Tag Archives: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

The states that produce the most renewable energy

By Commodity.com, LatticePublishing.com, La Crosse Tribune

To determine the states producing the most renewable energy, researchers at Commodity.com used data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration to calculate the percentage of total electricity generated from renewable sources. Renewable energy sources include: wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and hydroelectric. In the event of a tie, the state with the greater five-year growth in renewable electricity production, between 2015 and 2020, was ranked higher. Here are the states that produce the most renewable energy.

Nebraska’s Rank: 15

  • Percentage of electricity generated from renewables: 28.9%
  • 5-year change in renewable electricity production: +115.7%
  • Total electricity generated from renewables (MWh): 10,648,740
  • Largest renewable energy source: Wind

Read more here.

See utility-scale wind and solar projects under development in our state at these Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy resources:

Additional Recommended Reading: FACT SHEET: President Biden Sets 2030 Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Target Aimed at Creating Good-Paying Union Jobs and Securing U.S. Leadership on Clean Energy Technologies, The White House Briefing Room

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS

UPCOMING OPPD WORKSHOPS

Pathways to Decarbonization WebEx Workshops 5 & 6
Pre-registration is encouraged to receive email reminders and Outlook calendar invites. The workshops are technical in nature and are designed to build from one another. It is highly recommended to watch previously recorded workshops before attending the upcoming ones. A summary video of past workshops is also available. 

  • Workshop 5: Initial Results
    Wednesday, October 27, 4-6 p.m.
  • Workshop 6: Final Results
    Thursday, December 9, 4-6 p.m.

Click here to learn more and pre-register for both.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FERC nominee Phillips uses 3-legged stool analogy in outlining regulatory approach to senators, Utility Dive

Having [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nominee Willie Phillips Jr.], a Democrat, at FERC could help the agency avoid deadlocks on pending issues such as transmission reformsnatural gas infrastructure reviews and the role aggregated demand response can play in wholesale markets. “FERC is at its best with a full complement of commissioners,” FERC Chairman Richard Glick said Tuesday on Twitter.

Previously Posted: Biden’s FERC nominee could pave the way for the administration’s massive clean energy agenda, Canary Media 

CLIMATE POSITIVE BUSINESSES

Panera bakes plan to go climate positive, GreenBiz Group


On Wednesday, fast-casual food chain Panera Bread announced that it plans to work towards a climate-positive business model by 2050. This means Panera will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits each year. Climate positive suggests that it will go a step beyond the popular net-zero carbon emissions movement that has taken the business world by storm over the past two years with commitments from UnileverNestleVerizon and many others.

FERC weighs grid plan that could revolutionize clean energy

By Miranda Willson, E&E Reporter, Energywire

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is weighing an overhaul of a major rule that critics say impedes the transition to a low-carbon grid while raising electricity bills. The agency has received comments from dozens of state regulators, electric utilities, clean energy groups and private companies on whether it should remove a policy allowing states to block demand response resources from wholesale power markets. Since the rule was established in 2009, an estimated 18 states have taken advantage of the “opt-out” provision.

Supporters of opening wholesale markets nationwide to demand response say it would go a long way in boosting all types of zero-carbon resources. In general, demand response constitutes a range of energy conservation programs — including “smart” thermostats and water heaters — that reduce or shift electric load to balance the power system. That in turn can allow grid operators to rely less on carbon-spewing power plants. Read more hereScroll down to read NPPD’s comments.

See Also:

VIRTUAL POWER PLANTS

Rocky Mountain Power’s distributed battery grid management system puts Utah ‘years ahead’ of California, by Iulia Gheorghiu, Utility Dive

Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) seeks to turn distributed solar into solar-plus-storage grid assets in Utah, announcing on Thursday a partnership between battery manufacturer sonnen and Utah contractor ES Solar to retrofit thousands of solar homes. Distributed resource planning proceedings around the country are looking to solar-plus-storage as a “really good option to replacing other types of necessary grid upgrades,” from upgrading transformers to transmission line sizes, according to Rick Gilliam, Vote Solar’s senior regional director of DER regulatory policy. 

Rocky Mountain Power is a part of Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s PacifiCorp.

Previously Posted: DOE teams with Xcel, Berkshire Hathaway Energy on cybersecurity program to protect clean energy, Utility Dive

CARBON DIOXIDE PIPELINES

Proposed carbon dioxide pipeline draws opposition from Iowa farmers and environmentalists alike, by Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio

At a virtual public meeting Tuesday, speakers railed against the proposal by Summit Carbon Solutions to build a sprawling 2,000 mile long pipeline, more than 700 miles of which would pass through 30 of Iowa’s 99 counties. The Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club is gathering signatures for a petition opposing the Summit project and another pipeline proposed by Navigator CO2 Ventures. The activist group is blasting the approach of CCS as a “false solution” to climate change. The organization, like other progressive-leaning climate advocates, sees CCS [carbon capture and sequestration] as extending a lifeline to carbon-based industries, at a time when the world needs to be ending its dependence on fossil fuels in order to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.

Previously Posted: Nebraska is likely headed for another pipeline controversy — this time over carbon dioxide, by Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald

HEATING BILLS

Expect scorching heating bills this winter, by Carolyn Conte,  News Channel Nebraska
“Utility investments used to be the same for 10 or 20 years, but that’s not the case anymore,” [former Nebraska Director of Energy David Bracht], said, noting the creation of natural renewables energy [using energy from animal waste], solar energy; wind energy; and even battery storage. “And that’s why I’m excited about energy in Nebraska because I think we actually have opportunities in all of those areas.”

NEBRASKA LIHEAP

The LIHEAP Program provides heating assistance, cooling assistance, year round crisis assistance, emergency furnace repair and replacement, fan program and weatherization services for eligible Nebraska citizens/households. LIHEAP in Nebraska is solely funded through a federal grant (no general fund authority for aid).

80% Clean Electricity Payment Program = Enormous Job Growth

By Arjun Krishnaswam, Natural Resources Defense Council

A clean energy policy like the one under consideration in Congress right now could expand the workforce by nearly 8 million jobs and generate $1 trillion in economic benefits over the next 10 years. New analysis released today demonstrates that a well-designed Clean Electricity Payment Program (CEPP) will support a strong clean energy economy, and is vital to addressing the climate crisis. Continue reading here.

CIVILIAN CLIMATE CORPS

Invest in a robust civilian climate corps to build our resiliency — our lives depend on it, The Hill

Contributors: Joe Neguse represents Colorado’s 2nd District in Congress and serves as chair of the U.S. Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. Mary Ellen Sprenkel is the president and CEO of The Corps Network, the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps.

GOOD NEWS FROM KIT CARSON ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE

5 things I learned from exiting my G&T power provider, and the 300 things I’ve gained 

Utility Dive article contributed by Luis A. Reyes Jr.,
CEO of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative

We have about 11 months left of exit fee repayments. After that, we’ll have some of the lowest wholesale power rates in the country. We are generating our own solar power locally, with batteries to store it. Now we’ve set a new, bolder goal to make KCEC 100% carbon-free by 2030. I know we’ll get there. Meanwhile, I see too many other cooperatives struggling without the ability to make their own power supply choices.

Previously Posted:
 Tri-State asks FERC to approve ‘transparent and simpler’ contract termination approach for members, Utility Dive. The member cooperatives include Wheat Belt Public Power and Northwest Rural Public Power in Nebraska.

USDA NEWS RELEASE

USDA Invests $464 Million in Renewable Energy Infrastructure to Help Rural Communities, Businesses and Ag Producers Build Back Better

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the Department is investing $464 million to build or improve renewable energy infrastructure and to help rural communities, agricultural producers and businesses lower energy costs in 48 states and Puerto Rico. 

USDA is financing $129 million of these investments through the Rural Energy for America Program and $335 million through the Electric Loan Program.

Climate Crisis Catches Power Companies Unprepared

By Brad Plumer and Ivan Penn, New York Times

The phone call to the Eugene Water & Electric Board was startling. A group of homeowners, fearing a storm could knock down nearby power lines and ignite wildfires, was asking the Oregon utility to turn off their electricity. “I about fell out of my chair,” said Rodney Price, the utility’s assistant general manager, of the people who were voluntarily asking to live in the dark in September, during one of the worst fire seasons Oregon had ever seen. It was a sign of growing angst, he said. “We’re seeing more and more widespread impacts of climate change. It’s clear it’s impacting how we do our business.” Across the United States, power companies are scrambling to keep up with a barrage of extreme weather from a rapidly warming climate. Continue reading here.

Photo: Smoke from the Dixie Fire near a Pacific Gas & Electric power station in California this month. Credit: John G. Mabanglo/EPA

Previously Posted

CLIMATE RISK 

INDIANA

As Indiana coal plants close, advocates say gas power should not replace them, by Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

As it retires a coal-fired power plant, CenterPoint Energy is pushing to build a smaller gas plant than one that was rejected two years ago by Indiana regulators. Consumer and environmental groups still say it’s unnecessary. “After the proposed gas combustion turbines are built, they propose to run them 2% to 10% of the time,” said Sameer Doshi, senior attorney in Earthjustice’s coal program, which is representing Citizens Action Coalition in state and federal proceedings around CenterPoint’s proposal. “Whereas customers would be billed for the entire construction cost of the plant as well as the capital cost of the new pipeline. We intend to show a combination of market purchases, demand response, and increased renewables deployment with storage would be able to fill in the gaps” left by the retiring coal plants. 

COLORADO

Social cost of methane changes the equation for Colorado utility policy, by Allen Best, Energy News Network

Colorado is believed to be the first state in the nation to apply the social cost of methane to a broad range of regulatory decisions. A batch of new laws are expected to dramatically improve the case for building energy conservation. The social cost of methane emissions was set most recently at $1,756 per short ton by the U.S. Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, compared to $68 for carbon dioxide. Both metrics estimate the economic damages of releasing emissions into the atmosphere.

Methane Leaks

COLORADO SOLAR GROUP PURCHASE CAMPAIGN

Local ‘Solarize’ campaign boosts Garfield County solar energy investment, Post Independent
The recent Solarize Garfield County campaign generated $2.8 million in rooftop solar and battery investment, added nearly a megawatt of renewable energy to the grid and helped county residents bank $270,000 in rebates, according to recent figures released by Carbondale-based Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER).

FEATURED AGRIVOLTAICS RESEARCH

Beneath Solar Panels, the Seeds of Opportunity Sprout, National Renewable Energy Laboratory 

To better understand the benefits of—and barriers to—low-impact solar development, the Innovative Site Preparation and Impact Reductions on the Environment (InSPIRE) project brings together researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Argonne National Laboratory, universities, local governments, environmental and clean energy groups, and industry partners. The project is funded by DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.

“It doesn’t have to be an either-or choice. For all our agriculturally productive land, let’s help PV developers and farmers plan out these solar projects so that farmers can get under the arrays and continue to work the land for the next 20 or 30 years.” —Gerry Palano, energy program coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Agriculture

USDA: Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants in Nebraska

PV RECYCLING

Emerging solar panel recycling market ripe with opportunity, but barriers remain, Waste Dive
The U.S. is likely to see significant volumes of end-of-life panels, creating opportunities for safe, sustainable recycling or reuse. Some states are looking at product stewardship to avoid disposal.

SEIA National PV Recycling Program

TESLA NEWS

Tesla Installed 85 Megawatts Of Rooftop Solar Power In 2nd Quarter, But That Doesn’t Actually Show Demand, by Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica

In some places in the US, the permitting process can take just a few days less than forever. In many other places in the US, it can take weeks or months (as in, several months). There are not many places where it happens in the course of a week. Europe and Australia don’t seem to have a permitting problem anything like this. Permits are quick and easy. The US, for some reason, is slow to adapt. One promising initiative is the new SolarAPP+ initiative. It is helping to streamline the solar permitting process in places around the country. As simple as it sounds, this is one of the most exciting developments in the US solar industry in years.

Additional Recommended ReadingTesla will open its charging network to all EV brands

Rural electric co-ops get shocking estimates of the cost to break up with Tri-State Generation

By Mark Jaffe, The Colorado Sun

Some of Tri-State’s 43 member co-ops have voiced a desire to develop more homegrown and cleaner electric generation – they are required to buy 95% of their electricity from the association, which still has substantial coal-fired generation.

“This does not move the ball,” United Power CEO Mark Gabriel said. “I think they are off by three zeros,” he said of his co-op’s exit fee. The association’s filing was in response to a ruling in June by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that Tri-State’s exit policies were “unjust and unreasonable or unduly discriminatory.”  Read more here.

Note: Nebraska Tri-State members seeking exit fees are the Wheat Belt Public Power District and the Northwest Rural Public Power District.

ACP NEWS RELEASE

The American Clean Power Association and the U.S. Energy Storage Association announce intent to merge

WASHINGTON DC, July 22, 2021 – The boards of directors of the American Clean Power Association (ACP) and the U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA) have voted to pursue a merger of the two trade associations to combine their staff, programs, and members. The merger will bring together the diverse membership and talented team members of ESA with the resources and reach of ACP. Additionally, it will enhance the American Clean Power Association’s efforts to advocate for the economic and environmental advantages of the clean power economy and further position the renewable energy and storage industries for success as they move into a decade of transformative growth.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Supply Chain Woes Call Attention to Solar Manufacturing Possibilities

SEIA Blog

Recently, Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) introduced the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act alongside Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). This commonsense legislation will provide tax credits for American manufacturers at every stage of the solar manufacturing supply chain, from polysilicon to solar cells to fully assembled solar modules.

In support of Senator Ossoff’s proposal and the effort to reach 100 GW of annual renewable energy manufacturing capacity, SEIA announced a new target of 50 GW of annual domestic production capacity by 2030, a ten-fold increase from where we are today.This ambitious goal aims to dramatically ramp up American solar manufacturing capacity which would cover all key elements of a solar energy system, including polysilicon, ingots and wafers, cells and modules, racking and trackers and inverters. Read more here.

Related Reading

ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE ACT

INFRASTRUCTURE BILL

Climate change is no longer other worldly, and inaction is no longer an option, USA Today Editorial Our View: Heat dome killed hundreds in the Pacific Northwest as global temperatures rise. Biden infrastructure bill is a good start to protect America.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

BACKLOGGED TRANSMISSION QUEUES 

Gridlock in transmission queues spotlights need for FERC action on planning, Utility Dive
Generation interconnects to transmission through queues managed by the seven regional transmission and independent system operators (RTO/ISOs) and utility transmission owners. And capacity in those queues “is growing year-over-year,” according to an analysis by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) of an estimated 85% of U.S. electricity load at the end of 2020.

Related Reading

Western U.S. grid plan could remake renewables

By Edward Klump, E&E News

Bruce Rew, senior vice president of operations at SPP, said the expanded RTO footprint could utilize several grid connections that run from the Western Interconnection to the Eastern Interconnection. The connections are in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. Additional connections could be considered later. SPP’s bid to tie the nation’s main Eastern and Western grid networks together would be a first among existing RTOs. “I think it’s a very significant change in terms of how the electric grid is [operated] and what the potential benefits that closer operation between the Western Interconnection and Eastern Interconnection can provide,” Rew said. Read more here.

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

GREEN HYDROGEN

Promoting energy innovation and U.S. jobs through a Green Hydrogen Production Tax Credit, Next Era Energy

To meet the U.S. national climate goal of cutting emissions 50% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, as well as the Biden administration’s 2050 net-zero emissions goal, the U.S. will need to scale a range of new clean energy technologies. While proven technologies such as renewable generation and energy efficiency can drive a significant share of the greenhouse gas emission reductions necessary to achieve the U.S. climate target, new technologies are needed to address the remaining hard-to-decarbonize sectors that are important drivers of economic growth in the U.S., such as industry and heavy-duty transportation. Promoting U.S. innovation and competitiveness will require incentives to scale these emerging technologies. One such emerging technology is green hydrogen, which is well-placed to help the U.S. address a range of hard-to-decarbonize sectors.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

TIPS FOR SAVING ENERGY & MONEY PROVIDED BY OUR LARGEST UTILITIES

Here’s what we know about the bipartisan infrastructure deal

By Ryan Nobles, CNN

A bipartisan group of 10 senators announced Thursday they have reached a deal on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, the most significant development yet in negotiations over a key priority of the Biden administration, but it still faces serious obstacles from skeptics in both parties. 

“Our group — comprised of 10 Senators, 5 from each party — has worked in good faith and reached a bipartisan agreement on a realistic, compromise framework to modernize our nation’s infrastructure and energy technologies. This investment would be fully paid for and not include tax increases,” the senators said in a joint statement. Read more here.

Featured Individual Quotation On Infrastructure
“We have been talking about this for over a decade, and our decaying infrastructure cannot wait much longer. We need to reach across the aisle, find consensus and solve a big challenge facing our country — now.”  U.S. Congressman Don Bacon, Representing Nebraska’s 2nd District

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

More proof the clean energy transition is well underway: An oil and gas major embraces renewables

By Greg Alvarez, American Clean Power Association

While some observers might claim we’re on the cusp of a clean energy transition, the reality is a widespread shift to renewables began years ago. The U.S. already has enough clean energy capacity to power 50 million homes, and over 300,000 Americans already have direct clean energy jobs. Economics are one of the biggest drivers. Because wind and solar costs have fallen by 90 and 70 percent, respectively, over the last decade, they’re now the most affordable sources of new electricity in much of the country. Nor are wind and solar niche technologies—many of the world’s biggest names in energy are rapidly adding renewables to their portfolios. The latest news comes from bp, which just announced a deal to acquire 9 gigawatts (GW) of solar projects currently under development. Continue reading here.

NEBRASKA NEWS

More Nebraskans to be eligible for heating assistance

MORE NEWS & RESOURCES

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

NEW REPORT OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

America has the capacity to build an energy system around clean, renewable resources, according to a new report by Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group: We Have the Power: Reaching America’s potential for clean, renewable energy. The report found that U.S. solar energy resources have the technical potential to meet America’s 2020 electricity demand more than 77 times over, and U.S. onshore and offshore wind resources could meet America’s 2020 demand 11 times over. In addition, all 50 states have sufficient solar or wind potential to meet current electricity needs, and 49 have enough to do so under a 2050 scenario in which energy uses like transportation and buildings run on electricity.

Website Links

Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group are part of The Public Interest Network. The Public Interest Network runs organizations committed to our vision of a better world, a set of core values, and a strategic approach to getting things done.

NRDC, 50+ Orgs Send Clear Message: It’s Time For FERC Reform

Sustainable FERC Project, May 26, 2021

NRDC, the  Sustainable FERC Project, and more than 50 other organizations sent a clear message today to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: FERC must reform how it reviews applications for new gas pipeline infrastructure. There’s a huge need for change. FERC has greenlighted more than 1,000 pipeline and LNG projects since 1999 while rejecting only a handful. Now groups like the International Energy Agency are saying nations need to halt new approvals for fossil fuel infrastructure.

FERC has made some important progress on gas pipeline reviews this year. It is developing an Office of Public Participation and, in March, it started to assess the significance of a gas pipeline project’s climate impacts. Read more here. 

The Sustainable FERC Project is a coalition of state, regional and national environmental and other public interest organizations working to expand the deployment of clean energy resources into America’s electricity transmission grid. We advocate at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) – which regulates the transmission grid – through legal and policy advocacy, and we also work with FERC-regulated regional grid organizations and utilities.

What is FERC?, YouTube Video
FERC Website

FOSSIL FUEL GIANTS IN THE NEWS

NEXT-GENERATION GEOTHERMAL

Could next-gen geothermal provide the clean firm power we’ve been looking for?, by Sarah Golden, Senior Energy Analyst & VERGE Energy Chair, GreenBiz Group

While Google’s project is relatively small — just 5 MW, which would serve its data center in Nevada — the speed of deployment is notable. It is expected to be up and running next year. In part, this speed is made possible by advancements in drilling developed by the shale industry. Not only could this knowledge spur forward geothermal development, it also could provide new employment opportunities for those in the natural gas sector, which has been hemorrhaging jobsIf Google figures out how to harness geothermal for round-the-clock clean energy, then the company will be doing more than powering its data centers.

Previously Posted: Why oil giants like Chevron and BP are investing in geothermal energy, by Katie Brigham, CNBC

KANSAS SOLAR SCHOOLS

Buhler schools look to Maize High School for examples of solar energy success, by Alice Mannette, Hutchinson News

Buhler saw a spike in energy costs after the state’s February cold snap, but now, the school district is thinking big. Kansas schools are looking to incorporate solar energy to reduce energy expenses. Buhler leadership called in a teacher who started the largest solar energy system for a school in Kansas and began to accumulate information. “We want to save money, be more efficient and use it as an educational tool,” said Laura Meyer Dick, president of Buhler’s Board of Education, and the person who came up with the idea. “We want to use it to benefit the district.”

EQUITABLE EV SHARING PROGRAMS 

The Electric Car Revolution Shouldn’t Leave Anyone Behind, by Susan Cosier, NRDC
The equitable electric car-sharing program in St. Louis—a collaboration between the city, the utility Ameren, and several organizations, including Forth, a nonprofit advocating smart and shared transportation—is one of several around the country helping to make electric vehicles, and the cleaner air they bring, more accessible.  The city of Denver is subsidizing EV-sharing memberships for essential workers and underserved community members through a program called Colorado CarShare. In Boston, a program called Good2Go in Roxbury, the center of the city’s Black community, offers a tiered pricing system based on a resident’s income. And in Los Angeles, income-based memberships of BlueLA go as low as $39 a year.

AUSTRALIA

Court Rules Australian Government Has Duty to Protect Children, Environment From Climate Impacts, by Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams

“This is the first time a court of law, anywhere in the world, has recognized that a government minister has a duty of care to protect young people from the catastrophic harms of climate change.”