Tag Archives: Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)

OPPD proposes changes that focus on large-scale utility solar

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire

OPPD President and CEO Tim Burke said the new generation, the details of which would become clearer after requests for proposal are answered, is needed in light of a changing generation and customer landscape.

At their November meeting, the board could approve a final recommendation and authorize management to negotiate and enter into contracts. The stakeholder process, where customers can provide feedback on the proposal, will be open until Nov. 8 at oppdlistens.com.
Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading & Viewing 

Previously Posted 

  • OPPD Laying The Groundwork For A Bright Energy Future, OPPD News Release, June 20, 2019
    Initiatives will include a long-term study to address the long-term balance of load generation, along with decarbonization options for the district’s generation mix. Vice President Mary Fisher spoke to the topic, noting that the energy generation landscape is changing rapidly. Fisher said the drivers are primarily improving renewable technology, and environmental considerations around carbon emissions and climate change, “something our customers clearly care about.”
  • With new board members, Omaha utility making moves toward low-carbon future, Midwest Energy News

Data on Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Renewable Energy Versus Fossil Fuels 

  • An introduction to the state of wind power in the U.S., by Philip Warburg, environmental lawyer and former president of the Conservation Law Foundation. Published by Yale Climate Connections. As a non-carbon-emitting technology, wind power has a big environmental advantage over its leading fossil fuel competitors. Onshore and offshore wind has a life cycle carbon footprint of 20 grams or less of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour. The “cleanest” natural gas power plants – those that use combined cycle technology – produce more than 400 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour. Supercritical coal plants – the least polluting in the industry – generate close to 800 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour.
  • Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Solar Photovoltaics, National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Photovoltaic (PV) solar has a life cycle carbon footprint of 40 grams or less of COequivalent per kilowatt-hour.

Rocky Mountain Institute Study

Related News Story

  • The Stranded Asset Threat to Natural Gas, Greentech Media
    There are $70 billion worth of natural-gas-fired power plants planned in the U.S. through the mid-2020s. But a combination of wind, solar, batteries and demand-side management could threaten up to 90 percent of those investments. New modeling from the Rocky Mountain Institute shows that more than 60 gigawatts of new gas plants are already economically challenged by those technologies. And by the mid-2030s, existing gas plants will be under threat. How severe is the threat? Could we eventually see tens of gigawatts of stranded gas plants? RMI set out to answer that question in two reports on the economics of gas generation and gas pipelines. The tipping point is now, it concludes. 

What are “stranded assets?”

Stranded assets are now generally accepted to be fossil fuel supply and generation resources which, at some time prior to the end of their economic life (as assumed at the investment decision point), are no longer able to earn an economic return (i.e. meet the company’s internal rate of return), as a result of changes associated with the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Source: Carbon Tracker Initiative

The University of California system is ending its investment in fossil fuels

By Umair Irfan, Vox

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

The University of California system, which educates more than 280,000 students and employs 227,000 faculty and staff, announced late Tuesday it is divesting from fossil fuels. It’s the single largest action to date in the growing movement of institutions withdrawing their financial stakes in the industry that’s the principal driver of climate change. “We believe hanging on to fossil fuel assets is a financial risk,” wrote Jagdeep Singh Bachher, the UC’s chief investment officer, and Richard Sherman, chair of the UC Board of Regents’ Investments Committee, in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times. By the end of September, the UC’s $70 billion pension fund and $13.4 billion endowment will no longer hold any stakes in companies involved with extracting fossil fuels. Read more here.

Related 

  • Study Warns that Gas Plants Could become Stranded Assets, Microgrid Knowledge
    Utilities, investors and regulators should stop the rush to natural gas and choose clean energy portfolios (CEP) made up of combinations of solar, wind, storage, efficiency and demand response, warns a new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). If they don’t, many gas plants will become stranded assets, raising the specter that ratepayers will have to pay for them, said Chaz Teplin, a manager in RMI’s electricity practice. “We’re hoping that regulators, utilities and investors think really hard about whether new gas plants are wise investments,” said Teplin.
  • Previously Posted: The growing concern over stranded assets, GreenBiz

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

MORE ON CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT

THE TERRATON PROJECT

Mission: Remove a trillion tons of carbon from the atmosphere, GreenBiz
The Terraton Initiative embodies one specific goal — to remove 1 trillion metric tons of carbon from Earth’s atmosphere. Indigo Agriculture, an agricultural technology company based in Massachusetts, founded and runs the project.

GLOBAL ENERGY STORAGE REPORTS

Nothing standing in the way of energy storage’s ‘explosive growth’: Navigant, Utility Dive
“Nothing really does seem to be standing in the way of its explosive growth,” Ricardo Rodriguez, research analyst for distributed energy storage at Navigant Research, told Utility Dive. The market research company in its latest report identified close to 2,100 energy storage projects globally. And international storage markets are anticipated to grow exponentially over the next decade, a second report from Rethink Technology Research found.

Consulting firm sees U.S. wind market adding 14.6 GW in 2020

By Paul Ciampoli, American Public Power Association

The U.S. wind market will add 14.6 gigawatts of capacity in 2020, according to Wood Mackenzie’s latest North America wind power outlook. The record-setting mark underlines the strength of the 23 GW pipeline Wood Mackenzie has identified as currently under construction or contracted for commercial operation in 2020, the consulting firm said on Sept. 12. The phase out of the Production Tax Credit beginning in 2021 has developers rushing to complete projects in 2020, driving major bottlenecks in both logistics and interconnection queues, Wood Mackenzie said. Continue reading here.

How Much Power is 1 Gigawatt?,
 U.S. Department of Energy

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NEW RMI REPORT

A New Economic Reality: Renewable Energy Is Now Cost-Competitive With New Gas, Solar Industry

The economics guiding U.S. investments in electricity generation have reached a historic tipping point: Combinations of solar, wind, storage, efficiency and demand response are now less expensive than most proposed gas power plant projects, claims new research from independent nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). According to an RMI report, The Growing Market for Clean Energy Portfolios, portfolios of these clean energy resources can provide the same energy and reliability services as traditional gas power plants; the difference is they cost less.

EV NEWS

Why building owners should take charge of EV adoption, GreenBiz
The electric vehicle revolution is well underway. According to Bloomberg NEF’s “Electric Vehicle Outlook 2019” report, United States-based EV sales will grow from 2 percent in 2019 to nearly 60 percent in 2040. And more electric cars were sold in the first half of 2018 than all of 2016. Unlike conventional vehicles that refuel only at gasoline stations, EVs charge at many locations, such as at home, at work or in public spaces. But what does EV growth mean for commercial building owners?

INSPIRING EXAMPLE: MIDWEST NET-ZERO ENERGY SCHOOL

Local school becomes only net zero school building in Midwest, WLWT

ENERGY GANG PODCAST

How America Thwarted a Giant ‘Extension Cord’ for Renewables, Greentech Media
Our guest this week is Russell Gold, author of a new book, “Superpower,” about wind energy pioneer Michael Skelly’s attempt to build one of the most ambitious energy infrastructure projects in recent history — and how he faced nearly every obstacle imaginable. What does Skelly’s journey tell us about America’s diminishing ability to do great things?

JOBS ANNOUNCEMENT

QuickBOLT is hiring salespeople in Midwest and East Coast markets, Solar Power World

Banks Are Finally Starting to Account for Climate Change Risk

By Saijel Kishan, Bloomberg/Quint

Behind the scenes at some of the world’s biggest banks, small teams of employees are busy trying to calculate what might prove to be one of the most important numbers any financial institution will ever disclose: how much the assets on their balance sheet are contributing to global warming. Read more here.

Flickr Photo

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

GLOBAL NEWS

Southwest Power Pool moves to boost reliability, storage amid CEO resignation

By Julia Gheorghiu, Utility Dive

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) Board of Directors on Monday approved 21 stakeholder policy recommendations on critical issues, such as enhancing reliability and cost allocation for new transmission. The SPP’s Holistic Integrated Tariff Team (HITT), made up of 15 stakeholders, offered recommendations to prepare the regional transmission operator for the grid of the future, including improvements to the wholesale energy market.

The transmission operator’s generation portfolio has changed dramatically over the past decade, with 50 GW of wind, 28.5 GW of solar and 5.7 GW of storage in its interconnection queue as of June. Stakeholder recommendations focused on this reality, asking SPP staff to create a white paper on energy storage and the future impacts of a battery storage buildout. Read more here.

MORE NEWS, OPINION & RESOURCES

How to view the purchase of wind power by Vail Resorts

By Allen Best, Mountain Town News

By any measure, the Vail Resorts power play announced in November was big. Vail’s virtual power-purchase agreement will give it 310,000-megawatt-hours of production annually from the Plum Creek Wind Project near Wayne, Neb., beginning in 2020. That’s sufficient, says the company, to meet the company’s projected fiscal year 2019 electricity use at its North American operations. With this, the company will have achieved 100 percent net-zero emissions a decade ahead of its 2030 goal.

Others in corporate America have been hurrying to make the same claim. The Rocky Mountain Institute, an energy think tank, reported in October that corporate purchases were expected to surpass five gigawatts of power in 2018. That’s roughly a 1,600 percent increase from 2013. Among the big buyers: Facebook, AT&T, Walmart, and Microsoft. Continue reading here.

This story, with slightly different text, was originally published in the January-February issue of Ski Area Management.

About the Author
Allen Best is a Colorado-based journalist. He publishes a subscription-based e-zine called Mountain Town News, portions of which are published on the website of the same name, and also writes for a variety of newspapers and magazines. View all posts by Allen Best.

About Vail Resorts Corporation

Lincoln Clean Energy photo of the partially-completed Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County, Nebraska. Once operational, the project will create high-paying local jobs and will result in over $3 million in local community benefits annually in the Wayne County area. This includes much needed property tax revenues, with some of the largest beneficiaries being the Norfolk and Winside school districts.

Additional Recommended Reading
Transforming Electric Supply for Small-Town and Rural America, Microgrid Knowledge
The Rocky Mountain Institute’s Kevin Brehm, Madeline Tyson and Jeff Waller offer takeways on how rural electric cooperatives are transforming electric supply with distributed energy resources (DERs).

Bloomberg-Backed Cities Initiative Aims to Deploy 2.8GW of Renewables by 2021

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

The Rocky Mountain Institute, World Resources Institute and the city of Minneapolis on Tuesday announced the formation of a new group designed to help municipalities procure more renewables in the next two years. The program is based on RMI’s Business Renewables Center, which helps corporations buy more renewables.

The new program, called the American Cities Climate Challenge Renewables Accelerator, targets 2.8 gigawatts of renewables being deployed by cities nationwide by 2021. It’s part of a greater $70 million initiative spearheaded by Bloomberg Philanthropies to encourage climate action at the municipal level. Organizers say the programs are another attempt to provide local leadership in the wake of federal inaction on climate change. Read more here.

American Cities Climate Challenge Renewables Accelerator

Additional Recommended Reading
Effort is launched to help cities procure more than 2.8 GW of renewables, American Public
Power Association. Several public power cities were winners in American Cities Climate Challenge.

Push for renewables vexes Western power supplier

By Keriann Conroy, Perspective, High Country News

Colorado’s largest member-owned generation and transmission provider may be in trouble.
Tri-State Generation and Transmission, which provides wholesale electricity to rural
cooperatives in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nebraska, is facing increasing pressure to let go of some of its contracts and to improve its renewable portfolio. But it appears unable to change fast enough to keep up with the times.

Most of Tri-State’s power is generated from coal- and gas-fired plants or large hydroelectric dams, but it is now facing regulatory hassles and the potential exodus of customers. Rural
“distribution” cooperatives are currently waiting to see how much it would cost them to exit their contracts, while Colorado moves toward regulations requiring more renewables.
Read more here.

Photo Credit: Missy Kennedy/Flickr

Keriann Conroy is a graduate student at Western Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado, studying democratic practices and sustainability.

Previously Posted News Stories & RMI Report

Also of Potential Interest

Bloomberg, Cox Enterprises, Gap Inc, Salesforce and Workday Close All-New Renewable Energy Aggregation Deal

Bloomberg News Release

Excerpt: This group of companies, coming together as the Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group, is the first example of companies aggregating similar, relatively small amounts of renewable energy demand to collaboratively enter into a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA), collectively acting as the anchor tenant for a large offsite renewable energy project. The unprecedented coordination between five international businesses lays the groundwork for other corporates to procure renewable energy cooperatively, maximizing value and reducing risk. Read more here.

Flickr Photo

MORE ABOUT RENEWABLE ENERGY AGGREGATION 

LevelTen Energy YouTube Video: Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group Case Study

 This is the first example of companies aggregating similar, relatively small amounts of renewable energy demand to collaboratively enter into a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA), collectively acting as the anchor tenant for a large offsite renewable energy project.

RENEWABLE ENERGY BUYERS ALLIANCE

The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) is led by four major nonprofit organizations that have brought together their expertise in transforming energy markets.

Collectively, REBA works with more than 100 large buyers that represent enormous demand for renewable power. REBA’s goal is to help corporations purchase 60GW of renewable energy in the US by 2025.

REBA Initiatives

U.S. Renewable Energy Map – Click image to link to it. 

Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement Continues to Break Records in 2018

Rocky Mountain Institute News Release

Corporate renewable energy procurement has set a new single-year record for new capacity of announced wind and solar deals in 2018, the Business Renewables Center (BRC), a membership program at Rocky Mountain Institute, reported in its updated corporate-backed renewable energy procurement deal tracker.

“The record number of companies successfully pursuing renewable energy this year sends a clear signal that environmental sustainability is a serious priority for business leaders across the economy,” said Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute. “These companies aren’t going to wait for public policy on climate issues to catch up—they are taking the initiative to
accelerate toward a prosperous, low carbon economy.” Read more here.

RMI REPORT
RMI offers playbook to support non-wires projects, American Public Power Association

IN NEBRASKA / THE MIDWEST

One for the Books: The Biggest Corporate Renewable Deals of 2018,
Energy Manager Today. Facebook: The BRC found that the social media giant signed 20 renewable contracts totaling 1,894.5 MW in 2018, which tops all the corporate deals the BRC tracked in 2016 put together. Those deals included a power purchase agreement with Enel Green Power North America in March for energy from Enel’s planned 320 MW
Rattlesnake Creek wind farm in Nebraska.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Wind and Solar Are Revitalizing Rural America, by Grant Smith, Senior Energy Policy Advisor, Environmental Working Group
The St Louis Post-Dispatch reports that solar companies are streaming into Illinois and partnering with farmers to lease some of their land for solar projects. But this is not happening only in Illinois. Across the nation, wind and solar investments are revitalizing rural economies, providing a boost to the ups and downs of farm income.

INTERVIEW

Not for lack of ideas: an interview with NREL’s Dr, Peter Green, PV Magazine
In this interview pv magazine talks with the chief research officer at the United States’ foremost clean energy laboratory about the work that NREL has been doing, and what to expect for the
future of electricity and transportation.

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN E-BOOK


Climate Change: Planet Under Pressure
, by Scientific American Editors  $5.99

From increasingly severe storms to collapsing coral reefs to the displacement of Syrian citizens, in this eBook we examine the effects of Earth’s changing climate on weather systems, ecosystems and human habitability and what this means for our future.