Tag Archives: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Postponed

After careful consideration, the Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Planning Committee has made the decision to postpone the 2020 conference. Updates on the 2021 conference dates will be provided at: www.nebraskawsc.com

OPPD’S DECARBONIZATION STUDY

Pathways to Decarbonization, OPPD Community Connect
What is decarbonization? Simply, it’s the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, commonly referred to as our carbon footprint. Although carbon dioxide (CO2) occurs naturally in the Earth’s atmosphere, human activities over the last century have significantly increased levels of greenhouse gases. These include burning fossil fuels for energy and transportation, and removing trees (deforestation) to enable other land uses, such as clearing rainforests for agricultural purposes.

OPPD is working across four areas of focus to develop a roadmap for making progress towards the utility’s net-zero carbon production goal. Learn more and share your ideas about OPPD’s work related to Energy Portfolio, Internal OperationsCustomer and Community.

NREL’S PV COST PROJECTIONS

NREL’s solar cost projections plummet in new forecast, PV Magazine 
The lower projected costs for PV could help guide some utilities to plan for more PV capacity, as the utilities develop their long-term resource plans.

CLIMATE ACTION

States Are Doing What Big Government Won’t to Stop Climate Change, and Want Stimulus Funds to Help, InsideClimate News

This story is part of a collaboration between InsideClimate News and The Nation as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalistic collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story. This article focuses on rural areas; to read how green recovery spending can impact cities, click here.

SOLAR POLICY

September solar policy snapshots, Solar Power World
A guide to recent legislation and research throughout the country.

FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION

FERC details carbon pricing conference as groups blast renewables, consumer and women exclusions, by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Federal regulators on Friday announced details of a much-anticipated technical conference on carbon pricing, following a request from a broad group of renewable energy, gas and power groups for the commission to look at the issue more closely, but some stakeholders expressed disappointment with the lineup, decrying a lack of representation from renewable energy and consumer advocates, as well as lack of gender diversity.

GREEN HYDROGEN

Trickle Of Green Hydrogen Turns Into Flood Of Good News For Renewables, by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica

Wind and solar developers are eyeballing green hydrogen as a pathway for future growth, and it looks like they won’t have to depend on the transportation sector for sole support. That’s because hydrogen has many other uses, aside from being used to power fuel cell electric vehicles. Take the vehicles out of the equation and you still have the potential for rapid growth in demand for green hydrogen — and therefore in the demand for wind and solar farms, too.

ZERO-EMISSION EV DRIVING

Enel X Partners with Uber to Support Zero-Emission EV Driving in the U.S. through New JuiceEco Product, Enel X News Release. Today Enel X, the leading provider of innovative energy and electric mobility solutions, introduced JuiceEco, a new option for electric vehicle (EV) drivers to power their rides with 100% renewable energy in the U.S. Available exclusively through Enel X, JuiceEco provides Green-e® certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to match the consumption of any EV anywhere in the US with carbon-free electricity.

Uber pledges zero emissions platform by 2040, by Senior Editor Kristin Musulin, Smart Cities Dive Uber announced Tuesday a commitment to becoming a zero emissions mobility platform across its 10,000 cities and six continents by 2040. The company is striving for 100% of its rides to take place in zero-emission vehicles, public transit and micromobility.

TESLA ENERGY

Tesla Energy ramps hiring at Giga New York for accelerated solar production, Teslarati
Tesla is hiring for over 30 different positions at Giga New York, the facility where the company manufactures its solar products. Recent job listings on LinkedIn for the company’s facility in Buffalo indicate a wide variety of skills are being sought, including but not limited to engineering, equipment maintenance, production operations, and roof installers.


Certified Tesla Solar Roof Installer in
Nebraska: Weddle & Sons Roofing
Office locations in Lincoln and Omaha

Installing A Tesla Solar Roof, by Weddle & Sons Roofing


“EARTH FOCUS” SEASON 3 

An Episode Guide to ‘Earth Focus’ Season 3, KCET Original Series

“Earth Focus” features investigative reports and in-depth stories about our changing environment and how it affects people around the world. In this new season, “Earth Focus” examines the politics of the environment, including global youth climate activists, the transition away from coal in South Africa, curbing illegal gold mining in Peru, and the environmental politics of the New West.

 Episode 1: The Youth Climate Movement Around the World

One Way to Retire Coal Plants: Buy Out the Owner

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

Municipal and cooperative utilities may have an easier time retiring coal plants early.

In 2016, New Mexico’s Kit Carson Electric Cooperative left its long-standing power supply relationship with Colorado’s Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association behind. Kit Carson paid nearly $40 million to sever its relationship with Tri-State, after realizing it could save its customers even more money — $50 to $70 million — and get access to more renewables by contracting with Guzman Energy, a wholesale power provider. Since Kit Carson made a run for the door, numerous Tri-State members have considered the same.

Think tank Energy Innovation, in a new analysis released Tuesday in partnership with energy modeling company Vibrant Clean Energy, is elevating Kit Carson’s flight as a model for coal retirement that allows third-party, private financiers — including energy providers such as Guzman, investors or renewables developers — to push municipal and co-operative utilities toward more renewables. Continue reading here.

Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology LLC is a nonpartisan energy and environmental policy firm. 

MORE GTM ARTICLES OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

  • Microsoft Eyes New Tool in Decarbonization Quest: Green Hydrogen
    The tech giant announced Monday that it recently powered a row of data center servers for 48 hours using nothing but hydrogen fuel cells, which it believes to be the longest such test in the world for a data center operator at that scale. Microsoft is expanding its hydrogen testing and intends to leverage its vast size and energy consumption to help the green hydrogen industry scale up, Brian Janous, the company’s general manager for environmental sustainability, said in an interview. Last week NextEra Energy, the largest U.S. generator of wind and solar power, revealed plans to build its first green hydrogen facility in Florida, to be fueled by solar power.
  • Trump Administration Announces Long-Delayed Nomination of Democrat to FERC
    Nomination of NRDC attorney Allison Clements alongside Virginia utility regulator Mark Christie could restore political balance to key U.S. agency.
  • FirstEnergy CEO Defends Utility Amid Bribery Scandal Questions
    The utility’s share price and credit ratings have taken a hit after it was implicated in an Ohio nuclear and coal bailout corruption investigation.

NEW WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE REPORT

41 states have reduced their carbon emissions while growing their economies, Fast Company
Since 2005, 41 states and Washington, D.C., have increased their GDPs while reducing their carbon emissions, debunking the myth that economic growth can only happen at the expense of our environment. A new report from World Resources Institute (WRI) analyzes how states have decoupled their GDP growth from emissions, which Devashree Saha, a senior associate at WRI, says is “a hopeful sign for the United States and for the planet.” 

MORE ON NEW EIA DATA

Renewables have outpaced nuclear and coal to start 2020, PV Magazine
In the latest edition of Electric Power Monthly, Energy Information Administration (EIA) data shows that renewable resources have generated more electricity through May 31st than both coal and nuclear power.

AGGREGATED COMMUNITY SOLAR PROJECTS

First downstate project through Illinois community solar program underway, Energy News Network. The first community solar project in downstate Illinois facilitated by the state’s 2017 Future Energy Jobs Act is now being built, showing both the potential of the wildly popular program and the challenges of implementing it. Washington D.C.-based Summit Ridge Energy won the rights to sell renewable energy credits for 18 projects in downstate Ameren utility territory and 23 in ComEd’s territory in northern Illinois. So far it’s signed up 8,479 customers to participate in the community solar installations — just over half the subscribers it needs to be fully subscribed. 

MIDWEST SOLAR SCHOOLS

C2 Energy Capital Works with Solar Partners to Guide a School Solar Project to Successful Completion, C2 Capital News Release, PRNewswire

“The average price of a school solar installation has dropped 67% in the last ten years, making solar energy a smart decision for schools’ budgets. The most important factor for a successful solar installation in a school is an experienced team. Together, our partners have installed solar on dozens of schools in the Midwest and we are proud of the level of expertise, quality, and service we can offer,” says Richard Dovere, Co-founder and Managing Member of C2 Energy Capital.

The partnership between C2 Energy Capital, First Solar, and SP&L took a value-driven approach that resulted in cost-savings and reduced project risk for the school through strategic technology procurement, employing local and Ohio resources, and arranging ongoing project performance analysis. 

EVANGELICAL ENVIRONMENTAL NETWORK

Can an evangelical group change Ohio lawmakers’ minds on clean energy?, Energy News Network

An evangelical group has a stark message for Ohio lawmakers: If you care about unborn children, clean up the air their mothers breathe. “As a pro-life Christian, I believe pollution harms the unborn, causing damage that lasts a lifetime,” reads a petition signed by more than 53,000 Ohioans in support of moving the state to 100% clean electricity by 2030. The petition, circulated by the nonprofit Evangelical Environmental Network, was delivered to lawmakers on July 16. Its potential political impact was unclear then and is even more so now after federal authorities arrested the speaker of the Ohio House and others as part of an alleged $60 million bribery scheme

SUNPOWER BIFACIAL SOLAR PANELS

SunPower to launch 625 W shingled module, PV Magazine
SunPower, which is majority owned by French energy giant Total, is planning to launch a new shingled module series with 625 watts of power output. Group spinoff Maxeon Solar Technologies will commercialize the Performance 5 line in the fourth quarter. The high-efficiency, bifacial mono-PERC solar panels will be made with large format eight-inch G12 wafers and will have an efficiency of 21.2%.

AWEA WEBINAR SERIES

Renewables 101 series: Wind recap, look out for solar, by Lauren Rudolphi, Into The Wind
As someone new to the renewable energy industry, this month’s Wind 101 Webinar Series offered an insightful and well-rounded look into the world of wind. From an overview of the market, to wildlife, siting & permitting, I walked away from the series feeling informed and excited to learn more! Below is a recap of my key takeaways.

FERC Makes the Right Decision, Dismisses Misguided Net Metering Petition

SEIA News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today rejected a controversial petition to end state and local jurisdiction over net metering programs. The petition was brought by the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) and drew significant bipartisan pushback from around the country. Following is a statement by Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, on this decisionContinue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Discriminatory rooftop solar charges may violate antitrust law

By William Driscoll, PV Magazine

When his electric bill went up by about 65% because he has solar panels on his roof, William Ellis joined three others to file an antitrust lawsuit against their Arizona utility, Salt River Project (SRP), in federal district court. They alleged that SRP aimed “to stifle and eliminate all competition from the growing solar energy market.”

When the federal district court dismissed the case, the plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where they gained support last week from the U.S. Department of Justice. The Department’s Antitrust Division pursues antitrust cases for the federal government, and occasionally offers legal analysis in private antitrust cases. Read more here.

KANSAS ENERGY REPORT 

Secrecy in Kansas energy report irks clean energy, consumer stakeholders, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network. A report commissioned by the Kansas Legislature to help guide future energy policy decisions leaves the public in the dark on the rationale behind key recommendations, critics say.  “Most of the solar information has been redacted,” said Dorothy Barnett, executive director of the Kansas Climate & Energy Project. The only way she can see the entire unredacted report is to formally intervene in the matter, which she said she is now doing.

MOODY’S ANALYSIS – MISSOURI UTILITIES

Feeling the heat: Missouri utilities sit in bull’s-eye for heat stress, analysts say, by Bryce Gray, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In the next 10 to 20 years, rising temperatures are projected to stress Missouri’s power system more than any other state’s, driving up days at peak demand, increasing the frequency of rolling blackouts and making it harder for utilities to cool power plants, according to a report from a top U.S. credit rating agency. Days before the Moody’s report came out, the CEO of BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, used an annual address to highlight climate change as “a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects,” and a catalyst for “a fundamental reshaping of finance.”

CLIMATE RISK

A CFO’s take on climate and risk management, GreenBiz article contributed by Vincent Manier, Chief Financial Officer of ENGIE Impact. While climate risk remains an often overlooked or undervalued factor in risk management programs, there is an urgent need to integrate resiliency into core business strategy if businesses want to continue to thrive — or even remain operational.

ESG

An unexpected breakout year for the social side of ESG, by Mike Hower, GreenBiz
The great thing about ESG is that it isn’t a zero-sum game. A renewed focus on the S actually might help companies do a better job of addressing environmental challenges because the two are linked. People of color or low-income socioeconomic status, for example, are suffering and will continue to suffer first and worst from the negative effects of the climate crisis, says Union of Concerned Scientists.

SOLAR ENERGY INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION REPORT

US installed more solar in Q1 2020 than ever before, by Tim Sylvia, PV Magazine
According to SEIA, the U.S. solar market will install 113 GW of solar from 2020-25, which is actually down 3.6 GW from the projections the company made in 2019, due to the ongoing pandemic.

ENERGY STORAGE

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ANNOUNCEMENT

U.S. Department of Energy Announces $21 Million for Research in EPSCoR States, EIN Presswire
The award teams are led by universities in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.  The proposed teams include partner institutions in Louisiana and Nevada.

BIDEN-SANDERS UNITY TASK FORCE REPORT

Biden-Sanders task force calls for installing 500 million solar modules in next five years, PV Magazine. report from the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force calls for the installation of 500 million solar modules in the next five years. Solar module sizes vary widely these days — but that’s hundreds of gigawatts of solar and several times the current U.S. appetite for PV.

GRAIN BELT EXPRESS TRANSMISSION LINE

Whoosh! Wind Power Wins, Pipelines Implode In Fossil Fuel Week From Hell, by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica. “The project will benefit many Missourians who receive their electricity from community-owned, non-profit local municipal utilities,” the Missouri Public Utility Alliance (MPUA) explained in a statement dated May 15, 2020. For those of you keeping score at home, that covers 350,000 Missourians served by 39 community-owned utilities. According to MPUA, the Grain Belt Express is expected to save its members $12.8 million annually while 1,500 jobs and $500 million in infrastructure investment into Missouri.

100% GREEN MICROGRIDS

Hydrogen May Be The Crucial ‘Jigsaw’ Piece For Green Microgrids, by Ken Silverstein, Senior Contributor, Forbes. “In the last decade, renewable energy sources have been transforming the microgrid landscape, consequently reducing or even eliminating the need for costly fossil fuels. This has been made possible through the use of hydrogen,” says Thomas Chrometzka, a strategist with Enapter, which makes electrolyzers — a device used to split apart the hydrogen and oxygen from water. “Introducing hydrogen to microgrids solves the problem of seasonal or long-term storage that batteries cannot provide. It is the crucial jigsaw piece for 100% green microgrids.”

COMMUNITY ORCHARD WITH SOLAR-POWERED CLASSROOM

South Sioux City Community Orchard continues to grow, KTIV
Along with fruit trees, the orchard features a home for honey bees, and in 2018 a classroom was added to allow for educational classes. To help power the classroom, solar panels were added.

IEA REPORTING

Has the International Energy Agency finally improved at forecasting solar growth?, PV Magazine Something strange has happened at the IEA — the agency has finally begun to take solar and other renewables seriously.

As Fossil Fuel Pipelines Fall to Opposition, Utilities See Renewable Energy as Safe Bet

By Jeff St. John, Senior Editor, Greentech Media

Legal challenges halted several major pipeline projects across the U.S. in recent days, underscoring a seismic shift facing the U.S. utility industry: the rise of renewables as a potentially less costly and risky alternative to fossil fuels. Over the weekend Dominion Energy and Duke Energy, two of the country’s biggest utilities, canceled their Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, citing costs that have ballooned to as much as $8 billion and ongoing legal challenges from landowners and environmental groups. The pipeline’s legal challenges include an April federal court decision overturning Nationwide Permit 12, a federal permit authority allowing pipelines to cross waterways and wetlands, which threatens the viability of projects including the massive Keystone XL oil pipeline. Continue reading here.

Previously Posted
In A Post-Pandemic World, Renewable Energy Is The Only Way Forward, by Senior Contributor Enrique Dans, Forbes. A post-pandemic economic reconstruction based on restructuring the energy map makes sense. We know we have to do it, and we know the reason we haven’t done it so far is because it challenges the interests of a powerful few.

MORE ON FOSSIL FUEL PIPELINES

  • Judge orders Dakota Access pipeline shut down pending review, Omaha World-Herald
    FARGO, N.D. — A federal judge on Monday ordered the Dakota Access pipeline shut down pending a more thorough environmental review, handing a victory to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe three years after the pipeline first began carrying oil following months of protests.
  • US Supreme Court deals blow to Keystone oil pipeline project, Omaha World-Herald
    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court handed another setback to the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline from Canada on Monday by keeping in place a lower court ruling that blocked a key environmental permit for the project. Canadian company TC Energy needs the permit to continue building the long-disputed pipeline across U.S. rivers and streams.

TESLA

Tesla’s Success Is Good News For Everyone, by Senior Contributor Enrique Dans, Forbes
The company is now the gold standard for an industry that for too long has innovated reluctantly and at a snail’s pace. 

ACQUISITION NEWS

Sunrun to acquire Vivint Solar for $3.2 billion in all-stock transaction, PV Magazine
The new, bigger Sunrun will have 500,000 customers and more than 3 GW of solar power assets. Is there value in scale in residential solar?

THERMAL ENERGY STORAGE

Storing Heat Energy Offers $300bn Opportunity To Cut Carbon Emissions, by Mike Scott, Forbes. Thermal energy storage allows polluting industries to clean up and reduce emissions.

Public Citizen Unmasks Suspect Ratepayer Group Aiming To Disrupt U.S. Solar Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) might be a phony consumer group that seeks to end over 40 states’ successful rooftop solar programs, Public Citizen found Monday. In a motion filed with the Federal Electricity Regulatory Commission (FERC), Public Citizen provided documentation that contradicts NERA’s claim that it represents low-income households.

The documents showed that 15 entities have donated between $5,000 and $20,000 annually to the organization, making up nearly its entire funding. Such funding is more representative of an industry trade association than a consumer group defending the interests of households. Public Citizen’s filing asks FERC to dismiss NERA’s petition to end the ability of more than 40 states to administer net metering programs, because of NERA’s lack of transparency and misrepresentation. Continue reading here. 

About Public Citizen
Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people – not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country. We don’t participate in partisan political activities or endorse any candidates for elected office. We take no government or corporate money, which enables us to remain fiercely independent and call out bad actors – no matter who they are or how much power and money they have.

NATIONWIDE SUPPORT FOR NET METERING

  • SEIA: Petition to End Net Metering Would be Unlawful Federal Power Grab, News Release
    Jurisdiction over net metering rests with the states and local regulatory bodies and granting a petition to have the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulate retail programs would represent an unlawful federal power grab, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said in response to the petition today. The petition runs counter to the nation’s interests regarding jobs, economic growth and social justice. The petition has drawn significant pushback from a wide variety of parties, including conservative groups, state regulatory agencies, a bipartisan group of state elected officials, and trade associations representing a cross-section of the electricity sector.
  • AG Kaul Joins 16 Attorneys General in Opposing End to Clean Energy Program, EIN Presswire MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul today joined a coalition of 16 attorneys general, the California Energy Commission, and the California Public Utilities Commission in calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reject a petition seeking to end state net metering programs. Approval of the petition could deprive states of a vital clean energy program, financially harm millions of customers, and place thousands of jobs at risk. The states’ protest, filed with FERC today, argues that a petition by the “New England Ratepayers Association” (NERA) is unlawful and would improperly overturn nearly 20 years of precedent recognizing state authority to implement net metering programs, including the authority to set rates, terms, and conditions. 
  • Curtailing solar net metering could damage low-income, ethnic minority communities, by José Rojo Martín, PV-Tech. Human rights activists have thrown their weight behind a campaign to preserve solar net metering, warning that recent attempts to curtail it would damage low-income and ethnic minority communities.
  • 450 organizations sign letter asking FERC to reject federal net-metering petition, Solar Power World. More than 450 environmental and energy-justice, faith and labor groups from more than 30 states urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject the New England Ratepayers Association’s petition seeking federal jurisdiction over state solar policies.
  • Utilities remain mute on FERC net metering petition, leave filing to face overwhelming opposition, by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive. A petition in front of federal regulators to effectively overturn net metering policies nationwide faced overwhelming bipartisan opposition on Monday from state regulators, members of Congress, public power groups and others. 

Alliant coal plant could cost Wisconsin customers $257M by 2030, report says

By Catherine Morehouse, Utilty Dive

Two Wisconsin coal plants cost Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin customers $16 million in 2019 alone, according to a report released Tuesday from the Sierra Club. Alliant on Friday announced it plans to retire one of those facilities — the 380 MW last remaining unit of its Edgewater plant — by 2022. However, the 1,023 MW Columbia coal plant has no set retirement date, and if it continues to operate the utility’s share of the plant could cost customers $257 million through 2030, according to Sierra Club. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Related: Alliant Energy looks to add 675 MW of PV and quadruple Wisconsin’s solar capacity, PV Magazine

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

The (energy) efficient road to small business recovery, Utility Dive
The following is a contributed article by Ralph Cavanagh, Energy Co-Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and John Di Stasio, President of the Large Public Power Council.

MORE ON SECRET GROUP’S FERC PETITION

24 Congressional Democrats urge FERC to reject net metering overhaul, Utility Dive
A group of Democratic senators and representatives on Tuesday wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, urging the regulatory body to shut down a net metering proposal that experts say would effectively overturn the policy nationally. In the letter, Congress Members questioned FERC’s authority to make such a rule and also asked the commission to ask the petitioner, New England Ratepayers Association (NERA), to disclose its members. 

Upcoming Advanced Energy Economy Webinar


Net Energy Metering and State Authority: What’s at Stake for Advanced Energy in FERC Petition, June 3 at 2 p.m.


This webinar will explain how FERC ruling the wrong way could impact existing and emerging state and municipal and cooperative utility approaches to supporting distributed energy resources in retail markets. 

Panelists

  • Ted Thomas, Chairman, Arkansas Public Service Commission
  • Hannah Muller, Director of Public Policy, Clearway Energy
  • John McCaffrey, Senior Regulatory Counsel, American Public Power Association
  • Jeff Dennis, Managing Director and General Counsel, Advanced Energy Economy

PEAK COALITION REPORT

Dirty Energy, Big Money, by the PEAK Coalition
Subtitle: 
How Private Companies Make Billions from Polluting Fossil Fuel Peaker Power Plants in New York City’s Environmental Justice Communities – and How to Create a Cleaner, More Just Alternative

The high costs of these peaker plants—both in public health impacts and on New Yorkers’ electric utility bills—are largely hidden to the public. It is not well known, but the owners of these plants receive exorbitant payments from utilities and other energy service providers just for the plants to exist. 

UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS STUDY

The Coal Bailout Everybody Is Talking About, by Joseph Daniel, senior energy analyst with the Climate & Energy program at UCS

 As we found in our new UCS report, Used but How Useful, How Electric Utilities Exploit Loopholes, Forcing Customers to Bail Out Uneconomic Coal-Fired Power Plants, utilities across 15 states right in the heart of the U.S. exploited power market loopholes, costing customers $350 million in 2018.

Previously Posted

What The Post-Pandemic World Needs Is A Solar Energy Revolution

By Enrique Dans, Senior Contributor, Forbes

One technology above all has exceeded all expectations over recent years: solar energy. Near-exponential growth has lowered manufacturing costs and efficiency of the solar cells to the point that building a solar energy generation plant is now significantly cheaper than its fossil fuel equivalent, or even maintaining an existing unit — and most importantly, leave a negligible carbon footprint

Today, virtually everything that most people think they know about solar energy, about the days when only subsidies made solar installations profitable and some generated power with diesel engines at night, is completely obsolete and outdated. The solar energy landscape has changed so much in terms of costs and performance that it requires completely new analyses. Read more here.

ON-FARM SOLAR 

Indiana farmers see benefits in on-farm solar power for grain storage systems, contributed by Emergent Solar Energy, PV Magazine. “Every morning a potential energy source rises over the horizon to the east of my farm,” said Will Harlow, owner of the farm. “It seemed a waste to not harness this daily free energy source, erasing some of what I take from the grid. The solar components’ being made in the United States was also important to me. I hope if any positive comes from this pandemic, it is that we must do what we can to get production of all kinds returning to America.”

Links to resources for solar-powering farm operations & farmhouses: 

 

 

 


Nebraskans for Solar

Department of Energy: Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NET METERING

FERC Might Rewrite Solar Net Metering. Here’s What That Could Mean, by Ben Huffman and Marc Palmer, Greentech Media

On April 14, the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) petitioned FERC to assert jurisdiction over any on-site, behind-the-meter generation that injects energy onto the grid. If FERC asserts such jurisdiction in the manner requested by NERA, individual states could lose control over their solar net-metering policies — with myriad implications for the U.S. distributed solar market. FERC is currently accepting comments and intervenors from individuals and organizations. The period to comment or intervene ends June 15, 2020.

Ben Huffman is a partner with law firm Sheppard Mullin’s energy, infrastructure and project finance team. Marc Palmer is managing director of New Resource Solutions, a clean energy project facilitator.

 UC’S ESG INVESTMENT POLICY 

UC’s investment portfolios fossil free; clean energy investments top $1 billion, University of California Press Room

To date, UC’s new energy investments have developed and accelerated 9.2 gigawatts (GWs) of wind and solar capacity across all the platforms in which it has invested. Directly attributable to UC Investments’ share of the platforms is 1.47 GWs of wind and solar energy capacity in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and India. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 1 gigawatt of power is comparable to the energy produced by 3.125 million photovoltaic panels or 412 utility-scale wind turbines.

This is exactly the time to be talking about climate change

Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group

This is exactly the right time to be talking about climate change. In fact, we need to be talking unapologetically about climate, the clean economy, renewable energy, resilient food systems, sustainable mobility, the circular economy and the Sustainable Development Goals with more vigor than ever. We’ll spend the next several years rebooting and rebuilding our economic wherewithal. So, isn’t this the time to talk about how that will unfold, about how to create a robust, resilient and regenerative economy for the next generation or two? And shouldn’t we be aligning our investments — and our tax dollars — in those directions? Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Corporate America, it’s your time to shine, contributed by Suzanne Shelton, President & CEO Shelton Group, GreenBiz. We have the opportunity right now — flush with evidence about the cracks in our social system and the very real ways in which we’re affecting our environment — to reimagine the Way We Do Things. The business leaders and companies who use this moment to be creative (as opposed to simply trying to get back to “business as usual”) are the ones who will not only weather this storm; they’ll also be the preferred brands of the future. Here are five things company leaders can do right now to create a sustainable future:

EPA 

  • EPA gives power plants, regulated entities pollution compliance flexibility, citing COVID-19 concerns, by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive. Environmentalists worry the relaxed enforcement could allow facilities to be less diligent about compliance with air and water pollution standards. “This is an open license to pollute. Plain and simple,” Gina McCarthy, president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “We can all appreciate the need for additional caution and flexibility in a time of crisis, but this brazen directive is an abdication of the EPA’s responsibility to protect our health.”
  • Suspending EPA enforcement during COVID-19 outbreak adds to pollution-related health risks, Environment America News Release. “As our nation struggles to contain the coronavirus, health is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and the public cares even more deeply about the air we breathe and the water we drink. If EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will not rescind this policy immediately, we urge Congress to exercise its oversight authority to ensure the safety of our air and water.” – John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment America

RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

ENERGY STORAGE

NEW JERSEY’S CARBON-FREE LEADERSHIP

New Jersey looks to exit PJM, worried the MOPR will impede its 100% carbon-free goals, by Robert Walton, Utility Dive

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) wants to consider alternatives to participation in PJM Interconnection’s capacity market, and on March 27 launched an investigation into how the state can achieve its clean energy objectives that include reaching 100% carbon-free energy by 2050. The investigation is a response to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) December 2019 decision to expand the Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR) in the regional capacity market, effectively raising the floor prices for state-subsidized resources. Clean energy advocates believe the rule could prevent new renewable resources from competing in the wholesale market.

GREEN HYDROGEN

Policy, policy, policy: BloombergNEF’s path to hydrogen uptake, PV Magazine
A hot energy topic with little coordinated analysis, green hydrogen has finally attracted the number crunchers of BloombergNEF.

NEW GTM BLOG

GTM’s Live Coronavirus Blog: The Impact on Clean Energy
A somber tone takes hold across the American solar industry, and New York’s grid operator sequesters workers at control centers. Follow the latest developments here.

INDUSTRY RESOURCES

  • The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has a Coronavirus Information & Resources page that provides updates on its impact on the American solar workforce and its effects to the global supply chain.
  •  The American Wind Energy Association has a COVID-19 advocacy and related resources page.
  • The Energy Storage Association (ESA) has created a Resource Center with updates on the organization’s actions to continue fulfilling  its mission to accelerate the widespread use of competitive and reliable energy storage systems in North America.

Arizona commission signals support for 100% clean energy by 2050

By William Driscoll, PV Magazine

Arizona could join 16 other states and territories that have targets of 100% clean or renewable electricity by 2050 or sooner. Thirty-two groups in Arizona have called for 50% renewables by 2030Read more here.

GRID INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS

Smooth sailing so far for planned Iowa-Illinois underground power line, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

A high-voltage underground transmission line proposed to cross Iowa and Illinois is moving ahead without the landowner opposition that has dogged overhead transmission lines in the region. The SOO Green HVDC Link, which would span 349 miles from Mason City, Iowa, to a connection with the PJM grid at Yorkville, Illinois, has encountered no major objections at the four public meetings that have been held in Iowa and Illinois, according to project spokeswoman Sarah Lukan.

TRI-STATE 

Colorado expedites Tri-State member exit charge case, as power supplier gets ‘split decision’ on FERC jurisdiction, Utility Dive

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on March 20 accepted tariffs filed by Tri-State Generation and Transmission, meaning the agency will now have authority over wholesale rates for the cooperative’s member distribution utilities in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. In a separate order, FERC determined it does not have exclusive jurisdiction over member exit charges, allowing complaints by La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) and United Power pending before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (COPUC) to move forward. 

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PURCHASING

Corporate renewable energy in the age of COVID-19, by Sarah Golden, Senior Energy Analyst & VERGE Energy Chair, GreenBiz Group 

“Large energy buyers signed onto 9.33 gigawatts of renewable energy deals in 2019 and they want those projects to come to fruition,” REBA’s CEO, Miranda Ballentine, wrote in an email. “We do expect for company interests and commitments to clean energy to remain strong given they are tied to broader corporate energy goals and emissions reductions targets.”

NET METERING

Which states offer net metering?, by Kelly Pickerel, Editor In Chief, Solar Power World

Congratulations. If you live/work in one of these 34 states, D.C., or four territories, you are able to take advantage of net metering credits in some form. View the database on DSIRE for more details about your specific region.

Net Metering – Nebraska
System Capacity Limit: 25 kW

Net Metering – Iowa
System Capacity Limit: 1 MW

ADDITIONAL PV MAGAZINE POSTS

ZEV PROGRAM 

Statement: Victory! Washington adopts Zero Emission Vehicle program, Environment America
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee today signed the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program into law. The move takes aim at reducing ozone pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and makes Washington the 12th state to adopt the ZEV program. With this new law, Washington joins the entire West Coast as part of this critical program to get more electric cars on the road. Under ZEV, the Evergreen State will deploy hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles over the next decade. 

PROJECT DRAWDOWN UPDATE

Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion, Yale Climate Connections. A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs.

FEATURED WEBINAR LIBRARY

Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) on-demand webinars: Many of them are free.

FEATURED BOOK

Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food, and a Green New Deal, Chelsea Green Publishing

Grassroots Rising offers a blueprint for building a grassroots Regeneration Movement based on consumer activism, farmer innovation, political change, and regenerative finance—embodied most recently by the proposed Green New Deal in the US.

Using regenerative agriculture practices that restore our agricultural and grazing lands, we can sequester massive amounts of carbon in the soil. Coupled with an aggressive transition toward renewables, Cummins argues that we have the power to not only mitigate and slow down climate change, but actually reverse global warming.