Tag Archives: Department of Energy (DOE)

SEIA News Release: Interconnection Whitepaper Details Near Term Reforms Needed to Extricate Hundreds of Gigawatts of Solar Power

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) released a whitepaper detailing the extensive interconnection reforms needed to rapidly decarbonize the electricity grid. Across the country state and federal leaders are doubling down on their clean energy goals, but distribution utilities and regional transmission organizations (RTOs) are struggling to keep up with overflowing interconnection queues.

The new whitepaper, Lessons from the Front Line: Principles and Recommendations for Large-scale and Distributed Energy Interconnection Reforms, discusses the various opportunities utilities and regulators have to standardize, automate, and clarify interconnection procedures and policies. On June 16 FERC is expected to publish a proposed rule that will cover many of the same topics raised in this whitepaper. Read the entire news release.

 Additional Recommended Reading 

DOE Partners With Carnegie Mellon University to Launch The 2022 Global Clean Energy Action Forum

U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of International Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced its partnership with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to launch and host the 2022 Global Clean Energy Action Forum (Global Energy Forum) in Pittsburgh, PA, September 21–23. This landmark convening brings together energy leaders from around the world to turn clean energy ambition into action and accelerate the transition toward a more secure energy future. 

“By convening the Global Clean Energy Action Forum, the United States is continuing its leadership on the world stage to foster greater international cooperation to achieve our shared climate ambitions, drive innovation, and accelerate the deployment of clean energy solutions, while creating millions of good paying jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. Continue reading here.

MORE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS RELEASES

SOLAR+STORAGE

Solar-plus-storage potential everywhere in the US’: Recurrent Energy interview, by Andy Colthorpe, Energy Storage News

Around 60% of new solar PV projects planned for deployment in US utility service areas over the next two years are hybrid resources paired with storage. That’s equivalent to about 6GW and growing all the time. Although a clear majority of this new capacity will be clustered in the leading regional markets for solar, like California or Arizona, it’s increasingly becoming a national phenomenon. For context, Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables said in recent research that a total 3GW of utility-scale energy storage came online during 2021 in the US, so it’s clear batteries paired with solar will be a significant complement to standalone battery storage in terms of new additions.

Also written by Andy Colthorpe: Biden’s executive action to support solar likely to run in tandem with support for energy storage

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

Over 16 GW of planned wind capacity in SPP supported by robust financial outlook, S&P Global 
Developers are taking notice of the impressive performance of wind projects in the Cornhusker state as the pipeline for wind has swelled to 4,947 MW, ranking fourth in the country in planned onshore wind capacity. Over 40% of this capacity, however, is tied up in a single wind project still in early planning: the 2,000 MW Wildcat Ridge Wind Farm-Geronimo, which will be owned and operated by National Grid PLC subsidiary National Grid Renewables LLC.

IOWA’S PROPOSED ‘WIND PRIME’ PROJECT

Google, Facebook Stoke Wind-Farm Debate, Data Center Knowledge
(Bloomberg) — Google, Facebook and Microsoft Corp. — three of the world’s biggest corporate buyers of clean power — are sounding the alarm that a nearly $4 billion, Warren Buffett-backed renewable-energy project proposed in Iowa isn’t necessarily in the best interest of customers, including them. The fight is an important one to watch because it demonstrates the increasing influence technology giants have on the energy transition. Tech companies have pushed utilities in other parts of the US to offer more clean energy options as they seek to clean up the sources of power for their energy-intensive operations. And since they buy so much power, the utilities often listen to them.

Previously Posted Berkshire Hathaway Energy News Release: MidAmerican Energy Company Announces Wind PRIME Project

FEATURED ORGANIZATION

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities. NSAC’s vision of agriculture is one where a safe, nutritious, ample, and affordable food supply is produced by a legion of family farmers who make a decent living pursuing their trade, while protecting the environment, and contributing to the strength and stability of their communities.

NSAC member groups advance common positions to support small and mid-size family farms, protect natural resources, promote healthy rural communities, and ensure access to healthy, nutritious foods by everyone. By bringing grassroots perspectives to the table normally dominated by big business, NSAC levels the playing field and gives voice to sustainable and organic farmers.  

Nebraska Groups

Recent NSAC Blog Post: Climate And Agriculture Legislation Roundup
NSAC Publications

EPA Regional Administrator Meg McCollister Urges School Districts, Tribes and School Bus Operators in Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska to Apply for $500M In Available Funding for Clean School Buses

Environmental Protection Agency News Release, May 20, 2022

“This historic investment under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will forever transform school bus fleets across the United States,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “These funding opportunities to replace older, heavily-polluting buses will result in healthier air for many of the 25 million American children who rely on school buses, many of whom live in overburdened and underserved communities. Today we take a major step toward a future where clean, zero-emissions school buses are the American standard.”

“This new funding can make a big impact for children across Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska and the nine tribal nations here,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meghan A. McCollister. “I urge all eligible school districts, tribes, and school bus operators to make the time this summer to apply for Clean School Bus rebates. Applications will be accepted until August 19, 2022. Over the next five years, this program will deliver $5 billion to school districts to improve our bus fleets and improve health and safety for our kids and communities.” Questions about applying may be directed to CleanSchoolBus@epa.gov.

Read the entire news release here.

Note: This is the first competition that EPA is running through the Clean School Bus program. The Agency will also launch a grant competition later this year. Further Clean School Bus competitions funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will be run every year over the next five years. To learn more about the rebate programs, applicant eligibility, selection process, and informational webinar dates, visit www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus. 

Links to more information:

Links to U.S. PIRG Reports & Blog

UPCOMING DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY WEBINAR

180 Day Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Briefing, Monday, May 23rd at 10:30 am CT
The U.S. Department of Energy is hosting this 30-minute webinar with Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Infrastructure Kathleen Hogan to provide updates on the implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and to share the progress made in its first 180 days. The webinar will feature updates on the $10 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding already released as well as a preview of upcoming funding opportunities. In addition, it will highlight how equity and the Justice40 initiative are being incorporated into BIL programs and allow time for a Q&A. Submit your questions via the link in your registration confirmation email.

UPDATED DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY CAREER MAPS

For anyone seeking a job in clean energy, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has created various interactive and user-friendly maps to help you think about what your career can look like in clean energy. Each map is organized into easily navigated sections based on degreed versus vocational careers, making for clearer roles and paths.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

FEATURED CLIMATE EDUCATION & ACTION RESOURCES

  • UNICEF: Talking to your child about climate change: How to engage children on the issue with hope and positivity. Numerous links to resources are provided.
  • Talk Climate.Org resource pages are designed to support justice-based climate education, to provide guidance for productive and empowering climate conversations, and to offer ways to take climate action.

Department of Energy Update

Sent by Email, May 18, 2022

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a series of announcements involving its Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) offices. In case you missed them, read on for a short summary of an exciting day for clean energy.

Subscribe to Energy.gov Updates here

From The White House Briefing Room: White House Releases Technical Assistance Guide to Help Communities Unlock Resources From Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Today, the White House released a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law technical assistance guide to help state, local, Tribal and territorial governments navigate, access, and deploy infrastructure resources that will build a better America. The Biden Administration has identified over $700 million in dedicated funding across more than 65 technical assistance programs. In addition to highlighting federal government technical assistance, the White House Infrastructure Implementation Team has engaged with a range of external stakeholders including, philanthropic, labor and nonprofit organizations, to highlight available nongovernmental resources and create a pipeline to assist communities in quickly and equitably accessing and deploying federal infrastructure funding.

Over 90% of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s historic funding will be deployed by non-federal partners. In the past, too many communities have lacked the resources to apply for and deploy transformative infrastructure opportunities. This guide, building on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Guidebook and Rural Playbook, highlights programs that help communities navigate programs and resources that can help them deliver infrastructure projects.  While some of these programs offer hands-on and intensive planning and delivery support for communities, others are more self-directed resources and tools such as webinars and websites, or funding that can support project planning.

DOE Funding Opportunity For Agrivoltaics Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) announced the Foundational Agrivoltaic Research for Megawatt Scale (FARMS) funding opportunity, which will award $8 million in funding for projects that examine how agrivoltaics can scale up to provide new economic opportunities to farmers, rural communities, and the solar industry. Agrivoltaics is defined as agricultural production, such as crop production, livestock grazing, and pollinator habitat that exist underneath solar panels and/or in between rows of solar panels.

Projects will conduct a range of activities, including integrated agriculture-energy impact studies examining how agrivoltaic designs impact both agriculture production and energy production. Some projects will study how agrivoltaics can fit into existing agricultural communities and economies or enable new ones, while others will develop resources that will lower the barriers of entry to agrivoltaics, making it easier for agricultural producers and solar developers to benefit from these opportunities.

SETO’s goal is to reduce barriers to the deployment of utility- and community-scale solar energy necessary to meet the Biden administration’s goals for equitably decarbonizing the electricity sector by 2035. Scaling up the co-location of solar energy and agriculture has the potential to and provide additional benefits to farmers, rural communities, and the solar industry.

DOE expects to make between 4 and 6 awards under FARMS, each ranging from $1-2 million. SETO is interested in projects that partner with farmers who are pursuing climate-smart and sustainable agriculture and are considering agrivoltaics to enhance the economic efficiency and sustainability of small- and medium-size farms. Additionally, SETO is interested in projects that offer economic benefits to underserved communities in agricultural regions.

To facilitate the formation of teams, SETO is providing a Teaming Partner List where interested parties who would like to apply to the FOA, but not as the prime applicant, may express interest to potential partners.

Prior to submitting a full application for this opportunity, a mandatory letter of intent is due on June 1, 2022 at 5 p.m. ET.

SETO will host an informational webinar on May 12, 2022 at 3 p.m. ET to discuss the funding program and the areas of focus. Register for the webinar.

Learn more about this funding opportunity and other open funding opportunities within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

UNL CENTER FOR AGRICULTURAL PROFITIBILITY WEBINAR

Managing Through Drought with USDA Conservation and Assistance Programs
May 12 at Noon CT

Drought conditions persist across much of the country and both livestock and crop producers face losses and continuing challenges for their operations. This webinar will cover USDA emergency assistance programs to help producers cope with losses as well as on-going conservation programs to help producers prepare for and manage through drought.

MORE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

SEI SOLAR TRAINING PROGRAMS

Rundown of Solar Energy International’s upcoming 2022 solar training programs, Solar Builder Magazine

For 30 years, Solar Energy International (SEI) has been dedicated to training the global solar energy workforce. SEI delivers hands-on experience, safety, and technical skills solar training to scale the global workforce at a pace to that significantly impacts climate change — whether that’s equipping utilities with the skills to operate large-scale solar farms, or helping people access clean, reliable energy for the first time. SEI offers online training as well as in-person workshops at its facilities in Paonia, Colorado.

SEI’s Solar Professional Certificate Program (SPCP) is the industry’s most comprehensive training program. With custom program tracks, SPCP prepares professionals with foundational solar skills and technical theory in the solar industry segment of their choice. All SPCP tracks are a combination of hands-on, safety, and technical skills training.

FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY JOB SEEKERS

  • Solar Workforce Development, Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO)
  • Google Search
    Solar Energy Jobs
    Wind Energy Jobs
    An additional search strategy is to check for jobs listings on the websites of solar and wind energy companies that have installed renewable energy projects in Nebraska.

FAST COMPANY’S 2022 WORLD-CHANGING IDEAS AWARDS

Every year, Fast Company’s World-Changing Ideas Awards honor the innovative ways businesses and organizations are tackling the biggest challenges of our time. Amid the seemingly endless stream of disastrous news, these awards provide more than 1,000 reasons to feel some hope. One thousand fifty-three, to be exact. That’s the total number of honorees that our judges chose to recognize from the nearly 3,000 applications we received.

Solar Industry Launches Nonprofit to Alleviate Clean Energy Roadblocks

SEIA News Release

While the organization will focus on a variety of issues, one emerging challenge in the solar industry is land use. Siting clean energy projects requires community engagement and long-term planning that minimizes impact to the environment and surrounding community. These projects must also account for access to transmission lines, upgrades to grid infrastructure, and several other factors that can affect the outcome of a large-scale solar project. SI2’s first research project will create best practices for solar companies looking to create large-scale solar projects and other resources that will help the industry navigate these challenges. Read more here. 

To learn more about the new nonprofit, visit Solar and Storage Industries Institute (SI2): www.ssii.org 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING  

NFS Note: As the Energy Information Association (EIA) data show, Nebraska and Iowa continue to lag behind most states on Solar as a Percentage of Total Generation (SPG): Nebraska 0.17% / Iowa 0.47%. Both states, however, are national leaders on Solar + Wind as a percentage of Total Generation (SWPG): Nebraska – 31.22% / Iowa – 67% (currently #1).

FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

The US generated a record 18% of its electricity from wind and solar in March

By Michelle Lewis, Electrek

Last month, the US generated 18% of its electricity from wind and solar (59 TWh) for the first time. That beat the previous record set in March 2021 (53 TWh), according to new data from global energy think tank EmberThe International Energy Agency states that in order to reach net zero, wind and solar need to reach 20% of global electricity by 2025 and 70% by 2050. Read more here.

MORE NEWS & RESOURCES

RECENT DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY BLOG POSTS & NEWS RELEASES 

PV in the Circular Economy: Modeling tool helps predict flow of solar materials

By Anne Fischer, Senior Editor, PV Magazine

Exponential growth of PV installations continues in the US and so will the growth in PV panel waste streams. According to the Solar Futures Study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), solar could account for as much as 40% of the nation’s electricity supply by 2035 and 45% by 2050.

To reach these levels, solar deployment will need to grow by an average of 30 GW each year between now and 2025 and then double that between 2025 and 2030—four times its current deployment rate—to total 1,000 GW of solar deployed by 2035. That’s a lot of solar panels that would start being retired from service even before 2050. Needless to say, a lot of people–including 7-year old Neil— are concerned about what will happen to solar modules at the end of their life. That concern is real and growing, and is the subject of much study around the world. Continue reading here.

Referenced PV Magazine Article: Neil – a second grader from Minnesota – is concerned about solar panel recycling

Above Photo: Local Reuse Project
The Meristem Aronia Berry Farm And Nursery In Papillion provides an excellent example of reusing solar panels that still have life left in them. The solar panels heat a 700-gallon water tank that powers a propagating bench for the farm’s aronia berry plants. The owner, Tom Lundahl, received a grant to purchase the used solar panels, and Michael Shonka, owner of Solar Heat and Electric, installed them. Photo by Tom Lundahl
News Story: Papillion farmer installing solar panels says renewable energy is future of farming, KETV

Solar Schools
Additional examples include schools throughout the country that are reusing still-working solar panels and other PV system components for onsite STEM learning opportunities. The National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project has written a companion curriculum guide:
Schools Going Solar: Data driven lessons and activities to support and incorporate installed photovoltaic systems into the classroom learning environment.

State Policies & Laws
Nebraska does not yet have end-of-life policies for reusing and recycling solar panels and other PV system components. States that have enacted laws, regulations, and policies include: California, Hawaii, New Jersey, North Carolina and Washington. Source: State Solar Panel End-of-Life Policies, EPA

Related PV Magazine Articles

Department of Energy 

End-of-Life Management for Solar Photovoltaics, DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office

Most PV systems are young—approximately 70% of solar energy systems have been deployed in the past five years. The estimated operational lifespan of a PV module is about 30-35 years, although some may produce power much longer. So, while there are not many systems entering the waste stream right now, more systems will come to the end of their useful life in the next few decades.

Read about SETO’s PV End-of-Life Action Plan,
March 2022.

New Department of Energy Partnership Will Boost Low-Income Community Solar Subscriptions

Department of Energy News Release

Yesterday, the White House announced a new partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that will develop and pilot a digital platform to enable more low-income households to access community solar by connecting project developers with Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) recipients.

The LIHEAP program, run by HHS, assists eligible low-income households with home energy costs. Connecting NCSP with this existing program will reduce the cost of customer acquisition, lower low-income household electricity bills, and speed the deployment of community solar projects.

Community solar programs make solar more accessible to all Americans, particularly to those with low-to-moderate incomes because it allowed energy users to subscribe to a shared system of solar panels, often located within their community. At least 21 states and the District of Columbia have developed community solar-related programs that have direct carve-outs for low-and-moderate income customers.

A persistent problem identified by community solar developers is identifying subscribers that meet income eligibility requirements. Access to pre-qualified applicants through LIHEAP could fill a portion of subscriptions for community solar systems while delivering energy assistance and providing long-term energy burden reductions.

A collaborative team from NCSP, HHS, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will develop the platform. The team will coordinate with utilities, state and local governments, and industry, and plans to pilot the platform in 3-5 states as part of the NCSP States Collaborative. This partnership will support NCSP’s target to enable community solar systems to power the equivalent of 5 million households and create $1 billion in energy bill savings by 2025.

About National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP)
National Community Solar Partnership is an active group of community members, developers, utilities, financial institutions, and governments dedicated to increasing access to community solar for all U.S. households. Partners receive access to technical assistance, resources, training, events, and a platform for connecting with other collaborative partners. Join NCSP to receive program updates and announcements about future opportunities and how you can participate.

Helpful Links

Additional $25 Million DOE Solar Funding Opportunity 

EERE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office has announced a $25 million funding opportunity for projects that will enable communities to use solar energy and solar-plus storage to prevent power disruptions caused by extreme weather events. Learn more about this $25M Solar Energy Funding Opportunity.

Attend a webinar: Renewables Advancing Community Energy Resilience Funding Opportunity Announcement, April 27, 12 pm CT

More Department of Energy News & Resources

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces the Rural Partners Network to Empower Rural Communities to Access Federal Resources

With today’s launch of the Rural Partners Network, the Department of Energy is committed to ensuring federal resources that can benefit rural America actually reach rural America.

This new collaboration between federal agencies and rural communities will help create jobs, build infrastructure, and make the government work better for rural America.

Learn more here:

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces the Rural Partners Network to Empower Rural Communities to Access Federal Resources

FACT SHEET: President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Empowers the Department of Energy to Deliver for Rural America