Tag Archives: Alliant Energy

Iowa experiment tests potential to pair solar with carbon sequestration

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

As thousands of acres of Iowa farmland are eyed as possible sites for solar farms, a research project is getting underway to explore a new crop that could co-exist with this burgeoning source of power: carbon sequestration. The state’s economic development office last month awarded $297,000 to an environmental consultant to create a business model “for monetizing carbon capture on solar energy farms.” Continue reading here.

Iowa Carbon Sequestration Task Force

Related Reading & EPA Resources
Perry joins Alliant Energy in brownfield solar power project, The Perry News
RE-Powering America’s Land, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfield Resources

Photo Credit: Werner Slocum / NREL

ALSO IN THE NEWS

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Nearly 750 U.S. Solar Companies Unite for Long-Term Federal Policy Certainty
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nearly 750 companies from across the U.S. solar supply chain sent a letter to Congress today urging action on policies that drive clean energy deployment and help us tackle the climate crisis.

The letter is part of a national campaign led by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in support of transformative solar and clean energy policies in upcoming federal infrastructure legislation. The solar industry is calling for a long-term extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) along with a direct pay provision, which will ease project financing challenges and shield the industry from pandemic-related disruptions. For more information about the solar industry’s infrastructure priorities, visit www.seia.org/infrastructure.

NEW CERES REPORT

new report released by the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets reveals that the physical impacts of climate change could amount to more than a $250 billion risk annually for the largest U.S. banks.

The Ceres Accelerator report, Financing a Net Zero Economy: The Consequences of Physical Climate Risk for Banks highlights these risks and provides valuable insights to help banks realize and mitigate the systemic financial implications of physical risk. The report sets out a practical roadmap to help banks conduct risk assessments and incorporate climate risks into their day-to-day decision-making. It includes detailed recommendations across four broad categories to guide the banking industry in fully measuring, analyzing, and acting against threats posed by the physical risks of climate change.

join Ceres for a webinar on Tuesday, September 14th to discuss the report findings and recommendations with a former Senior Deputy Comptroller of the Currency and the Head of Financial Risk at Regions Bank.

Related Post: An Urgent Call To High-Emitting Sectors: It’s Time For Climate Action
Forbes
article contributed by Mindy Lubber, CEO & President of Ceres, with additional resources provided by Nebraskans for Solar.

OPPD reaches customer-owned generation milestone

By Julie Wasson, OPPD Customer Service, The Wire

On June 28, 2021, OPPD received its 500th customer-owned generation (COG) interconnection application. This was the 165th application received so far this year, which is on track to be a 500% increase in interconnection applications over last year.

OPPD kicked off a multi-team project in 2019 to improve the COG application process using new, state-of-the-art online application software. The application software went live in April 2020 and, so far, more than 20 different solar installers have used the online application on behalf of mutual customers. Without the new online application process, the volume the utility has seen this year would not have been possible. Read more here.

Previously Posted

Battery project makes room for more rooftop solar in Decorah, Alliant Energy News Release
A free DOE webinar on the project will be offered on July 30 at 12:00 p.m. CDT. Anyone interested in learning more can join by 
registering here

Learning about renewable energy: New curriculum brings solar to the classroom

By Theresa Bourke, Brainerd Dispatch

About 60 school districts in Minnesota use solar energy, and they now have access to a complementary curriculum to go along with their arrays. The Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, along with other community partners, recently developed a kindergarten through eighth grade curriculum aimed at teaching students about solar energy as a clean, renewable option for the future.

Based in Backus, the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance is a nonprofit aimed at bringing solar and other renewable energy sources to Minnesota communities. The organization’s new curriculum is a natural extension of its Solar Schools project, a partnership with the Region Five Development Commission to install solar panels with 1.5 megawatts of solar capacity at schools in Pine River-Backus and Pequot Lakes, along with both the Brainerd and Staples campuses of Central Lakes College. Continue reading here. 

For more information about the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance’s solar energy curriculum, visit rreal.org/knowledge-is-power.

ZOO IN KANSAS TEACHING BY EXAMPLE

100% green energy and 6 other changes Sedgwick County Zoo has for its 50th birthday, The Wichita Eagle

The Sedgwick County Zoo will ring in its 50th birthday on May 27 with an unveiling of its new entry building and zoo store, both of which will run on 100% renewable energy. The zoo also plans to announce six additional environmental initiatives to reduce the zoo’s carbon footprint. “I think the role of the modern zoo and aquarium is more important today than it’s ever been,” said Dr. Jeff Ettling, the zoo’s executive director. “We all need to take action now because we’re seeing the dramatic impact that climate change is having here at home. We really need to walk the talk. It’s one thing to talk about conservation, it’s another to actually put it into action.”

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

APPLE NEWS RELEASE

Apple commits $430 billion in US investments over five years
Apple today announced an acceleration of its US investments, with plans to make new contributions of more than $430 billion and add 20,000 new jobs across the country over the next five years. To date, nearly 60 of Apple’s US sites are LEED certified. Apple is carbon neutral for all of its operations in the US and around the world, and last year committed to be 100 percent carbon neutral for its entire supply chain and products by 2030. Apple’s $430 billion US investments include working with more than 9,000 suppliers and companies large and small in all 50 states, supporting American job creation across dozens of sectors, including silicon engineering, 5G, and manufacturing.

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA

Statement: Biden moves toward allowing states to return to setting stricter vehicle emission standards
Vehicle tailpipes are a major source of health-harming air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. After seven years of decline, air pollution started rising in 2016. By 2018, 108 million Americans lived in areas that experienced more than 100 days of degraded air quality. U.S. PIRG and Environment America had called on Biden to strengthen federal fuel economy and vehicle emission standards, and restore state authority, in theFirst Things to Fixreport, which outlined 20 environmental protections the president should enact when beginning his time in office.

Environment America Initiatives include: Mayors for Solar Energy
Environment America’s Mayors for Solar Energy project is helping city leaders take concrete steps toward this brighter, healthier future by building a broad, bipartisan community of mayors and giving them the tools they need to tap into the power of the sun.

Environment America Priorities

Lancaster County’s rules governing turbines still floating in the wind

By Matt Olberding, Lincoln Journal Star

If the Lancaster County Board wants to loosen rules regulating wind farms hoping to build turbines here, members will do so without support of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission. The six commissioners present Wednesday voted unanimously to recommend clarifying rules requiring a third party to perform any necessary noise studies but voted against changes recommended by the Planning Department. Continue reading here. Requires digital subscription.

Related Reading
Local View: Revisiting wind rules, by John Hansen and Ken Haar, Lincoln Journal Star
John Hansen is president of the Nebraska Farmers Union. Senator Ken Haar served in the Legislature from 2009 to 2016.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

UNIQUE SOLAR CUSTOMER INCENTIVE

Con Edison Can ‘Connect’ Customers With Solar Energy And Savings, News Release, Consolidated Edison Company of New York

Con Edison is offering, free of charge, a device that can save upwards of $1,000 for a residential customer installing a new solar array. The Smart ConnectDER, built by ConnectDER, Con Edison’s partner on the project, allows the customer to avoid the cost of upgrading the circuit breaker panel. It also eliminates the need for excessive electrical boxes on the side of the home.

ConnectDER News Release

ConnectDER Granted U.S. Patent for Plug and Play Distributed Energy Resource Connection

GTM’S ENERGY GANG PODCAST

 

Why Local Solar + Storage Is a Pillar of the Net-Zero Grid

This week on The Energy Gang: we dig into an analysis showing how local distributed resources are a cheaper way to build out the future grid.

 

 

FEATURED SOLAR+STORAGE GUIDE

Understanding Solar+Storage: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Solar PV and Battery Storage, Clean Energy Group

This guide addresses commonly asked questions about solar PV and battery storage technologies. It is based on the results of a survey identifying the most common knowledge gaps around solar and energy storage. The information presented in the guide focuses primarily on customer-sited, behind-the-meter solar+storage installations, though much of the information is relevant to other types of projects as well, including storage-only projects and front-of-the-meter solar+storage projects. It is meant to serve as a starting point to establish a foundation of knowledge and understanding for individuals and organizations beginning to explore solar+storage options for their homes, businesses, or community facilities.

HYDROGEN

Shell Says Hydrogen Is Heavy Transport’s Future. What Now for Biofuels?, Greentech Media
A Deloitte report commissioned by Shell finds that the heavy-freight sector is increasingly planning for a switch to hydrogen. The study, carried out by global accountancy firm Deloitte on Shell’s behalf, questioned 158 executives in the road freight sector in 22 different countries. Of those asked, 70 percent ranked decarbonization as a top-three concern for their business. Many participants interviewed for the Getting into Gear report said they expect hydrogen to be commercially viable in just five to 10 years. 

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

Alliant coal plant could cost Wisconsin customers $257M by 2030, report says

By Catherine Morehouse, Utilty Dive

Two Wisconsin coal plants cost Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin customers $16 million in 2019 alone, according to a report released Tuesday from the Sierra Club. Alliant on Friday announced it plans to retire one of those facilities — the 380 MW last remaining unit of its Edgewater plant — by 2022. However, the 1,023 MW Columbia coal plant has no set retirement date, and if it continues to operate the utility’s share of the plant could cost customers $257 million through 2030, according to Sierra Club. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Related: Alliant Energy looks to add 675 MW of PV and quadruple Wisconsin’s solar capacity, PV Magazine

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

The (energy) efficient road to small business recovery, Utility Dive
The following is a contributed article by Ralph Cavanagh, Energy Co-Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and John Di Stasio, President of the Large Public Power Council.

MORE ON SECRET GROUP’S FERC PETITION

24 Congressional Democrats urge FERC to reject net metering overhaul, Utility Dive
A group of Democratic senators and representatives on Tuesday wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, urging the regulatory body to shut down a net metering proposal that experts say would effectively overturn the policy nationally. In the letter, Congress Members questioned FERC’s authority to make such a rule and also asked the commission to ask the petitioner, New England Ratepayers Association (NERA), to disclose its members. 

Upcoming Advanced Energy Economy Webinar


Net Energy Metering and State Authority: What’s at Stake for Advanced Energy in FERC Petition, June 3 at 2 p.m.


This webinar will explain how FERC ruling the wrong way could impact existing and emerging state and municipal and cooperative utility approaches to supporting distributed energy resources in retail markets. 

Panelists

  • Ted Thomas, Chairman, Arkansas Public Service Commission
  • Hannah Muller, Director of Public Policy, Clearway Energy
  • John McCaffrey, Senior Regulatory Counsel, American Public Power Association
  • Jeff Dennis, Managing Director and General Counsel, Advanced Energy Economy

PEAK COALITION REPORT

Dirty Energy, Big Money, by the PEAK Coalition
Subtitle: 
How Private Companies Make Billions from Polluting Fossil Fuel Peaker Power Plants in New York City’s Environmental Justice Communities – and How to Create a Cleaner, More Just Alternative

The high costs of these peaker plants—both in public health impacts and on New Yorkers’ electric utility bills—are largely hidden to the public. It is not well known, but the owners of these plants receive exorbitant payments from utilities and other energy service providers just for the plants to exist. 

UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS STUDY

The Coal Bailout Everybody Is Talking About, by Joseph Daniel, senior energy analyst with the Climate & Energy program at UCS

 As we found in our new UCS report, Used but How Useful, How Electric Utilities Exploit Loopholes, Forcing Customers to Bail Out Uneconomic Coal-Fired Power Plants, utilities across 15 states right in the heart of the U.S. exploited power market loopholes, costing customers $350 million in 2018.

Previously Posted

Facing coal plant closure, Minnesota provider seeks cleaner path

By Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

Facing the closure of a coal-burning plant that had been its main source of power for decades, a southern Minnesota utility recently unveiled an aggressive plan to develop renewable energy over the next decade. A mixture of necessity and market forces led Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA) to set a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 90% through generating more than three-quarters of its power from carbon-free sources by 2030. The agency’s largest source of electricity, the Sherco 3 coal plant, will close the same year. Read more here.

Subscribe to Energy News Network daily email digests here.

Photo: The Stoneray wind farm in southwest Minnesota is part of Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency’s renewable energy portfolio.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

NATIONAL NEWS

BUILDING A GLOBAL NET-ZERO ECONOMY

In a time of global uncertainty, now is the time to invest in a 1.5C futurecontributed by Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact, GreenBiz

There never has been a time like today for coming together to jumpstart a worldwide transformation towards a more inclusive and sustainable net-zero economy. This is the background for the largest United Nations-backed CEO-led advocacy effort, launched just a few days ago, urging world leaders to build net-zero climate targets into COVID-19 recovery plans and stimulus packages. Behind the statement are more than 160 CEOs of the world’s leading businesses, representing more than $2.4 trillion in market capitalization, led by the U.N. Global Compact and its partners in the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE PAPER & WEBINAR

Global Stimulus Principles: The Economy We Build Should Not Be the Same Economy We Decarbonize, by Ben Holland, Jake Glassman, Christian Roselund, Carla Frisch, Michael Banker

This paper outlines four core principles of stimulus and recovery efforts that should guide any global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also provides guidance for effectively integrating these principles into our efforts to rebuild, while setting us on a path toward a cleaner, healthier, more just, and more sustainable future. Learn more and download the paper here.

Upcoming Webinar: Green Stimulus and Recovery: A Path to Global Resilience, May 28th
at 12 pm CDT.
Hear from Rocky Mountain Institute CEO Jules Kortenhorst, alongside RMI Principals Carla Frisch and Uday Varadarajan, who will share four core principles of strategic stimulus and recovery for global responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn that can simultaneously benefit the economy, the environment, and our communities. These principles derive from the first report in a series on stimulus and recovery investment that RMI will be releasing over the coming weeks. Learn more about these new principles and how they can be used to optimize decision-making in stimulus and recovery investments to move us forward on a path to global resilience.

WOOD MACKENZIE

The Right Coronavirus Recovery Could Make 2019 The Year of Peak Carbon, Greentech Media. There’s no better way to honor the lives lost than by making 2020 a turning point in the energy transition, writes Martyn Link, chief strategy officer at Wood.

Opinion: Investment in Missouri lowers electricity bills and creates jobs for residents

Contributed by Lee Barker, The Missouri Times

Missourians do not like living paycheck to paycheck paying high utility bills and soon many won’t have to. The Grain Belt Express Transmission Line will lower the cost of utility bills to dozens of communities throughout the state. When built, the Grain Belt Express will deliver low-cost wind and solar power from Kansas to Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. In Missouri, the line will span eight counties delivering at least 500 megawatts of low-cost energy (and probably much more). Read more here.

Lee Barker is the former city administrator for Higginsville, Missouri.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

In an American Wind Energy Association session moderated by Dave Price, political director of WHO-TV and carried live by Politico, the panelists said they hope to see Iowa’s already strong wind industry — one of the largest in the nation — double or triple its size in the next couple of decades.

SOLAR WITH JUSTICE REPORT

The sun shines for all: Community solar for low-income populations, by Meena Dayak, American Public Power Association. The Solar with Justice report from the Clean Energy States Alliance notes that participation in the solar economy can help ease the disproportionate social and economic burdens that low- to moderate-income households bear by helping to reduce electricity bills, provide jobs, and build sustainable communities. “Solar can also make decision-making more democratic by giving residents of under-resourced communities more control over their energy choices,” the report states.

ENERGY STORAGE

LOCAL CLIMATE SOLUTIONS

Look Locally For Solutions to Climate Crisis, Guest Column, Hibbing Daily Tribune
Recently we had the chance to visit a factory producing solar panels, and to hear about grassroots clean energy projects popping up all over northeastern Minnesota. The “we” was a group of about two dozen people from Duluth and the Iron Range. We were participating in an event on January 7 called Let There Be Light: Solar Initiatives Close to Home. 

WISCONSIN’S SOLAR SCHOOLS PROGRAM

Wisconsin Schools Asked To Plan For Solar Projects, Wisconsin Public Radio
The Solar on Schools program is asking K-12 schools in Wisconsin to consider installing solar panels as part of their energy mix. The program wants to attract 100 schools in the next four years to install the renewable energy source. The program is a joint venture between the Coulliard Solar Foundation in Deerfield and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association based in Custer. 

CARBON-NEUTRAL CAMPUS CELEBRATES ACHIEVEMENT

Colorado College achieves decade-long goal of carbon neutrality, The Gazette
In 2007, Colorado College sophomore David Amster-Olszewski circulated a petition that 70% of the school’s 2,000 students signed in 10 days, calling for the campus to commit to reaching carbon neutrality. Two years later, the campus set 2020 as the date to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from certain campus operations and use renewable energy sources. On Jan. 24, the college celebrated the realization of that goal.

SAVING ENERGY & MONEY

Alliant Energy study uses artificial intelligence to hunt down phantom power, target waste, Wisconsin State Journal. A 2015 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimated nearly a quarter of all household electricity use in the United States is consumed by appliances and other equipment in standby mode. Over the course of a year, that can add up to more than $300 worth of electricity for the average Wisconsin household and the equivalent output of 50 large power plants. Using off-the-shelf Sense home monitoring devices powered by artificial intelligence, the Madison-based utility and the consulting firm Cadmus determined most customers can cut their overall use by 9% just by tracking down and eliminating some of this phantom load.

ELECTRIC & SELF-DRIVING CARS

GM commits to $2.2 billion investment and 2,200 jobs at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, Detroit Free Press. The automaker said Monday the plant will provide 2,200 jobs as it shifts to become the company’s first all-electric vehicle plant. Detroit-Hamtramck will start production of an all-electric pickup in late 2021, then build the Cruise Origin, an all-electric self-driving car.

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT