Tag Archives: Keystone XL

Wind energy had a ‘banner year’ in 2020. Here’s what that means for Joe Biden’s climate plan.

By Elinor Aspegren, USA Today

A study from the American Clean Power Association released this month reports that 2020 was a record year for the industry, with developers adding enough megawatts of capacity to provide power for millions of homes and inching the U.S. closer to the Biden administration’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2035.

In all, 16,913 megawatts of new wind power capacity was installed in the U.S. last year – an 85% increase over 2019. That’s the equivalent of the power generated from 11 large coal plants, and enough to serve nearly 6 million homes, Jonathan Naughton, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Wind Energy Research Center at the University of Wyoming, told USA TODAY. Read more here.

Nebraska Clean Energy Fact Sheet, American Clean Power Association

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Onward and Upward: How Recent Trends Will Power Breakthroughs in 2021 and Beyond,
Greentech Media article contributed by John Carrington, CEO and Director of Stem.

Not even 100 days into his administration, President Biden’s sense of urgency in tackling climate issues and driving a clean energy revolution is clear. Here is a look at how key recent trends in energy and climate — including remarkable clean energy progress under dire circumstances — will lead to real and sustainable breakthroughs in 2021 and beyond.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Takes Executive Actions to Tackle the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, Create Jobs, and Restore Scientific Integrity Across Federal Government, The White House Briefing Room

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Solar Industry Statement on Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act

“The Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) will make the American solar industry stronger, better trained and more diverse. Our industry will need tens of thousands of workers as it continues to expand and we are deeply committed to efforts to diversify our workforce, bring the benefits of the energy transition to all, and create economic opportunity for Americans in every community, including those who worked in traditional energy industries.” – Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association

ZERO ENERGY READY HOMES

DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home Program helps homebuyers quickly identify high performance homes that are so energy efficient, all or most annual energy use can be offset with renewable energy. Now a trilogy of videos is available to tell that powerful story to American homebuyers.


DOE’s Video Trilogy

Live Better
Live Healthy
Live Future Ready

The Sun Haven: Net-Zero Energy Home in Lincoln (GRNE Solar).

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Why energy efficiency is key to net-zero, GreenBiz Group

 

 

 

 

 

Despite the rise of net-zero commitments and new financial models proliferating, we’re slowing on our efficiency gains. Global efficiency improvements have been on the decline since 2015, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Energy intensity in 2020 is expected to improve by only 0.8 percent — nearly half of the improvements for 2019 (1.6 percent) and 2018 (1.5 percent). 

ENERGY STORAGE

NREL outlines four-phase framework for energy storage development, American Public Power Association


The report released late last month is the first publication to come out of NREL’s multi-yea
Storage Futures Study, which will explore energy storage technologies across a range of potential future cost and performance scenarios through 2050.


KEYSTONE XL

Cancellation of Keystone XL Pipeline Shapes Energy Investment, Environment + Energy Leader article contributed by Anthony Shaw, Founder, Progeneration Energy

The fate of Keystone XL and similar projects are fueling reinvention in the oil sector. Companies like Shell and BP are no longer defining themselves as oil companies, building new brand identities as integrated energy companies. 

Previously Posted: Nebraska’s better off without Keystone XL, Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board 

Five consequences of a Biden administration for US energy

Wood Mackenzie News Release

Joe Biden offered American voters a radically different vision of energy policy from President Donald Trump, focused on addressing the threat of climate change. He will enter the White House with a goal of setting the US on course for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and will take the US back into the Paris climate agreement. But there is a good chance the Republicans will retain control of the Senate, limiting how much of his agenda he will be able to deliver.

With the federal government constrained, state policies will continue to be important. The key influences shaping the US energy industry are likely to be market forces, just as they were under Barack Obama and Donald Trump. But the change of federal government will have some significant consequences. According to Ed Crooks, Wood Mackenzie Vice-Chair – Americas, these are some of the most important: Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES IN PV RECYCLING & REPURPOSING

From design to recycling, opportunities abound to make solar more circular, by Myisha Majumder, GreenBiz

“The IEA predicts that total renewable based power capacity will grow by 50% between now and 2024, and 60% of that will be solar. By 2030, with that much PV, there’s a potential of something like 8 million tons of potential PV waste,” [Evelyn Butler of Solar Energy Industry Association] said. It’s also a global opportunity of about “$450 million in raw material recovery that could be leveraged for new industries or employment.” The challenge is making PV waste recycling and repurposing more efficient than it is in order to move towards a more circular economy.

SOLAR POWER WORLD VIDEO FOR INSTALLERS

Solar Basics: How to decommission a solar array, Solar Power World
Solar Basics is a video series by Solar Power World created to help installers learn about the business, tools and tricks of the solar power trade. Solar arrays can stay online for decades, but don’t last forever. Learn about all the steps to tear down and decommission a solar system in this Solar Basics video, based on the story: How to decommission a solar array, and why it’s important to plan ahead.

FEATURED NATIONAL SOLAR PROJECT

Yerkes Observatory gets current with solar energy system, Lake Geneva Regional News


WILLIAMS BAY — After more than a hundred years of scientific exploration, Yerkes Observatory is going solar. Solar panels are scheduled to be installed next year on the flat portions of the Yerkes Observatory roof, adding modern renewable energy methods to the 123-year-old building. RENEW Wisconsin’s Solar for Good Program has awarded more than $190,000 in cash and materials to 17 nonprofit organizations throughout the state for installing solar energy systems.

FEATURED NEBRASKA SOLAR INSTALLATION

Greisen Farms in Platte Center

Project: 25-kilowatt photovoltaic system with 340-watt monocrystalline solar panels
Installer: Renewable Solar LLC, owned by Anthony Kush

See Solar Examples for more photos and descriptions of solar-powered farms in Nebraska.

SOLAR INCENTIVES

 

Links to Incentives, Depreciation & Net Metering Information

 

FEATURED ENERGY TRANSITION BOOK

Reckoning in Coal Country, by Mason Adams and Dustin Bleizeffer

From the hills of West Virginia to the wind-swept prairies of Campbell County, Wyoming, journalists Mason Adams and Dustin Bleizeffer explore the cultural, political and economic obstacles faced by rural communities hoping to survive and thrive in a world without coal.

Appalachia and Wyoming are dramatically different places, but they also offer each other cautionary tales, success stories, and reasons for resilience and hope. While the story continues to unfold, Reckoning in Coal Country provides a snapshot of these communities at a critical inflection point in American history.

Produced in partnership with WyoFile and with funding from the Just Transition Fund,

KEYSTONE XL

Keystone pipeline developer plans to sue to get construction permit in Nebraska county, Omaha World-Herald

LINCOLN — The developer of the Keystone XL pipeline is planning to go to court to obtain a construction permit from a rural Nebraska county. A company spokeswoman made the comment after the five-member Holt County Board of Adjustment voted Thursday afternoon to deny a permit to TC Energy, formerly TransCanada, until the pipeline company agreed to comply with 19 conditions. The conditions included the establishment of an escrow account to cover any clean-up costs from possible future pipeline leaks and pay for the removal of the pipeline and reclamation of the land. The board also wanted TC Energy to bypass any fields that had underground drainage tiles and provide additional tests to detect any slow leaks from the crude oil pipeline.

As Fossil Fuel Pipelines Fall to Opposition, Utilities See Renewable Energy as Safe Bet

By Jeff St. John, Senior Editor, Greentech Media

Legal challenges halted several major pipeline projects across the U.S. in recent days, underscoring a seismic shift facing the U.S. utility industry: the rise of renewables as a potentially less costly and risky alternative to fossil fuels. Over the weekend Dominion Energy and Duke Energy, two of the country’s biggest utilities, canceled their Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, citing costs that have ballooned to as much as $8 billion and ongoing legal challenges from landowners and environmental groups. The pipeline’s legal challenges include an April federal court decision overturning Nationwide Permit 12, a federal permit authority allowing pipelines to cross waterways and wetlands, which threatens the viability of projects including the massive Keystone XL oil pipeline. Continue reading here.

Previously Posted
In A Post-Pandemic World, Renewable Energy Is The Only Way Forward, by Senior Contributor Enrique Dans, Forbes. A post-pandemic economic reconstruction based on restructuring the energy map makes sense. We know we have to do it, and we know the reason we haven’t done it so far is because it challenges the interests of a powerful few.

MORE ON FOSSIL FUEL PIPELINES

  • Judge orders Dakota Access pipeline shut down pending review, Omaha World-Herald
    FARGO, N.D. — A federal judge on Monday ordered the Dakota Access pipeline shut down pending a more thorough environmental review, handing a victory to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe three years after the pipeline first began carrying oil following months of protests.
  • US Supreme Court deals blow to Keystone oil pipeline project, Omaha World-Herald
    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court handed another setback to the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline from Canada on Monday by keeping in place a lower court ruling that blocked a key environmental permit for the project. Canadian company TC Energy needs the permit to continue building the long-disputed pipeline across U.S. rivers and streams.

TESLA

Tesla’s Success Is Good News For Everyone, by Senior Contributor Enrique Dans, Forbes
The company is now the gold standard for an industry that for too long has innovated reluctantly and at a snail’s pace. 

ACQUISITION NEWS

Sunrun to acquire Vivint Solar for $3.2 billion in all-stock transaction, PV Magazine
The new, bigger Sunrun will have 500,000 customers and more than 3 GW of solar power assets. Is there value in scale in residential solar?

THERMAL ENERGY STORAGE

Storing Heat Energy Offers $300bn Opportunity To Cut Carbon Emissions, by Mike Scott, Forbes. Thermal energy storage allows polluting industries to clean up and reduce emissions.

Inside Clean Energy: With a Pen Stroke, New Law Launches Virginia Into Landmark Clean Energy Transition

By Dan Gearino

One lawmaker compared the passage of the statute, which requires the state to move to 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2045, to landing on the moon.

Read more here.

NEW YORK INITIATIVES

In New York, a New Way for Stay-at-Home Customers to Get Paid for Shaving Peak Energy, Greentech Media. New York is struggling with the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak, but it’s also pushing ahead on its ambitious clean energy goals. Those include major expansions of wind and solar power, more energy storage to manage that intermittent supply — and, on the demand side of the equation, programs that can turn utility customers from passive consumers into active grid-balancing participants. 

GREEN CAMPUSES

University of Pennsylvania signs PPA for largest solar project in the state, Solar Power World
The University of Pennsylvania has signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the creation of a solar power project moving the University significantly closer to meeting its commitment of a 100% carbon neutral campus by 2042, as outlined in the “Climate & Sustainability Action Plan 3.0.”

Recommended Resources

CARBON PRICING

NextEra, Vistra join array of stakeholders in asking FERC to look at carbon pricing, by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive. A wide group of energy stakeholders, including independent power producers, gas interests and clean energy advocates, are asking federal regulators to look more closely at the benefits of pricing carbon across wholesale electricity markets.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY & RESILIENCE

GREEN TRANSPORTATION

KEYSTONE XL

US judge cancels permit for Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, Associated Press

Keystone XL developer pushes back construction date in Montana

By Jay Kohn, KTVQ

A TC Energy spokeswoman told MTN News Wednesday that construction on the pipeline crossing between the United States and Canada, did not get underway this morning as was previously anticipated. Spokeswoman Sara Rabern described the situation as “fluid”. On Tuesday, TC Energy announced the Keystone Pipeline project has new life – thanks to a $1 billion investment from the government of Alberta that will fund the project for the next year. The pipelines would transfer oil from the tar sands of Alberta to an existing line in Nebraska. The project has multiple ongoing challenges in federal court. Read more here.

Previously Posted News Stories & Resources: 

 TAR SANDS’ PRICE

U.S. Coal Bankruptcies Reveal The Future Of Alberta Tar Sands, Forbes
With oil demand softening, only the most efficient oil producers will survive. By some estimates, “the price of oil could permanently plummet to $25 a barrel by the mid-2020s. Only the cheapest oil in places like Saudi Arabia could be economically produced. Canada’s oil sands, where most projects need an oil price of $60 to $80 a barrel just to break even, would cease to make financial sense.” 

STRANDED ASSETS

  • “Stranded assets” are referenced in the above article. What are they?
    According to the Carbon Tracker InitiativeStranded assets are now generally accepted to be fossil fuel supply and generation resources which, at some time prior to the end of their economic life (as assumed at the investment decision point), are no longer able to earn an economic return (i.e. meet the company’s internal rate of return), as a result of changes associated with the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • The growing concern over stranded assets, GreenBiz

FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES’ ENERGY TRANSITION

Thriving in a low carbon future: M&A and the new energy economy, Utility Dive
Contributed article by Mary Anne Sullivan, Sarah Shaw and Alex Harrison, Partners at Hogan Lovells. Traditional oil and gas companies and utilities want to ride the wave of new technologies that can preserve their market position, even as old markets are redefined. Many companies have a combination of these motives. One particular trend we are witnessing in this sector is traditional oil and gas and utilities companies moving into new areas, principally renewable energy, electric vehicles and storage.

NEBRASKA’S ENERGY TRANSITION / LOCAL LEADERSHIP

SECURITIZATION 

Securitization laws are easing the transition from coal and other fossil fuels in the following states:

Midwest Flooding Exposes Another Oil Pipeline Risk — on Keystone XL’s Route

By Neela Banerjee, Inside Climate News

Rushing rivers have exposed once-buried pipelines before, leading to oil spills. With climate change exacerbating flood risks, Keystone XL critics see dangers ahead.

NAPER, Nebraska — Standing on the banks of the Keya Paha River where it cuts through his farm, Bob Allpress points across a flat expanse of sand to where a critical shut-off valve is supposed to rise from the Keystone XL pipeline once it’s buried in his land. The Keya Paha flooded several weeks ago, and when it did, the rush of newly melted water drove debris, sand and huge chunks of ice deep inland, mowing down trees and depositing a long wall of ice 6 feet high and 30 feet wide across Allpress’s property.  “It would’ve taken out their shut-off valve,” Allpress said of the river flooding. “Right where they propose to put it at. And it wouldn’t have been a good thing.” Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

What the historic Midwest floods look like from space — and from the ground, by Vox. “This really is the most devastating flooding we’ve probably ever had in our state’s history,” Nebraska’s governor said.

12 excuses for climate inaction and how to refute them, by Eliza Barclay & Jag Bhalla, Vox
There’s a reason why the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has successfully goaded powerful politicians into long-overdue climate action in just six months. Fortunately, Thunberg is just one of many great minds helping us summon moral clarity to address the tricky problem of framing the climate crisis.

From Nebraska to Federal Court, the Sierra Club Keeps Up the Fight on Keystone XL

By Doug Hayes and Ken Winston, Compass

It’s been a long road in the fight to protect our land, water, communities, and climate from TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Right now, a focus of the fight is what is happening in the courts, where Sierra Club and our allies are continuing our work to stop this terrible project.

In November, the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) dealt TransCanada a major setback by rejecting the company’s preferred route through the state and instead approving an alternate route. Though an outright rejection would have been the best outcome, this was still a victory for our side. TransCanada had previously called the alternate route unworkable, and the PSC’s decision creates new legal issues, raises new environmental review questions, and affects a whole new set of landowners who have not agreed to let TransCanada build on their land. Click here to continue reading.

Photo: Nebraska landowners and supporters celebrating completion of a Solar XL project.
Solar XL – Scroll down for photos of projects.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

 NATIONAL NEWS

FEATURED RESOURCES: SURVEY & WHITE PAPER 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS
UPS adds battery energy storage for 118 electric vans in UK, Green Car Reports

News Release: Keystone XL Partially Denied; Landowners Vow to Keep Fighting

By Mark Hefflinger, Bold Nebraska

Landowners, Tribes, Bold and other official intervenors now have the option to within 30 days file an appeal in the Nebraska courts of portions of the PSC’s decision, to ensure that property rights, cultural and natural resources receive maximum protections. Separately, intervenor parties may also petition the Public Service Commission for a rehearing within ten days of the decision.

As landowners, attorneys and other intervenor parties consider legal options, Bold Nebraska has announced an expansion of the Solar XL project, and will continue crowdfunding to build additional solar installations with landowners in the path of Keystone XL.

Read the entire release.

About Solar XL

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • Lincoln Journal Star: Nebraska OK’s Keystone XL pipeline, but not its preferred route. Nebraska regulators have approved TransCanada’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline, but not its “preferred” route through this state — raising questions about whether the company will continue to pursue the project.
  • Omaha World-Herald: Controversial Keystone XL pipeline route across Nebraska is approved, but hurdles likely remainThe decision, while giving the Canadian firm a route across Nebraska, raises many questions. One is that about 40 new landowners, along the 63 new miles of the alternative route, must be contacted to obtain right-of-way agreements for the underground pipe. Some major oil companies have pulled out of the tar sands region in recent months due to a worldwide glut of oil and the higher cost of turning the tar sands into synthetic crude.
  • Chicago Tribune: Nebraska panel approves alternative Keystone XL route. Jane Kleeb, director of the pipeline opposition group the Bold Alliance, said her group believes TransCanada will have to seek another federal review of the route, a process that would add even more years to the timetable. The mainline alternative approved Monday includes 63 miles of new pipeline that hasn’t been reviewed by the federal government. Opponents are expected to appeal the Nebraska commission’s decision in a state district court, and the case is likely to end up before the Nebraska Supreme Court. The commission was forbidden by law from considering a recent oil spill in South Dakota on the existing Keystone pipeline in its decision.