Tag Archives: Sierra Club

Coal community leaders release historic platform for national economic transition

Appalachian Voices News Release, June 29, 2020

NATIONWIDE – Today, 80 local, regional, and national organizations and leaders unveiled their National Economic Transition (NET) platform to give federal and national leaders and policymakers the framework for an ambitious national transition program that supports the people and places hit hardest by the changing coal economy.

This NET platform was crafted by local, tribal, and labor leaders living and working in coal communities, along with non-profit sector partners, during a year-long collaboration led by the Just Transition Fund. Amid the sharp decline of the coal sector over the past decade, these community leaders have already developed and implemented local policy solutions that help tackle the climate crisis and spur inclusive, equitable, and sustainable economic growth in places that once relied on coal. Read more here.

Just Transition Fund (JTF)
As the only national philanthropic initiative focused solely on coal community transition, the Just Transition Fund is uniquely positioned to serve as a hub to build, connect, and sustain the transition movement. Based on our experience in the field, we’ve discovered that communities need both investment and technical assistance to advance transition efforts.

Where JTF Works
The Fund focuses on coalfield and power plant communities. Geographic priorities include key states in Appalachia, the West, and the Midwest. The Fund gives preference to states experiencing the largest numbers of plant retirements and to regions that contain both plants and mines.

FINANCIAL STRATEGIES FOR TRANSITIONING FROM COAL TO RENEWABLES

New Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal Plants, North American Windpower
New renewable energy is already cheaper than continuing to operate coal plants in much of the world, according to a recently released report by the Rocky Mountain InstituteCarbon Tracker Initiative and Sierra Club. The report, How to Retire Early: Making Accelerated Coal Phase-Out Feasible and Just, lays out specific financial strategies that utilities and policy makers can use to engineer a faster phase-out of coal in various regions of the world.

NEW GREEN BIZ REPORT & WEBINAR

How Corporations are Managing Risk, Resiliency and Sustainability Report, GreenBiz
Download the report and register for the GreenBiz webcast on July 14th to hear directly from both the research sponsor, NRG Energy, and several participants: How Businesses Can Overcome Barriers to Achieving Climate Goals.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

As much as $125 billion needed by 2030 to support EV growth: Brattle report, American Public Power Association. An investment of between $75 billion and $125 billion in the electric power system will be needed by 2030 to serve 20 million electric vehicles, according to a report by The Brattle Group. There will be 10 to 35 million electric vehicles in the United States by 2030, a steep rise from the 1.5 million electric vehicles on U.S. roads in 2020, Brattle economists estimate. Factors driving the proliferation of electric vehicles include decreasing vehicle and battery costs, an expanding variety of electric vehicle models, more widespread charging infrastructure, as well as favorable federal and state policies and incentives, they say.

A playbook to jumpstart clean energy across all 50 states

Utility Dive article contributed by Mike Kruger,
President & CEO of the Colorado Solar and Storage Association

As we face a likely recession and an economic reset in many places across the country, the clean energy industry has the potential to be a bright spot in what will continue to be challenging times. After we secure the health and safety of our fellow citizens, we must focus on “clean energy to counter the coronavirus crisis,” on the recommendation of Fatih Birol, Executive Director at the International Energy Agency. Doing so will provide immediate jobs for those displaced and cleaner air and cleaner water for all, while making a significant investment in reducing the adverse impacts of climate change. The federal government has passed the CARES Act and the Senate has adjourned until April 20. Now the action is moving to the states. Read more here.

KANSAS SUPREME COURT RULING

Victory for solar as Kansas Supreme Court blocks fixed fee for distributed power, PV Magazine. The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that a fixed fee for distributed solar customers violates state law. Vote Solar and Sierra Club brought the case, with representation from Earthjustice.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

RENEWABLE ENERGY FINANCING & INVESTING

MORE INDUSTRY NEWS STORIES

EV NEWS

GLOBAL RENEWABLE ENERGY

World now has 583.5 GW of operational PV, by Emiliano Bellini, PV Magazine International
The world installed 176 GW of new renewable energy capacity in 2019, according to the latest statistics published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).  Combined clean energy capacity reached 2,536.8 GW at the end of December, with hydropower and wind remaining the largest sources at 1,310.2 GW and 622.7 GW, respectively. Solar installations, including PV and concentrated solar power (CSP), continue to lag slightly behind wind, with a cumulative installed capacity of 586.4 GW. CSP represented 6.27 GW of the total, while grid-connected PV accounted for 580.1 GW. 

EV grant will expand charger access

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire, OPPD Blog

The award for the OPPD projects was nearly $600,000, which is about one-third of the total funds awarded in Nebraska. The grants are based on matching funds. The proposed sites are in North Bend, Blair, Syracuse, Omaha and La Vista. OPPD worked with the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, the Sierra Club and the City of Omaha among others to secure the grants. Those partnerships, along with the proposed locations spread throughout the service territory, were key to securing the grants, said Karisa Vlasek, coordinator of Grants & Stakeholder Outreach at OPPD. Several local city governments and businesses also partnered with OPPD. The Electric Vehicle Charging Rebate program comes out of the Volkswagen settlement fund. Nebraska received $12.25 million in the settlement, administered by the Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy. Read more here.

A list of the electric vehicle charging projects receiving funding through this program is available here: Electric Vehicle Charging Rebate Recipients.

Also Published by The Wire

OPPD debuts new public EV charger, by Laura King-Homan
This week, OPPD debuted a new public charger for electric vehicles (EVs) just outside the utility’s headquarters. A grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) in coordination with the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA) paid for a portion of the charger. OPPD paid the remaining costs. 

NATIONAL INITIATIVE

ChargePoint and NATSO Launch Collaborative to Significantly Expand  EV Charging  Along Nation’s Highways and in Rural Communities, News Release 

ChargePoint, the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network, and NATSO, which represents America’s travel plazas and truckstops, announced a landmark partnership to create a National Highway Charging Collaborative to extend EV charging to every corner of the nation. Over the next decade, the Collaborative will leverage $1 billion in capital to deploy charging at more than 4,000 travel plazas and fuel stops that serve highway travelers and rural communities.

Renewable Energy Prices Hit Record Lows: How Can Utilities Benefit From Unstoppable Solar And Wind?

By Silvio Marcacci, Communications Director at Energy Innovation

Over the last decade, wind energy prices have fallen 70% and solar photovoltaics have fallen 89% on average, according to Lazard’s 2019 report. Utility-scale renewable energy prices are now significantly below those for coal and gas generation, and they’re less than half the cost of nuclear. The latest numbers again confirm that building new clean energy generation is cheaper than running existing coal plants.

In other words, it is now cheaper to save the climate than to destroy it. Capacity installation trends reflect this economic reality, with new wind and solar generation coming online at a breakneck pace. Wind power capacity in the U.S. has more than doubled since 2010 and reached nearly 100 GW in 2018. Read more here.

ØRSTED NEWS

Global 100 Index: Ørsted Is the World’s Most Sustainable Company, Ørsted News Release, CSR Wire
Having completed a fundamental business transformation from fossil fuels to renewables over the past decade, Ørsted urges all countries and companies to reduce their carbon emissions to help limit global warming to 1.5°C. The global leader in offshore wind outperformed more than 7,300 global companies with billion-dollar revenues to rank #1 in Corporate Knights’ 2020 index of the Global 100 most sustainable corporations in the world. Ørsted becomes the first-ever energy company to top the index.

Previously Posted

100% CLEAN ENERGY NEWS – PLUS NEBRASKA DATA

MICROSOFT’S NEW CARBON NEGATIVE PLAN

How Microsoft’s new carbon-negative plan will test the idea of a climate economy, CNBC
Microsoft’s plan to make up for every bit of carbon it has put into the atmosphere since it was founded in 1975 will require a mix of old and new solutions. 100% renewable electricity by 2025, electric vehicles on campuses and alternate sources of business travel are familiar pledges. But soaking up all the carbon in the air already is a new corporate goal and will require novel technology, such as direct air capture. Microsoft is counting on everything from planting massive numbers of trees to soak up carbon and using technologies to capture carbon and sequester it in soil — burying it, essentially — to more exotic technologies.

EV NEWS

Tesla can sell vehicles in Michigan under legal settlement, Associated Press News
Tesla will be able to sell and service its vehicles in the backyard of Detroit’s three automakers under a lawsuit settlement, a person briefed on the matter says. The deal between the state of Michigan and Tesla is likely to be announced Wednesday, said the person, who asked not to be identified because terms of the deal have not been made public.

FEATURED NATIONAL INITIATIVE

SolSmart is a national designation program recognizing cities, counties, and regional organizations that foster the development of mature local solar markets. The program is led by the International City/County Management Association and The Solar Foundation.

To help communities achieve designation, SolSmart provides no-cost technical assistance from a team of national experts who work to evaluate programs and practices that impact solar markets, and identify high-prospect opportunities for improvement. A select number of communities also hosted SolSmart Advisors: fully-funded, experienced staff who work in communities for periods of up to six months. All cities, counties, and regional organizations are eligible to join SolSmart and receive no-cost technical assistance to achieve designation.
Learn more: Why Should You Apply?
Meet the SolSmart team

Lincoln, Nebraska SolSmart Gold Designee
City Receives National Recognition for Promoting Solar Energy, City of Lincoln Mayor’s Office News Release, September 9, 2019

Low-carbon cities are a $24 trillion opportunity

By Leah Lazer, Catlyne Haddaoui, and Jake Wellman, GreenBiz

A new report from the Coalition for Urban Transitions, “Climate Emergency, Urban Opportunity,” finds that low-carbon cities can reduce emissions while offering tremendous economic opportunities. Researchers found that investing in 16 low-carbon measures in cities could cut global urban emissions by 90 percent by 2050 and has a net present value of almost $24 trillion, equivalent to nearly one-third of the global GDP in 2018. This means that between now and 2050, the total benefits of these investments will exceed their total costs by almost $24 trillion. Broken down by years, an average annual investment of $1.8 trillion (about 2 percent of global GDP in 2018) would yield returns of $2.8 trillion per year by 2030, and $6.9 trillion per year by 2050. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Keith J. Semmelink / Flickr – Omaha skyline

ALSO IN THE NEWS

CORPORATE NEWS

REPORT: UTILITIES’ SELF-SCHEDULING COSTS FOR RATEPAYERS

Inefficient coal plant scheduling cost ratepayers $3.5B from 2015 to 2017, report says, by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive. Regulated utilities cost ratepayers over $3.5 billion from 2015 to 2017 through uneconomic coal practices, according to a report released Tuesday from the Sierra Club. Vertically-integrated utilities consistently operated coal units based on their own scheduling rather than relying on market signals to determine when running that plant would be most economic, the report found. The practice, known as self-scheduling, became common when there were fewer cost-effective alternative resources, but now hinders the ability of other resources, wind and solar, to compete in power markets, research has previously found.

GLOBAL COAL DIVESTMENT

Over 100 and counting, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
To date, over 100 and counting globally significant financial institutions have announced their divestment from coal mining and/or coal-fired power plants. New announcements are occurring on average every week.

INTERVIEW

#Solar100’s Adam Browning: The Michael Jordan of Solar Policy, PV Magazine
In this #Solar100 interview, Richard Matsui, Founder and CEO of kWh Analytics, speaks with Adam Browning, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Vote Solar.

ENERGY STORAGE

EV CHARGING

EV Connect Raises $12M for Electric Vehicle Charging Software, Greentech Media
The L.A. startup wants to let customers mix and match charging hardware and software controls to suit their needs.

Climatologist warns climate change will lead to more flooding in Nebraska

By Sydnie Holzfaster, KPTM Fox 42 News

State officials say more flooding is in Nebraska’s future if nothing is done to reverse climate change. Sunday State Climatologist Martha Shulski spoke with members of the environmental advocacy group Green Bellevue about how climate change is affecting people in Nebraska now and what they can expect in the future. Shulski said people can help the environment by making small changes in their daily life like buying locally sourced products; taking city buses or cutting back on personal driving or investing in renewable energy options for your home and utilities. Read more here.

Join Nebraskans for Solar and allied groups this Thursday, September 12th to learn about renewable energy investment options available in Nebraska for residents, businesses, utilities, schools, and other nonprofits.

Nebraskans for Solar’s September Speaker: David Bracht, Attorney With Kutak Rock and Former Nebraska Energy Office Director

Mr. Bracht will discuss Nebraska’s wind and solar development and our state’s potential for future growth. A Q&A will follow his presentation.

UNO’s Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, Rooms 201/205.

Co-Sponsored by Green Bellevue, Conservation Nebraska, Sierra Club, OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team.

District 197 Becomes One of the First School Districts in State to Commit to 100% Clean, Renewable Electricity by 2020

Sierra Club News Release

Minnesota’s West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan Area School District steps out as a climate leader with broad support from students, staff, and the community.

On Monday, the District 197 School Board passed a resolution establishing the goal of transitioning the school district to 100% clean electricity by 2020. District 197 has made great strides toward 100% clean electricity and this resolution formalizes the district’s commitment.

This effort was led by district leaders, students from the LIVEGREEN club, and supported by Sierra Club’s Climate Parents program. Students presented a petition to the board with more than 1,000 signatures they collected from district students, parents, and staff.  Read more here.

Photo Credit: Black Rock Solar

About Climate Parents

Climate Parents is a diverse national movement of parents, grandparents and families mobilizing for clean energy and climate solutions. We work to influence public policy makers and energy providers to take bold steps to protect kids and communities from the health and climate impacts of burning fossil fuels—and to move toward 100% clean energy. Motivated by love for our kids, we’re striving to harness the moral and political force of millions of families for the healthy, equitable and just world all children deserve.

Finding New Opportunity For Old Coal-Fired Power Plant Sites

By Jeff Brady, NET Nebraska

Nearly 300 coal-fired power plants have been “retired” since 2010 according to the Sierra Club, a trend that continues despite President Trump’s support for coal. That’s left many communities worried those now idled places will simply be mothballed. “We don’t want to see sites like this rust away, be eyesores on the community and offer no real tax revenue going forward, no employment opportunities,” says Denise Brinley, Executive Director at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of Energy. Her state has been hit with 14 coal plants shut down in the past 9 years, and so the Department of Community and Economic Development has created a plan for redeveloping some of them. Continue reading here.

Previously Posted

The $9 trillion dollar man

By John Weaver, PV Magazine

A presidential candidate is pushing $300 billion per year of U.S. government investment – with hopes to pull in a complementary $600 billion per year in private investment – to aim for $9 trillion in investment over the course of a decade. Sounds like a lot of money until we think about the United States subsidizing fossils to the tune of $649 billion a year, and estimates that the U.S. gross domestic product could fall by 10% – more than $2 trillion per year – due to costs associated with climate change. Jay Inslee has introduced his Evergreen Economy Plan as part of his presidential election campaign. The plan has five major planks that include many individual legislative actions. Read more here.

FEDERAL LEGISLATION

U.S. Green Bank Act of 2019 Would Provide $10 Billion+ of Capital to State and Local Green Banks, Coalition for Green Capital. The Green Bank Act of 2019 would inject billions of dollars into the U.S. economy to accelerate clean energy deployment, grow clean energy businesses, and deliver affordable clean energy to all Americans. The members of the global Green Bank Network and the American Green Bank Consortium have already shown that public investment in clean energy deployment drives greater total investment, job growth and lower energy costs. The bill creates a new USGB as a wholly owned corporation of the U.S. government, housed within Treasury. It would be capitalized through the issuance of federal Green Bonds.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

RESEARCH

GREEN BUILDING

Cambria Hotel Omaha Downtown: Cambria Hotels Celebrates Its First Hotel To Open In The Cornhusker State, Choice Hotels International Announcement. The LEED Silver Certified hotel incorporates a number of eco-friendly features throughout the building, including a solar array on the roof, a salt water pool that reduces chemical usage, Tesla and electric vehicle charging stations, and locally-sourced, recycled building materials.

Additional Nebraska LEED Certified Projects, US Green Building Council

First Ever Drive Electric Earth Day A Success – Plus More Green Transportation News

The first ever Drive Electric Earth Day was celebrated with 188 events in 44 US states and 5 countries! Read the press release about the week, and check out some great photos of people enjoying the events. Drive Electric Earth Day and National Drive Electric Week are presented by Plug In America, Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association.

National Drive Electric Week will be held September 14 – 22, 2019. Nebraska events will be posted on Nebraskans for Solar’s and allied organizations’ calendars closer to that date. Mark your calendars for this annual celebration and plan to join other local EV enthusiasts to talk about driving electric.

If you’re thinking of organizing or helping at an event, join National Drive Electric Week organizers for a webinar: Organizing A Great 2019 Event on Friday, May 31, 2019 at 12 pm CDT.

MORE GREEN TRANSPORTATION NEWS PUBLISHED BY THE OMAHA WORLD-HERALD