Tag Archives: Independent System Operators (ISOs)

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

State energy plans show how process can match final product in impact

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

This winter, lawmakers in two Plains states are backing bills calling for a similar process. In Nebraska, state Sen. John Cavanaugh has proposed spending $250,000 on a climate action plan that would be produced by the University of Nebraska. In Kansas, state Rep. Mark Schreiber is preparing a bill to form a task force to provide “strategic guidance and objectives” for energy in the state.

The vast majority of states already have a climate or energy plan. According to the National Association of State Energy Officials, all but eight — including Kansas, Illinois and Wisconsin — have drafted a state energy plan. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions says 33 states have released or are developing a climate action plan. Read more here.

LB 483: Provide for a climate change study and action plan

Previously Posted 

  • Nebraska needs overall plan for energy policies, Lincoln Journal Star, November 4, 2015
    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. . . .
    [The]
    Nebraska Legislature has instructed the state Energy Office to create a comprehensive energy plan and budgeted more than $630,000 to see it done.
    LB469 Provide procedures and reporting requirements relating to a state plan on carbon dioxide emissions, require a strategic state energy plan, and provide requirements for meteorological evaluation towers.
  • 2011 Nebraska Energy Plan, National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO)

ALSO IN THE NEWS

  • Masdar Achieves First Close on 1.6 GW Clean Energy Portfolio in United States from EDF Renewables, EDF Renewables News Release. The Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company said the U.S. offers “considerable scope for further growth.” Power from the diversified portfolio projects will be sold under long-term contracts to a variety of offtakers, including utilities, hedge providers and community choice aggregators (CCAs). The 300MW Milligan 1 Wind Farm in Saline County, Nebraska is included in the portfolio.
  • Wadena now powered by 100% carbon-free electricity, Wadena Pioneer Journal
    Harnessing the winds on the open plains of Nebraska or the sun in Iowa tends to provide more bang for the buck than the dark winters up in the woods of northern Minnesota. This article includes a brief video about renewable energy certificates (RECs).

ENERGY STORAGE

EV NEWS

Renewables on Tribal Land: Addressing Environmental and Economic Equity on the Path to a Clean Energy Economy

National Law Review article by Bart J. Freedman, Teresa A. Hill,
Benjamin A Mayer, K&L Gates LLP

Demand for renewable energy projects has never been greater. The newest, latest trend is the push for renewable energy projects with positive social impacts and benefits to marginalized communities. Indeed, some of the most significant consumers and supporters of renewable and carbon-free power are now making environmental and economic justice a central focus and condition of their use of and investments in clean energy projects. Utility leaders have identified racial justice as a top concern in the transition to a clean energy economy. Key stakeholders and influential civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, have created toolkits and are advocating for just energy policies and practices. The Rocky Mountain Institute announced this summer that it will be launching a residential solar program to expand the use of solar in communities of color. At the same time, clean energy transition legislation throughout the country is accelerating the need for carbon-free resources, including wind, solar, and storage projects, to replace traditional fossil fuel resources, such as coal, oil, and natural gas, to power the grid. Continue reading here. 

Photo Credit: The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FEATURED GREEN BIZ WEBINAR

Embedding Social and Environmental Benefits in Renewable Energy, October 15, 2020 at 12 pm
Renewable energy deployments are on the rise. The U.S. alone is expected to add 132 to 157GW of new renewable energy capacity in the next five years. How and where that renewable energy is deployed can drive radically different outcomes — with the potential to maximize positive impact for a range of stakeholders or limit benefits to just a few. 

Moderator
Sarah Golden, Senior Energy Analyst & VERGE Energy Chair, GreenBiz

Speakers

  • Megan Lorenzen, Sustainability Manager, Salesforce
  • Bruce McKenney, Director for Strategic Initiatives, Energy & Infrastructure, The Nature Conservancy 
  • Henry Richardson, Senior Analyst, WattTime.org
  • Alex Klonick, Manager, REBA

CLEAN TECHNICA REPORT

  • Top Solar Power States Per Capita, by Zachary Shahan
    As you can see, the top solar power state per capita is probably not the one that came to mind for almost all of you. Would I have guessed that it would be Nevada? Nope. In fact, Nevada is so far in the lead that it has more than double the amount of solar power installed per capita as #6 Vermont, and nearly double the results for #5 North Carolina. That said, the top 5 states are certainly states that lead for solar in a variety of ways. Nevada, Hawaii, California, Arizona, and North Carolina all have great solar resources, and they have policies that provide just enough incentive for large corporations, utilities, small businesses, and homeowners to go solar.
  • Solar Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy 

MORE ON NEBRASKA’S PLUM CREEK WIND FARM

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY ENERGY’S ROCKY MOUNTAIN POWER IN THE NEWS

Wyoming, Utility Clash Over Coal-Boosting, Climate Fighting Tech, Bloomberg Law
Coal-dependent Wyoming, aided by a Trump administration study, is arguing for extending the life of the state’s coal-fired power plants and others across the country by retrofitting old plants with technology that would capture and either store or use climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions. But Rocky Mountain Power, a subsidiary of PacifiCorp, wants to retire several of its aging coal-generation plants in Wyoming ahead of schedule and invest roughly $4 billion in new wind energy, transmission, and battery storage projects in the state. And environmental groups favor that plan, rather than extending the life of coal plants.

COLORADO

  • Why Colorado needs an RTO, by Allen Best, Mountain Town News
    On a September morning in which smoke was wafting eastward across the Great Plains from the wildfires in the Rocky Mountains and the West Coast, I sat in a cabin near Nebraska’s Lake McConaughy to hear representatives of Colorado’s two largest electrical utilities and one state legislator explain how they thought Colorado might get an RTO or its close relative, an ISO. The former once again stands for regional transmission organization, and the latter an independent system operator. The function in both cases is much the same. These organizations pool electrical generation resources and also consolidate transmission.
  • Recommended reading about the Interconnection Seams Study, which Allen Best references in the above article: How a Plan to Save the Power System Disappeared, The Atlantic and Investigate West
  • Also Written by Allen Best: Colorado utilities fear wildfire risk — and liability — amid warming climate, Energy News Network
  • Solar-powered steel production from Lightsource bp’s Bighorn Project in Colorado, PV Magazine
    The iron and steel sector is the “world’s largest industrial source of climate pollution.” This steel mill in Pueblo, Colorado will be the first in North America to rely on solar power.

GLOBAL ENERGY STORAGE

Global storage heading to 741 GWh by 2030, WoodMac projects, amid ongoing challenges, Utility Dive

Global energy storage capacity could amount to 741 GWh by the end of the decade, representing a 31% compound annual growth rate, analysis from Wood Mackenzie has found — and the U.S. could make up nearly half of that.

‘Game-Changer’ FERC Order Opens Up Wholesale Grid Markets to Distributed Energy Resources

By Jeff St. John, Senior Editor, Greentech Media

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) passed Order 2222, which is intended to allow small distributed energy resources, like rooftop solar and behind-the-meter batteries, to participate in energy, capacity, and ancillary services markets operated by regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs).

RTOs and ISOs oversee the transmission grids serving electricity to two-thirds of the country. Much of the impact of the order will depend on how market rules are designed to incorporate distributed resources, which are predicted to reach 380 gigawatts of installed capacity across the country’s grid by 2025. RTOs and ISOs will have 270 days to file implementation compliance plans after Order 2222 goes into effect in 60 days. Read more here.

MORE ON ORDER 2222

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

SOLSMART

Since 2016, SolSmart has provided in-depth technical assistance to hundreds of local governments nationwide and has awarded over 370 cities, towns, counties, and regional organizations with SolSmart designations for their solar achievements. If you are interested in becoming a SolSmart community, click one of these links: 

Request A Consultation
Apply For Designation 

U.S. AIRPORTS ADOPTING SOLAR

CU Denver Researcher Analyzes the Use of Solar Energy at U.S. Airports, CU Denver News
By studying 488 public airports in the United States, University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs researcher Serena Kim, PhD, found that 20% of them have adopted solar photovoltaic (PV), commonly known as solar panels, over the last decade. Solar photovoltaic (PV) is the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. 

NET-ZERO GLOBAL ECONOMY

Net Zero by 2050 Is Achievable, Affordable, and Will Improve Lives, Rocky Mountain Institute
A net-zero global economy is technically and economically possible by the middle of this century. The technologies and business solutions needed to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero are already available or close to being brought to market. That is the encouraging conclusion of the latest report, Making Mission Possible, by the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC).

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.