Tag Archives: U.S. Department of Energy

How the Green New Deal Can Unify Rather than Divide Us

Written by Ken Kimmel, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists

The “Green New Deal,” which seemed to spring out of nowhere, has captured the attention of many of us who recognize that the need to prevent runaway climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. Its inspiring title calls to mind an era when our country worked together to pull out of a depression. Its main proponents are young people—who better than the up-and-coming generation to demand that the former one leaves behind a world that is habitable? And, it calls for action on a scale that aligns with the best available science.

Unfortunately, many who oppose acting on climate change are using the Green New Deal as a political football . . . Those of us who want the United States to lead on climate change, whether such action is called a Green New Deal, or another inspiring frame (e.g., 100% clean energy by mid-century) must not let this happen. The key is to define the Green New Deal before the caricatures stick, by showing that, while it is ambitious, it is realistic and affordable. We can succeed if we follow these principles: Continue reading here.

Previously posted YouTube video exemplifying local “micro” Green New Deals sprouting up all across the country: How one small city sowed the seeds for its own Green New Deal

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Puerto Rico passes 100% renewable energy bill as it aims for storm resilience, Utility Dive

The U.S. territory will join Hawaii, California and Washington, D.C., with its 100% RPS target, which includes interim goals of 40% renewables by 2025 and 50% by 2040. 
Photo Credit: Flickr user Ricardo’s Photography

NEW REPORT

Battery Power’s Latest Plunge in Costs Threatens Coal, Gas, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

The most striking finding in this [levelized cost of electricity update], for the first-half of 2019, is on the cost improvements in lithium-ion batteries. These are opening up new opportunities for them to balance a
renewables-heavy generation mix. Batteries co-located with solar or wind
projects are starting to compete, in many markets and without subsidy, with coal- and gas-fired generation for the provision of ‘dispatchable
power’ that can be delivered whenever the grid needs it. 

NEW DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY SOLAR RESEARCH PROJECT

News Release: Department of Energy Announces $130 Million for Early-Stage Solar Research Project
Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $130 million for new research to
advance early-stage solar technologies. These projects will help to achieve affordable and reliable
energy 
to enhance America’s economic growth and energy security . . . This funding program targets five research areas: photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), soft costs reduction,
innovations in manufacturing, and solar systems integration. These projects will make solar energy more affordable, reliable, and secure, while working to boost domestic solar manufacturing, reduce red tape, and make PV more resilient to cyberattack.

Previously Announced DOE Funding for Solar Energy Integration

For more information on the Solar Energy Technologies Office, visit their website HERE.

Midlands Voices: Nebraska gains with wind power

Written by David Bracht, Omaha World-Herald

The writer served as the director of the Nebraska Energy office from 2015 to 2018.

Clean and affordable wind energy is powering homes and fueling economic growth. In 2019, no state is better positioned than Nebraska to reap the benefits associated with this important renewable energy resource . . . Bolstered by more than $2.6 billion in private investment and supportive state and local policy, close to 2,000 Nebraskans work in wind today. Those jobs, and the option for young people to return home, bring new life to communities that have been suffering population decline for decades . . . With another 1,428 megawatts of wind under construction or soon to start, Nebraska is one of only seven states on course to double wind capacity once the projects are completed. And much more is possible.

Read more here.

Ohio No. 2 on federal list of new distributed wind power capacity

By Megan Henry, The Columbus Dispatch

Unlike wind power from wholesale generation where power is sent through transmission lines and substations, distributed wind power is used at or near where it is generated, according to DOE. Iowa had the most new distributed wind capacity installed in 2017 with 63.47 megawatts, according to the report.

Distributed wind systems are connected on the customer side of the meter to meet the onsite load or directly to distribution or micro grids to help grid operation or offset large loads close by, and are possible for approximately 49.5 million residential, commercial or industrial sites, according to an analysis by the DOE. The U.S. wind industry installed more than seven gigawatts of capacity in 2017, according to the report. Read more here.

DISTRIBUTED WIND ENERGY RESOURCES

INCENTIVES

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems and small wind turbines: 30% through 2018 and 2019. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

RURAL ENERGY FOR AMERICA PROGRAM (REAP) GRANTS & LOANS
USDA Seeks Applications for Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants
The deadlines to apply for grants are October 31, 2018, and April 1, 2019. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round. REAP helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption by purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements in their operations.

National Survey of Attitudes of Wind Power Project Neighbors & Companion Webinar Series

Survey Background and Motivation
The installed wind power capacity in the United States through the end of 2016 was capable of supplying approximately 6.2% of the nation’s electricity demand from about 60,000 utility-scale turbines (Wiser & Bolinger, 2017). Through 2015, almost 1.4 million homes were within 5 miles (8 kilometers) of a U.S. utility-scale wind power project, and each year in the preceding 10 years, turbines placed in large projects (projects with more than 60 turbines) were closer to homes at a rate of approximately 150 feet (46 meters) per year on average.

Experts predict continued reductions in the cost of wind energy (Wiser et al., 2017) and additional wind project deployment in the years ahead (Mai et al. 2017). Achieving this continued deployment will require coordination and cooperation with the communities and community members in which the wind power projects will be located, including local authorities, citizens, landowners, businesses, and non-governmental organizations. These individuals and organizations often look to other communities with wind power projects to understand the potential costs and benefits of moving forward with such a project.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy funded Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) began to lead a 4-year project collecting data from a broad-based and representative sample of individuals living near U.S. wind power projects. The aim was to widen the understanding of how U.S. communities are reacting to the deployment of wind turbines, and to provide insights to those communities considering wind projects.
Download Summary of Results (PDF)

Webinar Series
A Berkeley Lab 4-part webinar series, Understanding Wind Project Neighbors Through a National Survey of Attitudes, began January 30th. Three more webinars will be held on the following dates at 12 p.m. Central Time.

  • January 30th, 2018
    Overall Analysis of Attitudes of 1,700 Wind Power Project Neighbors 
    A recording of the webinar, presentation and project results are available here.
  • February 13, 2018
    Wind Power Project Planning Process Fairness and Attitudes
    This webinar has been completed. A recording of the webinar, presentation and project results are available here.
  • February 27, 2018
  • Predicting Audibility Of and Annoyance To Wind Power Project Sounds Using Modeled Sound Register Here.
  • March 13, 2018
    Comparing Strongly Annoyed Individuals with Symptoms near U.S. Turbines to Those in Surveyed European Communities Register Here.

More information about the webinar series is available here.

Updated Energy Saver Guide Covers New Technologies

Now updated in 2017, the Department of Energy’s Energy Saver Guide offers tips for saving money and energy at home and on the road.

You can obtain the Energy Saver Guide in English and Spanish in the following ways:

US Energy Dept. Sees Microgrids, Renewables In Puerto Rico Future

By Tina Casey, CleanTechnica


The Energy Department’s new point person for power restoration in Puerto Rico is
Bruce J. Walker. He won confirmation as the Energy Department’s Assistant Secretary of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE for short) just last month, shortly after Hurricane Maria tore through the island. Walker has a long (long, long) list of credits on the side of grid reliability and modernization. That experience is on display in an article under Walker’s byline that appeared on the Energy Department’s website last week, under the title “How the Energy Department is Helping to Restore Power in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

According to Walker, the Energy Department has already identified 200 locations for microgrids at hospitals, water treatment plants, and other critical facilities in Puerto Rico. That adds up to 11 megawatts, and that’s just the beginning. Four hundred more locations in Puerto Rico are also being scouted for microgrid potential. Read more here.

Top Photo: Crews from the Energy Department’s Western Area Power Authority work on a transmission line in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Credit: Western Area Power Administration.

Tina Casey is a freelance writer specializing in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. She is a regular contributor to CleanTechnica and TriplePundit. She is also currently Deputy Director of Public Information for the County of Union, New Jersey. Many of Tina’s articles have been reposted on ReutersScientific American, and other mainstream media sites. 

New Lab Report: How to Cut the Cost of Wind Energy in Half

Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office

Click image to watch a brief video about DOE’s Atmosphere to Electrons initiative.

New energy science and technological breakthroughs could cut the cost of wind energy in half by 2030—making it fully competitive with the fuel cost of natural gas.

This new finding is outlined in a report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that examines the future of wind power plants—backed by the supercomputing power of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) national laboratories.

It’s part of DOE’s Atmosphere to Electrons initiative, which focuses on maximizing efficiencies at the plant level (i.e. how wind turbines interact with one another and the atmosphere) rather than treating each wind turbine as an individual unit. The next step is for DOE to apply high-performance computing to this grand challenge of better understanding the complex physics that control electricity generation by wind plants. Continue reading here.

Additional Department of Energy Reports
Wind Energy Continues Rapid Growth in 2016
During American Wind Week, August 6–12, the Energy Department released three wind market reports demonstrating continued growth in wind energy nationwide. The reports cover the following market sectors: land-based utility-scaleoffshore, and distributed wind. America’s wind industry added more than 8,200 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale wind capacity last year, representing 27% of all energy capacity additions in 2016. 14 states now get more than 10% of their electricity from wind.

The ConnectDER – Solar innovation that saves time & money

Click image to watch a brief video about the ConnectDER.

The ConnectDER enables rapid connection of grid-ready distributed energy resources (DERs), especially solar photovoltaic systems, by creating a connection point to a collar that installs between a residential electric meter and a meter socket.  It drives a number of benefits for the installation process:

  • Reduces costs by removing some balance of system components and premises wiring upgrades
  • Minimizes logistics headaches & site inspection time
  • Eliminates one of the primary areas of inspection failures, the load-side wiring

It comes in two versions: the Simple ConnectDER, which provides the basic connection, and the Smart ConnectDER, which adds metering and management functions for the local utility.

Department of Energy Information About The ConnectDER
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 in installation costs. It also saves time, shortening what can be a lengthy process.

Watch a brief video about the ConnectDER.

Website: www.connectder.com
Questions? The website provides a contact form, or send an email to: info@connectder.com 

Deloitte says millennials are driving solar expansion

By Frank Andorka, PV Magazine 

Almost 60% of consumers said they would switch electricity providers if they could gain access to renewable-energy sources . . . And the report says the solar revolution is being driven in large part by the much-maligned “millenials.” Almost two-thirds (64%) told Deloitte they are either “extremely” or “very” interested in installing solar panels – a 611% increase over last year. More than half of them are “extremely” or “very” interested in participating in a community solar installation . . . Businesses want to get in on the action, too. According to Deloitte, 60% of businesses want to have some form of on-site generation, nearly double the percentage from last year. Read more here.

Image: Creative Commons

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

National Business Groups Send U.S. Dept. of Energy Analyses Showing Diverse Energy Sources Protect Electric Reliability

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today four national business groups representing the range of advanced and renewable energy companies in the United States submitted materials to U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to inform the energy market study he called for last month. The four groups developed separate analyses, based on existing sources and industry experience, showing that changing energy sources – more use of natural gas, renewable energy, and energy management sources in addition to resources like coal and nuclear power – far from threatening electric system reliability, increase it in important ways while saving consumers money . . . The four industry organizations submitted separate documents to inform the DOE in its study of the electric power system and reliability:

Read the entire news release here.