Tag Archives: microgrids

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

Biden invokes Defense Production Act to bolster domestic battery manufacturing for EVs, energy storage

By Ethan Howland, Senior Editor, Utility Dive

 

“We need to embrace all the tools and technologies that can help free us from our dependence on fossil fuels and move us toward more homegrown clean energy technologies made by American companies and American workers,” Biden said during a press briefing Thursday. “We need to end our long-term reliance on China and other countries for inputs that will power the future.” Read more here.

 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS 

DOE Releases New Study Confirming Strong Performance of Energy Efficiency Loans

 

“Energy efficiency is the lowest cost clean energy resource we have,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. “The findings in this study are a compelling invitation to financial institutions to invest with homeowners, states, and local governments to maximize clean energy deployment under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and beyond.

 

NEW GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION CARBON STANDARDS 

GSA to impose first national carbon standard for concrete, E&E News, Climatewire
The procurement arm of the federal government is imposing new limitations on high carbon-emitting building materials for all its major projects, a move that will affect billions of dollars of federal infrastructure investments. The new General Services Administration standards — to be released this morning — will require that federal contractors use climate-friendly concrete and asphalt in all the agency’s major projects. GSA oversees $75 billion in annual contracts, and the agency’s real estate portfolio comprises more than 370 million square feet.

VALMONT INDUSTRIES NEWS RELEASE

Valmont SM Secures Minimum USD $209.0 Million Multi-Year Order with Siemens Gamesa for Production of Rotor Houses for the European Offshore Wind Industry

OMAHA, Neb.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Valmont® Industries, Inc. (NYSE: VMI), a leading global provider of engineered products and services for infrastructure development and irrigation equipment and services for agriculture, today announced that Valmont® SM has entered into a supply agreement with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) to provide components for the next generation of rotor houses for the offshore wind market. The order is the largest single order in Valmont SM’s history.

New Biden Administration website and guidebook focus on implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

The White House 

Delivering Results from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
President Biden forged consensus and compromise between Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to demonstrate our democracy can deliver big wins for the American people. After decades of talk on rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, President Biden delivered the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – a historic investment in America that will change people’s lives for the better and get America moving again.

A Guidebook to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
Our Administration is committed to maximizing transparency so communities across America know what to apply for, who to contact, and how to get ready to rebuild. That’s why we’ve created a guidebook for state, local, tribal, and territorial leaders. This guidebook is a roadmap to the funding available under the law, as well as an explanatory document that shows, in as much detail as currently available, program-by-program information. Learn more here.

ENERGY ASSISTANCE PART OF THE BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE LAW

White House Announces Additional Actions to Help Families Afford Energy Bills, Building on Historic InvestmentsWhite House Briefing Room, February 1, 2022

The White House is joining states, localities, advocacy groups, and utilities in encouraging American families to apply for programs that can help hard-pressed families address home energy costs. These resources include the record funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provided by the Biden-Harris Administration this year and funds to reduce home energy costs in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In addition to outreach efforts across the Administration, the White House also announced information encouraging states to use all available American Rescue Plan resources for energy assistance and funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to reduce home energy costs. 

NEBRASKA AMONG STATES IN BIDEN’S METHANE REDUCTION PLAN

White House methane plan funds orphan well cleanup, rewards reduced farm emissions, Ohio Capital Journal

The White House plan listed how it would distribute $1.15 billion to 26 states eligible to receive funds to cap so-called orphan wells, which are no longer used for oil and gas extraction but can leak methane because former operators neglected to cover them. Each state is eligible for a $25 million initial grant, plus a combined $500 million in additional grants in the program’s first year. The Interior Department will provide more detailed instructions “in the coming weeks,” the department said in a news release.

Biden Administration Announces $1.15 Billion for States to Create Jobs Cleaning Up Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells, Department of the Interior News Release

UNL IN THE NEWS

WVU researchers to improve the flow of renewable energy to power plants with $7.5 million in grants, West Virginia University Today

The project team is extensive and is comprised of an entire supply chain—the research is being conducted within the Statler College, tested at Oak Ridge Laboratory, manufactured by General Electric Research and University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and is slated to be commercialized by General Electric if successful.

U.S. CLEAN ENERGY CORPS

US Clean Energy Corps To Pursue Climate Resilience, CleanTechnica

A new program launched by the Biden administration will hire 1,000 people in the US to help expand the country’s clean energy infrastructure, a step the White House says is “critical to achieving the president’s goal of 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035.” The Clean Energy Corps will draw from engineering, physical science, legislative affairs, and contract management sectors in its multi-disciplinary work. The creation of the Clean Energy Corps represents the largest expansion of the DOE’s workforce in nearly half a century. 

PEAKING PLANTS

Activists urge Massachusetts to take another look at need for peaking plants, Energy News Network

Campaigns in Boston and western Massachusetts are taking aim at existing and proposed peakers. Critics say the facilities are bad for the climate and public health, and that cleaner and more economical alternatives now exist

INTERCONNECTION CLOGS / BUILDING A BETTER GRID INITIATIVE / MICROGRIDS

Overwhelmed by Solar Projects, the Nation’s Largest Grid Operator Seeks a Two-Year Pause on Approvals, Inside Climate News

The nation’s largest electric grid operator, PJM Interconnection, is so clogged with requests from energy developers seeking connections to its regional transmission network in the eastern United States that it is proposing a two-year pause on reviewing more than 1,200 energy projects, most of them solar power.

Solutions Underway

‘NOVEL’ CROSS-SEAM TRANSMISSION STUDY

SPP, MISO identify 7 cross-seam transmission projects that could unlock 81 GW of new generation, Utility Dive

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) have identified seven possible transmission projects across their joint border that could allow 81 GW of potential generating capacity to interconnect with the grid. The transmission projects, costing about $1.8 billion, would relieve transmission constraints that are preventing wind, solar and other potential projects along the grid operators’ seam from being able to come online, according to a draft study released last week by the grid operators.

FEATURED ORGANIZATION 

The AgriSolar Clearinghouse is a nationwide hub developed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology to connect businesses, landowners, and researchers with trusted resources to support the growth of co-located solar and sustainable agriculture, also known as agrivoltaic development. 

NEW NATIONAL NETWORK

Daimler, NextEra, and BlackRock to deploy nationwide US electric trucking network, PV Magazine

An initial investment of about $650 million divided evenly among the group will launch the deployment of EV and hydrogen medium- and heavy-duty trucks and charging stations across the US.

NREL Report Shows Continued Declines in PV and PV-Plus-Storage Costs

By Ariana Fine, Solar Industry

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released its annual cost breakdown of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery storage systems. U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System and Energy Storage Cost Benchmark: Q1 2021 details installed costs for PV systems as of the first quarter of 2021.

Costs continue to fall for residential, commercial rooftop, and utility-scale PV systems – by 3%, 11% and 12%, respectively, compared to last year. In a change from previous years’ reports, balance of systems costs have increased or remained flat across sectors this year. However, this increase in balance of systems cost was offset by a 19% reduction in module cost, causing overall costs to continue their decade-long decline. Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

ACP CEO Heather Zichal statement on President Biden signing The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law, American Clean Power Association 

“The American Clean Power Association applauds President Biden and bipartisan Congressional leaders for making a historic and long overdue investment in America’s infrastructure. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a major victory for Americans that will make unprecedented investments to modernize and enhance the nation’s electrical grid and provide consumers with more opportunities to receive reliable, zero-carbon electricity across the country. An overwhelming majority of voters — 93% — believe that clean energy is important to the country’s energy future, and the bipartisan support for this legislation is a powerful example of what we can get done for American clean power when our leaders come together.”

SALT CREEK SOLAR

Nebraska’s largest solar farm planned east of Lincoln is looking to clear final zoning hurdles, Updated November 10, 2021, Lincoln Journal Star. Ranger Power’s application is the first “industrial-scale” solar project proposed in the county.

Salt Creek Solar (PDF), Ranger Power Resource

A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for tomorrow, November 17, before the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission.

NET ZERO ENERGY HOMES

Energy-Efficient Isn’t Enough, So Homes Go ‘Net Zero’, New York Times

Demand for residences that produce as much energy as they consume is being spurred by climate concerns, consumer appetite and more affordable solar technology.

Photo by GRNE Solar: The Sun Haven, a net-zero energy home in Lincoln, Nebraska.
See “Solar Examples” for more information.

CONSERVATION NEBRASKA NOW HIRING

Conservation Nebraska is now hiring half-time AmeriCorps members to serve as Conservation Directors with their Common Ground Program.

The term of service is December 1st, 2021 through August 31st, 2022.

The AmeriCorps position can be utilized to satisfy an internship requirement for college.
Any interested party should send a resume to Amanda Gangwish, Conservation Nebraska’s Program Director, at agangwish@neconserve.org

See Additional Position Details Here.

The states that produce the most renewable energy

By Commodity.com, LatticePublishing.com, La Crosse Tribune

To determine the states producing the most renewable energy, researchers at Commodity.com used data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration to calculate the percentage of total electricity generated from renewable sources. Renewable energy sources include: wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and hydroelectric. In the event of a tie, the state with the greater five-year growth in renewable electricity production, between 2015 and 2020, was ranked higher. Here are the states that produce the most renewable energy.

Nebraska’s Rank: 15

  • Percentage of electricity generated from renewables: 28.9%
  • 5-year change in renewable electricity production: +115.7%
  • Total electricity generated from renewables (MWh): 10,648,740
  • Largest renewable energy source: Wind

Read more here.

See utility-scale wind and solar projects under development in our state at these Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy resources:

Additional Recommended Reading: FACT SHEET: President Biden Sets 2030 Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Target Aimed at Creating Good-Paying Union Jobs and Securing U.S. Leadership on Clean Energy Technologies, The White House Briefing Room

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS

UPCOMING OPPD WORKSHOPS

Pathways to Decarbonization WebEx Workshops 5 & 6
Pre-registration is encouraged to receive email reminders and Outlook calendar invites. The workshops are technical in nature and are designed to build from one another. It is highly recommended to watch previously recorded workshops before attending the upcoming ones. A summary video of past workshops is also available. 

  • Workshop 5: Initial Results
    Wednesday, October 27, 4-6 p.m.
  • Workshop 6: Final Results
    Thursday, December 9, 4-6 p.m.

Click here to learn more and pre-register for both.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FERC nominee Phillips uses 3-legged stool analogy in outlining regulatory approach to senators, Utility Dive

Having [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nominee Willie Phillips Jr.], a Democrat, at FERC could help the agency avoid deadlocks on pending issues such as transmission reformsnatural gas infrastructure reviews and the role aggregated demand response can play in wholesale markets. “FERC is at its best with a full complement of commissioners,” FERC Chairman Richard Glick said Tuesday on Twitter.

Previously Posted: Biden’s FERC nominee could pave the way for the administration’s massive clean energy agenda, Canary Media 

CLIMATE POSITIVE BUSINESSES

Panera bakes plan to go climate positive, GreenBiz Group


On Wednesday, fast-casual food chain Panera Bread announced that it plans to work towards a climate-positive business model by 2050. This means Panera will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits each year. Climate positive suggests that it will go a step beyond the popular net-zero carbon emissions movement that has taken the business world by storm over the past two years with commitments from UnileverNestleVerizon and many others.

In Midst of Record Heat Wave, Oregon Passes Clean Energy Bill with Microgrid Provisions

By Lisa Cohn, Microgrid Knowledge

In the midst of a record-breaking heat wave, wildfires and power outages, the Oregon Legislature Sunday passed a billHB 2021 C, that calls for 100% clean energy by 2040 as well as the inclusion of microgrids as part of community-based renewable energy projects. Oregon Governor Kate Brown is expected to sign the bill. Temperatures hit 108 degrees on Saturday, 112 degrees on Sunday and 116 degrees on Monday in Portland. In addition, on Wednesday Brown called for a state of emergency in response to the wildfire threats across the state. Continue reading here.

Also Published by Microgrid Knowledge 

As Extreme Heat Overwhelms the Northwest, Congressional Briefing Looks to Microgrids
Microgrids give communities and people independence and the ability to take control of their power reliability, according to [Representative Jimmy] Panetta, sponsor of a bill that would provide a 30% tax credit for microgrids.

Community Microgrids: A Guide For City Leaders Seeking Clean, Reliable and Locally Controlled Energy

Community microgrids are central pillars of today’s local energy revolution. Being developed in municipalities large and small, they are a key feature of the new clean and efficient electrical infrastructure that is beginning to transform America’s energy grid into a less centralized and more democratized entity.

Mayors and city leaders are especially tuned into this transformation because of the severe stress that extended power outages create in their communities . . . Click link to read more. 

Previously Posted: A Ready-Made Microgrid at Zero Cost? Yep. A Nebraska Utility Did It

Here’s what we know about the bipartisan infrastructure deal

By Ryan Nobles, CNN

A bipartisan group of 10 senators announced Thursday they have reached a deal on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, the most significant development yet in negotiations over a key priority of the Biden administration, but it still faces serious obstacles from skeptics in both parties. 

“Our group — comprised of 10 Senators, 5 from each party — has worked in good faith and reached a bipartisan agreement on a realistic, compromise framework to modernize our nation’s infrastructure and energy technologies. This investment would be fully paid for and not include tax increases,” the senators said in a joint statement. Read more here.

Featured Individual Quotation On Infrastructure
“We have been talking about this for over a decade, and our decaying infrastructure cannot wait much longer. We need to reach across the aisle, find consensus and solve a big challenge facing our country — now.”  U.S. Congressman Don Bacon, Representing Nebraska’s 2nd District

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Actions to Build Black Wealth and Narrow the Racial Wealth Gap

The White House Briefing Room

One hundred years ago, the thriving Black community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as “Black Wall Street,” was ruthlessly attacked by a violent white supremacist mob. An estimated 300 Black Americans were killed and another 10,000 were left destitute and homeless.

The destruction wrought on the Greenwood neighborhood and its families was followed by laws and policies that made recovery nearly impossible. The streets were redlined, locking Black Tulsans out of homeownership and access to credit. Federal highways built through the heart of Greenwood cut off families and businesses from economic opportunity. And chronic disinvestment by the federal government in Black entrepreneurs and small businesses denied Black Wall Street a fair shot at rebuilding. These are the stories of Greenwood, but they have echoes in countless Black communities across the country. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Oklahoma Historical Society

MORE NEWS & RESOURCES

ENERGY CONSERVATION TIPS

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan Supercharges the Future of Transportation and Manufacturing

The White House Briefing Room

Increasingly, the global market is shifting to electric vehicles (EVs) – tapping into EVs’ potential to save families thousands of dollars, lower carbon pollution, and make the air we breathe cleaner. Yet, despite pioneering the technology, the United States is behind in the race to manufacture these vehicles and the batteries that go in them.

Today, the U.S. market share of plug-in electric vehicle (EV) sales is only one-third that of the Chinese EV market. And in 2020, China had approximately 800,000 public charging points compared to just 100,000 in the U.S. President Biden believes it is time for this to change and for the U.S. to lead in EV manufacturing, infrastructure, deployment, and innovation. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Photo Credit: Autoweek

Next Up at Microgrid 2021: How Microgrids Provide Local Control of Energy While Reducing Costs

Presenters for the May 20 session, “How to Pay for Your Microgrid,” will include Scott Benson, Resource & Transmission Planning Manager, Lincoln Electric System.

Event Update By Elisa Wood, Microgrid Knowledge

Take a look at the article published this week on Microgrid Knowledge about a microgrid being built at an electric bus depot in Maryland.  These are the kind of topics being discussed by visionary panelists at Microgrid 2021, a virtual event now underway through June 3. We encourage you to join the conversation. You can register for free and watch any of the webinars, panels, tours or showcases. Join us live to ask questions of panelists or watch the replay of past sessions (the event began May 11).

Here’s what’s in store for next week when sessions will be held May 18 and May 20. The focus is on how microgrids reduce costs.

  • May 18, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.: How Microgrids Reduce Energy Costs
  • May 18, 12 to 1 p.m.: Network with Microgrid Solutions Experts
  • May 18, 1 to 2 p.m.: Crunching the Numbers on Microgrids
  • May 20, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.: How to Pay for Your Microgrid
  • May 20, 12 to 1 p.m.: Network with Microgrid Solutions Experts
  • May 20, 1 to 2 p.m.: Why Does a Microgrid Cost What It Costs?

Microgrid Knowledge invites you to register for these sessions through June 3 free of charge. Please note: They are unable to accept registrations for a session the day it’s scheduled to occur. 

Read Elisa Wood’s entire article here.