Tag Archives: hydrogen

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.

Energy Storage Grows Up

By Jeff Postelwait, T&D World 

Energy storage is even maturing to the point where it can take the place of building a new power generation asset or building grid upgrades. “When you add storage to your mix, everything becomes more flexible. You can increase hosting capacity of a transmission circuit without having to build a lot of new facilities. So, it’s easy to think of it as a competitor, but what it really is, is more of an enabler and a partner.”    Jason Burwen, interim CEO of the Energy Storage Association. Read more here.

Also By Jeff Postelwait: Energy Goals: What Does a New Administration Mean for Utilities? A look at the future of energy at the federal and state levels, and how the commercial sector also is a powerful driver for renewables.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

MODEL POLLINATOR-FRIENDLY SOLAR BUSINESS

Solar Power + Bees = Extra Benefit For Massachusetts, by Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica

Navisun is focused on small utility-scale solar farms and community solar farms. It co-develops, acquires, owns, and operates the solar projects. The two it has just completed, one of which is a community solar farm, are fairly small projects, totaling 3.8 MW of solar power, but the company is just getting rolling and it intends to build and operate many more. 

PRIVATE INVESTMENTS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY

The Future of Private Equity and Solar Energy, contributed by Christopher J. Macklin, Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Solar Magazine

Investments in renewable capacity totaled more than $2.5 trillion between 2010-2019, according to BloombergNEF data. Solar alone drew in half of those funds—$1.3 trillion to be exact—and grew from just 25 GW at the beginning of 2010 to more than 660 GW by the end of the decade. That’s enough energy to power 100 million homes in the U.S. each year. The high volume of capital flowing into the renewable energy sector has increased asset prices. To counter this, private equity firms seeking higher returns are turning to projects under development as opposed to ones already operating.

SALESFORCE

Inside Salesforce’s bold play for supply-chain leadership, by Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group

Last week, the cloud-based software company Salesforce notified its thousands of suppliers that it will include language in all future procurement contracts requiring them, among other things, to set science-based targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. And it set financial penalties for those that don’t. It was an unprecedented and bold move that, if emulated by others and aggressively enforced, could transform companies and markets far faster than any regulation ever could.

Salesforce Report: More Than a Megawatt: Embedding Social & Environmental Impact in the Renewable Energy Procurement Process

TENNESSEE VALEY AUTHORITY

Biden’s TVA appointments offer crucial chance for climate justice, Energy News Network

Biden’s nominations to the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority could help fulfill his climate promise by making TVA a model for how public power can lead the clean energy transition, writes guest commentator Gaby Sarri-Tobar, a campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity’s Energy Justice program.

SOLAR POWER WORLD 

Lancaster County’s rules governing turbines still floating in the wind

By Matt Olberding, Lincoln Journal Star

If the Lancaster County Board wants to loosen rules regulating wind farms hoping to build turbines here, members will do so without support of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission. The six commissioners present Wednesday voted unanimously to recommend clarifying rules requiring a third party to perform any necessary noise studies but voted against changes recommended by the Planning Department. Continue reading here. Requires digital subscription.

Related Reading
Local View: Revisiting wind rules, by John Hansen and Ken Haar, Lincoln Journal Star
John Hansen is president of the Nebraska Farmers Union. Senator Ken Haar served in the Legislature from 2009 to 2016.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

UNIQUE SOLAR CUSTOMER INCENTIVE

Con Edison Can ‘Connect’ Customers With Solar Energy And Savings, News Release, Consolidated Edison Company of New York

Con Edison is offering, free of charge, a device that can save upwards of $1,000 for a residential customer installing a new solar array. The Smart ConnectDER, built by ConnectDER, Con Edison’s partner on the project, allows the customer to avoid the cost of upgrading the circuit breaker panel. It also eliminates the need for excessive electrical boxes on the side of the home.

ConnectDER News Release

ConnectDER Granted U.S. Patent for Plug and Play Distributed Energy Resource Connection

GTM’S ENERGY GANG PODCAST

 

Why Local Solar + Storage Is a Pillar of the Net-Zero Grid

This week on The Energy Gang: we dig into an analysis showing how local distributed resources are a cheaper way to build out the future grid.

 

 

FEATURED SOLAR+STORAGE GUIDE

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

This guide addresses commonly asked questions about solar PV and battery storage technologies. It is based on the results of a survey identifying the most common knowledge gaps around solar and energy 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.

HYDROGEN

Shell Says Hydrogen Is Heavy Transport’s Future. What Now for Biofuels?, Greentech Media
A Deloitte report commissioned by Shell finds that the heavy-freight sector is increasingly planning for a switch to hydrogen. The study, carried out by global accountancy firm Deloitte on Shell’s behalf, questioned 158 executives in the road freight sector in 22 different countries. Of those asked, 70 percent ranked decarbonization as a top-three concern for their business. Many participants interviewed for the Getting into Gear report said they expect hydrogen to be commercially viable in just five to 10 years. 

2021 Outlook: 10 power sector trends to watch

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Utility Dive spoke to over half a dozen power sector experts who tentatively predict big changes on the horizon in 2021. A new administration under a new party is one of many signs that 2021 will look different for policymakers, regulators, utilities and other stakeholders, but the continuation of some older trends is expected as well: Utilities will continue to invest aggressively in renewable energy resources, and the power sector will continue to evolve toward a less centralized model. Here are 10 stories to watch in 2021: Read more here.

Also Published by Utility Dive
New transmission approaches can cut billions in decarbonization costs: MIT, clean energy coalition, by Robert Walton

America’s Top Colleges for Renewable Energy 2020

Environment America Report 

America’s colleges and universities are leading the transition to a 100 percent renewable energy system. Small liberal arts colleges, large public universities and community colleges alike, from every corner of the U.S., are taking the lead in reducing energy consumption, deploying renewable energy technologies, and switching to electric vehicles (EVs). More than 40 colleges and universities now obtain 100 percent or more of their electricity from renewable energy sources. Read more here.

Environment America’s 100% Renewable Campaigns

SOLAR PANEL PRICES

Solar Panel Prices Have Dropped Off Cliff & Sunk Into Ocean — Solar Panels 9× Cheaper Than In 2006, by Zachary Shahan, Clean Technica 

NEW PV MAGAZINE SERIES

Lights and shadows of 500 W plus solar panels – part I
In the first article of a series, PV Magazine Editor Pilar Sánchez Molina analyzes with industry experts challenges and opportunities created by new panels with power output exceeding 500 W.

EV NEWS

  • Could The U.S. Automobile Fleet Run On Wind And Solar Power?, Forbes article by Senior Contributor Robert Rapier. It would require 4.4 times more electricity produced from wind and solar power in 2019 to equal the 1.8 trillion kWh required to replace gasoline. That may seem like a lot, but over the past decade wind and solar power generation have increased by a factor of 5.4. At the growth rate of the past decade, it is possible that in another decade we could produce enough wind and solar power to power all the nation’s automobiles with a 100% EV fleet.
  • Amazon hands Mercedes-Benz its biggest electric vehicle order to date, GreenBiz
    Mercedes-Benz says by the end of the year it will offer five electric vehicle models and 20 plug-in hybrid vehicle editions. Its vehicle and battery production also will be carbon-neutral, using clean energy.

HYDROGEN

A Look At The ‘Colors’ Of Hydrogen That Could Power Our Future, Forbes article contributed by Alex Ivanenko, Cofounder and CEO of HyPoint, a company developing zero-carbon emission hydrogen fuel cell systems for urban air mobility.

While the use of hydrogen as a fuel dates back more than 150 years, recent announcements have brought hydrogen back into the spotlight as leaders around the world seek to secure a sustainable energy future. And if the future is to be powered by hydrogen, no industry will be left untouched.

GLOBAL RENEWABLE ENERGY REPORT

$3.40 Trillion to be Invested Globally in Renewable Energy by 2030, Finds Frost & Sullivan, News Release, PR Newswire

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Growth Opportunities from Decarbonization in the Global Power Market, 2019-2030, reveals that the 2020s will be crucial for all the participants in the power industry as the transition toward renewable energy is expected to increase, while coal takes a downturn in most developed markets. Falling costs and renewable-friendly energy policies adopted by several countries in the six major geographies—North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, China, and India—are prominent reasons why solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind capacity additions are expected to soar this decade. 

Nebraska Nanoscale Facility gets five-year renewal

By Dan Moser | Research and Economic Development
Nebraska Today, University of Nebraska Newsroom

The Nebraska Nanoscale Facility — housed mostly in the Voelte-Keegan Nanoscience Research Center — has received a $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to ensure its continuation through at least 2025. Nebraska’s facility is one of 16 centers created under the NSF’s National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure program, designed to advance the nation’s nanoscience research by expanding the equipment and service capabilities of universities and industries.

“We can proudly say here in Nebraska that this is quite an elite club we are in,” said Christian Binek, director of the nanoscale facility.  The national infrastructure aims to ensure “the entire country is equipped with the tools and expertise to perform nanoscience and nanotechnology.”

Read more here.

MORE NEBRASKA / MIDWEST NEWS STORIES

WoodMac: Large-Scale Solar Holds Cost Edge Despite ITC Stepdown, Coronavirus Impacts

By Colin Smith, Greentech Media

Voluntary procurement of utility solar remains the top driver of U.S. utility PV in development, according to Wood Mackenzie. WoodMac defines voluntary procurement as procurement based solely on the economic competitiveness against other energy sources of electricity generation. 

Procurement of utility solar by corporate off-takers currently ranks second overall. However, the share of RPS-driven solar, which is procured to help utilities meet zero carbon or renewable energy mandates, has also grown and represented 28 percent of PPA contracts signed in the first half of 2020. Continue reading here.

Colin Smith is a senior solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie and contributor to the Solar Data Hub.

Photo by Beyond My Ken / Wikimedia Commons

HYDROGEN

  • NextEra Energy Sees Hydrogen As A Zero Emissions Alternative To Natural Gas, CleanTechnica. NextEra likes to conduct small experiments with new technologies to see whether it is cost effective, and then it goes big if the trials are successful. That’s what it did with solar panels. It now plans to install 30 million of them by 2030. Early tests of battery storage were completed successfully, which led to the decision to construct the Manatee battery facility. Now the company has its eye on another technology that may help it eliminate all emissions associated with the electricity it provides to its customers — hydrogen made by electrolysis using renewable energy that would otherwise be “clipped” or curtailed.
  • Who Will Own the Hydrogen Future: Oil Companies or Power Utilities?, Greentech Media
    Utilities NextEra, Iberdrola and Uniper have all launched recent forays into green hydrogen, challenging a sector dominated by oil companies.

ORPHAN OIL & GAS WELLS & GREEN JOBS

Let’s Hire Laid-Off Oil and Gas Workers to Fight Climate Change, by Michael R. Bloomberg, Bloomberg Opinion. Plugging a single abandoned well can cut its methane emissions by 99%, according to the EPA, and the work requires skills that oil and gas workers already possess. Yet despite the best efforts of state regulators, most abandoned wells — more than 2 million — remain unplugged. A federal program to plug so-called “orphan” wells could create as many as 120,000 well-paying jobs, while preventing hundreds of thousands of tons of greenhouse gases from escaping into the atmosphere. 

DOMINION

TRI-STATE GENERATION & TRANSMISSION ASSOCIATION

United Power’s battle: why it matters, Brighton Standard-Blade
United Power is one of 45 members that make up Tri-State, a co-op that supplies power to service territories in Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

“SOLAR-FOR-COAL SWAPS”

Electric co-ops lead growing wave of early coal plant retirements with ‘solar-for-coal swaps’, PV Magazine. A new white paper from Energy Innovation, an energy policy firm, suggests that one way to speed up the process may be found in the “solar-for-coal swaps” that a small number of U.S. electric cooperatives have successfully completed. As the name implies, the main idea here is for a utility to swap out power from aging coal plants for solar generation. Private sector financing for the swap allows the coal plants to be bought and then retired ahead of schedule.

ANOTHER PUBLIC-WORKER PENSION SYSTEM INVESTING IN RENEWABLES

As Activists Push NJ to Divest from Fossil Fuels, State Turns to Green-Energy Fund, New Jersey Spotlight. New Jersey’s public-worker pension system is committing up to $100 million in assets to a private-equity fund that will invest solely in renewable-energy infrastructure projects around the globe. The investment in the Stonepeak Global Renewables Fund is the pension system’s first large-scale foray into backing renewable-energy production.

SOLAR PLUS STORAGE

EDF, NV Energy sign power contract for one of the world’s largest solar-plus-storage projects, PV Magazine.The two firms have a 22-year power purchase agreement for the electricity generated by the upcoming Chuckwalla solar farm, which will have a rated capacity of 200 MW solar and 180 MW/720 MWh storage.

OFFSHORE WIND

Floating Offshore Wind on Cusp of Unlocking Big Source of Finance, Experts Say. Greentech Media Non-recourse finance is the largest source of funding for offshore wind, and lenders are becoming more comfortable with floating turbines.

PLUGIN VEHICLES

Tesla = 19% of Global Plugin Vehicle Market, by CleanTechnica
According to data from EV Volumes, Tesla was #1 in terms of plugin vehicles sold globally and had nearly 3 times as many sales as #2 Volkswagen, or just slightly more than #2 Volkswagen plus #3 BMW plus #4 BYD. Overall, as the title states, Tesla took home 19% of the world’s plugin vehicle sales in the first half of 2020.

EV CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE

100% Renewable Energy For 2,700 New EV Fast Charging Stations In USA, by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica. The renewable energy angle is an important one for EV charging because it enlists drivers in the broader transition away from fossil fuels. As it stands today, EV drivers who charge from the grid may still be getting their power from coal or natural gas. Fast charging companies that insist on 100% renewable energy gather thousands (and soon, millions) of individual EV drivers into a powerful force that accelerates the demand for wind and solar.

GLOBAL RENEWABLE ENERGY GROWTH

Renewable Energy Growth Continues At A Blistering Pace, Forbes
Renewables were the only category of energy that grew globally at double digits over the past decade. For perspective, in 2009 the world consumed 8.2 exajoules of renewable energy. In 2019, that had nearly quadrupled to 29.0 exajoules.

Nebraska utility won’t convert power plant to run on hydrogen after all

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

Nebraska’s largest electric utility and the manufacturer that will soon be its largest private customer have agreed to abandon a potentially innovative plan to partially convert an aging fossil fuel power plant to run on hydrogen. The Nebraska Public Power District in 2018 said it had contracted with Monolith Materials to buy all of the hydrogen byproduct produced at a new factory under construction near the utility’s 225-megawatt Sheldon Station power plant, about 20 miles south of Lincoln. The power district planned to convert a 120-megawatt boiler to burn hydrogen, something that’s never been done before. Continue reading here.

NPPD Photo: 225-MW Sheldon Coal Plant near Hallam, Nebraska

ALSO WRITTEN BY KAREN UHLENHUTH

Solar firm buying land rights near coal plants with eye toward transmission

Solar beats gas when utilities use all-source procurements

By William Driscoll, PV Magazine

With an all-source procurement, a utility solicits bids to identify the costs of solar, wind and storage, which can be “significantly less expensive than new gas,” as an Indiana utility found. A clean energy group calls for state regulators to require all-source procurements, for the vertically integrated utilities that serve half the country. The report’s authors are offering a webinar to discuss their findings on Thursday, April 30. The report is titled “Making the most of the power plant market: Best practices for all-source electric generation procurement.” The ten case studies are presented in an appendix. The authors are John D. Wilson, Mike O’Boyle, Ron Lehr and Mark Detsky. Read more here.

MORE U.S. NEWS

GLOBAL NEWS

DISTRIBUTED WIND & MICROGRIDS

Struggling Distributed Wind Sector Eyes Role in Microgrids Market, Greentech Media
Makers of small wind turbines have been crushed by solar energy. New R&D funding and a possible role in microgrids keep the sector hopeful.

WOODEN WIND TOWERS

First Wooden Wind Power Tower Erected In Sweden, Renewable Energy Magazine
The wind towers in wood can be built at a significantly lower cost than steel, which lowers the production cost of the wind power-generated electricity. The carbon dioxide absorbed by trees as they grow is stored in the wooden towers, which means that the wind turbines are climate neutral right from the start.

EV NEWS

Court OKs controversial power line despite Missouri landowners’ objections

By Kurt Erickson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

In a ruling issued Tuesday, the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District rejected claims that the Public Service Commission had erred in giving a green light in March to the construction of the Grain Belt Express Transmission line. The 19-page ruling is the latest victory for backers of the project, which aims to bring Kansas wind energy east to Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.
Read more here.

Website: Grain Belt Express Transmission Line

ADDITIONAL MIDWEST NEWS & OPINION

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

NATIONAL NEWS

ENERGY STORAGE

WORKFORCE DIVERSITY

The business case for gender equality in solarPV Magazine
The writer, Lara Anton, is responsible for the client management of Samuel Knight International’s renewable energy portfolio.

SOLAR SCHOOLS

8 schools that went solar in 2019, by Kelsey Misbrenner, Solar Power World
Solar installations powering K-12 schools are on the rise. Creative financing through PPAs and grants help make these nonprofit installations a possibility, and the benefits are vast: Schools save money on electricity, and students get firsthand experience with solar energy.