Tag Archives: climate action

FERC weighs grid plan that could revolutionize clean energy

By Miranda Willson, E&E Reporter, Energywire

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is weighing an overhaul of a major rule that critics say impedes the transition to a low-carbon grid while raising electricity bills. The agency has received comments from dozens of state regulators, electric utilities, clean energy groups and private companies on whether it should remove a policy allowing states to block demand response resources from wholesale power markets. Since the rule was established in 2009, an estimated 18 states have taken advantage of the “opt-out” provision.

Supporters of opening wholesale markets nationwide to demand response say it would go a long way in boosting all types of zero-carbon resources. In general, demand response constitutes a range of energy conservation programs — including “smart” thermostats and water heaters — that reduce or shift electric load to balance the power system. That in turn can allow grid operators to rely less on carbon-spewing power plants. Read more hereScroll down to read NPPD’s comments.

See Also:

VIRTUAL POWER PLANTS

Rocky Mountain Power’s distributed battery grid management system puts Utah ‘years ahead’ of California, by Iulia Gheorghiu, Utility Dive

Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) seeks to turn distributed solar into solar-plus-storage grid assets in Utah, announcing on Thursday a partnership between battery manufacturer sonnen and Utah contractor ES Solar to retrofit thousands of solar homes. Distributed resource planning proceedings around the country are looking to solar-plus-storage as a “really good option to replacing other types of necessary grid upgrades,” from upgrading transformers to transmission line sizes, according to Rick Gilliam, Vote Solar’s senior regional director of DER regulatory policy. 

Rocky Mountain Power is a part of Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s PacifiCorp.

Previously Posted: DOE teams with Xcel, Berkshire Hathaway Energy on cybersecurity program to protect clean energy, Utility Dive

CARBON DIOXIDE PIPELINES

Proposed carbon dioxide pipeline draws opposition from Iowa farmers and environmentalists alike, by Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio

At a virtual public meeting Tuesday, speakers railed against the proposal by Summit Carbon Solutions to build a sprawling 2,000 mile long pipeline, more than 700 miles of which would pass through 30 of Iowa’s 99 counties. The Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club is gathering signatures for a petition opposing the Summit project and another pipeline proposed by Navigator CO2 Ventures. The activist group is blasting the approach of CCS as a “false solution” to climate change. The organization, like other progressive-leaning climate advocates, sees CCS [carbon capture and sequestration] as extending a lifeline to carbon-based industries, at a time when the world needs to be ending its dependence on fossil fuels in order to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.

Previously Posted: Nebraska is likely headed for another pipeline controversy — this time over carbon dioxide, by Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald

HEATING BILLS

Expect scorching heating bills this winter, by Carolyn Conte,  News Channel Nebraska
“Utility investments used to be the same for 10 or 20 years, but that’s not the case anymore,” [former Nebraska Director of Energy David Bracht], said, noting the creation of natural renewables energy [using energy from animal waste], solar energy; wind energy; and even battery storage. “And that’s why I’m excited about energy in Nebraska because I think we actually have opportunities in all of those areas.”

NEBRASKA LIHEAP

The LIHEAP Program provides heating assistance, cooling assistance, year round crisis assistance, emergency furnace repair and replacement, fan program and weatherization services for eligible Nebraska citizens/households. LIHEAP in Nebraska is solely funded through a federal grant (no general fund authority for aid).

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.

President Biden to Host Leader-Level Meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate

The White House Briefing Room

The virtual meeting builds on the Leaders Summit on Climate the President hosted in April and comes six weeks before the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow, which will set the course for global climate efforts over the coming decade. Read more here.

Previously Posted
Biden’s American Jobs Plan Is Also a Climate Plan, Natural Resources Defense Council
The $2 trillion it would invest in the country’s infrastructure and workforce will help the United States recover from the past while preparing for the future.

Additional Recommended Reading
Investing in infrastructure, technology will provide payback for years to comeby June Girard, guest columnist, The Gainesville Sun. This is no time to quibble about how much it will cost us now. The real question is, what will it cost this country if we do not aggressively fund these challenges? Will we become a backward, irrelevant country whose natural resources will be squandered on antiquated processes? 

Featured Quotation On U.S. Infrastructure
Source: We can find agreement on funding much-needed infrastructure work, Midlands Voices, Omaha World-Herald

We have been talking about this for over a decade, and our decaying infrastructure cannot wait much longer. We need to reach across the aisle, find consensus and solve a big challenge facing our country — now. I’m working in the Problem Solvers Caucus to do just that. – Congressman Don Bacon, representing Nebraska’s 2nd District

Additional Recommended Reading
Midlands Voices: Bold infrastructure program will bring major benefits to the country, Omaha World-Herald. The writer, Johanna Threm, is Vice President and General Manager of Nucor Steel Nebraska.

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

An Urgent Call To High-Emitting Sectors: It’s Time For Climate Action

Contributed by Mindy Lubber, Forbes 

If we want to avert the most catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis, we will need bold, broad, and immediate action. We must act now and we will need everyone to do their part — countries, policymakers and regulators, each investor, every company.

That’s why we’re launching the Ceres Ambition 2030 initiative, designed to meet the urgency of this moment. We now know that the most ambitious actions of a few companies, or even a few hundred, aren’t enough. With Ambition 2030, we are working to decarbonize entire sectors, starting with six of the highest-polluting: electric power, oil and gas, steel, food, banking and transportation. Read more here.

Mindy Lubber is CEO and president of the sustainability nonprofit Ceres and a founding member of the global steering committee for Climate Action 100+. She was the recipient of the Champions of the Earth award —the United Nations highest environmental honor — for her leadership on climate change and sustainability. Lubber was also named Barron’s 100 most influential women in U.S. finance.

Ceres Initiatives Also Include

About Ceres
Ceres is a nonprofit organization working with the most influential capital market leaders to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. Through our powerful networks and global collaborations of investors, companies and nonprofits, we drive action and inspire equitable market-based and policy solutions throughout the economy to build a just and sustainable future. For more information, visit ceres.org.

MORE CLIMATE ACTION RESOURCES

As You Sow: Our mission is to promote environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies.

CDP is a not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts. Over the past 20 years we have created a system that has resulted in unparalleled engagement on environmental issues worldwide. Find out more about how we work.

Coalition For Green Capital (CGC) is a nonprofit with a mission to halt climate change by accelerating investment in clean energy technologies. CGC achieves this by advocating for, creating and implementing Green Bank finance institutions. Green Banks are a proven finance model that uses public and philanthropic funds to mobilize private investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and other decarbonization technologies. For over a decade, CGC has led the Green Bank movement, working at the federal, state and local level in the U.S. and in countries around the world. By increasing investment and accelerating the construction of clean power, CGC is helping deliver a cleaner, better future.

Environmental Protection Agency: Climate Change
EPA’s climate change website is back, with more content to come. Please return as we add new information and features. Learn more about the objectives of the EPA Climate Change website. Understanding and addressing climate change is critical to EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment. EPA tracks and reports greenhouse gas emissions, leverages sound science, and works to reduce emissions to combat climate change.

Interfaith Center On Corporate Responsibility is a coalition of faith- and values-based investors who view shareholder engagement with corporations as a powerful catalyst for change. Our mission statement, “inspired by faith, committed to action” sets forth our pledge to be active owners, and to engage meaningfully with the companies in our portfolios through the process of shareholder engagement that we pioneered nearly 50 years ago. 

Our guiding principle as shareholders is that sustainable corporations must look beyond the next earnings report to account for the full impact of their business on society and must view the well-being of all of their stakeholders―including their workers and the communities where they operate — as integral to their long-term value.

Proxy Preview is a collaboration between three organizations: As You Sow, Sustainable Investments Institute, and Proxy Impact. Proxy Preview provides the most comprehensive data on hundreds of shareholder resolutions – including environmental, corporate political spending, human rights, diversity, sustainable governance issues, and much more. Shareholder resolutions are a key form of engagement for U.S. investors interested in changing the environmental and social impacts of companies. Register for a free account to view Proxy Preview reports and watch a webinar at the website link above.

RESOURCES FOR GOVERNORS & MAYORS 

The U.S. Climate Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The alliance represents:

  •  61% of the U.S. economy.
  •  57% of the U.S. population.
  •  43% of U.S. emissions.

Climate Mayors, founded in 2014, is a bipartisan, peer-to-peer network of more than 470 U.S. mayors demonstrating climate leadership through meaningful actions in their communities. Representing 48 states and 74 million Americans, the Climate Mayors coalition reflects U.S. cities’ commitment to climate progress. 

Iowa City awards $60K in climate action grants

By Erin Jordan, The Gazette

IOWA CITY — So many worthy causes, not enough money. That’s how Briana Hoffman, of West Branch, felt when she thought about supporting both local social service agencies and groups that fight climate change.

“I’ve always been passionate about our community, but at the same time I want to help the climate because I think our planet is in trouble,” Hoffman said. “I realized you can do both. By helping nonprofits be more energy efficient, you can actually help the planet and the nonprofit. The money they don’t spend on electricity is going back into their purpose.” Continue reading here.

MORE CLIMATE NEWS, ACTIONS & RESOURCES

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

New bill could make solar roof installations more affordable for homes, businesses

By Zach Hester, WHNT

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new bill introduced last week is aiming to make it cheaper for homeowners and businesses to install solar power roofs. The Raise the Roof Act, introduced by Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), would expand solar tax credits to cover a “cutting-edge integrated solar roofing system” as well as roof replacements and repairs. Read more here, including the full text of the Raise the Roof Act.

Related Reading – With Resources

Replacing Your Roof? It’s a Great Time to Add Solar, by Becca Jones-Albertus, Director of the Solar Energy Technologies Office within the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office.

A report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that solar panels are viewed as upgrades and home buyers across the country have been willing to pay a premium of about $15,000 for a home with an average-sized solar array. Additionally, there is evidence homes with solar panels sell faster than those without.

Previously Posted

RECOMMENDED WEBINAR

Recording of the Clean Energy Group / Clean Energy States Alliance Webinar: Expanding Grid Capacity with Energy Storage in Decorah, Iowa

At present, one circuit on Decorah’s grid does not have sufficient capacity to allow for the addition of many new solar projects in development. Upgrading the grid through traditional poles-and-wires and substation expansions would be twice as expensive as this battery project, according to Alliant Energy. Thus, the battery project is expected not only to allow for increased solar integration, but also to produce distribution system investment savings. Additional potential benefits, such as peak demand shaving and other storage applications, will be tested as additional means to reduce customer cost.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

WIND ENERGY GUIDE

Land-Based Wind Energy Economic Development Guide, Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, WINDExchange

A comprehensive resource for community decision makers to better understand the economic development potential during the development, construction, and operation of wind energy projects.

Energy outreach expands as Norfolk solar project set to begin

By Mitchell Lierman, Norfolk Daily News

A new outreach initiative on wind and solar energy called Renew Nebraska was launched at the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday. Co-chaired by Mayor Josh Moenning, the effort promotes investments in Nebraska to develop the state’s energy potential.

The announcement comes in the wake of a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to the United Nations earlier this week that highlighted that it is “unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land” and warned of climate destabilization if no action is taken. Continue reading here.

NPPD begins to take public input on electrical generation mix at Norfolk forum, by Jerry Guenther, Norfolk Daily News

Climate change widespread, rapid, and intensifying – IPCC

GENEVA, Aug 9 – Scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, released today. Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion—such as continued sea level rise—are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years.

However, strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change. While benefits for air quality would come quickly, it could take 20-30 years to see global temperatures stabilize, according to the IPCC Working Group I report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, approved on Friday by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that was held over two weeks starting on July 26. Continue reading here.

About the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC)

Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the objective of the IPCC is to provide governments at all levels with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC reports are also a key input into international climate change negotiations. The IPCC is an organization of governments that are members of the United Nations or WMO.

The IPCC currently has 195 members. Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. For the assessment reports, IPCC scientists volunteer their time to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks.

An open and transparent review by experts and governments around the world is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete assessment and to reflect a diverse range of views and expertise. Through its assessments, the IPCC identifies the strength of scientific agreement in different areas and indicates where further research is needed. The IPCC does not conduct its own research.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

IN NEBRASKA

  • Information forums on decarbonization scheduled by NPPD, NPPD News Release
  • NPPD seeks public input on decarbonization, by Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald
    Another of Nebraska’s major utilities is taking a look at decarbonization and will be asking its customers to weigh in. The Nebraska Public Power District will hold five public meetings over the next two weeks on whether it should pursue decarbonization, CEO Tom Kent said Friday. The meetings are part of a larger effort to gauge customer sentiment, he said . . . The Lincoln Electric System has a decarbonization goal of net zero by 2040. LES held a yearlong educational series with its customers. The Omaha Public Power District held public workshops on the issue earlier this year. It has a goal of net zero carbon production by 2050.