Energy Exchange

VW settlement funds spark string of North Carolina electrification projects

By Michelle Allen

After years of legal and legislative wrangling at state and federal levels, the first round of Volkswagen settlement funds will soon begin to flow to grantees. Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Hendersonville), the General Assembly unanimously passed legislation in June to release $31 million to fund the first of a three-phase plan to utilize the state’s settlement allocation. The funds are part of the settlement Volkswagen agreed to after six years of deliberately programming vehicle models to deceive tailpipe inspectors by dramatically under representing their nitrogen oxide emissions — a pollutant linked to respiratory diseases and a key element for the formation of smog and acid rain.

The settlement dictated that allocated dollars only be spent on projects that reduce air pollution. In North Carolina, that first round of funds has been earmarked to replace the state’s oldest transit and school buses with a combination of improved efficiency and zero-emission models. Of the total $31 million, lawmakers also allocated $3.4 million to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the state.

Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles, North Carolina, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

These two programs will help California reach its carbon-neutral goals

California is continuing its leadership on climate change by eliminating carbon from the economy and our daily lives. In fact, California has a law to create a carbon neutral electric grid by 2045.

This spring, our state took two important steps to support these efforts.

Decarbonizing our buildings

Approximately 25% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions come from residential buildings. Because these buildings come in all different shapes and sizes, we need different strategies to reduce their emissions.

Read More »

Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Energy Storage, Gas to Clean, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

Report shows Texas leadership on solar and wind is helping safeguard our power grid

Last summer, Texas’ electric grid was put to the test by scorching temperatures that sent power demand soaring and raised the specter of potential brownouts. Thankfully, the grid did what it was designed to do and pulled through without any major issues.

This week, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas released its projection for how we’ll fare this summer. Thanks to massive growth of solar and wind resources made possible by Texas’ competitive electricity market, the outlook is much improved.

Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Solar Energy, Texas / Comments are closed

A regionalized energy grid creates a home for California’s wasted renewables

By Andy Bilich, Lauren Navarro

These days, California’s renewable energy records are regularly broken.

During the summer solstice on June 21, California utility scale solar power set a generation record with solar producing equivalent to about 16 percent of all electricity consumed during the day.

And earlier this year, on April 27, California set two renewable energy records for both instantaneous solar generation: about 10.5 gigawatts), and instantaneous renewable generation: 73 percent of the state’s total electricity demand came from renewable energy.

With renewables deployment poised for more growth, it’s likely even these new records will be surpassed sometime soon. However, to ensure the state’s investment in clean energy is put to use, and not wasted, California has some work to do. Read More »

Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Regional Grid, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

Energy storage, wind, and solar companies are recruiting coal miners for their work ethics and high-tech skills

When a California battery company officially moved its headquarters and manufacturing to Kentucky coal country last week, generous state tax subsidies certainly played a role – but so did something often lost in the debate about coal.

Struggling coal mining towns offer an abundance of highly trained workers, many of whom are eager for new opportunities and stable jobs. Mine work today requires mechanical and technical skills that are transferable to new industries, a fact that companies inside and outside the energy sector are beginning to discover in America’s tightening labor market. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Storage, Solar Energy, Wyoming / Read 2 Responses

As moratorium on North Carolina wind power winds down, economic opportunity appears on the horizon

I’ve never been more optimistic about wind power in North Carolina and the benefits it will bring our state. And, given that we’re in the middle of a very unfortunate 18-month moratorium on wind project permits, that’s saying something.

I’m optimistic because the benefits of wind power are making themselves crystal clear. Here are few of the highlights:

More money for individuals and communities

In Pasquotank and Perquimans counties, Avangrid Renewables — the operator of the Amazon Wind Farm — has become the largest taxpayer after just one year of operation. Avangrid’s $520,000 annual local tax payments provide a big boost for the community, because they create new opportunities for investments in local schools, fire departments, and public safety services. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, North Carolina / Comments are closed