Tag Archives: Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

MISO board approves $10.3B transmission plan to support 53 GW of renewables

By Ethan Howland, Utility Dive

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s board on Monday approved a $10.3 billion transmission plan that could support about 53 GW of wind, solar, hybrid and stand-alone battery projects found in state and utility clean energy goals in its northern and central regions.

While the projects were designed to maintain grid reliability amid a changing generation mix, MISO estimates that it will bring $23.2 billion to $52.2 billion in present value net benefits over 40 years, including up to $19.9 billion in congestion and fuel cost savings, according to a presentation by Aubrey Johnson, MISO vice president of system planning and competitive transmission. Next …. Continue reading here.

Upcoming Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Webinar

What Do Regional Transmission Organizations Do?, With Casey Cathey, Director of System Planning at Southwest Power Pool, August 17, 2022 at 10 a.m. This seminar will cover a variety of responsibilities of the Southwest Power Pool Regional Transmission Organization, such as transmission planning, resource adequacy, operations, and energy markets. Register here 

Questions? Please contact John Hansen, Conference Chair: john@nebraskafarmersunion.org, 402-580-8815 or Anita Scheuler, Conference Administrator: admin@nebraskawsc.com, 402-304-2790.

MidAmerican Energy News Releases

Solar ITC Extension

EV News – Utility Dive 

Biden Chooses Virginia Ag Commissioner For Deputy Secretary At USDA

By Chuck Abbott, Successful Farming

Two days before his inauguration, President-elect Biden selected Jewel Bronaugh, the Virginia state agriculture commissioner, as his nominee for deputy agriculture secretary, the No. 2 post at USDA. Bronaugh was among five women who were announced on Monday for deputy secretaries of federal departments and would be the first Black deputy secretary at USDA. The National Black Farmers Association said selection of Bronaugh was “an historic moment” for USDA. “We hope she will use her knowledge of the department to level the playing field for NBFA members as well as other minority and small-scale farmers and to end the culture of discrimination at the USDA,” said NBFA president John Boyd. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Biden’s Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Meets With Black Farmers, Black Enterprise

According to the Guardian, there are only about 45,000 Black farmers today. In 1920, there were more than one million. During the meeting, Vilsack affirmed his commitment to forging and establishing strong partnerships with organizations that provide assistance and support to Black farmers. Vilsack also wanted to ensure that Black farming organizations have a seat at the table while he is serving . . . If confirmed, Vilsack will take over the USDA at a time when Trump’s trade war with China has made things worse for U.S. farmers, especially small farmers. Bankruptcies have increased for small farmers, even with record levels of federal assistance.

Nebraska Chapter 12 Bankruptcies

Carbon Markets for Farmers

Indianapolis Star articles by Sarah Bowman and London Gibson

  • There is a lot of money on the table with carbon markets. But farmers are skeptical.
    As more greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere and more companies pledge to go carbon neutral, interest in creating a market for carbon capture through agriculture is growing. Agriculture is now being seen by many as an untapped resource, and carbon markets the way to tap it.  “I think the potential is boundless, really,” said Mobley of The Nature Conservancy. “If it can work in Indiana, it can work anywhere in the country — politically, programmatically, with on-the-ground implementation, all of it.”
  • 5 things you need to know about what Biden’s plan for a carbon market means for farmers
    The incoming administration is proposing to create a carbon bank at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which would buy credits from farmers and then sell them to corporations for offsets. Several other private carbon market programs have popped up, both from companies and non-profit organizations that are developing their own platforms. 

RegeNErate Nebraska

RegeNErate Nebraska is a network of farmers and ranchers, tribes, urban farmers, supporting businesses, organizations, food consumers, and communities who are committed to a shift away from extractive industrial food production in favor of an ethical and regenerative food system. Lying in the middle of the nation, Nebraska is the heart of our nation, and the culture and principles found here serve as a lifeblood for a well-functioning country. RegeNErate Nebraska’s mission is to redevelop and strengthen our communities from the soil up. This starts with building strong communities. RegeNErate Nebraska Resource Guide

Rural Energy for America Program Grants & Loans

The USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) seeks applications for loan guarantees and grants for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement projects. The grant terms for renewable energy systems are $2,500 minimum to $500,000 maximum and for energy efficiency grants, $1,500 to $250,000. The next deadline is March 31, 2021 for REAP grants. Guaranteed Loans are accepted on a continuous application cycle. Click the above link to see additional requirements. Program Fact Sheet

For more information contact Nebraska Energy Coordinator Jeff Carpenter at 402-437-5554 or jeff.carpenter@usda.gov.

Federal Investment Tax Credit 

The Solar Investment Tax Credit, Solar Energy Industries Association
Congress passed a multi-year extension of the ITC in 2020:


Meeting the Climate Moment With a 100-Day Agenda for Solar

By Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA President & CEO, SEIA Blog

I want to share our vision for the next decade, and more specifically, for our new President-elect. It goes without saying that this is an exciting time to be in the solar industry. We are now 32x bigger than we were a decade ago and this $18 billion industry supports American families in every state. Solar is a job-creating engine with bipartisan support and helps to bring clean, affordable electricity to millions. That’s why big businesses like Walmart and Amazon are investing in solar and why 90% of Americans, regardless of political beliefs, support solar. Continue reading here.

How local US governments are getting renewable energy

GreenBiz article contributed by Tatsatom Gonçalves & Yuning Liu
Originally published by the World Resources Institute

California and Texas accounted for about 84 percent of the total renewable energy purchased by cities between 2015 and early 2020. The prominent role of these two states is no surprise, given that they are the country’s largest electricity consumers and enjoy easy access to abundant wind and solar resources. Both also allow electric retail choice and have the local autonomy needed to access renewable energy options such as community choice aggregations (CCAs). In doing so, local governments can aggregate the power demand of their residents and businesses to get more leverage to choose cleaner power sources, which could contribute to their higher rates of procurement. There is also a lot of progress in other regions, including through community solar projects in Minnesota, Massachusetts and Washington. Collectively, there were more than 120 clean energy transactions by local governments in the other most active states. Read more here.

FROM UTLITY DIVE

Biden outlines $2T plan to invest in renewables, electrification, by Emma Penrod
In a Tuesday afternoon speech, presidential candidate Joe Biden outlined his plan for nearly $2 trillion in infrastructure spending, focused mostly on renewable energy and electrification, which he described as a “one-time” opportunity to reestablish the U.S. as a global economic and political leader.

His comments mirror the findings of the American Council on Renewable Energy’s (ACORE) third-annual investor survey, also released on Tuesday, which found that investors ranked energy storage as the most desirable sector to invest in, despite the reality that energy storage still secures a minority of the overall investment dollars dedicated to renewable energy. An increase in government incentives for storage projects, according to ACORE, could change this trend.

GTM’s POLITICAL CLIMATE PODCAST

How Joe Biden’s Climate Plan Stacks Up

On this week’s episode of Political Climate, we discuss the details and political implications of Biden’s clean energy and infrastructure plan. T
he Biden climate plan comes on the heels of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force recommendations on addressing climate change and environmental injustice, as well as House Democrats’ 500-page report on solving the climate crisis. In theory, there’s a lot in all of these proposals for leaders across the political aisle to love.

PEW RESEARCH CENTER SURVEY

US Citizens Want More Action From The Government For Climate Change, CEOWORLD Magazine
Pew Research Center conducted a new survey for climate change and what American citizens believe about the way the government is handling it. 65% of Americans say that the federal government is doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change. Citizens are dissatisfied not only with the way the government deals with climate change but also with protecting air and water quality and wildlife.

CLIMATE FINANCE CENTER

JPMorgan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs back launch of climate finance center, by Dan Ennis, Banking Dive. The Rocky Mountain Institute, a clean energy nonprofit, launched the Center for Climate-Aligned Finance on Thursday with financial backing from JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs. With the goal of cutting carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, the center aims to collaborate with banks to design guidance for working with carbon-heavy sectors such as steel or utilities, and to help banks determine which climate benchmarks and data to follow.

PV MAGAZINE’S MORNING BRIEF

California ISO brings the largest battery storage resource in the nation online
Also in the brief: IREC on energy storage interconnection, Wunder Capital and partners to invest more than $100 million in U.S. commercial solar, Photosol buying land rights near coal plants with eye toward transmission, and NREL on recycling solar panels.

JINKO’S PRO TIGER SERIES SOLAR PANELS

A closer look at Jinko’s 565 W to 585 W panel, PV Magazine
The module – which measures 2,411 mm × 1,134 mm × 35 mm, weighs 31.1 kg and features 156 p-type monocrystalline cells – is available in five versions with power outputs of 565 W to 585 W and efficiencies of 20.6% to 21.4%. Jinko says the Pro Tiger series will become the company’s main revenue stream in 2022, surpassing the Tiger 475 W panel. 

HYBRID SOLAR ENERGY CONVERTER

Scientists build high-performing hybrid solar energy converter, Tulane University, ScienceDaily
Tulane University researchers are part of a team of scientists who have developed a hybrid solar energy converter that generates electricity and steam with high efficiency and low cost. The hybrid converter utilizes an approach that more fully captures the whole spectrum of sunlight. It generates electricity from high efficiency multi-junction solar cells that also redirect infrared rays of sunlight to a thermal receiver, which converts those rays to thermal energy.

The thermal energy can be stored until needed and used to provide heat for a wide range of commercial and industrial uses, such as food processing, chemical production, water treatment, or enhanced oil recovery. The team reports that the system demonstrated 85.1 percent efficiency, delivered steam at up to 248°C, and is projected to have a system levelized cost of 3 cents per kilowatt hour.

GREEN RECOVERY

The World Needs a Cash-for-Coal-Clunkers Program, Greentech Media article contributed by Justin Guay, director for global climate strategy at the Sunrise Project.

For just 5 percent of what the U.S. has spent on its COVID-19 recovery package, it could have bought out and retired every coal plant in the world. Instead, the U.S. coal industry is benefiting from recovery programs while the world continues to subsidize old uneconomic coal plants rather than retire them. As we debate a green recovery, now is the time to add an important approach to our tool kit: a cash-for-coal-clunkers program, to help buy the only thing we can’t make more of — time. In the U.S., even the most optimistic estimates say we are on track to get coal off line as late as 2035 — five years too late.

ENERGY STORAGE

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS RELEASE

DOE Announces $139 Million in Funding for 55 Projects to Advance Innovative Vehicle Technologies. Funded through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), projects will conduct research in advanced batteries, electrification, and manufacturing in support of DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge. Announced by Secretary Brouillette in January 2020, the Energy Storage Grand Challenge is a comprehensive strategy to create and sustain U.S. global leadership in energy storage technology, utilization, and exports. Learn more about all of the projects selected today here.

ENERGY COMMUNITIES

Belgian school selling solar power to neighbors, PV Magazine International
Belgium is testing its first energy community by giving special status to a solar energy pilot near Brussels. The project will help to create a large-scale legal framework to apply the European Directives to energy communities.

FEATURED SOLAR INSTALLATION 

Solar energy makes local car wash even ‘greener’, The Winchester Star

Owner Ned Browning of Winchester said the car wash has been incorporating green technology for years, including water conservation, pollution prevention and biodegradable soap options. Adding clean solar energy was “the next level,” he said. The solar array went into operation in April and is expected to pay for itself in five years.

Photo Credit: Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star

FEATURED CLIMATE & ENERGY EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES 

The Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) maintains a collection of 700+ free, ready-to-use climate and energy educational resources that have been rigorously reviewed by educators and scientists. They are geared toward secondary through higher education classrooms.

U.S. Solar Market and 15 States See Best Quarter Ever for Residential Solar

Solar Energy Industries News Release

The U.S. residential solar market reached record highs in the third quarter of 2019 with 712 megawatts of solar installed, according to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The U.S. solar market added 2.6 gigawatts of solar photovoltaics in the third quarter, swelling total U.S. solar capacity to 71.3 gigawatts. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Military experience provides natural transition to clean energy careers, veterans say

By David Thill and Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

Kevin Johnson served as a captain in the U.S. Army and spent a year stationed in Baiji, Iraq, home to a major oil refinery. The war made clear to him the world’s dependence on fossil fuels. Johnson was stationed “at the heart of the oil infrastructure in Iraq,” he said, “watching the infrastructure being attacked on a daily basis and having my soldiers ask me, ‘When are we going home?’” That was the genesis of Johnson’s career in clean energy. “I knew that when I got out that I wanted to be on the other side of that fight,” he told the Energy News Network.
Continue reading here.

Photo by Ken Oltmann / U.S. Department of Energy

Among other resources, the authors reference the 2019 Clean Jobs Midwest survey, which provides information on 12 states, including veteran representation.

Our State’s Executive Summary: Nebraska: Home to 19,004 Clean Energy Jobs

In Nebraska, 9.6 percent of the state’s clean energy workers are veterans. By comparison, veterans make up 6 percent of the national labor force. The large ratio of veterans transitioning to clean energy jobs is partially the result of the U.S. Department of Defense’s long-standing commitment to investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency and training programs that prepare veterans for private-sector employment in industries like solar. Small businesses drive the state’s clean energy sector – 70.9 percent of Nebraska’s clean energy businesses employ fewer than 20 individuals.

SUMMARY: With 19,000 jobs and counting, the clean energy industry is a significant employer in Nebraska. Even as jobs in the state overall are decreasing, jobs in Nebraska’s clean energy industry are growing at a relatively healthy 3.5 percent clip. Clean energy employers in Nebraska are bullish when it comes to ongoing hiring: they predict a 7.7 percent increase in clean energy jobs in 2019, higher than the regional average.

Additional Recommended Reading 

For Ohio farmers, wind turbine revenue helps take the sting out of a ‘bad’ year

By Kathiann M. Kowalski, Energy News Network

Wind energy advocates say this year’s disappointing growing season in Ohio is a prime example why state lawmakers should be trying to make it easier, not harder, for farmers to put wind turbines on their properties. Unusually wet weather made it a bad year for many Ohio farmers, but those with wind turbines on their land had a welcome and predictable source of additional income to make up for some of the losses. About a sixth of Ohio’s farm acreage couldn’t be planted, according to data released this month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. Read more here. 

USDA Resource: Prevented or Delayed Planting

Photo: Wind turbines in Blue Creek Township, Ohio. Credit: Nyttend / Wikimedia Commons

Also Written By Kathiann Kowalski

ADDITIONAL. RECOMMENDED READING

TRIBAL UTILITY-SCALE SOLAR

NM Native American Tribe Plans Solar Farm to Provide Renewable Energy Source, Inside Sources
A New Mexico Native American tribe plans to build a 50-megawatt solar farm, which includes a 20-megawatt battery storage unit, making it the first tribally owned, utility-scale solar project in the nation, according to a new report. The Jicarilla Apache tribe’s solar power project would transmit a large portion of its electricity to Albuquerque through the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), according to an Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) report.

SOLAR SCHOOLS

Solar power is coming to five schools in Newport News, Williamsburg Yorktown Daily
The city’s public school system has partnered with Sun Tribe Solar to add solar power panels at five schools. Installation starts in 2020. See the full pdf presentation here.

PACE FINANCING 

A $60,000 solar project, with no money down. Program helps Colorado businesses finance renewable energy projects, Colorado Sun. The Colorado legislature passed a bill authorizing the program in 2013. More than 35 states, plus the District of Columbia, have C-PACE enabling legislation, and more than $1 billion in projects have been financed so far. The program’s administrative costs are paid via a 2.5% fee (not to exceed $50,000 per project) added to each C-PACE project, which is typically included in the total financed amount. Program and projects are solely financed through private capital.

TRANSMISSION NEWS

  • SPP Board Directs Construction of 44 Transmission Projects, Transmission & Distribution World These upgrades will facilitate reliable delivery of lower-cost generation.
  • A penny for your powerlines, PV Magazine
    Research by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggests that overall costs of transmission needed to integrate variable renewables is between 0.1-1¢/kWh, on top of the 2.9-4.6¢/kWh utility scale wind and solar power costs.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS 

8 Countries (Besides the US) With Solar Under $25 Per Megawatt-Hour, Greentech Media
Around the world, solar power price records just keep on coming.

OPINION

How utilities wield bad science to stunt clean energy, Utility Dive. Contributed article by Greer Ryan, the Renewable Energy and Research Specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity, and Emma Searson, the Go Solar Campaign Director at Environment America.

This is especially true of distributed solar — small-scale solar installations on homes and businesses. These systems help everyone, not just those with solar panels on their roofs, by delivering reliable, pollution-free energy to our communities. They also bring enormous benefits to wildlife and wild places. For example, solar panels paired with native plant restoration can provide habitat for threatened pollinators. But because of utilities’ actions, distributed solar is being held back from its full potential. To fully realize the advantages of using the sun’s energy to power our communities, we need to fundamentally change the way we value energy sources.

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.

Forecast: Solar Tax Credit Extension Would Boost Jobs, Economy and Climate Fight

Solar Energy Industries Association News Release

An extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) would spark $87 billion in new private sector investment and add 113,000 American jobs over baseline estimates by 2030, according to 10-year forecasts released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

The forecasts come as SEIA ramps up its efforts to secure an extension of the ITC in Congress, and as nearly 20,000 solar and storage professionals descend on Salt Lake City for Solar Power International. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

U.S. Utility Solar Pipeline Soars to 37.9 GW, A New Record

Solar Energy Industries Association News Release

The U.S. solar industry now has the largest pipeline of utility-scale solar projects in history, signaling promising future prospects for solar energy development. According to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report from Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the contracted pipeline has ballooned to a record 37.9 gigawatts (GW), the highest in the history of U.S. utility solar photovoltaics (PV). This follows record-high procurement of 15 GW in 2018. More than 6 GW of solar capacity were added to the five-year forecast since last quarter because of the uptick in utility-scale deals. Utility solar project announcements surged to 11.2 GW in the first half of 2019, with 6.2 GW contracted in Q2 alone. In addition to the utility solar pipeline growth, residential solar deployment rebounded from the same period last year.
Continue reading here.

Previously Posted

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

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