Tag Archives: Vote Solar

Tri-State takes significant steps to increase member flexibility, sets contract termination payment methodology

Tri-State News Release

Under the new contract, utility members can self-supply up to 50% of their load requirements, subject to availability in the open season, in addition to the current 5% self-supply provisions and a new community solar provision. In late 2019, the board of directors approved the Contract Committee’s recommendation to expand member opportunities for community solar projects. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading
The Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) will terminate its membership in Tri-State on June 30, 2020, Tri-State News Release. The parties have entered into a membership withdrawal agreement in accordance with a July 2019 settlement agreement. As part of the membership withdrawal agreement, DMEA or a third-party will pay $88.5 million to Tri-State, and in addition, forfeit $48 million in patronage capital. “The withdrawal agreement aligns with our settlement and is a negotiated agreement unique to DMEA,” said Duane Highley, chief executive officer of Tri-State.

Nebraska Tri-State Members

FINANCING NEWS

Engie North America launches financing plan for renewable projects, Daily Energy Insider
Engie North America initiated a major tax equity financing plan for its renewable energy portfolio. With this action, the company has secured financing through tax equity commitments of up to $1.6 billion on various renewable projects through Bank of America and HSBC. The projects will be funded as they are commissioned starting in April 2020.

Previously Posted Interview
Engie’s renewables chief on scaling corporate contracts, hydrogen hopes and offshore wind, GreenBiz Many new renewable contracts Engie intends to sign will include clauses for making sure renewables are available 24/7, which means they’ll be hybrid arrangements that include a mix of clean (or cleaner) power sources such as solar, wind and hydro and, increasingly, some sort of storage — Engie has big aspirations in green hydrogen. Heather Clancy interviews Gwénaëlle Avice-Huet, executive vice president in charge of the global renewables and green hydrogen business line for Engie, and president and CEO of the Engie North America operation.

More About Engie Previously Posted

MORNING CONSULT

Let’s Deploy Local Solar for All to Help Restart Our Economy, by Luis Davila
As we face a once-in-a-lifetime crisis due to the effects of the coronavirus, we also have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform our energy system to one that is cleaner, safer and more equitable. This improved system can deliver local, affordable and clean energy options to all energy customers, especially low-income families who will be disproportionately affected by the effects of the coronavirus. Thankfully, prior to this crisis, we had already started to take steps to pursue this improved energy system. It is time to accelerate our transition to a more decentralized, resilient energy system.

Luis Davila is a clean energy policy advocate and former director of campaigns and advocacy at Sunrun, and before that, he was a campaign leader at the U.N. Climate Change secretariat in the lead up to the Paris Climate Agreement.

Morning Consult welcomes op-ed submissions on policy, politics and business strategy in their coverage areas. Updated submission guidelines can be found here.

FEATURED RESOURCE

Low Income Solar.Org
Utilities are in a powerful position to facilitate the transition to clean energy for all and can play a vital role in expanding solar access and choice for low-income households. However, special care must be taken to ensure utility owned projects are designed to meet the needs of low-income households and underserved communities. In considering the roles utilities can and should play in making solar available for low-income households and underserved communities, Principles and Recommendations for Utility Participation in Solar Programs for Low-Income Customers from The Environmental Law & Policy Center, GRID Alternatives, and Vote Solar outlines three interrelated sets of guidelines and considerations for policy makers and regulators to review.

HYDROPOWER

Life After Covid-19, Part II: Secret Renewable Energy Weapon Lurks Beneath Waters of the US, by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica. For all the nice (and not-so-nice) things people say about hydropower, the chances of building a new fleet of hydropower dams in the US are slim to none. However, there is still plenty of untapped renewable energy to be scoured from running water — and the US Department of Energy is determined to pry it loose with $38 million for a newly announced research program. The new announcement lends additional support to the prospects for deploying renewables as an economic recovery strategy in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

DOE News Release: Department of Energy Announces $38 Million to Support Hydrokinetic Turbine Technology Development

VIRGINIA LEADERSHIP

MODEL REGIONAL INITIATIVE

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first mandatory market-based program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. RGGI is a cooperative effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont [and now Virginia] to cap and reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector.

APPA RELIABILITY AWARDS

APPA recognizes member utilities for reliability efforts, American Public Power Association
The American Public Power Association recently honored more than one hundred public power utilities with a “certificate of excellence” for reliable performance in 2019, as shown by comparing their outage records against nationwide data gathered by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The utilities that were recognized by the Association have been keeping track of their reliability data via the Association’s web-based subscription service, called eReliability Tracker, which lets utilities collect, categorize and summarize their outage information. The complete list of awardees is available here.

Nebraska Award Recipients
Fremont Department of Utilities
Grand Island Utilities Department

OPPD THE WIRE

Show off your knowledge about line work, by Laura King-Homan
April 13 is Lineworker Appreciation Day in Nebraska. OPPD is proud of all the line technicians who work hard every day to keep our communities powered. But how much do you know about the work they do? Take the quiz below and find out!

ESG

Amid plunging stock prices, ESG leaders are holding their own, by contributor Sara E. Murphy, GreenBiz

Jeff Meli, global head of research at Barclays, said companies should expect more questions from investors about their resilience and contingency planning, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. Many observers believe that strong ESG performance indicates better management, which translates into stronger long-term returns. The idea is that management teams that do a good job of minimizing their environmental footprint, promoting good employee relations and creating resilient governance structures are more likely to be adept at running all other aspects of a company’s business. “ESG funds tend to be biased towards higher-quality companies with a stronger balance sheet, companies that are run better and operate more efficiently,” Hortense Bioy, director of passive strategies and sustainability research at Morningstar, told the Financial Times.

TESLA’S PILOT VPP IN AUSTRALIA

Tesla’s Virtual Power Plant Is Already a Success, Popular Mechanics
Like the large energy storage facility Tesla operates in South Australia, the goal of the virtual power plant is to both collect energy and store it to be fed back into the grid. The pilot virtual plant is distributed across the rooftops of 1,000 low-income homes in South Australia, and Tesla says its goal is to eventually have 50,000 solar rooftops there. That number might sound small, but South Australia only has about 1.6 million residents.

A playbook to jumpstart clean energy across all 50 states

Utility Dive article contributed by Mike Kruger,
President & CEO of the Colorado Solar and Storage Association

As we face a likely recession and an economic reset in many places across the country, the clean energy industry has the potential to be a bright spot in what will continue to be challenging times. After we secure the health and safety of our fellow citizens, we must focus on “clean energy to counter the coronavirus crisis,” on the recommendation of Fatih Birol, Executive Director at the International Energy Agency. Doing so will provide immediate jobs for those displaced and cleaner air and cleaner water for all, while making a significant investment in reducing the adverse impacts of climate change. The federal government has passed the CARES Act and the Senate has adjourned until April 20. Now the action is moving to the states. Read more here.

KANSAS SUPREME COURT RULING

Victory for solar as Kansas Supreme Court blocks fixed fee for distributed power, PV Magazine. The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that a fixed fee for distributed solar customers violates state law. Vote Solar and Sierra Club brought the case, with representation from Earthjustice.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

RENEWABLE ENERGY FINANCING & INVESTING

MORE INDUSTRY NEWS STORIES

EV NEWS

GLOBAL RENEWABLE ENERGY

World now has 583.5 GW of operational PV, by Emiliano Bellini, PV Magazine International
The world installed 176 GW of new renewable energy capacity in 2019, according to the latest statistics published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).  Combined clean energy capacity reached 2,536.8 GW at the end of December, with hydropower and wind remaining the largest sources at 1,310.2 GW and 622.7 GW, respectively. Solar installations, including PV and concentrated solar power (CSP), continue to lag slightly behind wind, with a cumulative installed capacity of 586.4 GW. CSP represented 6.27 GW of the total, while grid-connected PV accounted for 580.1 GW. 

Lincoln Journal Star Letter: Commit to clean energy

Written by Alison Krohn

The City of Lincoln and Lincoln Electric System have taken steps towards a sustainable future through multiple efforts. The Lincoln Environmental Action Plan (2017-2018) calls for a 25% reduction in carbon emissions by 2025 while increasing the use of renewable energy 50%.

LES offers several incentives for renewable energy generation and energy efficiency improvements. The utility obtains approximately 40% of its distributed power from renewable sources. But are these goals and incentives enough? Continue reading here.

Photo: Telesis Inc’s solar array on top of the former Meadow Gold Dairy House at Seventh and M Streets in Lincoln’s historic Haymarket.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FEATURED RESOURCE: LOW-INCOME SOLAR POLICY GUIDE

Best Practices for Utility Ownership
In considering the roles utilities can and should play in making solar available for low-income households and underserved communities, Principles and Recommendations for Utility Participation in Solar Programs for Low-Income Customers from the Environmental Law & Policy Center, GRID Alternatives, and Vote Solar outlines three interrelated sets of guidelines and considerations for policy makers and regulators to review.

NEBRASKA GRID INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS

USDA Invests $8.2 Million For KBR Rural Public Power District, USDA News Release
The power district serves 4,847 customers over 2,604 miles of line in five counties in north central Nebraska.

APPA ANNUAL REPORT

Wind, solar, natural gas dominate capacity in development, American Public Power Association
Wind, solar, and natural gas are the three dominant sources in the development pipeline for electricity generation in the US, according to a report from the American Public Power Association. America’s Electricity Generating Capacity, 2020 Update is the Association’s 14th annual look at the country’s current and future capacity. Wind, natural gas, and solar projects account for 94% of all capacity under construction, which is consistent with additions over the past five years, of which 97% came from these three resources.

ENERGY STORAGE

US Storage Industry Achieved Biggest-Ever Quarter and Year in 2019, Greentech Media
“Storage is being deployed all across the country now, at megawatt-scale, in more than half of U.S. states,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of the Energy Storage Association. Eight states now contain utility-scale storage facilities adding up to more than 50 megawatts. Another 11 states operate more than 10 megawatts each. Only 15 states have yet to adopt any advanced storage in front of the meter, according to WoodMac’s data. Overall, U.S. storage installations are expected to nearly triple in 2020 and more than double in 2021. Residential numbers, in particular, will triple this year compared to last year.

NEW 500-WATT SOLAR PANELS

How the new generation of 500 watt panels will shape the solar industry, PV Magazine
There are two solar module manufacturers, Risen Energy and Trina Solar, that have unveiled first-of-their kind 500W, 50-cell, PV modules. “For applications where you have a lot of area, particularly commercial and especially utility-scale, it’s really significant,” CEO of Cinnamon Energy Systems Barry Cinnamon told pv magazine. “You could just use fewer modules, it reduces handling costs and overall balance-of-system costs go down.” If there are less modules needed to reach the capacity specifications of a project, that means overall project costs will go down as these modules become economically viable. A significant area that will see cost reduction will come from the racking and trackers.

NREL’S FREE DATABASE

WattBuy to automate and expand NREL’s utility rate database, PV Magazine
With this new, free database, WattBuy can help residential homeowners more accurately calculate the return on investment (ROI) on a solar and/or solar-plus-storage system and make a more informed decision, Hood said. For solar financiers and energy efficiency companies, the new data will be useful for targeting new markets and for tracking projects’ ROI, he added.

EV NEWS

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Project developers can secure cash from new IRENA funding pot, PV Magazine
The Climate Investment Platform launched by three multilateral bodies in September is now open for business and renewables companies in developing nations could qualify for help with clean energy facilities, renewables-related grid improvements and energy efficiency schemes.

Report: Utilities could help connect low-income customers with solar

Written by Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

Recently the Environmental Law & Policy Center and national groups Grid Alternatives and Vote Solar called on utilities to do more to facilitate solar access for their low-income customers nationwide. Last month they released a low-income solar policy guide, which makes recommendations and highlights best practices including programs by Xcel Energy in Minnesota and Colorado and others in California and Washington, D.C.

But in the heart of the industrial Midwest — Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan towns and cities hugging the Great Lakes — low-income people have little access to solar. And some utilities have even tried to turn low-income people against solar, framing rooftop solar as the purview of elites that leaves others paying more to keep up the grid. Read more here.

 

Principles and Recommendations for Utility Participation In Solar Programs for Low-Inome Customers. Prepared by the Environmental Law & Policy Center, GRID Alternatives, and Vote Solar

 

Top Image Credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Buying rooftop solar, in bulk

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

One of the oldest ideas about how to cut costs is advancing, not through a business, but through a non-profit. Solar United Neighbors (SUN) is reporting that it has added 13 “solar co-ops” in ten states over the last six months, which are allowing participating homeowners and small business owners to essentially buy rooftop solar in bulk, 30 roofs at a time.

These new cooperatives span the nation, from Arizona to Maryland, with four in a state that is experiencing a minor boom: Florida. Beaches Business Solar Co-opMiami Digital Solar Co-opOrlando Solar Co-op and Pasco County Solar Co-op. These co-ops work by gathering neighbors together through informative sessions run by SUN, and getting them to sign up more neighbors, often through word of mouth. Read more here.

Solar United Neighbors (SUN) Resources

Additional PV Magazine News Stories & Resources

  • FPL redefines community solar
    Florida Power and Light (FPL), in collaboration with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), Vote Solar, and Walmart has officially filed a settlement to establish the nation’s largest community solar, after announcing plans for the program in the spring. The program, named Solar Together will be the biggest in the United States by a pretty wide margin, a piece of the larger 30×30 program that aims to install 30,000,000 solar panels by 2030, being described by SACE as 30×30’s ‘backbone.’
  • Solar + storage to survive disasters
    Roth Capital Partners has released a new research note on conclusions made and predictions about the solar industry, based off of observations made at Solar Power International 2019 (SPI). While the note is chiefly concerned with industry-wide solar stock performance, one bit of information stood out: Roth expects the U.S. residential solar market to exceed anticipated growth, increasing 25% year-over-year in both 2019 and 2020.
  • Energy storage and inverters to get you through power outages
  • Vertically integrated advanced energy manufacturing from SolarEdge
    SolarEdge is still fundamentally based on solar power, however, it is turning into a vertically integrated energy manufacturer and service provider.

Green Hydrogen News

Featured Resources

Aggressive clean energy bill would push Illinois to 100% renewables by 2050

By Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

An ambitious energy bill introduced Thursday in Illinois would mandate the state shift to entirely renewable energy by mid-century with an emphasis on job creation and equity. The Clean Energy Jobs Act (HB 3624/SB 2132) grew out of listening sessions held statewide last year by environmental and energy groups that are members of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition.

The coalition says the bill will expand on and address shortcomings in the implementation of the Future Energy Jobs Act, passed with much fanfare in 2016. They say it would create four times as much wind and solar power as FEJA, enough to power 4 million homes through 40 million solar panels and 2,500 wind turbines. Continue reading here.

Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons Photo

Related: Vote Solar Announces Support for Clean Energy Jobs Act to Bring 100% Clean Energy to Illinois

MORE 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Mills sets goal to fight climate change: 100% renewable electricity by 2050, The Portland Press Herald. Gov. Janet Mills outlined an extensive climate agenda on Thursday, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, work toward 100 percent renewable electricity generation and to work with other governors on regional solutions. Mills said she joined a coalition of more than 20 governors committed to pursuing the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate. U.S. Climate Alliance Website

BOOSTING RENEWABLE ENERGY’S VALUE

Cost-Effective Solutions for Boosting Solar Farm Production, Power Magazine. According to Berkeley Lab, solar trackers accounted for 80% of installations in 2017, among projects larger than five megawatts. By following the sun, output can be boosted by 20%, increasing capacity factors and lowering the production cost of electricity. Photo: Fremont’s first of two solar farms installed by GenPro Energy Solutions, both with sun trackers.

Google’s DeepMind Artificial Intelligence Can Predict Wind Farm Energy Output 36 Hours in Advance, Fortune
According to the company, DeepMind’s predictions have boosted the value of Google’s wind energy by roughly 20%.

Google Blog Post: Machine learning can boost the value of wind energy
Based on these predictions, our model recommends how to make optimal hourly delivery commitments to the power grid a full day in advance. This is important, because energy sources that can be scheduled (i.e. can deliver a set amount of electricity at a set time) are often more valuable to the grid. About DeepMind for Google

Previously Posted Article: Google announces plans to build data center in Nebraska; signs point to Omaha area, Omaha World-Herald 

GREENTECH MEDIA PODCAST

How to Get a Job in the Clean Energy Economy
Resources listed in the accompanying article include:

Year-End Reflections and Predictions From a Solar Veteran

Vote Solar’s Adam Browning offers up his picks for the most
important trends of 2018. Published by Greentech Media.

In 2002, when solar was $9 a watt, I co-founded an advocacy organization to bring solar into the mainstream. Solar’s made a lot of progress since then, and 2018 feels like a crucial year in many ways, with some key successes and pivotal developments.

Here’s my list of the most important stories in solar in 2018, and predictions for 2019.

Continue reading here.

Seven steps to community solar

By John Weaver, PV Magazine

Nationwide, over 220 utilities offer community solar programs across 36 states, and a growing number of rural electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, and investor owned utilities are exploring or implementing community solar program offerings. Currently there is only around  1 GW of community solar installed, but some see a path toward 84 GW by 2030.

To assist in reaching this ambitious goal, Vote Solar and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) have released their Checklist for Voluntary Utility-Led Community Solar Programs. The document divides its advice into seven sections: Continue reading here.

IREC Photo

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

UPCOMING WEBINAR

IREC and Vote Solar will host a joint webinar on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at 12pm Central Time to discuss the recently-released Checklist for Voluntary Utility-Led Community Solar Programs and other shared renewables tools, including IREC’s National Shared Renewables Scorecard and Shared Renewables Policy Catalog. To register, click HERE.


About IREC
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council increases access to sustainable energy and energy efficiency through independent, fact-based policy leadership, quality workforce development and consumer empowerment. A not-for-profit organization since 1982, IREC’s state-by-state work and national leadership make clean energy possible and reliable, including for low- to moderate-income customers and underserved communities. Learn more at www.irecusa.org

About Vote Solar
Since 2002, Vote Solar has been working to lower solar costs and expand solar access. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower our electric grid with clean energy. Learn more at www.votesolar.org

What unites America around clean energy

By James Redford and Adam Browning, Opinion, Washington Post

James Redford is a climate activist and filmmaker. He is co-founder and chair of the Redford Center. Adam Browning is executive director of Vote Solar, a nonprofit organization working to expand solar access in states nationwide.

During our recent travels across the United States, we met with the policymakers, business leaders and activists behind the nation’s radical shift to clean energy. After speaking with them, it became evident that there were countless motivations driving this transition: climate change, healthier air, environmental justice, customer choice, national security and energy freedom. But no matter whom we talked to, there was one universal driver that transcended position and political affiliation — and that’s pure economics . . . In Minnesota, Governor Mark Dayton’s administration realized that the $18 billion the state was spending every year to import fossil fuels would be better spent investing in infrastructure and jobs right at home. Today, 57,000 Minnesotans work in the state’s growing new energy economy, powered in large part by a pioneering community solar program. Read more here.

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Building Energy completes largest landfill solar project in U.S., Solar Power World

Building Energy, a multinational company operating as a globally integrated IPP in the renewable energy industry, and Building Energy Holding US, through its renewable energy subsidiary Annapolis Solar Park, announced the inauguration of its largest solar PV project built in North America. Built by EDF Renewables, the project is located on a closed landfill in the city of Annapolis, Maryland.

Governor Brown Signs 100 Percent Clean Electricity Bill, Issues Order Setting New Carbon Neutrality Goal

News Release, Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

SACRAMENTO – Reaffirming California’s global climate leadership, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed Senate Bill 100, authored by Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus Kevin de León, setting a 100 percent clean electricity goal for the state, and issued an executive order establishing a new target to achieve carbon neutrality – both by 2045. “This bill and the executive order put California on a path to meet the goals of Paris and beyond. It will not be easy. It will not be immediate. But it must be done,” said Governor Brown. Read more here.

RELATED

  • SEIA News Release Excerpt: Following is a statement by Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association: 
    “California has taken a monumental step in enacting one of the world’s most ambitious clean energy policies. As the largest solar market in the U.S., California has already proven that investing in renewable energy brings jobs and massive economic and environmental benefits to the state — benefits that will grow exponentially with the enactment of SB 100.”
  • Vote Solar News Release: Statement from Adam Browning, Vote Solar’s Executive Director, celebrating SB 100’s passage:
    “Today, California made history. This is the biggest and most important climate action to date in the United States.  Big because California is big. Important because it sets a new bar for what’s possible, and because it is replicable. This year New Jersey committed to 50% renewables, and in November voters in both Arizona and Nevada will decide whether their own state should do the same. This is a revolution of evolution, and it’s happening across the country.”
  • How Do Ambitious Climate Pledges Impact Economic Growth? For Insight, Compare Texas And California, Forbes
    Compared to other places, like Texas – known for its oil and gas production – California’s economy is performing better on most measures, showing that it is entirely possible to pair steep emission reductions with vibrant growth. California has established some of the world’s most ambitious carbon emission reduction targets, and is achieving them faster and at lower cost than expected. The state hit its 2020 target four years early, while its economy grew much faster any other state and the U.S. economy as a whole – California’s economy climbed from 10th largest in the world in 2012 to 5th largest today.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING