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.
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
- A Tribe in Northern Minnesota Shows the Country How to Do Community Solar, EcoWatch
Last summer on a reservation in northern Minnesota, students from Leech Lake Tribal College earned their solar installation licenses while they dug, drilled and connected five photovoltaic arrays. The panels shine blue on the plain, reflecting the sky as they generate roughly 235 megawatts of electricity a year, enough to help 100 families pay their energy bills. This is community solar in action. Photo by Ryan James White: Rural Renewable Energy Alliance workers and students and faculty of Leech Lake Tribal College
- SD Local Governments See Payback from Wind Projects, by Lu Nelsen, policy associate at the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, Nebraska, WNAX Radio
- Wild winter weather in Illinois presses the case for microgrid development, Midwest Energy News. As climate change brings more frequent extreme weather to the Midwest, the resiliency case for microgrids improves.
- University of Illinois to open second solar farm, KWQC TV
ALSO IN THE NEWS
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.
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.