Tag Archives: 100% clean energy

DOE Secretary to Discuss Solar’s Role in a Clean Energy Future

Join DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Kelly Speakes-Backman, and SETO Director Dr. Becca Jones-Albertus for a webinar, 100% Clean: How DOE’s Solar Investments Will Help Achieve Ambitious Decarbonization Goals,” on Thursday, March 25, at 1:30 pm Central Time. The presenters will take you on a virtual technology tour and discuss solar’s role in creating a reliable, resilient, and carbon-free electricity grid and then answer some questions at the end. Register for the webinar here.

Department of Energy’s Photovoltaics Research

Through the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), the Department of Energy has funded hundreds of photovoltaics (PV) research and development projects to bring low-cost solar energy to rooftops across the country, support the U.S. electric grid, and combat climate change.

Now you can learn more about the areas of research SETO focuses on, whether it’s cell, module, or system design; energy yield; industry standards; or lengthening the lifespan of PV systemsVisit SETO’s PV research area webpage to find all PV-related resources and subscribe to the newsletter.

Wind Energy Tops Coal, Natural Gas in Southwest Power Pool

By Michael Bates, North American Windpower

In 2020, Southwest Power Pool (SPP), a regional transmission organization, became the first grid operator to have wind as its number-one fuel source – outpacing the integration of coal and natural gas. “Maintaining reliability with this large amount of wind is extraordinary,” says Barbara Sugg, president and CEO of SPP. Read more here.

Image Credit: Nebraska Public Power District

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

AI & MORE EFFICIENT SOLAR POWER PLANTS 

Making solar power more efficient, Case Western Reserve University News Release, Newswise
CLEVELAND–Case Western Reserve University computer scientists and energy technology experts are teaming up to leverage the diagnostic power of artificial intelligence (AI) to make solar-power plants more efficient. The work, funded by a three-year, $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is part of a broad $130 million solar-technologies initiative announced by the DOE in 2020—including $7.3 million specifically for machine-learning solutions and other AI for solar applications. 

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Biden administration will replace the entire federal vehicle fleet with EVs, CNET

The current federal vehicle fleet is estimated at
around 645,000 vehicles, and President Biden plans to replace all of them with American-made electric vehicles. The American-made part of this is essential because the announcement was part of Biden’s “Made In America” executive order, which is set to redirect a sizable portion of the government’s spending to American businesses and on American-made products.

Nebraska’s Largest Utilities’ EV Programs & Incentives
Interested in purchasing an electric vehicle or charger? Click a link, below, if you are a customer of one of Nebraska’s largest utilities and want to learn more about their EV programs and incentives, or check your local utility’s website for any available resources.

7 Transmission Projects That Could Unlock a Renewable Energy Bounty

By Jeff St. John, Greentech Media

The case for new multi-state transmission lines has never been clearer. A growing number of states and utilities have set 100 percent clean-energy goals, with no obvious path to generating all that power close to home. The gap is growing between the transmission network’s capacity and the need to link wind farms in the Great Plains and Intermountain West, solar farms in the Southwest, and hydropower resources in eastern Canada, to other regions hungry for carbon-free energy.

Transmission developers have long said that if only a few big renewable-linked projects could get built, the path would open to others once the benefits were manifest. That theory was largely left untested in the 2010s. Here are seven still very-much-alive projects that could prove it out in the decade ahead. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Nebraska Public Power District

NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY LAB PROJECT

A big grid solution to harness small solar arrays, PV Magazine
With electric utilities often having little information about how much solar power they are receiving from distributed PV systems, it is hoped the NREL project will help them gain more visibility of, and control over the volumes injected into networks.

DOE FUNDING ANNOUNCEMENTS

ASES SOLAR 2020

SOLAR 20/20: Renewable Energy Vision Goes Virtual, ASES News Release, PR Newswire
The American Solar Energy Society’s 49th Annual National Solar Conference, SOLAR 20/20: Renewable Energy Vision, will now take place 100% online in their first ever virtual conference. Learn more at ases.org/conference.

SOLAR INDUSTRY 

What can solar learn from the 2008 financial crisis in the age of Covid-19?, by Tim Sylvia, PV Magazine. Even as global PV forecasts fall, tax equity dries up and unemployment rises, Jim Spano, co-founder of RadiantREIT, believes that the right type of government stimulus could not only help the solar industry recover — but drive it to new heights. Regardless of the financial tool used to make the upfront cost of developing a project manageable, Spano thinks that the solar industry is in a unique position to rebound more quickly and with less long-lasting effect than other industries.

AWEA NEWS RELEASE

Voters Strongly Favor Offshore Wind Energy
New Polling shows near identical support among Republicans and Democrats for adding more offshore wind to the American energy portfolio. Majority of voters say wind energy will be more important in 10 years than oil and natural gas.

MORE ON RECENT KANSAS SUPREME COURT RULING

Inside Clean Energy: Rooftop Solar Wins Big in Kansas Court Ruling, by Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News. The Kansas Supreme Court has provided a rare and sweet victory for renewable energy advocates in the state, with national implications. The court issued a unanimous ruling on Friday agreeing with advocates that a 2018 utility rate plan was discriminatory in the way it created a new charge that inflated the bills of rooftop solar customers. This has the potential to alter the national debate over how utilities deal with rooftop solar, considering that utilities in other states have pointed to Kansas as a model.

MINNESOTA

New suburban solar projects part of a wave of new projects in Minnesota, StarTribune
There are now an estimated 7,500 solar arrays in the state, with 1,000 going in just last year. 

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

Japanese investor provides tax backing for 43MW US wind, reNEWS
Financing is for a pair of operational facilities in Nebraska and Minnesota. The 30-megawatt Kimball wind farm has been operational since May 2018. It has a 20-year offtake agreement with the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska.

RE100 BUSINESS

IKEA owner acquires US solar parks to boost renewables transition, Smart Energy International

 EUROPE

‘Europe’s largest’ solar power facility comes online as the industry faces coronavirus challenges, CNBC. A 500 megawatt solar photovoltaic plant, described by Spanish utility Iberdrola as “Europe’s largest,” sent its first megawatt hour of energy to the grid earlier this week, a welcome bright spot for an industry that in the months ahead could experience difficulties brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. The Núñez de Balboa facility is located in Extremadura, a region in the west of Spain. According to Iberdrola, it has over 1.4 million solar panels and will be able to supply energy to 250,000 people per year.

Arizona commission signals support for 100% clean energy by 2050

By William Driscoll, PV Magazine

Arizona could join 16 other states and territories that have targets of 100% clean or renewable electricity by 2050 or sooner. Thirty-two groups in Arizona have called for 50% renewables by 2030Read more here.

GRID INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS

Smooth sailing so far for planned Iowa-Illinois underground power line, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

A high-voltage underground transmission line proposed to cross Iowa and Illinois is moving ahead without the landowner opposition that has dogged overhead transmission lines in the region. The SOO Green HVDC Link, which would span 349 miles from Mason City, Iowa, to a connection with the PJM grid at Yorkville, Illinois, has encountered no major objections at the four public meetings that have been held in Iowa and Illinois, according to project spokeswoman Sarah Lukan.

TRI-STATE 

Colorado expedites Tri-State member exit charge case, as power supplier gets ‘split decision’ on FERC jurisdiction, Utility Dive

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on March 20 accepted tariffs filed by Tri-State Generation and Transmission, meaning the agency will now have authority over wholesale rates for the cooperative’s member distribution utilities in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. In a separate order, FERC determined it does not have exclusive jurisdiction over member exit charges, allowing complaints by La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) and United Power pending before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (COPUC) to move forward. 

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PURCHASING

Corporate renewable energy in the age of COVID-19, by Sarah Golden, Senior Energy Analyst & VERGE Energy Chair, GreenBiz Group 

“Large energy buyers signed onto 9.33 gigawatts of renewable energy deals in 2019 and they want those projects to come to fruition,” REBA’s CEO, Miranda Ballentine, wrote in an email. “We do expect for company interests and commitments to clean energy to remain strong given they are tied to broader corporate energy goals and emissions reductions targets.”

NET METERING

Which states offer net metering?, by Kelly Pickerel, Editor In Chief, Solar Power World

Congratulations. If you live/work in one of these 34 states, D.C., or four territories, you are able to take advantage of net metering credits in some form. View the database on DSIRE for more details about your specific region.

Net Metering – Nebraska
System Capacity Limit: 25 kW

Net Metering – Iowa
System Capacity Limit: 1 MW

ADDITIONAL PV MAGAZINE POSTS

ZEV PROGRAM 

Statement: Victory! Washington adopts Zero Emission Vehicle program, Environment America
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee today signed the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program into law. The move takes aim at reducing ozone pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and makes Washington the 12th state to adopt the ZEV program. With this new law, Washington joins the entire West Coast as part of this critical program to get more electric cars on the road. Under ZEV, the Evergreen State will deploy hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles over the next decade. 

PROJECT DRAWDOWN UPDATE

Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion, Yale Climate Connections. A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs.

FEATURED WEBINAR LIBRARY

Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) on-demand webinars: Many of them are free.

FEATURED BOOK

Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food, and a Green New Deal, Chelsea Green Publishing

Grassroots Rising offers a blueprint for building a grassroots Regeneration Movement based on consumer activism, farmer innovation, political change, and regenerative finance—embodied most recently by the proposed Green New Deal in the US.

Using regenerative agriculture practices that restore our agricultural and grazing lands, we can sequester massive amounts of carbon in the soil. Coupled with an aggressive transition toward renewables, Cummins argues that we have the power to not only mitigate and slow down climate change, but actually reverse global warming.

Commentary: Virginia Clean Economy Act models a just clean energy transformation

Contributed by Maggie Clark and Rachel Smucker / Solar Energy
Industries Association, Energy News Network 

The Virginia Statehouse in Richmond.

Legislation just passed by the General Assembly, the Virginia Clean Economy Act, represents our best chance this year to ensure reliable and affordable electricity, create jobs and grow our economy, turn back the tide of climate change and put Virginia on a path toward an equitable transition to a clean energy economy.

This legislation would turn Gov. Ralph Northam’s clean energy goals into law, and chart the course for Virginia to get there. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), only about 1% of Virginia’s electricity comes from solar. This ambitious plan would require Virginia to become zero carbon by the middle of this century. The Clean Economy Act takes a major step forward on equity by directly empowering consumers with access to rooftop. It is a bold step, and it is needed now. Read more here.

Photo by Ron Cogswell / Flickr / Creative Commons

RELATED SEIA NEWS RELEASES

MORE ON VIRGINIA’S CLEAN ECONOMY ACT

  • Virginia passes historic commitment to 100 percent clean energy by 2045, Environment America News Release. Susan Rakov, Environment America’s Clean Energy Program chair, released the following statement: “In state after state and city after city, people are demanding a new approach to America’s energy future, and today Virginia’s General Assembly said, ‘We hear you!’ As a result of campaigns across the country, one out of three Americans now live in a city or state that has made a commitment to 100 percent clean and renewable energy. Environment America is proud to have played a part in those campaigns, and we look forward to the next wave. Congratulations to Virginia — it’s a great day to take a big step toward a better world.”
  • Virginia Mandates 100% Clean Power by 2045Greentech Media
    The Clean Economy Act will drive utility Dominion to procure gigawatts of solar, offshore wind and energy storage.

SUSTAINABLE BUSINESSES

SOLSMART

SolSmart program helps turn around solar permits in one day, Solar Power World
“SolSmart is mainly a solar soft cost reduction program, and it’s important, because about 64% of all solar costs come from soft costs. And these are costs associated with all the non-hardware parts of going solar. So, permitting fees, labor, zoning issues, things like that,” said Zach Greene, program director and SolSmart leader at The Solar Foundation. “By working with these local governments, by educating them, by providing them with consulting-type resources, we’re really able to help them reduce those costs at the local level and to really try to expand a local solar market.”

Previously Posted

100% BIODEGRADABLE & REGENERATIVE TIRES FOR ELECTRIC CARS

Goodyear develops self-regenerating ‘spider-silk’ tires for electric cars, BusinessGreen
Goodyear has unveiled designs for new ultra-durable tires made from biodegradable materials, which it claims can both “self-regenerate” and adapt to changing road conditions, in a move aimed at helping electric car drivers cut down on maintenance costs and waste.

The Expert Take: Katherine Hamilton on our energy transition

Generation 180 Interview

At Generation180, we’re working to inspire and equip individuals to get involved in the energy transition. It’s complex and it’s big. So to provide a better sense of where we’re headed, we’re providing a deeper dive into what’s happening with this transition—where are we right now, how far we’ve come, and, most importantly, where we need to go.

As part of our online Boot Camp project, we recently spoke with Katherine Hamilton, an energy expert with over 30 years of industry experience. Katherine has worked with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and is currently the chair of 38 North Solutions and former co-chair of a World Economic Forum council on advanced energy technology. Here [is] what’s on Katherine’s mind and what she sees as the role of “everyday energy leaders.” Read more here.

LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION ABOUT GENERATION 180

SUSTAINABILITY JOBS

Jobs You Can Do With a Sustainability Degree, Earth911

GREEN SCHOOLS

Iowa City schools anticipate cutting carbon emissions in half in five years, Iowa City Press-Citizen. Iowa City schools appear on track to reduce carbon emissions by more than 45% by 2030, the goalpost student climate activists have pushed for in Iowa City, according to a consultant’s report.  But the report indicated that reducing carbon emissions to a net-zero by 2050, another goal pushed for by climate activists, will require the district to take action.

REGENERATIVE FARMING & CLIMATE RESILIENCY

Black farmers embrace and implement solutions for climate resiliency, by Leah Penniman, Co-Director Soul Fire Farm, GreenBiz

Leah Penniman is a farmer, educator, soil steward and food justice activist. She is co-director and program manager of Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York, and the author of Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land.


RURAL ENERGY FOR AMERICA PROGRAM (REAP)

The Rural Energy for America Program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements.

Program Status: Open
Program Information
Program Fact Sheet
Hoja Informativa del Programa en Español

NEW REPORT

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA

Environment America releases 2020 state legislative agenda priorities, News Release
State affiliates of Environment America, a national nonpartisan advocacy group, delivered meaningful progress on several environmental and public health issues in 2019. But given the obstacles that still exist at the federal level on those issues and more, states will have to continue to lead in 2020. Here is a roundup of the top issues and bills that Environment America’s 29 state affiliates will be working on across the country this coming year:

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

2020 will be a key year (and decade) for electric vehicles, GreenBiz
This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Powering the world from Piedmont; GenPro’s bright future

By Brent Zell, Black Hills Business Correspondent, Rapid City Journal

Dwight Patterson can talk about western Nebraska and the Bahamas in a short span and make it all connect. Patterson, the founder and CEO of GenPro Energy Solutions that has its South Dakota office in Piedmont, can discuss the 5.2-megawatt solar electric project that the company is getting ready to break ground on in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. And a short time later, he can detail a project in the Bahamas that involves creating and storing energy. Read more here.

Previously Posted
Expert Team Launches New Nebraska Solar Energy Initiative, Sol Systems News Release

With a long history of serving Nebraska communities, Mesner Development assembled a team of solar energy experts, including GenPro Energy Solutions for site development and construction and Sol Systems for project development and power purchase agreements. To date, the companies comprising N-Solar have developed, constructed, or financed a combined 17.6 megawatts of solar electric generating capacity across Nebraska.

N-Solar News Story: New Community Solar Project Coming To Scottsbluff

NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar Program

Request Community Solar: If you are an NPPD customer and would like to request community solar for your community, click here to submit the SunWise Community Solar Interest Form.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Kennedy’s role involves exploring energy solutions

By Laura King-Homan, The Wire, OPPD Blog

Courtney Kennedy doesn’t just tour wind farms. Kennedy, OPPD’s manager for alternative energy programs, and her team also research new alternative energy technologies, explore partnerships with large customers and work with system planning groups on how to best meet OPPD’s future load needs with alternative energy solutions. In short, Kennedy and her team are where the utility, and customers, can turn to get answers about renewable energy. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Omaha Public Power District

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES