Tag Archives: Colorado

Climate Crisis Catches Power Companies Unprepared

By Brad Plumer and Ivan Penn, New York Times

The phone call to the Eugene Water & Electric Board was startling. A group of homeowners, fearing a storm could knock down nearby power lines and ignite wildfires, was asking the Oregon utility to turn off their electricity. “I about fell out of my chair,” said Rodney Price, the utility’s assistant general manager, of the people who were voluntarily asking to live in the dark in September, during one of the worst fire seasons Oregon had ever seen. It was a sign of growing angst, he said. “We’re seeing more and more widespread impacts of climate change. It’s clear it’s impacting how we do our business.” Across the United States, power companies are scrambling to keep up with a barrage of extreme weather from a rapidly warming climate. Continue reading here.

Photo: Smoke from the Dixie Fire near a Pacific Gas & Electric power station in California this month. Credit: John G. Mabanglo/EPA

Previously Posted

CLIMATE RISK 

INDIANA

As Indiana coal plants close, advocates say gas power should not replace them, by Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

As it retires a coal-fired power plant, CenterPoint Energy is pushing to build a smaller gas plant than one that was rejected two years ago by Indiana regulators. Consumer and environmental groups still say it’s unnecessary. “After the proposed gas combustion turbines are built, they propose to run them 2% to 10% of the time,” said Sameer Doshi, senior attorney in Earthjustice’s coal program, which is representing Citizens Action Coalition in state and federal proceedings around CenterPoint’s proposal. “Whereas customers would be billed for the entire construction cost of the plant as well as the capital cost of the new pipeline. We intend to show a combination of market purchases, demand response, and increased renewables deployment with storage would be able to fill in the gaps” left by the retiring coal plants. 

COLORADO

Social cost of methane changes the equation for Colorado utility policy, by Allen Best, Energy News Network

Colorado is believed to be the first state in the nation to apply the social cost of methane to a broad range of regulatory decisions. A batch of new laws are expected to dramatically improve the case for building energy conservation. The social cost of methane emissions was set most recently at $1,756 per short ton by the U.S. Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, compared to $68 for carbon dioxide. Both metrics estimate the economic damages of releasing emissions into the atmosphere.

Methane Leaks

COLORADO SOLAR GROUP PURCHASE CAMPAIGN

Local ‘Solarize’ campaign boosts Garfield County solar energy investment, Post Independent
The recent Solarize Garfield County campaign generated $2.8 million in rooftop solar and battery investment, added nearly a megawatt of renewable energy to the grid and helped county residents bank $270,000 in rebates, according to recent figures released by Carbondale-based Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER).

FEATURED AGRIVOLTAICS RESEARCH

Beneath Solar Panels, the Seeds of Opportunity Sprout, National Renewable Energy Laboratory 

To better understand the benefits of—and barriers to—low-impact solar development, the Innovative Site Preparation and Impact Reductions on the Environment (InSPIRE) project brings together researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Argonne National Laboratory, universities, local governments, environmental and clean energy groups, and industry partners. The project is funded by DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.

“It doesn’t have to be an either-or choice. For all our agriculturally productive land, let’s help PV developers and farmers plan out these solar projects so that farmers can get under the arrays and continue to work the land for the next 20 or 30 years.” —Gerry Palano, energy program coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Agriculture

USDA: Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants in Nebraska

PV RECYCLING

Emerging solar panel recycling market ripe with opportunity, but barriers remain, Waste Dive
The U.S. is likely to see significant volumes of end-of-life panels, creating opportunities for safe, sustainable recycling or reuse. Some states are looking at product stewardship to avoid disposal.

SEIA National PV Recycling Program

TESLA NEWS

Tesla Installed 85 Megawatts Of Rooftop Solar Power In 2nd Quarter, But That Doesn’t Actually Show Demand, by Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica

In some places in the US, the permitting process can take just a few days less than forever. In many other places in the US, it can take weeks or months (as in, several months). There are not many places where it happens in the course of a week. Europe and Australia don’t seem to have a permitting problem anything like this. Permits are quick and easy. The US, for some reason, is slow to adapt. One promising initiative is the new SolarAPP+ initiative. It is helping to streamline the solar permitting process in places around the country. As simple as it sounds, this is one of the most exciting developments in the US solar industry in years.

Additional Recommended ReadingTesla will open its charging network to all EV brands

Senate advances bipartisan infrastructure bill in procedural vote

By Jacob Pramuk, CNBC

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

Related Reading

AMERICAN CLEAN POWER ASSOCIATION REPORT

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

ALSO IN THE NEWS

USDA REAP FUNDING NOTICES

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

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 

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

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

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

BATTERY MATERIALS RECYCLING

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

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

Deb Haaland Confirmed As 1st Native American Interior Secretary

By Nathan Rott, NPR KIOS

Deb Haaland, a member of New Mexico’s Laguna Pueblo, has become the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history. The Senate voted 51-40 Monday to confirm the Democratic congresswoman to lead the Interior Department, an agency that will play a crucial role in the Biden administration’s ambitious efforts to combat climate change and conserve nature.

Her confirmation is as symbolic as it is historic. For much of its history, the Interior Department was used as a tool of oppression against America’s Indigenous peoples. In addition to managing the country’s public lands, endangered species and natural resources, the department is also responsible for the government-to-government relations between the U.S. and Native American tribes. Read more here.

PUBLIC POWER

Cleaner Energy is Coming; the Public Needs to Own It. InsideSources article contributed by Josue De Luna Navarro, an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.

A future where energy is 100 percent publicly owned and not profit-driven isn’t such a pipe dream. Deep-red Nebraska has had publicly owned electricity — which consists of public utility companies, co-operatives, and power districts — since 1946. This means that the state’s energy framework is not based on making a profit, but instead on providing power as a basic human right to its people. Whatever surplus they generate gets invested back into the community. Because of this structure, the state has lower utility bills than neighboring states. Other publicly owned rural electric cooperatives dating back to the New Deal exist all across the country. These systems aren’t perfect, but they prove that public energy ownership is perfectly possible.

American Public Power Association ResourcePublic Power in Nebraska

FEATURED LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Waverly Utilities doing its part on renewable energy, by Bob Buckingham of Waverly, The Courier
We would like to thank David Fredrick for his interest in Waverly’s energy future. His recent guest column provides us an opportunity to address the future of renewable opportunities for Waverly Utilities.

Previously Posted: GUEST COLUMN: Renewable energy is a good bet, contributed by David Fredrick, The Courier

LIHEAP

New $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan includes additional $4.5 billion for LIHEAP, American Public Power Association

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 signed into law by President Biden on March 11 includes a number of provisions of importance to public power utilities including an additional $4.5 billion in funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Overall, the act provides roughly $1.9 trillion in direct aid to individuals, state and local governments, and businesses.

Nebraska LIHEAP, Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services

The COVID relief plan also includes:

  • $100 million for grants to monitor and mitigate pollution in environmental justice communities
  • $30 billion for public transit systems

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

LONG-DURATION ENERGY STORAGE

Long-term storage gets a closer look with the growth of renewables, decarbonization push, by Paul Ciampoli, American Public Power Association

With continued growth in wind and solar power, long duration energy storage is seen by some as a key way in which to help smooth the country’s transition to a future where renewable energy plays a central role in the overall power supply mix and the push for decarbonization continues apace. Long-duration storage is still in the early stage of the product maturity curve and there are many economic and operational challenges that must be addressed if it is to play a key role in supporting the grid.

ORPHAN OIL & GAS WELLS

Energy companies have left Colorado with billions of dollars in oil and gas cleanup, High Country News

When an oil or gas well reaches the end of its lifespan, it must be plugged. If it isn’t, the well might leak toxic chemicals into groundwater and spew methane, carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere for years on end. There are nearly 60,000 unplugged wells in Colorado in need of this treatment — each costing $140,000 on average, according to the Carbon Tracker, a climate think tank, in a new report that analyzes oil and gas permitting data. Plugging this many wells will cost a lot —more than $8 billion, the report found.

Previously Posted

Co-ops trying to leave Tri-State say the electric utility is “stonewalling” by refusing to calculate the price to exit

By Mark Jaffe, The Colorado Sun

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is “stonewalling” efforts by seven rural electric cooperatives – in Colorado, New Mexico and Nebraska – to get estimates on how much it will cost them to leave the association, according to a complaint filed with federal regulators. “Tri-State’s refusal to perform the calculation required… is patently unjust and unreasonable,” according to the complaint to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “Eight of us asked for numbers in November and December through letters,” said Dean Hubbuck, chief energy resource officer at United Power in Brighton, Tri-State’s largest co-op. Continue reading here.

Nebraska Tri-State Members Seeking Exit Estimates:

A just energy transition in action: Developing 1G of wind power with tribes

Contributed by Shaandiin Cedar, GreenBiz

[Six] tribes make up the Oceti Sakowin Power Authority (OSPA) — the Cheyenne River, Flandreau Santee, Oglala, Rosebud, Standing Rock and Yankton tribes — unified in a mission to develop inter-tribal renewable energy resources and bolster tribal sovereignty, self-determination and energy independence. After years of searching for the right partner, OSPA selected Apex to develop their wind resources.

Read more here.

Shaandiin Cedar is a writer, business consultant and environmental justice advocate focused on the opportunities to build a clean, equitable economy.

Additional Recommended Reading
From Exploitation To Equity: Building Native-Owned Renewable Energy Generation In Indian Country, William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review 

WINNEBAGO TRIBE OF NEBRASKA

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

UTILITY DIVE ARTICLES

STATE LEGISLATION

NEW TESLA SOCIAL PLATFORM

Tesla launches social platform to spur owners to take political action on its behalf, CNBC
On Friday, Tesla launched a social platform named Tesla Engage, in part to spur customers to take political action that benefits Elon Musk’s electric vehicle and solar company. [In] a post aimed at Tesla fans in Nebraska, the company is urging residents to push local elected officials to change laws that bar Tesla and others from selling vehicles direct to consumers there, i.e. without operating a franchise dealership in the state. They have even provided a quick way for fans to contact the appropriate committee members or send comments to the Nebraska legislature.

LB633 – Change provisions of the Motor Vehicle Industry Regulation Act

LAURA KING-HOMAN ARTICLE

OPPD offering Energy Star certification

Rolling blackouts show need for climate action plan

Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board

Specifically, the Legislature should pass Omaha Sen. John Cavanaugh’s LB483, which would direct the University of Nebraska to develop “an evidence-based, data-driven strategic plan to provide methods for adapting to and mitigating the impacts of extreme weather events or climate” that could be considered by the Legislature. Nebraska must develop a plan to seriously address climate change. And it needs to do so as quickly as possible, after several efforts similar to Cavanaugh’s failed to advance in recent years. Read more here.

LB483 – Provide for a climate change study and action plan

Wikimedia Commons Photo: George W. Norris Legislative Chamber, Nebraska State Legislature

POWER A CLEAN FUTURE OHIO COALITION

Ohio refinery city joins coalition to support local clean energy transitions, by Kathiann M. Kowalski, Energy News Network

Ohio’s clean energy policy has moved backward at the state level over the past decade. Various lawmakers have fought against the state’s clean energy standards and have been hostile toward renewable energyespecially wind energy. Allegations of corruption also surfaced last summer around House Bill 6, which gutted the clean energy standards and codified subsidies for certain nuclear and coal plants.

Against that backdrop, various cities and communities in Ohio have taken steps to increase their use of clean energy and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Power a Clean Future Ohio formed last year to expand that progress. Power A Clean Future Ohio 

SECURITIZATION

XCEL ENERGY INITIATIVE

Xcel plans to double its renewable energy generation by 2030. It’ll cost consumers $8 billion to do it, The Colorado Sun

Xcel Energy will spend $8 billion to double its renewable energy generation and storage and add new transmission lines, while closing all of its coal-fired power plants in Colorado by 2040. The initiative, unveiled Wednesday, would reduce Xcel’s carbon emissions in Colorado 85% from 2005 levels by 2030.

NEVADA & OTHER STATES LEADING ON ENERGY STORAGE

Grid-scale batteries, a key player in the future of renewable energy in Nevada, Sierra Nevada Ally
Nevada is one of seven states to adopt an energy storage mandate.

NEW BRATTLE GROUP REPORT

Grid-Enhancing Technologies’ Could Save $5B per Year by Boosting US Renewables Capacity, by Jeff St. John, Greentech Media

The U.S. could double its capacity for new wind and solar power, save billions of dollars and cut millions of tons of carbon-dioxide emissions from its generation fleets if federal incentives can be aligned to deploy a suite of technologies to unlock the full capacity of transmission grids.  So says a new report from The Brattle Group, modeling the benefits of a set ofgrid-enhancing technologies” across the wind-power-rich grids of Kansas and Oklahoma.

According to its analysis, spending about $90 million to implement these technologies could yield a payback in less than a year, with annual power cost savings of about $175 million delivering ongoing benefits for years to come. That’s because the technologies in question can drastically increase the renewable energy capacity of the grid operated by Southwest Power Pool.

BIDEN’S SUPPLY CHAIN EXECUTIVE ORDER 

American Clean Power Association Statement on Supply Chain Executive Order

SUSTAINABLE AVIATION FUELS

Exclusive: U.S. airline CEOs to meet with White House on cutting carbon footprint, Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The chief executives of major U.S. airlines are set to meet virtually with two key White House advisers on Friday about efforts to reduce carbon emissions and use renewable fuels, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.

ENHANCED GEOTHERMAL SYSTEMS

DOE Awards $46 Million for Geothermal Initiative Projects with Potential to Power Millions of U.S. Homes, Department of Energy News Release

“There is enormous untapped potential for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) to provide clean and reliable electricity to power tens of millions of homes across the country,” said Kathleen Hogan, Acting Under Secretary for Science and Energy. “These investments in EGS research support President Biden’s mission to take on the climate crisis by pushing the frontiers of science and engineering and creating jobs in cutting-edge clean energy fields.”

Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) are different from conventional geothermal resources that occur naturally in the U.S. and are geographically limited due to the need for underground heat and fluids. EGS are manmade geothermal reservoirs and can be engineered in most parts of the country, potentially expanding geothermal energy production and transforming the domestic energy portfolio.
Utah FORGE website.

WELLS FARGO NEWS RELEASE

Wells Fargo Surpasses $10 Billion in Renewable Energy Tax-Equity Investments
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Wells Fargo Renewable Energy & Environmental Finance (REEF) today announced it recently surpassed $10 billion in tax-equity investments in the wind, solar, and fuel cell industries. Wells Fargo has invested in more than 500 projects [in 32 states], helping to finance 12% of all wind and solar energy capacity in the U.S. over the past 10 years.

Growing Energy Markets: Southwest Power Pool Expands Day-Ahead Trading to the West

By Jeff St. John, Greentech Media

Interstate grid operator Southwest Power Pool has expanded its wholesale energy market, the latest step in a series of nationwide moves aimed at bringing more efficiency to parts of the country rich in renewable energy potential but lacking in the energy trading regimes to make the best use of it. Monday’s launch of SPP’s Western Energy Imbalance Service Market will bring real-time energy-balancing trading activity to eight utilities and transmission authorities across Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. Read more here.

Also written by Jeff St. John and referenced in his current article:


The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) is among the participants in SPP’s Western Energy Imbalance Service Market.


About MEAN
The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) is the not-for-profit wholesale electricity supply organization of NMPP Energy. Created in 1981, MEAN provides cost-based power supply, transmission and related services to 69 participating communities in four states: Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming.

MEAN Members/Participants

Additional Recommended Reading 


The Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is also among  participants in SPP’s Western Energy Imbalance Service Market.


About Tri-State

Tri-State is a not-for-profit cooperative power supplier with 45 members, including 42 electric distribution cooperatives and public power districts in four states [Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming] that together provide power to more than a million electricity consumers across nearly 200,000 square miles of the West.

Additional Recommended Reading
Tri-State’s Responsible Energy Plan

Previously Posted
Tri-State takes significant step to increase member flexibility, sets contract termination payment methodology, Tri-State News Release. Under the new contract, utility members can self-supply up to 50% of their load requirements, subject to availability in the open season, in addition to the current 5% self-supply provisions and a new community solar provision. In late 2019, the board of directors approved the Contract Committee’s recommendation to expand member opportunities for community solar projects. 

Wind Energy Tops Coal, Natural Gas in Southwest Power Pool

By Michael Bates, North American Windpower

In 2020, Southwest Power Pool (SPP), a regional transmission organization, became the first grid operator to have wind as its number-one fuel source – outpacing the integration of coal and natural gas. “Maintaining reliability with this large amount of wind is extraordinary,” says Barbara Sugg, president and CEO of SPP. Read more here.

Image Credit: Nebraska Public Power District

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

AI & MORE EFFICIENT SOLAR POWER PLANTS 

Making solar power more efficient, Case Western Reserve University News Release, Newswise
CLEVELAND–Case Western Reserve University computer scientists and energy technology experts are teaming up to leverage the diagnostic power of artificial intelligence (AI) to make solar-power plants more efficient. The work, funded by a three-year, $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is part of a broad $130 million solar-technologies initiative announced by the DOE in 2020—including $7.3 million specifically for machine-learning solutions and other AI for solar applications. 

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Biden administration will replace the entire federal vehicle fleet with EVs, CNET

The current federal vehicle fleet is estimated at
around 645,000 vehicles, and President Biden plans to replace all of them with American-made electric vehicles. The American-made part of this is essential because the announcement was part of Biden’s “Made In America” executive order, which is set to redirect a sizable portion of the government’s spending to American businesses and on American-made products.

Nebraska’s Largest Utilities’ EV Programs & Incentives
Interested in purchasing an electric vehicle or charger? Click a link, below, if you are a customer of one of Nebraska’s largest utilities and want to learn more about their EV programs and incentives, or check your local utility’s website for any available resources.

Bipartisan Appeal: Solar Can Span the Aisle and Bridge the Gaps

Solar Energy Industries Association Blog

As Congress considers how best to revive our ailing economy, investing in homegrown solar energy could jumpstart investment and create jobs. Solar energy isn’t a niche technology: there are now more than 2.5 million solar systems installed in every state and before the pandemic 250,000 Americans had a solar job.

The latest polls show overwhelming support for expanding clean energy and Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle are listening to their constituents that are demanding more clean energy. While bipartisan support for clean energy is now getting attention, it isn’t a new concept and it isn’t a surprise. Continue reading here.

SEIA News Release: Nearly 650 Companies Urge Congress to Include Solar in Recovery Legislation, SEIA News Release. WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nearly 650 solar companies sent a letter to Congress today galvanizing support for legislation that deploys clean energy to help rebuild the U.S. economy.

FROM GTM 

Biden Pledges $2T in Clean Energy and Infrastructure Spending, Greentech Media
“We’re not just going to tinker around the edges,” says Democratic candidate, promising “historic investments” in solar, wind, batteries and transmission.

MORE ON FERC ORDER 841 RULING

  • FERC Order 841: US about to take ‘most important’ step towards clean energy future, Energy Storage News. “Today’s decision is a big step towards realizing cleaner, healthier air for all Americans and creating opportunities for more clean energy jobs. FERC’s order 841 creates an even playing field for energy storage to compete with traditional fossil fuel generators,” EDF attorney Michael Panfil said. “It removes market barriers for energy storage and unlocks its enormous public health, environmental and cost-saving potential”.
  • D.C. Circuit Ruling Empowers Energy Storage Technology To Tap Bigger Markets, Forbes
    Energy storage, or the use of batteries to absorb electricity from the grid when it is plentiful and discharge it when it is scarce, is ready for the big leagues. That was the implication of a ruling on Friday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that has renewable energy enthusiasts beside themselves with glee. Analysts believe that the ruling could clear the way for the development of up to 50 gigawatts of energy storage, which would equal a third of the country’s current total wind and solar capacity.

DOE’S ENERGY STORAGE GRAND CHALLENGE

DOE unveils draft roadmap for US global energy storage leadership, Utility Dive
The Department of Energy released a draft roadmap Tuesday for its Energy Storage Grand Challenge, first announced in January, which aims to develop and bring to market​ the next generation of energy storage technologies. The program also aims to advance a domestic supply chain for energy storage, something that has gotten increasing attention, analysts say, in the wake of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. DOE is seeking public input by Aug. 21 to help inform the activities proposed under the draft roadmap.

NEWS FROM COLORADO

DIVESTMENT NEWS

How the University of Dayton divested from fossil fuels — and what happened to its bottom line, by Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter. More than 180 Catholic institutions worldwide have publicly committed to fossil fuel divestment. That includes Seattle University in Washington and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. In Nebraska, Creighton University announced in February it was divesting a portion of its endowment. 

EV NEWS

15 states, DC will collaborate on 100% electric truck sales by 2050, Transportation Dive
Governors from 15 states and the mayor of Washington, D.C., signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to ensure 100% of medium- and heavy-duty sales are zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV) by 2050, according to a Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) press release. The group has an interim target of 30% electric vehicle (EV) sales by 2030.

In rural Colorado, the kids of coal miners learn to install solar panels

By Nick Bowlin, High Country News

This story is a part of the ongoing Back 40 series, where High Country News reporters look at national trends and their impacts close to home.

At a picnic table in a dry grass field, a group of elementary school students watched as high school senior Xavier Baty, a broad-shouldered 18-year-old in a camouflage ball cap and scuffed work boots, attached a hand-sized solar panel cell to a small motor connected to a fan. He held the panel to face the setting Colorado sun, adjusting its angle to vary the fan speed.

“Want to hear a secret?” he asked the kids around him. “This is the only science class I ever got an A in.” Continue reading here.

Nick Bowlin is an editorial fellow at High Country News.