Tag Archives: electric cooperatives

Michigan vows to go carbon neutral by 2050, increase oversight of utility resource plans

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, D, on Wednesday signed an executive order committing her state to going carbon-neutral by 2050. It follows the governor’s commitment last year to reach the U.S. goals under the Paris Climate Agreement — reducing greenhouse gas emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Michigan’s new emissions reduction target is the most ambitious yet to come from a Midwest state, and calls for the state’s energy and environmental regulator to have additional oversight over utility integrated resource plans (IRPs). Its two largest utilities — DTE Energy and Consumers Energy — have goals to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and 2040, respectively. Read more here.

Previously Posted News Release: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Joins U.S. Climate Alliance

More About The Coalition

  • United States Climate Alliance Fact Sheet
    The United States Climate Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of 25 governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Alliance is led by state governments and is focused on state-to-state cooperation to accelerate the deployment of climate solutions needed to help each achieve their climate goals. The Alliance represents 55 percent of the U.S. population and an $11.7 trillion economy – an economy larger than all countries but the United States and China.
  • Climate Alliance Governors
  • Climate Alliance Principles

Climate Alliance Publication (PDF): Solar Deployment Guidebook: A Resource for State & Local Governments

DTE ENERGY & CONSUMERS ENERGY NEWS RELEASE

DTE Energy and Consumers Energy pledge to help build extensive Midwest electric vehicle charging network, Globe Newswire

According to the Edison Electric Institute, more than 1.4 million EVs are in use today, a number expected to grow to nearly 20 million by 2030. The Institute anticipates that a robust network of EV charging stations will be required to serve the needs of these drivers. Companies joining DTE Energy and Consumers Energy in the charging network’s memorandum of cooperation include Ameren Missouri, Ameren Illinois, Oklahoma Gas and Energy, and Evergy (covering parts of Missouri and Kansas). Additional companies have expressed interest and may soon join the collaborative effort.

MORE NEWS FROM STATES

Can solar power save rural America?, Farm and Dairy
The sun is shining in Pennsylvania and Ohio. At least, solar developers hope so. They’re flocking to the two states, seeking out land leases and pitching projects that would put more renewable energy onto the grid. Solar development is touted as a win all around. It’s not extractive. It’s renewable. It allows farmers and landowners new opportunities to make money from their properties.

Solar panels shine a light on bee habitats, Southernminn.com
September is National Honey Month, and while there’s still concern over struggling bee populations, a Minnesota project has helped establish a new approach to make these pollinators thrive again. Several groups, including Fresh Energy, have played a role in making Minnesota the first state to adopt a regional standard for pollinator-friendly habitats within solar farms.

Solar Dominates Maine’s Largest Renewables Procurement on Record, Greentech Media
Average winning contract rates were 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour, according to reporting from the Portland Press Herald. That price is competitive with incumbent power in the region, Maine PUC Chair Philip Bartlett II told the newspaper. 

Alaska’s pro-oil Republican governor is quietly pushing green energy projectsKTOO
Renewables make an especially compelling case in Alaska, where electricity costs nearly twice the national average. And the Eklutna hydroelectric concept isn’t the only renewable power idea to draw [Governor] Dunleavy’s interest. The governor has also quietly pitched Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, on Alaska’s wind power potential, with Buffett responding in a letter that he hopes he can “join forces” with Dunleavy. Executives from one of Buffett’s companies, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, have held a series of meetings with the governor and senior administration officials.

States That Grew Rich From Fossil-Fuels Need to Figure Out What’s Next, contributed by The Conversation, U.S. News & World Report. These are very challenging times for U.S. fossil fuel-producing states, such as WyomingAlaska and North Dakota. The COVID-19 economic downturn has reduced energy demand, with uncertain prospects for the extent of its recovery. Meanwhilerising concern about climate change and the declining cost of renewable energy are precipitating a sharp decline in demand for coal in particular.

INNOVATIVE TRANSITION STRATEGY: SOLAR-FOR-COAL SWAPS

Electric co-ops lead growing wave of early coal plant retirements with ‘solar-for-coal swaps’, PV Magazine. A new white paper from Energy Innovation, an energy policy firm, suggests that one way to speed up the process may be found in the “solar-for-coal swaps” that a small number of U.S. electric cooperatives have successfully completed. As the name implies, the main idea here is for a utility to swap out power from aging coal plants for solar generation. Private sector financing for the swap allows the coal plants to be bought and then retired ahead of schedule.

UPCOMING WEBINAR

Clean Energy Group
: An Introduction to Virtual Power Plants, September 28, 12 pm to 1 pm 

Recommended Reading: Propelling the transition: The battle for control of virtual power plants is just beginning, Utility Dive

The largest power plants in the the U.S. — massive feats of engineering like the over 5,000 foot-long, 6,800-MW capacity Grand Coulee Dam — are proving to be no match in scale to the combined power of the rooftops and basements of homes and businesses across the country. Distributed energy, including rooftop solar, on-site batteries to store electricity and more, are on track to grow to nearly 400 GW in the U.S. by 2025, according to projections from Wood Mackenzie, significantly greater than the amount of coal or nuclear power capacity in the U.S. today. As virtual power plants develop, there is a growing debate about the degree to which the future of distributed energy management will be controlled by large utilities or third-party aggregators.

Photo by Sonnen: The all-electric Soleil Lofts apartment community in Herriman, Utah, a virtual power plant managed by Rocky Mountain Power, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE).

Why NextEra’s green hydrogen pilot is a big deal

By Christian Roselund, Editorial Director, Rocky Mountain Institute
Republished by GreenBiz

In its recent quarterly results call, U.S. power giant NextEra announced that its utility subsidiary Florida Power & Light (FPL) plans to build a 20-megawatt electrolyzer to produce hydrogen from water. If approved by regulators, the plant will run on power from otherwise curtailed solar and feed hydrogen to burn in FPL’s Okeechobee gas plant.

On the global stage, the scale of this investment does not raise eyebrows. “Green” hydrogen electrolysis plants of a similar scale are underway in a number of other nations, and some are scheduled for completion by the end of this year. In the United States, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) plan to convert its coal-fired Intermountain Power Plant in Utah to a mix of hydrogen and gas will involve a much larger supply of hydrogen from electrolysis. However, what is important is not just the megawatts. Continue reading here.

TENASKA NEWS

2GW pipeline of California battery projects revealed by Capital Dynamics and Tenaska, Energy Storage News. Asset management firm Capital Dynamics has signed a deal with Nebraskan independent power producer Tenaska to develop nine battery energy storage system (BESS) projects located in California’s highest electrical load centers.

NRECA NEWS RELEASE

NRECA, DOE Launch Rural Battery Storage Research Projects, August 17, 2020
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) today launched four rural battery storage projects in partnership with five electric cooperatives and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity. The projects are being funded in part by DOE and will examine how energy storage systems can improve the resilience of critical infrastructure in rural areas. Two of the projects simultaneously will support military installations served by electric cooperatives and will help fulfill Department of Defense energy assurance goals. “This is a great example of how America’s electric co-ops and the more than 95 military facilities that they serve are evolving together,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson.

Related News Stories

NRECA Member Co-Ops’ Renewables

MASS-MARKET “ENERGY-AS-A-SERVICE” MICROGRIDS

Schneider Electric and Huck Capital Launch ‘Energy-as-a-Service’ Microgrids for the Mass Market, Greentech Media. A new company, 5D Energy, will pitch no-money-down solar, storage and backup power for small and medium-size C&I customers.

UTILITY DIVE’S “PROPELLING THE TRANSITION” SERIES

GTM ‘S POLITICAL CLIMATE PODCAST

How Texas Turned Green: On this week’s Political Climate, former FERC Commissioner and Chairman of the Texas Public Utility Commission Pat Wood discusses competitive power markets and how a red state became a green energy leader.

GTM’S INTERCHANGE PODCAST

The Wild World of ESG Investing. This week on The Interchange podcast: Can we get environmental, social and corporate governance right?

UPCOMING GREENBIZ WEBCAST

Sustainable Recovery: ESG Values and our Resilient Future, September 15, 12 pm
This one-hour webcast will focus on the principles of sustainable recovery and how ESG-led strategies help organizations successfully navigate the trials of COVID-19 and today’s other complex challenges.

NEW SOLSMART SOLAR + EV GUIDE

SolSmart Report: Solar & Electric Vehicles, A Guide For Local Governments

This new report outlines key strategies including educating community members on the benefits of PV and EVs, organizing group purchase campaigns to support both technologies, providing financial and non-financial incentives on EV and PV regulation, and adjusting local regulations to reduce costs and ease integration.

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Solar Businesses Offer a Helping Hand to Communities Affected by COVID-19 (Part 3)
With COVID-19 cases still surging in the United States, solar companies continue to step up to make an impact in their communities and help our country #RebuildBetter. Here’s how several solar companies are giving back to their fellow Americans during this crisis.

Report examines battery storage, renewable premiums

By Peter Maloney, American Pubic Power Association

Pairing wind and solar power with battery storage can result in cost savings and fetch premiums in wholesale power markets, but those premiums could potentially be higher for generation and storage facilities that are not co-located, according to a recent report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The paper, “Motivations and options for deploying hybrid generator-plus-battery projects within the bulk power system,” examined utility scale hybrid generator-plus-battery applications that use variable renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power sited in wholesale power markets. Read more here.

TRI-STATE

Western Slope utility serving Delta, Montrose settles on $136.5 million fee to break up with Tri-State, by Mark Jaffe, The Colorado Sun. The Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) has since 2016 been sparring over renewable energy with Tri-State, a wholesale power production company serving 43 member electric cooperatives in Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

ROOFTOP SOLAR

Why 30 Million Solar Rooftops Should Be In the Next Relief Bill, by John Farrell, Institute for Local Self-Reliance. As the federal government looks to a second (or even third) stimulus bill, Congress should consider a huge opportunity to pay Americans that pays back: solar rooftops. By investing $450 billion in rooftop solar, the federal government could slash energy bills for Americans, cut air pollution, and create over 3.7 million jobs. The government could also get paid back.  

COMMUNITY SOLAR

OFFSHORE WIND

Iberdrola Plans to Take Top Spot in US Offshore Wind (and Keep It), Greentech Media
Spanish utility group Iberdrola wants to be the biggest player in the U.S. offshore wind market, but it will need to go through early market front-runner [Denmark’s] Ørsted to get there.

Colorado cooperative to hit clean energy goal a decade early

Written by Allen Best, Energy News Network

Holy Cross Energy is now looking toward complete decarbonization after striking a major new wind energy deal. The announcement last week illustrates just how rapidly the energy transition has been accelerating as prices of wind and solar have plummeted and engineers have figured out how to integrate them to the grid. Prices of the wind power were not disclosed, but Holy Cross described them as comparable to the bids received by Xcel Energy in its 2017 solicitation. Those jaw-dropping prices, $11 to $18 per megawatt-hour for wind generation, substantially below the cost of electricity from the two coal-fired power plants Xcel plans to close by 2025, drew national attention. But can Holy Cross get to 100% emission-free energy? Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Paul D. Cocker / Creative Commons

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES & REGIONS

Tri-State power wholesaler requests new solar projects as United Power, other members seek flexibility

By Sam Lounsberry, Longmont Times-Call

As Westminster-based regional power wholesaler Tri-State Generation and Transmission on Thursday announced it is seeking proposals to build a number of solar projects between 10 and 200 megawatts, its largest member United Power continues asking its parent for policy changes to allow more renewable energy development at the local level.

Tri-State’s pursuit of more solar power comes after announcements earlier this year of two projects — one wind farm and another solar farm being built by Boulder-based Juwi — totaling 204 megawatts, and the power wholesaler for 43 electric cooperatives and power districts serving rural communities across Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and New Mexico claims its pursuit of a new solar project this year represents its increasing interest in owning solar. Continue reading here.

Photo: United Power’s recently-installed Tesla battery. United Power has said it has lost out on large commercial customers to nearby Xcel Energy’s service territory because the local utility can only offer so much renewable power on its grid under current Tri-State rules limiting its members from generating more than 5% of their demand loads themselves through renewables or other means.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

GLOBAL NEWS

Off-Grid Solar Energy Use Is About to Explode Thanks to These Key Regions: Employment could triple by 2020, Inverse

EV NEWS

Reports examine the impacts of Tri-State’s high wholesale power costs

By Joe Smyth, Clean Cooperative

Two reports this month provide new details about the impacts of the high wholesale power costs that Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association charges electric cooperatives in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nebraska. One of the reports, “How Kit Carson Electric Engineered a Cost-Effective Coal Exit,” was published by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA . . . Another report, “Rural Energy at a Crossroads: Electric Cooperatives Trapped in System Causing High Energy Costs,” was published earlier this month by The Western Way, a nonprofit “urging Western conservative leaders to deliver efficient, pro-market solutions to environmental and conservation challenges.”
Read more here.

Image Credit: Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

Clean Cooperative’s Recommended Reading

Related

Mountain Town News: Utility directors in Colorado calculate changes as prices drop, energy concerns rise, by Allen Best, Summit Daily News

Additional Recommended Reading

Wisconsin’s New Governor To Join U.S. Climate Alliance, Signaling ‘A New Day’ In The State

By Betsy Lillian, Solar Industry Magazine

Gov. Tony Evers, D-Wis., has announced plans to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to implementing the Paris climate accord on a state level. “It’s a new day in Wisconsin, and it’s time to lead our state in a new direction where we embrace science, where we discuss the very real implications of climate change, where we work to find solutions and where we invest in renewable energy,” says Evers, who took office in January. “By joining the U.S. Climate Alliance, we will have support in demonstrating that we can take climate action while growing our economy at the same time.  Read more here.

U.S. Climate Alliance Website

MORE NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

‘Resilient Chicago’ strategy aims to strengthen neighborhoods, engage communities, Smart Cities Dive

Chicago has released its new resilience strategy, Resilient Chicago, devised through a partnership with 100 Resilient Cities. The plan contains 12 goals and 50 actions the city can take to improve its resilience.

A similar study for our state would be enlightening:
How much does Nebraska spend each year to import fossil fuels?
How much would it take to power our state with 80% clean technologies? 100%?

Pay As You Save: Co-ops are reaching new customers with a novel way to pay for efficiency

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Spruce Financial

“The Pay as You Save system has been active in the power sector for nine years now, but the leaders who have been demonstrating its efficacy have been in a part of the power sector that’s little tended and not particularly well known,” said Holmes Hummel, founder of Clean Energy Works, which advocates for the use of PAYS . . . “Electric cooperatives have been by far the leaders in this innovation and the reason for that is the alignment they have between shareholder interests and customer interests,” said Hummel. “Electric co-ops are, frankly, more nimble. They’re relatively efficient organizations.” Read more here.

Pay-As-You-Save

New Ruling Opens Up 400 GW Renewables Market to Rural Electric Cooperatives and Municipal Utilities

RMI

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) confirms that co-ops can buy unlimited power from PURPA-qualifying facilities. Distribution co-ops and municipal utilities are no longer constrained in their ability to source cost-competitive local power.

 By Kevin Brehm and Joseph Goodman, Rocky Mountain Institute

The ruling has major implications for the nation’s 905 electric cooperatives and 830 municipal utilities as well as the for-profit and nonprofit generation and transmission providers that serve those co-ops . . . The FERC ruling has opened up a huge potential distributed renewable energy market. Renewable energy buyers and sellers both have a role to play in enabling this market to achieve its full potential. Click to learn more about the ruling.

The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), enacted November 9, 1978, is a United States Act passed as part of the Natonal Energy Act. It was meant to promote energy conservation (reduce demand) and promote greater use of domestic energy and renewable energy (increase supply). The law was created in response to the 1973 energy crisis, and one year in advance of a second energy crisis. Source: Wikipedia

Electric Cooperatives in the News

Iowa co-op withdraws proposed fee for customers, by Karen Uhlenhuth
Midwest Energy News

Photo By Rob Rudloff / Creative Commons

Photo By Rob Rudloff / Creative Commons

A rural electric cooperative in Iowa has backed away from a plan to impose an additional $57.50 monthly fee on customers with solar panels.

On Thursday afternoon, Pella Cooperative Electric informed the Iowa Utilities Board that it was withdrawing the tariff it filed earlier this summer.

“It kinda made my day,” said Bryce Engbers, a hog farmer living outside of Grinnell. Engbers has arrays on his house and on each of two confinement barns, and had said he’d sooner remove the arrays than pay the higher fee.

Read the entire story here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Central Iowa Power Cooperative has announced it will build a 30-acre solar energy project