Tag Archives: climate action

FARMERS POWERING COMMUNITIES: American Farmland Trust, Edelen Renewables and Arcadia Announce Partnership to Combat Climate Change by Advancing Smart Solar

American Farmland Trust News Release

WASHINGTON – SEPT 27, 2022 –  American Farmland TrustEdelen Renewables and Arcadia today announced a partnership, Farmers Powering Communities, to combat climate change through solar energy development while protecting America’s farmland and ranchland for growing food, fuel and fiber. The partnership provides more farmers with the opportunity for a new revenue stream and brings renewable energy to communities where it has not yet been available.   

Farmers Powering Communities will advance community solar projects of 25 to 50 acres to provide green energy to those who do not have access to rooftop solar – connecting them with local solar farms and bringing resiliency to more Americans. Increasing numbers of U.S. residents have installed rooftop solar on their property, but two-thirds of Americans cannot do so, either because they live in multi-family dwellings or because they rent their homes or because they cannot afford it. Community solar projects bridge the gap, connecting people to shared solar facilities. The partnership will identify the best land for new solar farms, establish installations and link them to local energy providers who will provide the power to residents at costs lower than the market average. Together, the partners will work to create 500 megawatts of community solar capacity in five years.  

AFT’s Smart SolarSM principles will guide the location of development to ensure that it prioritizes solar siting within the built environment (rooftops, carports, irrigation ditches), on disturbed and contaminated lands (brownfields, landfills, reclaimed mining lands), and lastly, on marginal agricultural land instead of prime farmland. Where solar development occurs on good farmland, the installation should be agrivoltaic—or dual-use — allowing farming or ranching to continue in concert with solar energy production. As we build new solar, it’s critical not to harm agricultural systems which themselves help combat climate change by sequestering carbon. 

“Farmers are on the frontlines of climate change, experiencing extreme weather events that impact their crops, livestock and livelihoods,” said John Piotti, AFT president and CEO. “We also know that farms can be part of the solution to the climate crisis. Farmland can draw carbon from the air to rebuild soil when farmed using climate-smart practices like cover crops and reduced tillage.  We need to dramatically ramp up solar energy production while retaining our farms and ranches. That’s what this partnership is all about. Doing solar the right way and putting it in the right place is what we call Smart Solar.”   

“For too long, agricultural land preservationists and green energy advocates have been at cross purposes,” said Adam Edelen, founder and CEO of Kentucky-based Edelen Renewables. “Bringing together those working to feed the planet with those working to power America offers an inspiring and workable path forward. This historic partnership will keep family farmers on their land, open a new front in battling climate change and benefit the checkbooks of lower-income ratepayers. This is a partnership in which everybody wins and is proof positive that Americans can bridge divides to make our communities, country and the world more sustainable, prosperous and resilient.” 

“Arcadia was founded on the simple idea that everyone deserves access to clean energy, and our technology platform already manages over one gigawatt of cheaper, cleaner community solar for communities across the U.S.,” said Kiran Bhatraju, founder and CEO of Arcadia. “The nation’s farmland communities have long been on the front lines of climate change, and this partnership will give them a powerful new weapon in that fight, all while providing steady new revenues.” 

“The partnership between Edelen Renewables, American Farmland Trust and Arcadia is representative of solar energy’s new frontier, said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO for the Solar Energy Industries Association. “Community solar projects are key to making clean and reliable solar power more accessible to families that have been left out of the renewable revolution. Together, these organizations will work to ensure that all parties involved, including landowners, rural communities, and developers, benefit from these sustainable energy developments.” 

Development will begin in 2023 across a number of states that have active community solar programs, including ME, MA, RI, NY, NJ, DE, MD, DC, VA, IL, MN, CO, NM, and OR. The partnership will also accelerate community solar access across the country through state and federal policy advocacy. 

American Farmland Trust Releases Smart Solar℠ Guiding Principles to Save the Land that Sustains Us

ICYMI: Week of Climate Action from the Biden-⁠Harris Administration

The White House Briefing Room

President Biden’s economic plan is building a clean energy future in America that is creating good-paying jobs, lowering energy costs, and tackling the climate crisis. On Tuesday, President Biden welcomed thousands of guests to the White House to celebrate passage of the Inflation Reduction Act—the most aggressive action the United States has taken to combat climate change, while advancing environmental justice and saving families money. On Wednesday, he toured the Detroit Auto Show to celebrate the American electric vehicle manufacturing boom spurred by his economic plan. Throughout the week, the Biden-Harris Administration charged forward with major executive actions across sectors to tackle the climate crisis: Continue reading here to learn more about these initiatives and enjoy related news stories.

Referenced Resource: CleanEnergy.gov
Department of Energy Photo

Vilsack: America’s voluntary approach to agriculture is better than Europe’s mandates

By Jared Strong, Iowa Capital Dispatch

BOONE, Iowa — The more than $1 billion the federal government is devoting to voluntary efforts to reduce agriculture’s adverse effects on the environment is a better long-term strategy than mandating new rules for farmers, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said Tuesday.

While state and federal officials in the United States have tended to avoid implementing rules that might force farmers to radically change their long-held practices, the European Union has specific requirements about crop rotations, permanent pastures and the use of buffer strips and other conservation practices that improve soil quality. Continue reading here.

Also written by Jared Strong: USDA plans ‘historic’ funding to help struggling farmers and develop new ag leaders, Iowa Capital Dispatch

FROM THE NEBRASKA EXAMINER 

MORE ON HIGH-SPEED-INTERNET INFRASTRUCTURE 

Treasury Announces Five Additional Capital Projects Fund Awards to Increase Access to Affordable, High-Speed Internet

Connecticut, Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Arkansas are approved to receive approximately $408 million under the American Rescue Plan and will connect more than 90,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet

INFLATION REDUCTION ACT BENEFITS EVERYONE

Republicans voted ‘no’ on the climate bill. Their states will get billions of dollars from it anyway, by Ella Nilsen, CNN

More than $370 billion of the law will go to tax credits for
 clean electricity, vehicles and energy efficient appliances. And that money will trickle down to Democrat- and Republican-controlled states alike, said Bob Keefe, executive director of nonpartisan clean energy group E2. “It’s going to be harder for red states to say clean energy jobs are bogus and that it’s something for California when it’s something that’s happening in their backyards,” Keefe told CNN.

The law goes far beyond financing for solar and wind energy. There’s also money for hydrogen fuel and funds to incentivize power plants to capture their planet-warming emissions before they hit the air. It also contains billions of dollars to fund a new program that will crack down on the fossil fuel industry’s methane emissions — a powerful greenhouse gas that scientists say must be controlled.

FROM FARM PROGRESS

Project looks to measure carbon absorption, emissions daily: Study examines how grazing livestock influences carbon, water and biodiversity.

Climate change has brought much scrutiny on the beef industry. But is it justified? Scientists have been studying grazing management and its impact on ecological function, and “there is evidence to suggest, if it’s well managed, cattle can be very edifying to land and improve its function versus deteriorating or extracting,” says Jason Rowntree, the C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture in the Michigan State University Department of Animal Science. “But the science is pretty isolated in terms of geography.”

FACT SHEET: Inflation Reduction Act Advances Environmental Justice

The White House Briefing Room

The Inflation Reduction Act builds on the historic investments in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and advances his Justice40 Initiative, which will deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of climate and clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities. In total, hundreds of federal programs, including those established by the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Law, representing historic investments are being reimagined and transformed to meet the Justice40 goal and maximize benefits to disadvantaged communities. Read more here.

ALSO FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

ACP CEO Heather Zichal Statement on President Biden Signing the Inflation Reduction Act into Law

American Clean Power Association 

“With the stroke of the pen, a clean energy future is now the law of the land. This does for climate change and clean energy what the creation of Social Security did for America’s senior citizens. This law will put millions more Americans to work, ensure clean, renewable and reliable domestic energy is powering every American home, and save American consumers money.”  Continue reading here.

MORE NEWS RELEASES

“This new law will help the United States deploy enough clean energy to substantially decarbonize the electric grid and tackle climate change. It features long-term investments in clean energy and new incentives for energy storage, which give solar and storage businesses a stable policy environment and the certainty they need to deploy clean energy and meet the President’s ambitious climate goals. The bill also includes Senator Ossoff’s Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act, which will support domestic solar production through new tax credits, lay the groundwork for thousands of new manufacturing jobs by the end of the decade, and usher in a new era for solar manufacturing in the United States.” Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA President and CEO 

“With this legislation, America can finally move beyond years of on-again, off-again renewable tax credits to a long-term clean energy tax platform that will provide renewable companies with the stability they need to do business. This legislation will spur vital new investment that will help deploy thousands of megawatts of new renewable power, create hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, lower the cost of electricity for American families, and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We look forward to working with the Biden administration as they implement this law and build on it with additional measures to deliver the clean energy future Americans want and scientists say we desperately need.” – Gregory Wetstone, ACORE President and CEO

The Inflation Reduction Act includes long-term extensions of critical tax incentives supporting the deployment of all three wind applications – land-based, offshore and distributed – and new programs to support the siting and construction of high-voltage transmission lines, which will be important for both land-based and offshore wind. Also included are new production-based tax credits for domestic manufacturing and supply of wind components and equipment, which will provide strong incentives to onshore key supply chains of wind turbines and related components. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

House Takes Important Step Forward on Clean Energy Progress by Passing Inflation Reduction Act

Solar Energy Industries Association News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the House of Representatives approved the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes historic, long-term provisions to decarbonize the electric grid with significant clean energy deployment and domestic manufacturing.

Following is a statement by Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), on the House passage:

“The most transformational clean energy package in history is now one step closer to becoming law. Today’s House passage shows that America is prepared to lead the world in the fight against climate change by investing in our communities and workers.

“The Inflation Reduction Act will drive historic investments in clean energy deployment and manufacturing which will help create millions of new, well-paying careers. In the face of a global energy crisis and rising inflation, the measures in this bill will strengthen America’s energy security by boosting production here at home, all while lowering prices for families through investment in historic levels of low-cost, reliable clean energy.

“This is a momentous day for every American. Despite the party-line vote, the policies contained in this legislation are incredibly popular and will be an economic boon for communities across the country. In anticipation of President Biden’s signature, the 255,000 Americans working in the solar and storage industry are ready to get to work.”

American Clean Power Association News Release

ACP CEO Heather Zichal Statement on House Passage of
Historic Inflation Reduction Act

WASHINGTON DC, August 12, 2022 – Heather Zichal, CEO of the American Clean Power Association, issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA). The IRA provides unprecedented multi-year policy certainty for clean energy and will now be sent to President Joe Biden to be enacted into law: 

“History was made in Washington today. After decades of failed attempts, passage of this bill marks the largest investment in domestic clean energy ever. Period. It also marks the point in time when the US decided to: get serious about climate change; invest in innovation and manufacturing; create hundreds of thousands of new jobs; and ensure that America takes the back seat to no one in the race to deploy clean energy. The IRA puts our industry on a path to produce enough clean power to fuel every home in America – 142 million – by 2030, up from 58 million today. There will be three times more clean energy on the electric grid. The average American will pocket over $1,000 per year in energy savings. It will more than double the clean energy workforce, creating 550,000 jobs and employing nearly 1 million Americans by 2030. Along with these benefits, we will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 2005 levels.

This is truly an historic moment. We are grateful for the leadership from Congress and the White House as well as the advocates whose tireless efforts and persistence helped us get to this crucial moment for our economy, our country, and the planet.” 

Princeton: Solar deployment to increase fivefold under Inflation Reduction Act

By Ryan Kennedy, PV Magazine

Princeton University released a Rapid Energy Policy Evaluation and Analysis Toolkit (REPEAT) in collaboration with Dartmouth College, Evolved Energy Research, and Carbon Impact Consulting, outlining the potential impact of the bill should it become law.

The impact on the US solar industry would be huge, to say the least. Princeton said solar deployment may accelerate from 2020 rates of 10 GW of capacity added per year to nearly five times as much by 2024, adding 49 GW of utility-scale solar each year. Solar deployment may be well over 100 GW per year by 2030, said Princeton. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Public Power Would Gain Access to Direct Payment of Tax Credits under Energy, Climate Deal, American Public Power Association
Public power utilities, rural electric cooperatives, the Tennessee Valley Authority, state and local governments, and other tax-exempt entities would have access to refundable direct payment tax credits under an energy and climate agreement announced on July 27.

Previously Posted APPA Issue Brief: The Need for Direct Payment of Refundable Tax Credits for Public Power

Inflation Reduction Act Of 2022

Legislative Text

Summaries

 Source: Senate Democrats Website

Reconciliation package includes billions of dollars in climate spending

News Release, Appalachian Voices 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, released a new budget reconciliation deal — the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 — to address climate and energy, the price of prescription drugs and tax reform.

The package includes $369 billion in climate and energy spending and permanently restores a tax on coal to support the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, which helps provide medical care and a living stipend to miners with black lung if the coal company they worked for goes bankrupt. Also included is more than $10 billion to support rural electric cooperatives and the rural communities they serve with transitioning to renewable energy and energy efficiency. Because of Senate procedures, the package can be passed with a simple majority  . . . Continue reading here

Appalachian Voices is a leading nonprofit advocate for a healthy environment and just economy in the Appalachian region, and a driving force in America’s shift from fossil fuels to a clean energy future.

Related Reading

Announced Today: A New Public/Private Economic Coalition

Funding for study a rare bright spot in Nebraska’s statewide climate change efforts

By Erin Bamer, Omaha World-Herald

LINCOLN — Kat Woerner has learned not to use the words “climate change” when talking about climate change with some Nebraska politicians. The 22-year-old environmental advocate said the words have a stigma that causes many conservative lawmakers to shut down as soon as they hear them.

These roadblocks have been on display in the Nebraska Legislature, which has made little to no progress in approving climate change legislation in recent years, despite pleas from scientists and advocates. A rare exception came earlier this year when lawmakers appropriated up to $150,000 in federal funding for an update to a statewide climate change report. Continue reading here.

Also Of Potential Interest 

U.S. State Climate Action Plans, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
34 states have released a climate action plan or are in the process of revising or developing one.

National Climate Task Force: Take Climate Action in Your Community, The White House

Manchin opens door to climate spending after July inflation numbers

By Hans Nichols, Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) claimed that he didn’t close the door to a climate and energy package with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, but that he’s ready to support a plan to lower prescription drugs costs this month.

Driving the news: Manchin used one of his favorite venues — a popular West Virginia radio show hosted by Hoppy Kercheval — to say that he simply wants more time before deciding on legislation that raises corporate taxes and invests up to $300 billion in clean energy. Continue reading here.

PATRIOTIC MILLIONAIRES

Why Congress needs to make taxing the rich part of the plan to address inflation, contributed opinion by Morris Pearl, Fortune, July 8, 2022

To make his plan a reality, Biden now needs Congress to do its part. Thankfully, the notoriously recalcitrant Senator Joe Manchin has publicly expressed his willingness to work with Democrats to pass some form of “skinny” Build Back Better plan that includes tax increases on the rich. Americans of all political stripes want the federal government to fix inflation, and they deserve a solution that doesn’t cause more harm to poor and middle-class Americans. The way to do that isn’t endless rate hikes by the Fed or strongly worded Tweets directed at gas station owners–it’s taxing the wealthy and corporations.

Morris Pearl is a former managing director of BlackRock. He is the chair of the Patriotic Millionaires.

INSTITUTE ON TAXATION AND ECONOMIC POLICY (ITEP)

Tax and Climate Provisions Are What Americans Want and Need, ITEP News Release

In response to conflicting reports on negotiations with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia on tax increases and climate provisions, Amy Hanauer, ITEP Executive Director, released the following statement: 

Sen. Joe Manchin may be uncertain about higher taxes on the rich and corporations, but the American people are not. Large majorities of Americans support the tax reforms that President Biden has fought for, and with good reason. These proposals would ensure that profitable corporations contribute to the society that makes their profits possible. They would ensure that the most fortunate among us pay their fair share to the nation that made their fortunes possible. Sen. Manchin must choose between the interests of a powerful few and the needs of the American people and the planet.

ITEP Analyses of President 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

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

The Made In America Tax Plan
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 Scroll down to “The Made In America Tax Plan.”

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 2021 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.

DELOITTE ECONOMICS INSTITUTE REPORT

The turning point: A new economic climate in the United States, January 2022

In this report, the Deloitte Economics Institute presents a portrait of a future the US could create if it uses this valuable window of opportunity to rapidly decarbonize its economy. Importantly, this report also demonstrates that the costs of this transformation—an oft-cited barrier— could actually be relatively modest, as compared to the consequences of insufficient action. And the US has everything it needs to rapidly begin this transformation today.