Category Archives: Recycling

Senate advances bipartisan infrastructure bill in procedural vote

By Jacob Pramuk, CNBC

The Senate voted Friday to move forward with a bipartisan infrastructure bill, as Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pushes to pass it as soon as next week. The vote was delayed briefly as senators reportedly worked out an issue related to broadband. The final text of the legislation has yet to be released. The procedural measure needed only a simple majority to pass. The final tally was 66 votes in favor, and 28 against. Continue reading here.

Related Reading

AMERICAN CLEAN POWER ASSOCIATION REPORT

First Clean Power Annual report shows record U.S. renewables growth and investment
WASHINGTON DC, July 29, 2021 – The American Clean Power Association today released its first Clean Power Annual report, which showed wind, utility solar, and battery storage power capacity in the U.S. topped 170 gigawatts (GW), following a record 26 GW of clean energy projects coming online in 2020.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

USDA REAP FUNDING NOTICES

  • Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audit & Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants (July 26, 2021) Federal Register Notice
  • Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants (July 26, 2021) Federal Register Notice

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 

Lower Battery Costs, High Value of Backup Power Drive Distributed Storage Deployment
Fourth Report in NREL’s Storage Futures Study Uses Distributed Generation Market Demand Model To Estimate Behind-the-Meter Storage Capacity, Identify Drivers of Customer Adoption. Several findings in the study demonstrate that PV and batteries make an economical pairing. Because an average PV-plus-battery storage system is larger than PV-only configurations, battery storage increases the PV capacity and the system’s economic value.

Read the Report: Distributed Solar and Storage Outlook: Methodology and Scenarios.

Upcoming Webinar: NREL’s Storage Futures Study team will host a free public webinar on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, from 10 to 11 am CT. Register here.

BATTERY MATERIALS RECYCLING

Former Tesla CTO’s battery materials recycling company announces US$700 million+ investment, Energy Storage News

Former Tesla battery guru JB Straubel’s materials recycling company Redwood Materials has attracted more than US$700 million in investment. Redwood, which is currently developing processes to produce battery materials that can be resold into the supply chain, has partnerships in place with the likes of Panasonic, Envision AESC and Amazon. The company pledges to recycle any device with a lithium-ion battery including phones, laptops and power tools, although a major focus is being placed on electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

New coalition of industry and academia to commercialize solution for full recyclability of wind turbine blades

News release from Vestas Wind Systems A/S, Olin Corporation,
Danish Technological Institute, and Aarhus University

A coalition of industry and academic leaders have developed a new technology to enable circularity for thermoset composites, the material used to make wind turbine blades. The new technology delivers the final technological step on the journey towards a fully recyclable wind turbine value chain. To enable the adoption of this new technology, and to advance a circular economy across the wind industry, a new initiative entitled CETEC (Circular Economy for Thermosets Epoxy Composites) has been established. Within three years, CETEC is aiming to present a fully scoped solution ready for industrial adoption, based on commercialization of the novel circularity technology. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Vestas

NATIONAL SEIA NETWORK

Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association joins national SEIA network, Solar Power World
SEIA announced that it is adding the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association (ISETA) as an official state affiliate. ISETA becomes the 20th SEIA affiliate, joining its neighbors Minnesota, Wisconsin and Missouri in the growing network of state solar advocacy groups. These formal partnerships help to connect regional organizations to additional resources and the national effort to promote solar in markets around the country.

FEATURED RESEARCH

AMERICA’S LARGEST COMMUNITY SOLAR PROGRAM

FPL builds massive solar center in Southwest Florida to support largest community solar program, Florida Insider

Florida Power and Light Company(FPL), the state’s largest electric power supply and utility company, is investing in solar energy in a big way with a new mega-solar center in Southwest Florida.  The company, which services over 5.6 million customer accounts and supports more than 11 million residents in the state, has set a goal to have 30 million solar panels installed by 2030. The new DeSoto County center has the company well on its way to its mark, with 300,000 panels already in place. Photo Credit: FPL

LARGEST BROWNFIELD COMMUNITY SOLAR PROJECT IN U.S.

Houston will turn old landfill into community solar site, contributed by Angely Mercado, GreenBiz

Houston, home to nearly 4,600 energy-related firms, is making a big investment in solar. City officials are planning to turn a landfill in the Sunnyside neighborhood into a solar farm, a move positioned as an economic development initiative with equity at its core. Once completed it will be the largest brownfield solar installation in the U.S., according to city officials. 

Photo: A rendering of the community solar project planned for the Sunnyside landfill in Houston. 

OFF-GRID HOMES

Off-the-grid homes are coming to your neighborhood, as climate change creates suburban survivalists,by Diana Olick, CNBC

“More severe storms each year are going to further and further indicate the needs for resilient development,” said Ben Keys, associate professor of real estate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Keys studies the effects of climate change on real estate and the growing need for housing that can function off the grid. This goes well beyond solar panels. 

Midlands Voices: Bold infrastructure program will bring major benefits to the country

By Johanna Threm, Omaha World-Herald

When President Eisenhower proposed building a 41,000-mile “National System of Interstate and Defense Highways,” he was responding to the needs of the country at that time. Having marveled at Germany’s highway system during World War II, he wanted a system that would get rid of unsafe roads, eliminate traffic jams, and create efficient routes to quickly travel across the country. Supporters of this highway system also believed it would help Americans quickly escape cities that came under a nuclear attack.

Today, the system that was built from his vision is old and needs to be replaced. Our political leaders need to invest in our nation’s infrastructure to meet today’s challenges. Read more here. Requires digital subscription.

Johanna Threm, Professional Engineer, is Vice President and General Manager of Nucor Steel Nebraska.

Additional Recommended Reading

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.