Tag Archives: climate change

NRDC, 50+ Orgs Send Clear Message: It’s Time For FERC Reform

Sustainable FERC Project, May 26, 2021

NRDC, the  Sustainable FERC Project, and more than 50 other organizations sent a clear message today to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: FERC must reform how it reviews applications for new gas pipeline infrastructure. There’s a huge need for change. FERC has greenlighted more than 1,000 pipeline and LNG projects since 1999 while rejecting only a handful. Now groups like the International Energy Agency are saying nations need to halt new approvals for fossil fuel infrastructure.

FERC has made some important progress on gas pipeline reviews this year. It is developing an Office of Public Participation and, in March, it started to assess the significance of a gas pipeline project’s climate impacts. Read more here. 

The Sustainable FERC Project is a coalition of state, regional and national environmental and other public interest organizations working to expand the deployment of clean energy resources into America’s electricity transmission grid. We advocate at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) – which regulates the transmission grid – through legal and policy advocacy, and we also work with FERC-regulated regional grid organizations and utilities.

What is FERC?, YouTube Video
FERC Website

FOSSIL FUEL GIANTS IN THE NEWS

NEXT-GENERATION GEOTHERMAL

Could next-gen geothermal provide the clean firm power we’ve been looking for?, by Sarah Golden, Senior Energy Analyst & VERGE Energy Chair, GreenBiz Group

While Google’s project is relatively small — just 5 MW, which would serve its data center in Nevada — the speed of deployment is notable. It is expected to be up and running next year. In part, this speed is made possible by advancements in drilling developed by the shale industry. Not only could this knowledge spur forward geothermal development, it also could provide new employment opportunities for those in the natural gas sector, which has been hemorrhaging jobsIf Google figures out how to harness geothermal for round-the-clock clean energy, then the company will be doing more than powering its data centers.

Previously Posted: Why oil giants like Chevron and BP are investing in geothermal energy, by Katie Brigham, CNBC

KANSAS SOLAR SCHOOLS

Buhler schools look to Maize High School for examples of solar energy success, by Alice Mannette, Hutchinson News

Buhler saw a spike in energy costs after the state’s February cold snap, but now, the school district is thinking big. Kansas schools are looking to incorporate solar energy to reduce energy expenses. Buhler leadership called in a teacher who started the largest solar energy system for a school in Kansas and began to accumulate information. “We want to save money, be more efficient and use it as an educational tool,” said Laura Meyer Dick, president of Buhler’s Board of Education, and the person who came up with the idea. “We want to use it to benefit the district.”

EQUITABLE EV SHARING PROGRAMS 

The Electric Car Revolution Shouldn’t Leave Anyone Behind, by Susan Cosier, NRDC
The equitable electric car-sharing program in St. Louis—a collaboration between the city, the utility Ameren, and several organizations, including Forth, a nonprofit advocating smart and shared transportation—is one of several around the country helping to make electric vehicles, and the cleaner air they bring, more accessible.  The city of Denver is subsidizing EV-sharing memberships for essential workers and underserved community members through a program called Colorado CarShare. In Boston, a program called Good2Go in Roxbury, the center of the city’s Black community, offers a tiered pricing system based on a resident’s income. And in Los Angeles, income-based memberships of BlueLA go as low as $39 a year.

AUSTRALIA

Court Rules Australian Government Has Duty to Protect Children, Environment From Climate Impacts, by Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams

“This is the first time a court of law, anywhere in the world, has recognized that a government minister has a duty of care to protect young people from the catastrophic harms of climate change.” 

U.S. disasters show gaps in $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan

By David R. Baker & Keith Laing, Bloomberg
Reprinted by Kennebec Journal

Three times this year, major pieces of U.S. infrastructure have failed: first the Texas power grid, then the East Coast’s main gasoline pipeline, then a freeway bridge over the Mississippi River. The crises disrupted businesses and lives, cost billions and left more than 150 Texans dead.

The recent failures illustrate just how many ways the patchwork systems can break. Experts say they also illustrate a long-running flaw in the way the U.S. thinks about and pays for infrastructure: The country focuses more on building new things rather than maintaining what it has. Read more here.

Pixabay Photo

TENASKA

GRID: FERC complaint highlights ‘structural problem’ for renewables, by Miranda Willson, E&E News

The case highlights flaws in outdated interconnection systems across the U.S. that have hampered the growth of renewable energy, according to analysts. Companies seeking to build large energy projects typically must obtain approval from a regional transmission organization or grid operator to connect to the bulk power grid, a process that can take years and carry a steep price tag. 

DARTMOUTH STUDY

Dartmouth Study Finds Renewable Energy Upgrades Make Grid More Resilient, New Hampshire NPR

A Dartmouth study has modeled for the first time that renewable energy upgrades will make the nation’s power grid more resilient. Researchers modeled a grid with an influx of three innovations: distributed generation like rooftop solar, a kind of localized power system shortcut known as a meshed grid, and energy storage. The study is the first to find that these emissions-cutting technologies will also make the power system more able to keep operating through disruptions.

GREENBELT ALLIANCE

Opinion: How infrastructure plan can accelerate resilience, contributed by Amanda Brown-Stevens, The Mercury News

Passing President Biden’s infrastructure bill would be the most significant step we’ve taken as a nation to start to address climate change head on. Greenbelt Alliance believes this infrastructure bill is a great start. Yet, so far there is no path to guide how we can equitably shift away from rebuilding in the most climate-vulnerable areas and instead build for a more resilient future. That’s why we’re recommending this infrastructure bill and related actions adopt these three principles as a simple yet transformational way forward:

Amanda Brown-Stevens heads up the San Francisco-based Greenbelt Alliance, the 60-year-old non-profit dedicated to preserving open spaces and helping the Bay Area prioritize climate action.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED

GridWise Alliance Establishes Advisory Council To Aid Drive For Investments In Power System, GridWise Alliance News Release

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — GridWise Alliance Board Chair Gil C. Quiniones today announced the formation of a 29-member Grid Infrastructure Advisory Council (GIAC) to support the Alliance’s call for at least $50 billion in federal spending to modernize the nation’s electric power transmission and distribution systems.

“A strong and secure electric grid is essential to creating jobs and driving economic growth, meeting clean energy goals and fighting climate change,” said Mr. Quiniones, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Power Authority, the largest state-owned electric utility in the United States. 

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan, The White House Briefing Room

FACT SHEET: President Signs Executive Order Charting New Course to Improve the Nation’s Cybersecurity and Protect Federal Government Networks

New coalition of industry and academia to commercialize solution for full recyclability of wind turbine blades

News release from Vestas Wind Systems A/S, Olin Corporation,
Danish Technological Institute, and Aarhus University

A coalition of industry and academic leaders have developed a new technology to enable circularity for thermoset composites, the material used to make wind turbine blades. The new technology delivers the final technological step on the journey towards a fully recyclable wind turbine value chain. To enable the adoption of this new technology, and to advance a circular economy across the wind industry, a new initiative entitled CETEC (Circular Economy for Thermosets Epoxy Composites) has been established. Within three years, CETEC is aiming to present a fully scoped solution ready for industrial adoption, based on commercialization of the novel circularity technology. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Vestas

NATIONAL SEIA NETWORK

Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association joins national SEIA network, Solar Power World
SEIA announced that it is adding the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association (ISETA) as an official state affiliate. ISETA becomes the 20th SEIA affiliate, joining its neighbors Minnesota, Wisconsin and Missouri in the growing network of state solar advocacy groups. These formal partnerships help to connect regional organizations to additional resources and the national effort to promote solar in markets around the country.

FEATURED RESEARCH

AMERICA’S LARGEST COMMUNITY SOLAR PROGRAM

FPL builds massive solar center in Southwest Florida to support largest community solar program, Florida Insider

Florida Power and Light Company(FPL), the state’s largest electric power supply and utility company, is investing in solar energy in a big way with a new mega-solar center in Southwest Florida.  The company, which services over 5.6 million customer accounts and supports more than 11 million residents in the state, has set a goal to have 30 million solar panels installed by 2030. The new DeSoto County center has the company well on its way to its mark, with 300,000 panels already in place. Photo Credit: FPL

LARGEST BROWNFIELD COMMUNITY SOLAR PROJECT IN U.S.

Houston will turn old landfill into community solar site, contributed by Angely Mercado, GreenBiz

Houston, home to nearly 4,600 energy-related firms, is making a big investment in solar. City officials are planning to turn a landfill in the Sunnyside neighborhood into a solar farm, a move positioned as an economic development initiative with equity at its core. Once completed it will be the largest brownfield solar installation in the U.S., according to city officials. 

Photo: A rendering of the community solar project planned for the Sunnyside landfill in Houston. 

OFF-GRID HOMES

Off-the-grid homes are coming to your neighborhood, as climate change creates suburban survivalists,by Diana Olick, CNBC

“More severe storms each year are going to further and further indicate the needs for resilient development,” said Ben Keys, associate professor of real estate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Keys studies the effects of climate change on real estate and the growing need for housing that can function off the grid. This goes well beyond solar panels. 

OPPD Board of Directors Seeking Public Input On Utility’s Environmental Stewardship Goals

OPPD News Release

The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors is seeking public input on a proposed amendment to its strategic directive (SD) on environmental stewardship, recognizing the threats posed by climate change. Environmental Stewardship (SD-7) is among 15 strategic directives the board has provided the utility to give it clear and transparent direction, on behalf of its customer-owners. These policies guide OPPD’s strategic and operational planning efforts to address current and future trends, mitigate risks, pursue strategic opportunities, and prioritize resources. OPPD is aligned, across the district, to be accountable to performance expectations related to the various directives.

A proposed amendment to SD-7 would add the following verbiage: The OPPD Board of Directors recognizes the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and that greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, from human activity contribute to climate change impacts. The last time the directive was revised was in November of 2019.

The full context to the proposed change to SD-7, as well as a comment form, are viewable on OPPDCommunityConnect.com. The public may offer comment on the proposed change until May 14, 2021. Read the entire news release here.

OPPD’S “PATHWAYS TO DECARBONIZATION” WORKSHOPS

OPPD’s first Pathways to Decarbonization Energy Portfolio workshop “Decarbonization Pathways Planning 101” was held virtually on Wednesday, April 7. The recording of the meeting, as well as registration for the next three workshops, are now available here: OPPDCommunityConnect.com.

  • Workshop #2: Multi-Sectoral Modeling, April 28, 4–6 p.m.
  • Workshop #3: Developing Key Assumptions and Scenarios, May 12, 4–6 p.m.
  • Workshop #4: Developing Modeling Approach, May 26, 4–6 p.m.

THE WIRE POSTS

Program making a difference one home at a time

Initial solar contract inked for OPPD’s Power with Purpose

OPPD offering Energy Star certification

Statement by Secretary Vilsack on the President’s FY22 Discretionary Funding Request

USDA News Release

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2021 — The Biden-Harris Administration today submitted to Congress the President’s priorities for fiscal year 2022 discretionary spending. The funding request invests in the core foundations of our country’s strength and advances key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) priorities, including economic development and growth in rural America, maintaining support for American agriculture, rebuilding scientific expertise in our agencies, aiding in an all-of-government approach to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and supporting a strong safety net to address hunger and nutrition insecurity. Continue reading here.

Download the FY22 budget summary here.

Related Reading: How a new infrastructure package could impact Rural America, Agweek article by Sara Wyant, President and founder of Agri-Pulse Communications Inc.

Wind and solar energy are job creators. Which states are taking advantage?

By Karin Kirk, Yale Climate Connections

This analysis presents one way to look at renewable energy jobs in all 50 states. Every state already employs people in wind and solar energy. Each state also has a given amount of wind and solar potential. Some states are translating their natural potential into jobs, while others lag far behind.

Following are seven maps, stepping through three questions: How many jobs does each U.S. state have in wind and solar? How much wind and solar potential is there in each state? And how well has each state created jobs in wind and solar, given the size of their potential? Read more here.

Photo Credit: Walmart / Flickr

Apex announces Jayhawk Wind sale to power Facebook facility in Nebraska

By Jonathan Riley, The Morning Sun

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Apex Clean Energy announced Monday that it has sold the Jayhawk Wind project in northwest Crawford and southwest Bourbon counties to two other power companies, WEC Energy Group and Invenergy, along with a renewable power purchase agreement with Facebook. “Jayhawk Wind will help Facebook meet its goal to support its operations in the region with 100% renewable energy and reach net-zero carbon emissions,” Apex said in a press release. Read more here.

Facebook’s Climate Commitment

Climate change is one of the most urgent issues facing our world today. We’re working to minimize our energy, emissions and water impact, protect workers and the environment in our supply chain, and partner with others to develop and share science-driven solutions.

We’ve launched the Climate Science Information Center to connect our community with factual resources from the world’s leading climate organizations and experts, as well as show people how they can reduce their own environmental impact. Through these efforts, we hope to drive more awareness around this issue and spur climate action.

Learn about Our Climate Commitment.

The Truth About Texas: Thermal Power Plant Failures are the Blackout Culprits

By Heather Zichal, Chief Executive Officer,
American Clean Power Association

Texas has suffered this week, but crisis reveals character. Record cold weather brought this state to the brink, but never brought Texas to its knees. Neighbors have come together to help neighbors, and everyone from front line responders to the engineers and experts who manage electricity production have worked around the clock to restore power. That’s the real Texas.

But even amid an all-hands-on-deck crisis, some seized the political opportunity to deceive and distort. The critics of clean power – those who attack it in rain, snow, or sun – started spinning a dangerous fiction to promote an agenda that has nothing to do with restoring power to Texas communities. The facts of how Texas got here are not in dispute. Continue reading here.

Wind energy had a ‘banner year’ in 2020. Here’s what that means for Joe Biden’s climate plan.

By Elinor Aspegren, USA Today

A study from the American Clean Power Association released this month reports that 2020 was a record year for the industry, with developers adding enough megawatts of capacity to provide power for millions of homes and inching the U.S. closer to the Biden administration’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2035.

In all, 16,913 megawatts of new wind power capacity was installed in the U.S. last year – an 85% increase over 2019. That’s the equivalent of the power generated from 11 large coal plants, and enough to serve nearly 6 million homes, Jonathan Naughton, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Wind Energy Research Center at the University of Wyoming, told USA TODAY. Read more here.

Nebraska Clean Energy Fact Sheet, American Clean Power Association

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Onward and Upward: How Recent Trends Will Power Breakthroughs in 2021 and Beyond,
Greentech Media article contributed by John Carrington, CEO and Director of Stem.

Not even 100 days into his administration, President Biden’s sense of urgency in tackling climate issues and driving a clean energy revolution is clear. Here is a look at how key recent trends in energy and climate — including remarkable clean energy progress under dire circumstances — will lead to real and sustainable breakthroughs in 2021 and beyond.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Takes Executive Actions to Tackle the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, Create Jobs, and Restore Scientific Integrity Across Federal Government, The White House Briefing Room

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Solar Industry Statement on Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act

“The Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) will make the American solar industry stronger, better trained and more diverse. Our industry will need tens of thousands of workers as it continues to expand and we are deeply committed to efforts to diversify our workforce, bring the benefits of the energy transition to all, and create economic opportunity for Americans in every community, including those who worked in traditional energy industries.” – Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association

ZERO ENERGY READY HOMES

DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home Program helps homebuyers quickly identify high performance homes that are so energy efficient, all or most annual energy use can be offset with renewable energy. Now a trilogy of videos is available to tell that powerful story to American homebuyers.


DOE’s Video Trilogy

Live Better
Live Healthy
Live Future Ready

The Sun Haven: Net-Zero Energy Home in Lincoln (GRNE Solar).

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Why energy efficiency is key to net-zero, GreenBiz Group

 

 

 

 

 

Despite the rise of net-zero commitments and new financial models proliferating, we’re slowing on our efficiency gains. Global efficiency improvements have been on the decline since 2015, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Energy intensity in 2020 is expected to improve by only 0.8 percent — nearly half of the improvements for 2019 (1.6 percent) and 2018 (1.5 percent). 

ENERGY STORAGE

NREL outlines four-phase framework for energy storage development, American Public Power Association


The report released late last month is the first publication to come out of NREL’s multi-yea
Storage Futures Study, which will explore energy storage technologies across a range of potential future cost and performance scenarios through 2050.


KEYSTONE XL

Cancellation of Keystone XL Pipeline Shapes Energy Investment, Environment + Energy Leader article contributed by Anthony Shaw, Founder, Progeneration Energy

The fate of Keystone XL and similar projects are fueling reinvention in the oil sector. Companies like Shell and BP are no longer defining themselves as oil companies, building new brand identities as integrated energy companies. 

Previously Posted: Nebraska’s better off without Keystone XL, Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board 

Rep. Delgado Selected Chair of House Agriculture Subcommittee

  Office of U.S. Congressman Antonio Delgado News Release,
February 8, 2021


RHINEBECK, NY – Today, U.S. Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19) was selected to serve as the Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit (CEEC). The CEEC Subcommittee oversees all policies relating to commodity exchanges, agricultural credit, rural development, energy, and rural electrification.

Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

The Green Act

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Expert Blog

Parks and Public Lands Poised for Justice, by Marissa Ramirez. Coauthored with Dr. Erica Holloman-Hill (West Atlanta Watershed Alliance), Mona Wang (Low Income Investment Fund), and Darryl Haddock (West Atlanta Watershed Alliance)

We are encouraged by and fully support several of the Biden Administration priorities that align with ours, including:

    • Investing $1.7 trillion in climate and environmental justice and conserving 30 percent of U.S. lands, oceans and inland waters (“30×30”) over the next 10 years.
    • Creating a Civilian Climate Corps
    • Advancing racial equity across the economy