Tag Archives: corporate sustainability

Clean electricity standard lands spot in $3.5 trillion Democratic-backed infrastructure deal

By Scott Voorhis, Utility Dive

The Biden administration wants Congress to pass a clean electricity standard but is also prepared to pursue efforts to push utilities to ratchet down their emissions through the federal regulatory process should a national standard fail to make the final bill, according to Gina McCarthy, the White House’s national climate adviser. McCarthy said the administration believes a national clean energy standard would be more effective in prompting action on part of the utility industry to reduce emissions. Read more here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

SOLAR TOOL FOR INSTALLERS & LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

U.S. Department of Energy Kicks Off ‘Summer of Solar 2021’ With Tool That Fast-Tracks Solar Power For Communities Nationwide, Department of Energy News Release

Washington, D.C.— The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today kicked off the ‘Summer of Solar 2021’ with the nationwide launch of the Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus (SolarAPP+) tool – a free web-based platform that gives local governments the ability to expedite their review and approval of residential solar installation permits. Developed by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), SolarAPP+ will drastically reduce barriers to solar deployment, spur community economic development, and advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s clean energy goals.  

Related Reading

FEATURED REPORTS

The Clean Economy Revolution Will Be Unionized, Center for American Progress
While no state or city government has taken every necessary step to achieve good jobs, climate action and environmental justice, many of them have made important progress—and from this progress, federal lawmakers and lawmakers in other states can derive policy lessons and political momentum. This report offers a recap of some informative state and local actions designed to support good jobs, ensure high-road labor standards, and confront the climate crisis.

Clean Energy Labor Supply Report, American Clean Power Association
Based on two scenarios of renewables deployment — 50% and 70% of electricity generated from renewables by 2030 — the study projects the number of workers that will be needed to meet these goals and highlights those occupations where high demand for workers could result in labor gaps.

Download the executive summary
Download the infographic

Building a US clean manufacturing strategy to counter China and tackle climate change

Utility Dive article contributed by David Hart, director of the Clean Energy Innovation Policy Program at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), and Stefan Koester, ITIF senior policy analyst.

A recent report to which we contributed, published by the Information Technology and Innovation FoundationBoston University Institute for Sustainable Energy, and Fraunhofer USA’s Center for Manufacturing Innovation, details how the United States can rebuild a robust domestic manufacturing sector and tackle climate change by leveraging its considerable strengths in science, technology and innovation. Read more here.

Flickr Photo

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH

“We found that we can get to 80+% renewable energy at the same cost as keeping the system at today’s level of renewables,” said [Wesley] Cole, NREL senior energy analyst and lead author of the paper. “Increased renewable energy contribution also reduces emissions, so going beyond today’s levels of renewable energy is a no-brainer.”

Researchers at the Wharton School said the additional $579 billion in new infrastructure spending would increase domestic output by 0.1% and decrease the U.S. debt by 0.9% by 2050.

Location, location, location — when it comes to the placement of wind turbines, the old real estate adage applies, according to new research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Carnegie’s Enrico Antonini and Ken Caldeira.

AMERICAN PUBLIC POWER ASSOCIATION 

THE REAP IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2021

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger Push to Improve Popular & Effective Rural Energy for America Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. [6/24/21]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA 7)—along with U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Representative David G. Valadao (R-CA 21)—introduced legislation in both the Senate and House aimed at improving the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural business owners to install renewable energy systems and adopt energy efficiency measures

MGM’S RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT

MGM unveils solar project it says will power 13 Vegas hotels, Las Vegas Sun
The array of solar panels sits in the desert northeast of Las Vegas and will be managed by Invenergy, which owns and operates renewable energy developments throughout the world. The largest resorts and casinos on the Las Vegas Strip have gradually left Nevada’s public utility, NV Energy, and begun producing their own power.

Previously Posted: MGM Resorts Recognized for Making Significant Investments in Clean Energy by the Solar Energy Industries Association, MGM Resorts International News Release

Photo: MGM’s first solar array in Las Vegas on the roof at the Mandalay Bay Resort

CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY

The sustainability imperative imperative, by Joel Makower,
Chairman & Co-founder, GreenBiz Group

At long last, this stuff is being taken seriously — very seriously. And while there remain those who view the whole shebang — net-zero carbon emissions, ESG metrics, climate tech, the circular economy and all the rest — as “woke capitalism” (another mean moniker), those critics are finding themselves shunted off to the side, marginalized, a voice in the wilderness.

RE100 ArticleBusiness demand for renewables greater than total energy demand of major G7 economies

CESA ANNOUNCEMENT

Clean Energy States Alliance has issued an expression of interest for new, innovative energy storage pilot projects, with an emphasis on projects advancing social equity and community resilience. Potential projects must be at least 500 kilowatts in size with a minimum duration of two hours to be considered, and incorporation of other advanced energy technologies, like renewable generation and electric vehicle charging, is preferred. Projects determined to be of interest may be eligible for technical and financial support after submitting a full proposal. Responses are due by July 15. More details about the opportunity can be found here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Businesses urge Biden admin to set ambitious federal climate target

By Cailin Crowe, Smart Cities Dive

A group of multinational corporations — including Apple, Microsoft and Walmart — and small to medium enterprises have signed a letter urging the Biden administration to pursue an ambitious federal climate target, or national determined contribution (NDC), that will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Led by the “We Mean Business” coalition and nonprofit sustainability advocacy group Ceres, the companies that signed the letter each have business operations in the U.S. and share the goal to halve emissions over the next decade to help the country reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Read more here. 

Website Links
We Mean Business Coalition
Ceres

RELATED NEWS & RESOURCES

The Institute On Taxation And Economic Policy (ITEP) Analyses

The Institute On Taxation And Economic Policy (ITEP) is a non-profit, non-partisan tax policy organization that conducts rigorous analyses of tax and economic proposals and provides data-driven recommendations on how to shape equitable and sustainable tax systems. ITEP’s expertise and data uniquely enhance federal, state, and local policy debates by revealing how taxes affect both public revenues and people of various levels of income and wealth.

PRESIDENT BIDEN’S FY 2022 BUDGET PROPOSAL

FEATURED AMERICANS FOR A CLEAN ENERGY GRID RESOURCE

What Everyone Needs to Know about Transmission: Facts and Sources
To download the full “Facts and Sources” document, click here.

Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG) is the only non-profit broad-based public interest advocacy coalition focused on the need to expand, integrate, and modernize the North American high-voltage grid. ACEG brings together the diverse support for an expanded and modernized grid from business, labor, consumer and environmental groups, and other transmission supporters to support policy which recognizes the benefits of a robust transmission grid.

NPPD’S R-PROJECT RESOURCES

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan

The White House Briefing Room

The President’s American Jobs Plan is a historic public investment – consisting principally of one-time capital investments in our nation’s productivity and long-term growth. It will invest about 1 percent of GDP per year over eight years to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure, revitalize manufacturing, invest in basic research and science, shore up supply chains, and solidify our care infrastructure. These are investments that leading economists agree will give Americans good jobs now and will pay off for future generations by leaving the country more competitive and our communities stronger. In total, the plan will invest about $2 trillion this decade. If passed alongside President Biden’s Made in America corporate tax plan, it will be fully paid for within the next 15 years and reduce deficits in the years after. Read more here. 

Additional Recommended Reading & Viewing

Target, Hormel Foods to source wind power from Ørsted in Nebraska

Renewables Now 

The two US firms have signed long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the Danish energy company that will see them receive supplies from its 298-MW Haystack wind project in Nebraska. The power plant is currently under construction and is planned to become operational later this year, Ørsted said on Thursday. Read more here.

Photo: Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County, Nebraska. The Haystack Wind project is being built adjacent to Plum Creek Energy and will utilize interconnection infrastructure in Southwest Power Pool North.

Additional Recommended Reading

About Ørsted

Ørsted develops, constructs, and operates offshore and onshore wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities, and bioenergy plants, and provides energy products to its customers. Ørsted ranks as the world’s most sustainable energy company in Corporate Knights’ 2021 index of the Global 100 most sustainable corporations in the world and is recognized on the CDP Climate Change A List as a global leader on climate action. Headquartered in Denmark, Ørsted employs 6,179 people. For more information on Ørsted, visit orsted.com

Jason Kuiper Article

All about the Southwest Power Pool, The Wire

Ørsted signs long-term power purchase agreements with PepsiCo for Nebraska and Texas wind farms

Ørsted Newsroom

PepsiCo Inc. has signed two agreements with Ørsted to purchase a portion of energy from the 298 MW Haystack wind project in Nebraska and the 367 MW Western Trail wind project in Texas.

“We’re excited to partner with PepsiCo in their efforts to decarbonize their operations,” said Ørsted Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for Ørsted Onshore. “These PPAs at Western Trail and Haystack are another demonstration of our ability to provide customized solutions across multiple geographies to support achievement of corporate sustainability ambitions.” Continue reading here.

Previously Posted
Ørsted starts construction of 298 MW Nebraska wind project, Ørsted Newsroom

PepsiCo’s Renewable Energy Commitment
PepsiCo is a member of RE100 and the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance.
From RE100.Org: PepsiCo is committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity across its company owned and controlled operations by 2030 and across its entire global operations by 2040.

Photo: Ørsted’s 230 MW Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County, Nebraska, adjacent to the Haystack Wind Farm under construction.

Corporate Clean Power Commitment Unstoppable At Climate Week NYC, In Spite Of COVID-19

Climate Group News 

Corporate clean energy ambition is growing in spite of COVID-19, as yet more global companies from the US, Europe and Asia sign up to green their entire electricity usage.

Intel (information technology, US), ASICS (apparel, Japan), Sanofi (healthcare, France), SKF (bearing and seal manufacturing, Sweden), and VELUX Group (roof window manufacturer, Denmark) are all joining the RE100 initiative, led by international non-profit the Climate Group in partnership with CDP. The announcements come on the second day of Climate Week NYC – the time and place where the world gathers to showcase amazing climate action and discuss how to do more.

RE100 now brings together more than 260 of the world’s most influential companies committed to 100% renewable power, in more than 140 markets worldwide. Collectively, they are creating demand for 281 terawatt hours per year in renewable electricity – enough to power a G20 country (e.g. Australia (247.6 TWh/yr). BloombergNEF estimates suggest RE100 companies, with a combined revenue of US$6.6 trillion, will need to invest over US$98 billion in clean energy to meet their RE100 goals – a vast source of finance for rebuilding a green economy. Read more here. 

ON DAY ONE OF CLIMATE WEEK NYC

RE100 Leadership Awards 2020: The Winners
The winners of the Awards, held in partnership with ENGIE North America and category partners Enel Green Power and DWS, are announced at the first ever virtual Climate Week NYC,

Apple, CHANEL, Iron Mountain, Novo Nordisk, Salesforce, Schneider Electric, and TSMC are independently judged to be ‘going above and beyond’ in the transition to 100% renewable power, for achievements ranging from engaging suppliers and policymakers to bringing clean energy to local communities.

ADDITIONAL CLIMATE GROUP INITIATIVES

  • EP100, in partnership with the  Alliance to Save Energy,  brings together  a growing group of energy-smart companies  committed to improving their energy productivity and doing more with less.
  • EV100 is a global initiative bringing together forward looking companies committed to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and making electric transport the new normal by 2030.

RE100 MEMBERS ARE ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

Taking Charge: Wisconsin’s newest utility commissioner on the state’s ‘utility-scale changeover’

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Wisconsin’s historical reliance on coal-generated power has shifted toward renewable energy and natural gas in recent years. Though the state is not yet able to compete with Minnesota on solar or Iowa on its abundant wind resources, the political and economic tides are turning the markets in favor of a more dramatic clean energy buildout, according to advocates in the state.

Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, who took office after the 2018 midterm elections, has been working on a suite of clean energy and climate policies. In August, he signed an executive order putting Wisconsin on a path to 100% clean energy by 2050, and his 2019 budget directed $10 million in Volkswagen settlement funds toward electric vehicle charging stations. Continue reading here.

Photo: Wisconsin Public Service Commissioner Tyler Huebner

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

  • Iowa cities and towns invest in renewable energy, Yale Climate Connections
    Many cities and towns are investing in renewable energy, and climate change is not the only motivation. 
  • Wind energy brings jobs to ND, Minot Daily News
    Powering North Dakota, an initiative of the American Wind Energy Association, has thrown its support behind the Lake Region training program and its partnership with Neset. Powering North Dakota is a growing coalition of developers, manufacturers, business, agriculture and community members with a focus on the economic benefits of wind power. The coalition’s goal is to share research, talk about the local benefits and tell the story of wind and its impact on different areas of the economy.
  • Wind farm expansion begins, The Kansan
    Enel Green Power operates six wind farms in Kansas, and the company’s overall investment in Kansas amounts to more than $2.1 billion and 210 full-time employees working in the state and with its’ acquisition of Tradewind Energy Inc. last year, makes them the largest wind operator with more than 1.4 GW of operational wind capacity.
  • North Carolina pursues faster interconnection for utility-scale solar, PV Magazine
    Under Duke Energy’s current review process, interconnection queues grew to 14 GW in North and South Carolina last year. A new process should speed interconnection reviews, and enable projects located near each other to share the costs of transmission upgrades.
  • Dominion Sells Gas Business and Cancels Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Greentech Media.
    Dominion and Duke Energy will walk away from controversial pipeline project as U.S. utilities grapple with future role of natural gas. Company-wide, Dominion plans to retire more than 4 gigawatts of coal- and oil-fired electric generation by 2025. “Over the next 15 years we plan to invest up to $55 billion in emissions reduction technologies including zero-carbon generation and energy storage, gas distribution line replacement, and renewable natural gas,” CEO Thomas Farrell II said in a statement Sunday.
  • SCC approves voluntary 100% renewable energy offering by Dominion Energy Virginia, Augusta Free Press. Virginia law permits Dominion to design a rate that participating customers may choose to pay to receive all their power from renewable resources. As designed, the rate would charge a premium of $3.98 a month above the standard rate of an average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, subject to annual adjustments.
  • TVA launches virtual home energy audits for customers, American Public Power Association
    The Tennessee Valley Authority on July 1 said it has launched virtual home energy evaluations, enabling residents across its seven-state region to benefit from money-saving energy advice, even during pandemic conditions.

WORLD’S FIRST ZERO-CARBON ARENA

Climate Pledge Arena’ Will Be The Name Of Amazon’s New Seattle Sports Center, by Senior Contributor Ken Silverstein, Forbes. The company has secured the naming rights to an arena in Seattle that is now under construction — one that will ultimately measure its carbon emissions and sustainability performance and it will make that data public. It’s part of the company’s overall climate initiative to have net-zero carbon releases by 2040, which is a decade ahead of the Paris agreement. The future arena is financed by Amazon and the Oak View Group and it is expected to be the world’s first zero-carbon arena when it is completed in the summer of 2021. 

RENEWABLES VERSUS NATURAL GAS

  • The Next Energy Battle: Renewables vs. Natural Gas, New York Times
    Proponents of renewable energy note that solar panels are increasingly the cheapest source of electricity. Solar panels can deliver power to 650 homes for one hour — one megawatt-hour in industry jargon — at $31 to $111 a megawatt-hour, according to Lazard, the investment firm. By comparison, natural gas peaking plants, which utilities can turn on and off quickly to meet surging demand, deliver power at $122 to $162 a megawatt-hour.
  • Natural Gas As A Bridge Fuel To The Future? Not Anymore, CleanTechnica
    For a while that was true, but once again a funny thing happened on the way to the renewable energy revolution. The costs of solar and wind farms plummeted along with the cost of battery storage. Now, according to PV Magazine, several US utilities are saying “no thank you” to new gas-fired generation. Here’s the latest news.

MORE ON HOUSE CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

Three Key Takeaways from House Climate Crisis Action Plan, by Roland Hwang, Managing Director, Climate and Clean Energy Program, Natural Resources Defense Council. The House of Representatives’ Special Select Committee on the Climate Crisis has finally released its long-awaited plan to tackle the climate crisis. It’s a 547-page roadmap for an “all hands-on deck” approach to putting the U.S. on a path to net-zero carbon pollution by midcentury, which is what the world’s leading climate scientists tell us is necessary to avert a climate catastrophe. Importantly, the House Plan puts justice and equity at the core of its recommendations for a comprehensive climate policy package.

For more on NRDC’s perspective on the House Plan:

ESG & LONGTERM SUSTAINABILITY

What role does ESG play in the ‘new normal’?, GreenBiz article contributed by Janine Guillot, CEO of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. In recent years, the rise of ESG, responsible investing, corporate sustainability — different people use different terms — has focused on evolving “business as usual” by recognizing that effectively managing environmental and social issues is key to the long-term sustainability of both business and society. The COVID-19 crisis is likely to accelerate this trend. The key questions that have arisen from the crisis are essentially ESG questions, such as:

FREE SEPA RESEARCH

Utility Best Practices for EV Infrastructure Deployment

  • How to develop an EV strategic plan and build a transportation electrification team 
  • Results from two surveys and six utility case studies and SEPA Electric Vehicle Working Group contributions
  • Best practices for utility-led EV infrastructure programs and third-party charging infrastructure interconnection

MISO: majority of coal is self-committed, 12% was uneconomic over 3 year period

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive 

The majority of coal-fired power in the ​Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) was self-scheduled and 12% was dispatched uneconomically from 2017 to 2019, according to an April analysis from the grid operator. MISO’s numbers largely support assertions made by the Union of Concerned Scientists and other advocacy groups, which have found that “bad actors” are running their coal plants uneconomically, and costing ratepayers billions of dollars, Joe Daniel, senior energy analyst at UCS told Utility Dive. Read more here.

Previously Posted

MORE UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS BLOG POSTS 

ESG LEADERSHIP

  • COVID-19, climate and the front line, by Shana Rappaport, GreenBiz
    This is a pivotal moment for corporate leaders as much as it is for political ones: to recognize frontline workers as “essential” and also to invest in them. Indeed, the health and resilience of your company’s workforce, and the broader communities you serve, are inextricably linked with the health and resilience of your business and the economy overall. Wall Street is beginning to get this. Look for major investment firms increasingly factoring pandemic preparedness and worker well-being into their ESG calculations. Of the numerous systemic failures the pandemic has laid bare, perhaps the most immoral are the interrelated crises of wealth inequality, racism and environmental degradation.
  • Public Interest Groups Unite To Form Duke Energy Watchdog, Environmental Working Group

Previously Posted

In a March article, After the age of contagion, what’s the ‘new normal’?Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor of the GreenBiz Group, spells out the massive benefits of America’s transition to a green economy, with clean and renewable energy, regenerative farming, climate action, carbon reduction and other opportunities at its core:

We at GreenBiz have reported on a spate of studies and plans that similarly align sustainability with large-scale economic development: the circular economy (a $2 trillion opportunity), carbon tech (a trillion-dollar opportunity), sustainable food and land systems ($4.5 trillion) low-carbon cities ($24 trillion), climate action ($26 trillion) and more. As I noted last fall, trillion is the new billion. And then there’s the Green New Deal, a concept that seems to have been rekindled in the age of contagion. 

BIG OIL & GAS COMPANIES IN THE NEWS

Legislation aims to block fossil fuel companies from receiving coronavirus aid, The Hill
A group of more than 40 lawmakers is backing legislation to prevent fossil fuel companies from receiving coronavirus-related aid. The sweeping Resources for Workforce Investments, Not Drilling (ReWIND) Act aims to prevent fossil fuel companies from receiving loans provided for under previous coronavirus aid packages and prevent the Trump administration from helping the companies in other ways. 

Previously PostedUnited States Spend Ten Times More On Fossil Fuel Subsidies Than Education, Forbes

ASES VIRTUAL CONFERENCE

The American Solar Energy Society announces virtual conference June 24-25, Solar Power World
Originally set in Washington D.C., participants will now be joining virtually and engaging in important discussions on policy, technological advances, finance, storage, grid interconnectivity, community solar, education and more. Learn more and register by May 29 for the Early Bird discount at ases.org/conference. The full conference schedule with speakers, sessions and moderators can be found online at ases.org/conference/schedule.

FEATURED BOOK FOR D0-IT-YOURSELFERS

DIY Solar Power: How To Power Everything From The Sun
By Micah Toll

This book teaches you everything you need to know about custom solar powered systems and creations. Learn about topics from small scale solar powered projects like portable phone chargers all the way up to large off-grid and grid-tied home solar power systems, and even mobile solar power for RVs and other vehicles and boats. – Amazon

ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES

Southern Illinois school district awaiting electric buses: ‘We’re really ready’, by Audrey Henderson, Energy News Network. The Triad school district, just outside the St. Louis suburbs, hopes to replace half of its diesel fleet over 15 years. 

Here’s how 6 countries are stepping up to meet the Paris climate goals

By Julia Rosen, Los Angeles Times

World leaders are gathering in New York for Monday’s Climate Action Summit. The summit’s goal, according to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, is to encourage countries to get serious about climate change. “Don’t come with a speech,” Guterres has warned. “Come with a plan.”

You can follow the latest Paris pledges at the World Resources Institute’s Climate Watch.

Read the entire article here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST