Tag Archives: U.S. Department of Energy

Creighton University 1st Place Winner in Department of Energy’s Solar District Cup Class of 2021-2022

On April 25, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the first-, second-, and third-place winners in each division. Following the announcement, the three first-place teams presented to a public audience, who voted for the Project Pitch Champions.

“The Solar District Cup convenes college competitors to accelerate the transition to the clean energy future and to reimagine how energy is generated, managed, and used in a district energy system. The Creighton team designed a proposed distributed energy system for Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. Their proposal included strong photovoltaics system design, tracker angular rotation schedule, distribution analysis, and financial analyses.”

The Solar District Cup is directed and administered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and is funded by the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office. Learn more here.

Conservation Nebraska Event This Saturday!


One of the students representing Creighton University in the competition was Max Markuson DiPrince, who will be Conservation Nebraska’s guest speaker this Saturday, April 30th at 10 a.m. for a virtual presentation that was recently announced in our: Special Earth Month Edition Newsletter.

Register to attend the event at the link provided.

DOE Releases Guidebook to Boost Solar Energy Use in Communities

U.S. Department of Energy News Release

DOE’s “Solar Power in Your Community” Provides Proven Strategies for Local Governments to Increase Equitable Access to Clean Power, Solar App+ Online Tool Cuts Solar Permit Time to Less than One Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released the third edition of Solar Power in Your Community,” DOE’s guidebook to help local governments unlock environmental and economic benefits of increased solar deployment in their communities. This latest edition contains nearly 40 case studies from around the country that show field-tested approaches to reduce solar market barriers, highlights new technologies and strategies to maximize the benefits of solar, such as combining solar with energy storage to improve resilience, and emphasizes strategies for improving the equity of solar deployment at the local level. These efforts support the deployment of more solar energy to reach the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of achieving 100% clean electricity by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050.  

“DOE’s solar guidebook is a must-have reference for local governments interested in using proven strategies to speed up going solar and cut energy bills for their residents,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “From reducing solar permitting delays and other soft costs to expanding solar benefits to renters and other non-traditional solar users, we’re providing more localities with the tools to succeed in delivering cheaper, cleaner power while generating good-paying local jobs.” 

The Solar Power in Your Community guidebook is a one-stop-shop for information about solar deployment, providing best practices, case studies, and links to resources developed by DOE, the National Laboratories, and other trusted sources.  

Since the guidebook was originally published in 2009, solar power costs have decreased 80% and federal incentives have spurred dramatic increases in solar deployment. However, soft costs like unnecessary paperwork, red tape, and other burdensome requirements increase costs and discourage solar companies from moving to an area. By streamlining these requirements and taking other steps to encourage solar development, DOE is supporting communities to become “open for solar business.” 

DOE’s solar guidebook encourages local governments to: 

  • Adopt SolarAPP+ tool to rapidly approve residential solar installation permits:
    DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory released results from its SolarAPP+ (Solar Automated Permit Processing) tool pilot in five communities in California and Arizona. The results show that SolarAPP+ reduced the average permit review time to less than one day, enabled projects to be installed and inspected 12 days faster, and saved the pilot communities over 2,000 hours of staff time. Learn more about the results and sign up to use the tool
  • Join the SolSmart 60 campaign to expand solar deployment: The SolSmart 60 Campaign aims to get 60 new communities designated as SolSmart Gold, Silver, or Bronze for making it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar. So far, 21 local communities have earned distinction for their solar deployment practices since September 2021. The program offers free technical assistance to help any municipality, county, or regional organization remove obstacles to going solar and reduce the soft costs that can hold back growth. SolSmart’s team of national experts in solar energy and local government have helped these jurisdictions implement best practices and take decisive action to encourage the expansion of solar energy. 
  • Receive free technical assistance to develop community solar programs: The National Community Solar Partnership is a coalition of community solar stakeholders working to expand access to community solar, particularly to those with low-to-moderate incomes, renters, and other community members for whom traditional rooftop solar is unavailable. Local governments can join the partnership to receive free technical assistance to develop community solar programs. 

As part of DOE’s effort to ensure that local governments know about DOE resources, Secretary Granholm will keynote the Annual Summit of the National Community Solar Partnership on January 25 at 10 a.m. Central Time. The Secretary will discuss community solar deployment with Governor Jay Inslee of Washington and Governor JB Pritzker of Illinois. 

For regular event updates and access to exclusive National Community Solar Partnership resources and opportunities, register to join the Partnership. Membership is free and open to any community solar stakeholder in the U.S.

If you have any questions, please reach out to communitysolar@ee.doe.gov for more information.

2022 Outlook: Top US power sector trends to watch

By Kavya Balaraman, Ethan Howland, Robert Walton, Iulia Gheorghiu

This is the first piece in Utility Dive’s four-part 2022 outlook series
examining key policies and trends driving the U.S. power sector.

At the start of the Biden administration’s second year, government agencies are beginning to implement the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the bipartisan infrastructure package Congress passed last year. Concerns remain high about the reliability and security of the U.S. power grid, and the future of the Build Back Better bill and its clean-energy provisions remains uncertain. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which now has a Democratic majority and a full complement of commissioners, is poised to play a key role in how much the administration’s climate and energy policies advance. Read more here.

Second Part of Utility Dive’s 2022 Outlook Series: A new recognition is coming of rate design’s critical role in the energy transition, by Herman K. Trabish

ENERGY STORAGE

‘Large quantities of energy storage’ can balance the US grid all-year-round, NREL study finds,
by Andy Colthorpe, Energy Storage News

The synergies between diurnal energy storage and solar PV are better than for wind energy, although it will have an important role to play in integrating both renewable energy types, the study found.

According to a new report from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), energy storage’s ability to store overgeneration from solar and wind power plants means it can contribute to the energy mix when most needed, even in the most conservative scenarios of variable renewable energy deployment. Photo Credit: Dennis Schroeder / NREL

Also by Andy Colthorpe: North America’s largest Li-ion battery recycling giga-facility to ‘take on as much as possible’ from ESS sector, Energy Storage News

ARTICLES WRITTEN BY TINA CASEY FOR CLEAN TECHNICA

Energy Efficient, Transparent Solar Windows: You Really Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
More than 20 billion square feet of windows are installed every year, and the leading firm Andersen Corporation apparently plans to make some of those billions into energy efficient, transparent solar energy generators that could kick the pace of global energy decarbonization into high gear.

The Solid-State Energy Storage Dam Is About To Bust Wide Open
Electric vehicles are supposed to be the biggest market for new solid-state battery technology, but stationary energy storage is suddenly in the running, too.

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA NEWS RELEASE & REPORT

President Biden’s first year in office marks progress on numerous environmental fronts

The progress report, President Biden’s First Year: A year of restoring lost environmental protections, documents the Biden administration’s work on 20 “priority actions” that enjoy broad support and have significant environmental impact. Although much of the media attention this past year has focused on big ticket bills like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Build Back Better Act, which still has an uncertain fate in Congress, the actions highlighted in the report are worthy of recognition as well. These include:

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

DOWNLOADABLE COLORING BOOK

Solar Energy Workbook

Download and color this FREE copy of the Solar Energy Workbook, then send it back to the American Solar Energy Society as a PDF. The organization will review it and reward you with an International Certificate “as appreciation of your dedication and efforts.” Click the above link for complete instructions.

DOE Kicks Off Recruitment to Support Implementation of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

U.S. Department of Energy News Release

“Clean Energy Corps” Hiring Campaign and Applicant Portal To Streamline
The Largest DOE Staff Expansion In More Than Four Decades

“This is an open call for all Americans who are passionate about taking a proactive role in tackling the climate crisis and want to join the team that is best positioned to lead this transformative work,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Solving the world’s greatest challenge will require the inclusion of all voices, perspectives and experiences – and we need people like you to ensure that DOE fulfills on our commitment to accelerating the clean energy transition to reduce emissions and save our planet.” 

The Department is now collecting resumes for the Clean Energy Corps through the newly launched DOE Applicant Portal, part of a streamlined application process that will allow applicants to align their talents with their passions by indicating specific areas of interest and allowing hiring managers to review candidate profiles simultaneously. The Department will assemble the Clean Energy Corps to mirror the diversity within America and ensure the inclusion of workers who have lived in communities impacted by climate change. DOE is seeking candidates with interest in leading the clean energy transition through the following industries: Read more here.

  • Watch Secretary Granholm’s message for Clean Energy Corps applicants HERE.
  • Anyone interested in joining the Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Corps can submit their resume, skills, and areas of interest at energy.gov/cleanenergycorps.  

Additional Recommended Reading

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Hits the Ground Running 60 Days into Infrastructure Implementation, The White House Briefing Room

DOE Upgrades One Million Homes as Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Provides Massive Investment in Energy Efficiency

Department of Energy News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm traveled to Delaware today to announce that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has upgraded one million American homes with energy efficiency improvements through the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program. The trip and milestone underscore the importance of the weatherization and energy efficiency investments that are within the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. Since 2001, the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program has helped American homeowners and renters save $7.7 billion on their energy bills and cut carbon emissions equivalent to a year’s worth of 11 coal-fired power plants.  

“DOE’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program has helped one million homeowners make energy-savings improvements at an affordable price,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “With the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal’s historic investments in energy efficiency and weatherization, we will ensure more Americans can benefit from cleaner air, more resilient homes, and lower energy bills.” Read more here.

Visit the Building Technologies Office to learn more about DOE’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program.

MORE ON THE BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE BILL

The White House Briefing Room

Reuters: US Energy Dept to hire 1,000 workers in infrastructure boost, officials say

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & RESOURCES

USDA NEWS RELEASE

USDA Announces Scholars Programs for Students at Historically Black and Tribal Land-Grant Colleges and Universities

Free SEIA Webinar for Solar Employers Tomorrow!

Veteran Recruiting & Retention: Practical Strategies for a
Veteran-Inclusive Workplace

November 9, 2021 | 12:00-1:00 PM CT

As the solar industry continues its rapid growth, we must build back better by creating a more diverse, inclusive, and resilient workforce. Military veterans have both technical and soft skills that are essential to our quickly expanding industry.

Is your company interested in recruiting and retaining veterans but not sure where to start? Join SEIA’s free webinar tomorrow to gain practical insight into military talent recruiting, hiring, and retention strategies and tips. Participants will hear from veteran recruiting experts and various solar employers that have successfully implemented these recruitment strategies. 

Webinar Speakers


This webinar is part of the Solar Ready Vets Network, which aims to connect transitioning service members and military veterans with careers in solar. Funding for this project is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. 

Nebraska tribes celebrate Indigenous People’s Day at Capitol

By Leigh Waldman and Gina Dvorak, WOWT

Leaders of Nebraska’s four Native American tribes dedicated their flags Monday in a ceremony at the state Capitol celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day. According to details from the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, the flags will be displayed in the Warner Legislative Chamber at the Capitol. During Monday’s ceremony, leaders from Nebraska’s Omaha, Ponca, Santee Sioux, and Winnebago tribes spoke about the significance of the state’s recognition. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING 

EXAMPLES OF TRIBAL ENERGY PROGRAMS & RESOURCES ALSO INCLUDE:

Oceti Sakowin Power Authority

A just energy transition in action: Developing 1G of wind power with tribes, contributed by Shaandiin Cedar, GreenBiz

[Six] tribes make up the Oceti Sakowin Power Authority (OSPA) — the Cheyenne River, Flandreau Santee, Oglala, Rosebud, Standing Rock and Yankton tribes — unified in a mission to develop inter-tribal renewable energy resources and bolster tribal sovereignty, self-determination and energy independence. After years of searching for the right partner, OSPA selected Apex to develop their wind resources. Shaandiin Cedar is a writer, business consultant and environmental justice advocate focused on the opportunities to build a clean, equitable economy.

Midwest Tribal Energy Resources Association

The Midwest Tribal Energy Resources Association (MTERA) is a non-profit intertribal organization comprised of Midwest Tribes. “We are planning and pursuing innovative Tribal energy projects that respect the sovereignty and unique culture of individual Member Tribes, while leveraging the collective strength and resources of all Midwest Tribes.” Scroll down to see Member Tribes.

The Office of Indian Energy Policy & Programs

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs
is authorized to fund and implement a variety of programmatic activities that assist American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native villages with energy development, capacity building, energy cost reduction, and electrification of Indian lands and homes.To advance its mission, the Office of Indian Energy works with American Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives to maximize the value of their energy resources through:

Facilitation of energy development
Education and training
Technical assistance
Funding

The Office of Indian Energy also leverages public-private partnerships, inter- and intra-governmental coordination, and government-to-government partnerships to maximize the return on investments in the future of Native American communities. 

Office of Indian Energy Overview Brochure

Groundbreaking held for York’s new solar power generation field

By Melanie Wilkinson, York News-Times

YORK – It was quite fitting that the sun was brilliantly shining and there were near-record high temperatures as gold shovels were used to turn dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony for the new solar energy generation field at York. The location is on unused ground on the landfill property.

A number of people were on hand to mark the beginning of this project – a project that has been in the works since 2019 when the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) and the City of York began working together toward this end goal. Continue reading here.

SITING SOLAR ON LANDFILLS & OTHER BROWNFIELDS

Links to Resources

  • RE-Powering America’s Land
    RE-Powering America’s Land is an EPA initiative that encourages renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites when such development is aligned with the community’s vision for the site.
  • EPA’s Brownfields Program provides grants and technical assistance to communities, states, tribes and others to assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse contaminated properties. To learn about EPA’s broader efforts to put previously contaminated properties back into productive use, read about the Land Revitalization Program.
  • Brownfields and Land Revitalization in Region 7
    EPA Region 7 manages  Brownfields and Land Revitalization Programs in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. On this page you will find information specific to Region 7’s Brownfields and Land Revitalization activities. Visit the national Brownfields Program and Land Revitalization Program websites for more information about these programs’ competitive grants.
  • Brownfields: FAQs, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy 

USDA NEWS RELEASE


USDA Announces $3 Billion Investment in Agriculture, Animal Health, and Nutrition; Unveils New Climate Partnership Initiative, Requests Public Input

 


“The new Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative will support pilots that create new market opportunities for commodities produced using climate-smart practices and position U.S. farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners as leaders in addressing climate change. The pilots will invest in the science, monitoring and verification to measure the benefits of these climate smart practices. Today, we ask for public input to inform our decision making and enhance the design of this initiative.”
– Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

Comments may be provided on or before 11:59 p.m. EST on November 1, 2021 via the Federal Register, Docket ID: USDA-2021-0010. Feedback will be used to inform design of the new Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING 

FACA consists of 80 organizations representing farmers, ranchers, forest owners, agribusinesses, manufacturers, the food and innovation sector, state governments, sportsmen and women, and environmental advocates. More information and a full list of members can be found at www.AgClimateAlliance.com. FACA’s original 40 recommendations are outlined in a 50-page report and summarized in a one-page hand-out.

RURAL ENERGY FOR AMERICA PROGRAM

REAP provides funding for rural America’s clean energy efforts,  Standard Journal

Contributed article by Kalee Olson,  a policy associate at the Center for Rural Affairs. Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, nonprofit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action-oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues. The deadline to apply is Nov. 1.

DOE Releases Solar Futures Study Providing the Blueprint for a Zero-Carbon Grid

The U.S. Department of Energy today released the Solar Futures Study detailing the significant role solar will play in decarbonizing the nation’s power grid. The study shows that by 2035, solar energy has the potential to power 40% of the nation’s electricity, drive deep decarbonization of the grid, and employ as much as 1.5 million people—without raising electricity prices. The study’s findings call for massive and equitable deployment of clean energy sources, underscoring the Biden Administration’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis and rapidly increase access to renewable power throughout the country. 

“The study illuminates the fact that solar, our cheapest and fastest-growing source of clean energy, could produce enough electricity to power all of the homes in the U.S. by 2035 and employ as many as 1.5 million people in the process,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Achieving this bright future requires a massive and equitable deployment of renewable energy and strong decarbonization polices –  exactly what is laid out in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. Read the entire news release.

Resources

Building a US clean manufacturing strategy to counter China and tackle climate change

Utility Dive article contributed by David Hart, director of the Clean Energy Innovation Policy Program at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), and Stefan Koester, ITIF senior policy analyst.

A recent report to which we contributed, published by the Information Technology and Innovation FoundationBoston University Institute for Sustainable Energy, and Fraunhofer USA’s Center for Manufacturing Innovation, details how the United States can rebuild a robust domestic manufacturing sector and tackle climate change by leveraging its considerable strengths in science, technology and innovation. Read more here.

Flickr Photo

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH

“We found that we can get to 80+% renewable energy at the same cost as keeping the system at today’s level of renewables,” said [Wesley] Cole, NREL senior energy analyst and lead author of the paper. “Increased renewable energy contribution also reduces emissions, so going beyond today’s levels of renewable energy is a no-brainer.”

Researchers at the Wharton School said the additional $579 billion in new infrastructure spending would increase domestic output by 0.1% and decrease the U.S. debt by 0.9% by 2050.

Location, location, location — when it comes to the placement of wind turbines, the old real estate adage applies, according to new research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Carnegie’s Enrico Antonini and Ken Caldeira.

AMERICAN PUBLIC POWER ASSOCIATION 

THE REAP IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2021

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger Push to Improve Popular & Effective Rural Energy for America Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. [6/24/21]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA 7)—along with U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Representative David G. Valadao (R-CA 21)—introduced legislation in both the Senate and House aimed at improving the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural business owners to install renewable energy systems and adopt energy efficiency measures

MGM’S RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT

MGM unveils solar project it says will power 13 Vegas hotels, Las Vegas Sun
The array of solar panels sits in the desert northeast of Las Vegas and will be managed by Invenergy, which owns and operates renewable energy developments throughout the world. The largest resorts and casinos on the Las Vegas Strip have gradually left Nevada’s public utility, NV Energy, and begun producing their own power.

Previously Posted: MGM Resorts Recognized for Making Significant Investments in Clean Energy by the Solar Energy Industries Association, MGM Resorts International News Release

Photo: MGM’s first solar array in Las Vegas on the roof at the Mandalay Bay Resort

CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY

The sustainability imperative imperative, by Joel Makower,
Chairman & Co-founder, GreenBiz Group

At long last, this stuff is being taken seriously — very seriously. And while there remain those who view the whole shebang — net-zero carbon emissions, ESG metrics, climate tech, the circular economy and all the rest — as “woke capitalism” (another mean moniker), those critics are finding themselves shunted off to the side, marginalized, a voice in the wilderness.

RE100 ArticleBusiness demand for renewables greater than total energy demand of major G7 economies

CESA ANNOUNCEMENT

Clean Energy States Alliance has issued an expression of interest for new, innovative energy storage pilot projects, with an emphasis on projects advancing social equity and community resilience. Potential projects must be at least 500 kilowatts in size with a minimum duration of two hours to be considered, and incorporation of other advanced energy technologies, like renewable generation and electric vehicle charging, is preferred. Projects determined to be of interest may be eligible for technical and financial support after submitting a full proposal. Responses are due by July 15. More details about the opportunity can be found here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING