Tag Archives: Natural Resources Defense Council

Jeff Bezos announces nearly $800 million in grants to 16 groups fighting climate change

By Allen Kim, CNN

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced Monday that he will give $791 million in grants as part of his Bezos Earth Fund to 16 organizations that are working to protect the environment. The fund is part of the CEO’s $10 billion pledge to support scientists, activists, NGOs and organizations working to protect the environment. The full list of grantees are a mix of big name NGOs, labs, reforestation and climate justice groups.

They include: The Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund, ClimateWorks Foundation, Dream Corps Green For All, Eden Reforestation Projects, Energy Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, NDN Collective, Rocky Mountain Institute, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, The Solutions Project, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund. Read more here.

U.S. CLIMATE ALLIANCE 

U.S. Climate Alliance Urges Federal Action on the Climate Crisis, News Release
The Executive Director of the bipartisan United States Climate Alliance today issued the following statement regarding the Alliance’s continued commitment to address climate change and how the election outcome has created an opportunity for the U.S. federal government, in close partnership with states, to restore national climate leadership: 

Our states will continue to act on climate change, doing so with increased urgency and ambition, in line with science.  We will embrace the significant economic opportunities presented by our climate leadership, focusing on an equitable and just transition while investing in community- and family-sustaining clean energy jobs.  And we will continue to cooperate through the U.S. Climate Alliance – a bipartisan coalition of 25 governors – because together we move further and faster. 

CLIMATE MAYORS

Climate Mayors Announces New Chair, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, News Release
Today, Climate Mayors, the network of 468 U.S. mayors across the country committed to leading bold climate action and upholding the Paris Climate Agreement, announced that Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh will become the next Chair of the nationwide coalition. In this role, Mayor Walsh will help catalyze climate-forward actions taken at the local level, provide an example of climate action for leaders at all levels of government, and advocate for an economic recovery founded in equity and environmental stewardship.

OCEAN-BASED CLIMATE SOLUTIONS BILL

Congress Takes Up Ocean Climate Action, Expert Blog by Valerie Cleland, NRDC
The House Natural Resources Committee has begun tackling the monumental Ocean-Based Climate Solutions bill (H.R. 8632). The first of its kind to address the ocean side of climate changethe bill sets a truly exciting precedent for ocean climate action legislationThe hearing addressed blue carbon, the ban on offshore drilling, the need for marine protected areas, the pathway for expanding offshore wind, and more.

SOLSMART

Since 2016, the SolSmart program has provided in-depth technical assistance to hundreds of local governments nationwide and has awarded over 380 cities, towns, counties, and regional organizations with SolSmart designations for their solar achievements. 

Solar Energy: SolSmart’s Toolkit for Local Governments
This toolkit helps local governments and community stakeholders in cities, counties, and small towns design and implement plans to encourage solar energy development.

Learn More  About SolSmart Here.

Solar Foundation and Interstate Renewable Energy Council to Merge

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

The non-profit Solar Foundation will soon become part of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, merging two groups with a common vision for an increasingly clean-powered grid. The organizational union announced Thursday is the latest in a series of moves by renewable energy groups to unite around a common goal of producing the majority of the U.S.’s electricity, rather than pursuing that work from different technological focuses. 

The American Wind Energy Association, for instanceannounced in September it would merge into a new group called the American Clean Power Association, to better advocate for a variety of renewable solutions. In June, AWEA along with solar, hydropower and storage industry trade groups also introduced a joint vision to achieve “majority renewables” by 2030. Continue reading.

Solar Foundation Initiatives

Interstate Renewable Energy Council Initiatives

INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY REPORT

Wind and solar capacity will overtake both gas and coal globally by 2024, World Economic Forum
Wind and solar capacity will double over the next five years globally and exceed that of both gas and coal, according to a new International Energy Agency (IEA) report. The Paris-based intergovernmental agency anticipates a 1,123 gigawatt (GW) increase in wind and solar that would mean these power sources overtake gas capacity in 2023 and coal in 2024.  

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY  

Green Hydrogen Could Fill Big Gaps In Renewable Energy, Scientific American
Companies are working to develop electrolyzers that can produce green hydrogen as cheaply as gray or blue hydrogen, and analysts expect them to reach that goal in the next decade. Meanwhile energy companies are starting to integrate electrolyzers directly into renewable power projects.

Previously Posted

  • The Green Hydrogen Revolution Is Now Underway, Forbes 
    While renewables are now the fastest growing energy industry, hydrogen is following closely behind in a massive gale. The 21st century will likely witness the rise of a mega-billion hydrogen fuel industry. Countries are taking first steps – and it’s breathtaking.
  • Geothermal energy is poised for a big breakout, Vox
    After many years of failure to launch, new companies and technologies have brought geothermal out of its doldrums, to the point that it may finally be ready to scale up and become a major player in clean energy. In fact, if its more enthusiastic backers are correct, geothermal may hold the key to making 100 percent clean electricity available to everyone in the world. And as a bonus, it’s an opportunity for the struggling oil and gas industry to put its capital and skills to work on something that won’t degrade the planet.

COMMUNITY CHOICE AGGREGATION

Rochester Community Power Launched to Develop 100% Renewable Energy Program for Rochester Residents and Businesses, Joule Community Power News Release, PR Newswire

The City of Rochester announced that it will launch a renewable energy program intended to provide their residents and small businesses with locally-sourced 100% renewable energy at a low, fixed rate. Offered through Rochester Community Power, the community choice aggregation (“CCA” or “community choice”) program will leverage the collective buying power of Rochester’s more than 80,000 Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E) utility account holders to solicit bids from energy suppliers. 

GREEN BANKS 

The State of Green Banks 2020 report, authored by Rocky Mountain Institute, Green Finance Institute, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, showcases trends among both operational and emerging green banks. It includes an analysis of 61 institutions in 36 countries based largely on the data the report authors gathered through surveys and interviews, as well as on additional desk research. The report highlights successes, trends, and lessons learned from existing green banks and presents trends in countries seeking to set up new green banks. These trends include the technologies they will invest in, types of financial instruments they will deploy, capitalization strategies, and obstacles green bank champions face during the establishment process. A video summary of report findings by authors Angela Whitney and Karim Arslan is available at the above link.

​​RMI News Release: First global survey of green banks finds rapid growth in their numbers and importance in low carbon finance

WE ARE STILL IN NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Leaders Will Show Up In Force At U.N. Climate Talks Despite Federal Action To Withdraw The U.S. From Paris Agreement

American leaders unveiled detailed plans today to host the U.S. Climate Action Center at the upcoming COP25 climate talks in Madrid, and announced a delegation of over 70 U.S. leaders who are stepping up as the federal government steps away from global climate leadership. The current list of the delegation can be found here. This will be the third year in a row that We Are Still In will organize a Pavilion, in partnership with the U.S. Climate Alliance, Climate Mayors, America’s Pledge and other groups, to fill the U.S. climate leadership vacuum at the U.N. talks.

At COP25, America’s Pledge will release its third annual report, “Accelerating America’s Pledge: Going All-In to Build a Prosperous, Low-Carbon Economy for the United States.” This report analyzes the collective reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by U.S. states, cities, businesses, and other non-governmental entities and projects the level of carbon emissions reductions the U.S. can reach by 2030.

TRANSMISSION INFRASTRUCTURE

Transmission for renewables shall be a clear winner in Biden White House, Renewable Energy World
The stars are aligned for a big chunk of transmission infrastructure investments across the country. Statements from New England Governors, PJM on offshore wind integration, and Midwest Governors Association offer insights into future transmission plans for renewables. However, since transmission — specifically high voltage lines — cannot be built overnight, the state and federal policy advisors should not lose sight of distributed energy resource (DER) potential and alternatives to transmission solutions. Leveraging both utility-scale renewables and distributed generation makes more sense to balance the curtailment risk with an abundance of renewable energy production.

CIVILIAN CLIMATE CORPS

Mr. President-elect, America needs a Civilian Climate Corps, Opinion Contributors Jay Lemery and Lewis Goldfrank, The Hill

For those who think a national service program is only viable in a bygone era and another example of executive overreach, one that could never survive the scarlet letter of “socialism” in today’s political climate, don’t be so sure. Recent public opinion research has found that the American public is widely supportive of national serviceEighty percent of voters (70 percent Republicans, 90 percent Democrats) back increasing federal investment to help communities respond to and recover from COVID-19, specifically regarding funds directed toward graduates and the unemployed. What could this look like?

Jay Lemery, MD, is the co-director of the Climate & Health Program at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and co-author ofEnviromedics: the Impact of Climate Change on Human Health.”

Lewis Goldfrank, MD, is the Herbert W. Adams professor of the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine at NYU-Langone Health Center, and the founding editor of Goldfrank’s Toxicologic Emergencies.

Taking Charge: Wisconsin’s newest utility commissioner on the state’s ‘utility-scale changeover’

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Wisconsin’s historical reliance on coal-generated power has shifted toward renewable energy and natural gas in recent years. Though the state is not yet able to compete with Minnesota on solar or Iowa on its abundant wind resources, the political and economic tides are turning the markets in favor of a more dramatic clean energy buildout, according to advocates in the state.

Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, who took office after the 2018 midterm elections, has been working on a suite of clean energy and climate policies. In August, he signed an executive order putting Wisconsin on a path to 100% clean energy by 2050, and his 2019 budget directed $10 million in Volkswagen settlement funds toward electric vehicle charging stations. Continue reading here.

Photo: Wisconsin Public Service Commissioner Tyler Huebner

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

  • Iowa cities and towns invest in renewable energy, Yale Climate Connections
    Many cities and towns are investing in renewable energy, and climate change is not the only motivation. 
  • Wind energy brings jobs to ND, Minot Daily News
    Powering North Dakota, an initiative of the American Wind Energy Association, has thrown its support behind the Lake Region training program and its partnership with Neset. Powering North Dakota is a growing coalition of developers, manufacturers, business, agriculture and community members with a focus on the economic benefits of wind power. The coalition’s goal is to share research, talk about the local benefits and tell the story of wind and its impact on different areas of the economy.
  • Wind farm expansion begins, The Kansan
    Enel Green Power operates six wind farms in Kansas, and the company’s overall investment in Kansas amounts to more than $2.1 billion and 210 full-time employees working in the state and with its’ acquisition of Tradewind Energy Inc. last year, makes them the largest wind operator with more than 1.4 GW of operational wind capacity.
  • North Carolina pursues faster interconnection for utility-scale solar, PV Magazine
    Under Duke Energy’s current review process, interconnection queues grew to 14 GW in North and South Carolina last year. A new process should speed interconnection reviews, and enable projects located near each other to share the costs of transmission upgrades.
  • Dominion Sells Gas Business and Cancels Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Greentech Media.
    Dominion and Duke Energy will walk away from controversial pipeline project as U.S. utilities grapple with future role of natural gas. Company-wide, Dominion plans to retire more than 4 gigawatts of coal- and oil-fired electric generation by 2025. “Over the next 15 years we plan to invest up to $55 billion in emissions reduction technologies including zero-carbon generation and energy storage, gas distribution line replacement, and renewable natural gas,” CEO Thomas Farrell II said in a statement Sunday.
  • SCC approves voluntary 100% renewable energy offering by Dominion Energy Virginia, Augusta Free Press. Virginia law permits Dominion to design a rate that participating customers may choose to pay to receive all their power from renewable resources. As designed, the rate would charge a premium of $3.98 a month above the standard rate of an average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, subject to annual adjustments.
  • TVA launches virtual home energy audits for customers, American Public Power Association
    The Tennessee Valley Authority on July 1 said it has launched virtual home energy evaluations, enabling residents across its seven-state region to benefit from money-saving energy advice, even during pandemic conditions.

WORLD’S FIRST ZERO-CARBON ARENA

Climate Pledge Arena’ Will Be The Name Of Amazon’s New Seattle Sports Center, by Senior Contributor Ken Silverstein, Forbes. The company has secured the naming rights to an arena in Seattle that is now under construction — one that will ultimately measure its carbon emissions and sustainability performance and it will make that data public. It’s part of the company’s overall climate initiative to have net-zero carbon releases by 2040, which is a decade ahead of the Paris agreement. The future arena is financed by Amazon and the Oak View Group and it is expected to be the world’s first zero-carbon arena when it is completed in the summer of 2021. 

RENEWABLES VERSUS NATURAL GAS

  • The Next Energy Battle: Renewables vs. Natural Gas, New York Times
    Proponents of renewable energy note that solar panels are increasingly the cheapest source of electricity. Solar panels can deliver power to 650 homes for one hour — one megawatt-hour in industry jargon — at $31 to $111 a megawatt-hour, according to Lazard, the investment firm. By comparison, natural gas peaking plants, which utilities can turn on and off quickly to meet surging demand, deliver power at $122 to $162 a megawatt-hour.
  • Natural Gas As A Bridge Fuel To The Future? Not Anymore, CleanTechnica
    For a while that was true, but once again a funny thing happened on the way to the renewable energy revolution. The costs of solar and wind farms plummeted along with the cost of battery storage. Now, according to PV Magazine, several US utilities are saying “no thank you” to new gas-fired generation. Here’s the latest news.

MORE ON HOUSE CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

Three Key Takeaways from House Climate Crisis Action Plan, by Roland Hwang, Managing Director, Climate and Clean Energy Program, Natural Resources Defense Council. The House of Representatives’ Special Select Committee on the Climate Crisis has finally released its long-awaited plan to tackle the climate crisis. It’s a 547-page roadmap for an “all hands-on deck” approach to putting the U.S. on a path to net-zero carbon pollution by midcentury, which is what the world’s leading climate scientists tell us is necessary to avert a climate catastrophe. Importantly, the House Plan puts justice and equity at the core of its recommendations for a comprehensive climate policy package.

For more on NRDC’s perspective on the House Plan:

ESG & LONGTERM SUSTAINABILITY

What role does ESG play in the ‘new normal’?, GreenBiz article contributed by Janine Guillot, CEO of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. In recent years, the rise of ESG, responsible investing, corporate sustainability — different people use different terms — has focused on evolving “business as usual” by recognizing that effectively managing environmental and social issues is key to the long-term sustainability of both business and society. The COVID-19 crisis is likely to accelerate this trend. The key questions that have arisen from the crisis are essentially ESG questions, such as:

FREE SEPA RESEARCH

Utility Best Practices for EV Infrastructure Deployment

  • How to develop an EV strategic plan and build a transportation electrification team 
  • Results from two surveys and six utility case studies and SEPA Electric Vehicle Working Group contributions
  • Best practices for utility-led EV infrastructure programs and third-party charging infrastructure interconnection

Soil: The Secret Weapon in the Fight Against Climate Change

By Natural Resources Defense Council, EcoWatch

Agriculture is on the front lines of climate change. Whether it’s the a seven-year drought drying up fields in California, the devastating Midwest flooding in 2019, or hurricane after hurricane hitting the Eastern Shore, agriculture and rural communities are already feeling the effects of a changing climate. Scientists expect climate change to make these extreme weather events both more frequent and more intense in coming years.

Agriculture is also an important — in fact a necessary — partner in fighting climate change. The science is clear: We cannot stay beneath the most dangerous climate thresholds without sequestering a significant amount of carbon in our soils. Here are just a few of the ways the Natural Resources Defense Council works to encourage climate-friendly farming: Read more here. 

Pexels Photo

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

U.S. farm leaders tout role at COP25 meeting, The Fence Post

U.S. farm leaders under the banner of the North America Climate Smart Agricultural Alliance (NACSAA) are making a series of presentations this week at the Madrid meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), formally known as the Conference of the Parties or COP25, a gathering to establish rules to implement the Paris climate agreement.

A common message the contingent is delivering in Madrid is a call for support of the guiding principles that were developed to ensure that farmers remain at the center of all discussions and decision-making related to agricultural solutions. They also assert that findings must be science-based. 

More About NACSAA
The North America Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (NACSAA) is a farmer-led platform for inspiring, educating, and equipping agricultural partners to innovate effective local adaptations that sustain productivity, enhance climate resilience, and contribute to the local and global goals for sustainable development. NACSAA reflects and embraces all scales of agriculture in Canada, Mexico and the United States, ranging from small landholders to midsize and large-scale producers.

NACSAA encourages climate smart agriculture (CSA) strategies to enhance the adaptive capacity of North American agriculture to changing climate conditions and works to achieve this goal through three complementary strategies: 1) sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and livelihoods (i.e. sustainable intensification); 2) enhancing adaptive capacity and improving resilience; and 3) delivering ecosystem services, sequestering carbon, and reducing and/or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions. 

Rural Jobs: A Big Reason Midwest Should Love Clean Energy

By Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News

Wind turbines have become a familiar part of the landscape in the rural Midwest, and with them have come jobs, income for farmers and tax revenue for communities. They’re one sign of how the clean energy transition is helping to transform areas that sometimes struggle to attract jobs and investment.

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council shows the extent to which clean energy is contributing jobs to the rural economies of 12 Midwestern states. It also reflects what the rural Midwest stands to lose from Trump administration actions that harm clean energy, such as its recent call to eliminate subsidies for renewable energy, its tariffs on solar energy equipment, and its plan to weaken the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. The authors say the numbers underscore the need in the Midwest for government policies that are supportive of clean energy instead. Read more here.

Dan Gearino covers the U.S. Midwest, part of Inside Climate News’ National Environment Reporting Network. His coverage deals with the business side of the clean-energy transition, and he writes Inside Climate News’ Clean Economy Weekly Newsletter.

Image: Pixabay / Public Domain

RESOURCES: SOLAR & WIND ENERGY JOBS

NRDC Report: Replacing Coal with Renewables and Energy Efficiency Can Lead U.S. to Cleaner Future

Press release excerpt

“The shift away from coal, and the ongoing retirement of aging coal plants, presents our country with an historic opportunity,” said Starla Yeh, the report’s co-author and a senior policy analyst in NRDC’s Climate and Clean Air Program. “The U.S. is perfectly positioned to lead a global transition to clean energy, modernize its electricity grid, enlist tens of thousands of Americans in new efficiency and clean energy jobs—and help protect the planet from climate devastation.”

Even Robert Murray, CEO of the largest U.S. private coal miner, said earlier this year that coal employment “can’t be brought back to where it was before the election of Barack Obama.” And Brian Corbett, spokesman for DTE Energy which provides electricity to several million customers in Michigan, has said: “Many of our coal plants are aging and need to be replaced with cleaner, modern generating technologies, which is what our customers are asking of us and we plan to continue working to achieve these goals.” Read the entire release here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, NRDC lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment.

Why Should Only the Wealthy Get Solar Panels?

By Gillian B, White, The Atlantic

Solar panels are seen in the Palm Springs area

WASHINGTON, D.C.—For homeowners and renters, drawing energy from solar panels on their roofs can be very cost-effective: Some estimates put monthly electric-bill savings between 10 and 30 percent, and on top of that, households that install solar systems can get 30 percent of the cost as a tax credit. But for many, installing solar panels is simply not within reach: Setting up such systems can cost tens of thousands of dollars, which means that their use—and subsequent savings—are predominantly enjoyed by wealthy households. That’s why, as Washington, D.C., moves forward with its clean-energy plan—which would have at least half the city’s power coming from renewable sources by 2032—it is doing so with an eye on inequality. The city has mandated that a portion of the money set aside for solar initiatives—just under one-third—target low-income neighborhoods. Continue reading.

Photo: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters. Solar installation in the Palm Springs area, California

RELATED READING
FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Announces Clean Energy Savings for All Americans Initiative
A PV Panel On Every Roof,
William S. Becker, Executive Director, Presidential Climate Action Project, Huffington Post Blog

ADDITIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY / ENERGY EFFICIENCY NEWS
Minnesota Power Seeks Proposals for Large-Scale Wind, Solar Energy, and Customer-Driven Resources, Business Wire
A new crop is now growing in Idaho: Solar energy, Idaho Statesman
Highlights:
Idaho’s first commercial solar farm has just been built south of Boise
Five other solar farms in Southeast Idaho are are set to be completed this year
Idaho Power is proposing a community solar project in Southeast Boise
Renewable Energy Is Key to Fighting Climate Change, Natural Resources Defense Council
New program helps hospitals advance solar beyond their campuses, Midwest Energy News
5 Common Myths About Residential Solar, Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
In Texas, 1 company is making rooftop solar work without net mtering, Utility Dive
SEIA Releases New Guide to Land Leases for Solar
US moves up in ACEEE world efficiency rankings, but still plenty of room for improvement: The U.S. is ranked #8 in the ACEEE rankings, up from #13 two years ago, Utility Dive

Here comes the sun: US solar power market hits all-time high

By Matt Weiser, Guardian

Guardian article

The US solar industry expects to install 14.5 gigawatts of solar power in 2016, a 94% increase over the record 7.5 gigawatts last year, according to a new market report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. Revenues from solar installations also increased 21% from 2014 to more than $22bn in 2015. For the first time, more solar systems came online than natural gas power plants – the top source of electricity in the US – in 2015, as measured in megawatts, said Justin Baca, vice president of markets and research at the Solar Energy Industries Association. This year, new solar is expected to surpass installations of all other sources, said the US Energy Information Administration. Continue reading. 

Photograph: Eric Kruzewski for the Guardian

MORE RENEABLE ENERGY NEWS
Real estate values increase near wind farm, Colorado assessor finds, Utility Dive
Driving the Electric Vehicle Market in Michigan, Natural Resources Defense Council
3-month-old sheep manage vegetation at a Wisconsin electric cooperative’s 2800-solar-panel installation, WEAU News  
Wineries Soak Up the Sun with More Solar Power, Inside Energy
Report: Solar Energy in California Has Grown Dramatically Over 5 Years. Morning Consult.
Solar energy generation in California increased 1,378 percent between 2009 and 2014, according to a report released by the California-oriented policy group Next 10 on Wednesday.
The Renewable Energy Future Emerges? Integration of Solar Energy, Battery Storage and Electric Vehicles, Global Research. Whether or not Tesla’s corporate reorganization proceeds, this is the model for a global renewable energy company with a comprehensive and compatible product line.
Solar energy MYTHS, Tumbler Ridge News

Wind and Solar Power: Transforming the Grid with Clean Energy – Reliably – Every Day

by John Moore, Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Blog

Despite years of successful experience, dozens of studies, and increasing utility support for clean energy, urban myth holds that electricity from renewable energy is unreliable. Yet over 75,000 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar power have been integrated, reliably, into the nation’s electric grid to date. That’s enough electricity to supply 17.9 million homes.

And, as a new NRDC fact sheet published today illustrates, the electric grid can handle much higher levels of zero-carbon wind and solar power, far more than what’s necessary to achieve the relatively modest carbon emission reductions in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to limit pollution from existing power plants. But first, a little background on how our nation’s electric system works.

Click here to continue reading.