Tag Archives: Sustainable FERC Project

DOE leverages new and existing authorities to spur transmission development key to energy transition

By Ethan Howland, Senior Reporter, Utility Dive

The Department of Energy has developed a plan for reducing barriers to high-voltage transmission projects that includes public-private partnerships, permitting and planning support, and about $20 billion in financing. The move comes as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, another key player in the transmission arena, is preparing to propose changes to its rules for transmission planning, determining who pays for the infrastucture and connecting power facilities to the grid. Continue reading here.

Department of Energy News Release: DOE Launches New Initiative From President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law To Modernize National Grid

MORE INDUSTRY NEWS

Previously Posted

NFS Note: SB 1024 is working its way through the Florida Legislature’s Regulated Industries committee.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

The Myth of the Solar “Cost Shift” and the True Value of Solar (PDF), Solar United Neighbors

Monopoly electric utilities are waging a well-documented campaign against rooftop solar. They see it as a threat to their outmoded business model of selling more and more electricity in order to increase their profits. They are lobbying across the country to make it more expensive and difficult for people to go solar. The utilities’ primary claim is that non-solar customers are subsidizing solar owners. They describe this using the terms “cost-shift” or “cross-subsidization.” Their logic goes like this:

‘Build Back Better’ Hit a Wall, but Climate Action Could Move Forward

By Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman, New York Times

The climate portion of Build Back Better includes about $555 billion aimed at moving the American economy away from its 150-year-old reliance on fossil fuels and toward clean energy sources. Instead of penalties to punish polluters, the bill offers incentives for industries, utilities and individuals to shift from burning oil, gas and coal for energy and transportation to using wind, solar and other forms of power that do not emit carbon dioxide, the most plentiful of the greenhouse gases that are warming the world.

It would provide about $320 billion in tax credits for producers and buyers of wind, solar and nuclear power. Buyers of electric vehicles would receive up to $12,500 in tax credits. It would extend existing tax credits to lower costs for homeowners of installing solar panels, geothermal pumps and small wind turbines, covering up to 30 percent of the bills. Read more here.

APPA FACT SHEET OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

The Need for Direct Payment Of Refundable Tax Credits for Public Power

APPA believes that if Congress intends to create incentives in pursuit of national energy and climate goals, it should realize that tax-based incentives will not have the market-wide reach of direct grants and other incentives. As a result, the association believes that tax-based incentives should be drafted to accommodate tax-exempt entities, including public power utilities. 

UTILITY DIVE SERIES

2022 Outlook: FERC expected to prioritize transmission, power markets and gas infrastructure, by Ethan Howland, Senior Reporter

This is the third part of Utility Dive’s 2022 Outlook Series.

With its oversight of interstate transmission and wholesale power markets, FERC, an independent agency, has a major role in the energy transition. “FERC’s regulation is central to the resilient, reliable future grid that’s already developing,” John Moore, director of the Sustainable FERC Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said.

Potential changes to the transmission system are driven by the growth of renewable energy, especially in areas that are far from major population centers, according to Moore. Other developments that are driving a focus on transmission planning include the development of offshore wind farms and the shift away from fossil fuels for cars, trucks and buildings, which will drive up electricity use, Moore said.

Referenced in the article: FERC’s new Office of Public Participation
Upcoming Resources for the Future Webinar: Policy Leadership Series with FERC Commissioner Allison Clements, January 25, 2022 at 10 a.m. Central Time


Fourth Part of Utility Dive’s 2022 Series 

2022 Outlook: US solar and wind boom continues despite supply chain woes, Build Back Better uncertainty,  by Iulia Gheorghiu

 

INTERIOR DEPARTMENT NEWS

Interior’s 2022 energy strategy: 3 things to watch, E&E News

Interior’s efforts will include authorizing solar energy in Western deserts and leasing waters in the Atlantic Ocean to offshore wind developers, as well as reexamining the rules that govern decommissioning offshore pipelines, drilling for oil and digging for federal coal . . . Meanwhile, renewables are about to get a boost on public lands.

Additional Recommended Reading: Offshore wind: a key to unlocking the American transition to a clean, reliable and affordable energy future, American Clean Power Association

USDA NEWS RELEASES

USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations Highlights 2021 Accomplishments to Advance Equity and Opportunity for Tribal Nations and Communities

“USDA and the federal government have a distinct relationship with tribal nations,” said USDA Office of Tribal Relations Director Heather Dawn Thompson. “We are embarking on new initiatives to reframe approaches to how USDA serves Indian Country and promotes government-to-government relationships with tribal nations.” 

MIDAMERICAN ENERGY NEWS RELEASE

MidAmerican Energy proposes $3.9 billion “Wind PRIME” renewable energy project

In a filing with the Iowa Utilities Board, MidAmerican’s proposed project, called Wind PRIME, would add 2,042 megawatts of wind generation and 50 megawatts of solar generation. The company also proposed conducting feasibility studies focused on other clean generation technologies, including carbon capture, energy storage and small modular nuclear reactors.

FEATURED EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION

The Zero Energy Project is a non-profit educational organization whose goal is to help home buyers, builders, designers, and real estate professionals take meaningful steps towards radically reducing carbon emissions and energy bills by building zero net energy homes and near zero energy homes.

We envision the day when positive energy homes, which produce more energy than they consume, will power electric vehicles as well as homes, so that everyone can live well with less expense and without fear of energy price spikes, while greatly reducing our carbon emissions.

Zero Energy Project’s Directory of Zero Energy Building Professionals
Recent Blog Post: Net-Zero vs Passive House: What are the Similarities and Differences?

DOE BETTER BUILDINGS WEBINAR

PV Valuation: How Solar PV Adds Value to Your Assets, February 1, 2022, 10 a.m. CT

Rooftop solar is a common renewable energy strategy, and owners and operators are now exploring potential financial benefits to the value of commercial and industrial properties. Learn from several building owners and managers on how they made the business case for solar PV and found increased asset value during appraisal or at the time of sale. This webinar will highlight multiple building types and financial models for solar PV.

NRDC, 50+ Orgs Send Clear Message: It’s Time For FERC Reform

Sustainable FERC Project, May 26, 2021

NRDC, the  Sustainable FERC Project, and more than 50 other organizations sent a clear message today to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: FERC must reform how it reviews applications for new gas pipeline infrastructure. There’s a huge need for change. FERC has greenlighted more than 1,000 pipeline and LNG projects since 1999 while rejecting only a handful. Now groups like the International Energy Agency are saying nations need to halt new approvals for fossil fuel infrastructure.

FERC has made some important progress on gas pipeline reviews this year. It is developing an Office of Public Participation and, in March, it started to assess the significance of a gas pipeline project’s climate impacts. Read more here. 

The Sustainable FERC Project is a coalition of state, regional and national environmental and other public interest organizations working to expand the deployment of clean energy resources into America’s electricity transmission grid. We advocate at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) – which regulates the transmission grid – through legal and policy advocacy, and we also work with FERC-regulated regional grid organizations and utilities.

What is FERC?, YouTube Video
FERC Website

FOSSIL FUEL GIANTS IN THE NEWS

NEXT-GENERATION GEOTHERMAL

Could next-gen geothermal provide the clean firm power we’ve been looking for?, by Sarah Golden, Senior Energy Analyst & VERGE Energy Chair, GreenBiz Group

While Google’s project is relatively small — just 5 MW, which would serve its data center in Nevada — the speed of deployment is notable. It is expected to be up and running next year. In part, this speed is made possible by advancements in drilling developed by the shale industry. Not only could this knowledge spur forward geothermal development, it also could provide new employment opportunities for those in the natural gas sector, which has been hemorrhaging jobsIf Google figures out how to harness geothermal for round-the-clock clean energy, then the company will be doing more than powering its data centers.

Previously Posted: Why oil giants like Chevron and BP are investing in geothermal energy, by Katie Brigham, CNBC

KANSAS SOLAR SCHOOLS

Buhler schools look to Maize High School for examples of solar energy success, by Alice Mannette, Hutchinson News

Buhler saw a spike in energy costs after the state’s February cold snap, but now, the school district is thinking big. Kansas schools are looking to incorporate solar energy to reduce energy expenses. Buhler leadership called in a teacher who started the largest solar energy system for a school in Kansas and began to accumulate information. “We want to save money, be more efficient and use it as an educational tool,” said Laura Meyer Dick, president of Buhler’s Board of Education, and the person who came up with the idea. “We want to use it to benefit the district.”

EQUITABLE EV SHARING PROGRAMS 

The Electric Car Revolution Shouldn’t Leave Anyone Behind, by Susan Cosier, NRDC
The equitable electric car-sharing program in St. Louis—a collaboration between the city, the utility Ameren, and several organizations, including Forth, a nonprofit advocating smart and shared transportation—is one of several around the country helping to make electric vehicles, and the cleaner air they bring, more accessible.  The city of Denver is subsidizing EV-sharing memberships for essential workers and underserved community members through a program called Colorado CarShare. In Boston, a program called Good2Go in Roxbury, the center of the city’s Black community, offers a tiered pricing system based on a resident’s income. And in Los Angeles, income-based memberships of BlueLA go as low as $39 a year.

AUSTRALIA

Court Rules Australian Government Has Duty to Protect Children, Environment From Climate Impacts, by Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams

“This is the first time a court of law, anywhere in the world, has recognized that a government minister has a duty of care to protect young people from the catastrophic harms of climate change.” 

Prairie Island tribe prepares to chart course toward zero emissions

By Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

The Prairie Island Indian Community in Minnesota is expected to name a consultant this month to help propel the tribe toward net-zero emissions. The tribe announced its intent to offset all of its energy emissions in early 2018, but details have been sparse about how — or how fast — it would proceed. The process is expected to pick up in the coming months thanks in part to $46 million in funding allocated last spring by the Minnesota Legislature.

Shelley Buck, president of the Prairie Island Tribal Council, said the effort has the potential to “change the narrative” of a community that has long been associated with its close proximity to the Xcel Energy nuclear power plant and radioactive waste storage facility that shares its namesake. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Bobby Bloomer

Previously Posted: Solar Bear helps tribes seize sovereignty, economic opportunities with renewable energy, Tribal Business News. Post includes links to news stories about the Nebraska Winnebago Tribe’s renewable energy development.

TRIBAL ENERGY WEBINAR SERIES

Tribal Energy Success Stories
December 9, 2020―12 pm to 2 pm. Hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy, 2020 Tribal Energy Webinar Series

Many tribes across Indian Country have had energy successes. Each situation is unique, with differing reasons, approaches, and challenges. By sharing the successes of other tribes, we can gain valuable inspiration and insights. This webinar will share a few of these tribal energy success stories. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required.

EQUITABLE ENERGY TRANSITION

Ready for 100 Coordinator calls for equitable energy transition in Chicago, Medill News Service, Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism

The writer, Emily Little, a health, environment and science reporter at Medill, interviews Kyra Woods, “the Ready for 100 Coordinator for the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club. [Woods] works to develop partnerships across the city of Chicago to ensure a just and equitable energy transition.”

Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Website

EV EQUITY

With bans on gas-powered vehicles, here are key steps to increase EV equity, GreenBiz article contributed by Pamela Gordon, Managing Director, PGS Consults, Presidio Graduate School

At Presidio Graduate School, we see affordability of EVs as being both an equity and a diversity factor. Some of our professors reserve an empty seat in their classroom representing those who are not able to join the discussion. Although most new product and service adoptions are at first expensive before becoming more affordable, it’s time to buck the old way of targeting markets that inherently exclude those not usually in the room.

THE ENERGY GANG PODCAST

The Role of the Customer in Utility Zero-Carbon Targets, Greentech Media
In this special podcast from Opower and Oracle, we map out the ways utilities and customers can work together to slash emissions.

SOO GREEN TRANSMISSION LINE UPDATE

Underground electric transmission line moving ahead, Radio Iowa
Neil Jones, Soo Green’s vice president of real estate, says they’re working to pair up companies known as “shippers” that are interested in “transmission capacity rights,” generation companies or utilities that want to sell power on the line, and customers interested in buying that power. The buyers and sellers may be utilities, data centers, and others who want to buy Renewable Energy Credits. They’d pay for access rights to fund operations while ratepayers in Iowa would not be charged at all. Jones says Soo Green needs a permit from the Iowa Utilities Board to proceed and filed a petition in September.

SOO Green Transmission Project Website

MISO GRID CONGESTION

The clean energy benefits slipping through states’ fingers, Utility Dive article contributed by John Moore, Director of the Sustainable FERC Project

From 2016 through October 15, 2020, developers withdrew 278 wind, solar and battery storage or hybrid solar-storage projects from the Queue, and this just counts withdrawn clean energy projects that had reached advanced stages of the interconnection study process. If they’d been built, they would have supplied nearly 35,000 MW, enough to power more than 8 million homes and create about 72,000 jobs. The median wage for jobs in clean energy today is about $24 an hour.

Also written by John Moore: Time For SPP To Commit To Competitive Clean Energy

INSPIRING RENEWABLE ENERGY PARTNERSHIP

Vanderbilt and Nashville undertake bold new renewable energy partnership to address climate change, Vanderbilt News

Vanderbilt University and the city of Nashville, Tennessee, have announced a Green Invest partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Nashville Electric Service—a collaboration that will allow the region to take a bold step forward in expanding availability and access to renewable energy at a critical time in global efforts to address the threat of climate change. Through this new partnership, Vanderbilt is tackling climate change head-on by working towards its goal of powering its campus entirely through renewable energy and committing to carbon neutrality.

Learn more about the university’s sustainability efforts.

FEATURED NATIONAL SOLAR INSTALLATION

Southwest Virginia bike shop is now a beacon for solar power in the region, by Elizabeth McGowan, Energy News Network

A 16-kilowatt array on the roof of Iron Works Cycling is the first successful project for a regional group trying to seed solar projects across seven coalfield counties.

FEATURED NEBRASKA SOLAR PROJECT

10-kilowatt solar array at Duchesne Academy, an independent, college-preparatory school for young women in Omaha. Interconnection Systems Inc (ISI), based in Central City, installed the project in 2019. The energy generated by the solar system powers multiple classrooms, including the school’s science, technology, engineering, arts and math lab. where students can integrate data from the solar system into coursework. See Solar Examples for descriptions and photos of more Nebraska projects.

ISI’s current projects include two in Nebraska:

  • Elkhorn: 8.3MW
  • ​Valley: 1MW

ISI Careers

Congratulations to Wayne Williams, owner of Interconnection Systems Inc!
Williams wins Subdivision 7 seat on NPPD board, Grand Island Independent

RECENTLY PUBLISHED CLEAN ENERGY JOBS REPORT

The Clean Jobs, Better Jobs report is the first comprehensive analysis of wages and benefits across the clean energy sector. According to the report, workers in renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid modernization and storage, clean fuels and clean vehicles earned a median hourly wage of $23.89 in 2019 compared with the national median wage of $19.14. In addition, jobs in many clean energy sectors are more likely to be unionized and come with health care and retirement benefits than the rest of the private sector, the analysis shows.

E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), and the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) produced the report in partnership with BW Research.