April 30, 2020
While many of us are immersed in all things covid-19, there are good news stories sprinkled in every day too. We rounded up a collection of clean energy-related stories to inform, delight and inspire.
1.) On Minnesota rooftops ‘essential’ work continues for solar installers. From Energy News Network.
Solar companies say they enforce social distancing and require workers to take precautions while working in the field. Nearly all office-based employees work from home. IPS Solar chief development officer Eric Pasi said that in “an abundance of caution,” the company provides workers with thermometers to check their temperatures before coming to work. They cannot share rides with other employees to job sites, now a common practice in the industry in Minnesota.
2.) What you need to know about round 2 of PPP. From Twin Cities Business.
The first round of loans from the Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program were depleted in approximately two weeks, and this next round of $320 billion just signed last week by President Trump is sure to run out even more quickly.
3.) Post corona-virus economic recovery requires EV adoption. From Utility Dive.
While electrification has made huge headwinds in the last few years, many challenges remain, notably the lack of scale of charging infrastructure for individuals as well as fleets. Rapidly advancing the adoption of EVs should be one of the major components of the next stimulus package (seeing as the sector was neglected in package three). The investment supports economic activity while also improving the health and well-being of Americans and the cities we call home.
4.) New Driftless solar co-op available for Southeast MN residents. From WXOW.
Free to join, the new co-operative is open to residents of Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona Counties. Bobby King, the Minnesota director for Solar United Neighbors, said this gives people a chance to leverage bulk purchasing power.
5.) Distributed wind sector gets new wind in its sails. From GreenTech Media.
Distributed wind is often forgotten in discussions about clean energy sources. Despite multiple setbacks on the policy front and business closures, the small-wind sector's remaining core sees reason for hope.
Cheaper turbine models, possible demand from the growing microgrid market, and an intensifying focus on distributed energy resources in general may all contribute to putting some wind back in the sails of distributed wind companies — despite the obvious challenges ahead.
6.) Ford and Rivian scrap plans for new electric SUV. From Axios.
Ford Motor Co. took a step back from its partnership with electric vehicle upstart Rivian yesterday as it scrapped plans to build a luxury sport utility vehicle, citing "the current environment."
Automotive News reports that it "appears to be the first announcement of a vehicle cancellation in the U.S. attributed to the crisis."But beyond that cancelation, other product launches and schedules are being delayed as the EVs are caught up in the turmoil that's pushing back various types of cars.
7.) New suburban solar projects part of a wave of new projects in MInnesota. From the Star Tribune.
After decades of hype, the solar energy trend is finally taking off in Minnesota and across the metro suburbs, fueled by a combination of state and federal incentives, low interest rates and zoning changes, industry leaders say.
8.) Efficiency sector gets creative to stem COVID-19 job losses, maintain energy savings. From Utility Dive.
Energy efficiency providers — including contractors, construction companies, utilities and community partners — are all searching for ways to keep employees working while the spread of COVID-19 disrupts what on-site work can be done. In some instances, they say changes made now will likely remain in place once the current outbreak subsides.
9.) Google redefines what it means to be ‘100% renewable’. From GreenBiz.
This week, Google announced the launch of a new technology designed to shift the electricity demands of its largest data centers to match clean energy supply. Never one to shy away from buzzwords, Google is calling this a "carbon-intelligent computing platform."
The all-in-on-renewables strategy should be credited with bringing clean power into the mainstream, but it never will decarbonize energy completely. The next frontier is figuring out how to match supply with demand in real time.
10.) A website about the U.S. electricity grid offers a mesmerizing way to pass the time productively. From Yale Climate Connections.
The dryly named Hourly Electric Grid Monitor is a looking glass onto the nation’s electricity network in real time. Poking through the dashboard-like display is mesmerizing, prompting deep exploration – an ideal thing to do when one’s time and curiosity may both be running a surplus.