Tag Archives: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

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.” 

U.S. disasters show gaps in $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan

By David R. Baker & Keith Laing, Bloomberg
Reprinted by Kennebec Journal

Three times this year, major pieces of U.S. infrastructure have failed: first the Texas power grid, then the East Coast’s main gasoline pipeline, then a freeway bridge over the Mississippi River. The crises disrupted businesses and lives, cost billions and left more than 150 Texans dead.

The recent failures illustrate just how many ways the patchwork systems can break. Experts say they also illustrate a long-running flaw in the way the U.S. thinks about and pays for infrastructure: The country focuses more on building new things rather than maintaining what it has. Read more here.

Pixabay Photo

TENASKA

GRID: FERC complaint highlights ‘structural problem’ for renewables, by Miranda Willson, E&E News

The case highlights flaws in outdated interconnection systems across the U.S. that have hampered the growth of renewable energy, according to analysts. Companies seeking to build large energy projects typically must obtain approval from a regional transmission organization or grid operator to connect to the bulk power grid, a process that can take years and carry a steep price tag. 

DARTMOUTH STUDY

Dartmouth Study Finds Renewable Energy Upgrades Make Grid More Resilient, New Hampshire NPR

A Dartmouth study has modeled for the first time that renewable energy upgrades will make the nation’s power grid more resilient. Researchers modeled a grid with an influx of three innovations: distributed generation like rooftop solar, a kind of localized power system shortcut known as a meshed grid, and energy storage. The study is the first to find that these emissions-cutting technologies will also make the power system more able to keep operating through disruptions.

GREENBELT ALLIANCE

Opinion: How infrastructure plan can accelerate resilience, contributed by Amanda Brown-Stevens, The Mercury News

Passing President Biden’s infrastructure bill would be the most significant step we’ve taken as a nation to start to address climate change head on. Greenbelt Alliance believes this infrastructure bill is a great start. Yet, so far there is no path to guide how we can equitably shift away from rebuilding in the most climate-vulnerable areas and instead build for a more resilient future. That’s why we’re recommending this infrastructure bill and related actions adopt these three principles as a simple yet transformational way forward:

Amanda Brown-Stevens heads up the San Francisco-based Greenbelt Alliance, the 60-year-old non-profit dedicated to preserving open spaces and helping the Bay Area prioritize climate action.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED

GridWise Alliance Establishes Advisory Council To Aid Drive For Investments In Power System, GridWise Alliance News Release

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — GridWise Alliance Board Chair Gil C. Quiniones today announced the formation of a 29-member Grid Infrastructure Advisory Council (GIAC) to support the Alliance’s call for at least $50 billion in federal spending to modernize the nation’s electric power transmission and distribution systems.

“A strong and secure electric grid is essential to creating jobs and driving economic growth, meeting clean energy goals and fighting climate change,” said Mr. Quiniones, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Power Authority, the largest state-owned electric utility in the United States. 

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan, The White House Briefing Room

FACT SHEET: President Signs Executive Order Charting New Course to Improve the Nation’s Cybersecurity and Protect Federal Government Networks

Mine workers union endorses Biden energy policies in exchange for job training

By Julie Tsirkin, NBC News

WASHINGTON — The United Mine Workers of America leadership announced Monday they support President Joe Biden’s green energy policies in exchange for a robust transition strategy, a move the union hopes its membership will support as a way to transition toward new jobs.

In his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, Biden proposed a sweeping investment in green energy such as wind, solar and other renewable energy projects. In an effort to help fossil fuel workers transition to new jobs, the plan also includes billions of dollars to employ dislocated utility workers in the coal, oil and gas industries. Read more here.

Remarks by Vice President Harris on the American Jobs Plan, The White House Briefing Room

OFFSHORE WIND INDUSTRY WORKFORCE

Emerging offshore wind industry provides careers of the future, by Jen Scungio, American Clean Power Association. Putting steel in the water to deliver clean energy from offshore wind to communities will require a workforce with a diverse skillset to plan, construct, and operate offshore wind farms. In fact, ACP research shows reaching 30 GW of U.S. offshore wind by 2030 will create 83,000 new American jobs. Since 74 different occupations are needed to build, operate, and maintain an offshore wind farm, the possible opportunities for those interested in offshore wind careers are endless.

Fact Sheet: Biden Administration Jumpstarts Offshore Wind Energy Projects to Create Jobs, The White House, March 29, 2021

INTERESTING ENGINEERING VIDEO

TRANSMISSION

Glick discloses that FERC is in discussions with state regulators on transmission issues, American Public Power Association

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is in discussions with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) to develop a formal approach between the states and FERC “that will allow us to jointly tackle” transmission issues head on, FERC Chairman Richard Glick said on April 15.

Previously Posted

NAVAJO NATION’S RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT

Navajo Nation solar project will cement San Juan County’s position as exporter of renewable energy, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Our communities were once heavily dependent on fossil fuel energy, but now we are seeing change happen,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. “[The Red Mesa solar farm] is another milestone for the Navajo Nation as we continue to transition to clean, emissions-free renewable energy for our communities and in the open market.” A far more massive proposed project, the $3.6 billion Navajo Energy Storage Station, is slowly advancing through the regulatory process.
Image Credit: Navajo Tribal Utility Authority

CARBON NATION DOCUMENTARY & NEW RESEARCH 

Carbon Nation at 10: The future’s not what it used to be, GreenBiz article contributed by Peter Byck
Much has changed in these past 10 years: Coal was 42 percent of our energy mix in the United States; it’s now 23 percent. Large-scale solar electricity was about 38 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2011, it’s now less than 7 cents. Onshore wind was between 8.2 cents and 11.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, it is now between 2.6 cents and 5.7 cents.

Peter Byck is a professor of practice at Arizona State University, in both the School of Sustainability and the Cronkite School of Journalism. He is director, producer and writer of “Carbon Nation.” He is helping to lead a $5.3 million research project on Adaptive Multi-Paddock (AMP) grazing; collaborating with 20 scientists and 10 ranchers, focused on soil health and soil carbon storage, microbial/bug/bird biodiversity, water cycling and much more.

FOOD & ENVIRONMENT REPORTING NETWORK

How farmers can be at the forefront of the climate solutionFERN’s Ag Insider
Robert Leonard is the author of “Deep Midwest: Midwestern Explorations.” Matt Russell is a co-owner of Coyote Run Farm and the executive director of Iowa Interfaith Power and Light.

The Food & Environment Reporting Network is the first independent, non-profit news organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism in the critically under-reported areas of food, agriculture, and environmental health. Through partnerships with local and national mainstream media outlets, we seek to tell stories that will inspire, inform, and have lasting impact.

OSU RESEARCH

Oregon State University study finds flowers flourish underneath solar panels, Solar Power World

A new study by Oregon State University researchers found that shade provided by solar panels increased the abundance of flowers under the panels and delayed the timing of their bloom, both findings that could aid the agricultural community.

SOLAR DEPLOYMENT IN ILLINOIS & BEYOND

HOME SOLAR WARRANTIES

How To Decipher Home Solar Warranties, by Sarah Lozanova, Earth911
Buying a solar energy system is a significant purchase . It is also one of the few home upgrades that will pay for itself in savings. However, the savings from a solar system relies on long-term energy production. If a solar panel or inverter fails, it will decrease the output of the array. Solar warranties protect homeowners from costly repairs and help ensure the system is producing clean energy for decades.

Often, homeowners get two or three proposals for a solar system and then have trouble comparing them without extensive research. Examining the product and labor warranties is one way to differentiate between different bids. Broadly speaking, there are two general types of warranties: for the equipment itself and the labor. 

Co-ops trying to leave Tri-State say the electric utility is “stonewalling” by refusing to calculate the price to exit

By Mark Jaffe, The Colorado Sun

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is “stonewalling” efforts by seven rural electric cooperatives – in Colorado, New Mexico and Nebraska – to get estimates on how much it will cost them to leave the association, according to a complaint filed with federal regulators. “Tri-State’s refusal to perform the calculation required… is patently unjust and unreasonable,” according to the complaint to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “Eight of us asked for numbers in November and December through letters,” said Dean Hubbuck, chief energy resource officer at United Power in Brighton, Tri-State’s largest co-op. Continue reading here.

Nebraska Tri-State Members Seeking Exit Estimates:

New FERC Chair’s Focus: Environmental Justice and Climate Change Impacts

By Jeff St. John, Greentech Media

 

Richard Glick has a long list of priorities for his chairmanship of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He has already outlined many of them, such as reforming energy market policies that restrict state-supported clean energy resources, expanding transmission capacity and unblocking new grid interconnections, and incorporating climate change impacts into the agency’s decision-making process. Continue reading here.

 

ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE 

Severe weather, blackouts show the grid’s biggest problem is infrastructure, not renewables

GRID RESILIENCE: GRIDTECH MEDIA

In the near future, the scale of the batteries serving U.S. power grids is set to explode, increasing from about 1.5 gigawatts today to tens or hundreds of gigawatts by 2030. These batteries will play a vital role in shifting intermittent wind and solar power from when it’s produced to when it’s needed and serving broader grid services needs on an increasingly decarbonizing grid.

But as a resource that can both absorb and discharge energy at a moment’s notice, batteries are very different from both dispatchable generators and intermittent wind and solar farms. That requires new technical and economic systems for managing and valuing them — and the grid operators that run wholesale electricity markets serving about two-thirds of the country are struggling to make those changes to keep up with the pace of growth.

Two former state utility commissioners highlight new modeling that shows distributed energy lowers the total costs of decarbonization: Anne Hoskins served on the Maryland Public Service Commission and is the chief policy officer at Sunrun. Jeanne Fox, a former president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, is also a co-founder and board member of Center for Renewable Integration, Inc.

When planning for future resource investments, most utilities and regulators approach grid and system planning in silos, using tools and models that aren’t equipped to consider the total cost and benefits of distributed energy resources. This has been the case for many decades. For the first time, a team of researchers led by Christopher Clack looked at the holistic grid and incorporated local solar into grid and system planning. The model that Clack used calculated a least-cost development plan for the grid. The results are striking.

NASEO-NARUC TASK FORCE ON COMPREHENSIVE ELECTRICITY PLANNING 

The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) are providing a forum for the development of state-led pathways toward a more resilient, efficient, and affordable grid. – NARUC Website

 

 

 

 

Twelve States Announce Action Steps to Plan for Grid of the Future: State Energy Groups Release Blueprint for State Action for a More Efficient, Customer-Centric Grid

New, more comprehensive approaches to electricity planning can optimize use of distributed and existing energy resources, avoid unnecessary costs to customers, support state policy priorities, and increase transparency of grid-related investment decisions. The Task Force Roadmaps for Comprehensive Electricity Planning are accompanied by a Blueprint for State Action to support states and stakeholders who were not members of the Task Force in aligning electricity system planning processes in ways that meet their own goals and objectives. To learn more about the Task Force and access the new resources, click the link, below.

 

 

 

Task Force on Comprehensive Electricity Planning

Electricity Planning for a 21st Century Power Grid
Emerging technologies, decreasing costs, consumer preferences, new energy service providers, and state and local efforts are driving significant growth in distributed energy resources (DERs) such as solar, storage, energy efficiency, demand management, and microgrids. These investments increasingly require regulatory and policy innovation and a greater emphasis on planning to overcome system complexities and avoid unnecessary costs associated with operating the grid.

With greater alignment of resource and distribution system planning, states and utilities could:

  • Improve grid reliability and resilience
  • Optimize use of distributed and existing energy resources
  • Avoid unnecessary costs to ratepayers
  • Support state policy priorities
  • Increase the transparency of grid-related investment decisions

Previously Posted

  • Nebraska needs overall plan for energy policies, Lincoln Journal Star, November 4, 2015
    [Former] Nebraska’s Energy Office director says the state needs a comprehensive approach to its energy policies as it faces what could be a “seismic” change in federal regulations governing emissions. David Bracht, Gov. Pete Ricketts’ chief adviser on energy issues, talked about state energy policies Wednesday at the eighth annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference in Omaha
  • 2011 Nebraska Energy Plan, National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO)

Recently Posted