Tag Archives: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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

Many States Lead on Energy Efficiency; More Needed

By Lara Ettenson, Natural Resources Defense Council

The annual American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) analysis shows several states adopted energy-saving targets and vehicle or appliance rules last year that will lay the groundwork to scale up efficiency programs, such as insulating buildings or replacing energy-guzzling appliances. However, while some states are making progress, the scorecard also shows there is still much work to do to ensure that the investment in—and benefits of—efficiency are distributed equitably. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

HYBRID PROJECT A FIRST WITHIN SOUTHWEST POWER POOL AREA

A greener, rural-Oklahoma energy grid is generating jobs by the hundreds and revenues by the millions, The Oklahoman

Energy flowing across Oklahoma’s transmission grid turned greener this week. On Wednesday, Western Farmers Electric Cooperative and NextEra Energy Resources flipped a switch activating the first phase of power generation from Skeleton Creek. The Skeleton Creek Project’s combination of wind, solar and energy storage was the first project of its type announced by developers within the Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) 546,000 square mile operational area. 

About Southwest Power Pool
The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) is a regional transmission organization (RTO): a nonprofit corporation mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices on behalf of its members. SPP oversees the bulk electric grid and wholesale power market in the central United States on behalf of a diverse group of utilities and transmission companies in 17 states, [including Nebraska].

Previously Posted

 OHIO’S SOLAR BOOM

Inside Clean Energy: The Solar Boom Arrives in Ohio, by Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News
Right now, Ohio has barely 100 megawatts of utility-scale solar power. By this time next year, it is likely to have more than 400 megawatts. And if every project that has filed papers with state regulators gets built, the total would exceed 5,000 megawatts by the mid-2020s. So what’s going on here?

Renewable Energy Surges Even In Fossil Fuel Friendly Red States

 By Jeff McMahon, Senior Contributor, Forbes

The nation’s two largest coal-producing states, Wyoming and West Virginia, have emerged as leaders in renewable energy and energy storage, respectively, according to a new report. States that voted red in the 2016 presidential election occupy seven of the top-ten spots for wind and solar generation as a percentage of their electricity consumption, according to Environment America’s Renewables on the Rise 2020, released last week. Read more here.

FROM DOE’S WIND EXCHANGE NEWSLETTER

Wind Energy Technology Data Update: 2020 Edition, DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The United States added 9,000 MW of new land-based, utility-scale wind power capacity in 2019, bringing the national total to 105.6 gigawatts. Wind power represented the second-largest source of U.S. electric-generating capacity additions in 2019 and provides more than 10% of electricity in 14 states. Continuing the long-term trend, average turbine capacity, rotor diameter, and hub height increased in 2019, significantly boosting wind project performance to a capacity factor of 41%. The national average price of wind power purchase agreements has dropped to less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, and the levelized cost of energy has dropped 60% in the past 10 years to $36 per megawatt-hour. View a PowerPoint summary or download the 2019 Wind Technology Data.

 FEATURED NATIONAL SURVEY

Two-Thirds of Americans Think Government Should Do More on Climate, Pew Research Center
Consistent with public concerns over climate and the environment, 79% of Americans say the priority for the country’s energy supply should be developing alternative sources of energy, such as wind and solar; far fewer (20%) give priority to expanding the production of oil, coal and natural gas. To shift consumption patterns toward renewables, a majority of the public (58%) says government regulations will be necessary to encourage businesses and individuals to rely more on renewable energy; fewer (39%) think the private marketplace will ensure this change in habits.

 OHIO

Column: Solar energy investment is critical to Ohio’s economy, Columbus Dispatch. Contributor Jason Rafeld is executive director of the Utility-Scale Solar Energy Coalition.

In an effort to understand the economic value the solar industry could bring to Ohio, the Utility- Scale Solar Energy Coalition commissioned a study through Ohio University that shows compelling results. Ohio’s utility-scale solar industry can create more than $18 billion in economic activity, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and helping to attract new business to Ohio.  

COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY

Partnership to increase solar energy generated on CSU campuses, Colorado State University News
Through the agreement, Namasté Solar, an employee-owned cooperative based in Colorado, will develop, design, and construct solar arrays at up to 30 sites at CSU’s campuses and provide long-term operations and maintenance. CSU will retain ownership of Renewable Energy Credits attributed to the new systems and locally-based Solaris Energy will provide the needed financing for the project, then own and manage the systems as a part of its larger asset portfolio.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

South Sioux City Continues Green Energy Effort

By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ

Wednesday is “Energy Efficiency Day” and South Sioux City has a variety of projects that use alternative forms of energy to power the city. South Sioux City has a goal to be the greenest city in Nebraska. City Administrator Lance Hedquist says over half of the city’s energy now comes from renewable sources: Continue reading here.

Photo by Tim Hynds / Sioux City Journal: South Sioux City’s array at a solar park south of the city, alongside C Avenue. This is the first Nebraska project for California-based developer Solar City, a Tesla subsidiary.
Previously Posted News Story: Solar is South Sioux City’s latest investment in renewables, Sioux City Journal

ACEEE’S ENERGY EFFICIENCY SCORECARD

Midwest cities show more improvement in annual efficiency scorecard, by Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network. Northeast and West Coast cities dominated the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s annual city scorecard released Oct. 6, but the Midwest boasted the two most-improved cities in the rankings: St. Paul and St. Louis. Minneapolis was the only city in the top 10, tied for 4th with San Francisco, while Chicago was 13th. New York, Seattle and Boston claimed the top three spots. David Ribeiro, lead author of the scorecard, said Midwestern cities have much untapped potential, and he said cities anywhere in the nation should be able to do just as well as coastal leaders in incentivizing saving energy. 

ALSO PUBLISHED BY THE ENERGY NEWS NETWORK

MORE MIDWEST NEWS & NDEE RESOURCE

  • Powered by renewables, by Andrew Weeks, Grand Forks Herald
    Renewables, or what is sometimes called green energy, is shaping the energy sector not only in the Midwest but across the country. “I think the thing to really look at is what’s going on with the trends in energy right now,” said Dwight Patterson, CEO of GenPro Energy Solutions in Piedmont, S.D. “Renewable energy is really taking center stage in the United States as well as globally.” Renewable energy is projected to grow substantially over the next four years, he said, noting, “it’s an incredibly fast-moving market; it’s growing very quickly.” According to information by the Pew research Center, changes in renewable energy will continue to trend upward and will affect the labor market, including demand for new skill requirements.
  • Kansas is a state full of sun, so why does Kansas lag behind in solar power?, by Sarah Spicer, Wichita Eagle. “We’ve got a top 10 resource,” said Zack Pistoria, the Kansas lobbyist for the Sierra Club, a national environmental organization. “We haven’t done anything on solar.” Part of the reason, he said, is some of the anti-solar policies the state has in place. One example is the demand fees utility companies charge residents who use solar to generate energy at home. Utilities argued the fee was needed as a way to maintain infrastructure and transmission lines, but critics saw it as a way to discourage solar in the state.
  • Omaha Public Power District announces sites for two new gas generators, by Peter Maloney, American Public Power Association. Locations for the solar components of the Power with Purpose project have not yet been announced because sourcing for solar portions of the project are still under way.
  • Solar Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE)

INNOVATIVE ENERGY STORAGE INCENTIVES PROGRAMS

Arizona OKs home battery incentives as Green Mountain Power program shows millions in customer savings, by Emma Penrod, Utility Dive

The Arizona Corporation Commission last month approved the state’s first residential battery storage program — an incentive pilot proposed in August by the Arizona Public Service Company. Around the same time, Green Mountain Power (GMP) said its growing network of stored energy in Vermont, including home batteries and other resources, has reduced customer costs by about $3 million so far in 2020. Arizona has several hundred thousand households with rooftop solar, according to Court Rich, vice president of the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association.

NEXT ERA

Wind and solar producer tops Exxon as most valuable U.S. energy company, CBS News
Exxon, once the world’s most valuable company, has seen its revenues and profits slide over the last decade. By contrast, NextEra —the largest wind producer in North America and one of the largest solar companies — has enjoyed profit margins of as much as 50%, while its stock has outperformed the broader stock market. 

U.S. CORPORATE SOLAR ENERGY PURCHASING

NUCLEAR ENERGY

Nuclear Energy — The High Cost Of A Dying Industry, by Johnna Crider, CleanTechnica
The nuclear sector, OilPrice says, simply can’t compete with the flood of inexpensive natural gas and is struggling to stay alive. However, it’s not just natural gas — renewable energy has been passing up natural gas in terms of new power capacity, and also growing strong in terms of new electricity generation. 

TRANSPORTATION INEQUITY STUDY

Parking and public transit tell us a lot about equity in cities, by Joe Cortright, GreenBiz
University of Northern Illinois professor Chris Goodman recently compiled data for the nation’s 30 largest cities on the price cities charge for on street parking permits compared to the price of a transit pass. The disparity between what people pay to park their cars on the public street (nothing or very little) and what they have to pay to use transit speaks volumes about privilege and equity in transportation. To take advantage of free or low cost on street parking, you have to own a car, which automatically means the poorest households receive little or no benefit; meanwhile, because car ownership is highly correlated with income, more benefits go to high income households.

NATURAL BEER CARBONATION

Are the bubbles in your beer made from sustainable CO2?, by Jesse Klein, GreenBiz
Most beer produced in the United States is forcibly carbonated by injecting pressurized CO2 into the liquid. It can take up to two weeks to naturally carbonate beer, according to George, so few breweries do it for economic reasons. Carbon capture technology could provide a version of natural carbonation at a fraction of the time by grabbing the naturally produced gas for use later.

EPA-FUNDED BIODIGESTER PROJECT

Pa. college plans to power two farms from cafeteria waste, cow manure, and brewery scraps, The Philadelphia Inquirer. Kenneth Shultes, in charge of the school’s sustainability planning, said the biodigester project will reduce the school’s overall carbon emissions by 120 metric tons annually. “This fits with the college’s mission, and everything that we’re doing with sustainability,” Schultes said.

OPPD announces sites for two backup natural gas plants

By Jessica Wade, Omaha World-Herald

The Omaha Public Power District on Thursday announced the locations of two natural gas peaking plants that will be built in the Omaha area. No location has been announced for a solar farm planned as part of the Power with Purpose project. OPPD will hold two online meetings for the public to learn more about the natural gas units: the Papillion facility will be discussed Sept. 29 at 6 p.m.; the Omaha unit will be discussed on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. For information on the meetings, visiOPPDCommunityConnect.com. Read more here.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED 

The Climate Crisis Requires That We Move Away from Gas, by Sheryl Carter and Bobby McEnaney, Natural Resources Defense Council

We need to create a zero- or net-zero carbon future to deal with the worsening climate crisis—and that requires transitioning away from fossil gas. Getting there will require us to significantly reduce our reliance on gas and, for any gas we still use, address both the methane leaked throughout the supply chain and carbon emitted during combustion. Moving away from gas—in our buildings, in the power sector, and across our economy—could take a long time, and that is why we must start now. Here are some things we can do today to get there smartly and affordably:

WIND & SOLAR DECARBONIZING OUR ECONOMIES LOCALLY & NATIONALLY

Wind’s Environmental Record, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
Wind power is a low-carbon energy source—when a wind turbine generates electricity it produces zero carbon emissions. The development of clean wind energy avoids significant carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution.

  • In 2019, the electricity generated from wind turbines avoided an estimated 42 million cars’ worth of CO2 emissions.
  • A typical wind project repays its carbon footprint in six months or less, providing decades of zero-emission energy.

Climate Change: A Solar Energy Industries Association Initiative

  • Both concentrating solar power (CSP) and photovoltaic (PV) technologies produce clean, emissions-free electricity that can help reduce U.S. GHG emissions
  • Solar heating and cooling systems can provide about 80% of the energy used for space heating and water heating needs.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

EPA Infographic: Sources of GHG Emissions in the United States by Sector. While methane, the primary component of natural gas, makes up 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, it is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide during the first two decades of its release.

Carbon dioxide (CO2): Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil), solid waste, trees and other biological materials, and also as a result of certain chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement). Carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere (or “sequestered”) when it is absorbed by plants as part of the biological carbon cycle.

Methane (CH4): Methane is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. Methane emissions also result from livestock and other agricultural practices and by the decay of organic waste in municipal solid waste landfills.

Nitrous oxide (N2O): Nitrous oxide is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste, as well as during treatment of wastewater.

Fluorinated gases: Hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride are synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes. Fluorinated gases are sometimes used as substitutes for stratospheric ozone-depleting substances (e.g., chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and halons). These gases are typically emitted in smaller quantities, but because they are potent greenhouse gases, they are sometimes referred to as High Global Warming Potential gases (“High GWP gases”).