Tag Archives: energy infrastructure

Commentary: Electric vehicles are finally ready for rural drivers

Contributed by Joyce Bodoh, director of energy solutions and clean energy
at Rappahannock Electric Cooperative
, Energy News Network

EVs available today can go as far as 400 miles on a single charge — welcome news to drivers with longer than average commute of 30 miles a day. New all-electric models hitting the market include pick-up trucks, EVs that seat up to seven passengers, and plug-in hybrid minivans. EVs are not just available in the new car market, either. The used car EV market that is expanding as well and available at a variety of price points.

As the director of energy solutions and clean energy at Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (“REC”), I support electric transportation efforts for the cooperative and promote the benefits of EVs to our member-owners. REC is an electric cooperative that provides electricity to 170,000 member-owners across Virginia. Read more here.

Image Credit: Inside EVs

NATIONAL DRIVE ELECTRIC WEEK 2021

September 25 – October 3

National Drive Electric Week is a nationwide celebration to raise awareness of the many benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more. Learn more here.

LINKS TO RESOURCES

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan Supercharges the Future of Transportation and Manufacturing, The White House Briefing Room

MORE ON U.S. INFRASTRUCTURE 

While far from the panacea that would be required to address increasingly critical infrastructure challenges, the [Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act] — in its latest form — allocates over $70 billion for modernizing the nation’s electricity grid so that it can carry more renewable energy, marking the single largest federal investment in power transmission in history. With grid resiliency in the spotlight after events like this year’s power crisis, the spotlight remains on utilities and energy providers to prudently invest the federal injection to ensure that an event of this caliber (or worse) never happens again.

GRAIN BELT EXPRESS

New Illinois law could move Grain Belt Express forward, Missouri Times
The project would bring $1 billion in infrastructure investment to Illinois and create 1,200 jobs across three years of construction, according to Invenergy. It would develop an overhead and direct transmission line of approximately 780 miles delivering wind energy from western Kansas to utilities and consumers in Missouri and other states, according to its website.

NPPD’S R-PROJECT 

Click “Project Status” at the link, below, then scroll down to watch a brief video.

Project Status

MINNESOTA VIRTUAL POWER PLANT PILOT PROJECT

Minneapolis battery pilot will test vision for sharing solar power with neighbors, Energy News Network. Four batteries are being installed at a North Minneapolis green jobs training center in one of the country’s first “virtual power plant” pilot projects. Each battery will simulate a household buying and selling power with neighbors.

GLOBAL ROOFTOP SOLAR MARKET

Rooftop solar remains untapped yet crucial for energy transition – BNEF

President Biden to Host Leader-Level Meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate

The White House Briefing Room

The virtual meeting builds on the Leaders Summit on Climate the President hosted in April and comes six weeks before the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow, which will set the course for global climate efforts over the coming decade. Read more here.

Previously Posted
Biden’s American Jobs Plan Is Also a Climate Plan, Natural Resources Defense Council
The $2 trillion it would invest in the country’s infrastructure and workforce will help the United States recover from the past while preparing for the future.

Additional Recommended Reading
Investing in infrastructure, technology will provide payback for years to comeby June Girard, guest columnist, The Gainesville Sun. This is no time to quibble about how much it will cost us now. The real question is, what will it cost this country if we do not aggressively fund these challenges? Will we become a backward, irrelevant country whose natural resources will be squandered on antiquated processes? 

Featured Quotation On U.S. Infrastructure
Source: We can find agreement on funding much-needed infrastructure work, Midlands Voices, Omaha World-Herald

We have been talking about this for over a decade, and our decaying infrastructure cannot wait much longer. We need to reach across the aisle, find consensus and solve a big challenge facing our country — now. I’m working in the Problem Solvers Caucus to do just that. – Congressman Don Bacon, representing Nebraska’s 2nd District

Additional Recommended Reading
Midlands Voices: Bold infrastructure program will bring major benefits to the country, Omaha World-Herald. The writer, Johanna Threm, is Vice President and General Manager of Nucor Steel Nebraska.

Illinois Poised for Nation-Leading, Equitable Climate Bill

By J.C. Kibbey, Natural Resources Defense Council

After years of work, an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the Illinois House has voted (83 yes to 33 no) to pass the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (SB2408), a nation-leading bill to fight climate change, create good-paying jobs, improve the health of Illinoisans, and support disadvantaged communities. The bill now goes to the Senate, where legislative leaders say they intend to pass it swiftly. Governor Pritzker has championed the bill and has said he will sign it. Read more here.

More about the writer: With Family Roots in the Mines, He’s Championing Illinois’s Clean Energy Future, NRDC

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

USDA accepts more grassland CRP signup, North Platte Telegraph
[Lands] enrolled in CRP — including grasslands — play an important role in addressing climate change. For example, this enrollment of more than 2.5 million acres of grazing land into Grassland CRP will mitigate an additional estimated 22,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

By the numbers: Nebraska ranked third in acres enrolled, behind only Colorado and South Dakota. Montana and New Mexico round out the top five enrollment states.

About the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

The Future of Agriculture Combined With Renewable Energy Finds Success at Jack’s Solar Garden, NREL News Story. Jack’s Solar Garden is the largest commercially active agrivoltaics system researching crop and vegetation growth under photovoltaic solar panels in the United States. For more information, visit Jack’s Solar Garden, stay tuned for updates on more agrivoltaics projects, and read more about the InSPIRE project’s research at sites around the country.

Making the right buy: LCOE of monofacial vs bifacial modules, PV Magazine
When does increased energy production outweigh increased cost? Clean Energy Associates looks to answer one of its most-asked questions in a new case study.

Wisconsin farmers to receive record-breaking support this year from USDA, NBC26

BIDEN’S INFRASTRUCTURE PLANS & AMERICA’S WORKFORCE

Biden Has Ambitious Infrastructure Plans. But A Worker Shortage Could Hinder Them, NPR
“We were having trouble finding skilled workers for construction jobs, water and energy utilities, telecom and broadband expansions – all the areas where we think this infrastructure bill was going to be investing even before the pandemic. – Andy Van Kleunen, CEO of the National Skills Coalition

GRID INFRASTRUCTURE – NEW ACORE REPORT 

Transmission Makes the Grid Resilient to Extreme Weather, T&D World
New report released by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). ‘Transmission Makes the Power System Resilient to Extreme Weather’, details the value additional transmission would have provided during five severe weather events in Texas, the Northeast and the Midwest between 2014 and 2021. 

PREVIOUSLY POSTED ON INFRASTRUCTURE

Report Card for America’s Infrastructure
Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for America’s Infrastructure depicts the condition and performance of American infrastructure in the familiar form of a school report  card—assigning letter grades based on the physical condition and needed investments for improvement.

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan, The White House Briefing Room
Statement about America’s manufacturing infrastructure:
The U.S. manufacturing sector accounts for 70 percent of business R&D expenditure, 30 percent of productivity growth, and 60 percent of exports. Manufacturing is a critical node that helps convert research and innovation into sustained economic growth . . . While manufacturing jobs have been a ladder to middle-class life, we have let our industrial heartland be hollowed out, with quality jobs moving abroad or to regions with lower wages and fewer protections for workers.

Iowa experiment tests potential to pair solar with carbon sequestration

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

As thousands of acres of Iowa farmland are eyed as possible sites for solar farms, a research project is getting underway to explore a new crop that could co-exist with this burgeoning source of power: carbon sequestration. The state’s economic development office last month awarded $297,000 to an environmental consultant to create a business model “for monetizing carbon capture on solar energy farms.” Continue reading here.

Iowa Carbon Sequestration Task Force

Related Reading & EPA Resources
Perry joins Alliant Energy in brownfield solar power project, The Perry News
RE-Powering America’s Land, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfield Resources

Photo Credit: Werner Slocum / NREL

ALSO IN THE NEWS

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Nearly 750 U.S. Solar Companies Unite for Long-Term Federal Policy Certainty
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nearly 750 companies from across the U.S. solar supply chain sent a letter to Congress today urging action on policies that drive clean energy deployment and help us tackle the climate crisis.

The letter is part of a national campaign led by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in support of transformative solar and clean energy policies in upcoming federal infrastructure legislation. The solar industry is calling for a long-term extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) along with a direct pay provision, which will ease project financing challenges and shield the industry from pandemic-related disruptions. For more information about the solar industry’s infrastructure priorities, visit www.seia.org/infrastructure.

NEW CERES REPORT

new report released by the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets reveals that the physical impacts of climate change could amount to more than a $250 billion risk annually for the largest U.S. banks.

The Ceres Accelerator report, Financing a Net Zero Economy: The Consequences of Physical Climate Risk for Banks highlights these risks and provides valuable insights to help banks realize and mitigate the systemic financial implications of physical risk. The report sets out a practical roadmap to help banks conduct risk assessments and incorporate climate risks into their day-to-day decision-making. It includes detailed recommendations across four broad categories to guide the banking industry in fully measuring, analyzing, and acting against threats posed by the physical risks of climate change.

join Ceres for a webinar on Tuesday, September 14th to discuss the report findings and recommendations with a former Senior Deputy Comptroller of the Currency and the Head of Financial Risk at Regions Bank.

Related Post: An Urgent Call To High-Emitting Sectors: It’s Time For Climate Action
Forbes
article contributed by Mindy Lubber, CEO & President of Ceres, with additional resources provided by Nebraskans for Solar.

Senate advances bipartisan infrastructure bill in procedural vote

By Jacob Pramuk, CNBC

The Senate voted Friday to move forward with a bipartisan infrastructure bill, as Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pushes to pass it as soon as next week. The vote was delayed briefly as senators reportedly worked out an issue related to broadband. The final text of the legislation has yet to be released. The procedural measure needed only a simple majority to pass. The final tally was 66 votes in favor, and 28 against. Continue reading here.

Related Reading

AMERICAN CLEAN POWER ASSOCIATION REPORT

First Clean Power Annual report shows record U.S. renewables growth and investment
WASHINGTON DC, July 29, 2021 – The American Clean Power Association today released its first Clean Power Annual report, which showed wind, utility solar, and battery storage power capacity in the U.S. topped 170 gigawatts (GW), following a record 26 GW of clean energy projects coming online in 2020.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

USDA REAP FUNDING NOTICES

  • Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audit & Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants (July 26, 2021) Federal Register Notice
  • Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants (July 26, 2021) Federal Register Notice

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 

Lower Battery Costs, High Value of Backup Power Drive Distributed Storage Deployment
Fourth Report in NREL’s Storage Futures Study Uses Distributed Generation Market Demand Model To Estimate Behind-the-Meter Storage Capacity, Identify Drivers of Customer Adoption. Several findings in the study demonstrate that PV and batteries make an economical pairing. Because an average PV-plus-battery storage system is larger than PV-only configurations, battery storage increases the PV capacity and the system’s economic value.

Read the Report: Distributed Solar and Storage Outlook: Methodology and Scenarios.

Upcoming Webinar: NREL’s Storage Futures Study team will host a free public webinar on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, from 10 to 11 am CT. Register here.

BATTERY MATERIALS RECYCLING

Former Tesla CTO’s battery materials recycling company announces US$700 million+ investment, Energy Storage News

Former Tesla battery guru JB Straubel’s materials recycling company Redwood Materials has attracted more than US$700 million in investment. Redwood, which is currently developing processes to produce battery materials that can be resold into the supply chain, has partnerships in place with the likes of Panasonic, Envision AESC and Amazon. The company pledges to recycle any device with a lithium-ion battery including phones, laptops and power tools, although a major focus is being placed on electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

369 Mayors from All 50 States Urge Congress to Pass Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, Stress Implementation Priorities

Washington, D.C. – Today, 369 mayors – including Republicans, Democrats and Independents from all 50 states and the District of Columbia – sent a letter to Congress urging them to take immediate action on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework announced by President Biden and a group of Republican and Democratic Senators on June 24th.

In their letter, the mayors write, “This framework would be the largest long-term investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century – $1.2 trillion over eight years – to help make our economy more sustainable, resilient, and just.” Continue reading here.

The signers include Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird. The full text of the letter with all signatures can be found here.

About the United States Conference of Mayors
The United States Conference of Mayors is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are over 1,400 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

CNBC’S ANNUAL “AMERICA’S TOP STATES FOR BUSINESS” RATINGS

America’s Top States for Business 2021
To rank America’s Top States for Business in 2021, CNBC scored all 50 states on 85 metrics in 10 broad categories of competitiveness.

These are America’s 10 best states for infrastructure

  • The national debate over an infrastructure plan has highlighted the importance of everything from roads and bridges to electricity and broadband.
  • Some states are already setting the pace with innovative policies that could be models for the rest of the country.
  • CNBC’s annual America’s Top States for Business study rates the states on multiple infrastructure components.

 

Nebraska’s Overall Ranking 13 / Infrastructure 33

 


DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 

Secretary Granholm Announces New Goal to Cut Costs of Long Duration Energy Storage by 90 Percent

WASHINGTON, D.C.
 — U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm today announced the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s new goal to reduce the cost of grid-scale, long duration energy storage by 90% within the decade. The second target within DOE’s Energy Earthshot Initiative, “Long Duration Storage Shot” sets bold goals to accelerate breakthroughs that store clean electricity to make it available anytime, anywhere and support more abundant, affordable, and reliable clean energy solutions.

“We’re going to bring hundreds of gigawatts of clean energy onto the grid over the next few years, and we need to be able to use that energy wherever and whenever it’s needed,” said Secretary Granholm.

Previously Posted 

Solar Industry Statement on President Biden’s First Address to Congress

Solar Energy Industries Association News Release

Following is a statement from Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) on President Biden’s Address to Congress:

“President Biden’s emphasis on creating jobs and tackling climate change is a welcome theme tonight in his address to Congress. In working with his administration, we have found that his whole-of-government approach to both jobs and climate is real.

“We know that solar energy plus storage must play a central role in achieving the president’s aspirations for reducing emissions from the power sector. Solar and storage will create hundreds of billions of dollars in new investment and hundreds of thousands of family-supporting jobs this decade. Continue reading here.

American Clean Power Association News Release

American Clean Power Association Encourages Congress to Support the American Jobs Plan

The American Clean Power Association (ACP)  today issued the following statement in support of President Biden’s first address to the 117th United States Congress.

“Climate and clean energy have never before featured so prominently in a presidential address to Congress. This is an historic moment that until now was inconceivable. This is a first, and it underscores that our economic strength and our climate leadership are inseparable. 

The clean energy transition is already well underway, but the President’s infrastructure push is a once in a generation chance to accelerate progress, put steel in the ground, and build a clean infrastructure system that’s the envy of the world. We implore Congress to support the American Jobs Plan to put the country back to work building a sustainable future. There is not a moment to waste.” – Heather Zichal, ACP CEO

Local governments set record for new renewable energy procurement in 2020, groups report

By Chris Teale, Smart Cities Dive

Ninety-five local governments across 33 states procured 3,683 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy generation capacity in 2020 through 143 deals, the largest amount of capacity ever added in one year, according to the latest update from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and World Resources Institute (WRI) in their Local Government Renewables Action Tracker.

The 143 transactions, a 23% increase over 2019’s levels, could generate enough electricity to power approximately 812,000 households annually, the organizations reported. Solar was the most popular renewable energy to be procured, at 79% of all deals, followed by wind at 17% and geothermal at 4%. Read more here.

Photo Credit: First Solar

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

SOLAR INSTALLER SURVEY

2020 EnergySage installer survey finds one in five solar installations nationwide included a battery, Solar Power World

EnergySage and NABCEP released the results of the sixth annual Solar Installer Survey, the largest and most comprehensive business survey of solar companies nationwide. Over 650 residential and commercial installers across the country participated in this year’s survey, which was fielded and authored by EnergySage in partnership with the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

NELNET SOLAR TAX EQUITY INVESTMENT

Nelnet Renewable Energy Partners with Three Co-Investors to Complete $9.9 Million Solar Tax Equity Investment in the Northeast, Nelnet Renewable Energy, PR Newswire. Nelnet’s co-investors include Adams Bank & Trust and West Gate Bank, both of Nebraska.

OMAHA RANKS #7 AMONG GREENEST U.S. CITIES FOR RENTERS

The Greenest Cities in the U.S. for Renters, Apartment Guide

In the heart of the Great Plains, many view Omaha as a far-flung place known for quality steak, college baseball, 311 and Warren Buffett. But the diverse Nebraska city of half a million residents is a heartland oasis filled with culture, education, upscale shopping and trendy dining. And with nearly 22 percent of properties reporting green amenities, it’s the greenest city in the Midwest for renters.

LIBRARIES’ CLIMATE LITERACY PROGRAMS


How libraries are improving climate literacy in their communities,
Yale Climate Connections


The Racine Public Library is one of 25 libraries with funding from the American Library Association to offer programming about climate change.

The Truth About Texas: Thermal Power Plant Failures are the Blackout Culprits

By Heather Zichal, Chief Executive Officer,
American Clean Power Association

Texas has suffered this week, but crisis reveals character. Record cold weather brought this state to the brink, but never brought Texas to its knees. Neighbors have come together to help neighbors, and everyone from front line responders to the engineers and experts who manage electricity production have worked around the clock to restore power. That’s the real Texas.

But even amid an all-hands-on-deck crisis, some seized the political opportunity to deceive and distort. The critics of clean power – those who attack it in rain, snow, or sun – started spinning a dangerous fiction to promote an agenda that has nothing to do with restoring power to Texas communities. The facts of how Texas got here are not in dispute. Continue reading here.

New FERC Chair’s Focus: Environmental Justice and Climate Change Impacts

By Jeff St. John, Greentech Media

 

Richard Glick has a long list of priorities for his chairmanship of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He has already outlined many of them, such as reforming energy market policies that restrict state-supported clean energy resources, expanding transmission capacity and unblocking new grid interconnections, and incorporating climate change impacts into the agency’s decision-making process. Continue reading here.

 

ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE 

Severe weather, blackouts show the grid’s biggest problem is infrastructure, not renewables

GRID RESILIENCE: GRIDTECH MEDIA

In the near future, the scale of the batteries serving U.S. power grids is set to explode, increasing from about 1.5 gigawatts today to tens or hundreds of gigawatts by 2030. These batteries will play a vital role in shifting intermittent wind and solar power from when it’s produced to when it’s needed and serving broader grid services needs on an increasingly decarbonizing grid.

But as a resource that can both absorb and discharge energy at a moment’s notice, batteries are very different from both dispatchable generators and intermittent wind and solar farms. That requires new technical and economic systems for managing and valuing them — and the grid operators that run wholesale electricity markets serving about two-thirds of the country are struggling to make those changes to keep up with the pace of growth.

Two former state utility commissioners highlight new modeling that shows distributed energy lowers the total costs of decarbonization: Anne Hoskins served on the Maryland Public Service Commission and is the chief policy officer at Sunrun. Jeanne Fox, a former president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, is also a co-founder and board member of Center for Renewable Integration, Inc.

When planning for future resource investments, most utilities and regulators approach grid and system planning in silos, using tools and models that aren’t equipped to consider the total cost and benefits of distributed energy resources. This has been the case for many decades. For the first time, a team of researchers led by Christopher Clack looked at the holistic grid and incorporated local solar into grid and system planning. The model that Clack used calculated a least-cost development plan for the grid. The results are striking.

NASEO-NARUC TASK FORCE ON COMPREHENSIVE ELECTRICITY PLANNING 

The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) are providing a forum for the development of state-led pathways toward a more resilient, efficient, and affordable grid. – NARUC Website

 

 

 

 

Twelve States Announce Action Steps to Plan for Grid of the Future: State Energy Groups Release Blueprint for State Action for a More Efficient, Customer-Centric Grid

New, more comprehensive approaches to electricity planning can optimize use of distributed and existing energy resources, avoid unnecessary costs to customers, support state policy priorities, and increase transparency of grid-related investment decisions. The Task Force Roadmaps for Comprehensive Electricity Planning are accompanied by a Blueprint for State Action to support states and stakeholders who were not members of the Task Force in aligning electricity system planning processes in ways that meet their own goals and objectives. To learn more about the Task Force and access the new resources, click the link, below.

 

 

 

Task Force on Comprehensive Electricity Planning

Electricity Planning for a 21st Century Power Grid
Emerging technologies, decreasing costs, consumer preferences, new energy service providers, and state and local efforts are driving significant growth in distributed energy resources (DERs) such as solar, storage, energy efficiency, demand management, and microgrids. These investments increasingly require regulatory and policy innovation and a greater emphasis on planning to overcome system complexities and avoid unnecessary costs associated with operating the grid.

With greater alignment of resource and distribution system planning, states and utilities could:

  • Improve grid reliability and resilience
  • Optimize use of distributed and existing energy resources
  • Avoid unnecessary costs to ratepayers
  • Support state policy priorities
  • Increase the transparency of grid-related investment decisions

Previously Posted

  • Nebraska needs overall plan for energy policies, Lincoln Journal Star, November 4, 2015
    [Former] Nebraska’s Energy Office director says the state needs a comprehensive approach to its energy policies as it faces what could be a “seismic” change in federal regulations governing emissions. David Bracht, Gov. Pete Ricketts’ chief adviser on energy issues, talked about state energy policies Wednesday at the eighth annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference in Omaha
  • 2011 Nebraska Energy Plan, National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO)

Recently Posted