Tag Archives: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

States March toward 100% Clean Energy–Who’s Next?

By Jeff Deyette, Director of State Policy & Analysis, Clean Energy,
Union of Concerned Scientists Blog

Eight states plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico (not pictured here) have committed to 100% Renewable or Clean Energy Standards. Another 13 states are actively considering similar measures.

One year ago this week, the California legislature passed landmark legislation committing the state’s power providers to supplying 60% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and setting a target of 100% clean, or carbon-free, power by mid century. It was a bold action that significantly raised the bar for other states considering policy action. And over the last 12 months, another six states (bringing the total to eight states) plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have answered the call with various obligations toward 100% clean energy over the next few decades. What’s driving this surge in state-level clean energy leadership? And which states will be the next to step up? Read more here. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

ENERGY NEWS NETWORK ARTICLES

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Solar Industry Calls on FERC to Enforce PURPA, Increase Competition
The proposal provides utilities with a new framework for offering competitive solicitations based on their integrated resource plans, while also complying with PURPA’s requirement to purchase energy and capacity from small renewable and cogeneration facilities. SEIA’s competitive bidding solution is designed to prevent utility self-dealing while opening the market for new capacity to independent developers.

PACE FINANCING

  • Green builders lean on a juggernaut loan program, The Philadelphia Tribune
    Developers grappling with the cost of new laws enacted to combat climate change are taking advantage of a little-known finance tool to help pay for green-building requirements. In Omaha, Nebraska, for instance, the Capitol District, a $205 million mixed-use entertainment development, has become the latest milestone in a long-running effort to revitalize the downtown area. The project’s developer, Shamrock Development, tapped a PACE program to pay for LED lighting, heat pumps, low-flow water fixtures, and other building materials and equipment to enhance energy and water efficiency.
  • In Chicago, a new financing tool for clean energy and efficiency upgrades, Energy News Network
    Advocates see strong potential in Chicago and surrounding areas for property assessed clean energy financing to boost investments.

RECYCLING EV BATTERIES

MORE ON UTAH’S SONNEN & RMP VIRTUAL POWER PLANT

Rocky Mountain Power prepares to operate largest US residential battery demand response project, Utility Dive. “In my opinion, this is the most transformative project we’ve worked on in the United States,” Sonnen CEO Blake Richetta told Utility Dive. That’s coming from a company that has installed more than 40,000 batteries globally and already developed multiple Virtual Power Plants that combine residential energy systems into grid resources. But Richetta, who took the helm at Sonnen earlier this year, said the Utah project stands out for multiple reasons.

Rocky Mountain Power is a division of PacifiCorp, a fully-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

Previously Posted

Building Electrification Could Add Hundreds Of Millions Of Batteries To The Grid

By Sonia Aggarwal, Forbes

To confront rising electricity demand from buildings, places as far apart as Singapore and California have set net-zero energy building targets. The goal is to build a fleet of super-efficient individual structures, topped with solar panels, generating at least as much energy as they consume, avoiding the need for more expensive power plants that could lock in decades of GHGs from coal or natural gas. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • Residential Energy Storage VPPs Are Gaining Traction, Transmission & Distribution World
    Aggregated residential energy storage systems are increasingly deployed by utilities to provide a variety of services including replacing fossil fuel power plants, supporting increased renewable generation, and improving grid-resilience and reliability.
  • How to have an all-renewable electric grid, by David Timmons, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Boston, The Conversation. Many studies demonstrate that fully renewable electric grids are feasible in the United StatesEuropeAustralia and elsewhere.
  • Energy Storage Developer Buys Texas Windfarms With Major Battery Retrofit Planned, Forbes
    A U.S.-based energy storage developer this week bought itself a portfolio of eight North Texas wind farms. The move is a sign of the growing status and confidence of the storage sector as well.
  • Form Energy Raises $40M Series B for Super-Long-Duration Grid Storage, Greentech Media
    Long-duration storage startup Form Energy thought that solving the problem of months-long grid storage would take a decade. But its last year of work advanced faster than expected. Long-duration storage startups have struggled for years, but the market has heated up in recent weeks. That’s in large part due to the growth of renewables pushing a need for more grid storage in the near term.
  • Pacific Northwest Facility to Study Grid Security, Resilience, Government Technology Magazine
    The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has been tapped by the U.S. Department of Energy as the new site for a national research effort around grid stability, energy storage and system security.
  • The ten-year, 73 gigawatt renewable energy business plan, PV Magazine
    Renewable portfolio standards across 29 US states represent significant, legally required additions of wind and solar – including 15 states whose requirements will drive more than 11 GWac of solar power. An interesting nugget – 9 GW of RPS requirement meeting renewables have been built in non-RPS states, and wheeled into the state via power lines.
  • Renewable Energy Standards, Solar Energy Industries Association
  • Coming Soon to Your Home: Cleaner Air and Climate Action, Earthjustice
    The city of Berkeley, California, has opted to take one giant leap into a clean energy future – and is being closely watched by cities across the world. The city council voted unanimously in July to ban natural gas in new buildings, making it the first city in the United States to do so. The ban will apply first to all new low-rise buildings in 2020, and will then expand to other building types.  

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Department of Energy Releases Annual Wind Market Reports, Finding Robust Wind Power Installations and Falling Prices

U.S. Department of Energy News Release 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released annual market reports documenting data and trends in wind installations, technologies, costs, prices, and performance through the end of 2018 for three sectors: utility-scale land-based, offshore, and distributed wind.

“Onshore wind energy installation continues to grow across the country, and this Administration has proven that we can pursue renewable energy advancements and deployment, particularly wind energy resources, which are predicted to surpass other sources of renewable power generation this year,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “And with over 25 gigawatts in the development pipeline, U.S. offshore wind is poised to be a significant part of our comprehensive energy portfolio in the coming years.” Continue reading here.

#AmericanWindWeek: Offshore wind powers the opportunity for a new ocean energy resource

By Celeste Wanner, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Day 5 of #AmericanWindWeek is here, and today we’re celebrating a new ocean energy resource: offshore wind. Interest in offshore wind has exploded in the three years since the Block Island Wind Farm became the first U.S. offshore wind project. States up and down the East Coast have made big commitments to offshore wind, and there are intriguing projects in the works off California’s coast and the Great Lakes. And just in time for #AmericanWindWeek, the Department of Energy (DOE) has a new report that explores the state of offshore wind.
Continue reading here.

Senate Bill Would Set Nation on Course for 50 Percent Renewable Energy or More by 2035

Environmental Working Group News Release

Currently, 30 states have renewables standards that require utilities to generate a set percentage of electricity that ramps up from year to year. The Renewable Electricity Standard Act, by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M), would require the remaining 20 states without renewables standards to get on board. A number of states with enormous solar and wind generation potential, like Florida, Georgia, Nebraska and Wyoming, have so far not adopted renewables policies. The proposal would more than double the pace of solar and wind development seen over the past decade, according to an analysis of Udall’s legislation by researchers with the Union of Concerned Scientists, or UCS. Read more here.

The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Non-Wires Alternatives: What’s up next in utility business model evolution

Utilities not already considering NWAs in planning processes should
wise up quick, says Navigant analyst Brett Feldman.
Opinion posted on Utility Dive

On May 17, 2017, Bonneville Power Authority (BPA) made an announcement that flew under the radar of most of the energy industry . . . This decision “reflects a shift for BPA—from the traditional approach of primarily relying on new construction to meet changing transmission needs, to embracing a more flexible, scalable and economically and operationally efficient approach to managing our transmission system.” The preferred solution includes resources like battery storage, flow control devices, and demand response. Such projects have become known as non-wires alternatives (NWA), and are proliferating across the country.
Read more here.

Photo: Flickr user Doug Wertman

ALSO IN THE NEWS

#StorageIsHere: Like Solar, Storage Has Only Started To Hit Its Stride

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Blog
#StorageIsHere
In 2013, Standard Solar and SunEdison installed one of the nation’s first commercial-scale solar-plus-storage systems at a commercial site in Maryland. The storage component supplemented the expansive solar arrays by protecting the facility from power outages.

Fast forward to 2015, the U.S. energy storage market saw a remarkable 243 percent growth, according to a recent report by GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association (ESA). In fact, there was more energy storage capacity deployed in just one quarter of 2015 (112 megawatts) than in 2013 and 2014 combined (106 megawatts). Read more.

Click here to learn more about Energy Storage Association’s #StorageIsHere campaign. It culminates today with companies and organizations across the nation sharing resources, white papers, case studies and multimedia content about energy storage.

DOE allotted $18 million earlier this year to fund six new integrated PV and storage projects.

Gender Equality in Clean Energy: A Challenge Shared by All Countries

Huffington Post / Co-authored by Neha Matthew, Associate Campaign Representative with the Sierra Club’s International Campaign and Rebecca Pearl-Martinez, a Research Fellow and Head of the Renewable Equity Project (REP)

Solar Sister Entrepreneur Levina from Kandaga Village. Photo Credit: Solar Sister Tanzania

Solar Sister Entrepreneur Levina from Kandaga Village. Photo Credit: Solar Sister Tanzania

The gender inequalities that persist throughout the energy sector inspired the creation of the Renewable Equity Project (REP), a new initiative building knowledge and action on women’s advancement throughout the energy value chain — from engineering and technology to the boardrooms of energy corporations. Housed at the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP) at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, the initiative is the first effort to improve gender data across clean energy technologies and to demonstrate the impact that women’s advancement could have on expanding the clean energy economy.

Read the entire blog here.

Renewable Equity Project (REP)

Also of potential interest: 

Women in Solar Energy (WISE) 

Women in Solar Energy Vimeo (1.35 minutes)

SEIA’s archived webinar, Women in Solar Energy

Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) is a global network for women advancing clean energy http://c3enet.org

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University is joining the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative (MITEI) to support implementation of the DOE-led U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) program to advance women’s participation and leadership in clean energy. Women represent substantially less than half of the workforce across the energy field; closing the gender gap is a major goal of C3E. The new collaboration with the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy will broaden the geographic reach of the U.S. C3E program and help further raise awareness of C3E and women’s leadership in the energy sector. http://energy.gov/articles/stanford-precourt-institute-energy-joins-us-department-energy-and-mit-energy-initiative

Solar Market Pathways’ New Website

Duluth, Minnesota. Photo: Market Pathways

Duluth, Minnesota. Photo: Solar Market Pathways

The Solar Market Pathways program has launched a new website aimed at disseminating key insights from 15 SunShot Initiative projects that are advancing solar deployment across the United States. These projects take a variety of approaches to develop actionable strategic plans to expand solar electricity use for residential, community, and commercial properties.

The case studies and lessons learned from the Solar Market Pathways projects provide examples that can be replicated—an important step towards making solar deployment faster, easier, and cheaper across the country

The Solar Market Pathways Program brings together 14 diverse teams from across the country under a single goal: increase solar adoption by reducing the soft costs associated with solar. Here are some of their key approaches:

Developing Regional Strategies
Enhancing Community Resilience
Reaching Lower Income Americans
Expanding Community Solar
Supporting Utility Innovation
Partnering With Higher Education

Visit the new Solar Market Pathways webpage for access to tool kits, case studies, resources, and accomplishments: www.solarmarketpathways.org

Department of Energy Success Story – Connection Without the Costs

Consumers who are planning to go solar can now save hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars in the process, thanks to a new invention that was funded by the SunShot Initiative’s Incubator program. It’s called the ConnectDER, and in addition to its consumer benefits, it soon might appeal to utilities, too.

The ConnectDER device sits in-between the meter and the meter socket.. Photo credit: Department of Energy

The ConnectDER device sits in-between the meter and the meter socket.. Photo credit: Department of Energy

Typically, after sunlight gathered by solar panels is turned into electricity by an inverter, it must be connected to a home’s electrical service panel. This can be difficult because panels are often located in hard to reach areas of a home, like basements or attics. For those who live in older homes, electrical service panels may not be built to handle the amount of energy being produced by solar panels and upgrading may be expensive.

The ConnectDER device makes it faster and easier to install a solar array by removing the need to upgrade electrical service panels or run wiring through a home’s interior, meaning solar technicians don’t need to enter your home. The ConnectDER is mounted between a home’s electric meter and meter socket, which is located outside. Cables from the inverter are connected directly to the device instead of being routed through a home. The meter can also handle more voltage than an electrical service panel, easily bearing the burden of routing power into the home.

By removing the need to replace the electrical service panel and run wiring through a house, the ConnectDER device saves consumers between $500 and $3,000 in installation costs. It also saves time, shortening what can be a lengthy process.

With a proven beta product under its belt, ConnectDER is now in the process of finalizing an advanced version of its device. The second-generation SMART ConnectDER has the same configuration, mounted between a home’s electric meter and the meter socket, but it allows utilities to monitor how much solar energy is generated at a given location. Having this insight into supply and demand will allow utilities to ensure grid stability, and help reduce the likelihood of power outages.

More Department of Energy Success Stories are posted here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Solar Power World: Brooks Utility Products and ConnectDER to simplify electric metering for solar installations.
“Brooks Utility Products, a supplier of electric metering products for the utility industry for more than 142 years, is providing design and manufacturing expertise to innovative startup ConnectDER, (formerly Infinite Invention).”