Tag Archives: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

States Are Tackling Climate, Using Federal Cash as Congress Lags

By Zach Bright, Bloomberg Law

Some Republican-led states such as Nebraska and South Carolina, despite resistance to sweeping plans framed as climate action, are nonetheless lowering greenhouse gas emissions as they move to clean energy because of its long-term economic benefits over fossil fuels.

Read more here.


LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY STUDY

Solar-plus-storage vs. wind-plus-storage, by Emiliano Bellini, PV Magazine
Scientists from the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have compared the costs of several of solar-plus-storage configurations with those of other wind-plus-battery plants across seven US wholesale electricity markets. They described their findings in Keep it short: Exploring the impacts of configuration choices on the recent economics of solar-plus-battery and wind-plus-battery hybrid energy plants,” which was recently published in the Journal of Energy Storage.

MODEL ‘SOLAR-AS-A-SERVICE’ PROGRAM

IPS plans largest solar energy project in state history by a school systemFox 59
Indianapolis Public Schools has announced plans to move forward with the largest solar energy project by an educational institution in the state of Indiana. According to IPS, the solar energy project would significantly reduce cost, cut carbon emissions and boost sustainability efforts for 20 schools. Sun FundED has worked in bringing solar energy to other educational institutions including Indiana Wesleyan University and Taylor University. They’ve also signed up, or are soon to sign up, schools in Michigan, Florida, South Carolina, Minnesota and Virginia, according to the company.

See Also: IPS Partners with Indiana Firm to Plan Largest K-12 Solar Project Ever in Indiana, Indianapolis Public Schools

Featured Resources

CARBON DIOXIDE PIPELINES

The Infrastructure Bill & Pension Funds – A $3 Trillion Action Item

Contributed by Norman Anderson, Forbes

As the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure initiative moves forward, the talk is of spending rather than of long-term, strategic, 30-40 year investment. It’s a question of focus. The political discussion is also leaving an important tool on the sidelines — at least half of the spend under discussion lies in the traditional domain of private investment — renewable energy, high voltage electricity transmission, broadband, 5G and even social infrastructure are solid private investment opportunities. Pension funds link these two issues. By my conservative calculation, we could easily add $1 trillion – or more – of disciplined capital to long-term infrastructure investment by bringing institutional investors into high priority projects. Read more here.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

SEIA NEWS RELEASES

NEBRASKA NEWS

  • Nelnet Renewable Energy and Six Co-Investors Complete $11.9 Million Solar Tax Equity Investment in the Northeast, Nelnet Renewable Energy News Release, PR Newswire
    According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), “The solar investment tax credit is one of the most important federal policy mechanisms to support the growth of solar energy in the United States. Since the tax credit was enacted in 2006, the U.S. solar industry has grown by more than 10,000% – creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and investing billions of dollars in the U.S. economy in the process.” 
  • Aurora hosts ribbon cutting for new electric vehicle charging station, NPPD News Release
    Aurora, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District will partner with the city of Aurora for a ribbon cutting event on Friday, June 25 at 3 p.m. The ribbon cutting kicks off the availability of Aurora’s first ChargePoint DC fast charger charging station, located downtown on the corner of 12th and N Street.

ENERGY SAVING TIPS FROM OUR LARGEST UTILITIES

New National Lab study: Wind projects bring substantial revenue to schools

By John Hensley, Vice President, Research & Analytics, American Clean Power Association. Jesse Broehl contributed to this post.

Wind energy has grown substantially in the United States over the past decades, contributing ever-greater revenue to states and local jurisdictions, including school districts. Within two years of completion, a wind project helps deliver approximately $1,000 per child in new revenue to the local school district. This increase in revenue grows to between $1,500 and $1,800 per child several years after installation.

These are among the key findings from a new Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) report released that examines the impacts of wind energy on school district revenues, expenditures, resource allocations, and student achievement. The study uses data on the timing, location, and capacity of wind energy installations in the U.S. from 1995 through 2017 and correlated school district data. In 1995 wind energy was just getting started in the U.S. and only 16 school districts had wind projects installed within their boundaries at that time. By 2016, wind energy production had spread across 38 states, affecting 900 school districts. Continue reading here.

Resource Links

  • Download the study: School District Revenue Shocks, Resource Allocations, and Student Achievement: Evidence from the Universe of U.S. Wind Energy Installations
  • A webinar covering the results of the study recorded on March 26, 2021, can be viewed here.
  • Nebraska: In 2010, the Nebraska Legislature passed a bill which exempted wind energy generation systems from property taxes, although the law allows a county assessor to evaluate real property and land used by wind generation facilities. The property tax is replaced by a nameplate capacity tax of $3,518 per megawatt. In 2017, this tax generated $3,056,623 for Nebraska counties, with $1,862,959 going to local schools. Page 46 of the study.
  • YouTube Video, American Clean Power Association:

Top photo by Ørsted: Nebraska’s 230MW Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County.

Eight mayors: We need a Marshall Plan for Middle America

Opinion by William Peduto, Jamael Tito Brown, Nan Whaley, Andrew Ginther, John Cranley, Steve Williams, Ron Dulaney Jr. and Greg Fischer
Published by The Washington Post

According to our research, taking advantage of our community assets, geographic positioning and the strengths of our regional markets can help create over 400,000 jobs across the region by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades to buildings, energy infrastructure and transportation assets. Read more here.

The writers are the mayors of Pittsburgh; Youngstown, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Cincinnati; Huntington, W.Va.; Morgantown, W.Va.; and Louisville.

MORE ON LES’ DECARBONIZATION GOAL

Lincoln Electric System board adopts 100% net decarbonization goal by 2040, American Public Power Association

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & VIEWING

GREENBIZ VIDEOS

Dual-use solar farms welcome nature back to the land

By Jesse Klein, GreenBiz

Surrounding Clif Bar’s 300,000-foot bakery in Twin Falls, Idaho is a five-acre solar array. Instead of gray stones, brown dirt or a green so neon it looks fake, the panels are surrounded by yellows, pinks and lush natural hazels. The reflective solar panels are nestled in a bed of native flowering plants that support pollinators, conserve water and store carbon in the healthy topsoil. This is the emerging model for ground-mounted solar, one that welcomes nature back to the land. Read more here.

Photo by Prairie Restorations showing a 40-kilowatt pollinator-friendly community solar farm in Duluth, Minnesota.

Previously Posted: Solar and pollinators: a photo essay, PV Magazine
All the solar installations shown in this photo essay by Rob Davis of Fresh Energy have a mix of flowering species in sufficient diversity, or covering a sufficient portion of the project, to meet pollinator-friendly standards created by entomologists.

BIFACIAL SOLAR PANELS WITH TRACKING

ROOFTOP SOLAR PERMITTING STUDY

US rooftop solar permitting process takes less time, but depends on state – study, Renewables Now. Berkeley Lab found that 50 days is the typical solar permit duration at the median. But there were significant differences, with half of the total cases studied taking less than 27 days or more than 96 days.

SITING RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS – NYSERDA

NYSERDA moves to launch program targeting brownfields and other less desirable sites for renewables, Utility Dive

CLEAN ENERGY & ECONOMIC RECOVERY

IRS SAFE HARBOR EXTENSION 

IRS Extends Construction Safe Harbor For Renewable Energy Projects, The National Law Review

CONSUMER-OWNED RENEWABLE ENERGY 

The U.K. will soon be home to its first consumer-owned wind farm, CNBC

PENN STATE NEWS

Renewable energy, sustainability systems program addresses growing need
Penn State’s redesigned renewable energy and sustainability systems program, offered exclusively online through Penn State World Campus and taught by faculty from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, aims to meet the needs of professionals in business and government. The graduate-level program consists of a 33-credit master of professional studies degree and two 12-credit graduate certificates in solar energy or sustainability management and policy.

OFFSHORE WIND DEVELOPMENT

NEBRASKA JOBS

TRADE ASSOCIATIONS’ JOBS PORTALS

Operating expenses are down and useful lifespans are up on utility-scale solar projects

By Kelly Pickerel, Solar Power World

The expected useful life of utility-scale solar PV projects has increased over time, while anticipated operating expenditures (OpEx) have decreased, according to new research from Berkeley Lab. Findings are detailed in a new paper: “Benchmarking Utility-Scale PV Operational Expenses and Project Lifetimes: Results from a Survey of U.S. Solar Industry Professionals.”

Useful life and OpEx are important (but sometimes overlooked) drivers of the levelized cost and profitability of utility-scale PV plants. This paper draws on a survey of U.S. solar industry professionals and other sources to clarify trends in these cost factors. Key findings include: Continue reading here.

TAX CREDITS EXTENSION

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING 

Previously Posted Resource On Virtual PPAs
Introduction to the Virtual Power Purchase Agreement, Rocky Mountain Institute Report
This report serves as an introduction to the virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA)—its place in the off-site renewable energy procurement market, how the VPPA works, and why VPPAs have been a popular instrument in the United States thus far. 

RECYCLING MARKET REPORT

Solar Panel Recycling Market, Transparency Market Research
An increased number of end-of-life solar panels are creating a demand for recycling activities in the U.S. Moreover, analysts of Transparency Market Research (TMR) opine that the U.S. is anticipated to account for the highest number of end-of-life solar panels in the upcoming decades after China. Hence, companies in the solar panel recycling market are focusing on value-grab opportunities in the U.S. As such, the market is estimated to reach a value of ~US$ 600 Mn by the end of 2027.

Report examines battery storage, renewable premiums

By Peter Maloney, American Pubic Power Association

Pairing wind and solar power with battery storage can result in cost savings and fetch premiums in wholesale power markets, but those premiums could potentially be higher for generation and storage facilities that are not co-located, according to a recent report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The paper, “Motivations and options for deploying hybrid generator-plus-battery projects within the bulk power system,” examined utility scale hybrid generator-plus-battery applications that use variable renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power sited in wholesale power markets. Read more here.

TRI-STATE

Western Slope utility serving Delta, Montrose settles on $136.5 million fee to break up with Tri-State, by Mark Jaffe, The Colorado Sun. The Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) has since 2016 been sparring over renewable energy with Tri-State, a wholesale power production company serving 43 member electric cooperatives in Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

ROOFTOP SOLAR

Why 30 Million Solar Rooftops Should Be In the Next Relief Bill, by John Farrell, Institute for Local Self-Reliance. As the federal government looks to a second (or even third) stimulus bill, Congress should consider a huge opportunity to pay Americans that pays back: solar rooftops. By investing $450 billion in rooftop solar, the federal government could slash energy bills for Americans, cut air pollution, and create over 3.7 million jobs. The government could also get paid back.  

COMMUNITY SOLAR

OFFSHORE WIND

Iberdrola Plans to Take Top Spot in US Offshore Wind (and Keep It), Greentech Media
Spanish utility group Iberdrola wants to be the biggest player in the U.S. offshore wind market, but it will need to go through early market front-runner [Denmark’s] Ørsted to get there.

Study: Using EVs Instead of Stationary Batteries Could Save Billions

Guest Post, Microgrid Knowledge

NRDC’s Pamela MacDougall and Vignesh Gowrishankar report on new energy storage research that indicates that using EVs for grid storage instead of stationary batteries could save electricity customers billions of dollars.

study recently published by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) shows that the electric vehicles (EVs) expected in California in 2025 could be used to meet the majority of the Golden State’s energy storage mandate that calls for 1.3 gigawatts (GW) of battery capacity by 2024. In fact, EVs can accomplish this both reliably and at about one-tenth the cost of stationary energy storage approaches. This level of storage could power nearly one million average homes, at least for a short while. That EVs can be this valuable to the grid is a hugely significant finding. Read more here.

Image Credit: Jessica Russo, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

 ALSO PUBLISHED BY MICROGRID KNOWLEDGE

Utility-scale solar booms as costs drop, challenging gas on price

The total cost of a new project fell more than 50% from 2007 to 2014, a new LBNL study finds.

Photo Credit: Utility Dive

Photo Credit: Utility Dive

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

The utility-scale solar sector is maturing right before our eyes. The resource’s prices are falling so fast, it’s on the verge of edging out natural gas on cost, according to the industry’s latest progress report from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).

“Utilities should take another look at utility-scale solar because they may be surprised at how much prices have come down. Prices from just two years ago are now grossly out of date,” noted Research Scientist Mark Bolinger, co-author of LBNL’s recent report, “Utility-Scale Solar 2014; An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends.”

Continue reading.