Tag Archives: Greentech Media

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.

Renewable advocates highlight ‘most effective’ path to net-zero emissions as House releases clean energy proposal

By Matthew Bandyk, Utility Dive

A combination of a federal clean energy standard, a technology-neutral tax credit, a carbon pricing approach and transmission regulation reforms is the “most effective scenario” in which the U.S. achieves dramatic greenhouse gas emissions reductions by the middle of the century, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) said in a report released Thursday as House Democrats prepare a sweeping piece of legislation intended to achieve nationwide net-zero emissions by 2050.

The House Energy & Commerce Committee released a framework on Wednesday laying out the major provisions of the CLEAN Future Act, a planned bill that would combine a federal Clean Electricity Standard with measures like energy efficiency targets for buildings, a national climate bank proposal and incentives for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Flickr; Tim Evanson

More On The CLEAN Future Act: New Jersey Congressman announces CLEAN Future Act, Renewable Energy Magazine

CONSERVATIVE ENERGY NETWORK SURVEY

Survey Says Clean Energy Policy Is Important Across Party Lines, CleanTechnica
“This survey demonstrates that there is strong support for progress in clean energy policy across the nation—and significantly among conservatives as well,” said Mark Pischea, president and CEO of CEN. “

FEATURED PODCASTS

RESEARCH

Our Most-Read Research Spotlights From 2019, Greentech Media
The top GTM stories that drew from Wood Mackenzie research.

GTM WEBINARS

Two upcoming Greentech Media research webinars: An Accelerated View of the Energy Transition, January 14 and A New Chapter for the North American Wind Market, January 30.

TRI-STATE

Tri-State to shut New Mexico, Colorado coal plants by 2030, but move may not satisfy unhappy members, Utility Dive. The G&T utility will close the Escalante Station coal plant near Prewitt, N.M., by end of 2020, and the Craig Station plant and associated Colowyo Mine in northwest Colorado by 2030. But it is not clear the announcement will quell a rebellion among some Tri-State’s members who want lower rates and the ability to develop their own local renewable power. According to the Sierra Club, Tri-State charges its 43 co-ops in Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Nebraska rates that are approximately 20% above average.

ON-FARM SOLAR

On-Farm Solar Grows as Farmers See Economic Rewards—and Risks, Civil Eats
From struggling dairy operations to massive grain operations, farms are starting to see the light as on-farm solar proves to be an important income stream.

STORAGE

ORNL Researchers Create Geothermal Energy Storage System, Renewable Energy Magazine
Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers created a geothermal energy storage system that could reduce peak electricity demand up to 37 percent in homes while helping balance grid operations.

DOE’S ENERGY STORAGE GRAND CHALLENGE

DOE unveils plan to make US global storage leader by 2030, reduce foreign dependence, Utility Dive

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT

Sizing Up the Corporate Renewables Market

Corporate wind and solar procurement is in its early innings, a new analysis from WoodMac and the American Wind Energy Association says.

By Karl-Erik Stromsta, Greentech Media

Anyone watching the recent explosion of demand for renewable power from corporations like Facebook, Walmart and even ExxonMobil will have wondered: how far can this go? Much, much further, is the short answer. For all its recent gains, the corporate renewables market is likely in its very early innings, according to a new analysis from Wood Mackenzie and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

Solar is likely to eclipse wind as the technology of choice for most corporate deals by the early 2020s. That’s due not only to a more favorable phaseout schedule of its main subsidy but also because of inherent economic advantages in its generation profile, with solar’s natural midday output more valuable to most companies. Read more here.

The report’s free 40-page executive summary is available for download here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Solar to overtake wind in corporate renewable procurement, PV Magazine
With the capacity of renewable generation by corporations rising exponentially every year and expected to continue to do so, with the exception of an expected two-year dip when the ITC runs out, the question of why corporations are moving towards renewables becomes increasingly important. To answer that question, AWEA and WoodMac identified four key factors that accelerate adoption: branding, investor pressure, peer pressure, and the utilization of Corporate Social Responsibility to mitigate future business risks.

Those first three factors are fairly self-explanatory. The opinion that humans are contributing to irreversible and damaging climate change is a popular one that grows in popularity by the day. As more people believe it, so too will more companies, as, spoiler alert, companies are comprised of people. So between pressure from customers, competitors and investors, as well as a held belief that climate change is occurring, more companies will look to tackle this threat.

Wind feels heat from solar for US corporate renewable top-spot, Recharge News
Up to 85GW of renewables demand exists within Fortune 1000 companies through 2030 as PV challenges current sector leader wind.

Save the Date! September 12, 2019 at 7 pm


Nebraskans for Solar’s September Speaker: David Bracht, Attorney With Kutak Rock and Former Nebraska Energy Office Director
UNO’s Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, Rooms 201/205. Mr. Bracht will provide an overview of Nebraska’s wind and solar development and our state’s potential for future growth.


Specific topics will include:

  • power purchase agreements
  • virtual power purchase agreements
  • commercial and industrial use of solar
  • the potential for combined solar and battery installations
  • incentives and depreciation

Podcast audio: SolarEdge’s first battery launch and how solar is ‘now a real contender’

By Andy Colthorpe, Energy Storage News

Here’s the extended audio version of our recent interview with Lior Handelsman, co-founder and VP for product and marketing strategy, talking for the first time in depth about the forthcoming launch of a battery system under the SolarEdge brand.

Lior spoke with Andy Colthorpe, Energy-Storage.news‘ editor, about how solar and storage can be competitive with fossil fuels, how SolarEdge is maintaining its own competitive advantage as well as some exclusive inside info on the company’s forthcoming residential battery energy storage systems. Listen now on Google podcasts, as well as Apple podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify & Anchor.fm (embeds below) and anywhere else that hosts quality pod. Read more here.

Image by Solar Media: SolarEdge’s AR demo of the capabilities of solar, batteries and other DERs.

Additional Recommended Reading

Fortune’s Change the World List for 2019

Here’s our fifth annual list of the best of them, selected in collaboration with our expert partners at Shared Value InitiativeClick here to read more about the list and how we chose the 52 companies. Click here to read about this year’s Sustainability All Stars. And click here to see six small companies whose technology is on the cusp of delivering world-changing breakthroughs.

Free Greentech Media & Microgrid Knowledge Resources for Businesses, Nonprofits and Utilities

Checklist for Engaging Your Utility on Renewable Power: An energy buyer’s guide to finding the right partners to achieve your clean energy goals.

While large corporations were responsible for nearly 6 gigawatts’ worth of wind and solar power-purchase agreements last year, the options for affordable, clean, low-carbon energy are increasingly available to companies of all sizes. And when it comes to choosing an energy partner, the distribution utility that already serves your organization may be the best place to start. In this paper, Greentech Media discusses a framework for engaging your utility to move toward achieving your clean energy goals, whether the driver is sustainability, reliability, cost savings or a combination thereof.
Download the white paper here.

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The Evolution of Distributed Energy Resources

In the words of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, we will enter a time soon when we no longer make our morning toast with energy sent from a power plant hundreds of miles away. Peduto is describing an evolution toward a more decentralized power grid, a shifting away from electricity delivered via large central power plants and long transmission lines.

While energy industry insiders are well aware of these changes, many energy consumers are not. For those managing large energy budgets, such as commercial operations, industrial facilities, hospitals and universities, this can mean money left on the table. Microgrid Knowledge produced this report, sponsored by NRG Energy, Inc., to help these sectors understand the suite of new energy options. Download the white paper here.

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How Corporations Can Embrace Distributed Energy Like Never Before

Distributed energy is an increasingly valuable player for any sustainable company that has a focus on integrating environmental and economic considerations into every aspect of the business, from supply chain management to workforce development to energy, to redefine business as usual. Whether companies want to hit sustainability goals, manage risk or optimize assets for financial gain, the expanding use of DERs is creating significant opportunities to power business in new ways.

In this white paper, Centrica Business Solutions outlines how a mix of sophisticated partnerships across the energy landscape, along with innovative financing and technology collaboration, can unlock flexible energy solutions for businesses of all sizes to embrace energy management like never before.  Download the paper here.

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2019 Trends in Utility Renewable Energy Financing

U.S. utilities of all sizes are now actively investing in lowest-cost energy options while also seeking low-carbon alternatives as states step up their clean energy mandates, with various states looking at 50 to 100 percent clean energy standards between now and 2050. Although the path for utilities to achieve scale in renewable investment varies, there are some interesting near-term issues that are relevant to a large swath of utilities.

In this white paper, CohnReznick and CohnReznick Capital experts dissect those issues, including the impact of build-transfer agreements, the challenges of third-party tax equity and the opportunity to better serve commercial & industrial clients in this shifting landscape. Download the paper here.

US Wind Industry’s Response to Solar’s Rise: Embrace It

By Karl-Erik Stromsta, Greentech Media

Onshore wind is the largest and cheapest source of renewable power in the U.S. today, but solar is catching up quickly. No one is more aware of that urgent reality than the wind industry itself. Renewables markets long dominated by wind, including Texas, are set for a wave of solar projects over the next few years. Many of the country’s largest wind developers are amassing in-house solar teams. Amid these changes, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) trade group announced Tuesday that its flagship annual Windpower conference and exhibition will expand to include solar and storage, starting next year in Denver. Continue reading here.

Photo of a Texas Wind Farm from AWEA’s Free Use Image Gallery.

Aggressive clean energy bill would push Illinois to 100% renewables by 2050

By Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

An ambitious energy bill introduced Thursday in Illinois would mandate the state shift to entirely renewable energy by mid-century with an emphasis on job creation and equity. The Clean Energy Jobs Act (HB 3624/SB 2132) grew out of listening sessions held statewide last year by environmental and energy groups that are members of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition.

The coalition says the bill will expand on and address shortcomings in the implementation of the Future Energy Jobs Act, passed with much fanfare in 2016. They say it would create four times as much wind and solar power as FEJA, enough to power 4 million homes through 40 million solar panels and 2,500 wind turbines. Continue reading here.

Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons Photo

Related: Vote Solar Announces Support for Clean Energy Jobs Act to Bring 100% Clean Energy to Illinois

MORE 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Mills sets goal to fight climate change: 100% renewable electricity by 2050, The Portland Press Herald. Gov. Janet Mills outlined an extensive climate agenda on Thursday, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, work toward 100 percent renewable electricity generation and to work with other governors on regional solutions. Mills said she joined a coalition of more than 20 governors committed to pursuing the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate. U.S. Climate Alliance Website

BOOSTING RENEWABLE ENERGY’S VALUE

Cost-Effective Solutions for Boosting Solar Farm Production, Power Magazine. According to Berkeley Lab, solar trackers accounted for 80% of installations in 2017, among projects larger than five megawatts. By following the sun, output can be boosted by 20%, increasing capacity factors and lowering the production cost of electricity. Photo: Fremont’s first of two solar farms installed by GenPro Energy Solutions, both with sun trackers.

Google’s DeepMind Artificial Intelligence Can Predict Wind Farm Energy Output 36 Hours in Advance, Fortune
According to the company, DeepMind’s predictions have boosted the value of Google’s wind energy by roughly 20%.

Google Blog Post: Machine learning can boost the value of wind energy
Based on these predictions, our model recommends how to make optimal hourly delivery commitments to the power grid a full day in advance. This is important, because energy sources that can be scheduled (i.e. can deliver a set amount of electricity at a set time) are often more valuable to the grid. About DeepMind for Google

Previously Posted Article: Google announces plans to build data center in Nebraska; signs point to Omaha area, Omaha World-Herald 

GREENTECH MEDIA PODCAST

How to Get a Job in the Clean Energy Economy
Resources listed in the accompanying article include:

Year-End Reflections and Predictions From a Solar Veteran

Vote Solar’s Adam Browning offers up his picks for the most
important trends of 2018. Published by Greentech Media.

In 2002, when solar was $9 a watt, I co-founded an advocacy organization to bring solar into the mainstream. Solar’s made a lot of progress since then, and 2018 feels like a crucial year in many ways, with some key successes and pivotal developments.

Here’s my list of the most important stories in solar in 2018, and predictions for 2019.

Continue reading here.

SEIA Raises Doubts About Trump Administration’s Proposed Climate Rule

Solar Energy Industries Association Media Release 

“With or without this new proposal, solar will continue to grow, power the economy and provide the clean energy that consumers want and the grid needs. When you combine low-cost and low-carbon with technology that continues to get smarter, you can compete in any market and under any regulatory regime. We pledge to work constructively with the administration to develop policies that help American consumers, add American jobs and protect the planet.”  – Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association on the Trump administration’s proposal to revise the Clean Power Plan.

Read the entire release here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Midwest Utilities Contemplate a Future Less Reliant on Coal

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

The Midwest has long been a wind energy hub. Now, an increasing number of the region’s utilities are turning away from baseload coal and contemplating a future that relies heavily on clean energy. Utilities in states such as Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin and Michigan have recently announced goals to pivot towards cleaner resources. In Kansas, newly-joined Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy (also known as Kansas City Power & Light) — now collectively known as Evergy — laid out a plan to retire a handful of old coal plants this fall and begin cleanup of the leftover coal ash. An executive of the company, John Bridson, told the area’s NPR affiliate that “it’s time to retire older, less-efficient fossil fuel plants.” Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Energy

ALSO IN THE NEWS

NEW REPORT
Inclusive Solar Finance Framework, released today by the nonprofit organization Vote Solar, provides a guide for policymakers, advocates, the solar industry, community groups, and financial organizations to address the barriers faced by up to 78 million low-income or low-credit score households and ways to make solar more accessible for all.