Tag Archives: Dominion Energy

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.

As Fossil Fuel Pipelines Fall to Opposition, Utilities See Renewable Energy as Safe Bet

By Jeff St. John, Senior Editor, Greentech Media

Legal challenges halted several major pipeline projects across the U.S. in recent days, underscoring a seismic shift facing the U.S. utility industry: the rise of renewables as a potentially less costly and risky alternative to fossil fuels. Over the weekend Dominion Energy and Duke Energy, two of the country’s biggest utilities, canceled their Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, citing costs that have ballooned to as much as $8 billion and ongoing legal challenges from landowners and environmental groups. The pipeline’s legal challenges include an April federal court decision overturning Nationwide Permit 12, a federal permit authority allowing pipelines to cross waterways and wetlands, which threatens the viability of projects including the massive Keystone XL oil pipeline. Continue reading here.

Previously Posted
In A Post-Pandemic World, Renewable Energy Is The Only Way Forward, by Senior Contributor Enrique Dans, Forbes. A post-pandemic economic reconstruction based on restructuring the energy map makes sense. We know we have to do it, and we know the reason we haven’t done it so far is because it challenges the interests of a powerful few.

MORE ON FOSSIL FUEL PIPELINES

  • Judge orders Dakota Access pipeline shut down pending review, Omaha World-Herald
    FARGO, N.D. — A federal judge on Monday ordered the Dakota Access pipeline shut down pending a more thorough environmental review, handing a victory to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe three years after the pipeline first began carrying oil following months of protests.
  • US Supreme Court deals blow to Keystone oil pipeline project, Omaha World-Herald
    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court handed another setback to the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline from Canada on Monday by keeping in place a lower court ruling that blocked a key environmental permit for the project. Canadian company TC Energy needs the permit to continue building the long-disputed pipeline across U.S. rivers and streams.

TESLA

Tesla’s Success Is Good News For Everyone, by Senior Contributor Enrique Dans, Forbes
The company is now the gold standard for an industry that for too long has innovated reluctantly and at a snail’s pace. 

ACQUISITION NEWS

Sunrun to acquire Vivint Solar for $3.2 billion in all-stock transaction, PV Magazine
The new, bigger Sunrun will have 500,000 customers and more than 3 GW of solar power assets. Is there value in scale in residential solar?

THERMAL ENERGY STORAGE

Storing Heat Energy Offers $300bn Opportunity To Cut Carbon Emissions, by Mike Scott, Forbes. Thermal energy storage allows polluting industries to clean up and reduce emissions.

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

New money: Green banks and green bonds are bringing billions to utilities for the energy transition

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Hundreds of billions of dollars in untapped new money can finance the U.S. power system’s transition away from legacy fossil assets to renewables and distributed generation. Utilities like Duke Energy and Xcel Energy have issued billions in green bonds to fund renewables development. Green banks in New York, Connecticut and other states are backing investments in distributed resources and energy efficiency. It appears much more institutional money wants in on the green opportunity. Congress is considering proposals for a National green bank, which can help propel the energy transition if it can win the acceptance that major utilities told Utility Dive it deserves. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

MIDWEST SOLAR ADVOCACY STORIES

From green-minded business owners to political activists: an industry shift in the Midwest, Solar Power World. For many Midwest solar companies, taking on advocacy roles in an industry just getting off the ground has been a necessary responsibility. Here is a look at solar policy in three Midwest states and how local solar installers have taken matters into their own hands.

CLIMATE ACTION GOALS & PROGRESS

MORE EV NEWS

MORE INDUSTRY NEWS

  • Secretive energy startup backed by Bill Gates achieves solar breakthrough, CNN
    Heliogen, a clean energy company that emerged from stealth mode on Tuesday, said it has discovered a way to use artificial intelligence and a field of mirrors to reflect so much sunlight that it generates extreme heat above 1,000 degrees Celsius. The breakthrough means that, for the first time, concentrated solar energy can be used to create the extreme heat required to make cement, steel, glass and other industrial processes. In other words, carbon-free sunlight can replace fossil fuels in a heavy carbon-emitting corner of the economy that has been untouched by the clean energy revolution.
  • Old dog solar panel manufacturer, Panasonic, learning new home storage tricks, PV Magazine
    Panasonic recently launched their EverVolt home energy storage system, with an AC and DC coupled unit that easily can scale up to 34 kWh and, when coupled with their HIT solar modules, can power your home indefinitely if the grid goes down.
  • Target in energy milestone — ahead of schedule, Chain Store Age
    During the past five years, Target has installed more solar systems than any other company, according to data from SEIA’s Solar Means Business report. The chain is also a four-time Energy Star Partner of the Year. 
  • Wind output to jump 37% because of climate shift — study, E&E News

FEATURED GREEN CAMPUS

Award spotlights UI’s energy efforts, Champaign/Urbana News- Gazette
Five years after it opened, the $98 million Electrical and Computer Engineering Building at the University of Illinois has been awarded “platinum” certification under the LEED environmental rating system. Designed to someday be a “net zero” energy user, the building has a $3 million rooftop solar array with 950 panels that generate renewable electricity for the building and, on sunny days, contribute to the campus-wide power grid. The building also uses power from campus solar farms.

TRACKING THE SUN REPORT

US Solar Panel Prices Continue Dropping, Solar+Storage Increasing — Tracking The Sun Report, CleanTechnica. Tracking the Sun (PDF) is an annual report from Berkeley Lab on installed solar panel prices and other trends among grid-connected, distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States.

SOLINATOR VIDEO

Demand from first-time, repeat buyers powers new era of large-scale renewables growth

By Monica JaburgDeputy Director, Communications and Media,
Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance. Published by GreenBiz.

Large-scale energy buyers are driving the energy landscape shift by collectively voicing their demand for accessible clean energy options to decrease their carbon impacts. In 2018 alone, the group accounted for 6.3 gigawatts in announced renewable energy deals — an amount equal to over 60 percent of all new renewables generation added in the United States last year.

However, the U.S. commercial and industrial sector is still the most energy-intensive, accounting for about 50 percent of all power consumption and 34 percent of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. So what’s next for this community when it comes to advance its clean energy and GHG emissions reduction mandates? Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

TRI-STATE NEWS

IN NEBRASKA

  • Excelsior to buy 109 MW of Nebraska wind capacity from Invenergy, Renewables Now
    Prairie Breeze II and Prairie Breeze III initiated operations in late 2015 and early 2016, respectively. They have 25-year power purchase agreements (PPA) in place with Lincoln Electric System and City of Grand Island. The transaction is seen to be completed next month. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the tax equity investor in the projects, the announcement says.
  • Wind costs’ decline aids rural Nebraska, Letter to the Editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Cody Smith, Ames, Iowa Policy associate, Center for Rural Affairs

OF POTENTIAL INTEREST TO NEBRASKA SOLAR BUSINESSES

Solar Jobs Census: The Solar Foundation is again collecting data for their annual National Solar Jobs Census. This confidential survey will take fifteen minutes of your time and will provide essential feedback to ensure that your company’s contributions to our economy are well
understood by policymakers and the general public. Deadline: November 15, 2019.
Complete the survey here.

LEGISLATION

  • SEIA garners industry support and lobbies for ITC extension, Solar Power World
    Solar contractors are on a time crunch to fit as many installations into 2019 as they can, because in 2020 the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) starts to lose its effectiveness. The ITC is a federal tax subsidy that, in its current capacity, gives solar system owners a 30% return on a solar project’s total tax liability in any market segment. In 2020 the ITC is slated to drop to 26%, 22% in 2021 and in 2022 it will decrease to a 10% subsidy for commercial and utility markets, and zero for residential, indefinitely. That is, unless, the renewables subsidy receives another extension. SEIA’s Campaign: Defend the Solar ITC
  • Legislation aims to accelerate geothermal energy development, American Public Power Association

EV NEWS

GM sells shuttered Ohio plant to EV truck start-up, Reuters

INSIDE CLIMATE NEWS – EXXON TRIAL

Exxon’s Climate Fraud Trial Nears Its End: What Does the State Have to Prove to Win?
With only days left before the two sides deliver their closing arguments, here’s a look at what the attorney general needs to prove and how Exxon is fighting the claims.

See Also

Previously Posted

Yale University Survey: Yale Poll Finds Majority of Americans Think ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron and Other Fossil Fuel Companies Should Pay for Climate Change Damage, Union of Concerned Scientists Blog. new survey by Yale University’s Program on Climate Change Communications and supported by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) finds that most Americans (57 percent) think fossil fuel companies should pay for the damages caused by global warming.

Interactive Map – Click link and scroll down: This tool maps variations in Americans’ opinions about existing or potential lawsuits against fossil fuel companies.

Nebraska Data

  • A search by state shows that 50% of Nebraskans surveyed hold fossil fuel companies responsible for the local damage of global warming.
  • Several searches by county show the following results:

Cherry County: 58%
Colfax County: 56%
Dawes County: 57%
Douglas County: 56%
Lancaster County: 55%
Thurston County: 61%

Facebook and Google: Utilities Must Take Lead on Grid Decarbonization

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Utilities, not green-minded corporations, need to lead on decarbonizing the grid, said executives at Google and Facebook. Corporate procurement now ranks among the top drivers of large-scale U.S. renewables purchases. But it’s not the long-term answer to clean energy deployment, the technology executives said Thursday, speaking at an event hosted by the American Council on Renewable Energy. They’d rather see large market shifts than an emphasis on voluntary corporate renewables goals. Google and Facebook are currently the nation’s largest corporate buyers of renewable power in 2019 and among the largest in the world. Read more here.

Google Photo: Data center operators are driving demand for renewable power around the world. 

Additional Recommended Reading

Corporate leaders: It’s time to lead on climate policy, by Mindy Lubber, CEO and president of the nonprofit Ceres. At this vital moment in the global climate crisis, corporate leadership on climate policy is a top priority. This week, I joined ten other executives of leading nonprofit organizations in an open letter calling on corporate CEOs to use their voice, their global platforms, their credibility, and their networks to support a policy agenda to get us to net-zero emissions by 2050. That is the goal that scientists say is necessary to limit global warming and avoid unprecedented damage to our planet, our economy and our communities. 

Ceres is one of the cofounders of We Are Still In, a coalition of more than 3500 investors, companies, mayors, governors, college presidents and other leaders committed to U.S. action on climate change.

RE100 Update: 204 influential businesses, including Google and Facebook, have made a commitment to 100% renewable energy. A growing number of RE100 members also are driving their global supply chains to transition to clean energy.

REBA: Google and Facebook are also members of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA). REBA’s goal is to catalyze 60 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy by 2025, and expand the number of organizations buying clean power from dozens today to tens of thousands. REBA’s Vision & Initiatives.

Recommended Viewing
What is REBA?, Two-minute video by REBA on Vimeo.

IEA Bags US$67 Million Contract For 130-MW Wind Farm In Iowa

By Saif Bepari, Technology Magazine

Speaking on the announcement, JP Roehm, Chief Executive Officer, IEA, said that the Richland project validates Iowa’s ongoing and strong commitment towards wind energy. Iowa has already made some substantial progress by installing nearly 9,000 megawatts, while more than 1,100 additional megawatts are currently under construction in the region. Read more here.

Previously Posted IEA News Release, August 6, 2019
Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives, Inc. Announces $98 Million Wind Construction Project in Nebraska, Globe Newswire. The award is for construction of the Milligan 1 Wind Farm in Saline County in southeast Nebraska. This is a 300-megawatt project that is expected to provide enough energy to power up to 115,000 homes. The power generated by the project’s planned 99 turbines will be delivered into the Southwest Power Pool electrical grid. Work on the Milligan 1 project is scheduled to begin in September with full operation by November 2020.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

ABIGAIL ROSS HOPPER POST

Why America’s Top Businesses Are Also Leading on Solar Energy, SEIA Blog

FEATURED OP-ED

It’s time to value DER in resource adequacy
In this op-ed for pv magazine, Craig Lewis of Clean Coalition argues for a greater role for distributed energy resources to mitigate future power shortages and grid instability.

NEW STUDY

NREL engineer on the ‘grand challenges’ of supersizing wind power on the grid, Energy News Network. Wind energy is growing at a fast pace, with various forecasts projecting it will supply between one-quarter and one-third of the world’s electricity by 2050. The potential could range up to half if scientists and engineers can resolve three big challenges, according to a new review study published this month in the journal Science. 

COMMERCIAL SOLAR MARKET

5 Observations on the Commercial Solar Market, contributed article by Richard Walsh, Greentech Media. There’s more capital chasing solar assets than there are quality projects available, giving developers their pick of partners, the author writes. Richard Walsh is managing partner at Madison Energy Investments, a platform that develops, owns and operates distributed generation projects within the commercial and industrial and small utility-scale sectors.

GREEN HYDROGEN

Getting Real Serious About Renewable Hydrogen In Real America, CleanTechnica

CIRCULAR ECONOMY NEWS

5 emerging jobs in the circular economy, GreenBiz
The circular economy is celebrated as a trillion-dollar opportunity beginning to penetrate industries around the world. There’s no sector or region left untouched by the potential for reinventing systems, products and services in a fashion that ultimately creates no waste and even regenerates natural systems. At least that’s the hope among evangelists of circularity, notably the Ellen MacArthur Foundation alongside many hundreds of corporations aligned on various ambitious circular goals.

WIND WILDLIFE RESEARCH FUND

Funding innovation to support science-based solutions: The Wind Wildlife Research Fund, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog. This is a guest post from Kyle Boudreaux, NextEra Energy Resources and Chair of the Wind Wildlife Research Fund Advisory Council.

NEGATIVE WHOLESALE POWER PRICES

Strong wind power in the US Midwest today means wholesale prices are below zero, Electrek
The Plains states are seeing strong, steady winds today that are keeping the wind turbines turning, so wholesale power prices have fallen below zero. Negative electricity rates are becoming more common as utilities incorporate solar and wind power with no fossil-fuel costs. This will only increase as the US reduces coal consumption and builds more green energy sources.