Tag Archives: Department of Energy (DOE)

2021: DOE Moves At Lightning Speed Toward Clean Energy Goals

The Department of Energy (DOE) had a standout 2021. We pioneered game-changing scientific research, continued to advance our important nuclear security and cleanup missions, and made huge strides to tackle the climate crisis. As America’s “Solutions Department,” DOE is moving at lightning speed to achieve President Biden’s ambitious goals of cutting our carbon emissions in half by 2030, reaching 100% clean electricity by 2035 and getting to net zero by 2050.  Here are our top clean energy accomplishments of 2021:  Continue reading here.

DOE Blog Archive

From The White House Briefing Room

Open For Business: LPO Issues New Conditional Commitment for Loan Guarantee

By Jigar Shaw, Director of DOE’s Loan Programs Office

The improved U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Programs Office (LPO) is open for business and ready to build on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s support for the deployment of clean energy.  

LPO has made substantial changes to improve the program that has now attracted more than 66 loan and loan guarantee applications, valued at more than $53 billion in clean energy and advanced vehicle technology projects. The recently-enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law expanded LPO’s loan authority and broadened the pool of eligible borrowers for the program.  Continue reading here.

Image: A depiction of Monolith Nebraska LLC’s hydrogen facility in Hallam, Nebraska
Credit: Monolith

MORE ON MONOLITH MATERIALS

“As the leader in wind and solar energy, and as an investor in Monolith, NextEra Energy Resources is encouraged by the U.S. Department of Energy’s conditional approval of Monolith’s loan application,” said John Ketchum, president and chief executive officer, NextEra Energy Resources. “Monolith’s clean hydrogen production process is powered by locally-produced renewable electricity and represents a significant advancement to support cost-effective decarbonization of multiple sectors of the U.S. economy.”

Spokespeople from Monolith told E&E News that its pyrolysis process could reduce carbon emissions to about 0.45 kilogram, for every 1 kilogram of hydrogen — assuming it was all powered by 100 percent renewable electricity. That’s within the definition for “clean” hydrogen established by the bipartisan infrastructure law, which sets a 2-kilogram CO2 limit. Monolith did not provide an estimate, however, of how much nitrogen oxides and other local pollutants would be emitted through its hydrogen and carbon black production. Carbon black companies have long been major emitters of NOx, sulfur oxides and particulate matter. DOE told E&E News that NOx and other emissions from Monolith’s existing facility in Nebraska would be regulated by the state and county, as the plant was not considered a major source of hazardous emissions under the Clean Air Act.

A total of 28 different companies provided responses for a mix of wind, solar, storage and clean energy products. This included 21 wind projects totaling nearly 4,000 megawatts, 33 projects for solar amounting to approximately 5,800 megawatts, and electric storage projects amounting to 2,200 megawatts.The majority of proposals provided locations within Nebraska.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY’S HYDROGEN SHOT

The first Energy Earthshot, launched June 7, 2021—Hydrogen Shot—seeks to reduce the
cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to $1 per 1 kilogram in 1 decade (“1 1 1”).

The Hydrogen Shot establishes a framework and foundation for clean hydrogen deployment in the American Jobs Plan, which includes support for demonstration projects. Industries are beginning to implement clean hydrogen to reduce emissions, yet many hurdles remain to deploying it at scale.

Achieving the Hydrogen Shot’s 80% cost reduction goal can unlock new markets for hydrogen, including steel manufacturing, clean ammonia, energy storage, and heavy-duty trucks. This would create more clean energy jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and position America to compete in the clean energy market on a global scale. These efforts would ensure that environmental protection and benefits for local communities are a priority.

Solar power projects see the light on former Appalachian coal land

By Carey L. Biron, Thomsen Reuters Foundation News

The U.S. government formally began looking at putting renewable energy installations
on disturbed land – including mines, but also contaminated sites and landfills – in 2008. Since then, the RE-Powering America’s Land program has mapped over 100,000 potential sites covering more than 44 million acres.

DICKENSON COUNTY, Virginia – Looking west from Hazel Mountain, Brad Kreps can see forested hills stretching to the Tennessee border and beyond, but it is the flat, denuded area in front of him he finds exciting.

Surface coal mining ended on this site several years ago. But with a clean-up underway, it is now being prepared for a new chapter in the region’s longstanding role as a major energy producer – this time from a renewable source: the sun.

While using former mining land to generate solar energy has long been discussed, this and five related sites are among the first projects to move forward in the coalfields of the central Appalachian Mountains, as well as nationally. Continue reading here.

Virginia’s Clean Energy Legislation

Previously Posted: Interior Investing Over $260 Million to Help Create Jobs and Revitalize Land in Coal Communities, Department of the Interior News Release

DESERT RENEWABLE ENERGY CONSERVATION PLAN


The Biden Administration seeks to conserve 30% of U.S. land by 2030. The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan is one way to that goal.

See: Road to 30, Center for Western Priorities. Scroll down to learn about this plan and more Ways to Get to 30.

DOI News Release: Interior Department Advances Three Solar Projects in California, Marking Significant Progress to Develop a Clean Energy Economy


The three projects will generate roughly 1,000 megawatts (or 1 gigawatt of power) and are the first projects approved under the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) in the desert regions of seven California counties. 

 

Additional Resources

FEATURED REAP STORY FROM NORTH CAROLINA

Salisbury water buffalo farm installs solar panels with help from Rural Energy for America Program, Salisbury Post 

Caring for the buffalo and making products with their milk is hard work, and it also requires a significant amount of energy. That’s why the couple decided to install solar panels on the roof of their milking parlor and creamery last year. They were excited to find out in the spring they were awarded a $13,000 grant to help finance the project from the United States Department of Agriculture through its Rural Energy for America Program.

Next REAP Application Deadline: March 31, 2022

AMERICAN CLEAN POWER ASSOCIATION NEWS & RESOURCES

Celebrating Clean Power’s Progress and Reflecting on ACP’s First Year
ACP was created to unite the power of America’s clean energy industry. Our trade association brings together wind, solar, transmission and storage companies, along with manufacturers and construction companies, project developers and owners/operators, utilities, financial firms, and corporate purchasers of clean power to advance our shared goals and to transform the U.S. power grid to a low-cost, reliable, and renewable power system. 

Featured ACP Resources

Additional recommended reading on the above topic: Three Myths About Renewable Energy and the Grid, Debunked, by Amory B. Lovins and M.V. Ramana, Yale Environment 360

Renewable energy skeptics argue that because of their variability, wind and solar cannot be the foundation of a dependable electricity grid. But the expansion of renewables and new methods of energy management and storage can lead to a grid that is reliable and clean.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

City of Greensburg offers advice, assistance to Mayfield, Ky. following deadly tornado

By Shawn Loging, KWCH, Greensburg, Kansas

After the Greensburg tornado, the small Kansas town committed to the goal of sustainability in the build-back process, and the municipal utility became 100 percent renewable. Bob Dixon is the former mayor of Greensburg. He saw and directed this city’s return, but he says in these early days, after a disaster, you have to remember those who lost their lives.

“You need to make sure you honor the lives lost, but at the time, realize that there’s some success being made,” said Dixon.

Bob’s daughter and current city administrator Stacy Barnes and current mayor Matt Christenson both grew up in Greensburg but had moved away when the tornado hit. Both moved back to watch the town come back from its defining moment. Read more or watch the video here.

Related 

Photo: Aerial view of Mayfield, Kentucky on December 12, 2021. Credit: State Farm via Wiki Commons

UNITED POWER & TRI-STATE G&T

United Power Files Notice Of Intent To Leave Tri-State Generation and Transmission, United Power News Release, December 14, 2021

Brighton, Colorado/Washington D.C. — United Power, a rural electric cooperative based in Brighton, Colorado, today filed its Notice of Intent to withdraw from the membership of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington, D.C., effective January 1, 2024. The two-year notice period was accepted by FERC in an October 29, 2021 ruling. United Power is the largest member of Tri-State and accounts for nearly 20% of the G&T’s annual revenue.

Additional Recommended Reading: Will Tri-State’s exit fee dispute at FERC shake up the cooperative utility model?, by Ethan Howland, Utility Dive

Nebraska Tri-State members seeking exit fees: Wheat Belt Public Power District and the Northwest Rural Public Power District.

FEATURED NEBRASKA WIND & SOLAR CONFERENCE VIDEO

Tri-State G&T – Responsible Energy Plan
Duane Highley, CEO, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association
Moderator: Ken Curry, Vice President, Nebraska Public Power District

NEBRASKA DED PROGRAM

Village of Hemingford Fosters Entrepreneurial Growth to Launch Solar, Social Development, Nebraska Department of Economic Development News Release, EIN Presswire

Ongoing business development and efforts to expand renewable energy opportunities in the village of Hemingford (pop. 806) have earned continued recognition from the State of Nebraska. This week, the Department of Economic Development (DED) announced Hemingford’s recertification in Nebraska’s Leadership Certified Community (LCC) program. Gov. Pete Ricketts’ West Central Director and Western Nebraska Development Consultant for DED, Brittany Hardin, honored local leaders during a special presentation on December 14. Hemingford is one of 31 Nebraska LCC’s, and was western Nebraska’s first community to qualify for the program, which was created in 2011 to help villages and municipalities adapt to ongoing changes and opportunities in economic development.

NATIONAL EV CHARGING ACTION PLAN

FACT SHEET: The Biden-⁠Harris Electric Vehicle Charging Action Plan, December 13, 2021
Today, the Biden-Harris-Administration is releasing an EV Charging Action Plan to outline steps federal agencies are taking to support developing and deploying chargers in American communities across the country. As a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Transportation (DOT) will establish a Joint Office of Energy and Transportation focused on deploying EV infrastructure, working hand-in-hand to collect input and guidance from industry leaders, manufacturers, workers, and other stakeholders that will ensure the national network provides convenient charging for all. The initial focus will be building a convenient, reliable public charging network that can build public confidence, with a focus on filling gaps in rural, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach locations.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Fact Sheet: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

The White House Briefing Room, November 6, 2021

Today, Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness. For far too long, Washington policymakers have celebrated “infrastructure week” without ever agreeing to build infrastructure. The President promised to work across the aisle to deliver results and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. After the President put forward his plan to do exactly that and then negotiated a deal with Members of Congress from both parties, this historic legislation is moving to his desk for signature.

This Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind. The legislation will help ease inflationary pressures and strengthen supply chains by making long overdue improvements for our nation’s ports, airports, rail, and roads. It will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come. Combined with the President’s Build Back Framework, it will add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years. Continue reading here.

RELATED READING

Fact Sheet: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Boosts Clean Energy Jobs, Strengthens Resilience, and Advances Environmental Justice, The White House

GREEN SCHOOLS / CAMPUSES

How schools are combatting climate change, from green schoolyards to solar power, by Meredith Deliso, ABC News

Overall, the education sector has an untapped opportunity to help mitigate climate change, from renewable energy practices to teachings, according to the Aspen Institute’s K12 Climate Action initiative, which points to school districts like Arlington’s as a success story in demonstrating climate solutions.

“We envision a future where America’s over 100,000 schools are models for climate action, climate solutions, and sustainability, and the 50 million children and youth in these schools are prepared to succeed in the clean economy and lead a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable society,” the organization wrote in a recent policy report.

In Omaha: Photo of Duchesne Academy’s 10-kilowatt solar array, installed by Interconnection Systems Inc (ISI), which is based in Central City, Nebraska. The energy generated by the system powers multiple classrooms, including the school’s science, technology, engineering, arts and math lab. where students can integrate data from the solar system into coursework.

The solar array is part of the school’s overall sustainability initiative. Duchesne Academy has the inspiring goal to be a net-positive-energy school by 2030. The school’s other sustainability program goals include zero waste by 2030, having a sustainable food system, and sustainability curriculum integration.

Iowa State and Alliant Energy collaborate on solar farm, Iowa State University 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

DOE Releases New Reports Highlighting Record Growth, Declining Costs of Wind Power

Department of Energy News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released three reports showing record growth in land-based wind energy, significant expansion of the pipeline for offshore wind projects, and continued decline in the cost of wind energy generation – laying the groundwork for significant future gains as the Biden Administration pursues rapid acceleration of renewable energy deployment to reach its goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035.

“These reports contain such terrific news: the U.S. installed a record-breaking amount of land-based wind energy last year. They underscore both the progress made and the capacity for much more affordable wind power to come – all necessary to reach President Biden’s goal of a decarbonized electricity sector by 2035,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “At DOE, we will double down on efforts to deploy more wind energy around the country as we also pursue technologies to make turbines even cheaper and more efficient.”  Continue reading here.

The three market reports are available at energy.gov/windreport.  To learn more about DOE’s wind energy research, visit the Wind Energy Technologies Office homepage.

The following series is by Liz Hartman, Communications Lead for DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office. Just for fun, test your knowledge of each of the “Top 10 Things”.

Additional Recommended Reading
EPA urges FERC to use social cost of carbon in gas project reviews, Utility Dive

FACT SHEET: Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and Build Back Better Agenda Present Bright Future for Solar Power, Good Jobs, and More Affordable Energy

The White House Briefing Room, August 17, 2021

Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) released a new issue brief that details a bright future for solar power, good jobs, and affordable energy in the United States. President Biden’s proposed investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and Build Back Better Agenda will invest in the infrastructure, manufacturing, innovation, and incentives for solar energy that we need to grow good-paying, union jobs at home, make solar energy affordable for all American families, and accelerate the deployment of net-zero energy across the country. These critical investments will unlock the full potential of solar and help fight the climate crisis. Continue reading here.

Read the full brief: Investing in the Clean Energy Future: Solar Energy Research, Deployment, and Workforce Priorities

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Would Upper Midwest carbon capture pipelines offer a lifeline to coal plants?

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

An environmental group is warning that a proposed pipeline network that would carry carbon emissions to underground storage in Illinois and North Dakota could also extend the life of fossil fuel power plants in the Upper Midwest.

The recently announced projects would immediately benefit ethanol producers, but the Sierra Club says they might also offer a regulatory or economic lifeline to coal-fired power plants in the region under future federal emissions policies. Continue reading here.

LINKS TO ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management

DOE’s Carbon Capture Program at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). The program is managed by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management.

NETL Resources Include:

National Carbon Capture Center

Department of Energy News Releases

Global CCS Institute

IN NEBRASKA

Nebraska’s Solar, Wind, and Energy Storage Development: SEIA/ACP Data & Additional Resources

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) ranks Nebraska forty-seventh in the country in the number of megawatts of installed solar. The state generates enough solar energy to power about 9,000 homes. Nebraska’s solar industry is made up of 26 solar companies, employing 1,246 workers in manufacturing, installing/developing and “other” types of businesses.
Data Current Through: Q4 2020

SEIA’s Nebraska Solar Fact Sheet 

Additional Resources

  • Solar Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy
    Projects Under Development: Utility Scale
    Bellwood: 174.5 MW
    Burt County: 250 MW
    Clay County: (Up-to) 305 MW
    Lincoln: 230 MW
    Pierce County: 443 MW
    Saunders County: 81 MW. “This is the first step towards OPPD’s plan to provide 600 megawatts of solar power.”
    Community-Scale Projects are also listed under this same subheading.
  • Community-Scale / Utility-Scale Solar, Nebraskans for Solar

The American Clean Power Association (ACP) ranks Nebraska twenty-second in the nation for the number of megawatts (2,550) of wind, solar, and energy storage capacity and eleventh in the percentage (23.76%) share of all electricity produced in our state that comes from those power plants. The state generates enough clean energy to power 703,000 homes.

Additional ACP Statistics

  • Capital invested in wind, solar, and energy storage projects in Nebraska: $4 billion
  • Clean power investments in local Nebraska communities, providing property, state, and local taxes in 2021: $26.7 million
  • Clean power projects provide extra income to farmers, ranchers, and other private landowners. In 2021, these drought-proof land lease payments totaled $4.6 million.

ACP’s Nebraska Clean Energy Fact Sheet, May 2021

Additional Resources

Incentives

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency/Nebraska

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.