Tag Archives: grid resilience

New Report Identifies 22 Shovel Ready Regional and Interregional Transmission Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new report released today identifies 22 shovel ready, high-voltage transmission projects across the country that, if constructed, would create approximately 1,240,000 American jobs and lead to 60,000 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy capacity, increasing America’s wind and solar generation by nearly 50 percent. The report, Transmission Projects Ready to Go: Plugging into America’s Untapped Renewable Resources, produced by Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG) as part of the Macro Grid Initiative, outlines how these projects could begin construction soon if more workable transmission policies are enacted. These regional and interregional transmission lines would not only bring quality wind and solar resources to areas with high demand but also increase economic development and grid resilience as well as provide cost-savings for consumers. Read more here.

About Macro Grid Initiative:
The Macro Grid Initiative is a joint effort of the American Council on Renewable Energy and Americans for a Clean Energy Grid to promote investment in a 21st century transmission infrastructure that enhances reliability, improves efficiency and delivers more low-cost clean energy. The Initiative works closely with the American Wind Energy Association, the Solar Energy Industries Association, the Advanced Power Alliance and the Clean Grid Alliance to advance our shared goals. To learn more, visit https://acore.org/macro-grid-initiative

About Americans for a Clean Energy Grid:
Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG) is the only non-profit broad-based public interest advocacy coalition focused on the need to expand, integrate, and modernize the North American high-voltage grid. ACEG brings together the diverse support for an expanded and modernized grid from business, labor, consumer and environmental groups, and other transmission supporters to support policy which recognizes the benefits of a robust transmission grid. 

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Advances Expansion & Modernization of the Electric Grid, The White House Briefing Room

Tri-State’s clean energy, cost reduction efforts have not quelled member exit interest

By Robert Watson, Utility Dive

There are now at least seven rural electric cooperatives considering what it would cost to leave the service of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a sign that the utility’s efforts to reduce costs and carbon emissions have not appeased its membership. The cooperatives include Wheat Belt Public Power and Northwest Rural Public Power in Nebraska. Read more here.

Previously Posted: Co-ops trying to leave Tri-State say the electric utility is “stonewalling” by refusing to calculate the price to exit, The Colorado Sun

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

TAX INCENTIVES

Ditto says public power access to clean energy tax incentives is ‘low hanging fruit’, American Public Power Association
Allowing public power utilities to have access to clean energy tax incentives is “low hanging fruit” in terms of policy-related action that can be taken in the short term in order to incentivize not-for-profit utilities to build their own clean energy generation, said Joy Ditto, President and CEO of the American Public Power Association (APPA) on March 22.

OFFSHORE WIND

Report: Offshore Wind Has the Potential to Meet 90% of 2050 US Electricity Demand, Environment  + Energy Leader

This finding comes from Offshore Wind for America, a new report released by Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group which examines US offshore wind potential by coastal region and by state. Offshore Wind for America also documents the status of existing projects and technological advances.

EPRI’S SOLAR RESEARCH  

EPRI Receives DOE Funding to Research the Transmission of Solar Information, Solar Industry
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), an institution that conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity, says it will receive a $2 million contract from the U.S. Energy Department (DOE) to explore how information about solar energy spreads among consumers. To learn more about EPRI’s solar research, click here.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES & INFRASTRUCTURE

THE WIRE: HOW DOES THAT WORK?


Infographic: Anatomy of a power pole, by Jason Kuiper

OPPD has a lot of power lines. How many? 15,567 miles worth of power lines. Or enough to stretch from Omaha, Neb., around the earth and back at our higher latitude.

Why every state is vulnerable to a Texas-style power crisis

By Umair Irfan, Vox

Just like a blackout isn’t the result of any single point of failure, protecting the grid against them demands more than any single solution. Faced with the prospect of more outages, there are a number of technical fixes: More energy storage, distributed power generation, interconnections across the major power grids, greater redundancy, microgrids, demand response, increasing energy efficiency, and hardening infrastructure. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

AMERICANS FOR A CLEAN ENERGY GRID

Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG) is the only non-profit broad-based public interest advocacy coalition focused on the need to expand, integrate, and modernize the North American high-voltage grid. ACEG brings together the diverse support for an expanded and modernized grid from business, labor, consumer and environmental groups, and other transmission supporters to support policy which recognizes the benefits of a robust transmission grid.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS RELEASE 

DOE Launches Design & Construction of $75 Million Grid Energy Storage Research Facility
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the beginning of design and construction of the Grid Storage Launchpad (GSL), a $75 million facility located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington that will boost clean energy adaptation and accelerate the development and deployment of long-duration, low-cost grid energy storage.

Related Reading: New era as US Department of Energy gets started on long-duration energy storage R&D facility, Energy Storage News

MORE ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

Illinois energy bill proposes ‘green bank’ as national movement builds

By Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

Illinois would get a “green bank” to finance equity-focused clean energy investments under the latest version of the Clean Energy Jobs Act pending in the state legislature. If the proposal passes, Illinois would join more than a dozen states including Florida, New York and Connecticut that use publicly funded green banks to leverage private investment for renewables, energy efficiency and other projects, especially in communities that have been underrepresented in the clean energy economy.  The state-level proposal comes as a federal bill with bipartisan support would create a national green bank — dubbed the Clean Energy Accelerator —  that would work in tandem with state banks. Continue reading here.

Photo by Jim Bowen / Creative Commons

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FEATURED STUDY

Recognition of and response to energy poverty in the United States, Nature Energy

Abstract
A household is energy poor when they cannot meet energy needs. Despite its prevalence, the US has not formally recognized energy poverty as a problem distinct from general poverty at the federal level, which limits effective responses. In this review, the authors examine the measurement and evaluative metrics used by the two federally-funded energy programs focused on reducing high energy bills to understand how program eligibility requirements and congressional funding appropriations have shaped the national understanding and implementation of energy poverty assistance. We find that current measurement and evaluative metrics hinge on the distribution of government resources and the number of vulnerable households assisted, rather than improving household well-being and reducing overall energy poverty.

SOLAR+STORAGE GUIDE

Understanding Solar+Storage: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Solar PV and Battery Storage, Clean Energy Group Publication

The guide is informed by more than six years of experience through Clean Energy Group’s work with property owners, developers, nonprofits, and communities to advance solar+storage in underserved communities. The questions and topic areas addressed in the guide are based on feedback from nearly one hundred stakeholders who submitted questions about solar+storage.

The information presented in the guide focuses primarily on customer-sited, behind-the-meter solar+storage installations, though much of the information is relevant to other types of projects as well, including storage-only projects and front-of-the-meter solar+storage projects. It is meant to serve as a starting point to establish a foundation of knowledge and understanding for individuals and organizations beginning to explore solar+storage options for their homes, businesses, or community facilities.

A Spanish-language version of this guide is available here.

SOLAR SCHOOLS

NYC installing solar at nearly 50 public schools, other facilities, PV Magazine
The 22 MW of solar projects are expected to include some energy storage systems and help New York City and the state meet sustainability goals.

ELECTRIC MACHINES & VEHICLES

AFFORDABLE ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES 

Report: Accelerating The Transition To Electric School Buses: How schools, lawmakers, and utilities can work together to speed the transition to zero emission buses. Released by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

The vast majority of school buses in the United States run on diesel, a fossil fuel that has been shown to cause numerous health problems, including asthma, bronchitis, and cancer. Diesel exhaust is also a greenhouse gas, which contributes to climate change.

However, there is an alternative: zero-emission battery electric school buses. The technology is here, and electric school buses are ready to roll, but the question remains: how do schools pay for them? While electric buses can save schools money over the lifespan of the bus, the initial price tag of a new electric bus can turn many schools off to the idea of electrification.

Particularly promising options are vehicle-to-grid technology and Pay-As-You-Save (PAYS) programs. By pairing them, “each electric bus could save school districts up to $130,000 per electric bus.”

Download the Report.

FEATURED LEGAL ACTION

Midwest Renewable Energy Association Files Lawsuit to Open Solar and Other Clean Energy Opportunities for Wisconsinites, Earthjustice News Release

STEVENS POINT, WI — The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) filed a lawsuit in Wisconsin Circuit Court to remove barriers preventing Wisconsinites from accessing the benefits of local clean energy development. MREA’s filing asks the court to ensure that the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) sticks to regulating monopoly utility companies and does not illegally interfere with competitive clean energy alternatives for Wisconsin families and businesses.

MREA’s lawsuit specifically challenges two unlawful policies that stifle Wisconsin’s clean energy economy. First, MREA challenges guidance documents from the PSCW that preclude financing options available in most other states where solar energy is more affordable. MREA also challenges a PSCW order that unlawfully prohibits Wisconsin homes and businesses from utilizing market incentives to reduce their power consumption during peak hours and thereby reduce power costs for everyone.

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit public interest environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change.

About The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA)

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration.Together with partners around the Midwest, we work to expand renewable energy adoption through innovative programs, renewable energy training, and educational events. MREA is a nonprofit organization.

‘The Grid’ Author On How Texas Crisis Highlights A Fragile U.S. Infrastructure

NPR’s Michel Martin Interviews Professor Gretchen Bakke.


The storm in Texas highlights just how fragile U.S. infrastructure can be, and so you might wonder if this problem extends beyond Texas. It does. In their most recent report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the U.S. energy infrastructure a D-plus, stating, quote, “without greater attention to aging equipment, capacity bottlenecks and increased demand, as well as increasing storm and climate impacts, Americans will likely experience longer and more frequent power interruptions,” unquote.

We wanted to learn more about this, so we called Gretchen Bakke. She is the author of “The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans And Our Energy Future,” which examines the history of electrical power and its current challenges. When we spoke earlier today, she explained the problems in Texas are partly due to its independence from the U.S. power grid.

Read the text of this “All Things Considered” interview or listen to it here.

 


The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future

 

 

Additional Recommended Reading 

About Americans for a Clean Energy Grid
Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG) is the only non-profit broad-based public interest advocacy coalition focused on the need to expand, integrate, and modernize the North American high-voltage grid. Sponsors and supporters of the Americans for a Clean Energy Grid coalition are broadly supportive of ACEG’s mission and vision. 

Included in The Biden Plan: Rebuild Our Infrastructure for a Sustainable Economy
The order catalyzes the creation of jobs in construction, manufacturing, engineering and the skilled-trades by directing steps to ensure that every federal infrastructure investment reduces climate pollution and that steps are taken to accelerate clean energy and transmission projects under federal siting and permitting processes in an environmentally sustainable manner.

GEOTHERMAL NEWS

Dandelion Raises $30M to Scale Up Home Geothermal Energy, Greentech Media
There’s a lot of energy underneath homes — if reasonably priced technology can be scaled up to tap its potential. A U.S. Department of Energy study indicates that geothermal heat pumps, which capture the steady temperatures of underground air to heat homes in winter and cool them in summer, could cost-effectively replace fossil-fuel- and electric-powered heating and air conditioning in up to 28 million homes.

Geothermal Technologies Office, U.S. Department of Energy

ENVIRONMENTAL ENTREPRENEURS REGENERATIVE AG REPORT

Healthy Soils and the Climate Connection: A Path to Economic Recovery on America’s Farms
 provides a roadmap for how climate-smart agriculture policies could provide profit boosts for farmers and climate wins for advocates.

Most initiatives to fight climate change today focus on reducing fossil fuel emissions from electricity generation, transportation, and buildings. But to avoid the worst impacts of climate change we must also significantly reduce the atmospheric carbon that has already been emitted. While efforts are underway to develop new and high tech mechanisms to accomplish this, there is an immediately available and economically viable pathway for atmospheric carbon removal—one that provides a compelling new value proposition for farmers to revitalize their soils and get paid for doing it.


E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital.

The Truth About Texas: Thermal Power Plant Failures are the Blackout Culprits

By Heather Zichal, Chief Executive Officer,
American Clean Power Association

Texas has suffered this week, but crisis reveals character. Record cold weather brought this state to the brink, but never brought Texas to its knees. Neighbors have come together to help neighbors, and everyone from front line responders to the engineers and experts who manage electricity production have worked around the clock to restore power. That’s the real Texas.

But even amid an all-hands-on-deck crisis, some seized the political opportunity to deceive and distort. The critics of clean power – those who attack it in rain, snow, or sun – started spinning a dangerous fiction to promote an agenda that has nothing to do with restoring power to Texas communities. The facts of how Texas got here are not in dispute. Continue reading here.

Texas Power Crisis: No Energy Source Alone Is to Blame and There Is No One Answer

By Sean Gallagher, Vice President of State & Regulatory Affairs,
Solar Energy Industries Association

A lot is being said, written and tweeted about the power outages in Texas. Much of it is not constructive and some is fundamentally dishonest. The hot takes and political analysis that are divorced from reality do nothing to help the millions of people who are without power in freezing conditions, nor are they constructive ways of stopping future outages.

While regulators are trying to restore power, and are making initial assessments of what happened, it is clear that solar plus storage can bring needed power to homes and businesses, emergency facilities such as hospitals and fire departments, and whole communities. Here is one example: Continue reading here.

Explore SEIA’s Initiatives & Advocacy Here.

Bright, Sunny, And Big Savings

Building Indiana 

Three separate solar utility projects were recently completed by South Bend-based Inovateus Solar on behalf of Northern Indiana Public Service Company. The projects are the utility’s first solar installations of what will likely be many. NIPSCO has announced plans to retire all of its remaining coal-fired electric generating stations by 2028 and replacing them with less expensive, cleaner energy.  According to data from late last year, Indiana is projected to add about 1,628 MW of solar energy over the next five years. That’s a whole lot of free, clean energy for Hoosiers and it could be a bright spot for business. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO)

FEATURED COMMENTARY

Guest Commentary | Renewable energy provides red, white, blue and green jobs for Illinoisans
By Julie Vogel, co-owner and president of worker-owned New Prairie Construction, The News-Gazette


I started New Prairie Construction with my partner in 1988. After growing our team steadily for nearly 30 years, New Prairie became East Central Illinois’ first worker-owned construction company in 2018. Our 20-person team is now part of the vast clean-energy industry in Illinois after we launched New Prairie Solar in 2015 to provide solar-panel installation to the area.

 

AWEA NEWS RELEASE

American Wind Energy Association Urges U.S. Electric Grid Operators to Prepare to Harness the Benefits of Hybrid Energy Projects, July 22, 2020

Washington D.C. – The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) today stressed the need for the U.S. Regional Transmission Operators and Independent System Operators (collectively referred to as ISOs) to update their policies to accommodate the growing number of hybrid renewable energy and storage projects requesting interconnection to the nation’s electric grids. These hybrid and co-located projects, which often include pairings of wind, solar, storage, or all three technologies, now represent over ten percent of the resources seeking interconnection to ISOs in the U.S.

NEW RMI REPORT

Changing grid architecture creates resilience opportunities: report, Utility Dive
Utilities are expected to make $1 trillion in electric system upgrades across the next decade, and a new report from Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) frames this as an opportunity to “reimagine grid resilience” by rethinking upstream investments and focusing outage prevention and restoration upgrades “as far downstream as practical.”

SUN DAY CAMPAIGN ANALYSIS OF NEW EIA DATA

Renewable energy provides more than 25% of US electricity in 5-mo 2020, Renewables Now
Renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) produced significantly more electricity than either coal or nuclear power during the first five months of 2020, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of just-released data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). In May alone, renewable sources accounted for more than one-quarter (25.3%) of the nation’s net electrical generation — an all-time high.

DIRECT CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PURCHASING

World’s Largest Customer-Sited Solar-Storage Plant Planned for Nevada Desert, Greentech Media Capital Dynamics is building a massive solar-plus-storage plant next to a Switch data center. Switch was able to subscribe to this project thanks to a Nevada law allowing large industrial customers to source their own power. Casino company MGM famously used this Direct Access rule to exit utility NV Energy in 2016, with the goal of doubling its share of clean energy while cutting energy costs. The state initially rejected Switch’s request to leave the utility, but later granted it in 2016. NV Energy is now working toward a statewide goal of 50 percent clean energy by 2030. But Switch has already achieved 100 percent clean energy by buying on its own. “Direct access is significantly cheaper than going through the utility, and more sustainable,” [Switch EVP of Strategy, Adam Kramer] said.

HYDROGEN

PURPA

What does the overhaul of PURPA mean for solar power?, PV Magazine
The long-awaited overhaul of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 is upon us, bringing with it substantial changes to the policy that has benefited over 30% of today’s solar facilities. What these changes will mean for American solar moving forward remains to be seen.

RE100

World’s Largest Semiconductor Foundry Joins RE100 And Calls On Peers To Step Up On Renewable Energy, The Climate Group

One of Taiwan’s biggest companiesTSMC, is today committing to source 100% renewable electricity globally as part of RE100, and urging peers across the electronics industry to follow suit. RE100 is a global initiative led by international non-profit the Climate Group in partnership with CDP, bringing together more than 240 global businesses switching to 100% renewable power.

TSMC is the first semiconductor manufacturer globally to join RE100, driven by an ambitious approach to renewables and now favorable market conditions in Taiwan. It supplies major electronics companies such as Apple, which last week announced it aims to have a carbon neutral supply chain by 2030. Today’s commitment is expected to put pressure on other major semiconductor companies, including Samsung, to join RE100 with a global 100% renewable electricity goal.

FOLDABLE SOLAR ROOF

A Solar Roof That Only Comes Out When The Sun Is Shining, CleanTechnica
A company in Switzerland and its partner, Kronberg and St. Gallish-Appenzellische Kraftwerke (SAK), have created something unique with solar. More than just a typical roof that one would install on their homes, this roof is meant for parking lots and would keep vehicles cool while it’s hot out. In the US today, you can get rooftop solar for $1.49/watt from Tesla and a similar price from others. Maybe these retractable solar roofs are another step forward for a niche segment of the market. The question we haven’t seen answered, though, and can’t figure out is: what’s the benefit of folding up? Why can’t the panels just be fixed and stable like in a traditional solar carport?

SOLAR WINDOWS

ClearVue to supply solar windows for US energy innovation project, Renewables Now
Australian smart building materials maker ClearVue Technologies Ltd today said it will supply solar windows for a hotel development in the US, part of a bigger energy innovation project. The project, which is due to break ground in the final quarter of the year, will consist of 12 hotels with 4,280 rooms.

GTM’S ENERGY GANG PODCAST

Biden’s Trillion-Dollar Climate Ambitions

On this week’s episode of The Energy Gang;

Biden supercharges his clean-energy infrastructure dreams. Then, Facebook’s disinformation problem: We look at why Facebook is rejecting the conclusions of its fact-checkers on some articles about climate change. Finally, U.S. attorneys in Ohio and Illinois have been busy investigating racketeering and bribery by high-ranking public officials who are doing the bidding of utility companies. In Ohio, the speaker of the House is arrested and in Illinois a utility is put on probation. There’s a common thread.

EV NEWS

BYD’s Fully Electric Refuse Trucks Make It Easy To Upgrade Fleets To Zero Emissions, CleanTechnica


Noisy trash trucks may soon be a thing of the past if BYD has anything to say about it. In partnership with Hudson County Motors, BYD is providing the first fully electric rear loader refuse collection trucks to the East Coast of the US. The new trucks will have sufficient range to run typical full day routes in Jersey City, providing not just zero emission service, but nearly silent service.