Tag Archives: Minnesota

Concerns over CO₂

By Dean Olson, Illinois Times

Landowners, environmentalists and farmers voice concerns about
the proposed $3 billion Heartland Greenway pipeline.

The steel pipeline, ranging in diameter from six to 24 inches and five feet underground, would receive CO₂ emitted by ethanol and fertilizer plants in South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois. The CO₂ would be dehydrated, liquified and put under pressure before entering the pipeline.

It would be the first major project of its type in Illinois and would pass through 13 counties in the state – Sangamon, Hancock, Adams, McDonough, Henry, Knox, Fulton, Schuyler, Brown, Pike, Scott, Morgan and Christian. Read more here.

Solar Industry Doubles Down on Solar+ Decade Goal, Targets 30% Solar by 2030

SEIA News Release

“The destructive impacts of climate change are happening now, and it’s time to reimagine our entire electricity system,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “The solar industry is leading the way in reducing electricity sector emissions, but we’ll fall far short of the 850 gigawatts we need to reach 30% of electricity generation by 2030 without policy action. It’s time for lawmakers to meet the urgency of this climate moment. If the industry reaches 30% solar by 2030, the solar and storage industry will grow to 1 million workers and add more than $800 billion in new private sector investment. Read the entire news release here.

Learn more about SEIA’s 2030 goals and solar industry’s bold vision for the Solar+ Decade

GREEN POWER LEADERSHIP 

EPA Honors SEIA with the 2021 Green Power Leadership Award for Market Development, SEIA News Release, September 28, 2021

Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the Center for Resource Solutions, unveiled the Green Power Leadership Awards (GPLA) to recognize outstanding achievements in the clean energy marketplace. This year, the GPLAs honored SEIA as a winner in their Market Development category. Watch a brief video here.

U.S. SOLAR MANUFACTURING – LEGISLATION / LEADERSHIP

U.S. SOLAR MANUFACTURERS IN THE NEWS

FORD MOTOR COMPANY

Ford To Lead America’s Shift To Electric Vehicles With New Mega Campus In Tennessee and Twin Battery Plants In Kentucky: $11.4B Investment To Create 11,000 Jobs And Power New Lineup Of Adlvanced. EVs, News Release, Ford Media Center

DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 27, 2021 – Ford Motor Company is announcing plans to bring electric vehicles at scale to American customers with two new massive, environmentally and technologically advanced campuses in Tennessee and Kentucky that will produce the next generation of electric F-Series trucks and the batteries to power future electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

Ford plans to make the largest ever U.S. investment in electric vehicles at one time by any automotive manufacturer and, together with its partner, SK Innovation, plans to invest $11.4 billion and create nearly 11,000 new jobs at the Tennessee and Kentucky mega-sites, strengthening local communities and building on Ford’s position as America’s leading employer of hourly autoworkers.

See Also: FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces Steps to Drive American Leadership Forward on Clean Cars and Trucks, White House Briefing Room

OPPD’S NEW EV GUIDE

Thinking about making the switch? Here’s your EV guide, by Julie Wasson, The Wire

With its new EV guide, OPPD has made it easier than ever to learn about making the switch to electric vehicles. EV 101 explains the basics of owning and operating an EV. The EV calculator provides a personalized estimate that lets you compare vehicle models side-by-side. That can help you understand the near- and long-term costs of switching to an EV, based on your driving habits, electricity use and savings potential.

You can also check out a map of the public charging stations available in the Omaha area and across the state. And you can learn about incentives and rebates available to EV buyers, including OPPD’s rebate program.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

WATCH NOW: Carthage students form business to promote renewable energy, Kenosha News

Senate advances bipartisan infrastructure bill in procedural vote

By Jacob Pramuk, CNBC

The Senate voted Friday to move forward with a bipartisan infrastructure bill, as Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pushes to pass it as soon as next week. The vote was delayed briefly as senators reportedly worked out an issue related to broadband. The final text of the legislation has yet to be released. The procedural measure needed only a simple majority to pass. The final tally was 66 votes in favor, and 28 against. Continue reading here.

Related Reading

AMERICAN CLEAN POWER ASSOCIATION REPORT

First Clean Power Annual report shows record U.S. renewables growth and investment
WASHINGTON DC, July 29, 2021 – The American Clean Power Association today released its first Clean Power Annual report, which showed wind, utility solar, and battery storage power capacity in the U.S. topped 170 gigawatts (GW), following a record 26 GW of clean energy projects coming online in 2020.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

USDA REAP FUNDING NOTICES

  • Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audit & Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants (July 26, 2021) Federal Register Notice
  • Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants (July 26, 2021) Federal Register Notice

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 

Lower Battery Costs, High Value of Backup Power Drive Distributed Storage Deployment
Fourth Report in NREL’s Storage Futures Study Uses Distributed Generation Market Demand Model To Estimate Behind-the-Meter Storage Capacity, Identify Drivers of Customer Adoption. Several findings in the study demonstrate that PV and batteries make an economical pairing. Because an average PV-plus-battery storage system is larger than PV-only configurations, battery storage increases the PV capacity and the system’s economic value.

Read the Report: Distributed Solar and Storage Outlook: Methodology and Scenarios.

Upcoming Webinar: NREL’s Storage Futures Study team will host a free public webinar on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, from 10 to 11 am CT. Register here.

BATTERY MATERIALS RECYCLING

Former Tesla CTO’s battery materials recycling company announces US$700 million+ investment, Energy Storage News

Former Tesla battery guru JB Straubel’s materials recycling company Redwood Materials has attracted more than US$700 million in investment. Redwood, which is currently developing processes to produce battery materials that can be resold into the supply chain, has partnerships in place with the likes of Panasonic, Envision AESC and Amazon. The company pledges to recycle any device with a lithium-ion battery including phones, laptops and power tools, although a major focus is being placed on electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

New state funding puts solar on the curriculum for Minnesota schools

By Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

A new, first-of-its-kind state fund could help triple the number of solar installations on Minnesota K-12 schools and community colleges. Minnesota ranked 11th in the country last year for solar capacity on school buildings, with 157 installations identified in a national industry report. That leaves hundreds of rooftops with the potential to host money-saving solar projects.

School districts are at a disadvantage when it comes to solar financing since they do not pay taxes and thus can’t take advantage of state and federal tax credits. State lawmakers voted this month to provide an alternative source of funding designed to spur as many as 350 new projects on educational buildings. Read more here.

Solar panels on a school rooftop in Oregon. New state funding could help triple such installations on Minnesota K-12 schools and community colleges. Credit: Portland General Electric / Creative Commons

The Truth About Texas: Thermal Power Plant Failures are the Blackout Culprits

By Heather Zichal, Chief Executive Officer,
American Clean Power Association

Texas has suffered this week, but crisis reveals character. Record cold weather brought this state to the brink, but never brought Texas to its knees. Neighbors have come together to help neighbors, and everyone from front line responders to the engineers and experts who manage electricity production have worked around the clock to restore power. That’s the real Texas.

But even amid an all-hands-on-deck crisis, some seized the political opportunity to deceive and distort. The critics of clean power – those who attack it in rain, snow, or sun – started spinning a dangerous fiction to promote an agenda that has nothing to do with restoring power to Texas communities. The facts of how Texas got here are not in dispute. Continue reading here.

Ending Carbon Pollution: The Energy Efficiency Imperative

By Ralph Cavanagh, Energy Co-Director, Climate & Clean Energy Program,
Natural Resources Defense Council

A recommendation for America to “invest in energy efficiency and productivity” leads a new blueprint for “Accelerating Decarbonization of the U.S. Energy System” by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. This is the latest confirmation of a resounding consensus that energy efficiency improvements are at the heart of any plausible plan for halting the carbon pollution fueling the climate crisis.

Recent reports also by the International Energy Agency, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and Evolved Energy all agree: Affordable, equitable, and reliable electricity service in an economy reducing carbon emissions depends vitally on harnessing the full capacity of cost-effective energy efficiency. In fact, ACEEE concluded that “energy efficiency can slash U.S. energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by about 50% by 2050, getting us halfway to our national climate goals . . . ” Continue reading here.

Interactive Online Map: ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. Nebraska’s ACEEE Scorecard Rank: 41. As the map shows, several states in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) have ACEEE scorecard rankings in the 40’s, with Wyoming at 51. States also scoring in the 40’s: North Dakota 48, South Dakota 45, Kansas 47, Louisiana 45.

Nebraska’s low ranking highlights our state’s need for a comprehensive energy plan that includes energy efficiency.

Minnesota’s Outstanding Leadership

Minnesota, with a Scorecard of 9 (tying with Oregon), ranks the highest among Southwest Power Pool member states and provides an excellent national model for states, municipalities, utilities and other entities with zero-emission goals.

Driven by strong energy savings goals established under the state’s 2007 Next Generation Energy Act, Minnesota continues to rank among the top energy-efficient states in the nation. The state has also invested in policies and programs to drive efficiency in other sectors, including activities to ensure energy code compliance and through lead by example policies that set energy conservation requirements for state owned resources. Minnesota continues to explore opportunities to advance efficiency in other ways to promote building electrification and encourage adoption of electric vehicles. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is also pursuing a rulemaking to adopt California’s low- and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standards. – ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

SPP Resources

Incentives for Energy and Transportation Are Climate Action

By Grant Carlisle, Natural Resources Defense Council

The newly minted Biden administration has made clear that climate change is a top priority. A vital arrow in the administration’s quiver should be tax policies including predictable and long-term extensions and upgrades to clean energy and clean transportation incentives. See here for a letter from 45 environmental, faith and business groups sent to President Biden today supporting robust clean economy tax policies. These policies will help clean energy and clean transportation play a critical role in building an ascendant 21st century American economy, putting people back to work, and laying the foundation for a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous future. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NATIONAL GREEN BANK BILL

National Green Bank Bill Targets $100B for Business Sectors Key to Biden’s Climate Agenda, Greentech Media. A report this week from the National Academies of Science highlighted the need for federal funding to bolster private capital sources that are “unlikely to be sufficient to finance the low-carbon economic transition, especially during the 2020s when the effort is new.” 

CORPORATE NEWS

LIHEAP

APPA, other groups call for a $10 billion emergency supplemental appropriation for LIHEAP, American Public Power Association

A group of national gas and electric utility associations, including the American Public Power Association, on Feb. 4 sent a letter to Congress calling for a $10 billion emergency supplemental appropriation for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).The letter was sent to House and Senate Appropriations committee chairmen and ranking members.

“LIHEAP is the bedrock of America’s energy safety net, providing heating and cooling assistance to our most vulnerable, including the elderly, those with disabilities, and families with young children,” the letter noted.

Nebraska LIHEAP Program

New Offshore Wind Turbine Can Power a Home for a Day in Just 7 Seconds

By John Rogers, Senior Energy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists

The first large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States may use the largest wind turbine in the world. Here are a few ways to think about what all that might mean. The developers of the Vineyard Wind project off Massachusetts have just announced that they’ll be using GE wind turbines—specifically, the GE Haliade-X. That turbine recently got a capacity upgrade, from a world-leading 12 megawatts (MW) to a world-leading-by-even-more 13 MW. Those developments got me thinking about both the turbine and the project. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

President-Elect Biden Must Prioritize Coal Communities—and Here’s How, by Jeremy Richardson, Senior Energy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists

CIVILIAN CLIMATE CORPS

The Energy 202: Young people want to do something about climate change. Biden may have an answer, by Dino Grandoni, with Alexandra Ellerbeck, Washington Post

During the campaign, Biden called for mobilizing “the next generation of conservation and resilience workers through a Civilian Climate Corps.” Now Biden’s allies are beginning to think about what exactly such a program will look like as he prepares to take office next month.

GTM’S POLITICAL CLIMATE PODCAST

‘The Landscape Has Shifted’: Neil Chatterjee on FERC’s Role in the Energy Transition, by Julia Pyper, Greentech Media


In this episode of Political Climate, we speak to FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee about several of the agency’s recent rulemakings, past controversies and his outlook for the future of U.S. energy policy in today’s shifting political landscape.

 

GREEN BANKS

Green bank advocates hope Biden win can help reinvigorate idea in Minnesota, by Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

The coalition suggested that a bank with $100 million in capital could create as many as 15,000 jobs in Minnesota. Fifteen green banks operate in 12 states and have financed $5 billion in energy investments, returning more than $3.60 for every $1 spent, the report says. Most green banks operate on the coasts, with Michigan Saves being the only one in the Midwest. Ohio and Missouri have begun exploring the concept.

Coalition for Green Capital Report:  A Green Recovery For Minnesota: Job Creation, Environmental Justice, and Clean Energy

GOOGLE

Google calls for more RTOs, designs ‘intelligent platform’ to meet 24/7 clean energy goal, by Emma Penrod, Utility Dive

Achieving Google’s new 24/7 clean energy goal will require both the adoption of new technologies, and new purchasing options, the company’s head of global energy markets and policy said Thursday on a National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) panel. Eighty percent of offsite corporate procurement takes place in regions with access to competitive wholesale markets, according to Bryn Baker, director of policy innovation at the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance.

Previously Posted

SELLING ENERGY EFFICIENCY + SOLAR AS A PACKAGE

POWERHOME SOLAR Named Silver Honoree In Inc.’s Best In Business Awards, PR Newswire
POWERHOME SOLAR is an energy efficiency company that provides high-quality American-made solar panels as part of a complete energy-savings package for residential customers. The company launched in 2014 in Mooresville, N.C., and today has nearly 1,700 employees, including a commercial division. Operating in 10 states, it is ranked No. 255 on the 2020 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America — the third time in four years that the company has made the top 300 on this prestigious list. 

ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers rely on to make well-informed decisions. Click here to find ways to save at home.

PV RECYCLING – AN ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

Solar panel recycling in the US — a looming issue that could harm industry growth and reputation, PV Magazine

According to a 2016 report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the economic benefits of a U.S. circular economy could be around $135.3 million in 2020, $1.4 billion by 2030, and $10.1 billion by 2050. “Economic multipliers would significantly increase these amounts,” said Vanderhoof.

LETTER TO EV BUYERS

Letter to a Friend Buying an Electric Car, by Joe Wachunas, CleanTechnica
Two friends recently bought electric cars for their families after thinking about it for a long time. Beyond wanting to congratulate them, and click my heels together like Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain, I felt the need to describe, in detail, just how big a deal this EV purchase is, beyond platitudes like “EVs are so amazing for the world.” So I wrote them a letter.

About Joe Wachunas
Joe Wachunas lives in Portland, Oregon, and works for the nonprofit Forth, which promotes electric transportation. He is also involved with Electrify Now because he believes that electrifying everything, from transportation to homes, is the quickest path to an equitable, clean energy future. And of course, Joe and his family live in an all-electric home and drive an EV.

7 Transmission Projects That Could Unlock a Renewable Energy Bounty

By Jeff St. John, Greentech Media

The case for new multi-state transmission lines has never been clearer. A growing number of states and utilities have set 100 percent clean-energy goals, with no obvious path to generating all that power close to home. The gap is growing between the transmission network’s capacity and the need to link wind farms in the Great Plains and Intermountain West, solar farms in the Southwest, and hydropower resources in eastern Canada, to other regions hungry for carbon-free energy.

Transmission developers have long said that if only a few big renewable-linked projects could get built, the path would open to others once the benefits were manifest. That theory was largely left untested in the 2010s. Here are seven still very-much-alive projects that could prove it out in the decade ahead. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Nebraska Public Power District

NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY LAB PROJECT

A big grid solution to harness small solar arrays, PV Magazine
With electric utilities often having little information about how much solar power they are receiving from distributed PV systems, it is hoped the NREL project will help them gain more visibility of, and control over the volumes injected into networks.

DOE FUNDING ANNOUNCEMENTS

ASES SOLAR 2020

SOLAR 20/20: Renewable Energy Vision Goes Virtual, ASES News Release, PR Newswire
The American Solar Energy Society’s 49th Annual National Solar Conference, SOLAR 20/20: Renewable Energy Vision, will now take place 100% online in their first ever virtual conference. Learn more at ases.org/conference.

SOLAR INDUSTRY 

What can solar learn from the 2008 financial crisis in the age of Covid-19?, by Tim Sylvia, PV Magazine. Even as global PV forecasts fall, tax equity dries up and unemployment rises, Jim Spano, co-founder of RadiantREIT, believes that the right type of government stimulus could not only help the solar industry recover — but drive it to new heights. Regardless of the financial tool used to make the upfront cost of developing a project manageable, Spano thinks that the solar industry is in a unique position to rebound more quickly and with less long-lasting effect than other industries.

AWEA NEWS RELEASE

Voters Strongly Favor Offshore Wind Energy
New Polling shows near identical support among Republicans and Democrats for adding more offshore wind to the American energy portfolio. Majority of voters say wind energy will be more important in 10 years than oil and natural gas.

MORE ON RECENT KANSAS SUPREME COURT RULING

Inside Clean Energy: Rooftop Solar Wins Big in Kansas Court Ruling, by Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News. The Kansas Supreme Court has provided a rare and sweet victory for renewable energy advocates in the state, with national implications. The court issued a unanimous ruling on Friday agreeing with advocates that a 2018 utility rate plan was discriminatory in the way it created a new charge that inflated the bills of rooftop solar customers. This has the potential to alter the national debate over how utilities deal with rooftop solar, considering that utilities in other states have pointed to Kansas as a model.

MINNESOTA

New suburban solar projects part of a wave of new projects in Minnesota, StarTribune
There are now an estimated 7,500 solar arrays in the state, with 1,000 going in just last year. 

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

Japanese investor provides tax backing for 43MW US wind, reNEWS
Financing is for a pair of operational facilities in Nebraska and Minnesota. The 30-megawatt Kimball wind farm has been operational since May 2018. It has a 20-year offtake agreement with the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska.

RE100 BUSINESS

IKEA owner acquires US solar parks to boost renewables transition, Smart Energy International

 EUROPE

‘Europe’s largest’ solar power facility comes online as the industry faces coronavirus challenges, CNBC. A 500 megawatt solar photovoltaic plant, described by Spanish utility Iberdrola as “Europe’s largest,” sent its first megawatt hour of energy to the grid earlier this week, a welcome bright spot for an industry that in the months ahead could experience difficulties brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. The Núñez de Balboa facility is located in Extremadura, a region in the west of Spain. According to Iberdrola, it has over 1.4 million solar panels and will be able to supply energy to 250,000 people per year.

District 197 Becomes One of the First School Districts in State to Commit to 100% Clean, Renewable Electricity by 2020

Sierra Club News Release

Minnesota’s West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan Area School District steps out as a climate leader with broad support from students, staff, and the community.

On Monday, the District 197 School Board passed a resolution establishing the goal of transitioning the school district to 100% clean electricity by 2020. District 197 has made great strides toward 100% clean electricity and this resolution formalizes the district’s commitment.

This effort was led by district leaders, students from the LIVEGREEN club, and supported by Sierra Club’s Climate Parents program. Students presented a petition to the board with more than 1,000 signatures they collected from district students, parents, and staff.  Read more here.

Photo Credit: Black Rock Solar

About Climate Parents

Climate Parents is a diverse national movement of parents, grandparents and families mobilizing for clean energy and climate solutions. We work to influence public policy makers and energy providers to take bold steps to protect kids and communities from the health and climate impacts of burning fossil fuels—and to move toward 100% clean energy. Motivated by love for our kids, we’re striving to harness the moral and political force of millions of families for the healthy, equitable and just world all children deserve.