Tag Archives: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

NREL Study Identifies the Opportunities and Challenges of Achieving the U.S. Transformational Goal of 100% Clean Electricity by 2035

Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

What would it take to decarbonize the electric grid by 2035? A new report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) examines the types of clean energy technologies and the scale and pace of deployment needed to achieve 100% clean electricity, or a net-zero power grid, in the United States by 2035. This would be a major stepping stone to economy-wide decarbonization by 2050.

The study, done in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and with funding support from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, is an initial exploration of the transition to a 100% clean electricity power system by 2035—and helps to advance understanding of both the opportunities and challenges of achieving the ambitious goal. Read more here.

MORE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS RELEASES

The 2016 model year (MY) marked the first time the Environmental Protection Agency certified an electric vehicle (EV) with 300 miles or more of driving range. Over the next five years, the number of EV models achieving a certified range of 300 miles or more slowly increased. In MY 2022, however, the number nearly tripled from the previous year. Manufacturers are still introducing MY 2022 vehicles, so additional EV models could be added to the list. Use this tool to search for new EV models by range.

DOE BLOG POST


How to Start Your Career in Clean Energy

This Energy.gov blog post was written by Isabelle Hamilton, an intern in the Office of Public Affairs. To learn more about internship opportunities available at the Department of Energy, please visit our Students and Recent Graduates career page

A conversation with a woman who promotes renewable energy in rural communities

By Erika Street Hopman and Bridgett Ennis, Yale Climate Connections

The wide-open spaces found in rural America provide some of the best locations for solar and wind farms. But community opposition can stop new projects before they break ground. Mariah Lynne, owner and president of Good Steward Consulting, helps renewable energy companies gain acceptance for new projects in rural communities. In this work, Lynne draws on her experience living in rural Minnesota next door to a utility-scale wind farm. Yale Climate Connections talked to Lynne about what motivates farmers and other rural landowners to embrace renewable energy projects and the misconceptions outsiders might have about small-town communities. Continue Reading Here.

Referenced in the Article: Minnesota’s Stearns County Provides a Unique National Example of a ‘Solar-Ready’ Community, Great Plains Institute
The Great Plains Institute (GPI) worked with Stearns County to engage stakeholders and create transparent and predictable development regulations for solar farm development, including ensuring capture of pollinator habitat and storm water benefits. GPI recently completed a case study (available here) of Stearns County to share their process of engagement, and planning and regulatory review, to get the community ‘solar ready’.

SOLAR READY COMMUNITIES

SolSmart is a national organization that provides free assistance to communities that want to become solar ready. The organization is led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). SolSmart’s mission unites organizations to assist local governments across the U.S. to cut red tape and reduce the barriers to solar within their communities. SolSmart is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.

Local SolSmart Communities

SITING SOLAR ON LANDFILLS & OTHER BROWNFIELDS

Featured Report: The Future of Landfills is Bright: How State and Local Governments Can Leverage Landfill Solar to Bring Clean Energy and Jobs to Communities across America, Rocky Mountain Institute

There are more than 10,000 closed and inactive landfills around the country. These sites offer an incredible opportunity for solar development. By installing solar on closed landfills, states and municipalities advance local solar energy while repurposing relatively large, vacant sites within communities that have limited reuse potential.

Links to More Resources

  • RE-Powering America’s Land
    RE-Powering America’s Land is an EPA initiative that encourages renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites when such development is aligned with the community’s vision for the site.
  • EPA’s Brownfields Program provides grants and technical assistance to communities, states, tribes and others to assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse contaminated properties. To learn about EPA’s broader efforts to put previously contaminated properties back into productive use, read about the Land Revitalization Program.
  • Brownfields and Land Revitalization in Region 7
    EPA Region 7 manages  Brownfields and Land Revitalization Programs in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. On this page you will find information specific to Region 7’s Brownfields and Land Revitalization activities. Visit the national Brownfields Program and Land Revitalization Program websites for more information about these programs’ competitive grants.
  • Brownfields FAQs, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy 

CO-LOCATION RESOURCES

The AgriSolar Clearinghouse is an information-sharing, relationship-building, public communications hub for all things agrisolar. The AgriSolar community will:
Connect farmers, developers, researchers, and the public
Provide practical technical assistance
Develop best practices and innovative solutions to barriers
Evaluate innovative financing options
Promote sustainable agrisolar opportunitie

Resources Include: Information Library Media Hub / Events Calendar

More Links

DISTRIBUTED & COMMUNITY WIND

The Future of Distributed Wind in the United States: Considerations for Unlocking Terawatt-Level Potential,
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
NREL’s Distributed Wind Energy Futures Study Finds the Most Promising Locations, Sectors for Distributed Wind To Play a Meaningful Role in the U.S. Energy Future. The Midwest and Heartland regions overall have the highest potential for distributed wind. (A link to NREL’s webinar about the study is provided).

ALSO IN THE NEWS

MORE ABOUT NORFOLK’S COMMUNITY SOLAR PROJECT

Norfolk solar project largest in state, relies on community input, Nancy Gaarder / Omaha World-Herald, Norfolk Daily News

Randy Gates, finance director for Norfolk, said the city will save about $170,000 a year on its electric bills. The city’s residents and businesses will see a total savings of $132,000 a year, he said. NPPD’s next community solar project will be in York.

DeSantis net-metering veto highlights path for solar in red states, advocates say

By Dan Haugen, Energy News Network

Gov. DeSantis’ veto “definitely turned some heads,” said Tyler Duvelius, external affairs director for Conservatives for Clean Energy, but it maybe shouldn’t have been a complete shock given his previous actions on clean energy and climate. “In a sense, he was listening to his constituents in Florida, but I also think that clean energy is something Gov. DeSantis cares about as an economic driver for Florida,” Duvelius said. And in that sense, he sees DeSantis as part of a growing movement of conservatives who are starting to cut red tape and promote clean energy industries in their states. He cited Texas Gov. Greg AbbottIowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt as examples of conservatives who are promoting clean energy in their states.  Read more here.

Net Metering in Nebraska

If your local utility is not one of these, search its website for resources on net metering.

Previously Posted: Utilities push back against growth of rooftop solar panels, NBC News

Photo: Jerry Buechler, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, cleans the 28 solar panels on his roof in 2019. He is a retired firefighter and the founder of the Treasure Coast Solar Co-op. Credit: Leah Voss, TCPalm via Imagn Content Services, LLC 

Also Of Potential Interest

Creighton University 1st Place Winner in Department of Energy’s Solar District Cup Class of 2021-2022

On April 25, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the first-, second-, and third-place winners in each division. Following the announcement, the three first-place teams presented to a public audience, who voted for the Project Pitch Champions.

“The Solar District Cup convenes college competitors to accelerate the transition to the clean energy future and to reimagine how energy is generated, managed, and used in a district energy system. The Creighton team designed a proposed distributed energy system for Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. Their proposal included strong photovoltaics system design, tracker angular rotation schedule, distribution analysis, and financial analyses.”

The Solar District Cup is directed and administered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and is funded by the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office. Learn more here.

Conservation Nebraska Event This Saturday!


One of the students representing Creighton University in the competition was Max Markuson DiPrince, who will be Conservation Nebraska’s guest speaker this Saturday, April 30th at 10 a.m. for a virtual presentation that was recently announced in our: Special Earth Month Edition Newsletter.

Register to attend the event at the link provided.

A 100% Renewable Energy Future is Possible, and We Need It

By Paula Garcia, Senior Bilingual Energy Analyst,
Union of Concerned Scientists

Nebraskans for Solar Note: The writer provides a link to information about “a growing number of states that are already committing to 100 percent renewable or carbon-free energy.” As you undoubtedly already know, Nebraska is one of them.

A transition to renewable energy is not just one of the most consequential tools at our fingertips to act on climate, but also represents a great opportunity to increase control over our energy choices, improve the health of our communities and the planet, create jobs and wealth, and much more. But how feasible is this transition? And can this transition benefit us all? 

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)—together with environmental justice groups COPAL in Minnesota, GreenRoots in Massachusetts, and the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition—collaborated on an analysis to look into those questions. On the Road to 100 Percent Renewables examined how two dozen state members of the U.S. Climate Alliance (USCA) can meet all of their electricity needs with renewable energy—while decarbonizing other sectors of the economy and ensuring equitable benefits to all communities. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Dennis Schroeder/NREL/Flickr

Additional Recommended Reading

Solar Industry Releases New Framework to Help Community Solar Siting

SEIA News Release, February 28, 2022

Washington D.C. — Today the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is releasing a new report to aid policymakers in siting community solar projects. Well-designed community solar projects can result in increased crop and clean energy production, the report shows. Community solar projects can also result in other benefits, such as protecting soils and providing habitat for many important species. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

National Community Solar Partnership Aims To Reach 5 Million and Beyond, NREL News Release

Register to become a member of NCSP.

Photo Credit: Fresh Energy

2022 Outlook: Top US power sector trends to watch

By Kavya Balaraman, Ethan Howland, Robert Walton, Iulia Gheorghiu

This is the first piece in Utility Dive’s four-part 2022 outlook series
examining key policies and trends driving the U.S. power sector.

At the start of the Biden administration’s second year, government agencies are beginning to implement the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the bipartisan infrastructure package Congress passed last year. Concerns remain high about the reliability and security of the U.S. power grid, and the future of the Build Back Better bill and its clean-energy provisions remains uncertain. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which now has a Democratic majority and a full complement of commissioners, is poised to play a key role in how much the administration’s climate and energy policies advance. Read more here.

Second Part of Utility Dive’s 2022 Outlook Series: A new recognition is coming of rate design’s critical role in the energy transition, by Herman K. Trabish

ENERGY STORAGE

‘Large quantities of energy storage’ can balance the US grid all-year-round, NREL study finds,
by Andy Colthorpe, Energy Storage News

The synergies between diurnal energy storage and solar PV are better than for wind energy, although it will have an important role to play in integrating both renewable energy types, the study found.

According to a new report from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), energy storage’s ability to store overgeneration from solar and wind power plants means it can contribute to the energy mix when most needed, even in the most conservative scenarios of variable renewable energy deployment. Photo Credit: Dennis Schroeder / NREL

Also by Andy Colthorpe: North America’s largest Li-ion battery recycling giga-facility to ‘take on as much as possible’ from ESS sector, Energy Storage News

ARTICLES WRITTEN BY TINA CASEY FOR CLEAN TECHNICA

Energy Efficient, Transparent Solar Windows: You Really Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
More than 20 billion square feet of windows are installed every year, and the leading firm Andersen Corporation apparently plans to make some of those billions into energy efficient, transparent solar energy generators that could kick the pace of global energy decarbonization into high gear.

The Solid-State Energy Storage Dam Is About To Bust Wide Open
Electric vehicles are supposed to be the biggest market for new solid-state battery technology, but stationary energy storage is suddenly in the running, too.

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA NEWS RELEASE & REPORT

President Biden’s first year in office marks progress on numerous environmental fronts

The progress report, President Biden’s First Year: A year of restoring lost environmental protections, documents the Biden administration’s work on 20 “priority actions” that enjoy broad support and have significant environmental impact. Although much of the media attention this past year has focused on big ticket bills like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Build Back Better Act, which still has an uncertain fate in Congress, the actions highlighted in the report are worthy of recognition as well. These include:

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

DOWNLOADABLE COLORING BOOK

Solar Energy Workbook

Download and color this FREE copy of the Solar Energy Workbook, then send it back to the American Solar Energy Society as a PDF. The organization will review it and reward you with an International Certificate “as appreciation of your dedication and efforts.” Click the above link for complete instructions.

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.

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.