Tag Archives: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Large-scale solar can help protect the special places we call home

Contributed by Chelsea Chandler, Director of Climate
Solutions for Clean Wisconsin, Wisconsin Examiner

The urgency of the climate crisis means that we need all hands on deck implementing all kinds of climate solutions. There’s no silver bullet; we need silver buckshot. That means we need a shift to electric vehicles and better public transit and pedestrian and bike infrastructure. We need energy efficiency and carbon-free electricity. And we need both smaller-scale, rooftop solar and large, utility-scale solar. Every kilowatt of clean energy adds up to make a difference, but given the urgency of climate change, a 465-megawatt project like the proposed Koshkonong Solar Energy Center would be a big step in matching the scale of the crisis with the scale of solutions.
Read more here.

IN NEBRASKA

Utility-Scale Projects Under Development, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy:
Solar Energy Generation in Nebraska 

  • Bellwood: 174.5 MW
  • Burt County: 250 MW
  • Clay County: Up-to 350 MW
  • Lincoln: 230 MW
  • Pierce County: 443 MW
  • Saunders County: 81 MW

FEATURED NEBRASKA PROJECT UNDER DEVELOPMENT

OPPD’s 81 MW solar farm, named “Platteview Solar”
In May the Saunders County Board of Supervisors voted 6-0 to approve the Conditional Use Permit for the 81 MW Platteview Solar Project. See: Saunders County approves solar farm construction near YutanAssociated Press

The above photo illustrates tree-screening surrounding a pollinator-friendly solar farm.

More About Platteview Solar, by Community Energy

In April 2021, Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) and Community Energy (CE) announced a Power Purchase Agreement for Platteview Solar, an 81 megawatt (MW) utility-scale solar photovoltaic installation with a proposed location just south of Hwy 92 near Yutan in eastern Saunders County.

The project site consists of approximately 500 total leased acres, spanning several clusters of land with a flat, gently rolling topography. This announcement supports OPPD’s Power with Purpose initiative. The official project announcement is on OPPD’s The Wire. OPPD is the lone customer for Platteview Solar’s energy, providing long-term stability and support.

Platteview Solar FAQS, Community Energy

Among the questions, the following is one that often comes up in discussions about utility-scale solar projects: Doesn’t solar take good agricultural ground out of production?

Community Energy: Not in a meaningful way. Saunders County is 486,400 acres of ground.  The Platteview Solar project impacts approximately 500 acres. 

Farm ground used for solar projects does not necessarily mean the end of agricultural use on the land. It will be different than traditional crops, but a robust pollinator program can benefit not only the project properties, but cropland, orchards, residential gardens, trees and other landscaping within 30 miles of the project site.

Additionally, the traditional agricultural nature of the property is not permanently lost. The benefits of restorative vegetation on nitrogen and CO2 depleted land improves agricultural land for the future. Solar projects are a long term, but temporary, use of agricultural land that allows landowners to diversify their assets, creating financial stability and allowing agricultural land to remain in families for future generations.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED NREL RESEARCH

Beneath Solar Panels, the Seeds of Opportunity SproutNational Renewable Energy Laboratory 

“It doesn’t have to be an either-or choice. For all our agriculturally productive land, let’s help PV developers and farmers plan out these solar projects so that farmers can get under the arrays and continue to work the land for the next 20 or 30 years.” —Gerry Palano, energy program coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Agriculture

ADDITIONAL SOLAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENT IN NEBRASKA

Community Solar Projects Map as of July 2021, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy Resource

Secretary Granholm Asks U.S. Mayors to Speed Solar Deployment with Online Permitting Tool

SEIA News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm wrote an open letter to all U.S. mayors asking them to adopt SolarAPP+, a transformative online solar permitting tool that helps to speed rooftop solar deployment.

This effort comes as Secretary Granholm caps off the Summer of Solar, her push to educate Americans on the benefits of solar energy. Secretary Granholm set a goal to get 125 communities to sign up to learn more about SolarAPP+ by September 30. Read the letter and learn more about SolarAPP+ at solarapp.nrel.gov. Read the entire news release here.

ALSO PUBLISHED BY SEIA

PV MAGAZINE

NEW SURVEY BY DATA FOR PROGRESS

Progressive poll finds support for solar energy tax credit legislation, The Hill
A new survey from progressive pollster Data for Progress found support for a Senate bill that would provide tax credits for solar energy manufacturers at all stages of the supply chain. The poll found that 67 percent of likely voters in the U.S. strongly or somewhat support the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America (SEMA) Act, compared to 23 percent who said they strongly or somewhat oppose the measure.

BLACKROCK

BlackRock losing ‘patience’ on pace of corporate ESG disclosure, CFO Dive
BlackRock, which manages $9 trillion in assets, has pressed for more disclosure in recent years, “but this was the year that we really started to take more concerted action based on what companies were providing us” before the 2021 proxy season, [Jessica McDougall, a director for investment stewardship at BlackRock] said.

Related Post: An Urgent Call To High-Emitting Sectors: It’s Time For Climate Action. Forbes article contributed by Mindy Lubber, CEO & President of Ceres, with additional resources provided by Nebraskans for Solar, including:

Proxy Preview, a collaboration between three organizations: As You Sow, Sustainable Investments Institute, and Proxy Impact. Proxy Preview provides the most comprehensive data on hundreds of shareholder resolutions – including environmental, corporate political spending, human rights, diversity, sustainable governance issues, and much more. Shareholder resolutions are a key form of engagement for U.S. investors interested in changing the environmental and social impacts of companies. Register for a free account to view Proxy Preview reports and watch a webinar at the website link above.

Illinois Poised for Nation-Leading, Equitable Climate Bill

By J.C. Kibbey, Natural Resources Defense Council

After years of work, an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the Illinois House has voted (83 yes to 33 no) to pass the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (SB2408), a nation-leading bill to fight climate change, create good-paying jobs, improve the health of Illinoisans, and support disadvantaged communities. The bill now goes to the Senate, where legislative leaders say they intend to pass it swiftly. Governor Pritzker has championed the bill and has said he will sign it. Read more here.

More about the writer: With Family Roots in the Mines, He’s Championing Illinois’s Clean Energy Future, NRDC

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

USDA accepts more grassland CRP signup, North Platte Telegraph
[Lands] enrolled in CRP — including grasslands — play an important role in addressing climate change. For example, this enrollment of more than 2.5 million acres of grazing land into Grassland CRP will mitigate an additional estimated 22,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

By the numbers: Nebraska ranked third in acres enrolled, behind only Colorado and South Dakota. Montana and New Mexico round out the top five enrollment states.

About the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

The Future of Agriculture Combined With Renewable Energy Finds Success at Jack’s Solar Garden, NREL News Story. Jack’s Solar Garden is the largest commercially active agrivoltaics system researching crop and vegetation growth under photovoltaic solar panels in the United States. For more information, visit Jack’s Solar Garden, stay tuned for updates on more agrivoltaics projects, and read more about the InSPIRE project’s research at sites around the country.

Making the right buy: LCOE of monofacial vs bifacial modules, PV Magazine
When does increased energy production outweigh increased cost? Clean Energy Associates looks to answer one of its most-asked questions in a new case study.

Wisconsin farmers to receive record-breaking support this year from USDA, NBC26

BIDEN’S INFRASTRUCTURE PLANS & AMERICA’S WORKFORCE

Biden Has Ambitious Infrastructure Plans. But A Worker Shortage Could Hinder Them, NPR
“We were having trouble finding skilled workers for construction jobs, water and energy utilities, telecom and broadband expansions – all the areas where we think this infrastructure bill was going to be investing even before the pandemic. – Andy Van Kleunen, CEO of the National Skills Coalition

GRID INFRASTRUCTURE – NEW ACORE REPORT 

Transmission Makes the Grid Resilient to Extreme Weather, T&D World
New report released by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). ‘Transmission Makes the Power System Resilient to Extreme Weather’, details the value additional transmission would have provided during five severe weather events in Texas, the Northeast and the Midwest between 2014 and 2021. 

PREVIOUSLY POSTED ON INFRASTRUCTURE

Report Card for America’s Infrastructure
Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for America’s Infrastructure depicts the condition and performance of American infrastructure in the familiar form of a school report  card—assigning letter grades based on the physical condition and needed investments for improvement.

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan, The White House Briefing Room
Statement about America’s manufacturing infrastructure:
The U.S. manufacturing sector accounts for 70 percent of business R&D expenditure, 30 percent of productivity growth, and 60 percent of exports. Manufacturing is a critical node that helps convert research and innovation into sustained economic growth . . . While manufacturing jobs have been a ladder to middle-class life, we have let our industrial heartland be hollowed out, with quality jobs moving abroad or to regions with lower wages and fewer protections for workers.

DOE Releases Solar Futures Study Providing the Blueprint for a Zero-Carbon Grid

The U.S. Department of Energy today released the Solar Futures Study detailing the significant role solar will play in decarbonizing the nation’s power grid. The study shows that by 2035, solar energy has the potential to power 40% of the nation’s electricity, drive deep decarbonization of the grid, and employ as much as 1.5 million people—without raising electricity prices. The study’s findings call for massive and equitable deployment of clean energy sources, underscoring the Biden Administration’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis and rapidly increase access to renewable power throughout the country. 

“The study illuminates the fact that solar, our cheapest and fastest-growing source of clean energy, could produce enough electricity to power all of the homes in the U.S. by 2035 and employ as many as 1.5 million people in the process,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Achieving this bright future requires a massive and equitable deployment of renewable energy and strong decarbonization polices –  exactly what is laid out in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. Read the entire news release.

Resources

City gives nod to solar

By Suzi Nelson, Wahoo Newspaper

On July 27, the Wahoo City Council authorized the mayor to sign a letter of intent for a 2-megawatt solar plant on 10 acres on the east side of Wahoo. The project was approved unanimously by the Wahoo Board of Public Works on July 21, according to Ryan Hurst, general manager for Wahoo Utilities, the city-owned utility department. Hurst said Nebraska Public Power District, the entity from which Wahoo Utilities purchases electricity that is not generated by the local power plant, allows communities to use up to 10% or 2 megawatts of renewable power. Continue reading here.

To read more about NPPD’s limit on renewable energy, click here and scroll down to “South Sioux City” and “NPPD’s Wholesale Power Contracts”.

See Also: Council hears rate study for proposed electric rate changes, Beatrice Daily Sun, posted yesterday.

NPPD NEWS RELEASES

  • Information forums on decarbonization scheduled by NPPD
    NPPD’s Board of Directors is seeking to better understand their constituents’ opinions in three areas: 1) the risks associated with being a carbon emitting utility; 2) what NPPD’s carbon reduction goal should be; and 3) what principles (cost, environmental, reliability, resilience) are most important to customers  as NPPD works to reduce its carbon emissions.
  • NPPD hosting SunWise community solar open house Aug. 10
    GRNE Solar, based out of Lincoln, Neb., is the solar developer for the 500-kilowatt project. GRNE will sell electricity generated by the solar facility to NPPD, and NPPD will resell this energy to Ainsworth solar subscribers at cost. NPPD already has existing solar facilities operating in Kearney, Scottsbluff and Venango amounting to approximately 10.5 megawatts in size.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

In her article, Suzi Nelson references OPPD’s 81 MW solar project in Saunders County, named Platteview Solar.

The Saunders County Board of Supervisors voted 6-0 to approve the Conditional Use Permit for the 81 MW Platteview Solar Project. See: Saunders County approves solar farm construction near Yutan, Associated Press

More About Platteview Solar – Community Energy

In April 2021, Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) and Community Energy (CE) announced a Power Purchase Agreement for Platteview Solar, an 81 megawatt (MW) utility-scale solar photovoltaic installation with a proposed location just south of Hwy 92 near Yutan in eastern Saunders County.

The project site consists of approximately 500 total leased acres, spanning several clusters of land with a flat, gently rolling topography. This announcement supports OPPD’s Power with Purpose initiative. The official project announcement is on OPPD’s The Wire. OPPD is the lone customer for Platteview Solar’s energy, providing long-term stability and support.

Platteview Solar Project FAQS – Community Energy

Among the questions, the following is one that often comes up in discussions about utility-scale solar projects: 

Doesn’t solar take good agricultural ground out of production?

Not in a meaningful way. Saunders County is 486,400 acres of ground.  The proposed project would impact approximately 500 acres. 

Farm ground used for solar projects does not necessarily mean the end of agricultural use on the land.  It will be different than traditional crops, but a robust pollinator program can benefit not only the project properties, but cropland, orchards, residential gardens, trees and other landscaping within 30 miles of the project site. Additionally, the traditional agricultural nature of the property is not permanently lost. The benefits of restorative vegetation on nitrogen and CO2 depleted land improves agricultural land for the future. Solar projects are a long term, but temporary, use of agricultural land that allows landowners to diversify their assets, creating financial stability and allowing agricultural land to remain in families for future generations.

Previously Posted Research

Beneath Solar Panels, the Seeds of Opportunity SproutNational Renewable Energy Laboratory 

“It doesn’t have to be an either-or choice. For all our agriculturally productive land, let’s help PV developers and farmers plan out these solar projects so that farmers can get under the arrays and continue to work the land for the next 20 or 30 years.” —Gerry Palano, energy program coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Agriculture

Climate Crisis Catches Power Companies Unprepared

By Brad Plumer and Ivan Penn, New York Times

The phone call to the Eugene Water & Electric Board was startling. A group of homeowners, fearing a storm could knock down nearby power lines and ignite wildfires, was asking the Oregon utility to turn off their electricity. “I about fell out of my chair,” said Rodney Price, the utility’s assistant general manager, of the people who were voluntarily asking to live in the dark in September, during one of the worst fire seasons Oregon had ever seen. It was a sign of growing angst, he said. “We’re seeing more and more widespread impacts of climate change. It’s clear it’s impacting how we do our business.” Across the United States, power companies are scrambling to keep up with a barrage of extreme weather from a rapidly warming climate. Continue reading here.

Photo: Smoke from the Dixie Fire near a Pacific Gas & Electric power station in California this month. Credit: John G. Mabanglo/EPA

Previously Posted

CLIMATE RISK 

INDIANA

As Indiana coal plants close, advocates say gas power should not replace them, by Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

As it retires a coal-fired power plant, CenterPoint Energy is pushing to build a smaller gas plant than one that was rejected two years ago by Indiana regulators. Consumer and environmental groups still say it’s unnecessary. “After the proposed gas combustion turbines are built, they propose to run them 2% to 10% of the time,” said Sameer Doshi, senior attorney in Earthjustice’s coal program, which is representing Citizens Action Coalition in state and federal proceedings around CenterPoint’s proposal. “Whereas customers would be billed for the entire construction cost of the plant as well as the capital cost of the new pipeline. We intend to show a combination of market purchases, demand response, and increased renewables deployment with storage would be able to fill in the gaps” left by the retiring coal plants. 

COLORADO

Social cost of methane changes the equation for Colorado utility policy, by Allen Best, Energy News Network

Colorado is believed to be the first state in the nation to apply the social cost of methane to a broad range of regulatory decisions. A batch of new laws are expected to dramatically improve the case for building energy conservation. The social cost of methane emissions was set most recently at $1,756 per short ton by the U.S. Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, compared to $68 for carbon dioxide. Both metrics estimate the economic damages of releasing emissions into the atmosphere.

Methane Leaks

COLORADO SOLAR GROUP PURCHASE CAMPAIGN

Local ‘Solarize’ campaign boosts Garfield County solar energy investment, Post Independent
The recent Solarize Garfield County campaign generated $2.8 million in rooftop solar and battery investment, added nearly a megawatt of renewable energy to the grid and helped county residents bank $270,000 in rebates, according to recent figures released by Carbondale-based Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER).

FEATURED AGRIVOLTAICS RESEARCH

Beneath Solar Panels, the Seeds of Opportunity Sprout, National Renewable Energy Laboratory 

To better understand the benefits of—and barriers to—low-impact solar development, the Innovative Site Preparation and Impact Reductions on the Environment (InSPIRE) project brings together researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Argonne National Laboratory, universities, local governments, environmental and clean energy groups, and industry partners. The project is funded by DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.

“It doesn’t have to be an either-or choice. For all our agriculturally productive land, let’s help PV developers and farmers plan out these solar projects so that farmers can get under the arrays and continue to work the land for the next 20 or 30 years.” —Gerry Palano, energy program coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Agriculture

USDA: Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants in Nebraska

PV RECYCLING

Emerging solar panel recycling market ripe with opportunity, but barriers remain, Waste Dive
The U.S. is likely to see significant volumes of end-of-life panels, creating opportunities for safe, sustainable recycling or reuse. Some states are looking at product stewardship to avoid disposal.

SEIA National PV Recycling Program

TESLA NEWS

Tesla Installed 85 Megawatts Of Rooftop Solar Power In 2nd Quarter, But That Doesn’t Actually Show Demand, by Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica

In some places in the US, the permitting process can take just a few days less than forever. In many other places in the US, it can take weeks or months (as in, several months). There are not many places where it happens in the course of a week. Europe and Australia don’t seem to have a permitting problem anything like this. Permits are quick and easy. The US, for some reason, is slow to adapt. One promising initiative is the new SolarAPP+ initiative. It is helping to streamline the solar permitting process in places around the country. As simple as it sounds, this is one of the most exciting developments in the US solar industry in years.

Additional Recommended ReadingTesla will open its charging network to all EV brands

New Environment America Report – Blocking Rooftop Solar: The Companies, Lobbyists And Front Groups Undermining Local Clean Energy

Released by the Environment Florida Research & Policy Center

Recent corruption scandals in Ohio and Illinois, in which utilities and other special interests allegedly used their clout to twist public policy in their favor, highlight how far anti-solar efforts have gone. Policymakers must resist pressure from utilities and the fossil fuel industry and implement pro-solar policies that will continue America’s momentum toward clean energy

In 2021, a national network of utility interest groups and fossil fuel-linked think tanks continues to offer funding, advice and support to utilities across the country seeking to undermine rooftop solar power. These include . . .  Continue reading here.

Download Report (PDF)

IN NEBRASKA

Our State’s Overall Solar Development & Potential

Net Metering Legislative Bills

Net metering changes considered – Legislative Update, Senator John Cavanaugh
The Natural Resources Committee heard testimony Feb. 10, 2021 on two bills that would modify Nebraska’s net metering laws.

Approved Legislation: In 2016 the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 824, which removed some regulatory barriers connected to renewable energy development in our state.

NEBRASKA LACKS UPDATED ENERGY PLAN / CLIMATE ACTION PLAN 

State energy plans show how process can match final product in impact, Energy News Network, February 10, 2021

More Previous Efforts

    • Nebraska needs overall plan for energy policies, Lincoln Journal Star, November 4, 2015 Nebraska’s Energy Office director says the state needs a comprehensive approach to its energy policies as it faces what could be a “seismic” change in federal regulations governing emissions. David Bracht, Gov. Pete Ricketts’ chief adviser on energy issues, talked about state energy policies Wednesday at the eighth annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference in Omaha. . . . [The] Nebraska Legislature has instructed the state Energy Office to create a comprehensive energy plan and budgeted more than $630,000 to see it done.
    • LB469: Provide procedures and reporting requirements relating to a state plan on carbon dioxide emissions, require a strategic state energy plan, and provide requirements for meteorological evaluation towers.
    • 2011 Nebraska Energy Plan, National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO)

SOUTH SIOUX CITY

Nebraska solar farm highlights tension between cities, electricity wholesaler, Energy News Network, August 19, 2020

South Sioux City’s City Council decided four years ago not to renew its contract with NPPD. It has gradually reduced its purchases from the utility down to 10% of its load this year, and will stop buying power from the wholesaler altogether on Jan. 1, 2022. “We’ve been very happy with the decision the [city] council made to get more into renewables,” said Lance Hedquist, the city administrator of the community of about 13,000 also located in northeast Nebraska. The city has added solar and wind energy to its portfolio, and now obtains about half of its power from renewables, he said.

  • NPPD’s Wholesale Power Contracts
    Wholesale energy sales are made to 60 entities under wholesale power contracts that terminate on Jan. 1, 2036 and to 10 other entities with wholesale power contracts that terminate on Dec. 31, 2021. The 10 wholesale customers that did not sign the 2016 contract provided the notice required under their existing 2002 contracts, and began in 2017 to reduce their purchases to 0% over a five-year period.  Source: Fitch Rates Nebraska Public Power District’s General Revs ‘A+’; Outlook Stable

MODEL AGGREGATED SOLAR PROJECT – A WAY FOR COMMUNITIES TO REDUCE COSTS

MEAN Issues RFP For Participant Community Solar PV Installation Project, July 15, 2021
The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) is issuing a Request for Proposals on behalf of 11 MEAN participant communities interested in obtaining energy from solar PV installations to be built in their respective communities. The project is an effort by MEAN to bring economically priced solar energy to interested MEAN participant communities. Participating communities hope to obtain lower solar costs through economies of scale through this joint effort. RFP proposals are due Aug. 31, 2021 with a bid award date set for Oct. 27, 2021.

Click here to download the RFP.
Additional MEAN News

Previously Posted

About MEAN
The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) is the not-for-profit wholesale electricity supply organization of NMPP Energy. Created in 1981, MEAN provides cost-based power supply, transmission and related services to 69 participating communities in four states: Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming. MEAN Members/Participants

About NMPP Energy
NMPP Energy is a member-driven coalition of four organizations based in Lincoln, Neb., serving nearly 200 member communities in six Midwest and Rocky Mountain states. NMPP Energy’s organizations fulfill separate needs to their respective member communities. Collectively, they subscribe to the core philosophies of local control and working together to provide reliable, cost-based energy and energy-related services. NMPP Energy Members 

RECOMMENDED RESOURCE ON LEASING LAND FOR UTILITY-SCALE SOLAR

Considerations for Leasing Land for Solar Development, by F. John Hay – Extension Educator for Bioenergy

Utility scale solar development is here — in the eight months since the solar leasing article was published in August 2020, Nebraskans have seen continued land lease activity, county zoning rule adoption, an extension of the federal tax credit, and projects approved by county commissioners/supervisors. Additionally, one project (Saunders County [OPPD electrical purchase]) has reached the important step of electricity sales, which is the most common tipping point between a proposed project and a project that will get built. Many smaller solar projects have been built in the years prior to 2021, with the largest at about 8 MW, or about 50 acres. The utility scale projects being proposed and approved are many times larger, with 500 or more acres.

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.

Clean electricity standard lands spot in $3.5 trillion Democratic-backed infrastructure deal

By Scott Voorhis, Utility Dive

The Biden administration wants Congress to pass a clean electricity standard but is also prepared to pursue efforts to push utilities to ratchet down their emissions through the federal regulatory process should a national standard fail to make the final bill, according to Gina McCarthy, the White House’s national climate adviser. McCarthy said the administration believes a national clean energy standard would be more effective in prompting action on part of the utility industry to reduce emissions. Read more here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

SOLAR TOOL FOR INSTALLERS & LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

U.S. Department of Energy Kicks Off ‘Summer of Solar 2021’ With Tool That Fast-Tracks Solar Power For Communities Nationwide, Department of Energy News Release

Washington, D.C.— The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today kicked off the ‘Summer of Solar 2021’ with the nationwide launch of the Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus (SolarAPP+) tool – a free web-based platform that gives local governments the ability to expedite their review and approval of residential solar installation permits. Developed by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), SolarAPP+ will drastically reduce barriers to solar deployment, spur community economic development, and advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s clean energy goals.  

Related Reading

FEATURED REPORTS

The Clean Economy Revolution Will Be Unionized, Center for American Progress
While no state or city government has taken every necessary step to achieve good jobs, climate action and environmental justice, many of them have made important progress—and from this progress, federal lawmakers and lawmakers in other states can derive policy lessons and political momentum. This report offers a recap of some informative state and local actions designed to support good jobs, ensure high-road labor standards, and confront the climate crisis.

Clean Energy Labor Supply Report, American Clean Power Association
Based on two scenarios of renewables deployment — 50% and 70% of electricity generated from renewables by 2030 — the study projects the number of workers that will be needed to meet these goals and highlights those occupations where high demand for workers could result in labor gaps.

Download the executive summary
Download the infographic

Building a US clean manufacturing strategy to counter China and tackle climate change

Utility Dive article contributed by David Hart, director of the Clean Energy Innovation Policy Program at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), and Stefan Koester, ITIF senior policy analyst.

A recent report to which we contributed, published by the Information Technology and Innovation FoundationBoston University Institute for Sustainable Energy, and Fraunhofer USA’s Center for Manufacturing Innovation, details how the United States can rebuild a robust domestic manufacturing sector and tackle climate change by leveraging its considerable strengths in science, technology and innovation. Read more here.

Flickr Photo

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH

“We found that we can get to 80+% renewable energy at the same cost as keeping the system at today’s level of renewables,” said [Wesley] Cole, NREL senior energy analyst and lead author of the paper. “Increased renewable energy contribution also reduces emissions, so going beyond today’s levels of renewable energy is a no-brainer.”

Researchers at the Wharton School said the additional $579 billion in new infrastructure spending would increase domestic output by 0.1% and decrease the U.S. debt by 0.9% by 2050.

Location, location, location — when it comes to the placement of wind turbines, the old real estate adage applies, according to new research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Carnegie’s Enrico Antonini and Ken Caldeira.

AMERICAN PUBLIC POWER ASSOCIATION 

THE REAP IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2021

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger Push to Improve Popular & Effective Rural Energy for America Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. [6/24/21]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA 7)—along with U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Representative David G. Valadao (R-CA 21)—introduced legislation in both the Senate and House aimed at improving the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural business owners to install renewable energy systems and adopt energy efficiency measures

MGM’S RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT

MGM unveils solar project it says will power 13 Vegas hotels, Las Vegas Sun
The array of solar panels sits in the desert northeast of Las Vegas and will be managed by Invenergy, which owns and operates renewable energy developments throughout the world. The largest resorts and casinos on the Las Vegas Strip have gradually left Nevada’s public utility, NV Energy, and begun producing their own power.

Previously Posted: MGM Resorts Recognized for Making Significant Investments in Clean Energy by the Solar Energy Industries Association, MGM Resorts International News Release

Photo: MGM’s first solar array in Las Vegas on the roof at the Mandalay Bay Resort

CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY

The sustainability imperative imperative, by Joel Makower,
Chairman & Co-founder, GreenBiz Group

At long last, this stuff is being taken seriously — very seriously. And while there remain those who view the whole shebang — net-zero carbon emissions, ESG metrics, climate tech, the circular economy and all the rest — as “woke capitalism” (another mean moniker), those critics are finding themselves shunted off to the side, marginalized, a voice in the wilderness.

RE100 ArticleBusiness demand for renewables greater than total energy demand of major G7 economies

CESA ANNOUNCEMENT

Clean Energy States Alliance has issued an expression of interest for new, innovative energy storage pilot projects, with an emphasis on projects advancing social equity and community resilience. Potential projects must be at least 500 kilowatts in size with a minimum duration of two hours to be considered, and incorporation of other advanced energy technologies, like renewable generation and electric vehicle charging, is preferred. Projects determined to be of interest may be eligible for technical and financial support after submitting a full proposal. Responses are due by July 15. More details about the opportunity can be found here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING