Tag Archives: American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)

Prairie Island tribe prepares to chart course toward zero emissions

By Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

The Prairie Island Indian Community in Minnesota is expected to name a consultant this month to help propel the tribe toward net-zero emissions. The tribe announced its intent to offset all of its energy emissions in early 2018, but details have been sparse about how — or how fast — it would proceed. The process is expected to pick up in the coming months thanks in part to $46 million in funding allocated last spring by the Minnesota Legislature.

Shelley Buck, president of the Prairie Island Tribal Council, said the effort has the potential to “change the narrative” of a community that has long been associated with its close proximity to the Xcel Energy nuclear power plant and radioactive waste storage facility that shares its namesake. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Bobby Bloomer

Previously Posted: Solar Bear helps tribes seize sovereignty, economic opportunities with renewable energy, Tribal Business News. Post includes links to news stories about the Nebraska Winnebago Tribe’s renewable energy development.

TRIBAL ENERGY WEBINAR SERIES

Tribal Energy Success Stories
December 9, 2020―12 pm to 2 pm. Hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy, 2020 Tribal Energy Webinar Series

Many tribes across Indian Country have had energy successes. Each situation is unique, with differing reasons, approaches, and challenges. By sharing the successes of other tribes, we can gain valuable inspiration and insights. This webinar will share a few of these tribal energy success stories. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required.

EQUITABLE ENERGY TRANSITION

Ready for 100 Coordinator calls for equitable energy transition in Chicago, Medill News Service, Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism

The writer, Emily Little, a health, environment and science reporter at Medill, interviews Kyra Woods, “the Ready for 100 Coordinator for the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club. [Woods] works to develop partnerships across the city of Chicago to ensure a just and equitable energy transition.”

Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Website

EV EQUITY

With bans on gas-powered vehicles, here are key steps to increase EV equity, GreenBiz article contributed by Pamela Gordon, Managing Director, PGS Consults, Presidio Graduate School

At Presidio Graduate School, we see affordability of EVs as being both an equity and a diversity factor. Some of our professors reserve an empty seat in their classroom representing those who are not able to join the discussion. Although most new product and service adoptions are at first expensive before becoming more affordable, it’s time to buck the old way of targeting markets that inherently exclude those not usually in the room.

THE ENERGY GANG PODCAST

The Role of the Customer in Utility Zero-Carbon Targets, Greentech Media
In this special podcast from Opower and Oracle, we map out the ways utilities and customers can work together to slash emissions.

SOO GREEN TRANSMISSION LINE UPDATE

Underground electric transmission line moving ahead, Radio Iowa
Neil Jones, Soo Green’s vice president of real estate, says they’re working to pair up companies known as “shippers” that are interested in “transmission capacity rights,” generation companies or utilities that want to sell power on the line, and customers interested in buying that power. The buyers and sellers may be utilities, data centers, and others who want to buy Renewable Energy Credits. They’d pay for access rights to fund operations while ratepayers in Iowa would not be charged at all. Jones says Soo Green needs a permit from the Iowa Utilities Board to proceed and filed a petition in September.

SOO Green Transmission Project Website

MISO GRID CONGESTION

The clean energy benefits slipping through states’ fingers, Utility Dive article contributed by John Moore, Director of the Sustainable FERC Project

From 2016 through October 15, 2020, developers withdrew 278 wind, solar and battery storage or hybrid solar-storage projects from the Queue, and this just counts withdrawn clean energy projects that had reached advanced stages of the interconnection study process. If they’d been built, they would have supplied nearly 35,000 MW, enough to power more than 8 million homes and create about 72,000 jobs. The median wage for jobs in clean energy today is about $24 an hour.

Also written by John Moore: Time For SPP To Commit To Competitive Clean Energy

INSPIRING RENEWABLE ENERGY PARTNERSHIP

Vanderbilt and Nashville undertake bold new renewable energy partnership to address climate change, Vanderbilt News

Vanderbilt University and the city of Nashville, Tennessee, have announced a Green Invest partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Nashville Electric Service—a collaboration that will allow the region to take a bold step forward in expanding availability and access to renewable energy at a critical time in global efforts to address the threat of climate change. Through this new partnership, Vanderbilt is tackling climate change head-on by working towards its goal of powering its campus entirely through renewable energy and committing to carbon neutrality.

Learn more about the university’s sustainability efforts.

FEATURED NATIONAL SOLAR INSTALLATION

Southwest Virginia bike shop is now a beacon for solar power in the region, by Elizabeth McGowan, Energy News Network

A 16-kilowatt array on the roof of Iron Works Cycling is the first successful project for a regional group trying to seed solar projects across seven coalfield counties.

FEATURED NEBRASKA SOLAR PROJECT

10-kilowatt solar array at Duchesne Academy, an independent, college-preparatory school for young women in Omaha. Interconnection Systems Inc (ISI), based in Central City, installed the project in 2019. The energy generated by the solar system powers multiple classrooms, including the school’s science, technology, engineering, arts and math lab. where students can integrate data from the solar system into coursework. See Solar Examples for descriptions and photos of more Nebraska projects.

ISI’s current projects include two in Nebraska:

  • Elkhorn: 8.3MW
  • ​Valley: 1MW

ISI Careers

Congratulations to Wayne Williams, owner of Interconnection Systems Inc!
Williams wins Subdivision 7 seat on NPPD board, Grand Island Independent

RECENTLY PUBLISHED CLEAN ENERGY JOBS REPORT

The Clean Jobs, Better Jobs report is the first comprehensive analysis of wages and benefits across the clean energy sector. According to the report, workers in renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid modernization and storage, clean fuels and clean vehicles earned a median hourly wage of $23.89 in 2019 compared with the national median wage of $19.14. In addition, jobs in many clean energy sectors are more likely to be unionized and come with health care and retirement benefits than the rest of the private sector, the analysis shows.

E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), and the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) produced the report in partnership with BW Research.

New studies find grid modernization accelerates cost-effective renewable energy growth

By John Hensley, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Renewable energy has begun to dominate new electric generation capacity additions over the past several years for a variety of reasons – plummeting technology costs, increasing efficiency, and corresponding demand from the public and private sector, among others. However, to fully realize a 21st century clean energy economy we need to update our electric system to meet today’s needs, modernize the grid, and expand access to renewables through transmission infrastructure. Now, two new studies show how transmission investments can accelerate clean energy growth while saving money for American families and businesses. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Nebraska Public Power District

NPPD’S R-Project Newsroom
Nebraska Public Power District’s Board of Directors voted to award a construction contract to Forbes Brothers Timberline Construction, Inc., of Rapid City, S.D. for the R-Project transmission line.

SEIA Blog: Solar + EVs: Two Peas in a Pod

IOWA’S RENEWABLE ENERGY & TRANSMISSION

Experts: Iowa’s renewable energy growth depends on better transmission, Iowa Capital Dispatch
Iowa could become an even bigger leader in renewable energy, especially if renewable hydrogen is developed and transmission lines are improved, a panel of university, government and corporate leaders said Wednesday

MICHIGAN STUDY QUANTIFIES RETURN ON CLEAN ENERGY INVESTMENT

Commentary: Clean energy is good economic policy for Michigan, by Laura Sherman / Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, Energy News Network

Last month Gov. Gretchen Whitmer set a goal for Michigan to be carbon-neutral by 2050, a bold move that will bring more jobs and industry to the state. We can measure the economic growth and jobs that these energy innovations have already brought to Michigan and can continue to bring—not in 10, 20 or 30 years, but right now. A new report from the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC) does just that. It quantifies how increasing investment into advanced energy through a future federal stimulus package could energize the state’s economy, and finds that these investments would generate a return on the order of eight times the level of public spending for Michigan. 

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA’S “RENEWABLES ON THE RISE 2020” REPORT

The 2020 edition of a report by Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group
Clean energy technology has boomed in the last decade, enabling Americans to envision a future powered by 100 percent renewable energy. “Renewables on the Rise 2020” tells the story of the dramatic growth of clean energy. The data story below explains how strong state renewable energy commitments have helped to spark the clean energy revolution. The interactive charts enable you to explore how clean energy technology is growing in your state. And the six fact sheets provide a detailed look at the key technologies driving America toward clean, renewable energy — from electric vehicles to offshore wind power — and the hope they provide for the future. 

Environment America’s 100% Campaigns

CLEAN ENERGY JOBS ANALYSIS

Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), and the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) commissioned BW Research to analyze clean energy job wages and benefits.

The Clean Jobs, Better Jobs report is the first comprehensive analysis of wages and benefits across the clean energy sector. According to the report, workers in renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid modernization and storage, clean fuels and clean vehicles earned a median hourly wage of $23.89 in 2019 compared with the national median wage of $19.14. In addition, jobs in many clean energy sectors are more likely to be unionized and come with health care and retirement benefits than the rest of the private sector, the analysis shows.


REIMAGINE APPALACHIA

Clean energy, infrastructure plan could bring 489,000 jobs to Ohio, Pa., Farm and Dairy
ReImagine Appalachia’s plan, released in July, lays out how to build and modernize infrastructure, repair the land and create jobs through public investment in Appalachia’s Ohio River Valley. Reimagine Appalachia is a coalition of more than 75 grassroots organizations from Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. It calls for, among other things, encouraging regenerative agriculture practices, reviving the Civilian Conservation Corps, increasing clean energy use, expanding broadband, building a sustainable transportation system and creating “good union jobs.”

GREEN HYDROGEN CHARGING STATIONS

World’s First Green Hydrogen Universal Charging Station for Electric and Hydrogen Vehicles, H2-Greenforce, Extends Preferred Series A Funding Raising up to $12 Million to Debut Green Island™, H2 Greenforce LLC News Release, PR Newswire

About H2-Greenforce: Founded in 2019 in New Jersey, H2’s mission is to decarbonize our planet through production of green electricity. H2-Greenforce combines its own proprietary green hydrogen technology and know-how, with advanced industrial components to build self-sustainable electric infrastructure. H2-Greenforce is a trademark of H2-Greenforce LLC in the United States and other countries.

CLIMATE ACTION 100+ NEWS

Investors call on major US polluters to clean up lobbying activities, by Cecilia Keating, GreenBiz
It is just the latest intervention from Climate Action 100+, which is backed by more than 500 global investors representing $47 trillion of assets worldwide and aims to ramp up climate ambition from companies it has identified as collectively responsible for up to 80 percent of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Companies targeted by the campaign span a number of polluting sectors, including oil and gas, consumer goods, power and transportation, and have been identified as “systematically important” to the net zero transition by the campaign.

FEATURED LOCAL RESOURCES TO HELP YOU SAVE ENERGY & MONEY

New Power Nebraska Educational Forum: “Modernization of Electricity Transmission Infrastructure and Renewable Energy Development in Nebraska”

October 21, 2020 at 1:30 pm 

New Power Nebraska will host an educational forum tomorrow featuring energy leaders and policymakers to discuss the need for modernized electricity transmission infrastructure and the growth of clean energy. The virtual event will be moderated by David Bracht, counsel at Kutak Rock and former Nebraska Energy Office Director.

Nebraska has seen substantial wind energy development in recent years, bringing jobs, economic opportunity, and interest from residents. Wind power provides nearly 20 percent of the electricity generated in the state, with untapped resources standing ready to provide much more. But continued job creation and other economic benefits will require an expanded and upgraded transmission grid.

The event will cover topics including the current state policy environment, the status of the R-Project, grid resiliency, and transmission improvement needs in Nebraska. 
  
Register for the live broadcast via Zoom.

Participants:

  • Nebraska State Senator John McCollister (District 20)
  • Tom Kent, President & CEO of Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) 
  • Janece Mollhoff, Member of Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) Board of Directors
  • James Williams, Vice President, Renewable Development, Invenergy

 Moderator: David Bracht, Kutak Rock and former Nebraska Energy Office Director
 
To set up an interview with a panelist or speak with a New Power Nebraska representative, please contact Jesse Dougherty at jdougherty@strategicelements.com or (608) 807-8619.
 
About New Power Nebraska
New Power Nebraska, an initiative of the American Wind Energy Association, shines a light on the benefits wind energy generation brings to Nebraska’s communities and rural places – clean power, farm income, and new jobs. Learn more at www.newpowernebraska.org.

How local US governments are getting renewable energy

GreenBiz article contributed by Tatsatom Gonçalves & Yuning Liu
Originally published by the World Resources Institute

California and Texas accounted for about 84 percent of the total renewable energy purchased by cities between 2015 and early 2020. The prominent role of these two states is no surprise, given that they are the country’s largest electricity consumers and enjoy easy access to abundant wind and solar resources. Both also allow electric retail choice and have the local autonomy needed to access renewable energy options such as community choice aggregations (CCAs). In doing so, local governments can aggregate the power demand of their residents and businesses to get more leverage to choose cleaner power sources, which could contribute to their higher rates of procurement. There is also a lot of progress in other regions, including through community solar projects in Minnesota, Massachusetts and Washington. Collectively, there were more than 120 clean energy transactions by local governments in the other most active states. Read more here.

FROM UTLITY DIVE

Biden outlines $2T plan to invest in renewables, electrification, by Emma Penrod
In a Tuesday afternoon speech, presidential candidate Joe Biden outlined his plan for nearly $2 trillion in infrastructure spending, focused mostly on renewable energy and electrification, which he described as a “one-time” opportunity to reestablish the U.S. as a global economic and political leader.

His comments mirror the findings of the American Council on Renewable Energy’s (ACORE) third-annual investor survey, also released on Tuesday, which found that investors ranked energy storage as the most desirable sector to invest in, despite the reality that energy storage still secures a minority of the overall investment dollars dedicated to renewable energy. An increase in government incentives for storage projects, according to ACORE, could change this trend.

GTM’s POLITICAL CLIMATE PODCAST

How Joe Biden’s Climate Plan Stacks Up

On this week’s episode of Political Climate, we discuss the details and political implications of Biden’s clean energy and infrastructure plan. T
he Biden climate plan comes on the heels of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force recommendations on addressing climate change and environmental injustice, as well as House Democrats’ 500-page report on solving the climate crisis. In theory, there’s a lot in all of these proposals for leaders across the political aisle to love.

PEW RESEARCH CENTER SURVEY

US Citizens Want More Action From The Government For Climate Change, CEOWORLD Magazine
Pew Research Center conducted a new survey for climate change and what American citizens believe about the way the government is handling it. 65% of Americans say that the federal government is doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change. Citizens are dissatisfied not only with the way the government deals with climate change but also with protecting air and water quality and wildlife.

CLIMATE FINANCE CENTER

JPMorgan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs back launch of climate finance center, by Dan Ennis, Banking Dive. The Rocky Mountain Institute, a clean energy nonprofit, launched the Center for Climate-Aligned Finance on Thursday with financial backing from JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs. With the goal of cutting carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, the center aims to collaborate with banks to design guidance for working with carbon-heavy sectors such as steel or utilities, and to help banks determine which climate benchmarks and data to follow.

PV MAGAZINE’S MORNING BRIEF

California ISO brings the largest battery storage resource in the nation online
Also in the brief: IREC on energy storage interconnection, Wunder Capital and partners to invest more than $100 million in U.S. commercial solar, Photosol buying land rights near coal plants with eye toward transmission, and NREL on recycling solar panels.

JINKO’S PRO TIGER SERIES SOLAR PANELS

A closer look at Jinko’s 565 W to 585 W panel, PV Magazine
The module – which measures 2,411 mm × 1,134 mm × 35 mm, weighs 31.1 kg and features 156 p-type monocrystalline cells – is available in five versions with power outputs of 565 W to 585 W and efficiencies of 20.6% to 21.4%. Jinko says the Pro Tiger series will become the company’s main revenue stream in 2022, surpassing the Tiger 475 W panel. 

HYBRID SOLAR ENERGY CONVERTER

Scientists build high-performing hybrid solar energy converter, Tulane University, ScienceDaily
Tulane University researchers are part of a team of scientists who have developed a hybrid solar energy converter that generates electricity and steam with high efficiency and low cost. The hybrid converter utilizes an approach that more fully captures the whole spectrum of sunlight. It generates electricity from high efficiency multi-junction solar cells that also redirect infrared rays of sunlight to a thermal receiver, which converts those rays to thermal energy.

The thermal energy can be stored until needed and used to provide heat for a wide range of commercial and industrial uses, such as food processing, chemical production, water treatment, or enhanced oil recovery. The team reports that the system demonstrated 85.1 percent efficiency, delivered steam at up to 248°C, and is projected to have a system levelized cost of 3 cents per kilowatt hour.

GREEN RECOVERY

The World Needs a Cash-for-Coal-Clunkers Program, Greentech Media article contributed by Justin Guay, director for global climate strategy at the Sunrise Project.

For just 5 percent of what the U.S. has spent on its COVID-19 recovery package, it could have bought out and retired every coal plant in the world. Instead, the U.S. coal industry is benefiting from recovery programs while the world continues to subsidize old uneconomic coal plants rather than retire them. As we debate a green recovery, now is the time to add an important approach to our tool kit: a cash-for-coal-clunkers program, to help buy the only thing we can’t make more of — time. In the U.S., even the most optimistic estimates say we are on track to get coal off line as late as 2035 — five years too late.

ENERGY STORAGE

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS RELEASE

DOE Announces $139 Million in Funding for 55 Projects to Advance Innovative Vehicle Technologies. Funded through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), projects will conduct research in advanced batteries, electrification, and manufacturing in support of DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge. Announced by Secretary Brouillette in January 2020, the Energy Storage Grand Challenge is a comprehensive strategy to create and sustain U.S. global leadership in energy storage technology, utilization, and exports. Learn more about all of the projects selected today here.

ENERGY COMMUNITIES

Belgian school selling solar power to neighbors, PV Magazine International
Belgium is testing its first energy community by giving special status to a solar energy pilot near Brussels. The project will help to create a large-scale legal framework to apply the European Directives to energy communities.

FEATURED SOLAR INSTALLATION 

Solar energy makes local car wash even ‘greener’, The Winchester Star

Owner Ned Browning of Winchester said the car wash has been incorporating green technology for years, including water conservation, pollution prevention and biodegradable soap options. Adding clean solar energy was “the next level,” he said. The solar array went into operation in April and is expected to pay for itself in five years.

Photo Credit: Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star

FEATURED CLIMATE & ENERGY EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES 

The Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) maintains a collection of 700+ free, ready-to-use climate and energy educational resources that have been rigorously reviewed by educators and scientists. They are geared toward secondary through higher education classrooms.

Ørsted completes the onshore Plum Creek Wind project

Ørsted News Release

Ørsted has completed a 230MW wind farm in Nebraska’s Wayne County. Plum Creek consists of 82 wind turbines and represents Ørsted’s first operational project in Nebraska, further adding to the regional diversity of the portfolio. Even amidst global challenges, the project was completed on schedule and brings Ørsted’s operational onshore capacity to 1.6GW.

Ørsted has entered into agreements with a number of companies to purchase the power generated, including Vail Resorts, The J.M. Smucker Company and the Avery Dennison Corporation. Not only will Plum Creek help these organizations meet their renewable energy targets with clean, secure and low-cost energy, the project will also yield over USD 3 million in local community benefits annually in the Wayne County area. Some of the largest beneficiaries are the Norfolk and Winside school districts in addition to other sectors of the community, including emergency services, the local hospital, and community college. Continue reading here,

Learn more about Ørsted here.

Ørsted Image: Plum Creek Wind Farm

Previously Posted

CEO of Ørsted’s Onshore Business Declan Flanagan Elected Chairperson of American Council on Renewable Energy, Ørsted News Release, PR Newswire, February 27, 2020

The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) today announced that Declan Flanagan, Executive Vice President and CEO Onshore of Ørsted, will become Chair of the organization’s Board of Directors this coming June. “ACORE is fortunate to be able to turn to such a widely-respected leader in our industry to Chair our Board,” said Gregory Wetstone, ACORE President and CEO. “Declan Flanagan’s leadership will help take the organization to the next level as we work to accelerate America’s transition to renewable energy.”

Top company profile: Denmark’s Ørsted is 2020’s most sustainable corporation, Corporate Knights Report, January 21, 2020

Corporate Knights’ Global 100 sustainability index: Each year, Corporate Knights rank the 100 most sustainable companies in the world, ranking the top 1% on corporate sustainability performance.

“In the past 10 years, we have transformed from a company that had fossil fuels at the core of its business to being essentially a pure-play renewable energy company,” says CEO Henrik Poulsen. “If you look at the transformation of the company, it has been dramatic.” Asked why he thinks Ørsted topped the Global 100 ranking, he suggests that it could be “the sheer scale of the transformation and the speed – the fact that we have done all this within a decade.”  Watch a brief video here.

What the Coming Wave of Distributed Energy Resources Means for the US Grid

By Ben Kellison and Fei Wang, Greentech Media

Cumulative distributed energy resource capacity in the United States will reach 397 gigawatts by 2025, according to a new Wood Mackenzie report. The DER mix is evolving quickly away from nonresidential load management, which made up two-thirds of all U.S. DER capacity in 2015 but will make up less than half by 2025.

Solar, electric vehicle infrastructure and residential load management potential now lead all other resources, accounting for more than 90 percent of DER capacity installed between 2016-2025. Cumulative U.S. DER investments will eclipse $80.6 billion between 2020 and 2026. EV infrastructure, battery storage and grid-interactive water heaters sales growth will drive spending to a new peak in 2025.  Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: SWT Energy in Lincoln

VIRTUAL POWER PLANTS

  • Sunrun to Turn Home Batteries Into Grid Resources for 2 Major Utilities, Greentech Media
    The leading rooftop installer will aggregate homes for Southern California Edison and a Con Ed utility in New York in a test of the virtual power plant concept. Historically, utilities have been reluctant to allow customers to export from their batteries onto the grid, but that’s changing in some territories.
  • Previously Posted: ‘Transformative’: Sonnen to Deliver Community Battery Network With Grid Services Contract, Greentech Media. “This is what we’ve been working on for years,” says Blake Richetta, CEO of the U.S. business at Shell-owned Sonnen. “We’re paying for the right for full control of the batteries,” within certain constraints to ensure a backup reserve for the residents, said Bill Comeau, managing director at Rocky Mountain Power. The utility’s involvement follows the state legislature’s passage of the Sustainable Transportation and Energy Act of 2016. Rocky Mountain Power used that legislation to ask regulators in March 2019 for permission to enter into a contract with the Soleil community for demand-side management. Rocky Mountain Power, serving customers in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s PacifiCorp.
  • Learn more about Sonnen’s Virtual Power Plants here.

ENERGY HUB

EnergyHub partners with Vivint Solar as utility incentives for residential energy storage ramp up, by Robert Walton, Utility Dive. EnergyHub announced Wednesday that it has partnered with Vivint Solar to help utilities access attached residential battery storage systems as cost-effective grid-edge resources. EnergyHub now has almost two dozen distributed energy resource (DER) partners across assets including thermostats, batteries, solar inverters, electric charging equipment and water heaters. The company’s Mercury DERMS platform allows utilities to offer customer incentives to manage the devices to balance distribution systems.

GTM’S INTERCHANGE

Data Centers Are the Epicenter of the Clean Energy Economy, Greentech Media
On this episode of The Interchange: how the world’s giant computers are getting cleaner.

“THE 2035 REPORT” WEBINAR

If you missed CESA’s recent webinar: The 2035 Report: How Low Costs Can Accelerate Our Clean Energy Future, slides and a recording are now available here. Clean Energy States Alliance presented the webinar on behalf of the 100% Clean Energy Collaborative.

About the Webinar
According to the new report from the University of California, Berkeley and GridLab, the United States can reliably deliver 90% clean, carbon-free electricity nationwide by 2035 using existing technology, without increasing consumer bills, and without the need for new fossil fuel plants. 

The 2035 Report: How Low Costs Can Accelerate Our Clean Energy Future demonstrates how recent dramatic cost declines for solar, wind, and battery storage allow for near-term decarbonization of the electricity grid. Two of the report’s authors: Ric O’Connell, Executive Director of GridLab and Dr. Amol Phadke, Senior Scientist and Affiliate, Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, presented the main findings and discussed their implications.

MORE ON THE MACRO GRID INITIATIVE

Clean energy groups to propose FERC rules for national transmission system saving $47B a year, by Robert Walton, Utility Dive. The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG) on Wednesday launched a new campaign to build support for a stronger U.S. transmission system, including upgrades to interregional lines and the development of a nationwide, high-voltage direct current network. The campaign, The Macro Grid Initiative, argues consumers would save up to $47 billion annually with a national electrical power system versus the existing, regionally divided system.

DOMINION OFFSHORE WIND & THE VIRGINIA CLEAN ECONOMY ACT

Q&A: This engineer has a front-row seat as Dominion advances offshore wind, by Elizabeth McGowan, Energy News Network. Mark Mitchell, vice president of generation construction, joined the Richmond-based company 22 years ago. Within six years, 180 to 190 turbines planned for an adjacent 2,600 megawatt commercial project should produce enough power for 650,000 homes. Survey work is now underway for that phase. Offshore wind is crucial if Dominion is expected to achieve 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045, as required by the Virginia Clean Economy Act. The law takes effect July 1. 

EV NEWS

WISCONSIN BROTHERS’ SOLAR BUSINESS

Shining light on energy options, Wisconsin brothers grow with solar business, WIZM News
Coming together from opposite sides of the country, brothers Cameron and Brandon Olson created a business plan to bring solar energy options to La Crosse. Olson Solar Energy started in 2017 with a few jobs in southwest Wisconsin. There were no other solar companies in the area, so the market made sense. In 2019, they invested in advertising and expanded to opening the shop. “There were so many people interested in solar from smaller, residential systems to bigger commercial systems, and this year has just been more of the same,” Cameron said.

Advanced macro grid initiative announced in US

By Jean Haggerty, PV Magazine

The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and Americans for a Clean Energy Grid are launching the Macro Grid Initiative to improve the country’s balkanized electricity transmission system and better integrate low-cost renewable energy. Breakthrough Energy, an organization that Bill Gates formed in 2015 to expand clean energy investment and innovation, will provide substantial funding for the initiative. “To respond to the challenge of climate change, we need ambitious investments in our electrical grid. Solar, wind and other renewable energy sources are booming, moving us toward a carbon-free future,” said Gina McCarthy, president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Nebraska Public Power District

News Release: Macro Grid Initiative Launches to Expand and Upgrade America’s Transmission Network

The R-Project in Nebraska: You can learn more about NPPD’s construction of the 345,000-volt transmission line and stay informed on the latest R-Project information here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NEW JERSEY’S WIND PORT & THE STATE’S 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY COMMITMENT

UNILEVER’S HOLISTIC CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

Unilever unveils climate and nature fund worth more than $1 billionGreenBiz
Unilever CEO Alan Jope emphasized the company intended to eschew a sustainability strategy that focused on emissions alone and instead take a holistic approach. “Climate change, nature degradation, biodiversity decline, water scarcity — all these issues are interconnected, and we must address them all simultaneously,” he said.

RE100: Unilever is one of 241 RE100 companies that have made a commitment to go 100% renewable. An increasing number of them are also working with their supply chains to help the companies purchase renewable energy for their own operations, providing an exponential boost to its deployment. Read about the actions RE100 businesses are taking and why here.

REIT HOSTS ROOFTOP COMMUNITY SOLAR 

Duke Realty Set To Become New Jersey’s Largest Community Solar Host, Duke Realty News
Duke Realty, the largest domestic-only, pure-play logistics property REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) in the United States, has announced it will host solar projects covering nearly 1 million square feet of roof space across four of its New Jersey industrial sites through a partnership with Solar Landscape. The Clean Energy Act of 2018 established a statewide Community Solar Program in New Jersey. The pilot program allows property owners to lease their rooftops or land to solar developers to construct large solar projects that power their communities. The pilot program is being rolled out over three years.

Methane, manure and a net-zero pledge

GreenBiz article contributed by Christian Roselund,
Editorial Director, Rocky Mountain Institute

Dominion is planning to tackle its methane emissions on two fronts. First, it will focus on reducing methane from three sources within its control: gas venting that occurs during maintenance and inspection activities, replacing aging equipment prone to leakage, and expanding leak detection programs. Second, recognizing that it may be unable to eliminate methane leaks entirely, it plans to offset remaining methane emissions by procuring biogas, sometimes called renewable natural gas (RNG).

The utility’s plan to reach net zero is not the same as the zero-carbon pledges of electric utilities; under Dominion’s plan, it will still sell gas to end-customers, and even if Dominion plugs all the leaks in its transmission and distribution networks, its operations still will result in emissions at the point of combustion. In addition, Dominion’s commitment does not take into account the methane emissions associated with gas production, which account for over 50 percent of the methane problem in the oil and gas value chain. The utility also remains a member of the American Gas Association, which has led the fight against building electrification. So while the hogs are now playing their part, there are bigger fish to fry. Read more here. This story first appeared on: RMI.

Christian Roselund is responsible for creating and executing Rocky Mountain Institute’s global editorial and publications strategy, managing publication production, writing content and managing both an in-house and freelance team of writers.

Image Credit: Shutterstock/AVA Bitter

DOMINION’S SOLAR SCHOOLS INITIATIVE

16 Schools Selected for Dominion Energy ‘Solar for Students’ program, WWBT – NBC12 News
Each of the schools selected will receive a 1.2-kilowatt photovoltaic system, technical support, educational materials, and training for educators. Dominion Energy says each array generates enough electricity to power up to 18 desktop computers, 40 10-gallon aquariums or 15 42-inch LED televisions.

NEWS FROM OTHER UTILITY COMPANIES

ØRSTED / ACORE NEWS

CEO of Ørsted’s Onshore Business Declan Flanagan Elected Chairperson of American Council on Renewable Energy, PR Newswire. The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) today announced that Declan Flanagan, Executive Vice President and CEO Onshore of Ørsted, will become Chair of the organization’s Board of Directors this coming June. “ACORE is fortunate to be able to turn to such a widely-respected leader in our industry to Chair our Board,” said Gregory Wetstone, ACORE President and CEO. “Declan Flanagan’s leadership will help take the organization to the next level as we work to accelerate America’s transition to renewable energy.”

Previously Posted

NEW REPORT

State of the Electric Utility: 2020 Survey Report, Utility Dive
The results are in, and the 7th Annual State of the Electric Utility Survey Report is here. In our 70+ page report, we’ll look more closely than ever at industry attitudes and action on climate resilience, electric vehicles, battery storage and other industry issues. We’ll also look back on how perennial topics like load trends and energy markets have evolved. The report covers: Key findings from 7th Annual Electric Utility Survey; How utilities view cybersecurity; Climate resilience, EVs, battery storage and more.

FOSSIL FUEL MAJORS IN THE NEWS

YIELDCOS 

An Avangrid Yieldco? CEO Says ‘Maybe’, Greentech Media
Investor interest in renewable energy yieldco stocks returned with a roar last year. Avangrid is paying attention. The basic idea behind yieldcos is to separate the low-risk business of operating wind and solar farms from the higher-risk business of project development. Yieldcos buy finished projects from their sponsor companies, and in doing so developers are able to recycle capital back into new projects — while investors gain access to different types of renewables assets.

INTERACTIVE POLITICAL CLIMATE PODCAST

Decarb Madness: How Would You Build a Policy Bracket to Decarbonize the Power Sector?, Greentech Media. Political Climate challenges four energy experts to build their ideal policy bracket for decarbonizing the electricity sector. The Political Climate Podcast is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute.

MORE PODCASTS OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

13 sustainability podcasts that will keep your earbuds plugged in, “rounded up” by Elsa Wenzel, Senior Writer, GreenBiz Group. These 13 solutions-focused podcasts, in random order, offer provocative conversations with sustainability stars, as well as music and thoughtful editing that make you happy to let the next episode autoplay.

2020 Outlook: Coal faces headwinds from aging plants, adverse market signals and high remediation costs

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

New legislative and gubernatorial leadership elected in the 2018 midterm elections brought heightened pressure to the coal industry in 2019 — a pressure that’s expected to continue from state legislators, regulators and evolving power markets in 2020, according to stakeholders.

Over 10 GW of coal-fired power was retired in 2019, driven largely by “a sustained downward pressure on the market” expected to continue throughout 2020, a ScottMadden analyst told Utility Dive in an email. Natural gas surpassed coal as the number one producer of electric power in 2016, and in April and May of 2019 renewable energy supplied more power than coal for the first time. Read more here.


Catherine Morehouse
Before joining Industry Dive, Catherine was at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska where she worked as News Editor and then Editor-in-Chief of The Creightonian. She has a B.A. in Journalism and Political Science from Creighton.


ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

SECURITIZATION
Kansas considering securitization for aging coal plants, but caution urged, Utility Dive
Securitization of uneconomic electric utility assets has become a growing strategy to allow for the retirement of coal plants before the end of their useful lives without saddling ratepayers with the cost of these stranded assets. Several other states, such as Colorado, Montana and New Mexico, have passed legislation that makes this option available to utilities. Kansas lawmakers are now considering the securitization option as well.

Previously Posted

NAACP’S JUST ENERGY PROGRAM

For Indiana NAACP, energy justice has long been a civil rights issue, Energy News Network
The NAACP has recently encouraged state and local chapters to avoid being influenced by utilities or fossil fuel interests that donate money to the historic civil rights organization but push policies and take actions that hurt African American and other environmental justice communities. In Indiana, a conservative state where fossil fuel interests and utilities are considered to have much influence, it’s a dynamic the NAACP state chapter is well versed in navigating.

Just Energy Toolkit

The Just Energy Policies and Practices Action Toolkit is 8 modules of practical, user-friendly guidance on how you can phase out toxic energy like coal, nuclear, and oil facilities and bring in clean energy like wind and solar.  Designed to be downloaded as an entire toolkit or as individual modules, you can start planning energy justice plans to best fit the needs in your community. 
Learn more about the toolkit and other Just Energy resources here.

MORE ENERGY TRANSFORMATION NEWS & ANALYSIS

ACORE’s four policies to clean the grid, PV Magazine
The report, titled Policy Options That Most Effectively Put Renewable Energy to Work, notes that  just over 1 TW of utility-scale, electric generation capacity is renewable (22%), while two-thirds of our generation capacity is fossil-based. To replace this capacity by 2050, we’ll need deploy about 30 GW a year of renewable energy.

Previously Posted: 2020 Renewable Energy Industry Outlook, Deloitte
The prospects for short-term solar and wind energy growth appear favorable, with about 96.6 percent of net new generation capacity additions (~74 GW) expected to come from these two resources in 2020. With several states increasing their renewable portfolio standards (RPS) in 2019, the industry will likely see mandatory RPS-driven procurement growth through the mid-2020s, while voluntary demand will continue to hit new levels. As of late 2019, at least 10 utilities have announced 100 percent decarbonization goals, and we’ll be watching for that list to grow in 2020.

ENERGY STORAGE

What Would It Take for the US to Become an Energy Storage Manufacturing Powerhouse?, Greentech Media. After “missed opportunity” in solar, Trump administration wants a domestic supply chain for energy storage. Is that realistic?

MORE NATIONAL NEWS

 JLC Infrastructure acquires and rebrands Greenskies Renewable Energy, Solar Power World
Greenskies Renewable Energy, a developer of commercial and industrial solar power facilities, has successfully completed a transaction that brings JLC Infrastructure in to accelerate the platform’s expansion in the high-growth C&I and municipal sectors. The Greenskies team has delivered over 350 MW of rooftop, carport and ground-mount solar projects, ranging in size from 100 kW to over 80 MW, in 19 states across the United States. Customers include large retailers, technology companies, municipalities, schools, universities and electric utilities.

NATIONAL LAW REVIEW SERIES

2020 Renewable Energy Outlook: Strategies to Elicit Community Support, by Alex Garel-Frantzen,
Amy Antoniolli, Brent Cooper

Even though communities are likely to reap many benefits from proposed renewable energy projects, local opposition can delay – or altogether thwart – the progress of renewable energy projects. Most renewable energy projects require some level of zoning or permit approvals to proceed, and garnering support is proving to be especially difficult. This final post of our three-part series on the 2020 renewable energy outlook (read the first post here and the second post here) examines how local opposition can form and what utilities can do to gain a community’s backing and trust. 

Renewable advocates highlight ‘most effective’ path to net-zero emissions as House releases clean energy proposal

By Matthew Bandyk, Utility Dive

A combination of a federal clean energy standard, a technology-neutral tax credit, a carbon pricing approach and transmission regulation reforms is the “most effective scenario” in which the U.S. achieves dramatic greenhouse gas emissions reductions by the middle of the century, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) said in a report released Thursday as House Democrats prepare a sweeping piece of legislation intended to achieve nationwide net-zero emissions by 2050.

The House Energy & Commerce Committee released a framework on Wednesday laying out the major provisions of the CLEAN Future Act, a planned bill that would combine a federal Clean Electricity Standard with measures like energy efficiency targets for buildings, a national climate bank proposal and incentives for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Flickr; Tim Evanson

More On The CLEAN Future Act: New Jersey Congressman announces CLEAN Future Act, Renewable Energy Magazine

CONSERVATIVE ENERGY NETWORK SURVEY

Survey Says Clean Energy Policy Is Important Across Party Lines, CleanTechnica
“This survey demonstrates that there is strong support for progress in clean energy policy across the nation—and significantly among conservatives as well,” said Mark Pischea, president and CEO of CEN. “

FEATURED PODCASTS

RESEARCH

Our Most-Read Research Spotlights From 2019, Greentech Media
The top GTM stories that drew from Wood Mackenzie research.

GTM WEBINARS

Two upcoming Greentech Media research webinars: An Accelerated View of the Energy Transition, January 14 and A New Chapter for the North American Wind Market, January 30.

TRI-STATE

Tri-State to shut New Mexico, Colorado coal plants by 2030, but move may not satisfy unhappy members, Utility Dive. The G&T utility will close the Escalante Station coal plant near Prewitt, N.M., by end of 2020, and the Craig Station plant and associated Colowyo Mine in northwest Colorado by 2030. But it is not clear the announcement will quell a rebellion among some Tri-State’s members who want lower rates and the ability to develop their own local renewable power. According to the Sierra Club, Tri-State charges its 43 co-ops in Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Nebraska rates that are approximately 20% above average.

ON-FARM SOLAR

On-Farm Solar Grows as Farmers See Economic Rewards—and Risks, Civil Eats
From struggling dairy operations to massive grain operations, farms are starting to see the light as on-farm solar proves to be an important income stream.

STORAGE

ORNL Researchers Create Geothermal Energy Storage System, Renewable Energy Magazine
Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers created a geothermal energy storage system that could reduce peak electricity demand up to 37 percent in homes while helping balance grid operations.

DOE’S ENERGY STORAGE GRAND CHALLENGE

DOE unveils plan to make US global storage leader by 2030, reduce foreign dependence, Utility Dive

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT