Category Archives: Recycling

U of M researchers pitch ‘green’ ammonia as key to renewable energy future

By Walker Orenstein, MinnPost

As wind and solar power make up an increasingly large share of energy production in the U.S., finding ways to store the intermittent energy they create is critical for when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. The University of Minnesota is working on a novel way to help solve the storage puzzle for renewable energy: by creating ammonia.  

Michael Reese, director of renewable energy at the U’s West Central Research and Outreach Center, said the U has previously turned wind power into ammonia that can be used for fertilizer and even to fuel agricultural equipment. Read more here.

Presentation by Michael Reese to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission: Green Ammonia for Fertilizer, Fuel, and Energy Storage

NPPD & MONOLITH’S GREEN AMMONIA INITIATIVE

Previously Posted

NPPD RFP

Request for Proposals for Renewable Energy Resources, 4/19/21
Description: NPPD is seeking bids for Renewable Generation Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) with a proposed Commercial Operation Date (COD) during calendar year 2025. NPPD seeks to procure Energy, Capacity, and environmental attributes (including Renewable Energy Credits or RECS) for a term between 10-30 years.

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

“Coal may contain as many as 76 of the 92 naturally occurring elements of the periodic table.” 
United States Geological Survey
__________________________________________

DOE Awards $19 Million for Initiatives to Produce Rare Earth Elements and Critical Minerals, Department of Energy News Release 

“The very same fossil fuel communities that have powered our nation for decades can be at the forefront of the clean energy economy by producing the critical minerals needed to build electric vehicles, wind turbines, and so much more,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “By building clean energy products here at home, we’re securing the supply chain for the innovative solutions needed to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 – all while creating good-paying jobs in all parts of America.” 

Production of rare earth elements and critical minerals, which serve as key components to several clean energy applications such as magnets in wind turbines and batteries in electric and conventional vehicles, is a prime example of how DOE is supporting regional economic growth and job creation in regions traditionally home to the fossil fuel industry.

The initiatives include:
University of Kansas Center for Research Inc. (Lawrence, Kansas) plans to study the feasibility of recovering critical minerals from coal and associated strata in the Cherokee-Forest City Basin encompassing Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and the Osage Nation.
DOE Funding: $1,500,000

See Also: FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Outlines Key Resources to Invest in Coal and Power Plant Community Economic Revitalization, The White House Briefing Room

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Could a Michigan green bank offer a blueprint for Biden’s green recovery?

By Tom Perkins, Energy News Network

As President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team prepares its green economic recovery plan, a Michigan clean energy finance program could provide a bipartisan model for how to spur energy savings and job growth. Biden has already proposed a national green bank as part of his $2 trillion plan to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of the century. The initiative would provide capital to help finance projects such as rooftop solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, weatherization and building efficiency upgrades. Similar programs exist in about a dozen states, and among the oldest and most effective is Michigan Saves. As President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team prepares its green economic recovery plan, a Michigan clean energy finance program could provide a bipartisan model for how to spur energy savings and job growth. Continue reading here.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

MACRO GRIDS

Report: U.S. trails other countries in building macro grids for moving, sharing electricity, Iowa State University News Service

AMES, Iowa – Countries around the world are well ahead of the United States in planning and building “macro grids” capable of moving electricity from one grid or distant geographic region to another, according to a new report authored by an Iowa State University engineer and a former doctoral student.

RECYCLING OLD WIND TURBINE BLADES

Cement production to use old wind turbine blades after GE inks new deal, CNBC
GE Renewable Energy and Veolia North America (VNA) have signed a “multi-year agreement” to recycle blades removed from onshore wind turbines in the United States. In an announcement Tuesday, GE Renewable Energy said the blades would be shredded at a VNA site in Missouri before being “used as a replacement for coal, sand and clay at cement manufacturing facilities across the U.S.”

REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE

Nestlé digs deeper into regenerative ag, puts $3.6B behind net-zero plan, GreenBiz
Almost one-third of the money that Nestlé intends to invest will be dedicated to cultivating regenerative agricultural practices that improve soil health and reduce dependence on synthetic fertilizer across 500,000-plus farms from which Nestlé sources ingredients. Nestlé intends to pay those farmers, as well as 150,000 other ingredient suppliers, a premium for adopting these techniques in a verifiable way.

New Offshore Wind Turbine Can Power a Home for a Day in Just 7 Seconds

By John Rogers, Senior Energy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists

The first large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States may use the largest wind turbine in the world. Here are a few ways to think about what all that might mean. The developers of the Vineyard Wind project off Massachusetts have just announced that they’ll be using GE wind turbines—specifically, the GE Haliade-X. That turbine recently got a capacity upgrade, from a world-leading 12 megawatts (MW) to a world-leading-by-even-more 13 MW. Those developments got me thinking about both the turbine and the project. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

President-Elect Biden Must Prioritize Coal Communities—and Here’s How, by Jeremy Richardson, Senior Energy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists

CIVILIAN CLIMATE CORPS

The Energy 202: Young people want to do something about climate change. Biden may have an answer, by Dino Grandoni, with Alexandra Ellerbeck, Washington Post

During the campaign, Biden called for mobilizing “the next generation of conservation and resilience workers through a Civilian Climate Corps.” Now Biden’s allies are beginning to think about what exactly such a program will look like as he prepares to take office next month.

GTM’S POLITICAL CLIMATE PODCAST

‘The Landscape Has Shifted’: Neil Chatterjee on FERC’s Role in the Energy Transition, by Julia Pyper, Greentech Media


In this episode of Political Climate, we speak to FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee about several of the agency’s recent rulemakings, past controversies and his outlook for the future of U.S. energy policy in today’s shifting political landscape.

 

GREEN BANKS

Green bank advocates hope Biden win can help reinvigorate idea in Minnesota, by Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

The coalition suggested that a bank with $100 million in capital could create as many as 15,000 jobs in Minnesota. Fifteen green banks operate in 12 states and have financed $5 billion in energy investments, returning more than $3.60 for every $1 spent, the report says. Most green banks operate on the coasts, with Michigan Saves being the only one in the Midwest. Ohio and Missouri have begun exploring the concept.

Coalition for Green Capital Report:  A Green Recovery For Minnesota: Job Creation, Environmental Justice, and Clean Energy

GOOGLE

Google calls for more RTOs, designs ‘intelligent platform’ to meet 24/7 clean energy goal, by Emma Penrod, Utility Dive

Achieving Google’s new 24/7 clean energy goal will require both the adoption of new technologies, and new purchasing options, the company’s head of global energy markets and policy said Thursday on a National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) panel. Eighty percent of offsite corporate procurement takes place in regions with access to competitive wholesale markets, according to Bryn Baker, director of policy innovation at the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance.

Previously Posted

SELLING ENERGY EFFICIENCY + SOLAR AS A PACKAGE

POWERHOME SOLAR Named Silver Honoree In Inc.’s Best In Business Awards, PR Newswire
POWERHOME SOLAR is an energy efficiency company that provides high-quality American-made solar panels as part of a complete energy-savings package for residential customers. The company launched in 2014 in Mooresville, N.C., and today has nearly 1,700 employees, including a commercial division. Operating in 10 states, it is ranked No. 255 on the 2020 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America — the third time in four years that the company has made the top 300 on this prestigious list. 

ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers rely on to make well-informed decisions. Click here to find ways to save at home.

PV RECYCLING – AN ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

Solar panel recycling in the US — a looming issue that could harm industry growth and reputation, PV Magazine

According to a 2016 report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the economic benefits of a U.S. circular economy could be around $135.3 million in 2020, $1.4 billion by 2030, and $10.1 billion by 2050. “Economic multipliers would significantly increase these amounts,” said Vanderhoof.

LETTER TO EV BUYERS

Letter to a Friend Buying an Electric Car, by Joe Wachunas, CleanTechnica
Two friends recently bought electric cars for their families after thinking about it for a long time. Beyond wanting to congratulate them, and click my heels together like Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain, I felt the need to describe, in detail, just how big a deal this EV purchase is, beyond platitudes like “EVs are so amazing for the world.” So I wrote them a letter.

About Joe Wachunas
Joe Wachunas lives in Portland, Oregon, and works for the nonprofit Forth, which promotes electric transportation. He is also involved with Electrify Now because he believes that electrifying everything, from transportation to homes, is the quickest path to an equitable, clean energy future. And of course, Joe and his family live in an all-electric home and drive an EV.

Five consequences of a Biden administration for US energy

Wood Mackenzie News Release

Joe Biden offered American voters a radically different vision of energy policy from President Donald Trump, focused on addressing the threat of climate change. He will enter the White House with a goal of setting the US on course for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and will take the US back into the Paris climate agreement. But there is a good chance the Republicans will retain control of the Senate, limiting how much of his agenda he will be able to deliver.

With the federal government constrained, state policies will continue to be important. The key influences shaping the US energy industry are likely to be market forces, just as they were under Barack Obama and Donald Trump. But the change of federal government will have some significant consequences. According to Ed Crooks, Wood Mackenzie Vice-Chair – Americas, these are some of the most important: Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES IN PV RECYCLING & REPURPOSING

From design to recycling, opportunities abound to make solar more circular, by Myisha Majumder, GreenBiz

“The IEA predicts that total renewable based power capacity will grow by 50% between now and 2024, and 60% of that will be solar. By 2030, with that much PV, there’s a potential of something like 8 million tons of potential PV waste,” [Evelyn Butler of Solar Energy Industry Association] said. It’s also a global opportunity of about “$450 million in raw material recovery that could be leveraged for new industries or employment.” The challenge is making PV waste recycling and repurposing more efficient than it is in order to move towards a more circular economy.

SOLAR POWER WORLD VIDEO FOR INSTALLERS

Solar Basics: How to decommission a solar array, Solar Power World
Solar Basics is a video series by Solar Power World created to help installers learn about the business, tools and tricks of the solar power trade. Solar arrays can stay online for decades, but don’t last forever. Learn about all the steps to tear down and decommission a solar system in this Solar Basics video, based on the story: How to decommission a solar array, and why it’s important to plan ahead.

FEATURED NATIONAL SOLAR PROJECT

Yerkes Observatory gets current with solar energy system, Lake Geneva Regional News


WILLIAMS BAY — After more than a hundred years of scientific exploration, Yerkes Observatory is going solar. Solar panels are scheduled to be installed next year on the flat portions of the Yerkes Observatory roof, adding modern renewable energy methods to the 123-year-old building. RENEW Wisconsin’s Solar for Good Program has awarded more than $190,000 in cash and materials to 17 nonprofit organizations throughout the state for installing solar energy systems.

FEATURED NEBRASKA SOLAR INSTALLATION

Greisen Farms in Platte Center

Project: 25-kilowatt photovoltaic system with 340-watt monocrystalline solar panels
Installer: Renewable Solar LLC, owned by Anthony Kush

See Solar Examples for more photos and descriptions of solar-powered farms in Nebraska.

SOLAR INCENTIVES

 

Links to Incentives, Depreciation & Net Metering Information

 

FEATURED ENERGY TRANSITION BOOK

Reckoning in Coal Country, by Mason Adams and Dustin Bleizeffer

From the hills of West Virginia to the wind-swept prairies of Campbell County, Wyoming, journalists Mason Adams and Dustin Bleizeffer explore the cultural, political and economic obstacles faced by rural communities hoping to survive and thrive in a world without coal.

Appalachia and Wyoming are dramatically different places, but they also offer each other cautionary tales, success stories, and reasons for resilience and hope. While the story continues to unfold, Reckoning in Coal Country provides a snapshot of these communities at a critical inflection point in American history.

Produced in partnership with WyoFile and with funding from the Just Transition Fund,

KEYSTONE XL

Keystone pipeline developer plans to sue to get construction permit in Nebraska county, Omaha World-Herald

LINCOLN — The developer of the Keystone XL pipeline is planning to go to court to obtain a construction permit from a rural Nebraska county. A company spokeswoman made the comment after the five-member Holt County Board of Adjustment voted Thursday afternoon to deny a permit to TC Energy, formerly TransCanada, until the pipeline company agreed to comply with 19 conditions. The conditions included the establishment of an escrow account to cover any clean-up costs from possible future pipeline leaks and pay for the removal of the pipeline and reclamation of the land. The board also wanted TC Energy to bypass any fields that had underground drainage tiles and provide additional tests to detect any slow leaks from the crude oil pipeline.

Report recap: Four highlights from AWEA’s Wind Powers America Third Quarter Market Report

By Greg Alvarez, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

We’re three quarters of the way through an eventful 2020 (quite the understatement), but the good news is U.S. wind power just posted the best third quarter on record. That means more affordable, reliable, clean power for millions of American families and businesses. This finding and more are contained in AWEA’s Wind Powers America Third Quarter Market Report. Here’s a roundup of four notable highlights to keep an eye on: Continue reading here.

Photo by Mike Zakrzewski, Nebraska farmer in O’Neill: The Grande Prairie Wind Farm

AWEA FACT SHEETS

Wind Energy In Nebraska
Installed Wind Capacity: 2,364 MW
State Ranking for Installed Capacity: 12th

  • Iowa
    Installed Wind Capacity: 10,664 MW
    State Ranking for Installed Capacity: 2nd
  • Kansas
    Installed Wind Capacity: 6,524 MW
    State Ranking for Installed Capacity: 4th
  • Illinois
    Installed Wind Capacity: 5,659 MW
    State Ranking for Installed Capacity: 6th

MICROGRIDS & VIRTUAL POWER PLANTS

Tesla Expanding Into Solar Microgrids And Virtual Power Plants, CleanTechnica
The renewable energy revolution is in full swing. It will involve decentralized power generation as well as enhanced long distance transmission lines. Nothing is off the table. Tesla is creating an enormous virtual power plant in Australia that will incorporate rooftop solar and battery storage at 50,000 homes. Green Mountain Power is conducting a similar program in Vermont. Just as one day soon electric vehicle sales will surpass sales of conventional vehicles, our grandkids will likely grow up in homes that have residential storage batteries in the garage or in the basement next to the electrical panel.

GREEN HYDROGEN

It’s Time For Elon Musk To Admit The Significance Of Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Forbes
Contributed article by Alex Ivanenko, “co-founder and CEO of HyPoint, the company developing zero-carbon emission hydrogen fuel cell systems for aviation and urban air mobility.”

The technology for zero-emission hydrogen fuel cells for use in transportation and other industries isn’t a pipe dream — it already exists. Though you might not know it, hydrogen-powered trainstruckscarsairplanes and ships are already out in the wild. CNBC noted that “there are dozens of fuel cell buses in use or planned in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Massachusetts, as well as California” and that “more than 23,000 fuel cell-powered forklifts in operation at warehouses and distribution centers across the U.S. in more than 40 states, including at Amazon and Walmart facilities.” That’s just the beginning.

MORE CLEAN TECHNICA ARTICLES

COMMUNITY SOLAR 

FEATURED DOE INITIATIVE: EQUITY IN ENERGY 

News Release by DOE’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity

On August 20th 2020, the Department of Energy’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED) launched its trademark Equity in Energy Initiative at the 43rd Annual National Conference of the American Association of Blacks in Energy’s (AABE). Equity in Energy, under the direction of the Secretary of Energy, Dan Brouillette [leads] the charge in fostering an inclusive energy economy at the DOE and the energy sector. 

Equity In Energy Booklet

UCS RECYCLING SERIES

About the Writer
James Gignac, is lead Midwest energy analyst for the Climate & Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Prior to joining UCS, Mr. Gignac served as environmental and energy counsel and as assistant attorney general to the Illinois Attorney General. Mr. Gignac earned a JD from Harvard Law School, and a BA in history and political science from Albion College.

Included in the series:

FEATURED NEBRASKA SOLAR INSTALLATION

Lomneth Farm’s 12-kilowatt solar system in North Omaha. Installed by GC ReVOLT, which is owned by Graham Christensen. View more GC ReVOLT projects here.

See Solar Examples for more photos and descriptions of solar-powered farms in Nebraska.

 

SOLAR INCENTIVES

 

Links to Incentives, Depreciation & Net Metering Information

 

Commentary: A call to action on race and equity in the clean energy industry

By Bee Hui Yeh and Jacob Susman, Energy News Network

The fight for clean energy is the fight for a better tomorrow: the right to clean air and water, affordable and reliable electricity, and better transportation. But for too long we’ve ignored a central question: for whom? A monolithic population? Or, more precisely, for the communities of color hurt first and worst by the impacts of climate change?

Nearly a century after the construction of the arsenal of democracy helped drive the U.S. from the depths of the Great Depression, as we find ourselves amid a pandemic and economic crisis, the prospect of a clean-energy economy puts us at the cusp of a bright new industrial age. It’s one that can reshape our grid, our businesses, and our lives, generating millions of reliable, well-paying jobs to build a cleaner, safer, more resilient, and more energy-secure America. Continue reading here.

About the Authors
Bee Hui Yeh is the founder of the Power of We and an advisor at Plan C Advisors. Jacob Susman is an impact private equity investor and founder/CEO of the renewable energy startup OwnEnergy.

Photo by Laurie Schaull / Wikimedia Commons

NONPROFIT OLYSOLAR

Youth Climate Activists Strive to Build Thurston County’s Largest Solar Energy Installation, Thurston Talk. Of the 8 team members that make up Olympia Community Solar (OlySolar), 7 are under the age of 30. Motivated by the realities of the planet’s changing climate, OlySolar is a nonprofit whose mission is to help every electric customer in Washington access clean energy.

NEBRASKA CLIMATE ACTION LEADERSHIP

Regents hear renewed plea to divest NU funds from fossil fuels, Lincoln Journal Star
Since students in Divest NU first raised the issue of the University of Nebraska pulling $91.3 million in investments from fossil fuel companies to the Board of Regents, late last year and earlier this year, the world changed once more. In addition to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, wildfires have scorched hundreds of thousands of acres in the West. Hurricanes and tropical storms continue to batter the Gulf Coast in a record-breaking year. And nearly 80% of Nebraska is experiencing a drought. Representatives from Divest NU returned to Thursday’s meeting of the board to renew their plea for the university to take action.

Updated, previously posted Journal Star articles:

FEATURED CLIMATE EDUCATION PROJECT: CLIMATE CHANGE NEBRASKA

Climate Change Nebraska was created by journalism students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For this in-depth project examining the impact of climate change on Nebraska, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications opened the rigorous application process to all students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In the end, 20 students drawn from seven different colleges representing 13 different majors were selected for the yearlong project.

Students enrolled in the spring semester focused primarily on problems associated with climate change – including its impact on Nebraska’s agriculture, livestock, wildlife, public health, waterways, national defense and religions. Students in the fall 2020 semester will focus primarily on a range of potential solutions to a variety of climate change issues – including renewable energy sources, sustainability initiatives, no-till farming, carbon sequestration, nuclear fusion and stronger environmental laws.

NEW SOLAR INDUSTRY ALLIANCE

New Alliance Formed to Support Low-Carbon Solar Energy, Solar Industry
Renewable energy companies from a diverse cross-section of the solar industry have joined together to launch the Ultra Low-Carbon Solar Alliance. The alliance will work to build greater market awareness around how solar supply chain decarbonization is producing solar panels with low embodied carbon to help governments and companies meet aggressive sustainability goals. 

AGRIVOLTAICS

How To Have Your Solar Farm And Keep Your Regular Farm, Too, NPR / KIOS 
[Zaid Ashai, CEO of Nexamp, a solar company based in Boston] believes that farming and solar can be friends. For small farms that are struggling, leasing land to solar companies can be a financial lifeline, helping them survive. Farmers can earn a thousand or more dollars per acre per year from these deals. Ashai and others are also exploring ways to capture the sun and still farm the land–though perhaps with a different kind of farming.

SOLAR OPTIONS FOR RENTERS

Will the Distributed Energy Revolution Leave Renters Behind?, Greentech Media
Renters can enjoy clean backup power through a handful of groundbreaking programs that make it available to multifamily housing. And a small crop of products can help renters through a blackout without radically altering their homes. But the few emerging options leave plenty of gaps for the industry to fill.

TRI-STATE

Tri-State proposes rate reduction, resource procurement flexibility, but not enough to stop member exit, Utility Dive

The T&D provider’s efforts may not be enough for members looking to exit its service. United Power and Tri-State have been at odds over whether state or federal regulators have oversight of exit fees that would be required to terminate their supply arrangement. La Plata Electric Association is also seeking an exit charge. Tri-State is a cooperative of 45 members, including 42 electric distribution cooperatives and public power districts in four states: Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.

CLEANTECH CAREERS SERIES

What’s It Like to Be an HVAC Installer or Technician?, Greentech Media
One of the biggest jobs in clean energy is also one that is sometimes overlooked. In this GTM series, we’re asking people in cleantech to tell us what their jobs are like. We hope the series can serve as a source of information and inspiration for recent graduates, professionals planning their careers or anyone who wants to transition into the industry. We also hope it makes cleantech opportunities more visible and accessible to groups that are underrepresented in our growing industry, including women and people of color.

GREEN BONDS

In recognition of clean energy progress, green bonds shoot past trillion-dollar mark, Renewable Energy World. According to research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance, green bonds have passed their biggest milestone yet, with more than $1 trillion issued since these securities first emerged in 2007. BNEF says that green bonds are the longest standing and most heavily used instrument in the sustainable debt market, which covers a range of fixed-income products offering environmental and social benefits.

PV RECYCLING

This game-changing solar company recycles old panels into new ones, Fast Company
At a recycling plant in Ohio, next to the company’s manufacturing facility, First Solar uses custom technology to disassemble and recycle old panels, recovering 90% of the materials inside.

DOE’S WIND ENERGY TECHNOLOGY DATA UPDATE: 2020 EDITION

From DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The United States added 9,000 MW of new land-based, utility-scale wind power capacity in 2019, bringing the national total to 105.6 gigawatts. Wind power represented the second-largest source of U.S. electric-generating capacity additions in 2019 and provides more than 10% of electricity in 14 states. Continuing the long-term trend, average turbine capacity, rotor diameter, and hub height increased in 2019, significantly boosting wind project performance to a capacity factor of 41%. The national average price of wind power purchase agreements has dropped to less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, and the levelized cost of energy has dropped 60% in the past 10 years to $36 per megawatt-hour. View a PowerPoint summary.

Opinion: Clean energy development can help our economy back onto its feet

By John Karakoulakis, The Colorado Sun

COVID-19 has knocked Colorado’s thriving economy off track. The path to getting our economy back on a strong footing won’t be easy, but clean energy development has been a boon for our state, and the industry will be vital in spurring economic growth. In the near-term, Congress will undoubtedly return focus to economic stimulus legislation. Any viable stimulus plan must include energy investment. Thankfully, two bills aimed at this goal already existAmerica’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA) and the American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA) are two commonsense solutions to aid our damaged economy.
Continue reading here.

John Karakoulakis is Director of The Western Way, a nonprofit organization focused on conservative solutions to western U.S. conservation issues. Referenced in his article:
Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Poll: GOP Voters Overwhelmingly Support Clean Energy to Jumpstart Economy, Create Global Competitive Advantage

NEW TRANSMISSION STUDY

Previously Posted

UTILITIES’ ZERO-CARBON EMISSIONS COMMITMENTS

The 5 Biggest US Utilities Committing to Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050, Greentech Media
Utility net-zero carbon pledges are piling up, even if the companies are a long way from kicking their fossil fuel habits.

Check out more utilities’ carbon reduction commitments using this interactive map:
SEPA’S Utility Carbon Reduction Tracker
Omaha Public Power District’s Emission Reduction Goal: Net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

OPPD’S Decarbonization Study: Pathways to Decarbonization, OPPD Community Connect
What is decarbonization? Simply, it’s the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, commonly referred to as our carbon footprint. Although carbon dioxide (CO2) occurs naturally in the Earth’s atmosphere, human activities over the last century have significantly increased levels of greenhouse gases. These include burning fossil fuels for energy and transportation, and removing trees (deforestation) to enable other land uses, such as clearing rainforests for agricultural purposes.

SMUD’S NEW COMMITMENT

SMUD aims for carbon neutrality by 2030 in new climate emergency declaration, Utility Dive
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s Board President Rob Kerth said in a statement the move reflects a broader cultural transition among the country’s utilities.

YALE CLIMATE OPINION MAPS 2020

Estimated % of adults who think global warming is happening (72%), 2020, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. These maps show how Americans’ climate change beliefs, risk perceptions, and policy support vary at the state, congressional district, metro area, and county levels.

MORE ABOUT WALMART’S NEW PROJECT GIGATON INITIATIVE

Walmart, Schneider Electric team up to help suppliers transition to renewable energy, Supply Chain Dive. Walmart is partnering with Schneider Electric to make renewable energy more accessible to suppliers. The initiative with Schneider Electric’s Energy & Sustainability Services, titled Gigaton PPA (power purchase agreements), seeks to educate suppliers on their renewable energy options and help them through conversion — a process Walmart’s Senior Director of Sustainability Zach Freeze said can be daunting for any supplier — especially small ones. Gigaton PPA aims to bridge the knowledge gap and pool like-minded, co-located suppliers to combine purchasing power.

GREEN CAMPUSES

Duke University buys 101 MW of solar from Duke Energy, PV Magazine
Three projects across North Carolina are being developed to fulfill a new agreement between Duke Energy and Duke University, under the utility’s Green Source Advantage program. The university is the first academic institution to come to terms on a renewable power contract under the program.

TESLA BATTERY DAY

Tesla battery day bingo, PV Magazine
Tesla battery day is next week. Earlier this year, Musk told analysts that what he had to say “will blow your mind. It blows my mind.” Here’s a list of battery hyperbole and terms you’re bound to hear at the event.

ENERGY STORAGE INCENTIVES

Battery energy storage systems integrated in solar facilities to receive tax incentives, PV Magazine
Tax incentives spurring deployment of energy storage are limited in their application, as they require the system to be paired with solar. On top of this, the requirements to receive the tax incentives do not always align with advancements in battery technology and/or system design. The writer, Lysondra Ludwigis a tax law associate in Farella Braun + Martel’s San Francisco office.

LITHIUM BATTERY SUPPLY CHAIN

BNEF: Lithium battery supply chain is unsurprisingly led by China, Energy Storage News
BloombergNEF (BNEF) has ranked China #1 among the countries of the world most involved in the lithium-ion battery supply chain in 2020, with Japan and South Korea in second and third place respectively. While the top three results for 2020 are unlikely to surprise many, BNEF predicts that South Korea will fall out of the top three by 2025 to be replaced by the US, although Japan will remain in second place.

LITHIUM BATTERY RECYCLING

Lithium battery recycling facility welcomed by New York Governor Cuomo, Energy Storage News
Along with a worldwide growth in interest in recycling and sustainability topics around lithium batteries and other clean energy technologies, there is growing interest in the US and elsewhere for establishing secure supply chains for lithium and other materials such as nickel and cobalt. A few days ago four US Federal agencies including the Department of Energy announced the formation of the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries (FCAB) to support domestic industry.

Sol Systems Announces Groundbreaking Solar Power Community Investment Agreement with Microsoft

News Release By The Sol Systems Team

WASHINGTON, DC – Sol Systems, a national solar energy finance and development firm, today announced a groundbreaking initiative with Microsoft, Corp. that creates the first community investment fund and the company’s single largest renewable energy portfolio energy purchase agreement. Sol Systems and Microsoft designed the portfolio to maximize its positive environmental, community and societal impact. The strategic initiative will help Microsoft meet its goal of shifting to 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.

Sol Systems will finance, develop and operate a portfolio of over 500 megawatts (MW) of solar projects in the U.S. and will sell energy from those projects to Microsoft. In parallel, working with local leaders in nearby communities and those disproportionately impacted by climate change, Sol Systems and Microsoft will invest at least $50 million for community-led grants and investments that support educational programs, job and career training, habitat restoration, and programs that support access to clean energy and energy efficiency. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

APPLE NEWS

Apple commits to be 100 percent carbon neutral for its supply chain and products by 2030, Apple Newsroom. The company is already carbon neutral today for its global corporate operations, and this new commitment means that by 2030, every Apple device sold will have net zero climate impact. “Businesses have a profound opportunity to help build a more sustainable future, one born of our common concern for the planet we share,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY

  • USA Rare Earth LLC Announces 100% Renewable Energy Plan for Round Top Mountain Rare Earth and Critical Minerals Project in West Texas, News Release, GlobeNewswire
    USA Rare Earth, LLC, the funding and development partner of the Round Top Heavy Rare Earth and Critical Minerals Project in West Texas together with Texas Mineral Resources Corp. is pleased to announce its commitment to power operations at its Round Top Heavy Rare Earth & Critical Mineral Project in Hudspeth County, West Texas with 100% renewable energy. West Texas is widely recognized as one of the best places in the world for solar power.
  • ‘Whiskey, Neat’: Kentucky Co-ops to Power New Distillery With 100% Renewables, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The Diageo Lebanon, Kentucky Distillery is expected to be one of the largest carbon neutral distilleries in North America, according to the company, whose portfolio contains more than 200 brands, including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal and Guinness. Among its innovations will be electrode boilers and an onsite fleet of only electric vehicles, including forklifts, Diageo said.

NEW YORK SEEKS 4000 MEGAWATTS OF RENEWABLE ENERGY

Governor Cuomo Announces Largest Combined Solicitations for Renewable Energy Ever Issued in the U.S. to Combat Climate Change, News Release, New York State

KIWI POWER

ENERGY STORAGE

Guidehouse Insights: Utility-scale energy storage industry ‘blossoming’ in several US states, Energy Storage News. The US utility-scale energy storage market is projected to maintain its position as the world’s largest and fastest-growing in the coming years, according to a new report from Guidehouse Insights. Despite the rapid growth, the development of new utility-scale energy storage systems (ESSs) remains highly concentrated in a few states. The market research provider’s report shows California, New York, and Texas lead the top 10 US energy storage markets.

Previously Posted: The magnificent seven: US states with energy storage mandates, targets and goals

TESLA SOLAR

Tesla’s Latest Moves In Solar Indicates It Is Either Crazy Or Has Made A Breakthrough, contributed CleanTechnica article by Paul FosseWell, part 2 of the master plan said this about solar: “Create a smoothly integrated and beautiful solar-roof-with-battery product that just works, empowering the individual as their own utility, and then scale that throughout the world. One ordering experience, one installation, one service contact, one phone app.” With that quote in mind, let’s look at what they are doing right now with solar.

EV NEWS

GM backs away from hydrogen fuel-cell tech in passenger vehicles, Green Car Reports
When GM announced plans for the 20 electric vehicles in October 2017, the automaker said it would pursue a “two-pronged” approach with both battery-electric and fuel-cell powertrains. Now GM plans to focus on battery-electric powertrains for passenger cars, and fuel-cell powertrains for military and commercial vehicles.

PV RECYCLING

‘They need to be ready.’ Study warns of growing solar waste, by David Iaconangelo, E&E News
In a study published last week in Nature Energy, analysts at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory said roughly 8 million tons of solar photovoltaic panels are expected to hit landfills globally by the end of this decade, rising to 80 million by midcentury, when they could account for about 10% of all electronic waste. But solar recycling could turn into a $15 billion global industry of its own by 2050, according to prior studies, and lead to the creation of 2 billion new panels. In the U.S., recycling could also provide a supply of minerals deemed “critical” for national security purposes, while reducing the solar industry’s environmental footprint, the study said.

CARBON ACCOUNTING

Morgan Stanley Joins Leadership of Global Carbon Accounting Partnership (PCAF), News Release, Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials. Morgan Stanley is the first major U.S.-based global financial institution to join PCAF’s 66 formal members, which include financial institutions from around the world and represent more than $5.3 Trillion USD in assets.

PV Magazine Video: The pressing need for sustainability in solar

By Jonathan Gifford, Founding Editor of PV Magazine Australia

If solar really is [to] scale to the terawatt level required to achieve a zero-emission global economy, it is incumbent on the industry to provide for product end-of-life reuse and to meet looming material challenges. That was a key message from the presentation by Pierre Verlinden which kicked off pv magazine’s first Sustainability Roundtable event.

Veteran PV researcher Verlinden, who has worked for industry pioneers SunPower and Trina Solar, joined the virtual roundtable from Australia and set out the raw material challenge PV is facing. Read more and watch the video here.

Referenced in the article: Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT). The EPEAT tag for solar will be rolled out this year.

EPEAT was developed using a grant from EPA and is managed by the Green Electronics Council (GEC). GEC maintains EPEAT’s website and product registry and has also developed some environmental benefits calculators to document the results from purchasing EPEAT-registered products.

EPEAT registered products must meet environmental performance criteria that address: materials selection, design for product longevity, reuse and recycling, energy conservation, end-of-life management and corporate performance.

The Green Electronics Council has planned updates to the functionality of the EPEAT Registry through the remainder of 2020. If you are interested in being part of the global EPEAT Registry beta testing group, please email your name, organization, and contact information to support@greenelectronicscouncil.org. Planned functionality upgrades include increased search capability, ability to save product searches, and identification of how EPEAT registered products help meet organizational sustainability goals.

Operating expenses are down and useful lifespans are up on utility-scale solar projects

By Kelly Pickerel, Solar Power World

The expected useful life of utility-scale solar PV projects has increased over time, while anticipated operating expenditures (OpEx) have decreased, according to new research from Berkeley Lab. Findings are detailed in a new paper: “Benchmarking Utility-Scale PV Operational Expenses and Project Lifetimes: Results from a Survey of U.S. Solar Industry Professionals.”

Useful life and OpEx are important (but sometimes overlooked) drivers of the levelized cost and profitability of utility-scale PV plants. This paper draws on a survey of U.S. solar industry professionals and other sources to clarify trends in these cost factors. Key findings include: Continue reading here.

TAX CREDITS EXTENSION

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING 

Previously Posted Resource On Virtual PPAs
Introduction to the Virtual Power Purchase Agreement, Rocky Mountain Institute Report
This report serves as an introduction to the virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA)—its place in the off-site renewable energy procurement market, how the VPPA works, and why VPPAs have been a popular instrument in the United States thus far. 

RECYCLING MARKET REPORT

Solar Panel Recycling Market, Transparency Market Research
An increased number of end-of-life solar panels are creating a demand for recycling activities in the U.S. Moreover, analysts of Transparency Market Research (TMR) opine that the U.S. is anticipated to account for the highest number of end-of-life solar panels in the upcoming decades after China. Hence, companies in the solar panel recycling market are focusing on value-grab opportunities in the U.S. As such, the market is estimated to reach a value of ~US$ 600 Mn by the end of 2027.