Tag Archives: climate risks

For decades, these power plants ran on coal. Now, they’re converting to clean energy

By Adele Peters, Fast Company

According to the Sierra Club, there are still 172 active coal plants in the U.S. But the Inflation Reduction Act could help accelerate the shift that’s already underway. The new climate law has “definitely improved the economics of the ‘coal to clean’ transition in terms of making renewables cheaper,” says Michelle Solomon, policy analyst for electricity at the energy and climate think tank Energy Innovation, who is currently analyzing how the new law will impact the cost of coal versus renewables. The benefit is especially big, she says, in communities with an existing coal plant, where there’s now an extra 10% tax credit for new renewable projects.

The law extends existing tax credits for wind and solar power, but also adds a new tax credit for batteries, which is a critical way to help renewables compete with fossil power that’s available 24/7. “That means it’s a lot easier to integrate renewables into the utility’s overall portfolio,” she says. “If you’re building solar, you don’t have to use that solar energy during the middle of the day. You can shift it if you couple it with batteries.” Read more here.

Flickr Photo

RELATED NEWS & RESOURCES

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Farm Energy Management: Strategies to Save on Electric Bills, October 14, 2022, 11 a.m. to
12 p.m.

This webinar is designed to teach farmers strategies to save on their electric bills. Electric bills are rapidly changing and becoming more complex. Simply using less electricity does not always yield significant savings. This three-part webinar series will cover electric bill components and how to interpret them as well as strategies to save on energy charges, demand charges, and power factor charges. These webinars are taught by Extension energy experts Eric Romich and John Hay from The Ohio State University and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Registrationhttps://go.unl.edu/v3xw

BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE LAW NEWS & RESOURCES

Biden-Harris Administration Launches $1 Billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Program to Enhance Energy Systems in Rural and Remote Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), today issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking public input on a new $1 billion program to improve energy generation in rural or remote communities across the country. Funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) program will strengthen the resilience, reliability, and availability of energy systems, helping communities unlock the public health and cost-saving benefits cleaner, more efficient energy provides. The new program reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s continued commitment to ensuring no communities are left behind in the historic transition to a clean energy future. 

“For America to flourish, rural America must succeed,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.“Thanks to the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, DOE is making critical investments in energy infrastructure that strengthens the foundation of rural communities in America.”

Build.Gov Website Resources

How you can help build a better America:

US DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Tackling the Climate Crisis; Prioritizing Action on Climate Change for a More Equitable and Sustainable Future

“At the Department of the Interior, I believe we have a unique opportunity to make our communities more resilient to climate change and to help lead the transition to a clean energy economy.” —Secretary Deb Haaland 

The United States faces a profound climate crisis, and the Department of the Interior is poised to take action to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of that crisis and meet the moment. The climate crisis is transforming where and how we live and presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life, the economy, and the natural systems that support us. In 2020, the United States experienced 22 extreme weather and climate-related disaster events, with a cumulative price tag of nearly $100 billion

U.S. Department of Interior YouTube Videos

FROM CANARY MEDIA

SUN DAY CAMPAIGN REVIEW

FERC foresees 67.1 GW of new US solar and 17.5 GW of wind over next 3 years, Renewables Now
According to a review by the SUN DAY Campaign of data recently released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), renewable sources accounted for almost 70% of the new US electrical generating capacity added during the first eight months of 2022. Moreover, net new “high probability” additions by solar and wind over the next three years are now projected to be more than 26-times that of natural gas.

About the Author: Ken Bossong is Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign, a non-profit research and educational organiсation promoting sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels.

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

Inflation Reduction Act could curb climate damages by up to $1.9 trillion, White House says

By Emma Newburger, CNBC

The analysis by the Office of Management and Budget, which administers the federal budget, is the first published estimate of avoided climate-related social costs resulting from legislation. The social cost of carbon is an estimate of the economic costs that would occur from a future level of carbon pollution.

The bill’s climate provisions are projected to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by roughly 40% by 2030. Early in his presidency, President Joe Biden pledged to reduce U.S. emissions from 2005 levels at least in half by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Read more here.

Office of Management and Budget Analysis: The Social Benefits Of The Inflation Reduction Act’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions (4-page PDF)

NEW RESEARCH ON PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS ABOUT CLIMATE CONCERN

Americans don’t think other Americans care about climate change as much as they do, CNBC
That’s the rough takeaway from research published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

  • Between 80 and 90 percent of Americans underestimate the concern their fellow Americans have for climate change and their support for “transformative” mitigation policies, according to research published Tuesday.
  • Between 66 and 80 percent of Americans support such policies, but they think that only between 37 and 43 percent of their peers hold that sentiment.
  • This kind of psychological disconnect is especially problematic in addressing climate change because it requires collective action.

AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

What’s in the Inflation Reduction Act for Agriculture?

The final bill includes nearly $40 billion for agriculture, forestry and rural development. This includes nearly $20 billion in funding for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), plus technical assistance.

In addition, it includes $14 billion for rural development to support the development of renewable energy and spending on biofuels infrastructure. The bill also provides $4 billion to mitigate the impacts of drought in the Western Reclamation states, with priority given to the Colorado River Basin and other basins experiencing comparable levels of long-term drought. 

USDA NEWS RELEASE

USDA Invests $121 Million in Critical Infrastructure to Combat Climate Change Across Rural America, August 24, 2022
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh today announced USDA is investing $121 million in critical infrastructure to combat climate change across rural America. The investments include $111 million for 289 projects to help people living in socially vulnerable communities.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY BLOG

How to Start Your Career in Clean Energy

This Energy.gov blog post was written by Isabelle Hamilton, an intern in the Office of Public Affairs. To learn more about internship opportunities available at the Department of Energy, visit the Department of Energy’s Students and Recent Graduates career page.


ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

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

What Comes Next: Supreme Court Limits EPA’s Authority to Regulate Carbon, Highlighting Need for Swift Congressional Action on Reconciliation Bill to Meet Climate Goals

By Gene Grace, General Counsel, American Clean Power Association

If this nation is serious about addressing climate change before it is too late, the climate and clean energy tax provisions pending in the reconciliation package being negotiated on Capitol Hill will significantly contribute to reducing carbon emissions. If passed, the package would cut emissions in half by 2030 while achieving real energy independence, supporting good jobs, and lowering energy costs for consumers. We are running out of options and time. Congress cannot afford to let this once-in-a-generation opportunity slip by. Read more here.

Public Health Benefits of Not Slowing Down America’s Clean Energy Transition

Using U.S. Energy Information Agency data for carbon emissions from coal-generated electricity in the U.S., I have calculated that 200,000 lives will be lost for each year the U.S. continues to use coal instead of a non-carbon dioxide emitting alternative to generate electricity. As an intensive care doctor, I may spend weeks focused on saving a single life. The opportunity to save 200,000 lives each year is so incredibly precious; it would be like preventing all deaths from Alzheimer’s disease and influenza in the U.S. for an entire year. The Supreme Court could have made a tremendously positive impact on human health, but in this case, the majority did the opposite. 

Matthew J. Meyer is a critical care anesthesiologist and sustainable health care researcher and advocate. He is a steering-committee member of Virginia Clinicians for CIimate Action, co-chair of the UVA Health Sustainability Committee, CEO of PeriOp Green (a health tech company focused on eliminating unnecessary waste in the operating room) and assistant professor of anesthesiology at the University of Virginia. He holds an M.D. from the University of Vermont.

WASHINGTON — With a large majority of Americans concerned about climate change and an increasing number expressing alarm and distress, it is past time to address this burgeoning public health crisis at the individual, community and societal levels, according to a report from the American Psychological Association, Climate for Health, and ecoAmerica.

Download the report: Mental Health And Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Inequities, Responses, 2021 Edition

Featured Climate Stories Hub

The Thomson Reuters Foundation maintains the website portal: “Communicating climate change”Contributed articles include:

Additional Recommended Reading

The World’s Most Eco-Friendly Countries (and What They’re Doing Right), Newsweek
The top spots in most of these rankings, which are produced by academic centers, think tanks and other institutions, tend to be taken by European countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Luxembourg, Finland and Austria.

Students ask Nebraska lawmakers to acknowledge climate crisis

By Erin Bamer, Omaha World-Herald

Lincoln student Alex Hamric pleaded with Nebraska lawmakers to, at a minimum, recognize the impacts of climate change, but the 14-year-old was doubtful that his words would hold any weight. 

Hamric was one of five individuals who, during a hearing Wednesday, advocated for the Natural Resources Committee to advance a resolution (LR102) for the Legislature to acknowledge that the world is in a “climate and ecological crisis” that was caused by humans and that lawmakers have a “moral obligation” to take steps to mitigate the crisis. Continue reading here.

Photo by Herschel Talley / Nebraska National Guard: Flooded Camp Ashland as seen in this aerial photo taken in Ashland, Nebraska on March 17, 2019.

Referenced in the Article

Nebraskans for Solar Note
Kudos to the Prairie Hill Learning Center students who drafted LR102; to their teacher, Jordan Hope, who fostered her students’ desire to go beyond a class project to write the draft resolution; to Senator Anna Wishart of Lincoln who introduced it in 2021; to everyone who advocated for it through written testimony and / or in-person at the recent Natural Resources Committee hearing, including Lincoln students Alex Hamric and his twin, Willa Hamric; and, finally, to Senator John Cavanaugh for your thoughtful acknowledgement of the students’ work expressed through your informed questions.

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. This includes 28 states that have released plans, four states that are updating their plans, and two states that are developing a plan. 

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Roadmap to Build an Economy Resilient to Climate Change Impacts

The White House, October 15, 2021

Agency Actions Will Protect Retirement Plans, Homeowners, Consumers, Businesses and Supply Chains, Workers, and the Federal Government from Financial Risks of Climate Change

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration released a comprehensive, government-wide strategy to measure, disclose, manage and mitigate the systemic risks climate change poses to American families, businesses, and the economy – building on actions already taken by the Biden-Harris Administration including just this week: a redesigned National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate.gov site to better connect Americans to climate explainers, data dashboards, and classroom-ready teaching resources; the Department of Labor’s new proposed rule to safeguard life savings and pensions from climate risk; as well as the Federal Acquisition Council’s advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to consider greenhouse gas emissions when making procurement decisions. This year alone, extreme weather has upended the U.S. economy and affected one in three Americans. Continue reading here.

NATIONAL COMMUNITY SOLAR PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM 

DOE Targets Five Million Households Powered by Community Solar By 2025, by Peter Maloney, American Public Power Association

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently set a new target for its National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) program. The program’s new goal is to have community solar systems that can power the equivalent of five million households by 2025 and create $1 billion in energy bill savings on the way to reaching the White House’s goals of achieving 100 percent clean electricity by 2035 and ensuring that all Americans can benefit from renewable energy. The new target represents more than a 700 percent increase in community solar installations, DOE said.

To achieve its new targets, the DOE is offering free, on-demand technical assistance to NCSP partnership members. NCSP has distributed $1 million for technical assistance and said it aims to provide $2 million in the next year.

About the National Community Solar Partnership, Department of Energy

CONNECTED COMMUNITIES OF GRID-INTERACTIVE EFFICIENT BUILDINGS

DOE Invests $61 Million for Smart Buildings that Accelerate Renewable Energy Adoption and Grid Resilience, Department of Energy News Release

Ten “Connected Communities” Will Equip More than 7,000 Buildings with Smart Controls, Sensors, and Analytics to Reduce Energy Use, Costs, and Emissions

 A recent DOE study estimated that by 2030, GEBs could save up to $18 billion per year in power system costs and cut 80 million tons of carbon emissions each year. That is more than the annual emissions of 50 medium-sized coal plants or 17 million cars. DOE’s first two connected communities in Alabama and Georgia have already demonstrated this potential by using approximately 42-44% less energy than today’s average all-electric home.

PacifiCorp, owned by Berkshire Hathaway Energy, is among DOE selectees:
PacifiCorp (UT) will establish a program to manage solar photovoltaic, batteries, electric vehicle charging in a diverse community of all-electric buildings and a mass transit transportation center, equipped with the latest market-leading efficient technologies to optimize their collective energy use and provide grid services at scale. (Award amount: $6.42M)

Learn more here: Connected Communities

MISSOURI’S PAY AS YOU SAVE PROGRAM

In Missouri, your utility might pay for your next big energy efficiency project, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

Missouri’s largest gas and electric utilities are all forging ahead with new programs that will finance customers’ energy efficiency upgrades and in many cases even decrease their monthly bills. Evergy is the state’s latest utility to launch a Pay As You Save (PAYS) program, in which the full upfront cost of energy efficiency projects — along with their savings — are rolled into the customer’s monthly bill.

GOOGLE’S CARBON-FREE PLAN

Google’s CEO: ‘We’re Losing Time’ in the Climate Fight, Bloomberg Green

Sundar Pichai discusses the opportunities and hurdles in Google’s plan to go carbon-free, and how sustainability is on the agenda of every CEO he meets.

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

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