparency and accountability in the carbon space and is an actionable solution to the growing concerns over carbon emissions.

In short, it will help make sense of what states and businesses are already doing. To date, over 383 cities and municipalities have joined together as The Climate Mayors to reduce their own emissions. Additionally, more than 2,500 mayors, governors, CEOs, college presidents, faith organizations, and tribal leaders have moved to similarly track and reduce emissions.
Read more here.

About the Authors
Charles Hernick is the director of policy and advocacy at Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) Forum, a nonpartisan, nonprofit  organization committed to educating the public and influencing the national conversation about clean energy. Benjamin Backer is the President & Founder of The American Conservation Coalition (ACC) nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering conservatives to re-engage on environmental conversations.

Referenced Initiatives: Click logos to link to websites.  

 

 

Previously Posted

MORE AGGREGATION INFORMATION & NEWS

Community Choice Aggregation, also called Municipal Aggregation:

2018 Farm Bill Includes Key Renewable Energy Program

By Tina Casey, CleanTechnica

The Department of Agriculture’s renewable energy grant and loan programs are pulled together under an initiative called REAP for Rural Energy for America Program. REAP got its start in 2008 as an iteration of the agency’s Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program. That program was established in 2002 with an initial $23 million in funding for grants, loan guarantees, and combination packages. As for why renewable energy programs are bundled into supporting legislation for the agriculture industry, the connection between food and energy is no mystery: it takes energy to run farm equipment. Read more here.

Photo: Harmony Nursery in Bradshaw, Nebraska. The 25-kilowatt solar system was a USDA
Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant award-winner. Installed by Graham Christensen, owner of GC ReVOLT, LLC.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Take local action on climate change

Written by Roy D. Buol, Mayor of Dubuque and a member of
Mayors for Solar Energy, Guest Columnist, The Gazette

The federal government’s Fourth National Climate Assessment should be a major wake-up call for the Midwest. The report details the serious consequences of our addiction to fossil fuels in communities such as Dubuque and throughout the Midwest. Our elected leaders not only need to acknowledge the gravity and urgency of the problem but do everything in their power to solve it . . . Dubuque is working to prevent the worst of these effects by advancing clean, carbon-free renewable energy at the local level. With the adoption of Dubuque’s plan to reduce the community’s greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent below 2003 levels by 2030, the City Council solidified our commitment to mitigating and adapting to climate impacts. Read more here.

Image: Alliant Energy’s Solar Facility in Dubuque
The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) announced April 2018 that the Dubuque Solar project earned the Envision Platinum rating for sustainable infrastructure – the highest Envision award level. This is the first solar project to receive Envision recognition, and second project in Iowa to receive an Envision Platinum rating.

 

Mayors for Solar Members in Nebraska
Mayors join call for more solar power

 

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

Wind Dominates First-Quarter Midwest Power Project Starts, Completions, an Industrial Info News Alert, PR Newswire
Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas) is tracking nearly $6 billion in Power Industry projects that are planned to start or be completed in the U.S. Midwest market region in first-quarter 2019. The Midwest includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Wind power dominates these projects in terms of project value. Iowa, with more than $1.8 billion in planned starts and completions, leads in terms of project value. 

Minnesota Regulators Approve Nobles 2 Wind PPA, North American Windpower
Minnesota Power, a utility division of ALLETE Inc., has received unanimous approval from the
Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with
[Omaha-based] Tenaska Inc. for 250 MW of wind-generated electricity.

MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Solar farm approvals on deck; B-N group-buy matches first, Bloomington Pantagraph. McLean County is on track to have 18 solar farms considered for state approval this spring, with small-scale solar development still marching along after another successful group-buy program. StraightUp Solar Photo: A solar farm at Home Nursery, a wholesale nursery in Albers, Illinois.

UTILITIES IN THE NEWS

Xcel Energy: Utility of the Year?
By Robert Rapier, 
Moneyshow.com
Historically, most of Xcel’s wind generation was produced under power-purchase agreements from third parties. But that’s about to change. Xcel has approved 4,780 MW of new wind power by 2021, of which it will own 74%. Xcel plans to invest $1 billion in Colorado over the next few years. It is targeting an increase in renewables to about 55% of its energy mix by 2026 . . . Expect more utilities to follow Xcel’s example. Global pressure to address climate change has been a factor to this point in the rapid adoption of renewables. But now that they are becoming cost-competitive with coal, renewables increasingly look like a smart decision, for both utilities and investors. Flickr Photo

Utilities are accelerating microgrid investments in innovative and strategic ways, GreenBiz
The electric utility sector is at a crossroads between centralized generation and distributed energy
resources (DERs), with 2018 DER deployments exceeding additions for centralized generation.

SOLSMART UPDATE

 

The SolSmart Application has been revised.
Click here to download and review it.

Researchers present Columbus, OH leaders with climate adaptation plan

By Katie Pyzyk, Smart Cities Dive

A task force led by researchers at Ohio State University has submitted the Columbus Climate Adaptation Plan (CCAP) to city leaders. The primary goal of the document is not to mitigate climate change, but rather to prepare the city and its residents for the projected effects of climate change and inform them of adaptations that should be made. The document contains 43 action items in eight main areas including extreme heat, water use and air quality and energy.
Read more here.
Columbus Climate Adaptation Plan (PDF), Completed December 2018

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Additional Midwest Climate Action
Evanston adopts climate action and resiliency plan, Medill Reports 

IN NEBRASKA
Resources
Nebraska State Climate Office
Previously-posted information on steps taken toward a state climate action plan:

C2ES RESOURCES

MORE CLIMATE ACTION & RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCES

NATIONAL SCIENCE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION POSITION STATEMENT:
THE TEACHING OF CLIMATE SCIENCE

The science of climate change is firmly rooted in decades of peer-reviewed scientific literature and is as sound and advanced as other established geosciences that have provided deep understandings in fields such as plate tectonics and planetary astronomy. As such, A Framework for K–12 Science Education recommends that foundational climate change science concepts be included as part of a high-quality K–12 science education. Given the solid scientific foundation on which climate change science rests, any controversies regarding climate change and human-caused contributions to climate change that are based on social, economic, or political arguments—rather than scientific
arguments—should not be part of a science curriculum.
Read the entire position statement here.
Download as a PDF here.

EPA Updates Key Tool for Communities to Use in Turning Current and Formerly Contaminated Lands into Renewable Energy Assets

EPA News Release

EPA’s RE-Powering Mapper is an online interactive web application that allows users to visualize key information on renewable energy potential at specific contaminated lands, landfills and mine sites. Using screening criteria developed in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), EPA has pre-screened more than 130,000 sites for their renewable energy potential. Read more here.

Access the updated RE-Powering Mapper here. 
Learn more about EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

The Nordex Group: leading sustainability transformation with powerful wind turbines, Energy Digital

Today, the Nordex Group has several projects underway and is nearing completion on a 95 turbine project in Kansas, a 101 turbine project in Nebraska, and a 16 turbine project in North Dakota.
AWEA Public Domain Photo: Wind Rainbow

  • Minnesota Power, Tenaska agree on wind energy purchase, The Globe
  • Black Hills Energy proposes $57 million wind farm for new energy options, Wyoming News
    The utility submitted a proposal to the Wyoming Public Service Commission on Monday seeking approval for a new Renewable Ready Service Tariff. The program would offer commercial customers local utility-scale renewable energy resources through a subscription program to fulfill up to 100 percent of their electricity needs. Participants would be able to enter into contracts with the company to purchase renewable energy for periods of five to 25 years. To facilitate this, Black Hills is requesting approval for a 40-megawatt wind energy-generating facility west of Cheyenne, known as the Corriedale Wind Energy Project.
  • The Year of the Corporate PPA, Greentech Media
  • Colorado’s Electric Car Dream: More charging stations, less smog and the warm embrace of renewable energy, The Denver Post. The state is growing more bullish on electric vehicles as it launches a plan to “electrify” more of the state’s transportation sector
  • The story behind that Amazon shareholder proposal demanding action on climate change, Fast Company. A group of employee stockholders have signed their names to a resolution, which will be voted on at the upcoming annual shareholder meeting next year. They are requesting that Amazon prepare a report describing exactly how it is planning for disruptions posed by climate change, and how it will reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. In total, 28 employees put their names on the document. It’s a first-of-its-kind stand from employees of one of the world’s most powerful companies–a group of dissenters using the leverage provided to them via their stock options. 

SHAREHOLDER ADVOCACY / CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY RESOURCES

As You Sow
Founded in 1992, As You Sow promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. Their vision is a safe, just, and sustainable world in which protecting the environment and human rights is central to corporate decision making. “Corporations are responsible for most of the pressing social and environmental problems we face today — we believe corporations must be a willing part of the solutions.”

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
Currently celebrating their 47th year, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
pioneered the use of shareholder advocacy to press companies on environmental, social, and governance issues. This coalition of over 300 global institutional investors currently represents more than $400 billion in managed assets. Leveraging their equity ownership in some of the world’s largest and most powerful companies, ICCR members regularly engage management to identify and mitigate social and environmental risks resulting from corporate operations and policies.

Proxy Preview
Proxy Preview is a collaboration between three organizations: As You Sow, Sustainable Investment Institute, and Proxy Impact to help investors align their values with their investments. Publishes Annual Guide: Proxy Preview 2018 is the 14th edition of the insider’s guide to social and environmental shareholder proposals. This free publication is the #1
resource for shareholders looking to align their values and investments. “Bible for socially progressive foundations, religious groups, pension funds, and tax-exempt organizations”
– Chicago Tribune

SocialFunds.com
Social Funds.com features over 10,000 pages of information on SRI mutual funds, community investments, corporate research, shareowner actions, and daily social investment news.

2018 solar power year in review (part 1)

By Christian Roselund and John Weaver, PV Magazine

There’s a reason it’s called the solar coaster. And while we’ve had a number of difficult years over the past decade, 2018 took the cake for pure drama. But against all of that, the slings and arrows that it has suffered, the solar industry has shown remarkable resilience, and is coming out of 2018 not only swinging, but stronger than ever. So today we’re taking a moment to reflect on what we’ve come through, with our list of our top stories from 2018. Continue reading here.

2018 solar power year in review (part 2)

New Jersey moves to end solar RECs, take next steps toward 100% renewables

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Regulators are continuing to develop and tweak New Jersey’s solar programs, and their work is showing strong results: The Garden State ranks among the top 10 for home and business solar projects, and recently surpassed 100,000 installations, according to state regulators.

The Board of Public Utilities (BPU) this week took steps to phase out the current Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) program, which will be closed when solar makes up 5.1% of the electricity sold by electric power suppliers and basic generation providers. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Solar World

MORE 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

US Congress Support Of Green New Deal Growing With Sunrise Movement Momentum, CleanTechnica
With goals to reduce emissions through massive, rapid deployment of zero-carbon generation, the Green New Deal is gaining momentum, with 40 members of Congress already signed on and more Congressional representatives committing to the effort every week.

EV NEWS

Over 500,000 Electric Cars In California!, CleanTechnica
In November of this year, the number of electric cars sold in California reached over 512,000, according to Veloz, a non-profit organization that is working to support the transition to electric vehicles.  Josh Boone, Executive Director of Veloz, answered some questions about the EV growth trend in California for CleanTechnica.

WE ARE STILL IN UPDATE


We Are Still In signatories currently represent a constituency of more than half of all Americans, 154 million across all 50 states, and taken together, they represent $9.46 trillion in GDP.