Tag Archives: Electric Co-op Today (ECT)

Grid study finds new transmission could further cut costs, emissions

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

NREL-grid-study

Click map to enlarge it.

A recent study highlighting the renewable energy capacity of the eastern power grid found adding new transmission capacity can help further cut costs and emissions. In a recent report, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found the grid serving the eastern half of the U.S. is technically capable of integrating enough wind and solar power into the system to meet 30 percent of the region’s yearly energy needs. But one major obstacle to the large-scale use of renewables remains: getting the best wind resource from the Midwest to the East, where the power is needed. Continue reading.

This map from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s recent modeling of the eastern grid’s renewable energy potential predicts six high-voltage DC lines (dark dashes) carrying wind power from the Great Plains eastward.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
An Open Letter to the U.S. Solar Industry, by Nat Kreamer, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Solar Energy Industries Association, President and CEO of Spruce Finance
Getting to Know National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jim Matheson, Electric Co-op Today

Q&A: How batteries can help personalize our energy system

Written by David J. Unger, Midwest Energy News

george-crabtree

Facebook and Google personalized the news. Uber and Lyft tailored transportation to individual needs. Now, advances in battery technology promise to introduce a similar kind of customization and independence into energy, says George Crabtree, director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), based at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois. Crabtree oversees a team of scientists and researchers across five national labs, 10 universities and five private-sector partners looking to dramatically improve energy storage technology. Founded in 2012 with a $120-million award from the Department of Energy, JCESR (pronounced JAY-caesar) has the ambitious 5-year goal of developing battery prototypes five times as energy-dense as today’s commercial batteries at one-fifth the cost (“5-5-5” for short). Click to continue reading.

Photo: George Crabtree, Director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), based at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois. Credit: JCESR

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Proposals from Iowa utilities raise red flags for solar advocates, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News
Solar power shines when we need it most, by David Osterberg and Nathaniel Baer, guest columnists, The Gazette
Members Like Solar; Does Your Co-op?by Michael W. Kahn, Electric Co-op Today
New Missouri wind farm on pace for fall finish, by Ray Scherer, St. Joseph News-Press

Lexington enters into solar energy partnership

By Ben Schwartz, Lexington Clipper-Herald

Downtown Lexington, Nebraska

LEXINGTON, Neb. – The Lexington City Council dealt with a range of projects Tuesday at their regular meeting, perhaps chief among them a partnership in what Mayor John Fagot called the biggest solar energy project in the state of Nebraska. The council voted unanimously to enter into a power purchase agreement with Sol Systems, a solar energy company. Sol will build a five-megawatt capacity solar panel array on city-owned land north of the Greater Lexington addition. Fagot noted that the city isn’t purchasing and won’t maintain any of the equipment, and will retain ownership of the land. Continue reading.

Photo: Downtown Lexington, Nebraska

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
EIA: Monthly renewable generation beat levels from previous year, Utility Dive
Data through June shows that renewable generation has surpassed levels from previous years in every month so far this year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports
U.S. solar PV prices hit “all-time low”, at rooftop and utility-scale, ReNew Economy
The falling costs of US solar power, in 7 charts, Vox
Ohio solar power has moved from cottage industry to growth industry, Cleveland.Com
Survey: Consumers Ready to Embrace Renewables, Electric Co-op Today
South Dakota plans to build a 201-megawatt wind farm on 36,000 acres, Finance & Commerce
MidAmerican Energy moves forward with $3.6 billion investment in Wind XI project, AltEnergy Magazine
things you didn’t know about the wind for schools program, Windpower Engineering Development

Co-ops Prominent on Solar Energy Top 10 List

By Steven Johnson, Electric Co-op Today
AEE Institute Residential Solar Energy System

Electric cooperatives are major contributors to a surge of solar energy additions in the United States, according to an industry study. A trio of co-ops ranks among the top 10 utilities in cumulative solar watts per customer, the Smart Electric Power Alliance said in its 2015 Utility Solar Market Snapshot. Click here to continue reading.

Photo: An industry association says solar energy capacity continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Credit: PRNewsFoto / AEE Institute

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Renewable energy may be option for Nebraska’s rural electric co-ops, Nebraska Radio Network

David BrachtSome rural electric co-ops in the state are exploring renewable energy, which could help them reduce costs in months when power demand peaks. Just 10% of power in Nebraska comes from renewable sources like wind and hydroelectricity. Nebraska Energy Office Director David Bracht says a tiny part of that comes from solar, but declining costs are changing that. Bracht says, “According to a Renewable Energy Industry study, there has been about an 80% cost decline in the last six years and as that solar cost has declined, now it’s much more competitive.”

Co-op Community Solar Wins Praise

Co-op solar farmBy Cathy Cash, Electric Co-op Today

The Consumer Federation of America is recognizing electric cooperatives and public power for leading the way on community solar projects. In a new report, CFA says those projects will ultimately pay off through economies of scale and long-term rate stability. “The greater interest of rural electric co-ops and public power systems largely reflects strong interest and participation of their residential customers, who also have the final say in investment decisions,” said Steve Brobeck, CFA executive director and author of the report.

Continue reading.

Photo by the Lake Region Electric Co-op, which built its first community solar array in 2013. It sold out quickly. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
New USDA Funding for Rural Economic Development, by Steven Johnson, Electric Co-op Today

Governors Sign Energy Policy Pledge

By Steve Johnson, Electric Co-op Today Staff Writer / Editor’s Pick, Energy & Environment

Terry BranstadGovernors’ Accord for a New Energy Future: www.governorsnewenergyfuture.org

The governors said they will direct senior advisers to meet shortly to discuss ways to implement the goals in the accord. “We believe that economic growth and environmental protection aren’t mutually exclusive, but can happen in concert—we can indeed create good paying jobs, lower electricity bills for residents, and embrace greener, cleaner forms of energy,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut, a Democrat.

Click here to read three of the governors’ priorities highlighted in the article. 

Photo: Republican Terry Branstad of Iowa, the nation’s longest-serving governor, is among signatories to the Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future.