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November 3, 2021

US rejoins coalition pushing for 1.5 degrees

Celsius goal at COP26

Return of U.S. boosts informal alliance of small vulnerable

countries and big Western states.

The U.S. has rejoined a group of countries pushing for higher targets

at the COP26 U.N. climate talks.

The return of the world's second-largest emitter and richest nation boosts the group, called the High Ambition Coalition, which is an informal alliance of small vulnerable countries and big Western states including the EU.

The return of the U.S. was first reported in the Guardian and confirmed by U.S. State Department spokesperson Whitney Smith.


World leaders announce plan to make green tech cheaper than alternatives

UK, US and China among countries representing two-thirds of

global economy to agree to push green energy and cars

A plan to coordinate the global introduction of clean technologies in order to rapidly drive down their cost has been agreed at the Cop26 summit.


Unlocking the Transition: As Tesla, Ford and others invest billions in EVs, will the power system be ready?

The new White House zero emission vehicle target of 50% of new car sales by 2030 has a long way to go, a short time to get there, and big challenges along the way.

Transitioning transportation, the nation's biggest source of carbon emissions, to clean electricity is urgent, but will not be easy, according to charging companies, auto industry analysts and others.

President Joe Biden's Aug. 5 Executive Order calls for 50% of annual U.S. new car sales to be zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2030. However it is estimated that only 2.1% of newly purchased vehicles are ZEV.

Newer numbers, however, suggest "an exponential ZEV uptake" has started, said Garrett Fitzgerald, electrification principal at the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA).


California proposes demand response, other measures to shore up summer grid reliability

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has been implementing multiple measures to help ensure grid reliability during the summer months, following a record-breaking heatwave in the state in 2020 that forced the California Independent System Operator to initiate outages.


Electric vehicle adoption poised to surge, say experts, if Congress OKs $100B in purchase incentives

There are potentially more than $200 billion in electric transportation investments contained in President Joe Biden's jobs and infrastructure plans, including purchase incentives that could immediately accelerate the United States' electrification plans, according to electrification advocates watching negotiations in Congress.

The EV-related proposals include more than $100 billion in tax credits that could knock up to $12,500 off the sticker price of a new electric car or truck, depending on where and how it is produced. Used electric vehicle (EV) buyers could get up to $4,000 back.


Utilities are taking the reins in the Northeast and asking for customer-sited storage

Virtual power plants are making behind-the-meter storage more attractive to utilities.

Residential energy storage adoption is growing in the Northeast, and no state mandates are behind the rising numbers.

Surprisingly, utilities are the ones encouraging customers to get batteries and enroll them in virtual power plants (VPPs). Instead of being threatened by customer-sited renewable energy systems, VPPs make solar and storage an agreeable resource for utilities.


November solar policy snapshots

A guide to recent legislation and research throughout the country.


The road to cleaner air

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act just passed by Congress provides $2.5 billion in funding specifically for zero-emission electric school buses.

The humble yellow school bus, an iconic symbol of American education, is getting an exciting upgrade in 2021. The bipartisan infrastructure investment package just passed by Congress provides $2.5 billion in funding specifically for zero-emission electric school buses and an additional $2.5 billion for all types of low-emission school buses (which could include electric buses).


Charged up for an electric vehicle future

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a policy in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that puts us on track to install thousands of electric vehicle charging stations across the country. Here's why that matters.

In the U.S., transportation is the greatest contributor to climate warming emissions, and the majority of those emissions come from everyday cars and trucks. Personal vehicles also emit toxic air pollution which harms our health. That’s why PIRG has been working for years to increase adoption of clean, emissions-free electric vehicles (EVs) by calling for 100% of car sales to be fully electric by 2035 (or sooner).

To get there, we need to do three things: make electric vehicles cheaper and easier for people to buy, strengthen emission standards and build out infrastructure to support electric cars.

The bipartisan infrastructure package puts one of those key pieces

of the puzzle into place.

One of the primary barriers to the adoption of electric vehicles is lack of access to public charging stations. Currently, electric vehicle drivers may face “range anxiety;” drivers fear they could be stranded on the road without access to fuel. To support the transition to electric vehicles, we need to dramatically increase the buildout of charging stations across the country.

October 28, 2021

How Amazon decides which

climate tech start-ups to invest in

and what that says about its future ambitions

If Amazon is going to achieve its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, it’s going to need to rely on new technology. To spur the process along, the company has a $2 billion venture capital fund to gather and grow climate tech start-ups.

Watching where Amazon is investing is one way to track innovation in the space. It can also give investors a sense of what parts of its own business Amazon intends to prioritize in the future.


President Biden’s latest Build Back Better framework gives boost to solar industry

After hearing input from all sides and negotiating in good faith with Senators Manchin and Sinema, Congressional Leadership, and a broad swath of Members of Congress, President Biden is announcing a framework for the Build Back Better Act.

The latest framework allocates $555 billion to clean energy and climate investments.

This includes:

  • Growing domestic solar supply chains

  • Extending "clean energy tax credits" by 10 years

  • Cutting the cost of residential rooftop solar by 30%


Joint Federal-State Task Force on Electric Transmission

This is a first-of-its-kind effort to ensure important cooperation between federal and state regulators, via partnership between FERC and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), on electric transmission-related issues. The Task Force will focus on topics related to planning and paying for transmission, including transmission to facilitate generator interconnection, that provides benefits from a federal and state perspective.

FERC and NARUC announced the Task Force when FERC established the Task Force on June 17, 2021 in Docket No. AD21-15-000. The Task Force is comprised of all FERC Commissioners and 10 state commissioner representatives, nominated by NARUC and affirmed by FERC. The Task Force will convene for multiple formal meetings annually, which will be open to the public for listening and observing and will be on the record. All FERC issuances related to the Task Force, as well as submissions from NARUC and interested parties related to the Task Force, will be included in the Task Force docket (AD21‑15‑000) and available on FERC’s website via eLibrary.


Latest National Climate Plans Still Fall Far Short,

U.N. Report Warns

Ahead of a major climate summit in Glasgow, many countries have vowed to do more to curb their emissions. But those plans still put the world on path for dangerous warming.

WASHINGTON — The latest plans by the nations of the world to tackle climate change over the next decade fall far short of what’s needed to avert a dangerous rise in global temperatures, according to a United Nations report released Tuesday.

In the run-up to a major U.N. climate summit in Glasgow next week, a number of governments have updated their pledges under the Paris climate agreement to do more to curb their planet-warming emissions between now and 2030.


COP26: what to expect from the climate change summit - on the Radio Davos podcast

  • The climate summit COP26 runs 1-12 November in Glasgow.

  • On this Radio Davos podcast, we discuss the big issues for the COP.

  • And climate campaigner Jennifer Morgan sets out her hopes and fears.

"COP26 is not a photo-op nor a talking shop," Alok Sharma, the British government minister who will chair the climate summit, said in a recent speech.


More than half of global utility solar projects planned in 2022 threatened by supply chain issues

The surging cost of manufacturing materials and shipping could threaten 50 GW — a staggering 56% — of the 90 GW of global utility PV developments planned for 2022, a Rystad Energy analysis shows. Commodity price inflation and supply chain bottlenecks could lead to the postponement or even cancellation of some of these projects, impacting demand and consumer pricing for solar-generated power.


PJM, market monitor urge FERC to reject SOO Green proposal, saying it will upend the capacity market

The PJM Interconnection and its independent market monitor urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to dismiss a complaint by the developers of the $2.5 billion SOO Green interstate transmission project, saying the developers are trying to upend the grid operator's capacity rules for generating resources outside its footprint.

SOO Green's proposal would "subvert" the PJM's capacity market, hurting grid reliability and lowering capacity prices by crowding out resources that meet the grid operator's capacity requirements, Monitoring Analytics said in a FERC filing Monday.

The Natural Resources Defense Council supported SOO Green's complaint, which the advocacy group said would boost market competition by supporting innovative technology.


Honeywell enters energy storage market, teams with Duke to test 12-hour flow battery tech

Honeywell is moving into the energy storage market with the announcement of a flow battery technology that can store and dispatch electricity for up to 12 hours.

Honeywell will test a 400 kWh unit at Duke Energy's Mount Holly microgrid test bed facility in North Carolina in 2022. If successful, Honeywell says it aims to deploy a

utility-scale pilot project of 60 MWh in 2023.

The flow battery has a non-flammable electrolyte designed with recyclable components, according to Honeywell. The battery could have a lifespan of up to 20 years

with little degradation, the company said.


California groups divided on inclusion of gas in 11.5 GW 'clean' procurement order

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) are among a group of industry players that support or do not oppose California regulators allowing — but not requiring — power providers to include natural gas in an 11.5 GW procurement order approved earlier this year.

The utilities filed comments with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in response to an administrative law judge's ruling requesting feedback on whether gas capacity upgrades at existing plants should count toward the 11.5 GW.

The procurement package — approved by the commission in June amid the threat of more extreme weather as well as the upcoming retirements of the 2.2 GW Diablo Canyon nuclear plant and 3.7 GW of natural gas plants — was hailed by regulators at the time as a "new, clean reliability foundation" for the state.

October 21, 2021

FERC ruling on utility wires charge expected to help standalone energy storage grow

Today the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final order to approve Southern California Edison’s (SCE) Wholesale Distribution Access Tariff proposal. Following more than two years of negotiation, SEIA succeeded in reducing the wires charge for standalone energy storage from SCE’s original proposal, opening the door for significant storage growth in the territory.


Where Will DOE’s Loan Program Make the

Next Climate Tech Investments?

The U.S. Department of Energy is crucial for funding, researching, and testing emerging energy tech. Now, in the Biden era, the agency is orienting itself toward deployment. How difficult is that transition?

Jigar has $40 billion in authority to back a wide range of climate technologies; and he’s been working on the first round of investments with those dollars. In the second half of the show: a surprising twist in the global clean-energy transition. How much trouble will energy price inflation cause around the world?


Related Topics

There’s $44 Billion in Clean Energy Funds Up For Grabs

Jigar Shah, the new head of the U.S. Energy Department’s Loan Programs Office, discusses how his team is working to distribute billions to support innovations in renewable energy and green technologies.

Suddenly we are in the middle of a global energy crisis. What happened?

Far from emerging from the COVID shock awash with fuel, as might be expected after an economic slowdown, the world is entering a new energy crisis the like of which hasn’t been seen since the 1970s.

European and Asian gas prices are at an all-time high, the oil price is at a three-year high, and the price of coal is soaring on the back of energy shortages across China, India and Germany.


Ohio Republicans introduce community

solar-enabling legislation

On October 12, Ohio Reps. Brian Baldridge and Laura Lanese, both Republicans, introduced House Bill 450 to permit community solar in the territories of the electric distribution utilities (EDUs). To date, community solar has not been available in

EDU territories due to the inability for customers to participate in aggregate

or virtual net metering.


The wrong policies will hinder electrification

— here's what we need to do

Electrify everything!

This rallying cry has recently made its way to the forefront of the national climate debate, as advocates, companies, and even the President himself tout the climate benefits of electrification. Replacing an oil or natural gas heating system or a gasoline vehicle with an electric-powered alternative is a straightforward way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Meeting state offshore wind, renewable goals requires up to $3.2B in transmission, PJM says

The report, developed at the request of states, signals a change in how the

grid operator considers transmission development, according to Mike Jacobs,

a senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"We've always observed, it's easier to build the wind farms

than to build the transmission," Jacobs said. "The wind farms go up,

and the transmission system lags behind it."


To secure the energy supply chain, feds want to reimagine the power sector as defense

Vulnerable software and data supply chains expose the U.S. power grid to attack, and the U.S. Department of Energy wants to address the issue by reimagining the sector as similar to the defense industrial base. Policies to address digital supply chain vulnerabilities are being developed and will be included in a report to the White House next year, said Cheri Caddy, senior advisor for cybersecurity in DOE's Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response (CESER).

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