Tag Archives: Biden-Harris Administration

Biden Revives ‘Clean Energy’ Program With $1B Loan Guarantee

By Matthew Daly, Associated Press
U.S. News & World Report

The Energy Department said it would guarantee up to $1 billion in loans to help a Nebraska company scale up production of “clean” hydrogen to convert natural gas into commercial products used in manufacturing and agriculture.

The revived loan program is part of President Joe Biden’s efforts to slash planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, amid legislative gridlock that has stalled a $2 trillion package of social and environmental initiatives. It’s among the tools he can use without new legislation. Read more here.

Research paper Daly references in the article, published by Energy Science & Engineering:
How green is blue hydrogen?,
by Robert W. Howarth and Mark Z. Jacobson


Loan Programs Office (LPO)
LPO has more than $40 billion in loans and loan guarantees available to help deploy large-scale energy infrastructure projects in the United States. Over the past decade, LPO has closed more than $30 billion of deals across a variety of energy sectors.


Previously Posted

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY’S HYDROGEN SHOT

The Department of Energy’s first Energy Earthshot, launched June 7, 2021—Hydrogen Shot—seeks to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to $1 per 1 kilogram in 1 decade.

The Hydrogen Shot establishes a framework and foundation for clean hydrogen deployment in the American Jobs Plan, which includes support for demonstration projects. Industries are beginning to implement clean hydrogen to reduce emissions, yet many hurdles remain to deploying it at scale.

Achieving the Hydrogen Shot’s 80% cost reduction goal can unlock new markets for hydrogen, including steel manufacturing, clean ammonia, energy storage, and heavy-duty trucks. This would create more clean energy jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and position America to compete in the clean energy market on a global scale. These efforts would ensure that environmental protection and benefits for local communities are a priority.

GREEN HYDROGEN NEWS

Here’s why one solar industry veteran is betting big on clean hydrogen, CNBC


Raffi Garabedian
 spent a dozen years developing solar panel technology at First Solar, a photovoltaics company that currently has a market value around $8 billion. The technologist then went on to co-found clean hydrogen start-up Electric Hydrogen, which he’s currently building out as its CEO.

DOE Releases Guidebook to Boost Solar Energy Use in Communities

U.S. Department of Energy News Release

DOE’s “Solar Power in Your Community” Provides Proven Strategies for Local Governments to Increase Equitable Access to Clean Power, Solar App+ Online Tool Cuts Solar Permit Time to Less than One Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released the third edition of Solar Power in Your Community,” DOE’s guidebook to help local governments unlock environmental and economic benefits of increased solar deployment in their communities. This latest edition contains nearly 40 case studies from around the country that show field-tested approaches to reduce solar market barriers, highlights new technologies and strategies to maximize the benefits of solar, such as combining solar with energy storage to improve resilience, and emphasizes strategies for improving the equity of solar deployment at the local level. These efforts support the deployment of more solar energy to reach the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of achieving 100% clean electricity by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050.  

“DOE’s solar guidebook is a must-have reference for local governments interested in using proven strategies to speed up going solar and cut energy bills for their residents,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “From reducing solar permitting delays and other soft costs to expanding solar benefits to renters and other non-traditional solar users, we’re providing more localities with the tools to succeed in delivering cheaper, cleaner power while generating good-paying local jobs.” 

The Solar Power in Your Community guidebook is a one-stop-shop for information about solar deployment, providing best practices, case studies, and links to resources developed by DOE, the National Laboratories, and other trusted sources.  

Since the guidebook was originally published in 2009, solar power costs have decreased 80% and federal incentives have spurred dramatic increases in solar deployment. However, soft costs like unnecessary paperwork, red tape, and other burdensome requirements increase costs and discourage solar companies from moving to an area. By streamlining these requirements and taking other steps to encourage solar development, DOE is supporting communities to become “open for solar business.” 

DOE’s solar guidebook encourages local governments to: 

  • Adopt SolarAPP+ tool to rapidly approve residential solar installation permits:
    DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory released results from its SolarAPP+ (Solar Automated Permit Processing) tool pilot in five communities in California and Arizona. The results show that SolarAPP+ reduced the average permit review time to less than one day, enabled projects to be installed and inspected 12 days faster, and saved the pilot communities over 2,000 hours of staff time. Learn more about the results and sign up to use the tool
  • Join the SolSmart 60 campaign to expand solar deployment: The SolSmart 60 Campaign aims to get 60 new communities designated as SolSmart Gold, Silver, or Bronze for making it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar. So far, 21 local communities have earned distinction for their solar deployment practices since September 2021. The program offers free technical assistance to help any municipality, county, or regional organization remove obstacles to going solar and reduce the soft costs that can hold back growth. SolSmart’s team of national experts in solar energy and local government have helped these jurisdictions implement best practices and take decisive action to encourage the expansion of solar energy. 
  • Receive free technical assistance to develop community solar programs: The National Community Solar Partnership is a coalition of community solar stakeholders working to expand access to community solar, particularly to those with low-to-moderate incomes, renters, and other community members for whom traditional rooftop solar is unavailable. Local governments can join the partnership to receive free technical assistance to develop community solar programs. 

As part of DOE’s effort to ensure that local governments know about DOE resources, Secretary Granholm will keynote the Annual Summit of the National Community Solar Partnership on January 25 at 10 a.m. Central Time. The Secretary will discuss community solar deployment with Governor Jay Inslee of Washington and Governor JB Pritzker of Illinois. 

For regular event updates and access to exclusive National Community Solar Partnership resources and opportunities, register to join the Partnership. Membership is free and open to any community solar stakeholder in the U.S.

If you have any questions, please reach out to communitysolar@ee.doe.gov for more information.

2022 Outlook: Top US power sector trends to watch

By Kavya Balaraman, Ethan Howland, Robert Walton, Iulia Gheorghiu

This is the first piece in Utility Dive’s four-part 2022 outlook series
examining key policies and trends driving the U.S. power sector.

At the start of the Biden administration’s second year, government agencies are beginning to implement the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the bipartisan infrastructure package Congress passed last year. Concerns remain high about the reliability and security of the U.S. power grid, and the future of the Build Back Better bill and its clean-energy provisions remains uncertain. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which now has a Democratic majority and a full complement of commissioners, is poised to play a key role in how much the administration’s climate and energy policies advance. Read more here.

Second Part of Utility Dive’s 2022 Outlook Series: A new recognition is coming of rate design’s critical role in the energy transition, by Herman K. Trabish

ENERGY STORAGE

‘Large quantities of energy storage’ can balance the US grid all-year-round, NREL study finds,
by Andy Colthorpe, Energy Storage News

The synergies between diurnal energy storage and solar PV are better than for wind energy, although it will have an important role to play in integrating both renewable energy types, the study found.

According to a new report from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), energy storage’s ability to store overgeneration from solar and wind power plants means it can contribute to the energy mix when most needed, even in the most conservative scenarios of variable renewable energy deployment. Photo Credit: Dennis Schroeder / NREL

Also by Andy Colthorpe: North America’s largest Li-ion battery recycling giga-facility to ‘take on as much as possible’ from ESS sector, Energy Storage News

ARTICLES WRITTEN BY TINA CASEY FOR CLEAN TECHNICA

Energy Efficient, Transparent Solar Windows: You Really Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
More than 20 billion square feet of windows are installed every year, and the leading firm Andersen Corporation apparently plans to make some of those billions into energy efficient, transparent solar energy generators that could kick the pace of global energy decarbonization into high gear.

The Solid-State Energy Storage Dam Is About To Bust Wide Open
Electric vehicles are supposed to be the biggest market for new solid-state battery technology, but stationary energy storage is suddenly in the running, too.

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA NEWS RELEASE & REPORT

President Biden’s first year in office marks progress on numerous environmental fronts

The progress report, President Biden’s First Year: A year of restoring lost environmental protections, documents the Biden administration’s work on 20 “priority actions” that enjoy broad support and have significant environmental impact. Although much of the media attention this past year has focused on big ticket bills like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Build Back Better Act, which still has an uncertain fate in Congress, the actions highlighted in the report are worthy of recognition as well. These include:

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

DOWNLOADABLE COLORING BOOK

Solar Energy Workbook

Download and color this FREE copy of the Solar Energy Workbook, then send it back to the American Solar Energy Society as a PDF. The organization will review it and reward you with an International Certificate “as appreciation of your dedication and efforts.” Click the above link for complete instructions.

DOE Kicks Off Recruitment to Support Implementation of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

U.S. Department of Energy News Release

“Clean Energy Corps” Hiring Campaign and Applicant Portal To Streamline
The Largest DOE Staff Expansion In More Than Four Decades

“This is an open call for all Americans who are passionate about taking a proactive role in tackling the climate crisis and want to join the team that is best positioned to lead this transformative work,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Solving the world’s greatest challenge will require the inclusion of all voices, perspectives and experiences – and we need people like you to ensure that DOE fulfills on our commitment to accelerating the clean energy transition to reduce emissions and save our planet.” 

The Department is now collecting resumes for the Clean Energy Corps through the newly launched DOE Applicant Portal, part of a streamlined application process that will allow applicants to align their talents with their passions by indicating specific areas of interest and allowing hiring managers to review candidate profiles simultaneously. The Department will assemble the Clean Energy Corps to mirror the diversity within America and ensure the inclusion of workers who have lived in communities impacted by climate change. DOE is seeking candidates with interest in leading the clean energy transition through the following industries: Read more here.

  • Watch Secretary Granholm’s message for Clean Energy Corps applicants HERE.
  • Anyone interested in joining the Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Corps can submit their resume, skills, and areas of interest at energy.gov/cleanenergycorps.  

Additional Recommended Reading

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Hits the Ground Running 60 Days into Infrastructure Implementation, The White House Briefing Room

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Races to Deploy Clean Energy that Creates Jobs and Lowers Costs

The White House Briefing Room, January 12, 2022

New Actions Advance Offshore Wind, Leverage Public Lands for Clean Energy, and
Build the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Transmission Lines

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is making major leaps forward on wind, solar, transmission, and other clean energy projects to create high-quality jobs and deliver affordable, carbon pollution-free electricity across the country. Seven federal agencies are announcing clean energy projects and plans that demonstrate the Administration’s unwavering commitment to creating cleaner and cheaper energy, and the actions showcase President Biden’s unprecedented coordination activating the entire government to fight climate change, produce good-paying, union jobs, and accelerate America’s clean energy economy. These actions include: Read more here.

RELATED READING

NPPD NEWS RELEASE

Jerry Chlopek elected NPPD Board Chair for 2022

Columbus, Neb. – Jerry Chlopek of Columbus was elected as Chair of Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD) Board of Directors for 2022 following that body’s annual election of officers Wednesday in Columbus.

Also elected were Melissa Freelend of Kearney as first vice chair, Ed Schrock of Holdrege/Elm Creek as second vice chair, and Wayne Williams as secretary. NPPD Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Laura Kapustka was elected treasurer.

FROM OPPD THE WIRE

ALSO IN THE NEWS

2021: DOE Moves At Lightning Speed Toward Clean Energy Goals

The Department of Energy (DOE) had a standout 2021. We pioneered game-changing scientific research, continued to advance our important nuclear security and cleanup missions, and made huge strides to tackle the climate crisis. As America’s “Solutions Department,” DOE is moving at lightning speed to achieve President Biden’s ambitious goals of cutting our carbon emissions in half by 2030, reaching 100% clean electricity by 2035 and getting to net zero by 2050.  Here are our top clean energy accomplishments of 2021:  Continue reading here.

DOE Blog Archive

From The White House Briefing Room

Kate Bolz Begins Term as State Director USDA RD Nebraska

USDA News Release

LINCOLN, Neb.– State Director Kate Bolz took her oath of office here Monday, beginning her appointment by the Biden-Harris Administration to oversee the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development for Nebraska. The oath was administered virtually to twelve new officials across the United States from Washington D.C. due to COVID protocols.

In her new role, Bolz will oversee the administration of Rural Development programs in the state including grants and loans to individuals, families, businesses, organizations, and municipalities in rural areas in need of single-family housing, multi-family housing, repair, renewable energy, water and environmental programs, broadband extension, and telecommunications/ infrastructure improvements. Continue reading here.

Recent USDA News Releases & Select Resources

Ogallala, Nebraska Public Power announce ‘community solar farm’ project

By Todd Von Kampen,  Scottsbluff Star-Herald

The city of Ogallala and Nebraska Public Power District are poised to make the Keith County seat NPPD’s seventh retail town with a “community solar farm.” The Ogallala City Council Dec. 14 approved buying 13.53 acres south of Country View Campgrounds where solar panels will be installed, Interim City Manager Jane Skinner said last week.

The project should allow the city to cut its NPPD power bills and allow Ogallala residents to do likewise by subscribing for shares, said Pat Hanrahan, the district’s general manager for retail services. Ogallala is one of 79 Nebraska cities and villages where NPPD both sells and delivers electricity. North Platte buys its power from NPPD but distributes it to residents and businesses through city-owned Municipal Light & Water. Read more here.

Links to Additional Information

Photo: Kearney Solar Farm

GRAND ISLAND SENIOR HIGH

Grand Island Public offers ‘pathway’ to a greener world, by Jessica Votipka, Grand Island Independent

“I have a team of students who are designing and building solar phone charge stations for the new Stolley Park Community Gardens. We are hoping to finalize them and install them in March, but the solar panels themselves have been made already.” – Alex Kemnitz, alternative energy and robotics teacher. Next semester Alternative Energy Pathway students are going to do an energy audit on Newell Elementary School, to identify find out how to remedy any energy efficiency weakness, he said. 

Click the following link to learn more about the Academies of Grand Island Senior High.

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS

Key minerals discovered in Nebraska, but challenges loom, by Josh Funk, The Associated Press, York Dispatch

The Biden administration made rare earth elements a focus of its supply chain review earlier this year and is investigating the national security implications of relying so heavily on imports. A task force is planned to identify U.S. sites for production. The new $1 trillion infrastructure plan that provides incentives for electrical vehicles and wind power is expected to boost demand for critical minerals.

Previously Posted

Department of Natural Resources awarded grant for initiative to assess rare earth elements, critical minerals, The Missouri Times

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A partnership between the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the University of Kansas will receive $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to study the feasibility of recovering critical minerals from coal and associated strata in the Cherokee-Forest City Basin, which encompasses Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and the Osage Nation. The Department of Energy’s Carbon Ore, Rare Earth and Critical Minerals Initiative is a $19 million nationwide effort to assess rare earth elements and critical minerals in fossil fuel-producing areas.

DOE Awards $19 Million for Initiatives to Produce Rare Earth Elements and Critical Minerals, Department of Energy News Release 

“The very same fossil fuel communities that have powered our nation for decades can be at the forefront of the clean energy economy by producing the critical minerals needed to build electric vehicles, wind turbines, and so much more,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “By building clean energy products here at home, we’re securing the supply chain for the innovative solutions needed to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 – all while creating good-paying jobs in all parts of America.” 

Production of rare earth elements and critical minerals, which serve as key components to several clean energy applications such as magnets in wind turbines and batteries in electric and conventional vehicles, is a prime example of how DOE is supporting regional economic growth and job creation in regions traditionally home to the fossil fuel industry.

See Also:

U.S. can get to 100% clean energy with wind, water, solar and zero nuclear, Stanford professor says

By Catherine Clifford, CNBC

Mark Jacobson, a Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering and the director of its Atmosphere/Energy Program, has been promoting the idea of all renewable energy as the best way forward for more than a decade. His latest calculations toward this ambitious goal were recently published in the scientific journal Renewable Energy.

Transitioning to a clean-energy grid should happen by 2035, the study advises, with at least 80% of that adjustment completed by 2030. For the purposes of Jacobson’s study, his team factored in presumed population growth and efficiency improvements in energy to envision what that would look like in 2050. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & VIEWING

DOE Establishes New Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Department of Energy News Release, December 21, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the establishment of the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, a new DOE office that will help deliver on President Biden’s bold climate agenda, create new, good-paying jobs for American families and workers, and reduce pollution while benefitting disadvantaged communities.


Job Opportunities

Previously Posted

OPPD News 

OPPD awards contract for battery storage project, by Jodi Baker, The Wire


“We expect energy storage will play a vital part in OPPD’s decarbonization efforts as we add more solar, wind, or other forms of renewable energy in the future,” said Collin Sniff, alternative energy contracts manager for OPPD.

 

Featured Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Videos 

 

 

 


Utility-Scale Battery Storage

Presented By:

  • Carter Scott, Director, Energy Strategy, Ranger Power
  • Courtney Kennedy, Alternative Energy Program Manager, Omaha Public Power District
  • Moderator: David Rich, Sustainable Energy Manager, Nebraska Public Power District

Community Scale – Solar Battery Storage
Presented By:

  • Jeff Berggren, Nebraska Program Manager, Genpro Energy Solutions
  • Travis Kepler, Director of Engineering, GRNE
  • Drake Becksted, Contracts Administrator, Interconnection Systems, Inc.
  • Moderator: Josh Moenning, Mayor, City of Norfolk

Letter to the Editor by Heidi Heitkamp 

American Farmers Are Leaning Into a Clean Energy Future: Here’s How We Can Help, Progressive Farmer

It’s undeniable that climate change will impact our country’s farmers, but the more pressing question is, how can we help them leverage the tools necessary to fight back? Unlike in previous years, most American farmers today are ready and willing to embrace their role in implementing natural climate change solutions. According to a recent poll from Farm and Rural Life, approximately 80% of American farmers believe climate change is occurring, and more than half of respondents were concerned about the climate’s impact on their operations. 

Heidi Heitkamp is Director of Agriculture for alliantgroup and former U.S. Senator representing North Dakota from 2013 to 2019.

 NRDC Expert Blog 

Accelerating Progress on Clean Vehicles, by Luke Tonachel, Natural Resources Defense Council 

The United States is getting back on the road to cleaning up transportation pollution. This year, multiple states enacted strong pollution standards for cars and freight trucks, helping to accelerate the shift to pollution-free electric vehicles (EVs). Investments in plugs to charge electric vehicles also grew across the country. And, in a fitting cap to 2021, the Biden administration just finalized standards for new passenger cars that will allow all Americans to drive cleaner, more affordable vehicles.

What We’re Watching in Reconciliation: Regular Updates from EDF

By Danielle Arostegui, Environmental Defense Fund Blog

NFS Note: The House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better
Act on November 19.
The final vote was 220-213.

Dec. 13 EDF Update: Build Back Better Act moves through the Senate; White House releases new Executive Order building on climate investments.

[Even] as we wait for the Build Back Better Act to move through the Senate, the White House is not hesitating to act on the climate crisis. [On December 8] President Biden signed an Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs through Federal Sustainability and released a Federal Sustainability Plan detailing the government’s plan to “walk the talk” on clean energy. 

While the Build Back Better Act contains the administration’s flagship climate programs, including clean energy tax credits, clean manufacturing incentives, environmental justice investments, a civilian climate corps, and funding for low-carbon procurement, all of these investments will complement and accelerate the initiatives articulated in the Executive Order. In turn, the Executive Order provides an unprecedented demand-pull for clean technologies, amplifying the benefits of the investments in the Build Back Better Act.  Read more here.

Want a primer on the key issues EDF will be watching? Read all about them here.

The Environmental Defense Fund is a leading national nonprofit organization representing more than 2.5 million members and activists. In 2017 EDF celebrated 50 years of progress.

Photo Credit: John Williams, Flickr

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Celebrates Expansion of Locally-Led Conservation Efforts in First Year of “America the Beautiful” Initiative, December 20, 2021

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration issued its first annual progress report on the America the Beautiful initiative, highlighting steps the Administration has taken over the past year to support locally-led and voluntary efforts to conserve, connect, and restore lands and waters across the nation that sustain the health of our communities, power local economies, and help combat climate change.