Tag Archives: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Coal-fired power plants to close after new wastewater rule

By Michael Rubinkam, Associated Press News

Owners of shuttering plants are responsible for
e
nvironmental cleanup, according to the EPA.

The new wastewater rule requires power plants to clean coal ash and toxic heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic and selenium from plant wastewater before it is dumped into streams and rivers. The rule is expected to affect 75 coal-fired power plants nationwide, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Those plants had an October deadline to tell their state regulators how they planned to comply, with options that included upgrading their pollution-control equipment or retiring their coal-fired generating units by 2028. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

POTENTIAL PLAYBOOK FOR WANNABE-CARBON-FREE STATES

Illinois’ new clean energy law could be a regulatory playbook for other states, Utility Dive

On Sept. 15, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, D, signed into law a historic bill to decarbonize the state’s energy sector, transition it to clean and renewable forms of generation, and do so with a focus on equitable job creation. Under the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), Illinois became the first Midwest state to commit to net-zero carbon emissions, setting a deadline of 2050.

STEM EVENT IN NORFOLK

Science Day at Woodland Park, Norfolk Daily News
Speakers from the University of Nebraska Extension, Northeast Community College and Edgerton Explorit Center spent the day exploring how wind energy affects our lives as part of a Science Day event at Woodland Park Elementary School in Norfolk.
 

Panhandle wildfires cause long-term effects

By Grace Pagone, North Platte Bulletin

Farmers and ranchers struggle to recover financially from recent panhandle wildfires that damaged their crops and infrastructure, along with forcing a relocation of cows and calves. Two wildfires burned more than 8,200 acres of pasture and cropland near Scottsbluff and Gering in the Panhandle. Continue reading here.

FEATURED OPINION

Small businesses and family farms would benefit from boost to USDA rural energy grant programGuest Commentary for The Baltimore Sun by Lloyd Ritter, managing partner of Green Capital LLC

As legislators calculate the right balance on how much to spend on infrastructure and clean energy, they should take stock of both the environmental and the economic gains that everyday Americans earn through the transformation to an efficient, clean energy economy. And make no mistake: That the transition is underway, built up from many small projects and successes. Congress can maintain momentum by funding smart policy choices, such as USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program.

Rural Energy for America Program

RENEWABLE ENERGY ON AMERICA’S FARMS & RANCHES

  • According to the latest USDA Census of Agriculture (2017), a total of 133,176 farms and ranches had renewable energy systems, more than double the 57,299 in 2012. Those include solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and methane digesters.
  • 2017 Census by State
  • USDA’s 2022 Census of Agriculture Content Test is underway, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). NASS has been preparing for the 2022 Census of Agriculture since 2018 when they began evaluating the content and design of the previous Census questionnaire and soliciting public input into the 2022 Census.

DOE’S LOAN PROGRAMS OFFICE

There’s $44 Billion in Clean Energy Funds Up For Grabs, by Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg Green

The Energy Department has a little-known investment operation, the Loan Programs Office, with a focus on backing innovative clean technologies in early commercial development. It has more than $40 billion to lend, and during an episode of the podcast he co-hosted, the Energy Gang, [Jigar] Shah was skeptical whether the LPO could accelerate low-carbon technologies quickly. The office was “fundamentally broken,” Shah said. About four months later, the Energy Department hired Shah to run LPO.

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

Over 60 Percent of Battery Storage Coming Online Will Be Co-located, EIA Says, American Public Power Association

Of the 14.5 gigawatts (GW) of battery storage planned to begin to come online between 2021 and 2024, 9.4 GW, or 63 percent, will be co-located with solar power, the EIA said. Another 1.3 GW of battery storage will be co-located at sites with wind turbines or fossil fuel-fired generators, such as natural gas-fired plants. The remaining 4 GW of planned battery storage will be located at standalone sites.

WHAT IS A GIGAWATT?

Gigawatt: The solar energy term you need to know about, by AJ Dellinger, CNET
According to a recent study published by the United States Department of Energy, it hopes to produce 45% of all electricity via solar power. That will require generating 1,600 gigawatts of power. This raises an important question: What is a gigawatt, exactly?

Additional Recommended Reading: DOE Releases Solar Futures Study Providing the Blueprint for a Zero-Carbon Grid

REMEDIATING FOSSIL FUEL SITES

A century later, utilities still face billions in potential liabilities from obsolete manufactured gas plants, by Kavya Balaraman, Senior Reporter, Utility Dive

Thousands of manufactured gas plants dotted the American landscape in the 19th and early 20th century. Today, PG&E, ConEd and other utilities are still dealing with the contamination they left behind.

Your utility: 5 facts about public power

By Laura King-Homan, The Wire

Public power utilities represent 60 percent of the electric utilities in the United States, serving 1 in 7 Americans. Nebraska has 166 public power utilities and cooperatives.

Public power is a unique part of living in Nebraska. The state is the only one in the country where all residents get electricity from public power utilities or cooperatives. This week, Oct. 3-9, is Public Power Week. In recognition, here are a few facts you may not know about your public power utilities.

Public power customers enjoy electricity rates averaging 11.6 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to investor-owned utility customers, who pay an average of 13.2 cents per kilowatt-hour. Nebraska enjoys rates that are even lower, an average of 10.6 cents per kilowatt-hour. Learn more here.

Infographic by the American Public Power Association (APPA)

Also Written by Laura King-Homan
Resolve to be more energy efficient: October tips, The Wire

Additional Recommended Reading

The [annual Energy Efficiency Jobs in America report] comes as lawmakers consider infrastructure and budget reconciliation measures that include billions in funding for efficiency, which experts say could boost the sector’s employment and reduce U.S. carbon emissions. “What I’m seeing in Congress is a growing acceptance … that we have to act,” Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., said at an event introducing the efficiency employment report.

Energy Efficiency Jobs in America  by nonpartisan business group E2 and clean energy nonprofit E4TheFuture

A bipartisan Ohio bill would be a first step to recouping savings, say advocates. But huge losses from House Bill 6 would remain. For Ohio, the MEEA report estimates that Ohioans missed out on roughly $980 million in net benefits for one program year. That figure includes savings on energy bills, as well as things like reduced capacity costs and avoided costs for transmission and distribution. When avoided health impacts and the social costs of carbon are factored in, Ohioans would have saved more than $2 billion for a single program year, according to the analysis.

Since he joined FERC four years ago, Glick has argued the agency isn’t taking a sharp enough look at how gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas facilities affect the climate as well as environmental justice communities, or whether the proposed facilities are even needed. Glick’s letter comes as FERC is considering changing how it reviews natural gas infrastructure under a policy statement set in 1999. The agency launched a review of its natural gas policy in April 2018. After Glick was elevated to chairman last January, he asked for another round of comments from stakeholders on issues like how to evaluate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Solar Industry Doubles Down on Solar+ Decade Goal, Targets 30% Solar by 2030

SEIA News Release

“The destructive impacts of climate change are happening now, and it’s time to reimagine our entire electricity system,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “The solar industry is leading the way in reducing electricity sector emissions, but we’ll fall far short of the 850 gigawatts we need to reach 30% of electricity generation by 2030 without policy action. It’s time for lawmakers to meet the urgency of this climate moment. If the industry reaches 30% solar by 2030, the solar and storage industry will grow to 1 million workers and add more than $800 billion in new private sector investment. Read the entire news release here.

Learn more about SEIA’s 2030 goals and solar industry’s bold vision for the Solar+ Decade

GREEN POWER LEADERSHIP 

EPA Honors SEIA with the 2021 Green Power Leadership Award for Market Development, SEIA News Release, September 28, 2021

Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the Center for Resource Solutions, unveiled the Green Power Leadership Awards (GPLA) to recognize outstanding achievements in the clean energy marketplace. This year, the GPLAs honored SEIA as a winner in their Market Development category. Watch a brief video here.

U.S. SOLAR MANUFACTURING – LEGISLATION / LEADERSHIP

U.S. SOLAR MANUFACTURERS IN THE NEWS

FORD MOTOR COMPANY

Ford To Lead America’s Shift To Electric Vehicles With New Mega Campus In Tennessee and Twin Battery Plants In Kentucky: $11.4B Investment To Create 11,000 Jobs And Power New Lineup Of Adlvanced. EVs, News Release, Ford Media Center

DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 27, 2021 – Ford Motor Company is announcing plans to bring electric vehicles at scale to American customers with two new massive, environmentally and technologically advanced campuses in Tennessee and Kentucky that will produce the next generation of electric F-Series trucks and the batteries to power future electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

Ford plans to make the largest ever U.S. investment in electric vehicles at one time by any automotive manufacturer and, together with its partner, SK Innovation, plans to invest $11.4 billion and create nearly 11,000 new jobs at the Tennessee and Kentucky mega-sites, strengthening local communities and building on Ford’s position as America’s leading employer of hourly autoworkers.

See Also: FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces Steps to Drive American Leadership Forward on Clean Cars and Trucks, White House Briefing Room

OPPD’S NEW EV GUIDE

Thinking about making the switch? Here’s your EV guide, by Julie Wasson, The Wire

With its new EV guide, OPPD has made it easier than ever to learn about making the switch to electric vehicles. EV 101 explains the basics of owning and operating an EV. The EV calculator provides a personalized estimate that lets you compare vehicle models side-by-side. That can help you understand the near- and long-term costs of switching to an EV, based on your driving habits, electricity use and savings potential.

You can also check out a map of the public charging stations available in the Omaha area and across the state. And you can learn about incentives and rebates available to EV buyers, including OPPD’s rebate program.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

WATCH NOW: Carthage students form business to promote renewable energy, Kenosha News

Climate measures in budget bill could cut nearly 1 billion tons of emissions per year by 2030, analysis finds

By Ella Nilsen, CNN, News Channel Nebraska

Six major climate provisions in congressional Democrats’ massive budget bill could slash US greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 1 billion tons per year by 2030, a new analysis from the nonpartisan Rhodium Group found. It would be comparable to removing all passenger vehicles from the road, or the yearly greenhouse gas emissions of Texas and Florida combined, according to the analysis. “This is a really big deal,” Rhodium Group President John Larsen told CNN. “It would be the single largest action the federal government’s ever taken to deal with climate change.” Continue reading here.

Also Written By Ella Nilsen

DOE Releases New Reports Highlighting Record Growth, Declining Costs of Wind Power

Department of Energy News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released three reports showing record growth in land-based wind energy, significant expansion of the pipeline for offshore wind projects, and continued decline in the cost of wind energy generation – laying the groundwork for significant future gains as the Biden Administration pursues rapid acceleration of renewable energy deployment to reach its goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035.

“These reports contain such terrific news: the U.S. installed a record-breaking amount of land-based wind energy last year. They underscore both the progress made and the capacity for much more affordable wind power to come – all necessary to reach President Biden’s goal of a decarbonized electricity sector by 2035,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “At DOE, we will double down on efforts to deploy more wind energy around the country as we also pursue technologies to make turbines even cheaper and more efficient.”  Continue reading here.

The three market reports are available at energy.gov/windreport.  To learn more about DOE’s wind energy research, visit the Wind Energy Technologies Office homepage.

The following series is by Liz Hartman, Communications Lead for DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office. Just for fun, test your knowledge of each of the “Top 10 Things”.

Additional Recommended Reading
EPA urges FERC to use social cost of carbon in gas project reviews, Utility Dive

Hot Solar Summer: Building Back Better with Clean Energy Infrastructure

Solar Energy Industries Association 

America is facing an unprecedented opportunity to enact bold federal policies to decarbonize our electric grid and generate hundreds of thousands of quality clean energy jobs. To achieve this, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is mobilizing a nationwide campaign urging leaders in Washington to act. Hot Solar Summer will help to keep pressure on lawmakers to meet this moment and accelerate an equitable transition to a clean energy economy. Read more here.

Join the Hot Solar Summer campaign and learn how your company or organizations can get involved at www.seia.org/AmericanJobs.

Previously Posted: 100+ Organizations Urge Congress to Act on a 10-year Investment Tax Credit (ITC) extension

SITING SOLAR ON CONTAMINATED LAND

How ‘unusable’ capped landfill can gain a second life as a solar farm,  by Michelle Lewis, Electrek

Putting solar farms on landfill is a great way to generate clean energy on what were previously considered unusable sites, but there are some special factors to consider. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) points out that “it is important to think about PV projects on landfills in terms of an integrated system, not as separate landfill and PV systems.”

When it comes to making solar work on landfill, Gretchen Dolson, renewable energy lead for HDR, an architectural, engineering and consulting firm based in Omaha, Nebraska [via Waste 360], says: Always begin with the end in mind and know it’s never too early to plan and think of alternate uses, regardless of the type of waste facility. Solar is often viable. But it depends on how the landfill was designed to function and how it was closed. (Pixabay Photo)

Links to Resources

  • RE-Powering America’s Land
    RE-Powering America’s Land is an EPA initiative that encourages renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites when such development is aligned with the community’s vision for the site.
  • EPA’s Brownfields Program provides grants and technical assistance to communities, states, tribes and others to assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse contaminated properties. To learn about EPA’s broader efforts to put previously contaminated properties back into productive use, read about the Land Revitalization Program.
  • Brownfields and Land Revitalization in Region 7
    EPA Region 7 manages  Brownfields and Land Revitalization Programs in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. On this page you will find information specific to Region 7’s Brownfields and Land Revitalization activities. Visit the national Brownfields Program and Land Revitalization Program websites for more information about these programs’ competitive grants.
  • Brownfields: FAQs, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy 

City of Lincoln, Nebraska, Selected for $800,000 EPA Brownfields Grant to Address Contaminated Properties

EPA News Release, May 21, 2021

Lenexa, Kansas – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selected the city of Lincoln, Nebraska, to receive $800,000 in EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Program. During the press event at the former Nature’s Variety Cold Storage Facility, Acting EPA Region 7 Administrator Edward H. Chu presented a novelty big check to Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird.

“Thank you to the EPA for this boost in resources that will help our city overcome remaining environmental challenges and grow the vibrancy of our West and South Haymarket neighborhoods,” said Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird. “Brownfield grants like this one align with our local Climate Action Plan goals and do more than clean up polluted ground. They also create opportunities to build more housing, provide additional park land, address local food security, and improve our community’s health and well-being.” Read the entire release here.

For More Information

Q1 2021: Amazon goes big, Ørsted is a fan of corporate procurement

By Sarah Golden, GreenBiz

Corporate renewable deals got off to a sleepy but respectable start in 2021, with the largest contracts from U.S. companies reaching just shy of 2 gigawatts of capacity. This represents a cooling from the fourth quarter’s blockbuster 7.3 GW but a steady climb from the first quarter of previous years — Q1 2019 saw 757 megawatts (MW) of deals; Q1 2020 included 1.6 GW. 

Ørsted, the Danish multinational energy company best known for offshore wind, made a strong showing as a developer for U.S. corporate procurements this quarter, participating in deals with Pepsi, steelmaker Nucor, Target and Hormel Foods. The contracts include portions of two massive onshore wind projects: the 298 MW Haystack project in Nebraska and the 367 MW Western Trail project in Texas. Target, Hormel and Pepsi have procured portions of the Nebraska project; Pepsi and Nucor are offtakers of the Texas project. Read more here.

Photo: Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County, Nebraska. The Haystack project is under construction nearby.

Previously Posted

FACEBOOK’S RENEWABLES & ENERGY STORAGE

Facebook meets 100% renewable energy goal with over 6 GW of wind, solar, Utility Dive
Facebook said Thursday it had procured enough new renewable projects to meet 100% of energy needs for its global operations through clean resources, as of last year. The company has contracts in place for more than 6.1 GW of wind and solar across 18 states and five countries, within the same electric grids that power its data centers and operations. Of the energy contracted, Facebook said it currently has 2 GW of solar and 1.3 GW of wind online, along with 720 MW of energy storage.
Image Credit: Facebook

RE100 REACHES NEW MILESTONE 

  • RE100 reaches 300-member milestone, RE100 News Release
    As companies’ awareness of the impacts of climate change has grown, and with the opportunity to save money from wind and solar increasingly evident, buying renewables has moved from the fringe of corporate social responsibility practice to become a core element for business in securing their energy needs whilst driving down emissions and building positive relationships with employees, customers, investors and governments.
  • RE100 initiative hits 300 member milestone, Business Green
    The new cohort of members means nearly 320TW/h of corporate electricity around the world is set to switch to renewable sources in the coming years – equivalent to the electricity consumption of Australia and Italy, a spokesperson confirmed to BusinessGreen.

FROM THE AMERICAN PUBLIC POWER ASSOCIATION 

About APPA
The American Public Power Association is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. We represent public power before the federal government to protect the interests of the more than 49 million people that public power utilities serve, and the 93,000 people they employ. We advocate and advise on electricity policy, technology, trends, training, and operations.

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Solar Industry Unveils Environmental Justice Priorities, April 15, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is announcing its environmental justice priorities through a new policy platform that will support the organization’s advocacy efforts. The platform outlines principles for engagement, as well as environmental justice outcomes and policies that the organization will support to expand equitable access to solar energy and its benefits. The document lays out policies that expand access to clean energy and create industry jobs and workforce development training. It includes possible tax, climate, energy access and labor policies that build on SEIA’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice throughout the solar value chain.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 

FREE APP FOR TESLA OWNERS

Tesla owners can now see how much solar or coal is powering their EVs, by Kirsten Korosec, TechCrunch

TezLab, a free app that’s like a Fitbit for a Tesla vehicle, pushed out a new feature this week that shows the energy mix — breaking down the exact types and percentages of fossil fuels and renewable energy — coming from charging locations, including Superchargers and third-party networks throughout the United States.

Photo Credit: Tesla

Haaland: Era where tribes on backburner over

By Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times

In her first press conference as secretary of the Interior Wednesday, Deb Haaland promised to repair the nation-to-nation relationship between tribes and the federal government and to enact real consultation with tribes on important issues — not just within Interior but across the federal government.

Appropriately enough, the first Native American Interior secretary chose members of the Native American Journalists Association for the Zoom conference, which she scheduled for her very first day on the job. Continue reading here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST