Category Archives: NewsBlog

How the Green New Deal Can Unify Rather than Divide Us

Written by Ken Kimmel, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists

The “Green New Deal,” which seemed to spring out of nowhere, has captured the attention of many of us who recognize that the need to prevent runaway climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. Its inspiring title calls to mind an era when our country worked together to pull out of a depression. Its main proponents are young people—who better than the up-and-coming generation to demand that the former one leaves behind a world that is habitable? And, it calls for action on a scale that aligns with the best available science.

Unfortunately, many who oppose acting on climate change are using the Green New Deal as a political football . . . Those of us who want the United States to lead on climate change, whether such action is called a Green New Deal, or another inspiring frame (e.g., 100% clean energy by mid-century) must not let this happen. The key is to define the Green New Deal before the caricatures stick, by showing that, while it is ambitious, it is realistic and affordable. We can succeed if we follow these principles: Continue reading here.

Previously posted YouTube video exemplifying local “micro” Green New Deals sprouting up all across the country: How one small city sowed the seeds for its own Green New Deal

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Puerto Rico passes 100% renewable energy bill as it aims for storm resilience, Utility Dive

The U.S. territory will join Hawaii, California and Washington, D.C., with its 100% RPS target, which includes interim goals of 40% renewables by 2025 and 50% by 2040. 
Photo Credit: Flickr user Ricardo’s Photography

NEW REPORT

Battery Power’s Latest Plunge in Costs Threatens Coal, Gas, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

The most striking finding in this [levelized cost of electricity update], for the first-half of 2019, is on the cost improvements in lithium-ion batteries. These are opening up new opportunities for them to balance a
renewables-heavy generation mix. Batteries co-located with solar or wind
projects are starting to compete, in many markets and without subsidy, with coal- and gas-fired generation for the provision of ‘dispatchable
power’ that can be delivered whenever the grid needs it. 

NEW DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY SOLAR RESEARCH PROJECT

News Release: Department of Energy Announces $130 Million for Early-Stage Solar Research Project
Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $130 million for new research to
advance early-stage solar technologies. These projects will help to achieve affordable and reliable
energy 
to enhance America’s economic growth and energy security . . . This funding program targets five research areas: photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), soft costs reduction,
innovations in manufacturing, and solar systems integration. These projects will make solar energy more affordable, reliable, and secure, while working to boost domestic solar manufacturing, reduce red tape, and make PV more resilient to cyberattack.

Previously Announced DOE Funding for Solar Energy Integration

For more information on the Solar Energy Technologies Office, visit their website HERE.

New toolkit provides U.S. cities with ten ways to go solar

Environment America News Release

With local municipalities playing an increasingly important role in the clean energy revolution, Environment America Research and Policy Center released a new toolkit to support
cities and towns nationwide in capturing more clean
renewable energy from the sun. Ten Ways Your Community Can Go Solar offers practical ways to take advantage of
millions of available rooftops across the country.

“If we’re going to forestall catastrophic climate change and protect our cities and towns from the effects of extreme weather, there’s nothing better than clean, locally harvested renewable power,” said Susan Rakov, chair of Environment America Research and Policy Center’s Clean
Energy Program. “Rooftop solar can make communities cleaner, safer and more self-reliant.
Cities and towns need to put the pieces in place to help this technology thrive.” Read more here.

Links to Solar Energy Incentives & Additional Resources

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems: 30% to December 31, 2019.
Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

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 dualaxis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.

Source: Customer-owned Renewable Generation

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

New Project Would More Than Double Wisconsin’s Solar Energy Output

By Hope Kirwin, Wisconsin Public Radio

A major utility in western Wisconsin has announced plans for a new solar farm in Jefferson
County. Dairyland Power Cooperative plans to purchase 149 megawatts of solar energy from the Badger State Solar project. That’s almost six times Dairyland’s current solar investment and
would more than double the state’s solar production, The new partnership would create one of the largest solar farms in Wisconsin. The solar farm would be built by development company
Ranger Power on private land in the towns of Jefferson and Oakland. Read more here.

Ranger Power Photo

Related

MORE NEWS FROM STATES


Big cheese gets big solar+storage proposal, PV Magazine
Invenergy has proposed a solar project up to 200 MWac / 300 MWdc in capacity with a 50 MW / 200 MWh battery in Kenosha County, Wisconsin.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

State of the states: 4 reasons that red plus blue makes green economics, Utility Dive Contributor Malcolm D. Woolf, managing director of MW Energy Advisors and former chair of the National Association of State Energy Officials.

Washington, D.C. is abuzz with the Green New Deal, but my bet is that the most pivotal energy legislation enacted this year comes from red and blue state houses across the nation.

GLOBAL NEWS

Rise of bifacial lifts profits for the world’s tracker companies, PV Magazine

Soltec Image: Single-axis tracker

New Mexico Passes 100% Clean Energy Bill

By Noah Long, Natural Resources Defense Council

The bill will double renewable energy use in the state by 2025, require 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent carbon free electricity generation by 2045. This means New Mexico can quickly transition from dependence on fossil fuels for electricity to joining other states to lead a new clean energy economy. Read more here.

Related

  • New Mexico will be the third US state to go 100% renewable, PV Magazine
  • Power to the people — community solar works, Santa Fe New Mexican
    Written by Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima, and Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber
  • Southwest States Make Large Strides on Renewable Energy Targets, E&E News, Reprinted by
    Scientific American. New Mexico and Nevada are poised to enact far-reaching changes to
    reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In Nevada, NV Energy was once viewed as an enemy of
    residential solar development after backing state regulators’ attempt to end the practice of net
    metering. But the utility acquiesced to efforts to restore net metering and has sought to tout its
    renewable ambitions in recent months . . . Public Service Company of New Mexico, the state’s
    largest utility, had already pledged to divest itself of all its coal assets by 2031.

MORE 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Hoboken commits to 100% renewable energy by 2030, The Stute
In a statement released on February 21, 2019, Mayor Ravi Bhalla announced that the city of Hoboken, New Jersey will begin purchasing 100% clean, nonpolluting renewable electricity for all municipal facilities starting April of 2019. This includes offices and buildings used for the Hoboken local government, such as city hall.

FPL announces plans for the largest community solar program in the U.S.

Florida Power & Light Company News Release, PR Newswire
FPL is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy.

FPL SolarTogether will significantly expand solar energy in Florida. Pending PSC approval, FPL plans to install 1,490 MW of new universal solar at 20 new solar power plants across its service territory to meet anticipated customer enrollment in the program.  “This program will more
than double the amount of community solar currently in the U.S.” – Eric Silagy, President and CEO of FPL. Read more here.

MORE ENERGY TRANSITION NEWS

Toyota Driving Demand For Solar Power In Ohio Valley,
WKU Public Radio

Automaker Toyota is planning to announce a major
investment in solar and other renewable energy in
Appalachia and the Southeastern U.S. The plan includes a
massive new solar facility on an old surface coal mine
property in Kentucky. Photo by Sydney Boles: Part of the
700-acre surface mine still remains to be reclaimed.

GREEN CAMPUSES

Cornell’s Renewable Energy Initiatives: From 115-Year-Old Hydroelectric Plant to Rooftop Solar Farms, Cornell Sun
University of Michigan renewable energy deal could help cut campus emissions 25 percent, Michigan Live
Campbell school district leases land for solar power savings, Youngstown Vindicator

RV SOLAR

 

Consider These 7 Key Benefits Of Solar Power For RVing,
Blue and Green Tomorrow

Xcel Energy Rolls Out New Renewable Energy Option for Customers

Wisconsin Proud

Xcel Energy customers in Wisconsin now have a new option to power their homes and
businesses with clean wind and solar energy. Monday, they announced its Renewable Connect
Program. Xcel says customers who subscribe will be able to secure up to 100 percent of their
electricity from a blend of wind and solar resources. Officials say the program will allow
customers to subscribe to the full renewable energy benefits of low-cost wind and solar energy,
giving them the flexibility to choose how much and for how long. Read more here.

Image by Xcel Energy

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

Nevada joins league of states fighting climate change,
Las Vegas Review-Journal 

Gov. Steve Sisolak has signed Nevada onto the U.S. Climate Alliance, joining 22 other states in a commitment to reduce greenhouse emissions and the effects of climate change.
U.S. Climate Alliance

INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIP

SunPower rolls out solar program to support the Sierra Club, Solar Power World 

Grassroots environmental organization Sierra Club, one of the most enduring and influential in the United States, is providing an opportunity for its more than 3.5 million members and
supporters to go solar with SunPower. As part of the new
program
, participating Sierra Club members or supporters who purchase or lease a SunPower home solar system can receive a $1,000 mail-in rebate and SunPower will give Sierra Club $1,000 to support the organization’s mission.

Sierra Club’s Ready for 100: To date, 111 cities have committed to 100% renewable energy.

The 100 percent renewables moonshot: We’re closer than you think

By Grant Smith, Senior Policy Advisor for Energy at
Environmental Working Group, Contributor, The Hill

Advocates for 100 percent renewable energy often compare the effort needed to meet that goal to efforts to put a person on the moon. The truth is this: We’re closer to 100 percent renewable
energy today than we were to the moon in 1961, when President Kennedy made his famous pledge to land there by the end of the decade. Read more here.

Pixabay Photo

ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP NEWS RELEASE

Bloomberg Report: Trump To Call for 70 Percent Cut In Renewable Energy Funding. EWG said it is a scheme that is dead on arrival,
because the clean energy revolution has wide support in even the most conservative parts of the nation. Bloomberg said the Trump
administration’s 2020 federal budget request will call for slashing
funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, from its current level of $2.3 billion to $700 million, or roughly 70 percent. 

To date, third-party evaluations have assessed one-third of EERE’s research and development portfolio and found that an EERE taxpayer investment of $12 billion has already yielded an estimated net economic benefit to the United States of more than $230 billion, with an overall annual return on investment of more than 20%.
EERE Strategic Goals
EERE Strategic Plan

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & VIEWING

Trump tries to hold the line on coal, but America is moving on (from California to New York), by Mary Ann Hitt, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign Director, Contributor, Red, Green and Blue. From retiring a coal plant that Trump tried to save with a tweet, to a historic announcement that Los Angeles won’t repower its gas plants, I want to be sure you’ve heard about these recent victories on the ground for the climate and clean energy movement that are moving our nation toward 100% clean energy.

Electric cooperatives in Colorado push for change at Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

By Joe Smyth, Clean Cooperative

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is one of the largest G&Ts in the country,
delivering power to 43 electric cooperatives in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Nebraska.
Like many other G&Ts, most of the power that Tri-State generates comes from coal fired power plants . . . Tri-State’s largest member co-op, United Power, has proposed changes to Tri-State’s bylaws to give co-ops more flexible contract options, so they can purchase power from other providers and pursue more local renewable energy projects. United Power has been discussing its proposal with other Tri-State member co-ops, warning that Tri-State policies are turning away large customers.

United Power built several solar projects, and in 2017 reached the limit on local energy
development imposed by Tri-State. So United shifted its strategy to energy storage projects, and installed a 4 megawatt Tesla Powerpack, now the largest battery in Colorado. But Tri-State
pushed back, and last year changed its policies to discourage its member co-ops from pursuing energy storage projects. Read the entire article here.

Photo: United Power’s Battery Storage Project. YouTube Video Joe Smyth includes in his article:

Will Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska remain reliant on coal?

By Joe Smyth, Clean Cooperative

A wholesale power provider for 13 Colorado cities and towns generates most of its power
from coal – but will that still be true in 2030? That’s one of the key questions raised in a
report published last month by Sustainable Development Strategies Group, ​”A Renewable
Energy Future for Colorado Communities Served by the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska.”

The report examines the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN), which sells wholesale power to dozens of towns and cities in Nebraska, Wyoming, Iowa, and Colorado. Sustainable Development Strategies Group (SDSG), a non-profit research group based in Gunnison,
Colorado, focused on the 13 municipalities in Colorado that buy power from MEAN. The report examines MEAN’s power supply mix, policies, and contracts in the context of a transition to
renewable energy. Read more here.

Image from Moody’s Investors Service March 2017 report: Utilities increasingly adding low cost wind power to rate base, leaving inefficient coal plants at risk. Nebraska is among the 15 states with the
best wind energy resources, which the report found could generate electricity from new wind power projects at prices well below the average costs of operating coal fired power plants.

About MEAN
The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) is the not-for-profit wholesale electricity supply organization of NMPP Energy. Created in 1981, MEAN provides cost-based power supply, transmission and related services to 69 participating communities in four states: Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming. MEAN members/participants

Additional Recommended Reading

NRECA Resources
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s innovative SUNDA Project helps rural electric cooperatives to develop utility-scale solar projects. SUNDA stands for “Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration.”
Resources are available here: SUNDA Project
NRECA Report: A Solar Revolution in Rural America

How one small city sowed the seeds for its own Green New Deal

By Rachel Lane, CBS News, Posted on YouTube

As those fighting climate change look toward grand government schemes such as the Green New Deal, little Holyoke, Massachusetts, is showing how to make the kinds of on-the-ground
transformations needed to win the war. How this city of just 40,000 went from having the last
coal-powered plant in Massachusetts to laying claim to its largest solar farm might prove a
valuable blueprint as more cities and states set goals for 100 percent renewable energy. It
wasn’t easy, and it certainly didn’t happen overnight. But thanks to a lot of foresight and the recognition that the time had come to actively prepare for a future quite different from the
past, Holyoke made a series of conscious decisions that are already paying off.
Watch the video here.

INTERVIEW

The Conservative Texas Mayor Leading the Charge With Renewable Energy Talks About the Green New Deal, PBS Frontline
Mayor Dale Ross: I think that I can speak to experience on Georgetown; when we first did the … contracts on renewable energy, it was predictably a business deal, but what we’ve realized since then [is] there’s tremendous economic benefits and there’s also environmental benefits that speak for themselves. There are a lot of companies in this country that have robust green policies and they want to be a part of cities and communities that are supportive of those robust policies.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

WIKI-SOLAR: WORLD’S LEADING SOLAR POWER OWNERS & DEVELOPERS

OVERVIEW – Utilities join the party as solar power goes mainstream, Renewables Now. The list of the world’s top solar power plant owners released by Wiki-Solar.org shows that leading energy utilities are building significant solar portfolios . . . Independent power producers (IPPs) hold a relatively lower share, now the utilities are more active, but are still building significant portfolios. Infrastructure funds like GIP and Berkshire Hathaway in the US are prominent. Wikimedia Commons Photo.