Tag Archives: Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)

Facing coal plant closure, Minnesota provider seeks cleaner path

By Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

Facing the closure of a coal-burning plant that had been its main source of power for decades, a southern Minnesota utility recently unveiled an aggressive plan to develop renewable energy over the next decade. A mixture of necessity and market forces led Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA) to set a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 90% through generating more than three-quarters of its power from carbon-free sources by 2030. The agency’s largest source of electricity, the Sherco 3 coal plant, will close the same year. Read more here.

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Photo: The Stoneray wind farm in southwest Minnesota is part of Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency’s renewable energy portfolio.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

NATIONAL NEWS

BUILDING A GLOBAL NET-ZERO ECONOMY

In a time of global uncertainty, now is the time to invest in a 1.5C futurecontributed by Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact, GreenBiz

There never has been a time like today for coming together to jumpstart a worldwide transformation towards a more inclusive and sustainable net-zero economy. This is the background for the largest United Nations-backed CEO-led advocacy effort, launched just a few days ago, urging world leaders to build net-zero climate targets into COVID-19 recovery plans and stimulus packages. Behind the statement are more than 160 CEOs of the world’s leading businesses, representing more than $2.4 trillion in market capitalization, led by the U.N. Global Compact and its partners in the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE PAPER & WEBINAR

Global Stimulus Principles: The Economy We Build Should Not Be the Same Economy We Decarbonize, by Ben Holland, Jake Glassman, Christian Roselund, Carla Frisch, Michael Banker

This paper outlines four core principles of stimulus and recovery efforts that should guide any global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also provides guidance for effectively integrating these principles into our efforts to rebuild, while setting us on a path toward a cleaner, healthier, more just, and more sustainable future. Learn more and download the paper here.

Upcoming Webinar: Green Stimulus and Recovery: A Path to Global Resilience, May 28th
at 12 pm CDT.
Hear from Rocky Mountain Institute CEO Jules Kortenhorst, alongside RMI Principals Carla Frisch and Uday Varadarajan, who will share four core principles of strategic stimulus and recovery for global responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn that can simultaneously benefit the economy, the environment, and our communities. These principles derive from the first report in a series on stimulus and recovery investment that RMI will be releasing over the coming weeks. Learn more about these new principles and how they can be used to optimize decision-making in stimulus and recovery investments to move us forward on a path to global resilience.

WOOD MACKENZIE

The Right Coronavirus Recovery Could Make 2019 The Year of Peak Carbon, Greentech Media. There’s no better way to honor the lives lost than by making 2020 a turning point in the energy transition, writes Martyn Link, chief strategy officer at Wood.

Inside Clean Energy: With a Pen Stroke, New Law Launches Virginia Into Landmark Clean Energy Transition

By Dan Gearino

One lawmaker compared the passage of the statute, which requires the state to move to 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2045, to landing on the moon.

Read more here.

NEW YORK INITIATIVES

In New York, a New Way for Stay-at-Home Customers to Get Paid for Shaving Peak Energy, Greentech Media. New York is struggling with the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak, but it’s also pushing ahead on its ambitious clean energy goals. Those include major expansions of wind and solar power, more energy storage to manage that intermittent supply — and, on the demand side of the equation, programs that can turn utility customers from passive consumers into active grid-balancing participants. 

GREEN CAMPUSES

University of Pennsylvania signs PPA for largest solar project in the state, Solar Power World
The University of Pennsylvania has signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the creation of a solar power project moving the University significantly closer to meeting its commitment of a 100% carbon neutral campus by 2042, as outlined in the “Climate & Sustainability Action Plan 3.0.”

Recommended Resources

CARBON PRICING

NextEra, Vistra join array of stakeholders in asking FERC to look at carbon pricing, by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive. A wide group of energy stakeholders, including independent power producers, gas interests and clean energy advocates, are asking federal regulators to look more closely at the benefits of pricing carbon across wholesale electricity markets.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY & RESILIENCE

GREEN TRANSPORTATION

KEYSTONE XL

US judge cancels permit for Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, Associated Press

This is exactly the time to be talking about climate change

Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group

This is exactly the right time to be talking about climate change. In fact, we need to be talking unapologetically about climate, the clean economy, renewable energy, resilient food systems, sustainable mobility, the circular economy and the Sustainable Development Goals with more vigor than ever. We’ll spend the next several years rebooting and rebuilding our economic wherewithal. So, isn’t this the time to talk about how that will unfold, about how to create a robust, resilient and regenerative economy for the next generation or two? And shouldn’t we be aligning our investments — and our tax dollars — in those directions? Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Corporate America, it’s your time to shine, contributed by Suzanne Shelton, President & CEO Shelton Group, GreenBiz. We have the opportunity right now — flush with evidence about the cracks in our social system and the very real ways in which we’re affecting our environment — to reimagine the Way We Do Things. The business leaders and companies who use this moment to be creative (as opposed to simply trying to get back to “business as usual”) are the ones who will not only weather this storm; they’ll also be the preferred brands of the future. Here are five things company leaders can do right now to create a sustainable future:

EPA 

  • EPA gives power plants, regulated entities pollution compliance flexibility, citing COVID-19 concerns, by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive. Environmentalists worry the relaxed enforcement could allow facilities to be less diligent about compliance with air and water pollution standards. “This is an open license to pollute. Plain and simple,” Gina McCarthy, president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “We can all appreciate the need for additional caution and flexibility in a time of crisis, but this brazen directive is an abdication of the EPA’s responsibility to protect our health.”
  • Suspending EPA enforcement during COVID-19 outbreak adds to pollution-related health risks, Environment America News Release. “As our nation struggles to contain the coronavirus, health is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and the public cares even more deeply about the air we breathe and the water we drink. If EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will not rescind this policy immediately, we urge Congress to exercise its oversight authority to ensure the safety of our air and water.” – John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment America

RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

ENERGY STORAGE

NEW JERSEY’S CARBON-FREE LEADERSHIP

New Jersey looks to exit PJM, worried the MOPR will impede its 100% carbon-free goals, by Robert Walton, Utility Dive

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) wants to consider alternatives to participation in PJM Interconnection’s capacity market, and on March 27 launched an investigation into how the state can achieve its clean energy objectives that include reaching 100% carbon-free energy by 2050. The investigation is a response to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) December 2019 decision to expand the Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR) in the regional capacity market, effectively raising the floor prices for state-subsidized resources. Clean energy advocates believe the rule could prevent new renewable resources from competing in the wholesale market.

GREEN HYDROGEN

Policy, policy, policy: BloombergNEF’s path to hydrogen uptake, PV Magazine
A hot energy topic with little coordinated analysis, green hydrogen has finally attracted the number crunchers of BloombergNEF.

NEW GTM BLOG

GTM’s Live Coronavirus Blog: The Impact on Clean Energy
A somber tone takes hold across the American solar industry, and New York’s grid operator sequesters workers at control centers. Follow the latest developments here.

INDUSTRY RESOURCES

  • The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has a Coronavirus Information & Resources page that provides updates on its impact on the American solar workforce and its effects to the global supply chain.
  •  The American Wind Energy Association has a COVID-19 advocacy and related resources page.
  • The Energy Storage Association (ESA) has created a Resource Center with updates on the organization’s actions to continue fulfilling  its mission to accelerate the widespread use of competitive and reliable energy storage systems in North America.

Arizona commission signals support for 100% clean energy by 2050

By William Driscoll, PV Magazine

Arizona could join 16 other states and territories that have targets of 100% clean or renewable electricity by 2050 or sooner. Thirty-two groups in Arizona have called for 50% renewables by 2030Read more here.

GRID INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS

Smooth sailing so far for planned Iowa-Illinois underground power line, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

A high-voltage underground transmission line proposed to cross Iowa and Illinois is moving ahead without the landowner opposition that has dogged overhead transmission lines in the region. The SOO Green HVDC Link, which would span 349 miles from Mason City, Iowa, to a connection with the PJM grid at Yorkville, Illinois, has encountered no major objections at the four public meetings that have been held in Iowa and Illinois, according to project spokeswoman Sarah Lukan.

TRI-STATE 

Colorado expedites Tri-State member exit charge case, as power supplier gets ‘split decision’ on FERC jurisdiction, Utility Dive

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on March 20 accepted tariffs filed by Tri-State Generation and Transmission, meaning the agency will now have authority over wholesale rates for the cooperative’s member distribution utilities in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. In a separate order, FERC determined it does not have exclusive jurisdiction over member exit charges, allowing complaints by La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) and United Power pending before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (COPUC) to move forward. 

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PURCHASING

Corporate renewable energy in the age of COVID-19, by Sarah Golden, Senior Energy Analyst & VERGE Energy Chair, GreenBiz Group 

“Large energy buyers signed onto 9.33 gigawatts of renewable energy deals in 2019 and they want those projects to come to fruition,” REBA’s CEO, Miranda Ballentine, wrote in an email. “We do expect for company interests and commitments to clean energy to remain strong given they are tied to broader corporate energy goals and emissions reductions targets.”

NET METERING

Which states offer net metering?, by Kelly Pickerel, Editor In Chief, Solar Power World

Congratulations. If you live/work in one of these 34 states, D.C., or four territories, you are able to take advantage of net metering credits in some form. View the database on DSIRE for more details about your specific region.

Net Metering – Nebraska
System Capacity Limit: 25 kW

Net Metering – Iowa
System Capacity Limit: 1 MW

ADDITIONAL PV MAGAZINE POSTS

ZEV PROGRAM 

Statement: Victory! Washington adopts Zero Emission Vehicle program, Environment America
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee today signed the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program into law. The move takes aim at reducing ozone pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and makes Washington the 12th state to adopt the ZEV program. With this new law, Washington joins the entire West Coast as part of this critical program to get more electric cars on the road. Under ZEV, the Evergreen State will deploy hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles over the next decade. 

PROJECT DRAWDOWN UPDATE

Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion, Yale Climate Connections. A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs.

FEATURED WEBINAR LIBRARY

Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) on-demand webinars: Many of them are free.

FEATURED BOOK

Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food, and a Green New Deal, Chelsea Green Publishing

Grassroots Rising offers a blueprint for building a grassroots Regeneration Movement based on consumer activism, farmer innovation, political change, and regenerative finance—embodied most recently by the proposed Green New Deal in the US.

Using regenerative agriculture practices that restore our agricultural and grazing lands, we can sequester massive amounts of carbon in the soil. Coupled with an aggressive transition toward renewables, Cummins argues that we have the power to not only mitigate and slow down climate change, but actually reverse global warming.

Protecting American jobs and clean energy investment during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing unprecedented challenges to the U.S. healthcare system, disruptions to daily life across the country, and deep uncertainty across the economy. Global supply chain disturbances and massive public health interventions are extending these obstacles to the U.S. wind energy industry as well. We’re working hard to understand the many hurdles our members are facing and the impacts to their businesses this represents. Protecting American jobs and economic investment and ensuring the safety of the wind workforce remain our primary objectives.

To that end, we have co-written and signed a joint letter to Congress with the Solar Energy Industries Association outlining the complications the U.S. renewable energy market faces amidst the pandemic, and proposed actions Congress can take to keep U.S. workers busy building the clean energy grid of the future. Click on the image below to read the full letter.

Additional Recommended Reading

Top Photo Credit: AWEA Free Use Wind Energy Image Gallery

Solar, storage and active energy management will be key to innovative eco district project

By Jean Haggerty, PV Magazine USA  

Avista Utilities and the construction engineering company McKinstry are testing a series of solar-plus-storage solutions, active energy management techniques and smart building technologies at a Spokane, Washington-based eco-district that the partners say will be home to the smartest five blocks in the world. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Nick Kelly / Faithlife Corporation

NEW TVA REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

TVA accepting proposals for 200 MW of renewable energy, Solar Power World
TVA procured more than 1,300 MW on behalf of customers through similar requests for proposals in 2018 and 2019. Large-scale solar costs 80% less than private-scale solar and delivers the best value for renewable energy across TVA’s seven-state service territory. While TVA does not have a need for more base-load energy, the utility is investing in renewables in response to customer demand for cleaner energy and economic development opportunities to attract companies with sustainability goals.

MORE INDUSTRY NEWS

SMART THERMOSTATS

Can smart technology shape rate design and drive consumer savings?, Utility Dive
The following is a contributed article by Nathan Shannon, Deputy Director, Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative, and Rob Kelter, Senior Attorney, Environmental Law & Policy Center

MORE ON SEIA & WOODMAC ANNUAL REPORT

2019 Was a Record Year for U.S. Solar Power: California saw major growth; Pennsylvania and Colorado could be the next markets to take off, by John FialkaE&E News, Scientific American

The expansion of solar-powered electricity in the U.S. broke major records last year, accounting for nearly 40% of all new generating capacity. And total installed photovoltaic (PV) power is expected to more than double in the next five years, according to an annual report released by the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie, a global energy research and consulting firm. The U.S. growth, a 23% jump over 2018, was led by California, where concern over forest fires and solar requirements for newly built homes pushed up PV demand. It was followed by dramatic solar growth in the Northeast and in sunny Texas and Florida.

CAP-AND-TRADE NEWS

Federal court upholds California’s cap-and-trade agreement with Quebec, American Public Power Association

California established its cap-and-trade program in October 2011, using recommendations from the Western Climate Initiative, which also became the administrator of the program, a role that does not include authority over policy. The program establishes limits and issues allowances for greenhouse gas emissions for covered entities. In an effort to increase the program’s impact and market liquidity, California also created a mechanism to link its program with other jurisdictions. Those linkages, however, do not alter the cap-and-trade program in other jurisdictions. In December 2011, Quebec created its own cap-and-trade program and, in January 2014, the California and Quebec programs were linked.

ELECTRIC BUSES

4 Lessons From a California Transit Authority’s Bus Electrification Rollout, Greentech Media
The Antelope Valley Transit Authority will soon be the first U.S. public transit agency to operate a 100 percent e-bus fleet. Here’s what they’ve learned.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

How embracing renewable energy can help India achieve its target of becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25, Economic Times. India’s rapid economic growth has benefited the country in a lot of ways but it has been clouded by a degrading environment and natural resource scarcity. According to the 10th EPI (Environmental Performance Index) report produced by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF), India ranks 177 out of 180 countries in terms of overall environmental quality.

Report Ranks States for Corporate Clean Energy Procurement

Retail Industry Leaders Association News Release

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) has released the 2020 update to the Corporate Clean Energy Procurement Index. This groundbreaking study, first undertaken in 2017, shows how some states have improved their rankings by enacting common sense policies regarding domestic clean energy production and therefore are more likely to attract new business development, creating thousands of jobs in their communities. The updated analysis released today by RILA ranks all 50 U.S. states based on the ease with which America’s most recognizable brands can procure state-level renewable energy for their operations.

The Corporate Clean Energy Procurement Index: 2020 State Leadership & Rankings notes that more than 22 GW of corporate renewable energy deals have been announced in the U.S. since 2008, with over 13.5 GW of purchases announced in 2018 and 2019 alone, according to the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA). Retail and tech companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Target and Wal-Mart are among nearly half of the Fortune 500 companies seeking to locate operations in states with access to clean energy production due to cost effectiveness, fossil fuel price volatility and pollution concerns. The index is intended to inform business leaders and guide state policymakers hoping to attract new job-creating businesses and foster economic growth. Read more here.

Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

Included in the report:

  • Nebraska ranks 25th on RILA’s Corporate Clean Energy Procurement Index.
  • Illinois took the overall top position for 2020.
  • Other state rankings include:
    Ohio: 12
    Iowa: 14
    South Dakota: 26
    Minnesota: 27
    Indiana: 30
    Michigan: 31
    Missouri: 34
    North Dakota: 38
    Kansas: 40
    Wisconsin: 41
  • In the Third-Party Purchasing Category: South Dakota and Nebraska jumped from #39 in 2017 to #1 and #8 respectively.

Illinois legislation promises a renewable energy revolution. But who would pay?

By Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

The competing bills come from different constituencies. The Clean Energy Jobs Act, or CEJA, is largely backed by environmental and community groups, while Path to 100 is supported by the renewables industry. Both aim to get the state to 100% renewable energy by 2030 by tapping money collected on customers’ utility bills.

Currently, Illinois utility customers pay a monthly charge that is capped at 2% of what customers paid per kilowatt-hour in 2007. CEJA would raise the cap to 2.67% this year and 4.88% by 2023. These changes would allow the collection of up to $700 million a year by 2023, according to CEJA supporters. Currently, about $235 million a year is collected for renewables through customer bills. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Keith Ewing / Flickr / Creative Commons

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

The Solar+ Decade Will Usher in Widespread Clean Energy and Massive Economic Growth, by Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA President & CEO

We already know that public support for solar is higher than any other fuel, with wind as a close second. Storage can help expand both. Poll after poll shows that the public wants more renewable energy, and fast. Some want it because it will directly address climate change; others because the economic benefits are too good to pass up. Now it’s on us to mobilize our grassroots support to make this goal possible.

GRID DATA MANAGEMENT

Utilities vs. grid edge upstarts: Turf battles in an increasingly DER-centric world, Utility Dive article contributed by Dan Goldman, Managing Director & Co-founder, Clean Energy Ventures

As a result of the need for new data access, analytics and management, the grid edge is hosting a turf war between utilities and private sector upstarts racing to capture data and create avenues for acting on it. On one side, utilities believe they will be in the best position to manage the grid if they own and control the data directly, without intermediaries. On the other side, grid edge upstarts — Tesla, Vivant, SunRun and many other technology-enabled start-ups — want to collect and manage the data directly for their own platform benefits, and see an opportunity to provide it to utilities for a fee. New technology solutions to gather and manage the data are emerging rapidly as a result.

REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE

RECYCLING WIND TURBINES

Commentary: For retired wind turbines, we can find alternatives to landfills, contributed opinion by Scott Coenen / Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum, Energy News Network
Many have probably now seen the picture, shared widely on social media, of wind turbine blades being buried in a landfill in Wyoming. The picture highlights a legitimate challenge to wind energy, especially as costs continue to fall and deployment of wind increases across the country. Importantly those challenges, one of them highlighted here, are not a reason to walk away from the table. We can find solutions.

COAL-ASH CLEANUPS

Cap coal ash in place? Duke and others have learned better, contributed Utility Dive article by Frank Holleman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. In South Carolina, all three utilities — Duke Energy, SCE&G (now owned by Dominion) and Santee Cooper — are cleaning up every one of their unlined riverfront lagoons. 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Solar Power Just Miles from the Arctic Circle? In Icy Nordic Climes, It’s Become the Norm, Inside Climate News. As solar prices fall and efficiency increases, countries like Finland are discovering the benefits of summertime solar. 

Honoring the Contributions of Black Americans in the Solar Industry

By Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO,
Solar Energy Industries Association

As I think about the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts of my organization and the solar industry, Black History Month offers a great opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and where we need to go. When I first walked in the door of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) a little over three years ago, the lack of people of color struck me. On day one, I set out to do something about it.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are now core principles of SEIA and we’ve taken several steps to change our own practices. And I’m proud of the progress we’ve made. I think it’s important that we publicly share this progress to remain accountable for the statements we make about prioritizing diversity and inclusion: in 2019, 57% of our new hires were women and 43% were people of color. Four out of five directors hired in 2019 were people of color. While the latest Solar Jobs Census shows us that the solar industry has a long way to go, I can say that SEIA is practicing what we preach. Continue Reading Here.

How community solar supports rural communities and farmers

By David Gahl, Senior Director of State Affairs, Northeast,
Solar Energy Industries Association

There are nearly 2 gigawatts of community solar installed across the United States, supporting our rural communities by generating local revenue and helping states make progress toward their clean energy and climate goals. These projects are authorized in 19 states and the District of Columbia and allow residents, farmers, small businesses, and municipalities to receive credit on their electricity bills for the power produced from their section of a solar array, lowering overall electricity costs. A new paper released by SEIA details the various project models and arrangements farmers make to build or host community solar projects, and offers resources to help landowners and solar firms navigate this growing market. Continue reading here.

Read more news stories saved under the category: Community Scale / Utility Scale Solar