Tag Archives: President-Elect Joe Biden

Solar Market Forges Ahead in Q3 as Residential Installations Recover and Utility-Scale Pipeline Grows

SEIA News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. and HOUSTON, TX — U.S. solar companies installed 3.8 gigawatts (GW) of new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in Q3 2020, a 9% increase from Q2 installations as the industry experienced a recovery from the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the U.S. Solar Market Insight Q4 2020 report, released today by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie, solar accounts for 43% of all new electric generating capacity additions through Q3 2020, more than any other electricity source. The report projects a record 19 GW of new solar capacity installations in 2020, representing 43% year-over-year growth from 2019. Continue reading here.

US Large-Scale Solar On Track for a Record 2020, Greentech Media
New Solar Market Insight report shows that, coronavirus-related hiccups aside, the utility-scale solar sector is set for growth.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

SOLAR SCHOOLS

21 Virginia Schools Now Using Solar to Lower Carbon Footprint, by Emily Holbrook, Environment + Energy Leader. Twenty-one schools across Virginia are reducing their carbon footprints by powering their operations with solar energy through a partnership between BrightSuite Solar, a subsidiary of Dominion Energy, and Sun Tribe. This partnership brings together two of Virginia’s leading renewable energy companies and their expertise in financing and installation to help school divisions meet their clean energy goals.

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA PAPER

 

Moving Forward Together: A transpartisan agenda to rebuild trust and tackle America’s biggest challenges

This paper outlines 12 areas of policy where the potential exists for real reforms that bridge the partisan divide and restore Americans’ faith and trust in one another and in their government.

 

EDF REPORT

Climate Risk In The Electricity Sector: Legal Obligations to Advance Climate Resilience Planning by Electric Utilities, by the Environmental Defense Fund and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School.

Authors: Romany M. Webb, Michael Panfil and Sarah Ladin

This paper explores two legal doctrines, public utility law and tort law, which we argue obligate electric utilities to plan for the impacts of climate change on their assets and operations. Public utility law requires electric utilities to meet, among other things, prudent investment and reliability standards. Tort law establishes a duty of care that obligates electric utilities to, among other things, avoid foreseeable harm when performing acts that could injure others. We argue that, as climate science becomes more precise and predictive, these legal standards take on new meaning and require electric utilities to engage in climate resilience planning. Read a two-page summary here.

Additional Recommended Reading: Why Electric Utilities Must Engage In Climate Resilience Planning, Climate Law Blog, Sabin Center For Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School

Could a Michigan green bank offer a blueprint for Biden’s green recovery?

By Tom Perkins, Energy News Network

As President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team prepares its green economic recovery plan, a Michigan clean energy finance program could provide a bipartisan model for how to spur energy savings and job growth. Biden has already proposed a national green bank as part of his $2 trillion plan to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of the century. The initiative would provide capital to help finance projects such as rooftop solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, weatherization and building efficiency upgrades. Similar programs exist in about a dozen states, and among the oldest and most effective is Michigan Saves. As President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team prepares its green economic recovery plan, a Michigan clean energy finance program could provide a bipartisan model for how to spur energy savings and job growth. Continue reading here.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

MACRO GRIDS

Report: U.S. trails other countries in building macro grids for moving, sharing electricity, Iowa State University News Service

AMES, Iowa – Countries around the world are well ahead of the United States in planning and building “macro grids” capable of moving electricity from one grid or distant geographic region to another, according to a new report authored by an Iowa State University engineer and a former doctoral student.

RECYCLING OLD WIND TURBINE BLADES

Cement production to use old wind turbine blades after GE inks new deal, CNBC
GE Renewable Energy and Veolia North America (VNA) have signed a “multi-year agreement” to recycle blades removed from onshore wind turbines in the United States. In an announcement Tuesday, GE Renewable Energy said the blades would be shredded at a VNA site in Missouri before being “used as a replacement for coal, sand and clay at cement manufacturing facilities across the U.S.”

REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE

Nestlé digs deeper into regenerative ag, puts $3.6B behind net-zero plan, GreenBiz
Almost one-third of the money that Nestlé intends to invest will be dedicated to cultivating regenerative agricultural practices that improve soil health and reduce dependence on synthetic fertilizer across 500,000-plus farms from which Nestlé sources ingredients. Nestlé intends to pay those farmers, as well as 150,000 other ingredient suppliers, a premium for adopting these techniques in a verifiable way.

Next Era’s Bet on Renewable Energy Was a Winner All Along

By Kyle Stock, Bloomberg

NextEra’s wind and solar farms, now scattered across about half the U.S., produce enough juice to power Greece. The company has plans to nearly double its renewable capacity — enough turbines and panels — to power 11 million homes. That’s about 10 percent of the country. From there, the next 10% should come far cheaper. Read more here.

Previously Posted: 5 Major US Utilities That Haven’t Promised to Fully Decarbonize: Some of the holdouts will surprise you, by Julian Specter, Greentech Media

Photo: NextEra built Nebraska’s 5-megawatt solar array on 35 acres east of Fort Calhoun, which became operational in late December of 2019. NextEra contracted with OPPD to sell the power it produces to the utility for at least 20 years. See: Here comes the sun: OPPD awards contract for community solar, The Wire

More On NextEra & Nebraska

About Power Purchase Agreements

Solar Power Purchase Agreements, Solar Energy Industries Association 
A solar power purchase agreement (PPA) is a financial agreement where a developer arranges for the design, permitting, financing and installation of a solar energy system on a customer’s property at little to no cost. 

TRANSMISSION

Dynamic Line Rating: Expanding Transmission Grid Capacity for Clean Energy, by Jeff St. John, Greentech Media

Renewable energy projects are “awaiting interconnections because of the inefficiency of the transmission we have,” Jon Wellinghoff, FERC chairman from 2009 to 2013 and CEO of Grid Policy, told GTM. “If we start providing developers with incentives to improve that efficiency, we’ll see interconnections will happen much more quickly, more smoothly, and at a much lower cost.”  While President-elect Joe Biden’s most aggressive clean energy plans may face roadblocks from Republicans in Congress, transmission development could be a realm where federal policymakers could align, [Hudson Gilmer, CEO of DLR provider LineVision] noted. “Modernizing our grid, especially using advanced technologies, is an area that both sides of the aisle can agree on.” 

NATIONAL & LOCAL SOLAR INFORMATION

Solar Jobs, Solar Installations, & Homes Powered by Solar in Top 10 US Solar States, by Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica

In October, I published reports on the top US solar states per capita, the top US solar states as a percentage of electricity, and the top US states in terms of total installed solar power capacity. Based on that first ranking system, I’m going a bit broader and looking at some more solar stats.

Local Resource: Solar Energy Generation In Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy

DOE FUNDS STUDY ON CO-LOCATING SOLAR & POLLINATOR HABITATS

UIC receives $1.8M from DOE to study effects of pollinator habitats at solar energy facilities, by the University of Illinois at Chicago, Newswise

The three-year project, “Evaluation of Economic, Ecological, and Performance Impacts of Co-Located Pollinator Plantings at Large-Scale Solar Installations” will examine the economic, ecological and performance impacts of pollinator habitats co-located at five large-scale solar photovoltaic facilities in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.


LEGO’S CARBON REDUCTION GOALS

The LEGO Group’s carbon goal approved by Science Based Targets initiative, WebWire

The LEGO Group has committed to reducing its absolute carbon emissions by 37% by 2032 to ensure the company plays its part in limiting the effects of climate change1. The target has been approved by the Science Based Target initiative as consistent with levels required to keep global warming to below 1.5°C, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement.

About The Science Based Targets Initiative
The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The SBTi defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting and independently assesses companies’ targets. More information can be found here.

RE100 Member
Since 2012 the LEGO Group has invested approximately $890 million in offshore wind power. In May 2017 the company joined RE100 and achieved its ambition to balance 100% of its electricity use with energy from renewable sources. RE100 members include over 270 of the world’s most influential businesses.

GLOBAL IMPACT INVESTING

The unglamorous approach to impact investing in energy, PV Magazine article contributed by David Riester, a partner at Lacuna Sustainable Investments

Even the most cynical among us (rest assured I will have my moments herein) must be heartened by the near $1 trillion dedicated across the globe to “double-bottom line” investments, especially considering that ten years ago, using the same methodology, the pool of capital was $50 billion. Yet, as I stare at a press release for the twelfth ESG focused “SPAC”, I wonder: is the impact investment community directing its energy sector allocation optimally? The coming pages will touch upon 1.) Where the money is going now, 2.) Where it should go, and 3.) Why it isn’t going there.

special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) is a company with no commercial operations that is formed strictly to raise capital through an initial public offering (IPO) for the purpose of acquiring an existing company. – Investopedia

VEHICLE-TO-GRID CHARGING

Vermont’s Green Mountain Power deploys vehicle-to-grid charger, by Paul Ciampoli, American Public Power Association

Vermont power company Green Mountain Power (GMP) has successfully deployed what it says is a first-of-its kind vehicle-to-grid charger to reduce energy use on the grid during peak demand.

DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGNS

Solar Energy is Hitting a Growth Spurt. So Is The Disinformation Around It, Texas Observer
Disinformation about renewable energy isn’t new. For decades, fossil fuel companies and conservative think tanks have painted wind turbines as a bird-killing, unreliable, and property-value damaging source of energy. “We’re starting to see the same forces shift over, focusing on solar farms,” says Dave Anderson, a researcher with the Energy and Policy Institute who tracks fossil-fuel-funded disinformation about renewable energy. 

New Offshore Wind Turbine Can Power a Home for a Day in Just 7 Seconds

By John Rogers, Senior Energy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists

The first large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States may use the largest wind turbine in the world. Here are a few ways to think about what all that might mean. The developers of the Vineyard Wind project off Massachusetts have just announced that they’ll be using GE wind turbines—specifically, the GE Haliade-X. That turbine recently got a capacity upgrade, from a world-leading 12 megawatts (MW) to a world-leading-by-even-more 13 MW. Those developments got me thinking about both the turbine and the project. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

President-Elect Biden Must Prioritize Coal Communities—and Here’s How, by Jeremy Richardson, Senior Energy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists

CIVILIAN CLIMATE CORPS

The Energy 202: Young people want to do something about climate change. Biden may have an answer, by Dino Grandoni, with Alexandra Ellerbeck, Washington Post

During the campaign, Biden called for mobilizing “the next generation of conservation and resilience workers through a Civilian Climate Corps.” Now Biden’s allies are beginning to think about what exactly such a program will look like as he prepares to take office next month.

GTM’S POLITICAL CLIMATE PODCAST

‘The Landscape Has Shifted’: Neil Chatterjee on FERC’s Role in the Energy Transition, by Julia Pyper, Greentech Media


In this episode of Political Climate, we speak to FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee about several of the agency’s recent rulemakings, past controversies and his outlook for the future of U.S. energy policy in today’s shifting political landscape.

 

GREEN BANKS

Green bank advocates hope Biden win can help reinvigorate idea in Minnesota, by Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

The coalition suggested that a bank with $100 million in capital could create as many as 15,000 jobs in Minnesota. Fifteen green banks operate in 12 states and have financed $5 billion in energy investments, returning more than $3.60 for every $1 spent, the report says. Most green banks operate on the coasts, with Michigan Saves being the only one in the Midwest. Ohio and Missouri have begun exploring the concept.

Coalition for Green Capital Report:  A Green Recovery For Minnesota: Job Creation, Environmental Justice, and Clean Energy

GOOGLE

Google calls for more RTOs, designs ‘intelligent platform’ to meet 24/7 clean energy goal, by Emma Penrod, Utility Dive

Achieving Google’s new 24/7 clean energy goal will require both the adoption of new technologies, and new purchasing options, the company’s head of global energy markets and policy said Thursday on a National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) panel. Eighty percent of offsite corporate procurement takes place in regions with access to competitive wholesale markets, according to Bryn Baker, director of policy innovation at the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance.

Previously Posted

SELLING ENERGY EFFICIENCY + SOLAR AS A PACKAGE

POWERHOME SOLAR Named Silver Honoree In Inc.’s Best In Business Awards, PR Newswire
POWERHOME SOLAR is an energy efficiency company that provides high-quality American-made solar panels as part of a complete energy-savings package for residential customers. The company launched in 2014 in Mooresville, N.C., and today has nearly 1,700 employees, including a commercial division. Operating in 10 states, it is ranked No. 255 on the 2020 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America — the third time in four years that the company has made the top 300 on this prestigious list. 

ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers rely on to make well-informed decisions. Click here to find ways to save at home.

PV RECYCLING – AN ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

Solar panel recycling in the US — a looming issue that could harm industry growth and reputation, PV Magazine

According to a 2016 report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the economic benefits of a U.S. circular economy could be around $135.3 million in 2020, $1.4 billion by 2030, and $10.1 billion by 2050. “Economic multipliers would significantly increase these amounts,” said Vanderhoof.

LETTER TO EV BUYERS

Letter to a Friend Buying an Electric Car, by Joe Wachunas, CleanTechnica
Two friends recently bought electric cars for their families after thinking about it for a long time. Beyond wanting to congratulate them, and click my heels together like Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain, I felt the need to describe, in detail, just how big a deal this EV purchase is, beyond platitudes like “EVs are so amazing for the world.” So I wrote them a letter.

About Joe Wachunas
Joe Wachunas lives in Portland, Oregon, and works for the nonprofit Forth, which promotes electric transportation. He is also involved with Electrify Now because he believes that electrifying everything, from transportation to homes, is the quickest path to an equitable, clean energy future. And of course, Joe and his family live in an all-electric home and drive an EV.

Twelve Kansas Cooperatives Partner to Invest in Solar Energy

By Michael Bates, Solar Industry

Using the sixth cooperative principle of cooperation among cooperatives, 12 cooperatives in Kansas are joining together to make a small investment for the next 25 years – or more – in solar energy. Participating electric cooperatives will be able to procure low-up-front cost solar energy to serve their members through the Kansas Cooperative Sun Power Program and reduce their peak demand. Continue reading here.

Community-Scale / Utility-Scale Solar, Nebraskans for Solar 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

HOME ENERGY STORAGE

Sonnen Launches ‘Much More Accessible’ Battery for Home Backup and Grid Services, Greentech Media

The sonnenCore is priced to compete with rivals like Tesla, LG Chem and Enphase, and to tap emerging grid services opportunities.The Germany-based companyacquired by oil major Shell in 2019, designed its sonnenCore system to deliver daily cycling for grid services as well as backup power. It comes with capacity of 5 kilowatts/10 kilowatt-hours with a price point of $9,500.

FEATURED NATIONAL SOLAR INSTALLATION

High school student gets solar industry partners to donate full PV system to a New Jersey food pantry, Solar Builder

The Flemington Area Food Pantry, serving Hunterdon County, N.J., celebrated and unveiled their brand new solar array installation this week — a project was made possible by a collaborative donation effort among notable solar industry leaders and community volunteers, each supplying their individual components. Among all of the parties who contributed to make the installation a reality, the pantry has one in particular to thank– North Hunterdon High School student, Evan Kuster.

FROM OPPD’S NOVEMBER OUTLETS NEWSLETTER

OPPD evaluating potential sources for solar generation

Five consequences of a Biden administration for US energy

Wood Mackenzie News Release

Joe Biden offered American voters a radically different vision of energy policy from President Donald Trump, focused on addressing the threat of climate change. He will enter the White House with a goal of setting the US on course for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and will take the US back into the Paris climate agreement. But there is a good chance the Republicans will retain control of the Senate, limiting how much of his agenda he will be able to deliver.

With the federal government constrained, state policies will continue to be important. The key influences shaping the US energy industry are likely to be market forces, just as they were under Barack Obama and Donald Trump. But the change of federal government will have some significant consequences. According to Ed Crooks, Wood Mackenzie Vice-Chair – Americas, these are some of the most important: Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES IN PV RECYCLING & REPURPOSING

From design to recycling, opportunities abound to make solar more circular, by Myisha Majumder, GreenBiz

“The IEA predicts that total renewable based power capacity will grow by 50% between now and 2024, and 60% of that will be solar. By 2030, with that much PV, there’s a potential of something like 8 million tons of potential PV waste,” [Evelyn Butler of Solar Energy Industry Association] said. It’s also a global opportunity of about “$450 million in raw material recovery that could be leveraged for new industries or employment.” The challenge is making PV waste recycling and repurposing more efficient than it is in order to move towards a more circular economy.

SOLAR POWER WORLD VIDEO FOR INSTALLERS

Solar Basics: How to decommission a solar array, Solar Power World
Solar Basics is a video series by Solar Power World created to help installers learn about the business, tools and tricks of the solar power trade. Solar arrays can stay online for decades, but don’t last forever. Learn about all the steps to tear down and decommission a solar system in this Solar Basics video, based on the story: How to decommission a solar array, and why it’s important to plan ahead.

FEATURED NATIONAL SOLAR PROJECT

Yerkes Observatory gets current with solar energy system, Lake Geneva Regional News


WILLIAMS BAY — After more than a hundred years of scientific exploration, Yerkes Observatory is going solar. Solar panels are scheduled to be installed next year on the flat portions of the Yerkes Observatory roof, adding modern renewable energy methods to the 123-year-old building. RENEW Wisconsin’s Solar for Good Program has awarded more than $190,000 in cash and materials to 17 nonprofit organizations throughout the state for installing solar energy systems.

FEATURED NEBRASKA SOLAR INSTALLATION

Greisen Farms in Platte Center

Project: 25-kilowatt photovoltaic system with 340-watt monocrystalline solar panels
Installer: Renewable Solar LLC, owned by Anthony Kush

See Solar Examples for more photos and descriptions of solar-powered farms in Nebraska.

SOLAR INCENTIVES

 

Links to Incentives, Depreciation & Net Metering Information

 

FEATURED ENERGY TRANSITION BOOK

Reckoning in Coal Country, by Mason Adams and Dustin Bleizeffer

From the hills of West Virginia to the wind-swept prairies of Campbell County, Wyoming, journalists Mason Adams and Dustin Bleizeffer explore the cultural, political and economic obstacles faced by rural communities hoping to survive and thrive in a world without coal.

Appalachia and Wyoming are dramatically different places, but they also offer each other cautionary tales, success stories, and reasons for resilience and hope. While the story continues to unfold, Reckoning in Coal Country provides a snapshot of these communities at a critical inflection point in American history.

Produced in partnership with WyoFile and with funding from the Just Transition Fund,

KEYSTONE XL

Keystone pipeline developer plans to sue to get construction permit in Nebraska county, Omaha World-Herald

LINCOLN — The developer of the Keystone XL pipeline is planning to go to court to obtain a construction permit from a rural Nebraska county. A company spokeswoman made the comment after the five-member Holt County Board of Adjustment voted Thursday afternoon to deny a permit to TC Energy, formerly TransCanada, until the pipeline company agreed to comply with 19 conditions. The conditions included the establishment of an escrow account to cover any clean-up costs from possible future pipeline leaks and pay for the removal of the pipeline and reclamation of the land. The board also wanted TC Energy to bypass any fields that had underground drainage tiles and provide additional tests to detect any slow leaks from the crude oil pipeline.