Tag Archives: U.S. infrastructure

U.S. disasters show gaps in $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan

By David R. Baker & Keith Laing, Bloomberg
Reprinted by Kennebec Journal

Three times this year, major pieces of U.S. infrastructure have failed: first the Texas power grid, then the East Coast’s main gasoline pipeline, then a freeway bridge over the Mississippi River. The crises disrupted businesses and lives, cost billions and left more than 150 Texans dead.

The recent failures illustrate just how many ways the patchwork systems can break. Experts say they also illustrate a long-running flaw in the way the U.S. thinks about and pays for infrastructure: The country focuses more on building new things rather than maintaining what it has. Read more here.

Pixabay Photo

TENASKA

GRID: FERC complaint highlights ‘structural problem’ for renewables, by Miranda Willson, E&E News

The case highlights flaws in outdated interconnection systems across the U.S. that have hampered the growth of renewable energy, according to analysts. Companies seeking to build large energy projects typically must obtain approval from a regional transmission organization or grid operator to connect to the bulk power grid, a process that can take years and carry a steep price tag. 

DARTMOUTH STUDY

Dartmouth Study Finds Renewable Energy Upgrades Make Grid More Resilient, New Hampshire NPR

A Dartmouth study has modeled for the first time that renewable energy upgrades will make the nation’s power grid more resilient. Researchers modeled a grid with an influx of three innovations: distributed generation like rooftop solar, a kind of localized power system shortcut known as a meshed grid, and energy storage. The study is the first to find that these emissions-cutting technologies will also make the power system more able to keep operating through disruptions.

GREENBELT ALLIANCE

Opinion: How infrastructure plan can accelerate resilience, contributed by Amanda Brown-Stevens, The Mercury News

Passing President Biden’s infrastructure bill would be the most significant step we’ve taken as a nation to start to address climate change head on. Greenbelt Alliance believes this infrastructure bill is a great start. Yet, so far there is no path to guide how we can equitably shift away from rebuilding in the most climate-vulnerable areas and instead build for a more resilient future. That’s why we’re recommending this infrastructure bill and related actions adopt these three principles as a simple yet transformational way forward:

Amanda Brown-Stevens heads up the San Francisco-based Greenbelt Alliance, the 60-year-old non-profit dedicated to preserving open spaces and helping the Bay Area prioritize climate action.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED

GridWise Alliance Establishes Advisory Council To Aid Drive For Investments In Power System, GridWise Alliance News Release

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — GridWise Alliance Board Chair Gil C. Quiniones today announced the formation of a 29-member Grid Infrastructure Advisory Council (GIAC) to support the Alliance’s call for at least $50 billion in federal spending to modernize the nation’s electric power transmission and distribution systems.

“A strong and secure electric grid is essential to creating jobs and driving economic growth, meeting clean energy goals and fighting climate change,” said Mr. Quiniones, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Power Authority, the largest state-owned electric utility in the United States. 

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan, The White House Briefing Room

FACT SHEET: President Signs Executive Order Charting New Course to Improve the Nation’s Cybersecurity and Protect Federal Government Networks

Here’s how Biden’s infrastructure package will likely tackle climate change

By Emma Newburger, CNBC


The president is expected to introduce up to $3 trillion in spending on efforts to boost the economy, including rebuilding aging infrastructure like highways, bridges and rail lines, and investing in technologies to reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.


Some of the policies on the table include:

  • Installing thousands of new electric vehicle charging stations
  • Funds to build energy-efficient homes
  • Constructing new electric power lines

Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Build America Bonds may be key to financing Biden’s infrastructure, by Thomas Frank, CNBC 
The bonds allow states and counties, which manage the majority of U.S. infrastructure, to float debt with interest costs subsidized by the federal government. Build America Bonds entered U.S. markets more than a decade ago as the Obama administration sought ways to finance capital projects across the country and jumpstart the economy in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

President Biden Invites 40 World Leaders to Leaders Summit on Climate, The White House Briefing Room, March 26, 2021. Today, President Biden invited 40 world leaders to the Leaders Summit on Climate he will host on April 22 and 23.  The virtual Leaders Summit will be live streamed for public viewing.

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.

Read more here.

Shaandiin Cedar is a writer, business consultant and environmental justice advocate focused on the opportunities to build a clean, equitable economy.

Additional Recommended Reading
From Exploitation To Equity: Building Native-Owned Renewable Energy Generation In Indian Country, William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review 

WINNEBAGO TRIBE OF NEBRASKA

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

UTILITY DIVE ARTICLES

STATE LEGISLATION

NEW TESLA SOCIAL PLATFORM

Tesla launches social platform to spur owners to take political action on its behalf, CNBC
On Friday, Tesla launched a social platform named Tesla Engage, in part to spur customers to take political action that benefits Elon Musk’s electric vehicle and solar company. [In] a post aimed at Tesla fans in Nebraska, the company is urging residents to push local elected officials to change laws that bar Tesla and others from selling vehicles direct to consumers there, i.e. without operating a franchise dealership in the state. They have even provided a quick way for fans to contact the appropriate committee members or send comments to the Nebraska legislature.

LB633 – Change provisions of the Motor Vehicle Industry Regulation Act

LAURA KING-HOMAN ARTICLE

OPPD offering Energy Star certification

House Passes Infrastructure Package with Key Clean Energy Provisions

Solar Energy Industry Association News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following is a statement from Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, on the passage of the Moving Forward Act in the U.S. House of Representatives:

“This is an important legislative step, and we thank our champions and leaders in the House for their work to move pro-solar provisions forward in the Moving Forward Act. There is more work to be done to get a bipartisan package to the president’s desk.”
Continue reading here.

The Moving Forward Act Fact Sheet

Additional Recommended Reading
National Climate Bank amendment added to House’s pro-solar infrastructure bill, PV Magazine

Op-Ed: Clean Air or a Thriving Economy? We Can Have Both

By Joseph L. Fiordaliso, President, New Jersey
Board of Public Utilities, New Jersey Spotlight 

This is a pivotal moment in history, as we collectively start down the path to the “new normal.” This bittersweet opportunity to rebuild our lives with longevity and resiliency in mind should not be wasted. Now, more than ever, by investing in renewable energies like offshore wind and community solar, maximizing our energy efficiency, and electrifying transportation, we can ensure a healthier future exists alongside a thriving clean-energy economy.

In fact, the New York Times reported last month that renewable energy sources are set to account for nearly 21% of the electricity the United States uses for the first time this year, noting that industry executives and analysts expect the renewable business to continue growing in 2020 and next year, even as oil, gas and coal companies struggle.
Read more here.

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY CLIMATE COMMITMENTS

Business And Government Affirm Climate Commitments On World Environment Day, The Climate Group. As leaders from around the world discuss how to organize a green economic recovery after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is over, these businesses are leading the charge by signing up to international non-profit The Climate Group’s corporate leadership initiatives on renewables (RE100), electric vehicles (EV100) and smart energy use (EP100).

THE CLIMATE GROUP’S FIRST-EVER RE100 LEADERSHIP AWARDS 

Going Above And Beyond: The Future Of Renewable Energy Leadership, The Climate Group
As markets evolve and expectations grow, the leadership bar is rising for global companies on their use of clean energy. This year we’ll be celebrating the RE100 members taking their pioneering renewable electricity commitments to the next level. As we launch the first ever RE100 Leadership Awards, our Head of RE100 Sam Kimmins asks, what might this new leadership look like? 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

TRIBAL RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT

Navajo Women Are Bringing Sustainable Solar Power to the Navajo Nation, Global Citizen
There are tribes that don’t have access to the grid because they weren’t in the planning process and weren’t considered,” Wahleah Johns, cofounder of Native Renewables, told Global Citizen.

CU SOLAR FINANCING MODEL

Tech CU Expands $2 Billion Solar Power Deal With Fintech, Credit Union Times
New agreement is expected to finance the installation of 80,000 residential solar systems.

NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT

Outdated NEPA needs modernizing. Just ask Warren Buffett, Utility Dive. Contributed article by Paul Griffin, executive director at Energy Fairness.

”In our experience, environmental review of a proposed solar plant on public land can take three to five years…streamlining and expediting NEPA reviews could reduce costs and delays that have hampered permitting decisions for solar energy facilities.” – Solar Energy Industries Association

INFRASTRUCTURE

Energy, environment issues to resurface this summer, E&E News
The long-awaited infrastructure package may finally provide some relief for clean energy advocates who have patiently been awaiting congressional action to address the hundreds of thousands of jobs lost in the sector from COVID-19 (E&E Daily, May 29).
The centerpiece of the package will be the $760 billion framework unveiled by House Democrats in January. The plan, dubbed “Moving Forward,” includes major funding for roads, bridges, ports, airports, drinking water, wastewater, clean energy and broadband.

EUROPE’S ENERGY TRANSFORMATION

WoodMac: Wind, Solar and Storage to Dominate Europe’s Power Grid by 2030, Greentech Media. Batteries will beat natural gas peakers on cost across Europe by the end of the decade, according to new research from Wood Mackenzie.

Top Senate Democrat calls for permanent renewable energy, storage, EV tax credits

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

Last Thursday, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Democratic Leader in the Senate, sent a letter to President Trump demanding that any infrastructure package taken up in 2019 include “policies and funding to transition to a clean energy economy and mitigate the risks that the United States is already facing due to climate change.”

And in a list of policies that Schumer says should be included, the top item is “permanent tax incentives for domestic production of clean electricity and storage, energy efficient homes and commercial buildings, electric vehicles, and modernizing the electric grid.” In concrete terms, this could mean an extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar and energy storage, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind and the federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

ENERGY STORAGE ITC: AWEA NEWS RELEASE

Yesterday a coalition of more than 150 companies and energy groups issued a letter to Congressional leadership asking for a stand-alone storage Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act would ensure a level playing field for energy storage to compete with all other energy resources currently eligible for the ITC.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) signed onto the letter and issued the following statement in support:

“Energy storage technology will play an important role as we build an even more affordable and reliable electricity grid for the 21st Century,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “We’re asking Congress to reduce uncertainty for investors by creating a stand-alone energy storage ITC for which all storage technologies can qualify. A level playing field for the full range of storage technologies will ensure consumers benefit from competition and will boost job-creating investment in infrastructure projects, including new opportunities for wind farm development.”
Read the entire news release here.