Tag Archives: American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)

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.

Tri Global Energy Strikes a Blow for Wind Leadership in Illinois, Indiana

Tri Global Energy News Release, Business Wire

Tri Global Energy (TGE), a leading U.S. originator and developer of utility-scale wind energy projects, has achieved the status of the number one developer of wind projects in Texas for the second quarter of this year, based on the newly released Wind Powers America Second Quarter 2020 Report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), which analyzes wind power capacity by state, including projects under construction and in advanced development. The report shows Texas remains the country’s leader in development of wind energy, with nearly 20% of the U.S. total. The AWEA report credits Texas with 6,587 megawatts (MW) of wind projects in construction or advanced development, with TGE contributing nearly 1,500 MW toward that total.

John Billingsley, TGE’s Chairman and CEO, also anticipates the company will become a major developer in two additional wind states – Illinois and Indiana – during the upcoming quarters. “Both Illinois and Indiana have realized significant increases in wind power during the last year and a half,” he said. “TGE is on track to develop several renewable projects in both states.” Billingsley adds that TGE also is developing renewable projects in Virginia. Read more here.

TRI GLOBAL ENERGY PROJECT IN NEBRASKA

Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy
Scroll down to see all our state’s wind energy projects in development, including:
Tri Global Energy is planning to develop a 100–megawatt wind farm which will be named the Sugar Loaf Wind Farm in Garden County.

AWEA State Wind Energy Fact Sheets

Nebraska
Nebraska is one of the top states in the country for potential wind energy generation, with a technical potential of approximately 465,000 megawatts (MW) according to NREL.

  • Installed wind capacity: 2,132 MW
  • State rank for installed wind capacity: 14th
  • Direct wind industry jobs in 2019: 2,001 to 3,000
  • Capital investment in wind projects through 2019: $3.8 billion
  • Annual state and local tax payments by wind projects: $12 million
  • Annual land lease payments: $14.7 million

Illinois

  • Installed wind capacity: 5,659 MW
  • State rank for installed wind capacity: 6th
  • Direct wind industry jobs in 2019: 8,001 to 9,000
  • Capital investment in wind projects through 2019: $10.9 billion
  • Annual state and local tax payments by wind projects: $49 million
  • Annual land lease payments: $37 million

Indiana

  • Installed wind capacity: 2,317 MW
  • State rank for installed wind capacity: 13th
  • Direct wind industry jobs in 2019: 6,001 to 7,000
  • Capital investment in wind projects through 2019: $5.0 billion
  • Annual state and local tax payments by wind projects: $12 million
  • Annual land lease payments: $20 million

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Gage County Planning Commission Recommends Increase in Wind Turbine Setback Distance, News Channel Nebraska

“I can tell you a one-mile setback would be among the most stringent…and so that would set Gage County and this part of the state apart from what we’re seeing all across the Midwest….which would inhibit us from a very significant natural resource. As you’re considering this amendment, I hope that you think about not only the facts you hear, recognizing that you’re going to hear a lot of contradictory facts…..but look what real people have experienced who are around us…and how that’s impacted them and benefitted them and how it could also benefit our community and our state”. – David Bracht, an Omaha attorney and former Nebraska Energy Director

The issue now goes to the Gage County Board of Supervisors, which will also conduct a public hearing and make a final decision. 

One Way to Retire Coal Plants: Buy Out the Owner

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

Municipal and cooperative utilities may have an easier time retiring coal plants early.

In 2016, New Mexico’s Kit Carson Electric Cooperative left its long-standing power supply relationship with Colorado’s Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association behind. Kit Carson paid nearly $40 million to sever its relationship with Tri-State, after realizing it could save its customers even more money — $50 to $70 million — and get access to more renewables by contracting with Guzman Energy, a wholesale power provider. Since Kit Carson made a run for the door, numerous Tri-State members have considered the same.

Think tank Energy Innovation, in a new analysis released Tuesday in partnership with energy modeling company Vibrant Clean Energy, is elevating Kit Carson’s flight as a model for coal retirement that allows third-party, private financiers — including energy providers such as Guzman, investors or renewables developers — to push municipal and co-operative utilities toward more renewables. Continue reading here.

Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology LLC is a nonpartisan energy and environmental policy firm. 

MORE GTM ARTICLES OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

  • Microsoft Eyes New Tool in Decarbonization Quest: Green Hydrogen
    The tech giant announced Monday that it recently powered a row of data center servers for 48 hours using nothing but hydrogen fuel cells, which it believes to be the longest such test in the world for a data center operator at that scale. Microsoft is expanding its hydrogen testing and intends to leverage its vast size and energy consumption to help the green hydrogen industry scale up, Brian Janous, the company’s general manager for environmental sustainability, said in an interview. Last week NextEra Energy, the largest U.S. generator of wind and solar power, revealed plans to build its first green hydrogen facility in Florida, to be fueled by solar power.
  • Trump Administration Announces Long-Delayed Nomination of Democrat to FERC
    Nomination of NRDC attorney Allison Clements alongside Virginia utility regulator Mark Christie could restore political balance to key U.S. agency.
  • FirstEnergy CEO Defends Utility Amid Bribery Scandal Questions
    The utility’s share price and credit ratings have taken a hit after it was implicated in an Ohio nuclear and coal bailout corruption investigation.

NEW WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE REPORT

41 states have reduced their carbon emissions while growing their economies, Fast Company
Since 2005, 41 states and Washington, D.C., have increased their GDPs while reducing their carbon emissions, debunking the myth that economic growth can only happen at the expense of our environment. A new report from World Resources Institute (WRI) analyzes how states have decoupled their GDP growth from emissions, which Devashree Saha, a senior associate at WRI, says is “a hopeful sign for the United States and for the planet.” 

MORE ON NEW EIA DATA

Renewables have outpaced nuclear and coal to start 2020, PV Magazine
In the latest edition of Electric Power Monthly, Energy Information Administration (EIA) data shows that renewable resources have generated more electricity through May 31st than both coal and nuclear power.

AGGREGATED COMMUNITY SOLAR PROJECTS

First downstate project through Illinois community solar program underway, Energy News Network. The first community solar project in downstate Illinois facilitated by the state’s 2017 Future Energy Jobs Act is now being built, showing both the potential of the wildly popular program and the challenges of implementing it. Washington D.C.-based Summit Ridge Energy won the rights to sell renewable energy credits for 18 projects in downstate Ameren utility territory and 23 in ComEd’s territory in northern Illinois. So far it’s signed up 8,479 customers to participate in the community solar installations — just over half the subscribers it needs to be fully subscribed. 

MIDWEST SOLAR SCHOOLS

C2 Energy Capital Works with Solar Partners to Guide a School Solar Project to Successful Completion, C2 Capital News Release, PRNewswire

“The average price of a school solar installation has dropped 67% in the last ten years, making solar energy a smart decision for schools’ budgets. The most important factor for a successful solar installation in a school is an experienced team. Together, our partners have installed solar on dozens of schools in the Midwest and we are proud of the level of expertise, quality, and service we can offer,” says Richard Dovere, Co-founder and Managing Member of C2 Energy Capital.

The partnership between C2 Energy Capital, First Solar, and SP&L took a value-driven approach that resulted in cost-savings and reduced project risk for the school through strategic technology procurement, employing local and Ohio resources, and arranging ongoing project performance analysis. 

EVANGELICAL ENVIRONMENTAL NETWORK

Can an evangelical group change Ohio lawmakers’ minds on clean energy?, Energy News Network

An evangelical group has a stark message for Ohio lawmakers: If you care about unborn children, clean up the air their mothers breathe. “As a pro-life Christian, I believe pollution harms the unborn, causing damage that lasts a lifetime,” reads a petition signed by more than 53,000 Ohioans in support of moving the state to 100% clean electricity by 2030. The petition, circulated by the nonprofit Evangelical Environmental Network, was delivered to lawmakers on July 16. Its potential political impact was unclear then and is even more so now after federal authorities arrested the speaker of the Ohio House and others as part of an alleged $60 million bribery scheme

SUNPOWER BIFACIAL SOLAR PANELS

SunPower to launch 625 W shingled module, PV Magazine
SunPower, which is majority owned by French energy giant Total, is planning to launch a new shingled module series with 625 watts of power output. Group spinoff Maxeon Solar Technologies will commercialize the Performance 5 line in the fourth quarter. The high-efficiency, bifacial mono-PERC solar panels will be made with large format eight-inch G12 wafers and will have an efficiency of 21.2%.

AWEA WEBINAR SERIES

Renewables 101 series: Wind recap, look out for solar, by Lauren Rudolphi, Into The Wind
As someone new to the renewable energy industry, this month’s Wind 101 Webinar Series offered an insightful and well-rounded look into the world of wind. From an overview of the market, to wildlife, siting & permitting, I walked away from the series feeling informed and excited to learn more! Below is a recap of my key takeaways.

Bright, Sunny, And Big Savings

Building Indiana 

Three separate solar utility projects were recently completed by South Bend-based Inovateus Solar on behalf of Northern Indiana Public Service Company. The projects are the utility’s first solar installations of what will likely be many. NIPSCO has announced plans to retire all of its remaining coal-fired electric generating stations by 2028 and replacing them with less expensive, cleaner energy.  According to data from late last year, Indiana is projected to add about 1,628 MW of solar energy over the next five years. That’s a whole lot of free, clean energy for Hoosiers and it could be a bright spot for business. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO)

FEATURED COMMENTARY

Guest Commentary | Renewable energy provides red, white, blue and green jobs for Illinoisans
By Julie Vogel, co-owner and president of worker-owned New Prairie Construction, The News-Gazette


I started New Prairie Construction with my partner in 1988. After growing our team steadily for nearly 30 years, New Prairie became East Central Illinois’ first worker-owned construction company in 2018. Our 20-person team is now part of the vast clean-energy industry in Illinois after we launched New Prairie Solar in 2015 to provide solar-panel installation to the area.

 

AWEA NEWS RELEASE

American Wind Energy Association Urges U.S. Electric Grid Operators to Prepare to Harness the Benefits of Hybrid Energy Projects, July 22, 2020

Washington D.C. – The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) today stressed the need for the U.S. Regional Transmission Operators and Independent System Operators (collectively referred to as ISOs) to update their policies to accommodate the growing number of hybrid renewable energy and storage projects requesting interconnection to the nation’s electric grids. These hybrid and co-located projects, which often include pairings of wind, solar, storage, or all three technologies, now represent over ten percent of the resources seeking interconnection to ISOs in the U.S.

NEW RMI REPORT

Changing grid architecture creates resilience opportunities: report, Utility Dive
Utilities are expected to make $1 trillion in electric system upgrades across the next decade, and a new report from Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) frames this as an opportunity to “reimagine grid resilience” by rethinking upstream investments and focusing outage prevention and restoration upgrades “as far downstream as practical.”

SUN DAY CAMPAIGN ANALYSIS OF NEW EIA DATA

Renewable energy provides more than 25% of US electricity in 5-mo 2020, Renewables Now
Renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) produced significantly more electricity than either coal or nuclear power during the first five months of 2020, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of just-released data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). In May alone, renewable sources accounted for more than one-quarter (25.3%) of the nation’s net electrical generation — an all-time high.

DIRECT CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PURCHASING

World’s Largest Customer-Sited Solar-Storage Plant Planned for Nevada Desert, Greentech Media Capital Dynamics is building a massive solar-plus-storage plant next to a Switch data center. Switch was able to subscribe to this project thanks to a Nevada law allowing large industrial customers to source their own power. Casino company MGM famously used this Direct Access rule to exit utility NV Energy in 2016, with the goal of doubling its share of clean energy while cutting energy costs. The state initially rejected Switch’s request to leave the utility, but later granted it in 2016. NV Energy is now working toward a statewide goal of 50 percent clean energy by 2030. But Switch has already achieved 100 percent clean energy by buying on its own. “Direct access is significantly cheaper than going through the utility, and more sustainable,” [Switch EVP of Strategy, Adam Kramer] said.

HYDROGEN

PURPA

What does the overhaul of PURPA mean for solar power?, PV Magazine
The long-awaited overhaul of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 is upon us, bringing with it substantial changes to the policy that has benefited over 30% of today’s solar facilities. What these changes will mean for American solar moving forward remains to be seen.

RE100

World’s Largest Semiconductor Foundry Joins RE100 And Calls On Peers To Step Up On Renewable Energy, The Climate Group

One of Taiwan’s biggest companiesTSMC, is today committing to source 100% renewable electricity globally as part of RE100, and urging peers across the electronics industry to follow suit. RE100 is a global initiative led by international non-profit the Climate Group in partnership with CDP, bringing together more than 240 global businesses switching to 100% renewable power.

TSMC is the first semiconductor manufacturer globally to join RE100, driven by an ambitious approach to renewables and now favorable market conditions in Taiwan. It supplies major electronics companies such as Apple, which last week announced it aims to have a carbon neutral supply chain by 2030. Today’s commitment is expected to put pressure on other major semiconductor companies, including Samsung, to join RE100 with a global 100% renewable electricity goal.

FOLDABLE SOLAR ROOF

A Solar Roof That Only Comes Out When The Sun Is Shining, CleanTechnica
A company in Switzerland and its partner, Kronberg and St. Gallish-Appenzellische Kraftwerke (SAK), have created something unique with solar. More than just a typical roof that one would install on their homes, this roof is meant for parking lots and would keep vehicles cool while it’s hot out. In the US today, you can get rooftop solar for $1.49/watt from Tesla and a similar price from others. Maybe these retractable solar roofs are another step forward for a niche segment of the market. The question we haven’t seen answered, though, and can’t figure out is: what’s the benefit of folding up? Why can’t the panels just be fixed and stable like in a traditional solar carport?

SOLAR WINDOWS

ClearVue to supply solar windows for US energy innovation project, Renewables Now
Australian smart building materials maker ClearVue Technologies Ltd today said it will supply solar windows for a hotel development in the US, part of a bigger energy innovation project. The project, which is due to break ground in the final quarter of the year, will consist of 12 hotels with 4,280 rooms.

GTM’S ENERGY GANG PODCAST

Biden’s Trillion-Dollar Climate Ambitions

On this week’s episode of The Energy Gang;

Biden supercharges his clean-energy infrastructure dreams. Then, Facebook’s disinformation problem: We look at why Facebook is rejecting the conclusions of its fact-checkers on some articles about climate change. Finally, U.S. attorneys in Ohio and Illinois have been busy investigating racketeering and bribery by high-ranking public officials who are doing the bidding of utility companies. In Ohio, the speaker of the House is arrested and in Illinois a utility is put on probation. There’s a common thread.

EV NEWS

BYD’s Fully Electric Refuse Trucks Make It Easy To Upgrade Fleets To Zero Emissions, CleanTechnica


Noisy trash trucks may soon be a thing of the past if BYD has anything to say about it. In partnership with Hudson County Motors, BYD is providing the first fully electric rear loader refuse collection trucks to the East Coast of the US. The new trucks will have sufficient range to run typical full day routes in Jersey City, providing not just zero emission service, but nearly silent service.

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.

SEIA Statement on House Climate Plan and Environmental Justice Priorities

News Release, Solar Energy Industries Association

“We strongly support the environmental justice priorities in this plan and the provisions that will lead to greater solar adoption in communities that are often left behind. The report outlines science-based policy recommendations that if enacted, will provide every American with access to the broad opportunities that our industry creates including access to clean, reliable and affordable energy. This is an important starting point and would build on the jobs and economic opportunity that solar energy provides, priorities for both sides of the aisle. We look forward to working with all members of Congress and the Executive Branch to move the substance of this report into bipartisan legislative action.” – Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA President & CEO

Read more here.

Download the Report
Solving The Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America

Additional Recommended Reading

MORE ON BERKELEY LAB’S NEW SURVEY

US Solar Plants Now Expected to Run for More Than 30 Years: Berkeley Lab, Greentech Media article contributed by Justin Gerdes. The assumed useful life of projects now averages 32.5 years, up from 21.5 years in 2007, according to a canvass of solar project developers, sponsors, asset owners and consultants conducted by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. At the same time, the industry has managed to slash the costs to operate projects by half, with levelized lifetime operational expenditures falling from an average of $35 per kilowatt-year for projects built in 2007 to $17/kW-year for projects built in 2019 (all kW values shown are direct current, or DC).

BRIDGING AMERICA’S DIGITAL POWER & INFORMATION DIVIDES

Building bridges across the digital power and information divides, GreenBiz article contributed by Tom Baruch. Part 2 in a series. Part 1 is here. The COVID-19 pandemic offers the opportunity to build a positive, equitable future by bridging the digital divide. Improving global connectivity by digitizing and democratizing the information cloud and power grid (bits and watts) will intensify environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing and increase gross domestic product across all industries.

COMPANIES WITH HIGH ESG SCORES

Can Trump trump the ESG juggernaut?, by Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Director, GreenBiz Group

One constant throughout 2020’s parade of pandemonium is that investing in companies with high environmental, social and governance scores has been relentlessly gaining momentum. The pandemic, the recession, the social strife, the political hyperpartisanship, the growing climate crisis — none of this vertiginousness has knocked ESG funds and investment strategies off their remarkable growth trajectory. This is big. Historically, ESG investing has been sidelined during trying economic times, largely for fear that it would tamp down returns. But recent data has shown quite the opposite: ESG funds are outperforming the overall market.

INSPIRING STORY ABOUT COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

Feeding Families in Need: Renewable Energy Companies Enter the Mix, Food Tank
As U.S. food assistance programs grapple with overwhelming demand during the coronavirus pandemic, some in New England are finding support from unusual partners—renewable energy companies.

Midlands Voices: Acting on key goals can give cities a needed boost, Norfolk mayor says

By Josh Moenning, Omaha World-Herald

“The best way out is through.” As Robert Frost penned these words many years ago, he likely couldn’t have envisioned an environment quite like the one we find ourselves in now.

Nevertheless, the lesson applies today just as it did then. As we navigate periods of hardship and uncertainty, the most effective approach to coping is not paralysis or dithering, it’s perseverance and unrelenting focus on pushing forward.

Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED OP-ED

Republicans must lead on clean energy jobs, by John Ruckelshaus, Republican State Senator from Indianapolis, The Indianapolis Star

Job creation is a bipartisan concern. Conservatives at all levels of government increasingly recognize that commonsense, market-based clean energy policies can put Americans to work while reducing carbon emissions. This was certainly the belief of my uncle, William Ruckelshaus, who was the first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Nixon and later returned under President Reagan. The trend among conservative voters, especially the next generation, has never been more clearly in favor of clean energy. A Pew Research Center study showed that 78% of young Republicans say the U.S. should prioritize advanced energy sources over expanding fossil fuels.

 MORE ON ACORE’S NEW MACRO GRID INITIATIVE

A national US power grid would make electricity cheaper and cleaner, Vox
The areas of the US with the most renewable energy potential are not necessarily the ones that need the most energy. A report from the Wind Energy Association found that the 15 states between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River — Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana — account for 87 of the nation’s total wind energy potential and 56 percent of its utility-scale solar potential, but are only projected to account for 30 percent of the nation’s energy demand in 2050.

Macro Grid Initiative

MACRO VERSUS MICRO GRIDS

Macrogrids Or Microgrids: Which Is The Key To The Renewable Energy Revolution?, CleanTechnica. Arguing about macro versus micro is like arguing whether battery storage is better than pumped hydro. The truth is that both have a role to play in the renewable energy future. There are instances where gravity storage may be the best answer. The factor that is driving all these debates is that renewable energy facilities cost less to construct and can become operational in far less time than coal, gas, or nuclear generating installations. As costs continue to fall, there will be more money available to provide the resiliency we need to complete the renewable energy revolution while lowering the cost of electricity consumers pay.

SOLAR SCHOOLS

Salt Lake school board vows to create ‘more environmentally sustainable schools’, Deseret News
With the objective of establishing “healthier, more environmentally sustainable schools,” the Salt Lake City Board of Education has adopted a resolution that calls on the school district to meet all of its energy needs with carbon-neutral energy no later than 2040. The resolution includes incremental goals that build on ongoing efforts by district staff to reduce energy consumption and lessen the school distribution footprint.

GROUP SOLAR INSTALLATION PROGRAM

Virginia solar program on track to maintain momentum despite pandemic, Energy News Network. Every spring since 2015, the Local Energy Alliance Program has helped dozens of northern Virginians navigate the intricacies of powering their homes with solar panels. Contractors have installed more than 3 megawatts of capacity on 372 houses and businesses.

RENEWABLE ENERGY OUTLEASING

Federal courthouses might be prime spots for new solar panels, Federal News Network
The Green Building Advisory Committee drafted a recommendation letter to the General Services Administration for piloting renewable energy outleasing on federal properties. Outleasing is the practice of renting vacant or unused space on agency buildings, such as rooftops and parking lots, to utility companies which then install their equipment. According to the committee, GSA uses outleasing for renting roof space for antenna placement by telecommunications companies. And members suggested more could be done in a public-private partnership model.

CORPORATE RENEWABLES BUYERS

Wind deals are becoming even more popular with corporate renewables buyers, GreenBiz
According to “Wind Powers American Business,” a report from the wind advocacy group American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the private sector has been a significant demand driver for wind energy, purchasing more 20 percent of all new wind installations in the United States for five years running. Of course, corporations’ appetite for renewables is increasing across the board. Corporations are a similar driver behind solar, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). They collectively accounted for 22 percent of 2018 power purchase agreements (PPAs) for solar and wind in the United States. Still, the increase in wind projects, I wondered: What trends are driving corporations to pick more wind deals?

TESLA HOME SOLAR SYSTEMS

The Lowest Price for Home Solar, Tesla News Release
Today we are introducing the lowest-ever cost to go solar in the United States. Our average system size is now one-third less expensive than the industry average and we have recently introduced a lowest-price guarantee. If you change your mind after purchasing or are unhappy with the system, we will uninstall it and issue a full refund within seven days from system turn on.

GEOTHERMAL INNOVATION

In Minnesota, a geothermal innovation revives interest in systems’ potential, by Frank Jossi, Energy News Network. A heat exchange technology developed at the University of Minnesota could help shrink the cost and footprint of geothermal heating and cooling systems. Unlike conventional geothermal, which circulates ground heat found far below the surface, the approach taps into aquifers using fewer, shallower wells. A startup company, Darcy Solutions, has begun pitching the product to commercial and industrial businesses in the Twin Cities.

ORPHANED OIL & GAS WELLS

Special Report: Millions of abandoned oil wells are leaking methane, a climate menace, Reuters
The U.S. figures are sobering: More than 3.2 million abandoned oil and gas wells together emitted 281 kilotons of methane in 2018, according to the data, which was included in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent report on April 14 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. That’s the climate-damage equivalent of consuming about 16 million barrels of crude oil, according to an EPA calculation, or about as much as the United States, the world’s biggest oil consumer, uses in a typical day.

Related news from Canada: Collapsed Alberta energy company leaves behind 401 ‘orphan’ wells in B.C., more than doubling total, CBC News

CLIMATE STATEMENTS FROM WORLD RELIGIOUS LEADERS

New study: Highlights from the Wind Powers American Business report

By Celeste Wanner, American Wind Energy Association

Many of the businesses across the country that power our everyday lives are increasingly choosing wind energy to power their operations. Once a niche market, corporate customers now routinely represent 40 percent or more of announced wind power contracts in a given year and are some of the most sought-after customers by wind project developers. A new AWEA report released todayWind Powers American Business, focuses on this growing segment and highlights the top corporate buyers of wind energy in the U.S. The bottom line: Companies powering up with wind is no longer just a trend, it’s the new normal. Let’s dig into some of the top trends: Continue reading.

Image: Plum Creek Wind Farm

WIND ENERGY INVESTMENT IN NEBRASKA

Report says Nebraska in the top five states for wind energy investment, by Caitlyn Lorr, Siouxland Proud. Nebraska is among the top five states in the country for attracting direct business purchases of its wind energy resources, according to a report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

DOE’S BETTER BUILDINGS INITIATIVE

DOE Announces $11 Billion in Energy Cost-Savings from Better Buildings Initiative Partners, Department of Energy News Release 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced nearly $11 billion in energy-cost savings by more than 950 public and private sector organizations in DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative. To date, partners have saved nearly 1.8 quadrillion British thermal units of energy, which is equivalent to the electricity consumption of 27 million homes in America over one year. Learn more about DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative HERE.

ZERO ENERGY COMMUNITIES

Here’s how to design communities that give back as much energy as they take
GreenBiz contributor Charles F. Kutscher is a fellow and senior research associate of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, a joint institute between the University of Colorado-Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

My colleagues and I study the best ways to rapidly reduce carbon emissions from the building sector. In recent years, construction designs have advanced dramatically. Net zero energy buildings, which produce the energy they need on site from renewable sources, increasingly are the default choice. But to speed the transition to zero carbon emissions, I believe the United States must think bigger and focus on designing or redeveloping entire communities that are zero energy.

MORE ON THE 2035 REPORT

  • A Clean Electricity Future is Affordable and Attainable—It’s Time to Act, Rocky Mountain Institute. GridLab and UC-Berkeley show that a 90 percent carbon-free US electricity grid is both reliable and lower cost. The Berkeley/GridLab report represents a distinctive new chapter in the evolving discourse playing out around the country regarding the future of the US electricity system. The study will likely be an important benchmark against which individual utilities’ investments are evaluated for compatibility with least-cost and feasible decarbonization outcomes. Investors, utilities, regulators, and policymakers should take advantage of the wealth of insight and information contained within this body of work, and plan accordingly for their own role in accelerating the decarbonization of the US power grid. Website: www.2035report.com 
  • 90% clean power by 2035 is ‘challenging but feasible’, PV Magazine
    “90% by 2035 is the sweet spot” for a pathway that uses existing technology, allows “judicious use” of existing generation assets, and “achieves near-complete decarbonization in a realistic timeframe,” said study co-author Nikit Abhyankar of UC Berkeley. The resulting lower wholesale cost of electricity by 2035 “was a surprise for us.”
  • Falling renewable, storage costs make 90% carbon-free US grid feasible by 2035, UC Berkeley finds, Utility Dive

NEW GTM POLITICAL CLIMATE EPISODE

Racial Justice Protests Put a Spotlight on Pollution and Clean Energy Solutions, by Julia Pyper, Senior Editor, Greentech Media

On this episode of Political Climate, National Wildlife Federation’s Mustafa Santiago Ali connects the dots between the clean air, affordable energy and the racial justice movement. Ali has been on the front lines of the fight for environmental justice since he was a teenager and throughout his 24 years at the EPA. Now, as vice president of environmental justice, climate and community revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation, Ali says he’s hopeful this historic moment will accelerate equitable energy solutions.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

The time for electric trucks and buses is now, by Katie Fehrenbacher, GreenBiz
Despite the pandemic, sales of electric trucks and buses are expected to surge in the United States and Canada over the next couple of years. And perhaps, surprising to many, they’ll soar even within this year (the year that can best be described as WTF). That’s according to new data released recently by the clean-transportation-focused nonprofit CALSTART. The organization expects there to be 169 zero-emission commercial vehicles available for purchase, or soon to be available, in North America by the end of 2020; that’s a 78 percent increase from the number of zero-emission commercial vehicles available at the end of 2019. What’s more, between 2019 and 2023, the number of zero-emission commercial vehicle models is expected to double, to 195. 

SECOND-LIFE EV BATTERY STORAGE

Used EV Batteries Could Power Tomorrow’s Solar Farms, IEEE Spectrum
An MIT study finds promise in repurposing swapped-out EV battery packs for solar grid storage.

Operating expenses are down and useful lifespans are up on utility-scale solar projects

By Kelly Pickerel, Solar Power World

The expected useful life of utility-scale solar PV projects has increased over time, while anticipated operating expenditures (OpEx) have decreased, according to new research from Berkeley Lab. Findings are detailed in a new paper: “Benchmarking Utility-Scale PV Operational Expenses and Project Lifetimes: Results from a Survey of U.S. Solar Industry Professionals.”

Useful life and OpEx are important (but sometimes overlooked) drivers of the levelized cost and profitability of utility-scale PV plants. This paper draws on a survey of U.S. solar industry professionals and other sources to clarify trends in these cost factors. Key findings include: Continue reading here.

TAX CREDITS EXTENSION

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING 

Previously Posted Resource On Virtual PPAs
Introduction to the Virtual Power Purchase Agreement, Rocky Mountain Institute Report
This report serves as an introduction to the virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA)—its place in the off-site renewable energy procurement market, how the VPPA works, and why VPPAs have been a popular instrument in the United States thus far. 

RECYCLING MARKET REPORT

Solar Panel Recycling Market, Transparency Market Research
An increased number of end-of-life solar panels are creating a demand for recycling activities in the U.S. Moreover, analysts of Transparency Market Research (TMR) opine that the U.S. is anticipated to account for the highest number of end-of-life solar panels in the upcoming decades after China. Hence, companies in the solar panel recycling market are focusing on value-grab opportunities in the U.S. As such, the market is estimated to reach a value of ~US$ 600 Mn by the end of 2027.

U.S. Renewable and Clean Energy Industries Set Sights on Market Majority

News Release: Solar Energy Industries Association, American Wind Energy Association, National Hydropower Association, Energy Storage Association

For the first time, the American wind, solar, hydropower, and storage associations have come together to announce a shared vision of renewables reaching a majority of U.S. electricity generation by 2030.

Washington, D.C. – Within a decade, more than half of the electricity generated in the U.S. will come from clean, renewable resources supported by energy storage, according to a joint commitment today from the American wind, solar, hydropower, and energy storage industries. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), National Hydropower Association (NHA), and Energy Storage Association (ESA) have agreed to actively collaborate across their industry segments to achieve this target.

The four industries have released a set of joint advocacy principles that will enable them to realize this bold vision of a majority renewables grid. Along with increased collaboration, these shared principles include building a more resilient, efficient, sustainable, and affordable grid; achieving carbon reductions; and advancing greater competition through fair market rules. Each of these areas is critical to attaining the shared vision for 2030. The leaders of the four industry associations gathered today to announce the shared vision during the first CLEANPOWER annual conference for businesses across the renewable and clean energy spectrum. Read the entire news release here.

The Clean Power Decade: Webinar Recording Available

A new decade is at hand and with it a new era for wind and solar power and energy storage. There is another year to qualify for the PTC or ITC, offshore wind is expected to take-off in a big way, and hybrid projects are becoming more prevalent. On May 27th, industry-leading consultants discussed what the decade holds for wind, solar, and storage over the next ten years.

  • Moderator: John Hensley, Vice President, Research & Analytics, AWEA
  • Celeste Wanner, Manager, Research & Analytics, AWEA
  • Rafael McDonald, Director – IHS Markit, North American Renewable Power
  • Dan Shreve,  Head of Global Wind Energy Research, Wood Mackenzie
  • Tom Harries, Head of Wind Research, BloombergNEF

Download the recording here.

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