Tag Archives: energy storage

Commentary: Virginia Clean Economy Act models a just clean energy transformation

Contributed by Maggie Clark and Rachel Smucker / Solar Energy
Industries Association, Energy News Network 

The Virginia Statehouse in Richmond.

Legislation just passed by the General Assembly, the Virginia Clean Economy Act, represents our best chance this year to ensure reliable and affordable electricity, create jobs and grow our economy, turn back the tide of climate change and put Virginia on a path toward an equitable transition to a clean energy economy.

This legislation would turn Gov. Ralph Northam’s clean energy goals into law, and chart the course for Virginia to get there. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), only about 1% of Virginia’s electricity comes from solar. This ambitious plan would require Virginia to become zero carbon by the middle of this century. The Clean Economy Act takes a major step forward on equity by directly empowering consumers with access to rooftop. It is a bold step, and it is needed now. Read more here.

Photo by Ron Cogswell / Flickr / Creative Commons

RELATED SEIA NEWS RELEASES

MORE ON VIRGINIA’S CLEAN ECONOMY ACT

  • Virginia passes historic commitment to 100 percent clean energy by 2045, Environment America News Release. Susan Rakov, Environment America’s Clean Energy Program chair, released the following statement: “In state after state and city after city, people are demanding a new approach to America’s energy future, and today Virginia’s General Assembly said, ‘We hear you!’ As a result of campaigns across the country, one out of three Americans now live in a city or state that has made a commitment to 100 percent clean and renewable energy. Environment America is proud to have played a part in those campaigns, and we look forward to the next wave. Congratulations to Virginia — it’s a great day to take a big step toward a better world.”
  • Virginia Mandates 100% Clean Power by 2045Greentech Media
    The Clean Economy Act will drive utility Dominion to procure gigawatts of solar, offshore wind and energy storage.

SUSTAINABLE BUSINESSES

SOLSMART

SolSmart program helps turn around solar permits in one day, Solar Power World
“SolSmart is mainly a solar soft cost reduction program, and it’s important, because about 64% of all solar costs come from soft costs. And these are costs associated with all the non-hardware parts of going solar. So, permitting fees, labor, zoning issues, things like that,” said Zach Greene, program director and SolSmart leader at The Solar Foundation. “By working with these local governments, by educating them, by providing them with consulting-type resources, we’re really able to help them reduce those costs at the local level and to really try to expand a local solar market.”

Previously Posted

100% BIODEGRADABLE & REGENERATIVE TIRES FOR ELECTRIC CARS

Goodyear develops self-regenerating ‘spider-silk’ tires for electric cars, BusinessGreen
Goodyear has unveiled designs for new ultra-durable tires made from biodegradable materials, which it claims can both “self-regenerate” and adapt to changing road conditions, in a move aimed at helping electric car drivers cut down on maintenance costs and waste.

10th Annual National Solar Jobs Census: Solar Jobs Up Nationwide and in 31 States After Two Years of Losses

News Release, The Solar Foundation

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. solar industry employed nearly 250,000 workers in 2019, an increase of more than 5,600 jobs (or 2.3%) since 2018, according to the 10th annual National Solar Jobs Census released today by The Solar Foundation. This marks a resurgence in solar industry employment following two years of job losses in 2017 and 2018.

The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit educational and research organization, issues the National Solar Jobs Census each year to provide comprehensive and reliable data on the U.S. solar workforce. Since the first Solar Jobs Census was published, American solar jobs have increased 167%, from just over 93,000 jobs in 2010 to 249,983 jobs in 2019.

Read the entire news release here.

Links to More Information

Photo Credit: The Solar Foundation

Additional Recommended Reading

The Expert Take: Katherine Hamilton on our energy transition

Generation 180 Interview

At Generation180, we’re working to inspire and equip individuals to get involved in the energy transition. It’s complex and it’s big. So to provide a better sense of where we’re headed, we’re providing a deeper dive into what’s happening with this transition—where are we right now, how far we’ve come, and, most importantly, where we need to go.

As part of our online Boot Camp project, we recently spoke with Katherine Hamilton, an energy expert with over 30 years of industry experience. Katherine has worked with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and is currently the chair of 38 North Solutions and former co-chair of a World Economic Forum council on advanced energy technology. Here [is] what’s on Katherine’s mind and what she sees as the role of “everyday energy leaders.” Read more here.

LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION ABOUT GENERATION 180

SUSTAINABILITY JOBS

Jobs You Can Do With a Sustainability Degree, Earth911

GREEN SCHOOLS

Iowa City schools anticipate cutting carbon emissions in half in five years, Iowa City Press-Citizen
Iowa City schools appear on track to reduce carbon emissions by more than 45% by 2030, the goalpost student climate activists have pushed for in Iowa City, according to a consultant’s report.  But the report indicated that reducing carbon emissions to a net-zero by 2050, another goal pushed for by climate activists, will require the district to take action. 

REGENERATIVE FARMING & CLIMATE RESILIENCY

Black farmers embrace and implement solutions for climate resiliency, by Leah Penniman, Co-Director Soul Fire Farm, GreenBiz

Leah Penniman is a farmer, educator, soil steward and food justice activist. She is co-director and program manager of Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York, and the author of Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land.

 

RURAL ENERGY FOR AMERICA PROGRAM (REAP)

The Rural Energy for America Program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements.

Program Status: Open
Program Information
Program Fact Sheet
Hoja Informativa del Programa en Español

NEW REPORT

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA

Environment America releases 2020 state legislative agenda priorities, News Release
State affiliates of Environment America, a national nonpartisan advocacy group, delivered meaningful progress on several environmental and public health issues in 2019. But given the obstacles that still exist at the federal level on those issues and more, states will have to continue to lead in 2020. Here is a roundup of the top issues and bills that Environment America’s 29 state affiliates will be working on across the country this coming year:

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

2020 will be a key year (and decade) for electric vehicles, GreenBiz
This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Black Hills Energy program offers customers a renewable energy option

By Sunday Miller, KEVN, Black Hills Fox News

Black Hills Energy’s new “Renewable Ready” program allows certain customers to decide what percentage of their energy they want to come from a renewable resource. Solar, hydro, wind are all forms of renewable energy, and the company is ready to harness that power in its subscription-based program. “Instead of building your own facility, instead of placing either a wind or solar facility on your property, this allows you to buy into a larger scale renewable facility, in this case wind, and basically decide for yourself as a customer, do I want 10 percent, 20 percent, 50 percent or 100 percent of my energy to come from a renewable resource,” said Bret Jones, regional manager of Black Hills Energy. This new program offers larger customers, like the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, an alternative electricity option to power their facilities.
Read more here.

Image: Renewable Ready – Black Hills Energy is building a wind farm in Wyoming to provide a renewable energy source for customers.

About Black Hills Corporation
Based in Rapid City, South Dakota, Black Hills Corporation serves over 1.27 million customers in more than 800 communities in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Related
Civic center commits to green energy, Rapid City Journal
The venue is among the first major entities in Rapid City that has been announced as a customer of the wind farm that Black Hills Energy aims to build outside Cheyenne, Wyoming. Civic center directors have said that the complex will be powered solely with energy generated by the $57 million plant.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

POTENTIAL ON-BILL FINANCING MODEL

Holland leads with energy financing program, but work remains, by Andy Balaskovitz, MiBiz
A financing program in Holland that helps residents pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades remains one of the only such programs in Michigan, and could be a model for more to come. Known as on-bill financing, the program allows Holland Board of Public Works customers to obtain a loan through the utility’s nonprofit arm to pay the upfront cost of projects.

NEW CLIMATE ACTION RESOURCE

VERGE VANGUARD 2019 AWARDS

GreenBiz names 2019 VERGE Vanguard award winners
GreenBiz Group today named the 2019 VERGE Vanguard, honoring 20 dreamers, pioneers, entrepreneurs, designers, engineers, business leaders, policymakers and investors on the cutting edge of sustainability and technology.

GREEN BIZ WEBCAST

5 Steps for Embedding ESG Into Your Corporate Culture: September 17, 2019 at 12 PM
If you can’t tune in live, please register and we will email you a link to access the archived webcast footage and slides, available to you on-demand after the webcast.

Southwest Power Pool moves to boost reliability, storage amid CEO resignation

By Julia Gheorghiu, Utility Dive

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) Board of Directors on Monday approved 21 stakeholder policy recommendations on critical issues, such as enhancing reliability and cost allocation for new transmission. The SPP’s Holistic Integrated Tariff Team (HITT), made up of 15 stakeholders, offered recommendations to prepare the regional transmission operator for the grid of the future, including improvements to the wholesale energy market.

The transmission operator’s generation portfolio has changed dramatically over the past decade, with 50 GW of wind, 28.5 GW of solar and 5.7 GW of storage in its interconnection queue as of June. Stakeholder recommendations focused on this reality, asking SPP staff to create a white paper on energy storage and the future impacts of a battery storage buildout. Read more here.

MORE NEWS, OPINION & RESOURCES

Small Missouri utility proposes big pivot to clean energy in latest resource plan

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

Missouri’s smallest investor-owned utility is charting a dramatically different course two years after being acquired by new owners. The Empire District Electric Co. in Joplin, Missouri, serves about 173,000 customers in southwestern Missouri and parts of Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Its current capacity consists of about 65% natural gas, 30% coal and 5% renewables in the form of wind and hydropower. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Lucia Bourgeois / U.S. Department of Energy

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Tri-State announces transformative Responsible Energy Plan

Tri-State News Release

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is pursuing an aggressive Responsible Energy Plan to transition to a cleaner energy portfolio, while ensuring reliability, increasing member flexibility and with a goal to lower wholesale rates.

“Our membership and board are unified in our pursuit of a cleaner, reliable and lower-cost resource portfolio,” said Rick Gordon, chairman of the cooperative’s board of directors. “We are making a strong and unequivocal commitment to transform Tri-State’s resource portfolio in a prudent and responsible manner.” Continue reading here.

From Tri-State’s Website

Our cooperative approach to a clean grid starts now.
We are pursuing an aggressive transition to a cleaner energy portfolio.

How we are transforming

  1. Developing a Responsible Energy Plan [to] comply with aggressive carbon reduction, renewable energy and resource planning requirements, ensure reliability and affordability and strive to lower wholesale rates while maintaining our strong financial position.
  2. Engaging with former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and the Center for the New Energy Economy to facilitate a stakeholder process that will contribute to our Responsible Energy Plan.
  3. Creating more opportunities for our members to develop local renewable energy by considering the types of memberships and contracts we offer.
  4. Increasing our renewable resources, with new wind and solar projects and a request for proposals for even more projects.
  5. Exploring opportunities with solar and energy services providers to make more community-scale solar, energy storage and electric vehicle infrastructure more available to our members at a lower cost.

Learn more about Tri-State’s Responsible Energy Plan.

Additional Recommended Reading

The global transition to clean energy, explained in 12 charts

By David Roberts, Vox

Renewable energy is starting to make a dent in electricity – Fifth Chart:
All the growth and investments in renewable electricity are starting to add up. Renewables represent more than a third of the world’s installed capacity and, as the graphic below shows, more than 26 percent of global electricity produced.

That said, hydropower, at almost 16 percent, makes up more than half the renewables total. What people tend to think of as renewables, wind and solar, make up only a combined 8 percent. Even in electricity, renewables have a long way to go. Read more here.

FEATURED GLOBAL INITIATIVE: CLIMATE ACTION 100+

To date, more than 300 investors with more than $33 trillion in assets under management have signed on to this initiative. Climate Action 100+ is coordinated by five partner organizations: Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, Ceres, Investor Group on Climate Change, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, and Principles for Responsible Investment.

MORE NEWS & RESOURCES

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

Kennedy’s role involves exploring energy solutions

By Laura King-Homan, The Wire, OPPD Blog

Courtney Kennedy doesn’t just tour wind farms. Kennedy, OPPD’s manager for alternative energy programs, and her team also research new alternative energy technologies, explore partnerships with large customers and work with system planning groups on how to best meet OPPD’s future load needs with alternative energy solutions. In short, Kennedy and her team are where the utility, and customers, can turn to get answers about renewable energy. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Omaha Public Power District

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES