Tag Archives: Ohio

West Virginia’s reliance on coal is getting more expensive, and Joe Manchin’s constituents are footing the bill

By Ella Nilsen, CNN

[A report] from West Virginia University’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development [shows] that investing in renewables would cost the state $855 million less through 2040 than continuing to invest in coal.

During the winter months in West Virginia, Felisha Chase pays more for her electricity than she does for her home. “It does feel wrong when your electric bill is more than your mortgage,” Chase told CNN. “Around here the old adage is ‘coal keeps the lights on.’ Anyone struggling to keep their electric on knows it’s more than the lights

Her electricity bill spikes every January, when Chase estimates her electricity usage increases five- or six-fold. In September, she was still paying down a remaining balance of $600 from the winter before — twice the cost of her monthly mortgage payment. Her cumulative bill has gone as high as $1,400. Continue reading here.

Image Credit: Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Your utility: 5 facts about public power

By Laura King-Homan, The Wire

Public power utilities represent 60 percent of the electric utilities in the United States, serving 1 in 7 Americans. Nebraska has 166 public power utilities and cooperatives.

Public power is a unique part of living in Nebraska. The state is the only one in the country where all residents get electricity from public power utilities or cooperatives. This week, Oct. 3-9, is Public Power Week. In recognition, here are a few facts you may not know about your public power utilities.

Public power customers enjoy electricity rates averaging 11.6 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to investor-owned utility customers, who pay an average of 13.2 cents per kilowatt-hour. Nebraska enjoys rates that are even lower, an average of 10.6 cents per kilowatt-hour. Learn more here.

Infographic by the American Public Power Association (APPA)

Also Written by Laura King-Homan
Resolve to be more energy efficient: October tips, The Wire

Additional Recommended Reading

The [annual Energy Efficiency Jobs in America report] comes as lawmakers consider infrastructure and budget reconciliation measures that include billions in funding for efficiency, which experts say could boost the sector’s employment and reduce U.S. carbon emissions. “What I’m seeing in Congress is a growing acceptance … that we have to act,” Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., said at an event introducing the efficiency employment report.

Energy Efficiency Jobs in America  by nonpartisan business group E2 and clean energy nonprofit E4TheFuture

A bipartisan Ohio bill would be a first step to recouping savings, say advocates. But huge losses from House Bill 6 would remain. For Ohio, the MEEA report estimates that Ohioans missed out on roughly $980 million in net benefits for one program year. That figure includes savings on energy bills, as well as things like reduced capacity costs and avoided costs for transmission and distribution. When avoided health impacts and the social costs of carbon are factored in, Ohioans would have saved more than $2 billion for a single program year, according to the analysis.

Since he joined FERC four years ago, Glick has argued the agency isn’t taking a sharp enough look at how gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas facilities affect the climate as well as environmental justice communities, or whether the proposed facilities are even needed. Glick’s letter comes as FERC is considering changing how it reviews natural gas infrastructure under a policy statement set in 1999. The agency launched a review of its natural gas policy in April 2018. After Glick was elevated to chairman last January, he asked for another round of comments from stakeholders on issues like how to evaluate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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.

Rolling blackouts show need for climate action plan

Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board

Specifically, the Legislature should pass Omaha Sen. John Cavanaugh’s LB483, which would direct the University of Nebraska to develop “an evidence-based, data-driven strategic plan to provide methods for adapting to and mitigating the impacts of extreme weather events or climate” that could be considered by the Legislature. Nebraska must develop a plan to seriously address climate change. And it needs to do so as quickly as possible, after several efforts similar to Cavanaugh’s failed to advance in recent years. Read more here.

LB483 – Provide for a climate change study and action plan

Wikimedia Commons Photo: George W. Norris Legislative Chamber, Nebraska State Legislature

POWER A CLEAN FUTURE OHIO COALITION

Ohio refinery city joins coalition to support local clean energy transitions, by Kathiann M. Kowalski, Energy News Network

Ohio’s clean energy policy has moved backward at the state level over the past decade. Various lawmakers have fought against the state’s clean energy standards and have been hostile toward renewable energyespecially wind energy. Allegations of corruption also surfaced last summer around House Bill 6, which gutted the clean energy standards and codified subsidies for certain nuclear and coal plants.

Against that backdrop, various cities and communities in Ohio have taken steps to increase their use of clean energy and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Power a Clean Future Ohio formed last year to expand that progress. Power A Clean Future Ohio 

SECURITIZATION

XCEL ENERGY INITIATIVE

Xcel plans to double its renewable energy generation by 2030. It’ll cost consumers $8 billion to do it, The Colorado Sun

Xcel Energy will spend $8 billion to double its renewable energy generation and storage and add new transmission lines, while closing all of its coal-fired power plants in Colorado by 2040. The initiative, unveiled Wednesday, would reduce Xcel’s carbon emissions in Colorado 85% from 2005 levels by 2030.

NEVADA & OTHER STATES LEADING ON ENERGY STORAGE

Grid-scale batteries, a key player in the future of renewable energy in Nevada, Sierra Nevada Ally
Nevada is one of seven states to adopt an energy storage mandate.

NEW BRATTLE GROUP REPORT

Grid-Enhancing Technologies’ Could Save $5B per Year by Boosting US Renewables Capacity, by Jeff St. John, Greentech Media

The U.S. could double its capacity for new wind and solar power, save billions of dollars and cut millions of tons of carbon-dioxide emissions from its generation fleets if federal incentives can be aligned to deploy a suite of technologies to unlock the full capacity of transmission grids.  So says a new report from The Brattle Group, modeling the benefits of a set ofgrid-enhancing technologies” across the wind-power-rich grids of Kansas and Oklahoma.

According to its analysis, spending about $90 million to implement these technologies could yield a payback in less than a year, with annual power cost savings of about $175 million delivering ongoing benefits for years to come. That’s because the technologies in question can drastically increase the renewable energy capacity of the grid operated by Southwest Power Pool.

BIDEN’S SUPPLY CHAIN EXECUTIVE ORDER 

American Clean Power Association Statement on Supply Chain Executive Order

SUSTAINABLE AVIATION FUELS

Exclusive: U.S. airline CEOs to meet with White House on cutting carbon footprint, Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The chief executives of major U.S. airlines are set to meet virtually with two key White House advisers on Friday about efforts to reduce carbon emissions and use renewable fuels, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.

ENHANCED GEOTHERMAL SYSTEMS

DOE Awards $46 Million for Geothermal Initiative Projects with Potential to Power Millions of U.S. Homes, Department of Energy News Release

“There is enormous untapped potential for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) to provide clean and reliable electricity to power tens of millions of homes across the country,” said Kathleen Hogan, Acting Under Secretary for Science and Energy. “These investments in EGS research support President Biden’s mission to take on the climate crisis by pushing the frontiers of science and engineering and creating jobs in cutting-edge clean energy fields.”

Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) are different from conventional geothermal resources that occur naturally in the U.S. and are geographically limited due to the need for underground heat and fluids. EGS are manmade geothermal reservoirs and can be engineered in most parts of the country, potentially expanding geothermal energy production and transforming the domestic energy portfolio.
Utah FORGE website.

WELLS FARGO NEWS RELEASE

Wells Fargo Surpasses $10 Billion in Renewable Energy Tax-Equity Investments
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Wells Fargo Renewable Energy & Environmental Finance (REEF) today announced it recently surpassed $10 billion in tax-equity investments in the wind, solar, and fuel cell industries. Wells Fargo has invested in more than 500 projects [in 32 states], helping to finance 12% of all wind and solar energy capacity in the U.S. over the past 10 years.

Many States Lead on Energy Efficiency; More Needed

By Lara Ettenson, Natural Resources Defense Council

The annual American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) analysis shows several states adopted energy-saving targets and vehicle or appliance rules last year that will lay the groundwork to scale up efficiency programs, such as insulating buildings or replacing energy-guzzling appliances. However, while some states are making progress, the scorecard also shows there is still much work to do to ensure that the investment in—and benefits of—efficiency are distributed equitably. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

HYBRID PROJECT A FIRST WITHIN SOUTHWEST POWER POOL AREA

A greener, rural-Oklahoma energy grid is generating jobs by the hundreds and revenues by the millions, The Oklahoman

Energy flowing across Oklahoma’s transmission grid turned greener this week. On Wednesday, Western Farmers Electric Cooperative and NextEra Energy Resources flipped a switch activating the first phase of power generation from Skeleton Creek. The Skeleton Creek Project’s combination of wind, solar and energy storage was the first project of its type announced by developers within the Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) 546,000 square mile operational area. 

About Southwest Power Pool
The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) is a regional transmission organization (RTO): a nonprofit corporation mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices on behalf of its members. SPP oversees the bulk electric grid and wholesale power market in the central United States on behalf of a diverse group of utilities and transmission companies in 17 states, [including Nebraska].

Previously Posted

 OHIO’S SOLAR BOOM

Inside Clean Energy: The Solar Boom Arrives in Ohio, by Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News
Right now, Ohio has barely 100 megawatts of utility-scale solar power. By this time next year, it is likely to have more than 400 megawatts. And if every project that has filed papers with state regulators gets built, the total would exceed 5,000 megawatts by the mid-2020s. So what’s going on here?

Ohio No. 2 on federal list of new distributed wind power capacity

By Megan Henry, The Columbus Dispatch

Unlike wind power from wholesale generation where power is sent through transmission lines and substations, distributed wind power is used at or near where it is generated, according to DOE. Iowa had the most new distributed wind capacity installed in 2017 with 63.47 megawatts, according to the report.

Distributed wind systems are connected on the customer side of the meter to meet the onsite load or directly to distribution or micro grids to help grid operation or offset large loads close by, and are possible for approximately 49.5 million residential, commercial or industrial sites, according to an analysis by the DOE. The U.S. wind industry installed more than seven gigawatts of capacity in 2017, according to the report. Read more here.

DISTRIBUTED WIND ENERGY RESOURCES

INCENTIVES

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems and small wind turbines: 30% through 2018 and 2019. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

RURAL ENERGY FOR AMERICA PROGRAM (REAP) GRANTS & LOANS
USDA Seeks Applications for Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants
The deadlines to apply for grants are October 31, 2018, and April 1, 2019. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round. REAP helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption by purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements in their operations.