Tag Archives: clean energy

Senate advances bipartisan infrastructure bill in procedural vote

By Jacob Pramuk, CNBC

The Senate voted Friday to move forward with a bipartisan infrastructure bill, as Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pushes to pass it as soon as next week. The vote was delayed briefly as senators reportedly worked out an issue related to broadband. The final text of the legislation has yet to be released. The procedural measure needed only a simple majority to pass. The final tally was 66 votes in favor, and 28 against. Continue reading here.

Related Reading

AMERICAN CLEAN POWER ASSOCIATION REPORT

First Clean Power Annual report shows record U.S. renewables growth and investment
WASHINGTON DC, July 29, 2021 – The American Clean Power Association today released its first Clean Power Annual report, which showed wind, utility solar, and battery storage power capacity in the U.S. topped 170 gigawatts (GW), following a record 26 GW of clean energy projects coming online in 2020.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

USDA REAP FUNDING NOTICES

  • Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audit & Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants (July 26, 2021) Federal Register Notice
  • Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants (July 26, 2021) Federal Register Notice

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 

Lower Battery Costs, High Value of Backup Power Drive Distributed Storage Deployment
Fourth Report in NREL’s Storage Futures Study Uses Distributed Generation Market Demand Model To Estimate Behind-the-Meter Storage Capacity, Identify Drivers of Customer Adoption. Several findings in the study demonstrate that PV and batteries make an economical pairing. Because an average PV-plus-battery storage system is larger than PV-only configurations, battery storage increases the PV capacity and the system’s economic value.

Read the Report: Distributed Solar and Storage Outlook: Methodology and Scenarios.

Upcoming Webinar: NREL’s Storage Futures Study team will host a free public webinar on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, from 10 to 11 am CT. Register here.

BATTERY MATERIALS RECYCLING

Former Tesla CTO’s battery materials recycling company announces US$700 million+ investment, Energy Storage News

Former Tesla battery guru JB Straubel’s materials recycling company Redwood Materials has attracted more than US$700 million in investment. Redwood, which is currently developing processes to produce battery materials that can be resold into the supply chain, has partnerships in place with the likes of Panasonic, Envision AESC and Amazon. The company pledges to recycle any device with a lithium-ion battery including phones, laptops and power tools, although a major focus is being placed on electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

Midlands Voices: New OPPD chief must continue important decarbonization work

By John Crabtree and Graham Jordison, Omaha World-Herald

Last month Omaha Public Power District announced the retirement of Tim Burke, chief executive officer after 24 years of service to the district, six years as CEO. Burke, especially during his tenure as CEO, has demonstrated courageous leadership. The OPPD board of directors faces a daunting challenge in finding a replacement who will shoulder the mantle of OPPD leadership with the passion and courage to match that shown by Burke.

On April 28 the OPPD board of directors announced a finalist from their internal search for a new CEO – Javier Fernandez, chief financial officer at OPPD. Hiring a new CEO with the capacity and vision to fulfill Burke’s commitment to decarbonization, and moving OPPD away from coal and gas-fired generation to clean energy, has been and will continue to be a crucial test of the leadership and vision of the members of the OPPD board of directors, as well. Continue reading here. Requires digital subscription.

John Crabtree is campaign representative for the Beyond Coal campaign for the Sierra Club in Nebraska. Graham Jordison is the organizing representative for the campaign.

OPPD’s Pathways to Decarbonization Workshops

OPPD’s first two Pathways to Decarbonization public workshops were held virtually via WebEx on April 7 and 28. Workshops are technical in nature and designed to build from one another. Recordings and presentations from the first two events, as well as pre-registration for the next two workshops are available at OPPDCommunityConnect.com

  • Workshop #3: Developing Key Assumptions and Scenarios: May 12, from 4–6 p.m.
  • Workshop #4: Developing Modeling Approach: May 26, from 4–6 p.m.

To watch past workshop recordings and provide feedback, click here.

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan

The White House Briefing Room

The President’s American Jobs Plan is a historic public investment – consisting principally of one-time capital investments in our nation’s productivity and long-term growth. It will invest about 1 percent of GDP per year over eight years to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure, revitalize manufacturing, invest in basic research and science, shore up supply chains, and solidify our care infrastructure. These are investments that leading economists agree will give Americans good jobs now and will pay off for future generations by leaving the country more competitive and our communities stronger. In total, the plan will invest about $2 trillion this decade. If passed alongside President Biden’s Made in America corporate tax plan, it will be fully paid for within the next 15 years and reduce deficits in the years after. Read more here. 

Additional Recommended Reading & Viewing

OPPD Maintains Strong Credit Rating, Helping Utility Keep Rates Low For Customer-Owners In Challenging Economy

OPPD News Release 

Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s latest ratings give OPPD an Aa2 and AA, respectively. These ratings are among the highest ratings a public power utility can receive. OPPD’s solid financial position has allowed it to access credit markets during the current market downturn, while lower rated entities have had limited access . . . The board received an update on OPPD’s Pathways to Decarbonization strategic initiative. A long-term study is underway to identify pathways to improve our environmental impact while maintaining reliability, resiliency and affordability. During its committee meetings this week, the board received an update on OPPD’s Power with Purpose (PwP) plan, approved in November 2019. The plan includes the addition of between 400 and 600 megawatts of accredited utility-scale solar generation, as well as the addition of modernized natural gas backup generation assets. Read the entire news release here.

For more information, click here.
OPPD invites customer-owners to submit feedback at OPPD Listens.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING 

THE HEROES ACT

House Democrats unveil $3 trillion COVID-19 response proposal, American Public Power Association. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law in late March by President Trump included $900 million for LIHEAP to help low-income households pay their utility bills during the crisis. But the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) on April 6 said that due to the depth of the crisis, “this funding only scratches the surface of what families will need to stay afloat.” 

CLEAN ENERGY FORWARD INITIATIVE

Republicans Are Leading On Clean Energy, Newsweek
Opinion contributed by Heather Reams, the executive director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, a non-profit organization that recently launched Clean Energy Forward to engage Republican policymakers and the public about responsible, conservative solutions to address our nation’s energy, economic and environmental security while increasing America’s competitive edge.

TRANSITION PATHWAY INITIATIVE

Investor group: No European oil and gas major has a credible net zero plan, GreenBiz
That is the conclusion of a new analysis from the influential Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), backed by investors representing $19 trillion of assets worldwide.

TRI-STATE

SOLAR PLUS STORAGE

GAF SOLAR ROOF

GAF Energy Launches New Flex Option for Roof-Integrated Solar System, Solar Industry Magazine

GAF Energy, a provider of roof-integrated solar solutions in North America, has launched their “Flex” option for use with the company’s redesigned Decotech 2.0 roof-integrated solar product. Flex maintains the efficiency of standard system sizing, while also introducing new configuration choices for homeowners.

  • Homeowners interested in learning more about the GAF solar roof, click here.
  • Roofing contractors interested in installing GAF Energy products, click here.

THIN-FILM SOLAR MODULES

A new player appears in American thin-film cadmium telluride solar module manufacturing, PV Magazine. Toledo Solar is trying to distinguish itself from First Solar’s cadmium telluride dominance by operating in the residential and commercial markets, markets which have been historically unkind to the technology.

GREENTECH MEDIA’S INTERCHANGE

Mapping the Post-COVID Future for Electric Cars, Behavior Change and Energy Demand, Greentech Media. This week on The Interchange, we talk with futurist Ramez Naam about a wide range of scenarios for energy.

MORE ON MICHAEL MOORE’S CONTROVERSIAL DOCUMENTARY

What Michael Moore’s New Climate Documentary Gets Wrong About Renewables, Forbes

In A Post-Pandemic World, Renewable Energy Is The Only Way Forward

By Enrique Dans, Senior Contributor, Forbes

The Economist’s regular cartoonist, KAL, summed it up neatly in his cartoon last week: the battle humanity is waging against the coronavirus is only the preliminary round, and after that, we have a much bigger and stronger opponent waiting for us, called the climate emergency. That some people still may think that something as objectively and scientifically proven is still up for debate could be seen as one of the greatest achievements of the fossil fuel industry. It’s not. It’s the greatest threat to human life. Read more here.

Also written by Enrique Dans: Are We Going To Take Advantage Of This Small Window Of Opportunity For Change?, Forbes

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Solar energy continues its exponential growth, Red, Green and Blue
According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) World Energy Outlook 2019, solar photovoltaic (PV) is set to become the largest source of installed electrical capacity in about 2035, if countries pursue policies as planned.

NEBRASKA/MIDWEST NEWS 

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

BLACK HILLS ENERGY

Pueblo, Colorado, set to vote on exiting Black Hills Energy, forming a municipal utility, by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive. The city of 111,000 also has a goal of reaching 100% renewable electricity by 2035, and Pueblo officials think forming a municipal utility will create an easier path toward that goal.

About Black Hills Energy
Founded in 1883, Black Hills Energy serves 1.2 million customers in eight states: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. The company’s utilities are subsidiaries of Black Hills Corporation.

GREEN BONDS & ESG-LINKED LOANS

Green bonds are growing bigger and broader, GreenBiz article by Meghna Mehta, Senior Associate, MSCI Research

Like green bonds, ESG-linked loans have been growing over the past few years. Several entities have issued green bonds and taken out ESG-linked loans, mostly in the energy and utility sectors, given the pressure that these industries face to move toward a lower-carbon world. The coronavirus pandemic and its economic impacts may be occupying a great deal of investor attention at the moment, but climate change and sustainability remain high on many investors’ — and companies’ — agendas. Green bonds and their offshoots potentially could offer new opportunities to help make the pandemic recovery greener as well.

COMMUNITY SOLAR

  • Denver Receives $1,000,000 For Community Solar Gardens, Press Release from the City and County of Denver. Denver has been awarded $1,000,000 to support the city’s Renewable Denver Initiative from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) Renewable Energy Challenge grant program. The city’s initiative will equitably accelerate Denver towards its goal of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030 by hosting low-cost community solar gardens across municipal properties.
  • So, What Exactly Is Community Solar?, Greentech Media
    In the first of a new series of explanatory articles, GTM will help you understand what community solar is and how it works.
  • Community-Scale/Utility-Scale Solar, Nebraskans for Solar Resource

Clean energy a common concern for Nebraska utility board candidates

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

Four of 11 seats on the Nebraska Public Power District board will be decided by voters in the November general election.

Several candidates running to fill seats on the board of Nebraska’s largest utility have indicated they want to speed the company’s transition from coal to renewable power. If they’re elected in November, the Nebraska Public Power District would be the second large public utility in the state run by a board trending strongly toward more support for renewable energy. The Omaha Public Power District has already adopted a more aggressive stance toward clean energy subsequent to the election of clean energy advocates in the last couple elections, especially last November. Continue reading here.

Photo by Rich / Flickr / Creative Commons: Wind turbines near Elgin, Nebraska

MORE NPPD NEWS

Judge orders injunction preventing NPPD from ending power contracts with 3 wind farms, Hastings Tribune. This article originally ran on journalstar.com.

Shareholders supporting Ameren, KCPL energy efficiency goals

By Benjamin Peters, The Missouri Times
KCP&L was the first utility in the country to own and operate a commercial-scale wind facility in the state of Kansas. They’ve also continued looking into methods of harnessing solar energy, and partnered with the Kansas City Royals to place a 120-panel solar system at Kauffman Stadium. KCP&L also signed a 10-year agreement to buy renewable energy from Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District’s three hydroelectric plants, the first addition of hydro power to their energy mix. Ameren Missouri currently operates three hydroelectric energy centers. Ameren Missouri has also explored a number of energy alternatives and recently received the green light by the Missouri Public Service Commission to begin their pilot program on solar energy. Read more.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING / LISTENING

State senators: Nebraska needs to act on climate change (AUDIO), by Brent Martin, Nebraska Radio Network
State lawmakers serving on a special legislative committee say Nebraska needs to adopt a state climate action plan. Sen. Tyson Larson of O’Neill, co-chair of the committee, says he wants to see the committee re-authorize so it can pursue recommendations finalized just prior to the legislative session. “In terms of our recommendations for legislation, I think members of this committee or the legislature will see pieces of legislation that are affecting these things,” Larson tells reporters during a news conference at the Capitol.

Time to create a clean-energy future

Written by Duane Hovorka, Executive Director of the Nebraska Wildlife Federation. Published by The Omaha World-Herald.

On Nov. 4, the Paris climate change agreement went into effect. The agreement was signed by 193 nations, representing 95 percent of the world’s carbon pollution, and so far 111 nations have ratified the agreement . . . American technology and ingenuity should be leading the world into the clean energy future envisioned by the Paris Agreement. That leadership, and the economic benefits that will result, is much more likely to happen if the U.S. remains part of the agreement than if we walk away. Read more here.