Tag Archives: fossil fuel subsidies

MISO: majority of coal is self-committed, 12% was uneconomic over 3 year period

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive 

The majority of coal-fired power in the ​Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) was self-scheduled and 12% was dispatched uneconomically from 2017 to 2019, according to an April analysis from the grid operator. MISO’s numbers largely support assertions made by the Union of Concerned Scientists and other advocacy groups, which have found that “bad actors” are running their coal plants uneconomically, and costing ratepayers billions of dollars, Joe Daniel, senior energy analyst at UCS told Utility Dive. Read more here.

Previously Posted

MORE UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS BLOG POSTS 

ESG LEADERSHIP

  • COVID-19, climate and the front line, by Shana Rappaport, GreenBiz
    This is a pivotal moment for corporate leaders as much as it is for political ones: to recognize frontline workers as “essential” and also to invest in them. Indeed, the health and resilience of your company’s workforce, and the broader communities you serve, are inextricably linked with the health and resilience of your business and the economy overall. Wall Street is beginning to get this. Look for major investment firms increasingly factoring pandemic preparedness and worker well-being into their ESG calculations. Of the numerous systemic failures the pandemic has laid bare, perhaps the most immoral are the interrelated crises of wealth inequality, racism and environmental degradation.
  • Public Interest Groups Unite To Form Duke Energy Watchdog, Environmental Working Group

Previously Posted

In a March article, After the age of contagion, what’s the ‘new normal’?Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor of the GreenBiz Group, spells out the massive benefits of America’s transition to a green economy, with clean and renewable energy, regenerative farming, climate action, carbon reduction and other opportunities at its core:

We at GreenBiz have reported on a spate of studies and plans that similarly align sustainability with large-scale economic development: the circular economy (a $2 trillion opportunity), carbon tech (a trillion-dollar opportunity), sustainable food and land systems ($4.5 trillion) low-carbon cities ($24 trillion), climate action ($26 trillion) and more. As I noted last fall, trillion is the new billion. And then there’s the Green New Deal, a concept that seems to have been rekindled in the age of contagion. 

BIG OIL & GAS COMPANIES IN THE NEWS

Legislation aims to block fossil fuel companies from receiving coronavirus aid, The Hill
A group of more than 40 lawmakers is backing legislation to prevent fossil fuel companies from receiving coronavirus-related aid. The sweeping Resources for Workforce Investments, Not Drilling (ReWIND) Act aims to prevent fossil fuel companies from receiving loans provided for under previous coronavirus aid packages and prevent the Trump administration from helping the companies in other ways. 

Previously PostedUnited States Spend Ten Times More On Fossil Fuel Subsidies Than Education, Forbes

ASES VIRTUAL CONFERENCE

The American Solar Energy Society announces virtual conference June 24-25, Solar Power World
Originally set in Washington D.C., participants will now be joining virtually and engaging in important discussions on policy, technological advances, finance, storage, grid interconnectivity, community solar, education and more. Learn more and register by May 29 for the Early Bird discount at ases.org/conference. The full conference schedule with speakers, sessions and moderators can be found online at ases.org/conference/schedule.

FEATURED BOOK FOR D0-IT-YOURSELFERS

DIY Solar Power: How To Power Everything From The Sun
By Micah Toll

This book teaches you everything you need to know about custom solar powered systems and creations. Learn about topics from small scale solar powered projects like portable phone chargers all the way up to large off-grid and grid-tied home solar power systems, and even mobile solar power for RVs and other vehicles and boats. – Amazon

ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES

Southern Illinois school district awaiting electric buses: ‘We’re really ready’, by Audrey Henderson, Energy News Network. The Triad school district, just outside the St. Louis suburbs, hopes to replace half of its diesel fleet over 15 years. 

Nearly $2T stimulus package omits direct renewable sector aid after Trump, McConnell opposition

Written by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Relief for the renewable energy sector was not included in the $2 trillion support package the Senate unanimously passed on Wednesday. But industry stakeholders say several of the broader economic provisions could provide employment and other relief to the sector, and there is still opportunity for inclusion in inevitable future federal legislation that will be needed to address the industry-wide impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As Congress continues to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we appreciate that they are prioritizing relief for families and small businesses. There are several elements in this legislation that can help solar businesses and solar workers, including long-term unemployment insurance, business loans and provisions that support employee retention and other employee protections,” Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said in a statement. Read more here.

Previously Posted

In a March 23rd article, Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor of the GreenBiz Group, spells out the massive benefits of America’s transition to a green economy, with clean and renewable energy, regenerative farming, climate action, carbon reduction and other opportunities at its core:  

After the age of contagion, what’s the ‘new normal’?
We at GreenBiz have reported on a spate of studies and plans that similarly align sustainability with large-scale economic development: the circular economy (a $2 trillion opportunity), carbon tech (a trillion-dollar opportunity), sustainable food and land systems ($4.5 trillion) low-carbon cities ($24 trillion), climate action ($26 trillion) and more. As I noted last fall, trillion is the new billion. And then there’s the Green New Deal, a concept that seems to have been rekindled in the age of contagion. 

2020 Outlook: Coal faces headwinds from aging plants, adverse market signals and high remediation costs

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

New legislative and gubernatorial leadership elected in the 2018 midterm elections brought heightened pressure to the coal industry in 2019 — a pressure that’s expected to continue from state legislators, regulators and evolving power markets in 2020, according to stakeholders.

Over 10 GW of coal-fired power was retired in 2019, driven largely by “a sustained downward pressure on the market” expected to continue throughout 2020, a ScottMadden analyst told Utility Dive in an email. Natural gas surpassed coal as the number one producer of electric power in 2016, and in April and May of 2019 renewable energy supplied more power than coal for the first time. Read more here.


Catherine Morehouse
Before joining Industry Dive, Catherine was at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska where she worked as News Editor and then Editor-in-Chief of The Creightonian. She has a B.A. in Journalism and Political Science from Creighton.


ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

SECURITIZATION
Kansas considering securitization for aging coal plants, but caution urged, Utility Dive
Securitization of uneconomic electric utility assets has become a growing strategy to allow for the retirement of coal plants before the end of their useful lives without saddling ratepayers with the cost of these stranded assets. Several other states, such as Colorado, Montana and New Mexico, have passed legislation that makes this option available to utilities. Kansas lawmakers are now considering the securitization option as well.

Previously Posted

NAACP’S JUST ENERGY PROGRAM

For Indiana NAACP, energy justice has long been a civil rights issue, Energy News Network
The NAACP has recently encouraged state and local chapters to avoid being influenced by utilities or fossil fuel interests that donate money to the historic civil rights organization but push policies and take actions that hurt African American and other environmental justice communities. In Indiana, a conservative state where fossil fuel interests and utilities are considered to have much influence, it’s a dynamic the NAACP state chapter is well versed in navigating.

Just Energy Toolkit

The Just Energy Policies and Practices Action Toolkit is 8 modules of practical, user-friendly guidance on how you can phase out toxic energy like coal, nuclear, and oil facilities and bring in clean energy like wind and solar.  Designed to be downloaded as an entire toolkit or as individual modules, you can start planning energy justice plans to best fit the needs in your community. 
Learn more about the toolkit and other Just Energy resources here.

MORE ENERGY TRANSFORMATION NEWS & ANALYSIS

ACORE’s four policies to clean the grid, PV Magazine
The report, titled Policy Options That Most Effectively Put Renewable Energy to Work, notes that  just over 1 TW of utility-scale, electric generation capacity is renewable (22%), while two-thirds of our generation capacity is fossil-based. To replace this capacity by 2050, we’ll need deploy about 30 GW a year of renewable energy.

Previously Posted: 2020 Renewable Energy Industry Outlook, Deloitte
The prospects for short-term solar and wind energy growth appear favorable, with about 96.6 percent of net new generation capacity additions (~74 GW) expected to come from these two resources in 2020. With several states increasing their renewable portfolio standards (RPS) in 2019, the industry will likely see mandatory RPS-driven procurement growth through the mid-2020s, while voluntary demand will continue to hit new levels. As of late 2019, at least 10 utilities have announced 100 percent decarbonization goals, and we’ll be watching for that list to grow in 2020.

ENERGY STORAGE

What Would It Take for the US to Become an Energy Storage Manufacturing Powerhouse?, Greentech Media. After “missed opportunity” in solar, Trump administration wants a domestic supply chain for energy storage. Is that realistic?

MORE NATIONAL NEWS

 JLC Infrastructure acquires and rebrands Greenskies Renewable Energy, Solar Power World
Greenskies Renewable Energy, a developer of commercial and industrial solar power facilities, has successfully completed a transaction that brings JLC Infrastructure in to accelerate the platform’s expansion in the high-growth C&I and municipal sectors. The Greenskies team has delivered over 350 MW of rooftop, carport and ground-mount solar projects, ranging in size from 100 kW to over 80 MW, in 19 states across the United States. Customers include large retailers, technology companies, municipalities, schools, universities and electric utilities.

NATIONAL LAW REVIEW SERIES

2020 Renewable Energy Outlook: Strategies to Elicit Community Support, by Alex Garel-Frantzen,
Amy Antoniolli, Brent Cooper

Even though communities are likely to reap many benefits from proposed renewable energy projects, local opposition can delay – or altogether thwart – the progress of renewable energy projects. Most renewable energy projects require some level of zoning or permit approvals to proceed, and garnering support is proving to be especially difficult. This final post of our three-part series on the 2020 renewable energy outlook (read the first post here and the second post here) examines how local opposition can form and what utilities can do to gain a community’s backing and trust. 

Report puts $4.5 trillion price tag on grid decarbonization

By Ethan Howland, American Public Power Association

“Wood Mackenzie concludes that [100 percent renewable energy] goals remain largely aspirational, but attainable given a reasonable time horizon to allow for technology development, regulatory realignment and socio-economic reforms,” the consulting firm said in a report released in late June. The report comes as states like California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Washington and the District of Columbia have adopted 100 percent renewable and clean energy goals and mandates, generally in the 2050 timeframe.

In summary — excluding supply chain impacts and other items, such as stranded costs — an investment of $4.5 trillion would be required to fully transition the US power grid to renewables over the next 10 to 20 years, which implies an investment of roughly $225 to $450 billion a year, a scale comparable to the total US defense budget. Read more here.

FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES

  • According to the International Monetary Fund, the United States subsidizes fossil fuels at a cost of $649 billion a year.
  • United States Spend Ten Times More On Fossil Fuel Subsidies Than Education, Forbes
    IMF leader Christine Lagarde has noted that the investments made into fossil fuels could be better spent elsewhere, and could have far reaching positive impacts: “There would be more public spending available to build hospitals, to build roads, to build schools and to support education and health for the people. We believe that removing fossil fuel subsidies is the right way to go.”

DECARBONIZING THE GLOBAL ECONOMY GAINING MOMENTUM

COUNTRIES & REGIONS LEADING THE WAY

Lincoln Journal Star Editorial: Phase out, don’t cancel, wind, solar tax credits

Journal Star Editorial Board

In theory, EPA director Scott Pruitt is right when he wants to eliminate tax incentives for solar and wind energy, as he said at an event Monday. Coal, natural gas, solar, wind and other forms of energy generation should all compete on a level playing field, with consumer demand and market forces dictating Americans’ consumption habits in an ideal world. Similar incentives for the fossil fuel industry hinder such a truly free market. Click here to continue reading.

The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

  • Applies to residential & commercial.
  • If you don’t have enough tax liability the year you install solar, you can “roll over” the credit to future years.
  • 30% to December 31, 2019
  • 26% to December 31, 2020
  • 22% to December 31, 2021
  • 10% commercial credit 2022 onwards

Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

ALSO IN THE NEWS