By Ryan Matheny, KMAland
Organized by the group Power Up Iowa — which advocates for local, state and federal policies that bring wind energy investment into Iowa — the forum was held in conjunction with the Page County Board of Supervisors and was moderated by board chair Chuck Morris. Bob Ramaekers is Vice President of Tenaska, a private, independent energy company based in Omaha. He says the industry’s goal is to work with landowners, not infringe on property rights when it comes to wind development. Read more here.
Power Up Iowa is a statewide coalition of renewable energy supporters advocating for local, state and federal policies and initiatives that enhance Iowa’s wind energy investment. By educating, raising awareness, and participating in conversations with our state’s leaders, Power Up Iowa will help make the case for renewable energy investment to revive and drive our local economies. Iowa ranks 2nd in the nation for wind power capacity. Up to 10 thousand jobs in Iowa are directly supported by wind energy.
LOCAL FOODS / LOCAL ENERGY MOVEMENTS
The distance local energy goes to bring power to the people, ScienceDaily
A University of California – Davis study published in the journal Frontiers in Sustainability, comparing energy providers, finds parallels to the local foods movement.
RURAL ELECTRIC INFRASTRUCTURE
Trump Administration Invests nearly $42 Million to Improve Rural Electric Infrastructure in Rural Missouri, Iowa, & Nebraska, USDA News Release. The funding, made possible through the Electric Loan Program, will benefit more than 77,000 rural residents and commercial customers in Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska.
CLEAN-ENERGY EXPERTS & ADVOCATES SHARE VIEWS OF BIDEN’S FIRST 100 DAYS
Biden’s First 100 Days: What Would They Look Like for Clean Energy?, Greentech Media
We asked clean-energy experts and advocates what’s most likely to get done in the first 100 days of a Biden presidency.
COMMUNITY SOLAR STUDY
Penn State study finds opening community solar market could generate $1.8 billion in economic impact for Pennsylvania, Solar Power World
A new study conducted by Penn State found that construction of new community solar facilities would generate an estimated $1.8 billion in economic impact, create over $793 million in labor income, and support over 11,000 jobs in various sectors across Pennsylvania. The study, conducted by the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences’ Center for Economic and Community Development, analyzed 235 planned community solar projects across 48 counties which can move ahead if community solar legislation passes the General Assembly.
RENEWABLES FORWARD INITIATIVE
It’s Time for the Solar Industry to Act on Diversity and Inclusion, Greentech Media
As a first step, leaders from Capital Dynamics, Cypress Creek Renewables, EDF Renewables, Generate Capital, Mosaic, Nautilus Solar Energy, New Columbia Solar, Nextracker, Volt Energy, Sol Systems, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Foundation have come together to share experiences, evaluate best practices and make changes. Our goal is to identify concrete ways to work together to create the change we all recognize is needed, commit to this change and drive a larger industrywide partnership between CEOs and organizations: the Renewables Forward Initiative.
AWEA NEWS RELEASE
AWEA Statement on Collaboration between Hydropower Industry and Environmental Community
Washington, D.C. – The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) today issued the following statement after the U.S. hydropower industry and environmental and conservation organizations agreed to increase collaboration on decarbonizing the nation’s electric grid, while protecting America’s waterways. AWEA this year partnered with America’s hydropower, solar, and energy storage industries as part of a shared vision of renewables reaching a majority of U.S. electricity generation by 2030.
Wartsilla’s 9 MW battery storage system reduces a city’s demand peaks, saves transmission costs, PV Magazine USA. An independent power producer, AEP OnSite Partners, will be the first to deploy Wärtsilä’s new storage product. The 9 MW/15.6 MWh battery system will respond to PJM market signals and reduce the city’s peak demand by about 9 MW, while saving $1 million per year in transmission and capacity costs
GE, partners shifting Ohio gas-fired plant to hydrogen beginning 2021, Renewable Energy World
In one of the most striking signs that the hydrogen-powered generation revolution may be upon the industry sooner than later, a group will transition its combined cycle gas turbine power plant to run partially on hydrogen by a late 2021 start-up and go 100 percent H2 by 2030.
ADVANCED NUCLEAR PLANTS
U.S. Department of Energy Announces $160 Million in First Awards Under Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, DOE News Release
DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program will provide $80 million to each award winner, DOE Secretary Dan Brouillette said Tuesday. DOE intends to invest about $3.2 billion over the next seven years into advanced nuclear, subject to future congressional appropriations, he said. The remainder of the $230 million appropriated for the program in the fiscal 2020 budget is meant to support additional nuclear demonstration projects. But Tuesday’s grant winners “stand out for advancing the technology,” as well as for the financial wherewithal to match DOE’s grants and complete their work within seven years, Brouillette said.
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY’S PACIFICORP / ROCKY MOUNTAIN POWER
Wyo criticizes utility’s plans to replace coal with renewables, Wyo File
PacifiCorp/Rocky Mountain Power’s IRP, released in the fall of 2019, is a rolling analysis for how to provide reliable, lowest-cost electricity for the next 20 years. Preferred alternatives called for retiring several Wyoming coal-fired units early and developing renewable generation and storage. Shortly after release of the plan, the PSC announced it would investigate the IRP — an unusual measure for the commission to take.
SOLAR CELL EFFICIENCY
Forget silicon. This material could be a game-changer for solar power, CNN Business
Solar energy is poised for what could be its biggest transformation in over half a century. A group of materials called perovskites are being used to create the next generation of solar panels, which could eventually be twice as efficient as current models, and flexible enough to wrap around entire buildings. Researchers at Oxford PV, a company spun out of the University of Oxford, made a major breakthrough in 2018. By coating silicon with perovskite they achieved 28% efficiency. The company believes it can eventually reach 40%, or higher. Improved solar cell efficiency will enable installations to pump out more power with fewer panels, reducing costs, and the amount of land, labor and equipment needed to operate them.
EU’S CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY
EU to tackle methane gases, boost energy efficiency, Associated Press, Minneapolis Star Tribune
The EU sees itself as a world leader in climate and environmental policy. It wants to slash greenhouse gas emissions to at least 55% of what they were in 1990 over the next decade. That goal is a stepping-stone toward the broader aim of producing zero net polluting emissions across Europe by 2050.
Total and Google Cloud Develop Solar Mapper, a Tool for Estimating the Solar Energy Potential of Houses’ Roofs, Business Wire
Total and Google Cloud have pooled their expertise to jointly develop an innovative tool, Solar Mapper, which aims to accelerate the deployment of solar panels for individuals (B2C) by providing an accurate and rapid estimate of the solar energy potential of their homes, first in Europe and then worldwide.