Tag Archives: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Consumer demand drives record year for wind energy purchases

American Wind Energy Association News Release

US wind power industry reports third strongest quarter ever for new capacity installations.

WASHINGTON — Fortune 500 brands and a range of other non-utility entities, including cities and universities, are catalyzing America’s growing demand for renewable energy by purchasing a record amount of wind power in 2018 according to a new report released today by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Consumer demand combined with policy stability and low, stable prices helped wind power capacity installations rise to the third strongest quarter in the industry’s history.

AWEA’s U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2018 Market Report reveals that non-utility customers like AT&T, Walmart, ExxonMobil, and Shell Energy purchased a record 4,203 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity in 2018 through long-term contracts, or Power Purchase Agreements (PPA). Contracted wind capacity from non-utility customers in 2018 surged 66 percent higher than the previous high-water mark in 2015. Data from the Business Renewables Center confirms that wind provides more energy to corporate brands than any other renewable source. Read the entire news release here.

Wind Energy in Nebraska
Nebraska is a national leader in wind resource potential. Nebraska is one of the top states in the country for potential wind energy generation, with a technical potential of approximately 465,000 megawatts (MW) according to NREL. Nebraska now has 1,972 MW of installed wind power and ranks 14th in the nation for installed capacity. Harnessing more of Nebraska’s wind potential could make the state a powerhouse for the wind industry while providing savings for electricity customers. Source: Nebraska Fact Sheet (PDF), American Wind Energy Association

Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Energy Office

Photo: “Wind Rainbow,” AWEA’s Wind Energy Image Gallery

Solar tsunami

By Christian Roselund and John Weaver, PV Magazine

Developers have applied to build 139 GWac of large-scale solar projects in the territory of six grid operators – around five times what is currently online across the country – and that figure doesn’t even cover the entire United States. By any metric, we are looking at an unprecedented boom in solar development over the next five years. Read more here.

Flickr Photo by Juwi Renewable Energies Limited


Electric Power Markets: National Overview

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

 

 

Recently Posted: Capital Dynamics Signs Agreement with Tenaska to Develop Solar Projects, News Release. The transaction includes 14 solar projects with approximately 2,000 megawatts (MW) in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) market. The portfolio represents a large share of all solar projects currently in the MISO North interconnection queue, with projects in Michigan,
Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota.

Nebraska is a member of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) wholesale market.
Based in Little Rock, Arkansas. SPP manages transmission in fourteen states: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. Its membership is comprised of investor-owned utilities, municipal
systems, generation and transmission cooperatives, state authorities, independent power producers, power marketers and independent transmission companies.

Also Published by PV Magazine:

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

INTERVIEW

What’s In Store for U.S. Solar Energy in 2019?, by the Center on Global Energy Policy, Earth Institute, Columbia University. In the latest edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, host Bill Loveless talks to Abigail Ross Hopper, the president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the U.S. trade group for solar energy.

OPPD POSTS RESIDENTIAL SERVICE CHARGE FAQs ON WEBSITE

The final adjustment to the residential service charge begins January 1. Review the Rate Restructuring FAQs for details

FAQ #9:  I am considering installing solar panels and/or wind generation at my home. How would this affect me?
Because the fixed portion of the bill is increasing, customers who wish to install solar or wind to meet part of their energy needs would see an increase in the payback period associated with recovering their investment.

Previously Posted: Are regulators starting to rethink fixed charges?, Utility Dive
[In 2017], regulators only approved 6 out of 84 proposals for higher customer charges, suggesting regulators might be looking for “something better,” Proudlove told Utility Dive. Autumn Proudlove is senior manager of policy research at the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC).

EPA Updates Key Tool for Communities to Use in Turning Current and Formerly Contaminated Lands into Renewable Energy Assets

EPA News Release

EPA’s RE-Powering Mapper is an online interactive web application that allows users to visualize key information on renewable energy potential at specific contaminated lands, landfills and mine sites. Using screening criteria developed in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), EPA has pre-screened more than 130,000 sites for their renewable energy potential. Read more here.

Access the updated RE-Powering Mapper here. 
Learn more about EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

The Nordex Group: leading sustainability transformation with powerful wind turbines, Energy Digital

Today, the Nordex Group has several projects underway and is nearing completion on a 95 turbine project in Kansas, a 101 turbine project in Nebraska, and a 16 turbine project in North Dakota.
AWEA Public Domain Photo: Wind Rainbow

  • Minnesota Power, Tenaska agree on wind energy purchase, The Globe
  • Black Hills Energy proposes $57 million wind farm for new energy options, Wyoming News
    The utility submitted a proposal to the Wyoming Public Service Commission on Monday seeking approval for a new Renewable Ready Service Tariff. The program would offer commercial customers local utility-scale renewable energy resources through a subscription program to fulfill up to 100 percent of their electricity needs. Participants would be able to enter into contracts with the company to purchase renewable energy for periods of five to 25 years. To facilitate this, Black Hills is requesting approval for a 40-megawatt wind energy-generating facility west of Cheyenne, known as the Corriedale Wind Energy Project.
  • The Year of the Corporate PPA, Greentech Media
  • Colorado’s Electric Car Dream: More charging stations, less smog and the warm embrace of renewable energy, The Denver Post. The state is growing more bullish on electric vehicles as it launches a plan to “electrify” more of the state’s transportation sector
  • The story behind that Amazon shareholder proposal demanding action on climate change, Fast Company. A group of employee stockholders have signed their names to a resolution, which will be voted on at the upcoming annual shareholder meeting next year. They are requesting that Amazon prepare a report describing exactly how it is planning for disruptions posed by climate change, and how it will reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. In total, 28 employees put their names on the document. It’s a first-of-its-kind stand from employees of one of the world’s most powerful companies–a group of dissenters using the leverage provided to them via their stock options. 

SHAREHOLDER ADVOCACY / CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY RESOURCES

As You Sow
Founded in 1992, As You Sow promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. Their vision is a safe, just, and sustainable world in which protecting the environment and human rights is central to corporate decision making. “Corporations are responsible for most of the pressing social and environmental problems we face today — we believe corporations must be a willing part of the solutions.”

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
Currently celebrating their 47th year, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
pioneered the use of shareholder advocacy to press companies on environmental, social, and governance issues. This coalition of over 300 global institutional investors currently represents more than $400 billion in managed assets. Leveraging their equity ownership in some of the world’s largest and most powerful companies, ICCR members regularly engage management to identify and mitigate social and environmental risks resulting from corporate operations and policies.

Proxy Preview
Proxy Preview is a collaboration between three organizations: As You Sow, Sustainable Investment Institute, and Proxy Impact to help investors align their values with their investments. Publishes Annual Guide: Proxy Preview 2018 is the 14th edition of the insider’s guide to social and environmental shareholder proposals. This free publication is the #1
resource for shareholders looking to align their values and investments. “Bible for socially progressive foundations, religious groups, pension funds, and tax-exempt organizations”
– Chicago Tribune

SocialFunds.com
Social Funds.com features over 10,000 pages of information on SRI mutual funds, community investments, corporate research, shareowner actions, and daily social investment news.

Cheapest AND Cleanest: Renewables Are Winning

By Nathanael Greene, Natural Resources Defense Council

When President Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the roof of the White House 40 years ago, renewable energy resources were a niche technology both expensive and quirky. Well, as Carter’s buddy Bob Dylan would say, “The times they are a changin’.”

Solar and wind energy are beating dirty fossil fuels and nuclear power in the marketplace. They are winning not because they are clean and necessary to combat carbon pollution, but because they are less expensive for power producers, companies and customers. As 2018 closes, it’s now safe to say that clean renewable energy is at an inflection point. Cost is no longer the biggest challenge to greater adoption of wind and solar; it is now the rules of the power markets that often keep the cheapest options from winning. Read more here.

Pixabay Photo

IN NEBRASKA

Lincoln Journal Star Letter: Farmers produce energy, too
By Matt Gregory, Clean Energy Advocate, Nebraska Wildlife Federation. Last year, Nebraska farmers collected nearly $4 million in lease payments to place wind turbines on their land. And that’s not to mention the indirect benefits of wind farms paying millions to counties and school districts, helping to lessen everyone’s property tax burden.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

ALSO IN THE NEWS


NREL REPORT

U.S. utilities test distributed energy management, PV Magazine

Distributed energy management systems can capture added value from solar and storage by shaving peak loads, providing grid services, and deferring grid investments. Utilities testing such systems have shared their lessons learned, while Western Australia leapfrogs ahead.

Download Report: Expanding PV Value: Lessons Learned from Utility-led Distributed Energy Resource Aggregation in the United States (PDF)

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

Tri-State policy change discourages battery projects in rural Colorado and New Mexico, Clean Cooperative

United Power will dedicate the largest battery storage system in Colorado next week, a 16 megawatt hour Tesla Powerpack in Longmont that the electric cooperative expects will save its members $1 million each year. But recent policy changes by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, United Power’s wholesale power supplier, aim to discourage other cooperatives from pursuing similar projects, creating uncertainty for the deployment of battery projects in much of rural Colorado and New Mexico. United Power shifted its focus to battery projects last year, after the co-op reached the 5% limit on local renewable energy generation imposed by Tri State.

Colorado adopts rule to include storage in utility planning, Utility Dive
State regulators and lawmakers have focused on energy storage in 2018 as the governor signed a measure on consumer-installed storage and the PUC approved an Xcel Colorado plan to retire 660 MW of coal in favor of storage and solar.

NATIONAL SURVEY

Midterm Voters Want Action On Clean Energy Policy, Cres Forum Polling

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum and the Conservative Energy Network recently released national post-election survey results finding strong support among Republicans and Democrats alike for government action to accelerate development and use of clean energy in the United States.

NEW NON-WIRES SOLUTIONS GUIDE


Rocky Mountain Institute’s Non-Wires Solutions Implementation Playbook: A Practical Guide for Regulators, Utilities, and Developers delineates innovative approaches to spur Non-Wires Solutions (NWS) adoption and recommends planning and operational strategies to improve NWS processes.

Department of Energy Selects Five Organizations in American-Made Solar Prize Competition

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has selected five organizations to facilitate and grow the American-Made Solar Prize, a $3 million competition designed to revitalize U.S. solar manufacturing. These organizations, known as Power Connectors, can receive $100,000 each for supporting the American-Made Solar Prize by recruiting competitors and partners, hosting demonstration days, and developing plans and programs to ensure the longevity of the program.

The organizations span the country and have a strong track record of helping innovators succeed:

The DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has partnered with NREL to administer the American-Made Solar Prize.

ADDITIONAL LINKS TO INFORMATION

‘Electrification of Everything’ Would Spike US Electricity Use, but Lower Final Energy Consumption

By Justin Gerdes, Greentech Media

Widespread deployment of EVs, heat pumps, and other electric technologies could increase U.S. electricity consumption by nearly 40 percent by mid-century, according to a new government report. The report, the second in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Electrification Futures Study series, analyzes the demand-side impacts of a transition to electricity in transportation, residential and commercial buildings, and industry through 2050.
Read more here.

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

NEW OPPD VIDEO
Shovels turn to start construction of Sholes facility

ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Indiana cost consumers $140M by nixing efficiency program, AEC says, Utility Dive
A new report from the Applied Economics Clinic (AEC) estimates Indiana’s 2014 decision to do away with its energy efficiency requirements cost consumers more than $140 million, slashed electricity savings and reduced job growth in the state.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Energy Storage: A Critical Player in a Cleaner Grid

Expert Blog by Elizabeth Noll and Arjun Krishnaswami
Natural Resources Defense Council

When it comes to truly transformative energy technologies, energy storage should be on the short list. While it feels like there is never any good news these days, energy storage is shattering records, meeting milestones, and writing its own good-news story.

Because of its many benefits, states, utilities, and even big corporations are increasingly interested in investing in energy storage. Lawmakers are also interested in the opportunities energy storage presents. The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce committee has announced the latest installment in their “Powering America” hearing series: The Role of Energy Storage in the Nation’s Electricity System for Wednesday July 18. Members of Congress will examine the growth of large-scale energy storage in the United States, the unique reliability attributes energy storage provides for the electric grid, and the use and impacts of energy storage within wholesale electricity markets. Continue here. 

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

OPPD Blog: Prime time for “peakers “

 By Jason Kuiper, The Wire  

May 2018 – one of the hottest Mays in years – kept OPPD’s generating stations running overtime to keep up with the air conditioners. OPPD’s two baseload facilities – Nebraska City and North Omaha stations – were at the forefront of that generation. But so were OPPD’s peaking stations at Cass and Sarpy counties as well as Jones Street Station, one of OPPD’s oldest stations. Continue reading here.

Photo: Telesis Inc’s Net-Zero Energy Business Complex in Lincoln’s Haymarket.
J-Tech’s thirteen-member installation crew worked closely with restoration contractors to integrate the 300-kilowatt system into existing and historical structures. Federal tax incentives, rebates from Lincoln Electric System and the steady rise in the cost of electricity were driving factors in the owner’s decision to complete such a large project. Also, the price of solar systems has decreased more than 62% since 2009. News Story: Telesis going for net-zero energy use in Dairy House complex, by Nicholas Bergin, Lincoln Journal Star

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING AND VIEWING

  • Using Solar to Reduce Peak Loads: Evaluating Rhode Island’s Distributed Solar Pilot – Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) Webinar, July 12, 2018, 12 to 1 pm CDT. Register here.
  • Replacing Peaker Plants with Battery Storage: Clean Energy Group Webinar, July 19, 2018,
    1 to 2 pm CDT. Register here. 
  • How to Estimate Demand Charge Savings from PV on Commercial Buildings, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • 4 Peak Demand Reduction Strategies, by Jeff Gorrie, Energy Manager Today
    Due to the complexity of energy pricing, two identical buildings can consume the same amount of energy and have profoundly different utility bills. Demand charges are a reality for every building but with the right data it is possible to identify and solve the issues that cause high peak demand and expensive utility bills. – Jeff Gorrie is an energy efficiency professional who lives in Des Moines, Iowa. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Iowa State University. Jeff works at a national energy efficiency consulting firm and has completed over 1,000 commercial energy assessments. Jeff is certified as an Energy Manager (CEM), Building Analyst (BPI BA), and Envelope Professional (BPI ENV).

Install Inequality: Nearly half of U.S. residential rooftop solar potential is currently out of reach

By Chris Crowell, Solar Builder Magazine

One of the largest barriers to solar adoption on a wide scale is the wealth gap, and it will require more problem-solving than a mandate to overcome it. A new report released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that nearly half (42 percent) of all the United States’ residential rooftop solar technical potential (see pg. 15 for definition) is on the dwellings of low-to-moderate income (LMI) households, representing 330 GW of potential solar capacity — a number the researchers admitted was much higher than they expected at the outset.

“Understanding the potential size of the LMI market in detail offers new insights and opportunities to serve these communities,” said David Mooney, executive director, Institutional Planning, Integration and Development for NREL. “The potential electric bill savings from the adoption of rooftop solar would have a greater material impact on low-income households compared to their high-income counterparts.” Read more here.

NREL Photo: PV installed on low-income housing development in Denver, Colorado

RELATED SOLAR BUILDER MAGAZINE ARTICLE
Solar for All: How to incentivize community solar projects to benefit low-, middle-income customers

RECOMMENDED CLEANTECH TALK

Record-Low Solar Power, Electric Car Startups, & The Mercedes EQ Brand (Cleantech Talk Today #4)

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Iowa solar installer using storage to help customers avoid costly demand charges

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

In Iowa, a state with some of the highest demand charges in the nation, a solar installer is offering a storage solution that the company claims could cut power bills in half for some large electricity customers. One year ago the company, Ideal Energy, installed its first solar-plus-storage system at Stuff Etc., a large consignment store in Coralville. Amy Van Beek, the company’s co-founder and its chief marketing officer, said the project has been performing well and the company is now working with several large electricity customers in the state to determine how solar-plus-storage could work for them. Continue reading.

Photo: An Iowa solar company installed battery storage at this consignment store near Iowa City to help avoid high demand charges. Credit: Ideal Energy

INFORMATION LINKS

ALSO WRITTEN BY KAREN UHLENHUTH