Tag Archives: Environment America Research & Policy Center

Tri-State’s clean energy, cost reduction efforts have not quelled member exit interest

By Robert Watson, Utility Dive

There are now at least seven rural electric cooperatives considering what it would cost to leave the service of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a sign that the utility’s efforts to reduce costs and carbon emissions have not appeased its membership. The cooperatives include Wheat Belt Public Power and Northwest Rural Public Power in Nebraska. Read more here.

Previously Posted: Co-ops trying to leave Tri-State say the electric utility is “stonewalling” by refusing to calculate the price to exit, The Colorado Sun

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

TAX INCENTIVES

Ditto says public power access to clean energy tax incentives is ‘low hanging fruit’, American Public Power Association
Allowing public power utilities to have access to clean energy tax incentives is “low hanging fruit” in terms of policy-related action that can be taken in the short term in order to incentivize not-for-profit utilities to build their own clean energy generation, said Joy Ditto, President and CEO of the American Public Power Association (APPA) on March 22.

OFFSHORE WIND

Report: Offshore Wind Has the Potential to Meet 90% of 2050 US Electricity Demand, Environment  + Energy Leader

This finding comes from Offshore Wind for America, a new report released by Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group which examines US offshore wind potential by coastal region and by state. Offshore Wind for America also documents the status of existing projects and technological advances.

EPRI’S SOLAR RESEARCH  

EPRI Receives DOE Funding to Research the Transmission of Solar Information, Solar Industry
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), an institution that conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity, says it will receive a $2 million contract from the U.S. Energy Department (DOE) to explore how information about solar energy spreads among consumers. To learn more about EPRI’s solar research, click here.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES & INFRASTRUCTURE

THE WIRE: HOW DOES THAT WORK?


Infographic: Anatomy of a power pole, by Jason Kuiper

OPPD has a lot of power lines. How many? 15,567 miles worth of power lines. Or enough to stretch from Omaha, Neb., around the earth and back at our higher latitude.

‘A total mindshift’: Utilities replace gas peakers, ‘old school’ demand response with flexible DERs

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

The future is in utilities investing in technologies to manage the growth of customer-owned DER and customers offering their DER as grid services, advocates for utilities and DER told a Jan. 25-28 conference on load flexibility strategies. And there is an emerging pattern of cooperation between utilities and customers based on the shared value they can obtain from reduced peak demand and system infrastructure costs, speakers said. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Previously Posted 

Tesla launches social platform to spur owners to take political action on its behalfCNBC
Tesla launched a social platform named Tesla Engage, in part to spur customers to take political action that benefits Elon Musk’s electric vehicle and solar company. [In] a post aimed at Tesla fans in Nebraska, the company is urging residents to push local elected officials to change laws that bar Tesla and others from selling vehicles direct to consumers there, i.e. without operating a franchise dealership in the state. They have even provided a quick way for fans to contact the appropriate committee members or send comments to the Nebraska legislature.

Nebraska Legislation: LB633 – Change provisions of the Motor Vehicle Industry Regulation Act

FAST COMPANY’S 2021 TOP 50

Fast Company’s Annual List of The World’s Most Innovative Companies.

To determine this year’s Top 50, Fast Company editors and reporters mined our lists of the Top 10 companies by industry for organizations that embody creative problem-solving and fearlessness in the face of crisis. Here are the ones that rose above, along with the business trends they’re advancing. Click the above link to see the list.

Fast Company’s 2021 Top 10 Lists Include

LEGO SOLAR FARM MODEL

Renewable energy advocate submits Solar Farm design to LEGO Ideas, by Kelsey Misbrener, Solar Power World

Rob Davis, a renewable energy enthusiast whose day job is leading the Center for Pollinators in Energy at Fresh Energy, submitted a model that has a chance of becoming the first solar farm kit produced by LEGO. His Solar Farm LEGO kit includes solar panels, pollinator-friendly ground cover, honey bee hives, grazing sheep, an inverter control box and an engineer/site manager/grazer.

To vote for the Solar Farm, click here.

New studies find grid modernization accelerates cost-effective renewable energy growth

By John Hensley, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Renewable energy has begun to dominate new electric generation capacity additions over the past several years for a variety of reasons – plummeting technology costs, increasing efficiency, and corresponding demand from the public and private sector, among others. However, to fully realize a 21st century clean energy economy we need to update our electric system to meet today’s needs, modernize the grid, and expand access to renewables through transmission infrastructure. Now, two new studies show how transmission investments can accelerate clean energy growth while saving money for American families and businesses. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Nebraska Public Power District

NPPD’S R-Project Newsroom
Nebraska Public Power District’s Board of Directors voted to award a construction contract to Forbes Brothers Timberline Construction, Inc., of Rapid City, S.D. for the R-Project transmission line.

SEIA Blog: Solar + EVs: Two Peas in a Pod

IOWA’S RENEWABLE ENERGY & TRANSMISSION

Experts: Iowa’s renewable energy growth depends on better transmission, Iowa Capital Dispatch
Iowa could become an even bigger leader in renewable energy, especially if renewable hydrogen is developed and transmission lines are improved, a panel of university, government and corporate leaders said Wednesday

MICHIGAN STUDY QUANTIFIES RETURN ON CLEAN ENERGY INVESTMENT

Commentary: Clean energy is good economic policy for Michigan, by Laura Sherman / Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, Energy News Network

Last month Gov. Gretchen Whitmer set a goal for Michigan to be carbon-neutral by 2050, a bold move that will bring more jobs and industry to the state. We can measure the economic growth and jobs that these energy innovations have already brought to Michigan and can continue to bring—not in 10, 20 or 30 years, but right now. A new report from the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC) does just that. It quantifies how increasing investment into advanced energy through a future federal stimulus package could energize the state’s economy, and finds that these investments would generate a return on the order of eight times the level of public spending for Michigan. 

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA’S “RENEWABLES ON THE RISE 2020” REPORT

The 2020 edition of a report by Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group
Clean energy technology has boomed in the last decade, enabling Americans to envision a future powered by 100 percent renewable energy. “Renewables on the Rise 2020” tells the story of the dramatic growth of clean energy. The data story below explains how strong state renewable energy commitments have helped to spark the clean energy revolution. The interactive charts enable you to explore how clean energy technology is growing in your state. And the six fact sheets provide a detailed look at the key technologies driving America toward clean, renewable energy — from electric vehicles to offshore wind power — and the hope they provide for the future. 

Environment America’s 100% Campaigns

CLEAN ENERGY JOBS ANALYSIS

Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), and the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) commissioned BW Research to analyze clean energy job wages and benefits.

The Clean Jobs, Better Jobs report is the first comprehensive analysis of wages and benefits across the clean energy sector. According to the report, workers in renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid modernization and storage, clean fuels and clean vehicles earned a median hourly wage of $23.89 in 2019 compared with the national median wage of $19.14. In addition, jobs in many clean energy sectors are more likely to be unionized and come with health care and retirement benefits than the rest of the private sector, the analysis shows.


REIMAGINE APPALACHIA

Clean energy, infrastructure plan could bring 489,000 jobs to Ohio, Pa., Farm and Dairy
ReImagine Appalachia’s plan, released in July, lays out how to build and modernize infrastructure, repair the land and create jobs through public investment in Appalachia’s Ohio River Valley. Reimagine Appalachia is a coalition of more than 75 grassroots organizations from Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. It calls for, among other things, encouraging regenerative agriculture practices, reviving the Civilian Conservation Corps, increasing clean energy use, expanding broadband, building a sustainable transportation system and creating “good union jobs.”

GREEN HYDROGEN CHARGING STATIONS

World’s First Green Hydrogen Universal Charging Station for Electric and Hydrogen Vehicles, H2-Greenforce, Extends Preferred Series A Funding Raising up to $12 Million to Debut Green Island™, H2 Greenforce LLC News Release, PR Newswire

About H2-Greenforce: Founded in 2019 in New Jersey, H2’s mission is to decarbonize our planet through production of green electricity. H2-Greenforce combines its own proprietary green hydrogen technology and know-how, with advanced industrial components to build self-sustainable electric infrastructure. H2-Greenforce is a trademark of H2-Greenforce LLC in the United States and other countries.

CLIMATE ACTION 100+ NEWS

Investors call on major US polluters to clean up lobbying activities, by Cecilia Keating, GreenBiz
It is just the latest intervention from Climate Action 100+, which is backed by more than 500 global investors representing $47 trillion of assets worldwide and aims to ramp up climate ambition from companies it has identified as collectively responsible for up to 80 percent of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Companies targeted by the campaign span a number of polluting sectors, including oil and gas, consumer goods, power and transportation, and have been identified as “systematically important” to the net zero transition by the campaign.

FEATURED LOCAL RESOURCES TO HELP YOU SAVE ENERGY & MONEY

Environment America releases 2020’s top solar cities

By Kelsey Misbrener, Solar Power World

Fifty top American cities have each more than doubled their total installed solar PV capacity since 2013, a new study released by Environment America Research & Policy Center found. The report, “Shining Cities 2020: The Top U.S. Cities for Solar Energy,” is the seventh annual edition of the most comprehensive survey of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in major U.S. cities.

This year’s survey, which analyzed data through December 2019, found that cities are increasingly turning to solar to meet their energy needs. In 2013, the first year of the study, eight of the cities surveyed had enough solar PV per capita to qualify as “Solar Stars” — (cities with 50 or more watts of solar PV capacity installed per capita). In 2019, that number jumped to 26 cities. Read more here.

Environment America News Release: Environment America Research & Policy Center releases new comprehensive study on solar capacity in major U.S. cities

See Appendix A of the report for each of the 70 cities’ total solar PV rankings. Omaha, ranked 66th, is the only Nebraska city included in the survey.

Appendix B includes data sources:
Omaha Public Power District provided Environment America with the total capacity of solar PV systems tied to their grid within Omaha city limits as of December 31, 2019.

Additional Recommended Reading

OPPD Offers New And Improved Process And Resources For Customer-Owned Generation, OPPD News Release

More and more people are showing interest in generating their own electricity through solar panels, wind turbines, or other sources. Omaha Public Power District now has a new and improved process to help them get started. We’ve implemented a streamlined online application system, as well as resources for those considering Customer-Owned Generation, at www.oppd.com/COG. OPPD currently has 192 customers who generate their own solar energy and 22 customers who generate their own wind energy.

Exchanging Mountaintops for Energy

Written by Graham Marema, Environment America

The price for powering our society shouldn’t be our special places.

Every stage in the use of fossil fuels has consequences for our environment. Carbon is extracted from the ground, transported through our communities — risking spills along the way — and ultimately released into our atmosphere, contributing to an increasingly unstable climate.

New strip mining projects in protected places like the Cumberland Plateau make no sense — not when we have safe, clean and sustainable alternatives that are growing every day. Solar panels have become common sights on the roofs of schools, businesses and houses, and wind turbines are generating renewable energy in plains across the country. In fact, from 2009 to 2019, solar power capacity grew 40-fold in the United States and wind power tripled. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading 

Environment America Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. Environment America Research & Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which runs organizations committed to our vision of a better world, a set of core values, and a strategic approach to getting things done.

New campaign launched on 30 campuses urges colleges and universities to shift to 100 percent clean renewable power

Environment America News Release

As national campus sustainability month kicks off, Environment America Research & Policy Center is launching 30 campaigns in 11 states, pressing colleges and universities to generate 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources. The initiative aims to get 150 schools to commit by 2021 to exclusively using renewable energy.

The nationwide effort includes targeted weeks of action, petition drives and direct engagement with administration officials to reach this goal. Thousands of students and faculty from every region of the country are expected to mobilize for this cause. Read more here.

Introducing Megapack: Utility-Scale Energy Storage

Tesla News Release

For utility-size installations like the upcoming Moss Landing project in California with PG&E, Megapack will act as a sustainable alternative to natural gas “peaker” power plants. Peaker power plants fire up whenever the local utility grid can’t provide enough power to meet peak demand. They cost millions of dollars per day to operate and are some of the least efficient and dirtiest plants on the grid. Instead, a Megapack installation can use stored excess solar or wind energy to support the grid’s peak loads. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Tesla

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FARM ENERGY NEWS

Can the Sun Cool Sows?, contributed by the University of Minnesota, Pork Magazine
Food retailers and consumers worldwide are pressuring food producers (farmers) to reduce the use of fossil fuels and lower the carbon footprint of their production systems. Over the last couple years, researchers at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) have been involved in a project entitled “Greening of Agriculture”. This project focuses on methods to reduce the use of fossil fuels in production agriculture.

Referenced in the Article
2019 Midwest Farm Energy Conference  Resources: Power Point Presentations (PDF) and YouTube Videos

Solar for All: Illinois incentive program aims to make solar more accessible

By Kari Lydersen, Midwest Energy News

Solar incentives in Illinois’ 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act helped Josh Lutton grow his Chicago solar company to 30 employees in the span of just a few years. Now, Lutton is hoping for even more growth with the rollout of one of the law’s marquee programs aimed at making solar accessible to more people. Illinois Solar for All is designed to serve people traditionally left out of the solar market: low-income households, including rural homeowners and renters in urban apartment buildings; people of color; and residents of environmental justice communities most impacted by pollution from fossil fuels . . . The Clean Energy Jobs Act and another bill that would expand solar incentives in Illinois, Path to 100, are before the Illinois Legislature, which closes its session at the end of the month. Read more here.

HAPPENING IN OTHER STATES

VW SETTLEMENT NEWS

Report: States missing opportunities to electrify transportation with VW money, by Frank Jossi, Energy News Network. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund and the Environment America Research & Policy Center created a scorecard to grade states on how they are allocating money from the settlement. Most states earned D or F grades for allowing money to be spent on diesel and other fossil fuel vehicles. The program’s second phase could offer bigger, if fewer, grants to pay for electric vehicle purchases.

America’s Top Colleges for Renewable Energy

A report by Environment America Research & Policy Center
Environment America News Release

America’s colleges and universities are leading the transition to a 100 percent renewable energy system. Small liberal arts colleges, large public universities and community colleges  alike, from every corner of the U.S., are taking the lead in reducing energy consumption,  deploying renewable energy technologies, and switching to electric vehicles.

The nation’s leading campuses for clean energy — from the University of Minnesota, Morris to  Southwestern University in Texas — are setting a strong example for other colleges and the  nation as a whole to follow. More than 40 colleges and universities now obtain 100 percent or more of their electricity from renewable energy sources.  And, of the 180 schools that  have reported their renewable energy data to The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), 91 percent are using some amount of renewable energy.

Campuses are also leading in cleaning up our transportation system. Each of the top 10 schools for electric vehicles (EVs) in this ranking have switched over 60 percent of their campus-owned vehicles to EVs. Of the 261 campuses reporting their campus fleet details to STARS, 88 percent have at least one EV. Continue reading here.

Download the full report.
Learn about Environment America’s 100% Renewable campaign.