Tag Archives: microgrids

What The Post-Pandemic World Needs Is A Solar Energy Revolution

By Enrique Dans, Senior Contributor, Forbes

One technology above all has exceeded all expectations over recent years: solar energy. Near-exponential growth has lowered manufacturing costs and efficiency of the solar cells to the point that building a solar energy generation plant is now significantly cheaper than its fossil fuel equivalent, or even maintaining an existing unit — and most importantly, leave a negligible carbon footprint

Today, virtually everything that most people think they know about solar energy, about the days when only subsidies made solar installations profitable and some generated power with diesel engines at night, is completely obsolete and outdated. The solar energy landscape has changed so much in terms of costs and performance that it requires completely new analyses. Read more here.

ON-FARM SOLAR 

Indiana farmers see benefits in on-farm solar power for grain storage systems, contributed by Emergent Solar Energy, PV Magazine. “Every morning a potential energy source rises over the horizon to the east of my farm,” said Will Harlow, owner of the farm. “It seemed a waste to not harness this daily free energy source, erasing some of what I take from the grid. The solar components’ being made in the United States was also important to me. I hope if any positive comes from this pandemic, it is that we must do what we can to get production of all kinds returning to America.”

Links to resources for solar-powering farm operations & farmhouses: 

 

 

 


Nebraskans for Solar

Department of Energy: Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NET METERING

FERC Might Rewrite Solar Net Metering. Here’s What That Could Mean, by Ben Huffman and Marc Palmer, Greentech Media

On April 14, the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) petitioned FERC to assert jurisdiction over any on-site, behind-the-meter generation that injects energy onto the grid. If FERC asserts such jurisdiction in the manner requested by NERA, individual states could lose control over their solar net-metering policies — with myriad implications for the U.S. distributed solar market. FERC is currently accepting comments and intervenors from individuals and organizations. The period to comment or intervene ends June 15, 2020.

Ben Huffman is a partner with law firm Sheppard Mullin’s energy, infrastructure and project finance team. Marc Palmer is managing director of New Resource Solutions, a clean energy project facilitator.

 UC’S ESG INVESTMENT POLICY 

UC’s investment portfolios fossil free; clean energy investments top $1 billion, University of California Press Room

To date, UC’s new energy investments have developed and accelerated 9.2 gigawatts (GWs) of wind and solar capacity across all the platforms in which it has invested. Directly attributable to UC Investments’ share of the platforms is 1.47 GWs of wind and solar energy capacity in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and India. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 1 gigawatt of power is comparable to the energy produced by 3.125 million photovoltaic panels or 412 utility-scale wind turbines.

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

NextEra’s secret recipe for energy storage: Planning

Sponsored Content by Siemens, Utility Dive

NextEra Energy, North America’s leading wind and solar generator, is adopting an aggressive approach on the falling cost of energy storage by evaluating the addition of batteries to its existing solar facilities. A small but growing number of utilities across the United States are taking a similar approach to NextEra and adding storage at existing solar plants. In doing so, they can claim the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), tap additional revenue streams, and maximize the existing grid infrastructure. Read more here.

Pixabay Photo

Upcoming webinar hosted by Utility Dive, NextEra Energy, and Siemens Digital Grid:
Energy Storage – Moving the Needle, April 9, 2020 at 12 pm.

WOOD MACKENZIE RESEARCH

Analyst expects recovery for PV and storage supply chains, PV Magazine
Business intelligence firm Wood Mackenzie says the COVID-19 outbreak will jeopardize solar project completion in the short term, affect supply chains to various degrees and potentially erode demand for PV. However, “Asian-dominant supply chains for solar and energy storage are in the process of rebounding after contractions in February,” the analyst stated, adding: “Near-term development activity and local logistics in leading European and North American markets are expected to outweigh lingering supply issues.”

NAVIGANT GLOBAL MARKET REPORT 

A Boom Is Coming for All-Electric Homes Despite Lagging Consumer Awareness, Greentech Media
“Electrification technologies are rapidly becoming more cost-effective and more reliable than fossil fuel systems in a variety of planning scenarios and climatic conditions,” Daniel Talero and Neil Strother, research analysts at Navigant Research, wrote in a new report on the global market for “fully electrified home” technologies.

NEW DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ANNOUNCEMENT

New Solar Energy Innovation Network Teams Announced, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy News Release

[On March 23rd] the U.S. Department of Energy selected eight teams to participate in the second round of the Solar Energy Innovation Network (SEIN), a program that supports multi-stakeholder teams pursuing new applications of solar energy and other distributed energy resources in unique locations and contexts. The solutions developed by the teams are demonstrated and validated in real-world contexts, making them ready for replication and scale. 

The second round of teams will research innovations to help increase solar energy adoption and resilience in rural communities and at the commercial scale. Their research projects will include resilience solutions that pair solar energy with energy storage, which allows the use of solar energy when the sun is not shining, and microgrids, which can function independently to deliver power in the event of a larger grid outage.

Previously Posted DOE News Release: Department of Energy Announces $125.5 Million in New Funding for Solar Technologies

EXAMPLES OF ON-THE-JOB SOLAR TRAINING

How to get a job building utility-scale solar, PV Magazine
As more utility-scale solar installations are announced in more states, solar contractors are hiring people who are new to the industry, and offering on-the-job training and long-term employment.

FLOATING WIND PROJECTS

Total Becomes Latest Oil Major to Enter Floating Wind Market, Greentech Media
Building on its solar momentum, Total this week invested in a U.K. floating wind project and acquired a French wind developer.

NYSERDA’S RECENT REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

New York allocates 1 GW of solar as renewables auction delivers $18.59/MWh average price, PV Magazine. The results of NYSERDA’s most recent renewable energy request for proposals are in. 21 large-scale renewable projects totaling 1,278 MW in new capacity have been awarded, with 17 of those projects and 1,090 MW being solar.

ENERGY CONSERVATION TIPS FROM OPPD

Staying home doesn’t have to mean higher bills, The Wire

The Expert Take: Katherine Hamilton on our energy transition

Generation 180 Interview

At Generation180, we’re working to inspire and equip individuals to get involved in the energy transition. It’s complex and it’s big. So to provide a better sense of where we’re headed, we’re providing a deeper dive into what’s happening with this transition—where are we right now, how far we’ve come, and, most importantly, where we need to go.

As part of our online Boot Camp project, we recently spoke with Katherine Hamilton, an energy expert with over 30 years of industry experience. Katherine has worked with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and is currently the chair of 38 North Solutions and former co-chair of a World Economic Forum council on advanced energy technology. Here [is] what’s on Katherine’s mind and what she sees as the role of “everyday energy leaders.” Read more here.

LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION ABOUT GENERATION 180

SUSTAINABILITY JOBS

Jobs You Can Do With a Sustainability Degree, Earth911

GREEN SCHOOLS

Iowa City schools anticipate cutting carbon emissions in half in five years, Iowa City Press-Citizen. Iowa City schools appear on track to reduce carbon emissions by more than 45% by 2030, the goalpost student climate activists have pushed for in Iowa City, according to a consultant’s report.  But the report indicated that reducing carbon emissions to a net-zero by 2050, another goal pushed for by climate activists, will require the district to take action.

REGENERATIVE FARMING & CLIMATE RESILIENCY

Black farmers embrace and implement solutions for climate resiliency, by Leah Penniman, Co-Director Soul Fire Farm, GreenBiz

Leah Penniman is a farmer, educator, soil steward and food justice activist. She is co-director and program manager of Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York, and the author of Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land.


RURAL ENERGY FOR AMERICA PROGRAM (REAP)

The Rural Energy for America Program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements.

Program Status: Open
Program Information
Program Fact Sheet
Hoja Informativa del Programa en Español

NEW REPORT

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA

Environment America releases 2020 state legislative agenda priorities, News Release
State affiliates of Environment America, a national nonpartisan advocacy group, delivered meaningful progress on several environmental and public health issues in 2019. But given the obstacles that still exist at the federal level on those issues and more, states will have to continue to lead in 2020. Here is a roundup of the top issues and bills that Environment America’s 29 state affiliates will be working on across the country this coming year:

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

2020 will be a key year (and decade) for electric vehicles, GreenBiz
This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

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.

4 misconceptions about large-scale solar

By Patrick Smith, American Public Power Association

When it comes to large-scale solar for utilities and municipalities, the Solar Energy Industries Association reports that there are 37,000 MW in operation, with a whopping 74,000 MW additional in development. With such widespread solar adoption, it’s clear that many believe in the power of solar. However, there’s also a lot to understand behind the scenes, which can sometimes lead to misconceptions. Here, we’ll address and correct some of the more common ones. Continue reading here.

Also Published by the American Public Power Association
Report sees dramatic increase of solar-plus-storage projects, by Peter Maloney

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

GREEN CAMPUSES

Sol Systems, University of Illinois sign PPA for 12.1-MW solar project, Solar Power World
The PPA structure will yield cost savings for the university of approximately $300,000 in the first year and an estimated $5 million over the life of the project. Sol Customer Solutions (SCS), the joint venture between Capital Dynamics and Sol Systems, will design, build, operate, finance and maintain the solar farm for the life of the PPA.

MICROGRID NEWS & RESOURCES

 INTERVIEW

The EV Resistance: Gas Automakers Vs Tesla, by Brooke Crothers, Forbes
General Motors and Toyota were early leaders in electric vehicles. But a lot has changed in 20 years. I recently spoke with Chris Paine, director of the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car” (2006) and the sequel “Revenge of the Electric Car” (2011), and a longtime follower of the EV and Tesla.

GLOBAL SOLAR PANEL RECYCLING MARKET

Rising Adoption of Solar Power Driving Solar Panel Recycling Market, PV Magazine International
The global solar panel recycling market was valued at $80.7 million in 2017 and is expected to reach $269.8 million by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 22.0% during the forecast period (2018–2023).

Minn. storage law may put pressure on gas-fired peakers

By Ethan Howland, American Public Power Association

Under an omnibus energy and jobs bill that was signed into law on May 31 utilities must assess how energy storage could meet generation and capacity needs as well as provide ancillary services. The bill includes several additional provisions aimed at jump starting energy storage in the state. When seeking to build power plants or power lines, utilities must show that energy storage cannot more cost effectively meet customer demand.

study released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in June found that a “substantial portion” of peaking capacity in the United States could be replaced by energy storage facilities. The capacity of the national peaking power fleet is about 261 GW and about 150 GW of that capacity is likely to retire over the next 20 years, NREL estimated. That could lead to the potential for about 28 GW of 4-hour battery storage that could serve as peaking capacity, NREL said. Read more here.

Previously Posted Article by Ethan Howland
Report puts $4.5 trillion price tag on grid decarbonization

ALSO IN THE NEWS

House and Senate Introduce Legislation for 5-Year Extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit

Solar Energy Industries Association News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA), Paul Cook (R-CA), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) have introduced companion bills with a five-year 30% extension of Section 48 and Section 25D Solar Investment Tax Credits (ITC). The Renewable Energy Extension Act will call for the extension of the tax credits.

Following is a statement from Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, urging lawmakers to pass this critical legislation:

Continue Reading Here.

MAYORS FOR SOLAR ENERGY

 

More than 250 mayors nationwide sign letter calling for increased solar power, Environment America News Release
Municipal leaders from all 50 states support more clean energy from the sun.


MORE NEWS & OPINION

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

SOLSMART NEWS

Southwest Virginia Communities Achieve National Recognition for Advancing Solar Energy Growth, News Release, Appalachian Voices. Eight Southwest Virginia communities have achieved designation under the national SolSmart program for encouraging the growth of local solar energy markets, at a time when several major solar installations on schools, businesses, and community centers are poised to begin across the region. These communities were each awarded a SolSmart designation for taking local action to reduce the time and expense required to install solar energy systems. 

Opportunity Zones May Spur Microgrid Development

By Ken Silverstein, Microgrid Knowledge

Opportunity zones, created in the US as part of the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, are making a splash among green energy and microgrid investors.  “Opportunity zones create tax incentives for investors in real estate, businesses and assets in areas that might not otherwise draw investment,” says John Beidle, chief executive of New Energy Opportunities, in an interview with Microgrid Knowledge. “The further stacking of tax incentives in these areas for microgrid facilities is really a once in a lifetime opportunity especially if new employment is brought into these areas.”

An Economic Innovation Group analysis estimates $6.1 trillion in unrealized capital gains held by US households and corporations as of the end of 2017. “Even a small fraction of these gains reinvested into opportunity zones would make it the largest economic development initiative in the country,” says John Lettieri, founder of the group, in congressional testimony. Read more here.

Nonprofit Economic Innovation Group (EIG) Image: Opportunity Zones.

EIG is a bipartisan public policy organization that combines innovative research and data-driven advocacy to address America’s most pressing economic challenges. From their headquarters in the nation’s capital, EIG convenes leading experts from the public and private sectors, develops original research, and advances creative policy proposals that bring new jobs, investment, and economic dynamism to U.S. communities.

Additional Recommended Reading

Opportunity Zones Resources

Microgrid Knowledge Resources

Is Your Company Ready for a Zero-Carbon Future?

By Nigel Topping, Contributor, Harvard Business Review

More than 900 global companies representing over $17.6 trillion in market cap are already ensuring that their business strategies are built for growth and emissions reductions through the We Mean Business Take Action campaign. (We Mean Business is a nonprofit coalition of which I am CEO.) This includes over 560 companies that have committed to set ambitious science-based emission reduction targets, and over 175 that have committed to switching to 100% renewable electricity. Beyond that, companies are beginning to use their influence to speed an economy-wide transition by supporting climate policies targeting net-zero emissions by 2050. Others are demanding climate action throughout their supply chains. Read more about the We Mean Business campaign and other initiatives here.

Nigel Topping serves as CEO of We Mean Business coalition, which harnesses business leadership to drive the innovations and policies that accelerate action on climate change. Previously, Nigel was executive director of CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) and he has 18 years of experience in the manufacturing sector.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

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