Tag Archives: Tri-State

Tri-State will replace coal plants with a gigawatt of new wind and solar

By Joe Smyth, Clean Cooperative

“We’ve seen the cost of renewables plummet. From the first renewable project we signed 10 years ago, we’re seeing like an 85% reduction in the cost of solar energy. And because the wind and solar energy now comes in prices lower than the cost of generating with any fossil fuel, coal or gas, it provides us with an opportunity, if you want to call it a “green energy dividend,” that those savings in energy costs can be used to help us accelerate the retirement of coal and pay for that accelerated retirement, without negative rate impacts.” – Tri-State CEO Duane Highley

Read more here. 

Tri-State Association members are located in four states: Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Nebraska.

Previously Posted: Tri-State CEO says wholesaler’s clean energy transition will pay dividends, Energy News Network

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

CLEAN ENERGY CAREERS

What’s It Like to Be a Solar Salesperson at a Residential Installer?, Greentech Media
Clean Energy Careers: In a new Greentech Media series, we’re asking people with cleantech jobs to tell us what they really do all day.

SUNNOVA’S NEW SERVICES BUNDLING MODEL

Sunnova to bundle roof replacements along with home solar + storage financing, Solar Builder Magazine. “Launching this product provides another way for our dealers to offer a holistic energy experience for our customers,” said John Santo Salvo, Executive Vice President, Channel Operations and Chief Procurement Officer at Sunnova. “This is another link in our value chain that enables our dealers to source solar, storage, service and now roofing from a single, national service provider.”

EV NEWS

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Solar Industry Response to Solar Tariff Midterm Review Report
“On behalf of more than 10,000 U.S. solar companies and 242,000 American solar workers, we are asking President Trump to give American solar companies the certainty to move forward on billions of dollars in new investment. “Let’s work together on solutions that advance American-made products and that build a stronger clean energy economy for all Americans. An added tariff burden, most certainly is not the answer.” – Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association

GLOBAL ENERGY TRANSITION QUOTATION OF THE WEEK 

 “The energy transition will have an impact on every single oil and gas player.”
– Valentina Kretzschmar, director of corporate research at Wood Mackenzie
The quotation is from the PV Magazine article: Oil and gas giants Shell and Total get serious about solar

EIA projects US solar power market to install 24 GW in 2020, blowing away prior records

By John Weaver, PV Magazine

The US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) is projecting that 13.4 GWac of utility scale solar power, and 5.1 GWac of small solar power will be installed in the U.S. in 2020 — a 95% increase over 2019. The massive growth projected isn’t limited to just utility-scale. The EIA projections see small-scale solar growing from 3.6 GWac deployed in 2019 by 38% to just over 5 GWac installed. This growth is mostly driven by the residential market, but also by the commercial market, which is expected to grow again after contracting in 2019. Read more here.

Wind + solar expected to add 61 GW over next two years: EIA, by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

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

SUSTAINABLE INVESTING

BlackRock Sends Huge Warning Shot at Companies Ignoring Climate Risk, Greentech Media
In a move that will resound across the world of energy investing, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, this week warned of a “fundamental reshaping of finance” as the impacts of climate change become better understood. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said in an open letter that his company will end support for thermal coal, screen fossil fuel investments more closely, and redesign its own investment approach to put sustainability at its core. 

BlackRock joins Climate Action 100+ to ensure largest corporate emitters act on climate crisis, Climate Action 100+ News Release. With the addition of the world’s largest asset manager, with more than $6.8 trillion USD in assets under management, Climate Action 100+ continues to grow in size and influence. BlackRock joins more than 370 global investors already participating in the initiative. The addition of funds it manages, brings total assets under management represented by investors participating in Climate Action 100+ to more than $41 trillion.

TRIBAL SOLAR

Tribal Leaders Hope Large South Dakota Solar Project Becomes Model for Others, Native News Online
On the western edge of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, tribal officials hope a major solar energy project will help tap into the vast potential of renewable energy projects on tribal land across the U.S. The planned Lookout Solar Park project — which could exceed $200 million and add up to 140 megawatts to the state’s paltry solar energy portfolio — would be the largest of its kind in the state.

Previously Posted: Nebraska tribe becomes a solar power leader on the Plainsby Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

TRI-STATE

Westminster-based utility Tri-State says it will be 50% renewable by 2024, Denver Post
Calling it transformative, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association released a plan Wednesday to boost its renewable energy sources to 50% by 2024 and cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 90% by 2030 from Colorado facilities it owns or operates. The announcement of the utility’s “Responsible Energy Plan” follows news last week that it will close its coal plants and a coal mine in New Mexico and Colorado earlier than anticipated.

Tri-State Association members are located in four states: Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Nebraska.

SOLAR FAQ

How Well Do Solar Panels Work In The Snow?, WCCO / CBS Minnesota
According to Dan Thiede with the UMN Extension’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, panels can produce a little power with a light coating of snow because some light is able to come through. But, when the snow is thick and heavy, the panels cannot produce. Once the snow is removed, they will produce again

WILDLIFE & WIND ENERGY

Migratory birds and wind energy: Looking at reality, by Michael Speerschneider, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog. Last week, several House lawmakers introduced a bill that would reform the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The ensuing debate sure to arise provides an excellent opportunity to lay some facts on the table about wind energy’s wholistic impact on birds.

EV INDUSTRY NEWS

RE100 experiences biggest year ever

By Tim Sylvia, PV Magazine

RE100, the coalition of the world’s largest companies committed to becoming 100% renewably powered experienced a banner year in 2019, growing by over a third, with 40% of that growth coming from Asia and the South Pacific. Now, with over 200 members, the cumulative electricity demand of RE100 participants, if taken as one country, would be 21st in the world, at 228 TWh/year. Read more here.

RE100.Org

NEW SURVEY

Almost every American supports the extension of clean energy tax incentives, Smart Energy International. The study was conducted by Global Strategy Group and has found that:

  • Americans overwhelmingly support extending tax incentives for clean energy and would change their vote based on the issue. 89% of voters support the extension.
  • 95% of Democrats, 86% of Independents and 83% of Republicans support the government’s extension of clean energy tax incentives.

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS & REPORT

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

Clean B.C. is quietly using coal and gas power from out of province. Here’s why, The Narwhal
Behind the sheen of its CleanBC program, the province holds back hydro power to instead import cheap electricity from 12 states including Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska and Montana which generate 55 to 90 per cent of their power from coal.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

BIFACIAL SOLAR PANELS

Whiplash: Bifacial Solar Modules to Retain US Tariff Exemption, Greentech Media
In a win for project developers, a court blocked the Trump administration from withdrawing a tariff exemption for imported bifacial solar modules.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

GTM POLITICAL CLIMATE PODCAST

Big Oil on Trial: Where the Climate Lawsuits Currently Stand, Greentech Media
In this episode of Political Climate, we speak to UCLA law professor Ann Carlson and journalist Emily Atkin about litigation that could cost fossil fuel companies billions.

FEATURED CLIMATE INITIATIVE

The U.S. Climate Alliance represents 55 percent of the U.S. population and an $11.7 trillion economy – an economy larger than all countries but the United States and China. The climate and clean energy policies in Alliance states have attracted billions of dollars of new investment and helped create more than 1.7 million clean energy jobs, over half the U.S. total. The Alliance is demonstrating that climate leadership and economic growth go hand-in-hand.

NATURAL CLIMATE SOLUTIONS

SOLAR SCHOOLS & POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS

A 2.9-Megawatt Solar Project For 10 Schools & 24% Of Richmond Public Schools’ Electricity Needs, CleanTechnica

Standard Solar, Inc. is now supporting Richmond Public Schools with a 2.9-megawatt solar project that should be completed this year. “Energy management with education and local engagement is a powerful combination and with less funding being allocated to schools year over year, public school administrators must find innovative means to deliver programs,” explained John Finnerty, director of business development for Standard Solar. “With our smart project financing, solar expertise and local engagement, we can provide the funding to make implementing a solar energy program without capital expenditure possible, all while equipping schools for a brighter future.”

Rural America could power a renewable economy – but first we need to solve coal debt

By Joe Smyth, Clean Cooperative

As prices for new wind and solar projects continue to drop, renewable energy is booming across the United States, surpassing coal earlier this year for the first time ever. And most renewable energy projects are built in rural areas, harnessing abundant wind and solar resources. Yet the electric cooperatives that power most of rural America remain particularly reliant on coal – in part because of billions of dollars in debt on increasingly uneconomic coal plants.

Solving this coal debt problem in rural America is the focus of a new report by the Center for Rural Affairs, We Own It, and CURE (Clean Up the River Environment). Rural Electrification 2.0: The Transition to a Clean Energy Economy explores strategies that policymakers and electric cooperatives could pursue to restructure or eliminate debt that is currently tied up with uneconomic coal plants. Continue reading here.

NRECA Infographic: While electric cooperatives have begun to add more new renewable energy projects in recent years, overall they still remain more reliant on coal than other utilities. According to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, coal accounts for 40% of electric cooperatives’ fuel mix, compared to 27% nationally. – Joe Smyth

Smyth’s list of recommended reading on electric cooperatives and coal debt:

He also provides a list of further reading on presidential candidates’ plans on climate, energy, and food.

1.6 Gigawatts Of New Solar Energy Potential From The Grassroots

By Tina Casey, CleanTechnica

Along with the usual funding for established research organizations and private sector partners, DOE is also working under the media radar with grassroots organizations to bring more solar energy to more people — especially lower and middle income populations that are falling behind in the solar race. Read more here.

ECO-Omaha’s Solar in Your Community Challenge Project

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

KYOCERA to Acquire SouthernCarlson, Inc

Kyocera News Release, Business Wire

Kyocera announced that it has concluded an agreement to acquire 100% ownership of SouthernCarlson, a US distributor of tools, fasteners, packaging and facility supplies, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska. Under the agreement, SouthernCarlson will operate as a U.S.-based subsidiary of Kyocera Corporation . . . Kyocera has become a leading supplier of industrial and automotive components, electronic devices, semiconductor packages, solar power generating systems, printers, copiers and mobile phones. Read more here.

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

  • NorthWestern Energy Seeks Montana Renewable Generation, Solar Industry
    Montana’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requires NorthWestern to procure energy from community renewable energy projects (CREPs) that meet certain criteria. NorthWestern, which provides electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serves approximately 726,400 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.
  • From now on, regional utility Tri-State will be subject to oversight from Colorado regulators, Denver Post. A bylaw has capped the amount cooperatives can produce on their own at 5 percent, requiring them to buy the rest from Tri-State. Members approved a new bylaw in April to remove the cap. A committee will develop new guidelines.
  • Colorado approves bill putting Tri-State under PUC as members flee to renewables, Utility Dive Approximately half of Tri-State’s generation comes from coal and an August report from the Rocky Mountain Institute found the utility’s 1 million customers could save $600 million through 2030 by shifting toward renewables. 
  • GBHS enters winning solar car, Great Bend Tribune
    The 21st Annual Sunflower ElectroRally was held April 25 at the Spencer Flight and Education Center in Scott City. The race is part of the Kansas ElectroRally Championship Series. Electric cars, designed and constructed from scratch, race to complete the most laps in a one-hour endurance race. Thirteen teams from Kansas and Nebraska came to compete in the Solar, Standard and Open classes. The program’s goal is to inspire an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) by involving participants in the design, construction, testing and development of competitive electric vehicles.

OPPD Focused On Continued Investment In Our Communities

Omaha Public Power District News Release
February 14, 2019

Omaha Public Power District is committed to investing in the communities it serves. Furthering that effort, today, the OPPD Board of Directors approved a labor contract for streetlight
conversion work within its service territory to replace current technology with light emitting
diode (LED) technology.

This is part of the district’s five-year plan, officially beginning next month, to replace nearly 100,000 existing high-pressure sodium fixtures within its service territory. To date, OPPD has
converted approximately 400 burned out streetlights to LED. The district is utilizing a contractor alongside OPPD employees due to the volume and time frame of work taking place.
Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading
NDEQ Co-hosting Nebraska Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Conference on March 25, NPPD News Release

NEWS FROM OTHER CITIES & STATES

The nuclear city goes 100% renewable, PV Magazine
Yesterday Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel unveiled the city’s
Resilient Chicago plan, which in action 38 is a commitment to
“transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy in buildings community-wide by 2035”. 

TRI-STATE NEWS

Center for Rural Affairs explores renewable energy issues

By Joseph Hopper, Spencer Daily Reporter

The Nebraska and Iowa-based nonprofit, the Center for Rural Affairs, recently published a number of publications focusing on renewable energy in Iowa. Its most recent research publication, entitled “Powering Iowa: Rural Perspectives on Iowa’s Renewable Energy Transformation,” highlighted current opinions on various renewable energy issues, such as wind turbines and transmission line development. In addition to the center’s study on opinions of renewable energy, the center authored a white paper on wind energy ordinances in the state and a second publication examining incentives for tax revenue from transmission lines. Read the entire article here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Highline is 80 Years Strong: Electric cooperative celebrates with members at annual meeting, by Darci Tomky, The Holyoke Enterprise
Of the energy sold to members from Tri-State, about 30 percent was generated from renewable sources last year. That’s a considerable increase from the 17 percent reported in 2007. “That is the largest percentage of renewables in generation and transmission companies across the country and one of the highest of any utility in the U.S.” said Farnsworth. Included in Highline’s renewable projects is the Trailblazer Waste Heat Generation Site. Emphasizing its value to Highline, Farnsworth said it has brought $2.3 million to Highline’s bottom line since 2009. Highline is currently looking at options for a utility scale solar project that could provide savings to members over the next 20 to 25 years.

Nebraska Cooperatives Currently Using Solar & Wind

  • NRECA’s Interactive Map: Cooperative Solar Across the Country, shows that 443 cooperatives in 43 states utilize solar as a source of power. Eight Nebraska co-ops currently use solar, following: Georgia (42), Minnesota (37), North Carolina (26), Tennessee (24), Colorado (23), Indiana (23), Iowa (22), Oklahoma (21), South Carolina (21), Wisconsin (19), Arkansas (18), New Mexico (16), Mississippi (14), Illinois (13) Texas (11), Virginia (11), Alabama (10), Florida (9), and Wyoming (9). Click here and scroll down to individual states’ information.
  • NRECA’s Interactive Map: Cooperative Wind Across the Country, shows that.564 cooperatives in 37 states use wind as a source of power. Thirty Nebraska co-ops utilize wind energy, following Minnesota (44), Missouri (41), Indiana (38), and Iowa (31). Click here and scroll down to individual states’ information, including a list of all 30 Nebraska cooperatives using wind.

Economic reality sets in for energy company trying to build new coal plant in Kansas: Coal can’t compete with cheap clean energy

Joe Smyth, Think Progress

Windy states like Kansas are particularly well situated to benefit from the declining costs of wind energy. A March report from Moody’s Investors Service found that in the 15 states with the best wind resources, new wind generation now costs significantly less than existing coal-fired power plants. Kansas is among those windy states, along with the four states where Tri-State sells electricity: Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Nebraska. Read more here.