Tag Archives: economic recovery

Solar Jobs Support 231,000 Families, Must Grow 4X to Reach Biden’s Clean Energy Target

SEIA News Release, May 6, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. solar industry employed 231,474 workers in 2020, a 6.7% drop from 2019 due to pandemic restrictions and increased labor productivity, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2020 released today by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), The Solar Foundation, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), and BW Research.

The solar industry continues to support hundreds of thousands of jobs across all 50 states, and even during a pandemic, our companies largely were able to keep workers on the job,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA. “We now have an opportunity to quadruple our workforce, adding diversity and supporting underserved communities by taking policy steps that incentivize solar and storage deployment and provide long-term certainty for solar businesses.” Read more here.

Download the report, view the interactive charts and explore the state map.
Nebraska
Solar Jobs: 1,246 (ranks #32)
Solar Jobs Per Capita: 1:1,576 (ranks #16)
Installed Solar Capacity: 62.96 MW (ranks #46)

ACP News Release

New study: Transmission policy would unlock clean energy growth, by Jesse Broehl,  American Clean  Power Association

Building just 22 high-voltage transmission lines that are currently on hold in the U.S. could increase national wind and solar generation by 50 percent and create approximately 1.2 million jobs, according to a new study from Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG).

The report, titled Transmission Projects Ready to Go: Plugging into America’s Untapped Renewable Resources, identifies 22 projects currently stalled because the nation lacks the right policies to recover costs of the large-scale interregional transmission needed at the national scale. These shovel-ready projects would unlock roughly 60,000 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy capacity, but policies relating to how long-range transmission is planned, paid for, and permitted are needed for these to move ahead. Click on this link to access the full report.

 ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

The top 5 takeaways from BlackRock head Larry Fink’s 2021 letter to CEOs

Contributor Tim Mohn, Fast Company

For years now, investment management company BlackRock’s CEO Larry Fink writes an annual letter, aimed at other business leaders that is eagerly anticipated by investors, companies—and increasingly—the global sustainability movement.

Having worked in sustainability for more than 30 years, it’s an odd experience to hang on every word of one of the world’s top capitalists. But BlackRock has nearly $9 trillion under management, so its decisions have important implications for the markets, and for the companies in which it owns stock. And Fink’s letters have been pushing sustainability for several years. This year’s letter—when paired with political shifts in Europe and the U.S.—will have an outsized impact. Read more here.

Tim Mohin is the chief sustainability officer for Persefoni AI. Formerly, Tim served as the chief executive of the Global Reporting Initiative and is the author of Changing Business from the Inside Out. He also held sustainability leadership roles with Intel, Apple, and AMD and worked on environmental policy within the U.S. Senate and U.S. EPA. 

Photo: BlackRock CEO Lawrence Fink

Additional Recommended Reading

Biden says tackling climate change will create jobs, bring economic recovery, ABC News
President Joe Biden took a series of actions on climate change on his seventh full day in office, fulfilling campaign promises such as freezing new oil and gas leasing on federal land and kicking off his ambitious agenda to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — making tackling climate change a priority across the federal government.

“Today is climate day in the White House, which means today is jobs day at the White House. We’re talking about American innovation. American products, American labor,” Biden said in remarks at the White House.

“In my view, we’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis. We can’t wait any longer,” Biden said. “We see it with our own eyes. We feel it. We know it in our bones. And it’s time to act.”

Solar Industry Commends Biden’s Climate Executive Actions

SEIA News Release

WASHINGTON D.C.—President Biden announced key actions on several climate issues today, including clean energy jobs, infrastructure, and environmental justice. Following is a statement on these executive orders from Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA):  “The president has outlined a clear and carefully thought-out vision for addressing the range of climate challenges we face, and I commend and thank him for taking swift action on many of those challenges during the first week of this administration.” Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Biden Moves To Have U.S. Rejoin Climate Accord

By Nathan Rott, NET

In one of his first acts in the Oval Office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to have the United States rejoin the Paris climate agreement, the largest international effort to curb global warming. The U.S. officially withdrew from the accord to limit climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions late last year, after President Donald Trump began the process in 2017. It is the only country of the nearly 200 signatories that has withdrawn. Read more here.

President Biden halts Keystone XL pipeline project, by David Earl, KETV
In one of his first executive orders, President Biden called the Keystone XL project a “disservice to the national interest” and said that leaving the permit for it in place would not be consistent with his economic and climate imperatives. The Biden Administration said it wants good, union jobs, but wants those workers on the frontlines of the climate crisis, building wind and solar power instead of oil pipelines.

Additional Recommended Reading 

Survey Finds Majority of Voters Support Initiatives to Fight Climate Change

 By John Schwartz, New York Times

A survey carried out after the November election found that 66 percent of respondents said that developing sources of clean energy should be a high or very high priority.

Of those polled, 83 percent said they supported creating a jobs program that would hire unemployed coal workers, shut down old coal mines safely, and restore the natural landscape. The same percentage said they supported a jobs program that would shut down the thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells around the nation, which pollute water and leak methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Read more here.

BIDEN CLIMATE TEAM

Biden Builds Out Administration-Wide Climate Team, American Institute of Physics
Adding to his early announcement of former Democratic senator and secretary of state John Kerry as special climate envoy, Biden’s team now includes a “national climate advisor” focused on domestic policy and nominees to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of Energy and the Interior. Other Cabinet nominees and White House staff members named this month also have experience in climate policy.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NRDC’S REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE SERIES

Regenerative Agriculture Part 3: The Practices, Natural Resources Defense Council 
The first blog introduced the philosophy of regenerative agriculture, and the second blog covered the principles of regenerative agriculture. This blog summarizes some of the practices that regenerative growers use. The fourth blog will discuss the benefits of regenerative agriculture.

TESLA NEWS

Tesla (TSLA) launches its own solar power inverter, Electrek
Tesla has had success with its Powerwall, a home battery pack that matches well with a residential solar installation, and it is starting to have some success with its solar roof tiles. Surprisingly, considering Tesla’s extensive expertise in power electronics in its electric vehicles, the company never had its own solar power inverter, an important part of a solar installation… until now. Now the company is adding a new in-house designed ‘Tesla Solar Inverter’ to its lineup.

Previously Posted: Tesla partners with other companies to install solar roof tiles, Electrek

Tesla Solar Roof Available in Nebraska


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You Tube Video: We Installed A Tesla Solar Roof In One Day: Weddle & Sons Roofing

Congress takes aim at climate change in massive relief bill

By Matthew Daly, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The huge pandemic relief and spending bill includes billions of dollars to promote clean energy such as wind and solar power while sharply reducing over time the use of potent coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are considered a major driver of global warming. The energy and climate provisions, supported by lawmakers from both parties, were hailed as the most significant climate change law in at least a decade. “Republicans and Democrats are working together to protect the environment through innovation,” said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

American Clean Power Association statement on Renewable Energy Provisions of COVID-19 Omnibus Legislation, AWEA News Release

“This bipartisan agreement is a major win for American energy consumers, providing more opportunities for them to receive reliable, zero-carbon, and pollution-free electricity in their local communities. We appreciate that Congress has recognized clean energy’s significant contributions to our nation’s economy and role in providing jobs and investments during the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. As we enter the new year, stable policy support will help ensure that wind and solar can continue providing the backbone of our country’s electricity growth. We also applaud Congress for recognizing the enormous potential of offshore wind, America’s largest untapped electricity source, as a brand-new provider of jobs for American workers and clean power for American families.” – Heather Zichal, CEO of the American Clean Power Association (ACP)

The Solar Vision: A 100-day agenda (PDF), Solar Energy Industries Association

Driving Toward a Majority Renewables America to Catalyze Nearly One Million Direct U.S. Clean Energy Jobs

American Wind Energy Association News Release

Washington D.C. December 16, 2020 – Clean energy resources – wind, solar, energy storage, hydropower, and other renewables – represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity to drive U.S. economic recovery and add hundreds of thousands of family-supporting jobs. According to a new, first-of-its-kind study released today by global natural resources research consultancy Wood Mackenzie and the American Clean Power Association (ACP), reaching a majority renewables grid will deploy over $1 trillion in capital investment into the American economy over the next decade, while supporting 980,000 direct jobs, stabilizing wholesale power prices, and reducing U.S. carbon emissions by over 60 percent. Targeted administrative actions and Legislative policies are essential for the U.S. to achieve these benefits within the next ten years.

“A majority renewables electric system for the U.S. is possible within a decade and will deliver much-needed investments in our economy and create a pathway toward steady, well-paying employment for workers across the country. This research shows that a collaborative promise of an American grid powered by wind, solar, hydropower, energy storage, and other renewables represents an economic powerhouse that will lead our country towards a more prosperous, healthier, and cleaner future,” said Amy Farrell, ACP Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs. Continue reading here.

Related
Job creation and clean energy go hand in hand in post-pandemic recovery, by John Hensley, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Also of Potential Interest
Renewables bring deflation to the energy sector, Financial Times
Opinion contributed by Mark Lewis, chief sustainability strategist at BNP Paribas Asset Management.

City Hall: Lancaster County seeks to relax rules for wind turbines

By Riley Johnson, Lincoln Journal Star

Lancaster County commissioners want to ease the restrictions they adopted just last year governing wind turbines in a move they see as recalibrating rules that have proven prohibitive. “It has become apparent the (county’s rules) failed to strike an appropriate balance that would allow a viable path toward wind energy development,” the five commissioners wrote in a joint letter to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Department. Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Top six wind trends of 2020 (so far), by Nora Zacharski, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog
This has been a year like no other, complete with a tremendous amount of uncertainty for our country and the entire world. Despite the many challenges, the wind industry continued to provide reliable, clean, and affordable energy for the American people. And there’s no sign that it will be slowing down any time soon. Here is a look at 2020’s top industry trends (at least through November).

BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS

Wind and Solar Jobs: U.S. Bureau of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook

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

Solar Energy Industries Association Blog

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

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

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

FROM GTM 

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

MORE ON FERC ORDER 841 RULING

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

DOE’S ENERGY STORAGE GRAND CHALLENGE

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

NEWS FROM COLORADO

DIVESTMENT NEWS

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

EV NEWS

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

Dual-use solar farms welcome nature back to the land

By Jesse Klein, GreenBiz

Surrounding Clif Bar’s 300,000-foot bakery in Twin Falls, Idaho is a five-acre solar array. Instead of gray stones, brown dirt or a green so neon it looks fake, the panels are surrounded by yellows, pinks and lush natural hazels. The reflective solar panels are nestled in a bed of native flowering plants that support pollinators, conserve water and store carbon in the healthy topsoil. This is the emerging model for ground-mounted solar, one that welcomes nature back to the land. Read more here.

Photo by Prairie Restorations showing a 40-kilowatt pollinator-friendly community solar farm in Duluth, Minnesota.

Previously Posted: Solar and pollinators: a photo essay, PV Magazine
All the solar installations shown in this photo essay by Rob Davis of Fresh Energy have a mix of flowering species in sufficient diversity, or covering a sufficient portion of the project, to meet pollinator-friendly standards created by entomologists.

BIFACIAL SOLAR PANELS WITH TRACKING

ROOFTOP SOLAR PERMITTING STUDY

US rooftop solar permitting process takes less time, but depends on state – study, Renewables Now. Berkeley Lab found that 50 days is the typical solar permit duration at the median. But there were significant differences, with half of the total cases studied taking less than 27 days or more than 96 days.

SITING RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS – NYSERDA

NYSERDA moves to launch program targeting brownfields and other less desirable sites for renewables, Utility Dive

CLEAN ENERGY & ECONOMIC RECOVERY

IRS SAFE HARBOR EXTENSION 

IRS Extends Construction Safe Harbor For Renewable Energy Projects, The National Law Review

CONSUMER-OWNED RENEWABLE ENERGY 

The U.K. will soon be home to its first consumer-owned wind farm, CNBC

PENN STATE NEWS

Renewable energy, sustainability systems program addresses growing need
Penn State’s redesigned renewable energy and sustainability systems program, offered exclusively online through Penn State World Campus and taught by faculty from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, aims to meet the needs of professionals in business and government. The graduate-level program consists of a 33-credit master of professional studies degree and two 12-credit graduate certificates in solar energy or sustainability management and policy.

OFFSHORE WIND DEVELOPMENT

NEBRASKA JOBS

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