Tag Archives: Biden-Harris Administration

Op-ed: Bipartisan Infrastructure bill will help working class catch up to Zoom economy

By Dr. Bill Cassidy, United States Senator for Louisiana, CNBC

If good policy is good politics, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is both. It’s good for the country, which barely has a passing grade on our infrastructure, C-, and good for the American worker. The COVID-19 pandemic and its lockdowns brought our economy to a temporary standstill. How someone fared, depended on their circumstances.

If someone could make a living through online video calls with access to high-speed internet in the comfort of their home, they often did quite well. If someone worked with their hands, things were often quite different. Employment levels and opportunities have not returned to those in the lower quintiles of our economy to the levels achieved before the pandemic. This is where the bipartisan infrastructure bill would come into play. Continue reading here.

Related Reading

STATE FACT SHEETS

CIVILIAN CLIMATE CORPS

Invest in a robust civilian climate corps to build our resiliency — our lives depend on itcontributed by Representative Joe Neguse and Mary Ellen Sprenkel, president and CEO of The Corps Network, the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, The Hill

There is also already a modern corps model. There are more than 130 corps across the country operated by non-profits, state governments, and universities. These programs — located in rural towns and big cities alike — are grounded in communities and responsive to local needs. Many programs have partnered with local, state, and federal agencies for decades to engage young people in disaster resilience, conservation, and park maintenance projects.

CLEAN ELECTRICITY PAYMENT PROGRAM (CEPP)

80% Clean Electricity Payment Program = Enormous Job Growth, Natural Resources Defense Council

A clean energy policy like the one under consideration in Congress right now could expand the workforce by nearly 8 million jobs and generate $1 trillion in economic benefits over the next 10 years. New analysis released today demonstrates that a well-designed Clean Electricity Payment Program (CEPP) will support a strong clean energy economy, and is vital to addressing the climate crisis. 

Additional Recommended Reading

NATIONAL CLEAN ELECTRICITY STANDARD (CES)

Clean electricity standard lands spot in $3.5 trillion Democratic-backed infrastructure deal, Utility Dive

The Biden administration wants Congress to pass a clean electricity standard but is also prepared to pursue efforts to push utilities to ratchet down their emissions through the federal regulatory process should a national standard fail to make the final bill, according to Gina McCarthy, the White House’s national climate adviser. McCarthy said the administration believes a national clean energy standard would be more effective in prompting action on part of the utility industry to reduce emissions.

HOW THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION PROPOSES TO PAY FOR INFRASTRUCTURE 

The Made In America Tax Plan, U.S. Department Of The Treasury

This report describes President Biden’s Made in America tax plan, the goal of which is to make American companies and workers more competitive by eliminating incentives to offshore investment, substantially reducing profit shifting, countering tax competition on corporate rates, and providing tax preferences for clean energy production. Importantly, this tax plan would generate new funding to pay for a sustained increase in investments in infrastructure, research, and support for manufacturing, fully paying for the investments in the American Jobs Plan over a 15-year period and continuing to generate revenue on a permanent basis.

To start, the plan reorients corporate tax revenue toward historical and international norms. Of late, the effective tax rate on U.S. profits of U.S. multinationals—the share of profits that they actually pay in federal income taxes—was just 7.8 percent. And although U.S companies are the most profitable in the world, the United States collects less in corporate tax revenues as a share of GDP than almost any advanced economy in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Additional Recommended Reading: FACT SHEET: The American Jobs PlanThe White House

CREATING A FAIRER TAXATION SYSTEM: ITEP ANALYSES

The Institute On Taxation And Economic Policy (ITEP) Analyses of Biden’s Proposed Corporate Tax Reform

The Institute On Taxation And Economic Policy (ITEP) is a non-profit, non-partisan tax policy organization that conducts rigorous analyses of tax and economic proposals and provides data-driven recommendations on how to shape equitable and sustainable tax systems. ITEP’s expertise and data uniquely enhance federal, state, and local policy debates by revealing how taxes affect both public revenues and people of various levels of income and wealth.

GLOBAL MINIMUM CORPORATE TAX

G20 Signs Off On 15% Global Minimum Corporate Tax—Here’s How It Will Work, Forbes
The new tax system—expected to take effect in 2023—has been agreed to by 132 countries after meetings in July held by the G20 and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. It sets an effective global minimum tax of 15% on multinationals with more than $890 million in revenue.

Climate measures in budget bill could cut nearly 1 billion tons of emissions per year by 2030, analysis finds

By Ella Nilsen, CNN, News Channel Nebraska

Six major climate provisions in congressional Democrats’ massive budget bill could slash US greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 1 billion tons per year by 2030, a new analysis from the nonpartisan Rhodium Group found. It would be comparable to removing all passenger vehicles from the road, or the yearly greenhouse gas emissions of Texas and Florida combined, according to the analysis. “This is a really big deal,” Rhodium Group President John Larsen told CNN. “It would be the single largest action the federal government’s ever taken to deal with climate change.” Continue reading here.

Also Written By Ella Nilsen

Yes, 40 Percent Solar Energy for the U.S Grid by 2035 is Doable

By Tina Casey, TriplePundit

All in all, the opportunities for rapid decarbonization are falling into place. The only missing piece is political will, and that is an area in which corporate leaders can exercise a powerful influence, if they choose.

The Joe Biden administration made waves earlier this week when it indicated that solar energy could cover 40 percent of the nation’s electric power grid by 2035. It is easy to meet news like that with disbelief, considering the minuscule toehold currently enjoyed by solar energy. However, a significant new factor is now in play.

The catastrophic impacts of climate change hit the U.S. with full force this year, providing corporate leaders with a powerful incentive to lobby for a swift, aggressive transition to clean power. Settling for incremental change is not an option when floods, fires, habitat destruction, and water scarcity destroy communities and disrupt business. Read more here.

Previously Posted

Biden’s proposed tenfold increase in solar power would remake the US electricity system, by Joshua D. Rhodes, Research Associate, University of Texas at Austin. Published by The Conversation.  

Additional Recommended Reading

Illinois Poised for Nation-Leading, Equitable Climate Bill

By J.C. Kibbey, Natural Resources Defense Council

After years of work, an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the Illinois House has voted (83 yes to 33 no) to pass the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (SB2408), a nation-leading bill to fight climate change, create good-paying jobs, improve the health of Illinoisans, and support disadvantaged communities. The bill now goes to the Senate, where legislative leaders say they intend to pass it swiftly. Governor Pritzker has championed the bill and has said he will sign it. Read more here.

More about the writer: With Family Roots in the Mines, He’s Championing Illinois’s Clean Energy Future, NRDC

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

USDA accepts more grassland CRP signup, North Platte Telegraph
[Lands] enrolled in CRP — including grasslands — play an important role in addressing climate change. For example, this enrollment of more than 2.5 million acres of grazing land into Grassland CRP will mitigate an additional estimated 22,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

By the numbers: Nebraska ranked third in acres enrolled, behind only Colorado and South Dakota. Montana and New Mexico round out the top five enrollment states.

About the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

The Future of Agriculture Combined With Renewable Energy Finds Success at Jack’s Solar Garden, NREL News Story. Jack’s Solar Garden is the largest commercially active agrivoltaics system researching crop and vegetation growth under photovoltaic solar panels in the United States. For more information, visit Jack’s Solar Garden, stay tuned for updates on more agrivoltaics projects, and read more about the InSPIRE project’s research at sites around the country.

Making the right buy: LCOE of monofacial vs bifacial modules, PV Magazine
When does increased energy production outweigh increased cost? Clean Energy Associates looks to answer one of its most-asked questions in a new case study.

Wisconsin farmers to receive record-breaking support this year from USDA, NBC26

BIDEN’S INFRASTRUCTURE PLANS & AMERICA’S WORKFORCE

Biden Has Ambitious Infrastructure Plans. But A Worker Shortage Could Hinder Them, NPR
“We were having trouble finding skilled workers for construction jobs, water and energy utilities, telecom and broadband expansions – all the areas where we think this infrastructure bill was going to be investing even before the pandemic. – Andy Van Kleunen, CEO of the National Skills Coalition

GRID INFRASTRUCTURE – NEW ACORE REPORT 

Transmission Makes the Grid Resilient to Extreme Weather, T&D World
New report released by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). ‘Transmission Makes the Power System Resilient to Extreme Weather’, details the value additional transmission would have provided during five severe weather events in Texas, the Northeast and the Midwest between 2014 and 2021. 

PREVIOUSLY POSTED ON INFRASTRUCTURE

Report Card for America’s Infrastructure
Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for America’s Infrastructure depicts the condition and performance of American infrastructure in the familiar form of a school report  card—assigning letter grades based on the physical condition and needed investments for improvement.

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan, The White House Briefing Room
Statement about America’s manufacturing infrastructure:
The U.S. manufacturing sector accounts for 70 percent of business R&D expenditure, 30 percent of productivity growth, and 60 percent of exports. Manufacturing is a critical node that helps convert research and innovation into sustained economic growth . . . While manufacturing jobs have been a ladder to middle-class life, we have let our industrial heartland be hollowed out, with quality jobs moving abroad or to regions with lower wages and fewer protections for workers.

American Clean Power Association to further expand with U.S. Energy Storage Association merger

ACP News Release 

WASHINGTON DC, August 23, 2021 – The American Clean Power Association (ACP) and the U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA) today announced that ESA’s member companies approved the merger to join ACP effective January 1, 2022.

“We are thrilled the member companies at the U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA) have endorsed the planned merger with ACP. This will enhance our ability to become a more forceful advocate for wind, solar, storage and transmission,” said Heather Zichal, CEO of ACP. “The merger will help deliver more value for our members and build a best-in-class trade association that is nimble, effective and able to represent all clean energy industries with a unified voice on some of our top priorities including the investment tax credit for storage projects.”  Read more here.

Watch ACP’s Powering American Jobs national TV ad: https://bit.ly/3y9MNJc

Additional Recommended Reading

New Solar Company – EightTwenty

Solar energy company EightTwenty seeks to shine light on industry potential in Oklahoma, The Oklahoman. EightTwenty also is establishing operations in Arkansas and Kansas with future aspirations to expand into Texas, Nebraska, Indiana and Kentucky. 

New CESA Guide

 

 

Guide to 100% Clean Energy States
This guide provides state officials and other stakeholders with information about the 18 states (plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) that have adopted 100% clean energy goals. It includes information about the plans and other implementation reports that some of those states have produced.

FACT SHEET: Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and Build Back Better Agenda Present Bright Future for Solar Power, Good Jobs, and More Affordable Energy

The White House Briefing Room, August 17, 2021

Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) released a new issue brief that details a bright future for solar power, good jobs, and affordable energy in the United States. President Biden’s proposed investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and Build Back Better Agenda will invest in the infrastructure, manufacturing, innovation, and incentives for solar energy that we need to grow good-paying, union jobs at home, make solar energy affordable for all American families, and accelerate the deployment of net-zero energy across the country. These critical investments will unlock the full potential of solar and help fight the climate crisis. Continue reading here.

Read the full brief: Investing in the Clean Energy Future: Solar Energy Research, Deployment, and Workforce Priorities

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Here’s What’s In The Democrats’ $3.5 Trillion Budget Resolution

By Dana Farrington and Barbara Sprunt, NPR / KIOS

The Senate narrowly endorsed a $3.5 trillion budget resolution early Wednesday morning in a 50-49 party-line vote. The sweeping Democratic plan includes major investments in climate initiatives, the expansion of Medicare and the extension of the child tax credit.

The price tag is currently set at $3.5 trillion. The plan calls for the investments to be offset by a combination of new tax revenues, health care savings and long-term economic growth. It calls for raising money through IRS enforcement and proposes a new fee on carbon pollution. The plan prohibits tax increases on families making under $400,000 a year, small businesses and family farms. Read more here.

See Also: U.S. Department Of The Treasury: The Made In America Tax Plan (PDF)

Additional Recommended Reading 

Council hears rate study for proposed electric rate changes

By Monica BrichBeatrice Daily Sun

Replenishing cash reserves impacted by the freezing temperatures and rolling blackouts in February was one of the topics the Beatrice City Council heard during its regular meeting Monday evening. The city hired J.K. Energy consultant John Krajewski to perform a rate study. He said the last time Beatrice had a full rate study was in 2009, with an abbreviated study done in 2014. Krajewski said the city has transitioned to a better portfolio of energy sources, as they’re planning to transition away from the Nebraska Public Power District after the next fiscal year. Continue reading here.

ØRSTED 

Ørsted completes largest onshore wind project to date, Globe Newswire


Ørsted has completed the 367 MW Western Trail Wind Farm located in Wilbarger and Baylor counties, Texas – its largest onshore wind project to date that brings Ørsted’s total onshore capacity to over 2.8 GW of wind, solar, and battery storage in operation.

In Nebraska: The 298MW Haystack Wind Farm, adjacent to Ørsted’s 230MW Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County, is due to become operational by the end of 2021. Haystack will utilize existing interconnection infrastructure in Southwest Power Pool North.

All about the Southwest Power Pool, The Wire

IOWA PUBLIC RADIO INTERVIEW WITH ENERGY SECRETARY GRANHOLM

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm Talks Infrastructure, The Ames Lab, Biofuels And More, by Ben KiefferRick BrewerCaitlin Troutman

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was appointed by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in February 2021. She served as Michigan’s first female governor from 2003 to 2011. Recently, Granholm virtually toured the Ames Laboratory and met with the lab’s researchers to discuss sustainable energy and technology. She joined River to River on July 29 to discuss the visit as well as share her thoughts on the future of infrastructure, combating climate change and sustainable energy.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

DOD Official Says U.S. Faces Climate Change Crisis, by David Vergun

Climate change absolutely affects national security, said the senior climate advisor to the secretary of defense. Speaking yesterday to the Department of Energy’s Energy Exchange forum, Joe Bryan said:

Image: Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska amidst severe flooding in 2019, resulting in $400 million in infrastructure damage to the base. Credit: U.S. Air Force

SOLAR ENERGY INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION

Climate Crisis Catches Power Companies Unprepared

By Brad Plumer and Ivan Penn, New York Times

The phone call to the Eugene Water & Electric Board was startling. A group of homeowners, fearing a storm could knock down nearby power lines and ignite wildfires, was asking the Oregon utility to turn off their electricity. “I about fell out of my chair,” said Rodney Price, the utility’s assistant general manager, of the people who were voluntarily asking to live in the dark in September, during one of the worst fire seasons Oregon had ever seen. It was a sign of growing angst, he said. “We’re seeing more and more widespread impacts of climate change. It’s clear it’s impacting how we do our business.” Across the United States, power companies are scrambling to keep up with a barrage of extreme weather from a rapidly warming climate. Continue reading here.

Photo: Smoke from the Dixie Fire near a Pacific Gas & Electric power station in California this month. Credit: John G. Mabanglo/EPA

Previously Posted

CLIMATE RISK 

INDIANA

As Indiana coal plants close, advocates say gas power should not replace them, by Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

As it retires a coal-fired power plant, CenterPoint Energy is pushing to build a smaller gas plant than one that was rejected two years ago by Indiana regulators. Consumer and environmental groups still say it’s unnecessary. “After the proposed gas combustion turbines are built, they propose to run them 2% to 10% of the time,” said Sameer Doshi, senior attorney in Earthjustice’s coal program, which is representing Citizens Action Coalition in state and federal proceedings around CenterPoint’s proposal. “Whereas customers would be billed for the entire construction cost of the plant as well as the capital cost of the new pipeline. We intend to show a combination of market purchases, demand response, and increased renewables deployment with storage would be able to fill in the gaps” left by the retiring coal plants. 

COLORADO

Social cost of methane changes the equation for Colorado utility policy, by Allen Best, Energy News Network

Colorado is believed to be the first state in the nation to apply the social cost of methane to a broad range of regulatory decisions. A batch of new laws are expected to dramatically improve the case for building energy conservation. The social cost of methane emissions was set most recently at $1,756 per short ton by the U.S. Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, compared to $68 for carbon dioxide. Both metrics estimate the economic damages of releasing emissions into the atmosphere.

Methane Leaks

COLORADO SOLAR GROUP PURCHASE CAMPAIGN

Local ‘Solarize’ campaign boosts Garfield County solar energy investment, Post Independent
The recent Solarize Garfield County campaign generated $2.8 million in rooftop solar and battery investment, added nearly a megawatt of renewable energy to the grid and helped county residents bank $270,000 in rebates, according to recent figures released by Carbondale-based Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER).

FEATURED AGRIVOLTAICS RESEARCH

Beneath Solar Panels, the Seeds of Opportunity Sprout, National Renewable Energy Laboratory 

To better understand the benefits of—and barriers to—low-impact solar development, the Innovative Site Preparation and Impact Reductions on the Environment (InSPIRE) project brings together researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Argonne National Laboratory, universities, local governments, environmental and clean energy groups, and industry partners. The project is funded by DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.

“It doesn’t have to be an either-or choice. For all our agriculturally productive land, let’s help PV developers and farmers plan out these solar projects so that farmers can get under the arrays and continue to work the land for the next 20 or 30 years.” —Gerry Palano, energy program coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Agriculture

USDA: Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants in Nebraska

PV RECYCLING

Emerging solar panel recycling market ripe with opportunity, but barriers remain, Waste Dive
The U.S. is likely to see significant volumes of end-of-life panels, creating opportunities for safe, sustainable recycling or reuse. Some states are looking at product stewardship to avoid disposal.

SEIA National PV Recycling Program

TESLA NEWS

Tesla Installed 85 Megawatts Of Rooftop Solar Power In 2nd Quarter, But That Doesn’t Actually Show Demand, by Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica

In some places in the US, the permitting process can take just a few days less than forever. In many other places in the US, it can take weeks or months (as in, several months). There are not many places where it happens in the course of a week. Europe and Australia don’t seem to have a permitting problem anything like this. Permits are quick and easy. The US, for some reason, is slow to adapt. One promising initiative is the new SolarAPP+ initiative. It is helping to streamline the solar permitting process in places around the country. As simple as it sounds, this is one of the most exciting developments in the US solar industry in years.

Additional Recommended ReadingTesla will open its charging network to all EV brands

WEC Energy Group to acquire 90% ownership of Sapphire Sky Wind Energy Center

WEC Energy Group News Release, PRNewswire

MILWAUKEE, July 27, 2021 – WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC) today announced that the company has agreed to acquire a 90% ownership interest in the Sapphire Sky Wind Energy Center. Located in McLean County, Illinois, the project is being developed by Invenergy — a leading global developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions. The Sapphire Sky site will consist of 64 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 250 megawatts. Commercial operation is expected by the end of 2022. Continue reading here.

Photo: Upstream Wind Energy Center in Antelope County, Nebraska

IN NEBRASKA

WEC Infrastructure Includes:

Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy Resources

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NextEra adds 1,840 MW renewables and storage to more than 15 GW backlog in Q2, Utility Dive

NextEra Energy “remains well-positioned to meet our 2021 and longer-term growth expectations,” NextEra President and CEO Jim Robo said in a statement. Meanwhile, NextEra Energy is also looking at significant opportunities in the years ahead in the transmission sector as well, [Rebecca Kujawa, executive vice president of finance and chief financial officer] said.

Photo: NextEra Energy’s Sholes Wind Farm in Wayne County, Nebraska

Previously Posted

Wind energy company studying Jefferson County for possible wind farm, News Channel Nebraska, April 27, 2021

FAIRBURY, NE — A major renewable energy company is studying to see if Jefferson County would be a good spot for a new wind farm. The Jefferson County Commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve a special use permit for Big Blue Nebraska Wind LLC to build a meteorological tower. The tower will be built about two miles northwest of Harbine. Big Blue Nebraska Wind LLC is owned by NextEra Energy. 

NextEra’s Nebraska Projects Also Include: 

Little Blue Wind

  • Up to 100 GE wind turbines capable of generating up to 250 megawatts (MW).
  • The project is currently under construction and is scheduled to begin operations by the end of 2021.

Gage Wind

  • Up to 50 GE wind turbines capable of generating up to 124 megawatts (MW).
  • Subject to local and state approvals, the project is scheduled to begin operations by the end of 2022.

American Clean Power’s State Fact Sheet: Clean Power Nebraska, May 2021

Clean Energy Careers

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

A Proclamation on Made In America Week, 2021President Joseph R. Biden, The White House Briefing Room

My Administration is making “Buy American” a policy, not just a promise. We are closing loopholes and strengthening standards to ensure that the future is made in all of America — by all of America’s workers — in every region, of every background, in services, manufacturing, and agriculture.

U.S. solar panel manufacturers, Solar Power World