Tag Archives: 100% renewable energy

Behind Microsoft’s bold plan to build social equity into clean energy buying

By Heather Clancy, Editorial Director, GreenBiz Group

There were plenty of juicy news tidbits in Microsoft’s recent progress report about its goal to become carbon negative over the next decade. But its new goal to link at least 500 megawatts of forthcoming solar energy contracts to environmental justice considerations is bold for many reasons

“We spend a lot of time talking about the energy transition needed if our society is going to transition to a net-zero economy by 2050,” Microsoft’s environment chief, Lucas Joppa, told me. “Microsoft’s position is that the transition has to be an inclusive and just one.” The arrangement, with project financer, investor and developer Sol Systems, will prioritize opportunities and investments in communities “disproportionately affected by environmental challenges.” What does that mean more specifically?  Read more here.

Photo by SolSystems: SolSystem’s 196-kilowatt solar installation at Christ Church apartments, a low-to-moderate income senior living facility located on the Baltimore Harbor. 

Additional Recommended Reading: Sol Systems Announces Groundbreaking Solar Power Community Investment Agreement with Microsoft, News Release by The Sol Systems Team

SOLAR-POWERED FARMS

Farmers Increasingly Look To Solar To Power Their Operations, by Jonathan Ahl, High Plains Public Radio. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) has $250 million available for renewable energy. They fund small projects where a farmer has to pay at least 75% of the total cost.  

Nebraska USDA Rural Development Energy Coordinator
Jeff Carpenter, 100 Centennial Mall North, Suite 308, Lincoln, NE 68508
Telephone: (402) 437-5554 / Email: jeff.carpenter@usda.gov  / Website 

RE100

First Solar Commits to Powering 100% of Global Operations with Renewable Energy by 2028, Globe Newswire. America’s largest solar company joins RE100, pledges to power U.S. operations with renewable energy by 2026. With over 1GW of corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed, First Solar is an industry leader in corporate solar. Its track record includes projects to support the decarbonization efforts of RE100 members such as AppleFacebookKellogg’s, and Microsoft.

RENEWABLE DENVER INITIATIVE

Denver looks to install 15 MW of community solar gardens, Solar Power World
The project is part of the Renewable Denver Initiative, which is supported by a $1 million grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. As part of the initiative, the project will help the city move closer to reaching the goals set in its 100% Renewable Electricity Action Plan, while expanding the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy to more members of the community.

GREEN HYDROGEN

Is renewable hydrogen set to revolutionize the grid?, E&E News
Hydrogen has long been made in the United States at scale by steam-reforming natural gas or coal. Bringing low-carbon hydrogen to cost parity with those types by 2023, as Morgan Stanley projects, would exceed the overall hydrogen industry’s estimates by several years. The bank’s optimism reflects the mood of other energy analysts, who point to the outlays in European stimulus packages and a growing number of proposed projects worldwide in saying that the timeline for cheap green hydrogen could be closer than many assume.

Additional Recommended Reading: DOE News Release: Energy Department Announces Approximately $64M in Funding for 18 Projects to Advance H2@Scale. The grants include an award of $2,599,945 to Hexagon R & D LLC in Lincoln, Nebraska: Carbon Composite Optimization Reducing Tank Cost. See all the selections here.

FREE AWEA WEBINAR SERIES

Wind workforce webinar series to kick off #AmericanWindWeek 2020, by Greg Alvarez, Into the Wind, American Wind Energy Association Blog

To help both industry employers recruit the best and brightest as well as provide students with the essential resources to set them on a path toward a rewarding career in the wind energy workforce, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in partnership with AWEA, is hosting a free, three-part Wind Workforce Webinar Series, Monday, August 10–Wednesday, August 12, as part of #AmericanWindWeek.


GLOBAL OFFSHORE WIND INDUSTRY

China poised to power huge growth in global offshore wind energy: Report finds the offshore industry could create 900,000 jobs globally over next decade, The Guardian
The world’s offshore windfarm capacity could grow eightfold by the end of the decade powered by a clean energy surge led by China, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). A new industry report has revealed stronger than expected growth for the offshore wind industry, which could reach 234GW by 2030, from a global tally of just over 29GW at the end of last year.
Also Published by The Guardian: Green energy could drive Covid-19 recovery with $100tn boost

 

The Guardian is partnering with Covering Climate Now, a global news collaboration of more than 400 news outlets, to boost coverage of solutions to the climate crisis.

 

TESLA NEWS

Tesla may become power provider in Germany, PV Magazine
The high-profile electric car maker is conducting a survey of German customers to gauge their interest in a Tesla electricity tariff.

SOLAR PERMITTING APP

SolarAPP residential solar permitting app to launch this fall, PV Magazine
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is “pushing toward” widespread release in October for SolarAPP, a web-based tool that local governments may adopt to speed permitting of residential solar installations. The October launch goal was announced by Jeff Cook, leader of the SolarAPP development project at NREL, in a webinar. The tool will be free to local governments, and will be funded by “a small fee” paid by solar contractors, an NREL spokesperson said.

PV-POWERED PARKING MACHINES

Solar for parking machines, PV Magazine

New Zealand researchers have proposed a way to assess the technical and economic feasibility of PV-powered parking machines. Solar might be an ideal solution, but the siting of the machines is critical and should be planned in advance, in line with available solar radiation and potential shading. The researchers presented their findings in “Solar resource assessment of modern parking machines in an urban environment,” which was recently published in Renewable Energy. Image: Southern Institute of Technology

ROBOTIC LAWNMOWER

Solar Alliance tests robotic lawnmower at Tennessee ground-mount project, Solar Power World


Solar Alliance Energy announced it is working with Husqvarna, Leeper Hardware and Appalachian Outreach as part of a test to determine the capabilities of the Husqvarna Automower robotic mower at an operating solar system in Tennessee.

Data! 10 charts show the economic benefits of US climate action

Red, Green, and Blue Article by Joel Jaeger and Devashree Saha,
With The World Resources Institute

The United States made substantial progress towards a low-carbon economy over the past several years. Low-carbon technologies became more efficient and affordable compared to fossil fuels, while U.S. clean energy investment and deployment grew to new heights, creating millions of jobs. All this progress could be in jeopardy due to the economic impacts of COVID-19 and government support for the declining fossil fuel industry.

But there is a better way—one that spurs economic growth, creates jobs, reduces costs for Americans and fights climate change. Our new paper synthesizes the latest research on the benefits of U.S. climate action in today’s economic reality. We found that strong climate action and investments in low-carbon infrastructure can be effective ways to build back better from COVID-19 and secure the economy’s long-term success. Here are 10 charts drawn from America’s New Climate Economy, which illustrate the economic benefits of advancing climate policies in the United States: Continue reading here.

Photo of a rancher at his solar water pump, an example of a clean energy project that can help states decouple emissions from GDP. Credit: Lance Cheung/USDA.

Additional Recommended Reading
COVID-19 Bailouts Should Target Oil and Gas Workers and Communities, Not Companies, by Devashree Saha, World Resources Institute

WRI WEBINAR RECORDING

Building America’s New Climate Economy: The webinar features a brief presentation on America’s New Climate Economy: A Comprehensive Guide to the Economic Benefits of Climate Policy in the United States.

ENERGY POLICY TRACKER UPDATE

U.S. public money commitments to different energy types:
Since the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic in early 2020, the United States has committed at least USD 99.72 billion to supporting different energy types through new or amended policies, according to official government sources and other publicly available information.

  • At least $72.35 billion supporting fossil fuel energy / $220.43 per capita
  • At least $27.37 billion supporting clean energy / $83.38 per capita

Previously Posted: United States Spend Ten Times More On Fossil Fuel Subsidies Than Education, Forbes

NEW COMMUNITY SOLAR GUIDE

Community Solar Power — What’s Happening? What’s New?, CleanTechnica
We’ve published a new community solar power guide for regular reference, and updates as needed. The first version of it is published below. If you have anything to add, correct, or request, please let us know.

SOLAR-POWERED MILITARY COMMUNITIES

Hunt Military Communities Supporting U.S. Military Leadership in Energy Conservation, Hunt Military Communities News Release, PR Newswire

Hunt Military Communities (HMC), the largest U.S. military housing owner, today announced that they have generated over 116,000 MWh of solar energy, in support of the sustainability goals of the U.S. Military. HMC, the largest owner of privatized military housing in the United States, owns approximately 52,000 homes spread across more than 40 military installations on Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps bases. The installation of solar panels in Hunt communities across the country has been a pillar of the company’s efforts, for which it was recognized with Duke Energy’s long-standing Power Partner award for 2019. Photo: Dover Air Force Base in Delaware

EVERGY’S ENERGY TRANSITION

Evergy, Elliott Management agree on a renewable-increasing strategic plan, avert a sale, The Business Journals. Evergy Inc. announced on Wednesday a new five-year strategic plan designed to speed its transition to cleaner energy and — importantly — to do so as a stand-alone company.

GROUND-BREAKING FORM OF SOLAR CELL

Solar Energy Breakthrough Paves Way For Electricity-Generating Colorful Windows, The Independent

Researchers in South Korea have manufactured a ground-breaking form of solar cell using thin films of colored copper. The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) successfully tested the cells by coating thin layers onto films of glass substrate. The researchers discovered that the innovative cells have a higher sunlight absorption rate than other non-silicon based solar cells, resulting in a higher conversion efficiency and longer stability.


JOB LISTINGS

Clean Energy Group (CEG) and the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) seek a Project Manager to work on the organizations’ initiatives related to solar and energy storage for low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities and environmental justice communities, with an emphasis on outreach to state energy agencies and community-based organizations. For more information, see www.cleanegroup.org and www.cesa.org.

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) is hiring a full-time management and program analyst to serve as the National Community Solar Partnership program lead. This role is a federal supervisory position at the GS-14 level. Responsibilities include managing complex, multi-partner technical assistance programs; coordinating a team of solar energy technical experts to plan and carry out these programs; developing concepts for new programs and funding mechanisms aimed at reducing the non-hardware, or soft, costs of solar; and more. Apply by August 12.

Crowdfunding For Clean Energy — Raise Green Launches New Marketplace

By Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica

You may recall that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) finalized equity crowdfunding regulations nearly 5 years ago. Now, “Raise Green is the first company to offer equity crowdfunding focused on investments for climate solutions nationwide” under that option. One cool feature about the platform is it will help you to really see how far your money went on the climate or energy side of things, as well as the financial side. “Raise Green aims to give people the direct impact they have been looking to make on climate change by providing access to verifiable investment opportunities.”

Curious to learn more about the inspiration for starting this, the founding team’s thoughts on the investment climate today and in the coming decade, and a few other matters, I asked Franz Hochstrasser, CEO and Co-Founder of Raise Green, a few questions to supplement the news and add more context. Read more here.
Photo: Co-Founders Franz Hochstrasser (left) and Matthew Moroney

Previously Posted
Alumni seek students’ insights into Raise Green crowdfunding platform, Yale News

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

COMANCHE 3 – ‘COLORADO’S BILLION DOLLAR MISTAKE’

Will Colorado’s newest coal plant survive beyond 20 years?, by Allen Best, The Aspen Times
A 2019 law, HB19-1261, the Climate Action Plan to Reduce Pollution, ordered electrical utilities regulated by the PUC to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide 80% by 2030 relative to 2005 levels. This is part of a broader goal identified by the law of decarbonizing Colorado’s economy 50% by 2030. A majority of coal plants in Colorado will be closing during the decade. Altogether, nine coal-burning units at five stations across the state will be closed by 2030. That will leave just four units, including Comanche 3, remaining in operation, all of them operated by Xcel.

Previously Posted: Xcel Energy proposes one of largest packages of energy investments in state history, Xcel News Release, Business Wire. Almost $3 billion of accelerated and incremental capital investment planned to support Minnesota’s economic recovery, advance clean energy goals, and keep customer bills stable.

GLOBAL SOLAR MARKET

Terawatt scale by 2022, PV Magazine International
The solar sector is no stranger to breaking records. Perhaps the most impressive figure to emerge from SolarPower Europe’s new ‘Global Market Outlook’ is that the global solar sector will reach terawatt scale by 2022 – just four years after the 500 GW milestone was reached. Michael Schmela from SolarPower Europe sets out the reasoning behind this and other key findings in the report.

Michael Schmela is executive adviser, head of market intelligence, and a member of the leadership team at SolarPower Europe, the continent’s PV industry association. 

SPP NEWS

Southwest Power Pool could add more than 5 GW of wind generation capacity by end-2020, S&P Global. The rise in wind generation as part of a national energy transition toward renewable sources has pulled down wholesale power prices.

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY

Applied Materials to go 100% renewable, inks wind PPA with Apex, Renewables Now
Applied Materials Inc, which makes equipment used in the production of solar cells, will be one of the off-takers of Apex Clean Energy’s 500-MW White Mesa wind project in Texas. 

MORE WIND ENERGY NEWS

Wind power is emerging as the main source of renewable energy, Reve
For the last five years, American businesses have been buying 20% of all new wind farm capacity installed in the U.S. And that number is only going to grow. Wind-generated electricity is a bargain. Costs have fallen about 70% over the last decade. These lower prices have attracted a much more diverse group of customers.

AWEA Resources

NEW CARBON FOOTPRINTS STUDY

Wealthy American homes have carbon footprints 25% higher than low-income residences, study says, CNN

In some particularly affluent US suburbs, emissions are up to 15 times higher than nearby neighborhoods, according to the study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The homes of wealthy Americans generate around 25% more greenhouse gases compared to lower-income residences, mostly because of their larger size, a new study found. The study’s authors say improving energy efficiency in the home is a huge opportunity for homeowners — and especially wealthy ones — to lower their energy usage.

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.

Capital Dynamics Enters into New Strategic Relationship with Tenaska

Capital Dynamics & Tenaska News Release, PRNewswire 

Capital Dynamics, an independent global private asset management firm, today announced that its Clean Energy Infrastructure business has signed an agreement with Tenaska to enter into a new strategic relationship, increasing its greenfield solar footprint in both the Midwest and Southeast United States.

The transaction comprises 24 solar projects located in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and Southeast Reliability Council (SERC) markets, totaling 4,800 megawatts (MW). The portfolio represents a large share of solar projects currently in the MISO and SERC interconnection pipelines and further diversifies Capital Dynamics’ growing utility-scale solar power portfolio across seven new states. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading
Capital Dynamics and Tenaska Partner on 4.8 Gigawatts of Solar Development, Greentech Media. For Tenaska, the 4.8-gigawatt deal follows another large-scale sale to Spain’s Acciona last year, with Acciona buying 3 gigawatts of solar and 1 gigawatt of solar-plus-storage from Tenaska in the U.S.

MORE NEWS & COMMENTARY 

COMMUNITY SOLAR

Why Associated plugged in to community solar energy, American Banker
Associated Banc-Corp. in Green Bay, Wis., recently subscribed to five solar gardens currently in development across Minnesota and Illinois. The subscription doesn’t cost the company anything, and its commitment to using a certain proportion of the energy produced is expected to slash about 20%, or $57,000, off its annual electricity bill.

SOLID-STATE BATTERIES

Investors Still Betting on Next Big Energy Storage Technology: Solid-State Batteries, Greentech Media. Solid-state batteries could be safer and more energy-dense than lithium-ion products are today. The improved technology could hit the market by the mid-2020s, analysts say. Companies including Ionic MaterialsQuantumScapeSila NanotechnologiesSion Power and Solid Power are developing all-solid-state batteries (ASSBs) that are expected to be safer and more energy-dense than the lithium-ion products used in today’s electric vehicles and battery systems. “Lithium-ion today, with a metal-oxide cathode and carbon-based anode, is starting to approach its theoretical limits,” said Solid Power CEO Doug Campbell in an interview.

NEW U.S. CHARGING STATION MANUFACTURER

Dutch charging station company looks to plug in to U.S. electric vehicle growth, by Audrey Henderson, Energy News Network. EVBox manufactures charging stations and the software to manage them. The company is expanding its presence in the U.S. to take advantage of a growing electric vehicle market. Electric transportation advocates note the move is particularly timely given recent advancement of electric vehicle policy in Illinois.

CLEAN ENERGY CAREERS

  • What’s It Like to Be a Renewable Energy Project Developer?, Greentech Media
    We’re asking people with cleantech jobs to tell us what they do all day. Next up: K. Harley McDonald, senior business developer at Avangrid Renewables.
  • An Anxious Accountant’s Journey to the Top, Greentech Media
    In this special podcast, we discuss how one finance expert overcame his anxieties and flourished in renewable energy. Today, he leads CohnReznick’s renewable energy industry practice and helps utilities and other energy companies execute all kinds of transactions, from long-term contracts to hedging strategies to tax structures.

TESLA  

Tesla Solar Panels and Roof: Pricing and how to buy, by Fred Lambert, Electrek

Tesla solar roof tiles are not available in as many markets as Tesla’s solar panels. The company is still hiring and training roofers in many markets and it is expanding fast. Tesla’s regular solar panel installations are more easily available.

Tesla’s website:
“We are hiring roofers, installers and electricians who will work together to deploy Solar Roof in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Virginia.”

MORE CORPORATE NEWS

NEW CERES REPORT

Coal retirements spur 8% drop in 2019 power sector carbon pollution after Duke, Vistra top 2018 emitters: Ceres, by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive. Progress in 2019 is a cause for optimism, report author and Senior Director of Electric Power at Ceres, Dan Bakal, told Utility Dive, though the sector will need to move even faster in order to offset the worst impacts of climate change.

About Ceres
Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. Through powerful networks and advocacy, Ceres tackles the world’s biggest sustainability challenges, including climate change, water scarcity and pollution, and inequitable workplaces. Mission: Ceres is transforming the economy to build a sustainable future for people and the planet.
Resources include: Proxy Voting Guidebook 2020

Ceres Initiatives

MORE ON RECENTLY-RELEASED ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS’ REPORT 

How to replace 187 GW of coal with renewables, and save customers money, by William Driscoll, PV Magazine. Promptly retiring 79% of the nation’s 236 GW of coal units, and replacing them with renewables and storage, would yield savings of $10 billion per year, says a report from the Rocky Mountain Institute, Carbon Tracker and Sierra Club. Retiring all of them now, including units that are not yet uneconomic, would still save $9 billion per year. The authors recommend federal involvement in financing this transition, and using the savings not only to lower customers’ electric bills but to fund transition assistance for affected workers and communities.

NEWS FROM CANADA

Massive 340,000-panel solar farm to take flight at Edmonton International Airport, Edmonton Journal. A massive renewable energy project roughly the size of 313 CFL football fields could be arriving in Edmonton by the end of 2022. Edmonton International Airport announced Tuesday plans to build a 627-acre, 120-megawatt solar farm — enough energy to power 27,000 or 28,000 homes — on the west side of its lands as part of an agreement with European-based renewable energy company Alpin Sun. Solar power from the farm would feed into Fortis Alberta and the airport.

Environment America Launches a 10-state campaign calling for all new homes to be built with solar panels

Environment America News Release

BOSTON — In January 2020, California became the first state to require all new houses to be built with solar panels. Today, Environment America is launching a first-of-its-kind campaign calling on additional states across the country to set similar standards for solar power on new homes. The coordinated national campaign will advocate for a solar homes requirement in at least ten states: Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. While each state may have slightly different goals, the campaign’s intention is to introduce bills in 10 states in the next two years. Continue reading here.

ACCELERATING ADOPTION OF COMMUNITY SOLAR

New US Solar Power Scheme Aims At Invisible Middle, by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica
A vast middle ground of opportunity for solar power development is ripe for the picking if only somebody could see where it is. Well, the US Department of Energy sees it, and is determined to pick it. The agency is moving forward with a plan to kickstart activity in the area of mid-sized arrays ranging from 50 kilowatts to 3 megawatts. That may sound like peanuts, but it includes the important community solar sector, so — wait, what is community solar anyways?

ENERGY STORAGE

The magnificent seven: US states with energy storage mandates, targets and goals, Energy Storage News. The US national Energy Storage Association’s policy director, Jason Burwen, spoke with Andy Colthorpe about the seven early adopter states and whether this is likely to be a spreading pattern across the country.

OPPD IN THE NEWS

TRADE ASSOCIATIONS’ STATEMENTS ON HOUSE $1.5 TRILLION INFRASTRUCTURE BILL 

GREEN BIZ’S “30 UNDER 30” AWARDS

The 2020 GreenBiz 30 Under 30, GreenBiz Editors
We are proud to introduce our fifth annual cohort of twentysomethings who are sustainability leaders within — and without — their companies, nonprofits and communities. The Class of 2020 hails from seven countries, including Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil and Taiwan, and they are tackling diverse challenges — from cultivating a more sustainable food system to advocating for climate justice on behalf of disadvantaged communities to testing best practices for circular cities to negotiating impactful renewable energy contracts. The list of their accomplishments is long and growing longer by the day, and they’re just getting started.

AGRIVOLTAICS

Pollinator-Saving Solar Panels: Good for Farmers, Good for Business, by Tina Casey, Triple Pundit. Conventional solar arrays typically force farmers to choose between raising crops and generating electricity in order to survive financially. However, a new body of research called agrivoltaics is demonstrating that farmers can have the best of both worlds. A recent report the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, for example, indicates that properly designed, low-impact solar arrays can be compatible with agricultural use.

MORE ON AMERICA’S RENEWABLES INVESTMENT ATTRACTIVENESS

ALSO IN THE NEWS

TRANSITION IN COAL COUNTRY: PART ONE

EV NEWS

Is this electric plane the future of flying?, GreenBiz article contributed by David Elliott, Senior Writer, World Economic Forum. The world’s largest all-electric plane has completed its maiden voyage, flying for 30 minutes in the skies above Washington state. Its safe landing in Moses Lake, about 186.5 miles southeast of Seattle, is a milestone in a dream that’s been floating about since the late 1800s — air travel powered by electricity.

Commentary: Time to double down on wind investment

By Ray Gaesser, Globe Gazette

Iowa recently made news for surpassing 40 percent of its total energy generation from wind and installing a record amount of wind power in a single year. While we should take time to celebrate this milestone, we need to double down on these important infrastructure investments to aid in our state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As chair of the Iowa Conservative Energy Forum, I can tell you that wind energy’s economic impact is needed in rural Iowa now more than ever. Rural landowners in Iowa are receiving $69 million annually in land lease payments. This consistent source of income can help farmers and landowners weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NEW INTERNATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY AGENCY REPORT 

  • Renewables Increasingly Beat Even Cheapest Coal Competitors on Cost, IRENA News Release. “We have reached an important turning point in the energy transition. The case for new and much of the existing coal power generation, is both environmentally and economically unjustifiable,” said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA. “Renewable energy is increasingly the cheapest source of new electricity, offering tremendous potential to stimulate the global economy and get people back to work. Renewable investments are stable, cost-effective and attractive offering consistent and predictable returns while delivering benefits to the wider economy.”
  • See IRENA’s  interactive infographic on How Falling Costs Make Renewables a Cost-effective Investment
  • Energy firms urged to mothball coal plants as cost of solar tumbles, The Guardian
    The International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) has found that up to 1,200 gigawatts of the world’s existing coal capacity could cost more to run than the cost of new utility-scale solar plants. If energy companies replaced only their most expensive coal plants with new solar power projects or onshore wind farms, totalling 500 GW globally, they could save up to $23bn every year and wipe out 5% of last year’s total global carbon emissions, according to Irena.

TESLA SUPERCHARGERS

With North Dakota, All 48 Continental US States Have Tesla Superchargers, CleanTechnica
Overall, there are now 1,870 Tesla Supercharger stations and 16,585 Supercharging ports around the world.

Tesla Supercharger Map

What The Post-Pandemic World Needs Is A Solar Energy Revolution

By Enrique Dans, Senior Contributor, Forbes

One technology above all has exceeded all expectations over recent years: solar energy. Near-exponential growth has lowered manufacturing costs and efficiency of the solar cells to the point that building a solar energy generation plant is now significantly cheaper than its fossil fuel equivalent, or even maintaining an existing unit — and most importantly, leave a negligible carbon footprint

Today, virtually everything that most people think they know about solar energy, about the days when only subsidies made solar installations profitable and some generated power with diesel engines at night, is completely obsolete and outdated. The solar energy landscape has changed so much in terms of costs and performance that it requires completely new analyses. Read more here.

ON-FARM SOLAR 

Indiana farmers see benefits in on-farm solar power for grain storage systems, contributed by Emergent Solar Energy, PV Magazine. “Every morning a potential energy source rises over the horizon to the east of my farm,” said Will Harlow, owner of the farm. “It seemed a waste to not harness this daily free energy source, erasing some of what I take from the grid. The solar components’ being made in the United States was also important to me. I hope if any positive comes from this pandemic, it is that we must do what we can to get production of all kinds returning to America.”

Links to resources for solar-powering farm operations & farmhouses: 

 

 

 


Nebraskans for Solar

Department of Energy: Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NET METERING

FERC Might Rewrite Solar Net Metering. Here’s What That Could Mean, by Ben Huffman and Marc Palmer, Greentech Media

On April 14, the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) petitioned FERC to assert jurisdiction over any on-site, behind-the-meter generation that injects energy onto the grid. If FERC asserts such jurisdiction in the manner requested by NERA, individual states could lose control over their solar net-metering policies — with myriad implications for the U.S. distributed solar market. FERC is currently accepting comments and intervenors from individuals and organizations. The period to comment or intervene ends June 15, 2020.

Ben Huffman is a partner with law firm Sheppard Mullin’s energy, infrastructure and project finance team. Marc Palmer is managing director of New Resource Solutions, a clean energy project facilitator.

 UC’S ESG INVESTMENT POLICY 

UC’s investment portfolios fossil free; clean energy investments top $1 billion, University of California Press Room

To date, UC’s new energy investments have developed and accelerated 9.2 gigawatts (GWs) of wind and solar capacity across all the platforms in which it has invested. Directly attributable to UC Investments’ share of the platforms is 1.47 GWs of wind and solar energy capacity in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and India. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 1 gigawatt of power is comparable to the energy produced by 3.125 million photovoltaic panels or 412 utility-scale wind turbines.

Focusing the recovery on green infrastructure could create millions of jobs

By Adele Peters, Fast Company

[The World Resources Institute] plans to model exactly how many jobs could be created through specific policies. But for now, in a series of fact sheets based on previous research, they give a rough sense of the scale. Until COVID-19 hit, the energy efficiency sector was the largest job creator in energy, employing at least 2.4 million people as of 2019 (the coal industry, by contrast, employed around 70,000 people.) Read more here.

NEBRASKA JOBLESS CLAIMS

Why unemployment claims are so low in South Dakota, Utah and Nebraska, CNN Business
Some of the contributing factors include a diverse mix of industries, low jobless rates before the crisis and stronger state budgets. During the past seven weeks, 110,764 Nebraska residents filed initial claims for unemployment benefits, or about 10.5% of its March labor force, according to Labor Department data. As with South Dakota, the initial claims data doesn’t reflect the impact to farmers and ranchers, which account for about 5% of the state’s jobs. In the coming weeks, [Economist Eric Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln] plans to keep close watch on the continuing claims.

FORT CALHOUN STATION 

Fort Calhoun Station crosses fuel-move milestone, The Wire, OPPD Blog
Late in the day on May 13, 2020, [FCS workers] secured the final canister of spent nuclear fuel inside its massive dry cask storage home, marking another closed chapter in the site’s decommissioning. Members of the OPPD Board of Directors lauded the success during their May 14 public meeting, noting that the project was done safely and event-free, as well as on time and on budget. They also recognized the men and women of FCS, both current employees and the many past employees and retirees who served at the plant during its lifespan. In 2016, the Board made the difficult decision to cease operations at FCS due to economic necessity and significant shifts in the energy industry.

ENERGY TRANSITION DRIVERS

Driving the shift to renewables, by Allen Best, Mountain Town News
“It’s no longer just a green movement, it’s an economic movement,” said Duane Highley, chief executive of Tri-State Generation and Transmission, which delivers electricity to 43 member cooperatives in Colorado and three other states. Tri-State recently signed contracts for 1,000 megawatts of wind and solar energy that will be coming online by 2024 at average price of 1.7 cents per kilowatt-hour. “Nebraska and Wyoming don’t have the same intensity of passion behind the renewable energy movement that New Mexico and Colorado do. But one thing all of our members can agree upon is low rates and low costs.”

Tri-State Also In The News Here
Tri-State’s clean energy battles with two Colorado electric co-ops now threaten the utility’s finances, The Colorado Sun

TENASKA

Wind Farm in Northwest Missouri Begins Commercial Operation, Tenaska News Release
Tenaska Clear Creek is the 18th power project that the company has brought online. The wind farm produces renewable energy under a 25-year power purchase agreement with Associated Electric Cooperative Inc., an electric generation and transmission cooperative based in Springfield, Missouri, that provides wholesale power to six regional cooperatives, including NW Electric Power Cooperative Inc. of Cameron, Missouri, and 51 local cooperative systems in Missouri, southeast Iowa and northeast Oklahoma that serve 910,000 members.

Tenaska Jobs Portal

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

JINKO’S 580-WATT SOLAR PANELS

Forget 400 watts. JinkoSolar launches 580-W solar panel for utility-scale market, Solar Power World

SOLAR-SELF-CHARGING EV 

Ford files patent for an inflatable, solar-powered, EV-charging car shield, Electrek
The dream of a solar-self-charging electric vehicle lives on. A Ford patent application was published this week for a roof-mounted device that, with a flip of a switch, cocoons the entire parked vehicle in a shield of solar panels. The patent application was filed on November 8, 2019, and published on May 14, 2020. Ford is not alone in its pursuit of putting solar panels on EVs. Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan, and Tesla have all made forays into using rooftops to solar-charge an EV or hybrid. Ford’s new patent application describes the technical challenge:

GM & TVA PARTNERSHIP

GM, TVA Partner to Transition Manufacturing Plant to Solar Energy, Solar Industry
General Motors has partnered with TVA to power its Spring Hill manufacturing plant with solar energy. For such a large and complex operation, going carbon-neutral presents a lot of challenges; GM has set 2030 as its neutrality goal. But at its Spring Hill, Tenn. manufacturing facility, the solar solution will commence operation much sooner through TVA’s Green Invest program. There, operations will be 100% powered by renewable energy by 2022.

RE100

General Motors is one of 235 companies that are members of RE100, a global corporate leadership initiative bringing together influential businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity. A growing number of RE100 companies also are helping their supply chains transition to renewable energy. Learn more about GM’s 100% commitment here.

FEATURED CLIMATE ACTION

Opinion: Your bank could help fight climate change — but will it?, The Colorado Sun
Contributor Mario Molina is the executive director of Protect Our Winters, a group that helps passionate outdoor people protect the places and lifestyles they love from climate change.

Missouri Ag And Climate Change: Farmers Scramble To Find Solutions Like Cover Crops, No-Till Methods

By Michele Skalicky, KSMU/Ozarks Public Radio

Missouri Farmers are trying to work around more frequent floods and drought, which scientists say are the result of climate change. The Missouri Department of Agriculture said it doesn’t currently have anyone in the department looking at the impact of climate change on the state’s top industry, so many farmers are trying to figure out solutions on their own. Read more here.

USDA Photo: No-till farming.

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

DOE FUNDING ANNOUNCEMENT

Energy Department to Invest. More Than $5 Million in Tribal Energy Infrastructure Deployment ProjectsBetween 2010 and 2019, the DOE Office of Indian Energy invested nearly $85 million in more than 180 tribal energy projects implemented across the contiguous 48 states and Alaska. These projects, valued at over $180 million, are leveraged by over $95 million in recipient cost share. See the DOE’s Office of Indian Energy website for a map and summaries of these competitively funded projects.

Nebraska Energy Projects 

Source: Tribal Energy Projects Database

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