The Environment, The Economy, and Equity – Episode 83 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

Author:  AND       Published: August 14, 2019 ILSR

What exactly is energy democracy, and how will we achieve it? The Institute for Local Self-Reliance is seeking an answer to this complex question, but we are far from the only folks doing so.

ILSR shares this space with the Energy Democracy Project, which came together in 2016. With editors Denise Fairchild and Al Weinrub, they published a book on the subject in 2017, Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions. The book illustrates what energy democracy looks like in practice.

On this episode of the Local Energy Rules podcast, host John Farrell speaks with Denise Fairchild, President of the Emerald Cities Collaborative, about Energy Democracy. As co-editor of the book, Fairchild helps explain the concept of energy democracy to Farrell for a recent episode of ILSR’sBuilding Local Power podcast, republished in a slightly shorter version for Local Energy Rules.

Transcript

New law lifts restrictions on residential solar panels

Author:          Published:  AUG 21, 2019        Delaware Public Media NPR News        

A new law in Delaware removes red tape barring some homeowners from adding solar panels to their property.

Energize Delaware is a nonprofit offering loans for solar panels at private residences in the First State. The group has given out $2 million since it was created by state legislation in 2017.

Program manager Suzanne Sebastian says she expects the new law to free up some residences previously unable to take advantage of the program.

“I definitely think it will open up access for those who have not been able to participate in the solar grant programs in the past or add solar at their own expense,” said Sebastian.

Written into the new law is an exception to allow the enforcement of restrictions to solar systems deemed as being “reasonable.”

The law also provides legal fees for the prevailing party of any litigation over its language.

It also changes the vote required to amend restrictions in a deed related to solar energy from a 2/3 vote to a majority vote of the property owners in a homeowners association.

BRIEF Duke renewables program allows large customers to negotiate directly with suppliers

Author: Robert Walton              Published:  August 22, 2019               Utility Dive

Dive Brief:

  • Duke Energy is preparing to expand its Green Source Advantage (GSA) program in North Carolina, which will allow large customers to negotiate directly with renewable energy suppliers on price terms.
  • Those terms include the purchase of the renewable energy certificates (RECs) from generation facilities and length of contract terms. Participating customers bear the entire cost, which Duke officials said is not subsidized in any way.
  • The 350 MW of capacity currently set aside for the University of North Carolina (UNC) system and major military installations will be opened up to all interested customers after three years, broadening the pool of potential customers’

Dive Insight:

Duke’s large nonresidential electric customers in North Carolina now have new options for procuring renewable energy, with up to 600 MW initially available.

The 250 MW currently open for subscription includes 160 MW for Duke Energy Carolinas and 90 MW for Duke Energy Progress.

“This is a flexible program that will help [large customers] meet their renewable energy or sustainability goals on their own terms,” Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president, said in a statement.

Duke will begin accepting GSA applications on Oct. 1, on a first-come, first-served basis. The North Carolina Utilities Commission approved the program in June — a larger version of a 2015 pilot which included Google and Cisco.

Duke owns and operates 40 solar facilities in North Carolina and says it has invested more than $1 billion in renewable energy in the state. The utility’s $62 million solar rebate program for residential, commercial and nonprofit customers in North Carolina helped 3,000 customers go solar in its first two years and will continue for three more.

Recommended Reading:

  • NORTH CAROLINA UTILITIES COMMISSION

Sanders Unveils $16 Trillion Green New Deal Plan, and Ideas to Pay for It

Author: NICHOLAS KUSNETZ    Published: August 22, 2019 Inside News

Bernie Sanders. Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders described his Green New Deal plan as “a 10-year mobilization to avert climate catastrophe during which climate change, justice and equity will be factored into virtually every area of policy, from immigration to trade to foreign policy and beyond.”Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders unveiled a $16.3 trillion plan for a Green New Deal on Thursday, giving shape to a massive program to overhaul the nation’s economy and eliminate fossil fuel use by mid-century.

The plan sets some of the most ambitious goals announced by any candidate yet, including setting a 2030 deadline for both electricity and transportation to be run entirely on renewable energy.

The idea of launching a Green New Deal, on par with the New Deal of the 1930s, has captured the attention of young activists who see it as a social and economic revolution to combat climate change. The version discussed so far publicly and in Congress has been mostly aspirational. Sanders’ plan starts to layer in detail and answer key questions about cost and how to pay for it.

The price tag for the Vermont senator’s plan is far higher than the climate plans announced by any of his rivals, but it’s also more wide-reaching. It describes how the money would be spent across the economy, from grants for new electric vehicles, to funds to help farms capture carbon in the soil, to job training, including $1.3 trillion in support for workers in the fossil fuel industry.

True to the Green New Deal‘s core concepts, the proposal laces environmental and economic justice throughout, promising to help lift people from poverty while protecting minority communities that are harmed disproportionately by pollution and the effects of a warming atmosphere.

“The climate crisis is not only the single greatest challenge facing our country; it is also our single greatest opportunity to build a more just and equitable future, but we must act immediately,” Sanders said in a statement. He said the program would amount to “a 10-year mobilization to avert climate catastrophe during which climate change, justice and equity will be factored into virtually every area of policy, from immigration to trade to foreign policy and beyond.”

Sanders’ proposal claims it will pay for itself over 15 years through a combination of new taxes, fees and litigation against fossil fuels companies, new taxes on corporations and wealthy people, together with cuts in military spending related to U.S. reliance on oil and savings across the economy.

With Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ending his campaign on Wednesday, Sanders’ announcement may position him as the leading candidate onclimate change.

But key elements of the plan, including a proposal to phase out nuclear power and exclude carbon capture and sequestration, are drawing criticism from some experts who say it is underestimating the costs and feasibility of adopting 100 percent renewable energy within a decade, and that it overly maligns fossil fuel companies and corporations more broadly.

Is 100% Renewables Deadline Doable?

Sanders’ Green New Deal lays out a rapid transition away from fossil fuels in line with the goal of the Paris climate agreement to limit warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times.

Much of that would come from eliminating fossil fuels from both the electricity and transportation sectors over a decade. Sanders proposes investing nearly $2.5 trillion in new renewable energy and energy storage—all of which would be publicly owned—$500 billion on upgrading the electricity grid, and more than $2 trillion in grants for energy efficiency and weatherization. To convert the nation’s vehicle fleet, he would spend some $3 trillion to help people and businesses buy new electric cars and trucks, and $900 billion on public transport and high-speed rail.

The most controversial element is that this would rely entirely on renewable energy sources and not “on any false solutions like nuclear, geoengineering, carbon capture and sequestration, or trash incinerators.”

Nader Sobhani, climate policy associate at Niskanen Center, a centrist think tank, said that exclusion underestimates the costs and difficulty of the task.

“When you’re really thinking about the transition to a decarbonized power grid, what is essential to that, to maintain a cost-effective switch, is having a wide portfolio of options at your disposal,” he said. “I find it very difficult to imagine that we can reach a completely decarbonized electricity and transport system by 2030, especially if we’re limiting our options exclusively to wind and solar, as well as geothermal.”

Samantha Gross, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, said in an email that she agreed with that position and also that she is troubled by what she called an “anti-business sentiment” in Sanders plan, citing the calls for all renewable power generation funded by the plan to be publicly-owned.

“Competition in the power industry can be good, but he seems opposed to anyone making a profit there and is focused on creating more federal entities to transform the power sector,” she said.

Environmental Justice and a Big Transition

Beyond the transportation and power sectors, Sanders’ plan fleshes out how a Green New Deal would stretch into various corners of the economy to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions while lifting people out of poverty.

The plan commits to support poor and minority communities throughout. It claims it would create 20 million new, high-paying union jobs in manufacturing, energy retrofitting, and other sectors. There are also grants to help poor communities protect themselves from the impacts of a warming climate, and incentives and labor standards to ensure that new jobs pay fair wages and provide benefits. But there are also trillions of dollars in grants throughout the program’s elements that would help low- and moderate-income people and small businesses electrify their homes and vehicles and reduce their energy use and costs—these make up the bulk of the spending to adopt new electric vehicles, for example.

Sanders also promises to provide five years unemployment insurance, wage guarantees, health care, job training and other support to workers in the fossil fuel industry whose jobs would be eliminated.

These 20 million new jobs would include employment in sustainable agriculture and a Civilian Conservation Corps. Sanders includes detailed plans for how farming and conservation can help the nation cut emissions and store more carbon in its soils while protecting small farms and supporting well-paid jobs.

Can the Plan Pay for Itself?

Sanders claims that his plan will pay for itself over 15 years, and lays out several sources of revenue and savings. But he doesn’t say exactly how those sources will add up to more than $16 trillion.

Sanders writes that he would impose new taxes and fees on fossil fuel companies and would generate revenue from suing the companies, too, as well as taxing “investors’ fossil fuel income and wealth.” His plan also says it will make corporations and wealthy people “pay their fair share,” and that the new jobs it creates will bring additional income tax revenue and reduce the need for spending on the social safety net. It says that ending reliance on oil would allow for reduced defense spending.

While the plan mentions the high costs of failing to address climate change—it cites $34.5 trillion in lost economic activity by the end of the century—it’s unclear whether preventing those losses are counted toward paying for the plan.

Conspicuously absent is any mention of a carbon tax, something Sanders has supported in the past. Some of the activists who helped shape the Green New Deal have come out against a carbon tax, saying it could push costs onto the poor.

While Sanders says he will support fossil fuel workers, his Green New Deal plan goes after their employers, who he accuses of engaging in criminal activity through their pollution and past denial of climate change.

He would ban offshore drilling, halt extraction of fossil fuels from public lands, ban fracking, cease issuing new permits for fossil fuel infrastructure such as pipelines and refineries and ban imports and exports of fossil fuels. In short, “Bernie promises to go further than any other presidential candidate in history to end the fossil fuel industry’s greed.”

Industry 101 | Regulation in the Electricity Industry: What is Regulation in the Utility Industry?

Author: Ragan Davis                 Published: January 10, 2019                  Red Clay

Industry 101 | Regulation in the Electricity Industry: What is Regulation in the Utility Industry?

This post is part of our Industry 101 Series, an ongoing campaign to provide a foundation of knowledge about our unique industry. To learn more about this campaign, please click here.

4.1 WHAT IS REGULATION IN THE UTILITY INDUSTRY?

Regulation in the utility industry refers to the rules created by government or local bodies which the utility companies must adhere to by law.

Electric utilities are regulated by state, federal, and local agencies. These agencies govern the prices they charge, the terms of their service to consumers, their budgets and construction plans, and their programs for energy efficiency and other services.

US map for regulation and deregulation4.1.1 REGULATED VS DEREGULATED MARKET

Regulated markets feature vertically-integrated utilities that own or control the entire flow of electricity from generation to meter. Examples in the U.S. include Florida, Colorado, Idaho, and Kentucky. Conversely, utilities in deregulated markets must divest all ownership in generation and transmission and are only responsible for:

  • Distribution, operations, and maintenance from the interconnection at the grid to the meter
  • Billing the ratepayer
  • Acting as the Provider of Last Resort (POLR)

Deregulated markets feature grid operators that administer wholesale markets to ensure reliability on the grid and prevent blackouts. Multiple retail suppliers – or load serving entities, known as LSEs – buy generation and sell electricity to end users.

To the right is the USA map showing where electricity is regulated and where it is not.

4.1.2 THE EVOLUTION OF UTILITY REGULATION

For most businesses, the free market sets prices for products or services based on supply and demand. This open market provides companies the opportunity to provide a product or service and, if successful, earn a profit depending on costs, quality, and market factors.

Originally, that’s also how it worked for electric utility companies. When the industry was born, inventors and investors could request franchises to create electric companies with few barriers to market entry. Many did and competition determined the rate the customer would pay, however disorganization was a major issue. Lines and poles from multiple companies occupied the same streets, service was unreliable, and grids weren’t interconnected. It was inefficient and, at times, dangerous. This eventually led to the creation of state commissions to regulate electric utilities.

4.1.3 WHY IS REGULATION NEEDED?

The primary reason for regulation is that all utilities are natural monopolies, meaning that a single provider is often able to serve the overall demand in a region at a lower total cost than any combination of smaller entities. In absence of any competition among the service providers to set lower rates, the service provider might restrict output and set prices at levels higher than are economically justified. Regulation serves the function of ensuring that price structures are followed, that service is adequate, that companies are responsive to consumer needs, and that things like new service orders and billing questions are handled responsively.

Another reason for regulation is that the utilities must adhere to strict government safety standards, because their infrastructure runs throughout our communities and the public would be affected by sagging wires, ruptured pipes, and other problems.

The production and distribution of electricity also has environmental and public health impacts —  through the emission of pollutants, use of land, and even creation of noise — that can adversely affect the public. Generating power often produces pollution; transmission lines have both visual and physical impacts on land use. Regulators may therefore impose environmental responsibilities on utilities to protect these public interests.

Finally, given utilities’ crucial role in the economy and in society’s general welfare, service reliability standards are often imposed.

The electricity industry remains one of the most highly regulated in the United States. It is regulated on both federal and state levels. Sometimes, local regulations also apply. Rules and regulations can provide protection for consumers, help keep workers safe, ensure businesses do not collude to raise prices, etc. However, some argue that too much regulation of markets is unnecessary and can lead to inefficiencies and unnecessary costs.

4.1.4 WHO ARE THE REGULATORY AUTHORITIES?

A range of federal, state and local level entities regulate the U.S. electricity sector. They are:

  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which regulates interstate electricity sales, wholesale electric rates, and hydroelectric facility licensing, among other energy matters affecting interstate commerce
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which regulates certain emissions from power-generating facilities
  • North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), under FERC oversight, which ensures that the bulk electricity system in North America is reliable, adequate, and secure
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which oversees the safety and licensing of nuclear power plants
  • Department of Energy (DOE), which is responsible for promoting energy security as well as scientific and technological innovation

Other relevant entities, but ones that are typically less directly involved in day-to-day electricity sector regulation, include:

  • Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which regulates certain commodity trades, including power hedges, and trade options
  • Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which enforce anti-trust laws
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which regulates the issuance of corporate securities from energy companies, among other things
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which regulates safety standards for certain power facilities

4.1.5 BASIC FUNCTIONS OF THE REGULATORY COMMISSION

Almost all regulatory authorities perform the same basic functions:

  • Determining the revenue requirement
  • Allocating costs among customer classes
  • Designing price structures and price levels that will collect the allowed revenues, while providing appropriate price signals to customers
  • Setting service quality standards and consumer protection requirements
  • Overseeing the financial responsibilities of the utility, including reviewing and approving utility capital investments and long-term planning

Serving as the arbiter of disputes between consumers and the utility.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission4.1.6 COMMISSION STRUCTURE AND ORGANIZATION

Most state commissions consist of three or five appointed or elected commissioners and a professional staff. Shown here is the organizational chart for FERC.

As an example, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) lists their organization and their tasks as below on their website:

  • Administration – The Office of Administration provides internal support, including docketing, necessary for the day-to-day operations of the agency.
  • Attorney General – The Attorney General’s public utilities section represents the PUCO staff before the Commission and represents the Commission itself before the Supreme Court of Ohio, other state and federal courts, and federal administrative agencies.
  • Business Resources – The Business Resources Department includes the Human Resources division, the Fiscal and Office Services division, and the Information Technology division.
  • Commission Offices – The Commission Offices include the commissioners and their aides.
  • Legal – The legal department’s attorney examiners conduct public hearings, issue procedural entries, and draft the opinions and orders issued by the Commission.
  • Public Affairs – The Office of Public Affairs fosters the PUCO image by communicating utility information to Ohioans in a timely, accurate, and understandable manner.
  • Rates and Analysis – The Rates and Analysis Department conducts independent energy forecast reports, participates in federal and state programs and investigations regarding energy policy, delivery and reliability, monitors and advises on utility conformance with prudent corporate oversight practices and procedures, monitors energy efficiency and portfolio compliance requirements, processes utility rate change requests, and performs technical investigations. The department is comprised of the administration; market and corporate oversight; policy and research; telecom; technology; regulatory services; and siting, efficiency, and renewable divisions.
  • Service Monitoring and Enforcement – The Service Monitoring and Enforcement Department examines the quality of service provided by utility companies to ensure that safe, dependable and quality services are being provided. The department also handles requests for information, complaints, and attempts to resolve consumer problems without the need for a formal hearing.
  • Transportation – The Transportation Department regulates railroad, trucking, bus, and watercraft companies across a broad range of activities.

 

If you enjoyed this article, click here to start from the beginning of our Industry 101 Series.

Or to continue your journey, click here to access the next installment of our Industry 101 guide.

 

Here is a list of relevant reading material our expert identified as sources for additional information:

www.puco.ohio.gov/puco/index.cfm/how-the-puco-works-for-you/organization/#sthash.mxBiYDdd.dpbs
www.consumersdigest.com/special-reports/power-games-the-charges-against-utility-companies/view-all
www.eei.org/
www.energysmart.enernoc.com/regulated-and-deregulated-energy-markets-explained/

 

What happened to the Tesla solar roof?

Author: Robert Walton                  Published: March 26,2019                  Utility Dive

The iconic company’s biggest promise was trifecta-integration of solar generation, energy storage and electric cars. So far, that has not happened.

Two years ago this week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed — in a tweet, of course — that the company would soon begin taking orders for solar roofs. In Tesla news-time, two years is a lifetime. Since then, other tweets have gotten Musk in trouble with federal regulators while the company has also started to produce electric cars and turn a profit. Tesla has built a legion of supporters — who buy both its products and company shares — while detractors point to an array of flashy announcements and product launches that have not come to market at scale but have at times helped to support stock prices and deals. Along with the widely-panned Boring Co.’s first mile of tunnel outside Los Angeles and ambitious Space X promises, the Tesla solar roof has so-far fallen short of promises.

Tesla’s solar roof was designed to tie together an energy-transportation company strategy, while at the same time offering customers a high-end, integrated roof/housing product that didn’t look like solar photovoltaic panels.

Elon Musk   @elonmusk:   Should mention that the Tesla solar roof is robust against any weather, incl heavy hail. Also, higher insulating value than a standard roof.
Twitter Ads info and privacy   5,091 people are talking about this
There have been a few installed, but Tesla declines to give the specific deployment number. Reuters estimated only a dozen have been built, but Tesla told Utility Dive that figure is incorrect and low.

Along with it, Tesla’s broader SolarCity business has seen declining solar panel installations as it shifted its sales and financing models. Last year, the company announced it was changing its sales tactics and would not continue its partnership with Home Depot for residential solar sales.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, the company says it deployed 73 MW of retrofit solar systems, a 21% decrease sequentially.

“There’s been a lot of skepticism ever since they bought SolarCity. There was a lot of skepticism around the deal in the first place … but certainly Tesla, from the outset, their long-term mission was around a circular generation strategy.”

Jeff Osborne Analyst, Cowen & Co  “We are still in the process of transitioning our sales channel from former partners to our Tesla stores and training our sales team to sell solar systems in addition to vehicles,” the company said in a note to investors.

Jeff Osborne, an analyst at Cowen & Co., has had a “sell” rating on Tesla for three years now. “But it’s not from the perspective of a bankruptcy,” he said, referencing an extreme-bear case against the company. “I’ve been more negative because competition is coming.”

“There’s been a lot of skepticism ever since they bought SolarCity,” Osborne told Utility Dive, pointing to a family connection between Musk and the leadership at SolarCity. Founders of the solar company, Lyndon Rive and Peter Rive, are Musk’s cousins; both men have since stepped down from Tesla

“There was a lot of skepticism around the deal in the first place … but certainly Tesla, from the outset, their long-term mission was around a circular generation strategy,” said Osborne.

On that front, nothing has changed, according to Tesla. Customer acquisition costs are one of the most expensive parts of solar generation. Tesla wants to tie solar generation with energy storage and transportation, improving margins as it sells three related products.

Tesla declined to make someone available for an interview, but supplied a statement.  “Similar to our approach to selling vehicles, we are also shifting sales of our energy and solar products worldwide to online only,” a spokesperson said

Most residential solar and Powerwall orders are already “placed outside our retail stores, including online or via referral, and we believe this shift to online sales, paired with a dedicated Energy Advisor from our support team, will result in the best, most seamless customer experience in the industry,” the company said.

Despite slow installations, Tesla said in its fourth quarter note that it plans to “ramp up the production of Solar Roof with significantly improved manufacturing capabilities during 2019, based on the design iterations and testing underway.” The company said it was continuing to install solar roofs “at a slow pace to gather further learnings from our design changes.”

Tesla losing solar innovation edge

But while a multi-targeted sales approach may still be successful, some of Tesla’s advantage as an innovator may have worn away.

Tesla’s idea of an integrated solar roof is built around its tiles, with customers essentially replacing their roof. Rooftop solar has for years revolved around retrofitting a roof with panels, and while Tesla’s “tiles” may be unique to the company the idea of selling solar to homeowners in need of a new roof is not.

GAF Energy — owned by Standard Industries, one of the largest roofing companies in the United States — is selling a “building-integrated photovoltaic offering,” and other companies have similar products.

“Our business model taps into an existing market — homeowners getting a new roof,” GAF Energy President Martin DeBono told Utility Dive. The idea is to make it easy for customers to say “yes.”

GAF Energy launched in January of this year and has so far received more than 200 purchase orders — and expects to hit about 2,000 orders through the end of 2019. Because it is owned by Standard Industries, DeBono said GAF Energy can tap into an existing network roofing partners.

The company handles everything in the process, “from permitting paperwork to finding an electrician, so contractors need only concentrate on sales and basic hardware installation,” he said.

“Tesla argued people would go to the mall and buy solar. But it’s not something that’s an impulse buy. … It’s a premium-priced product.”

Jeff Osborne  Analyst, Cowen & Co

So what does a a business like GAF Energy mean for Tesla and its solar business? Probably not too much, according to Navigant Senior Research Analyst Roberto Labastida.

“They do seem to be losing some ground on innovation,” Labastida told Utility Dive. But he added that Tesla is roughly 90% a transportation company, and that innovation in home energy is being pushed more by companies like Sonnen, which is developing community energy aggregation projects, and SunRun, which recently aggregated home solar+storage into a wholesale capacity market.

But Labastida said Tesla could still find opportunities with the solar tiles because the industry doesn’t offer many “premium products.”

“From the hardware side I think the tiles are something different, and it might be a smart move to move,” Labastida said. “They are already in touch with people who can buy cars that are quite expensive … so a premium product makes sense for them.” Osborne maintains his doubt, questioning whether solar generation is simple enough to tack onto another purchase.

“Tesla argued people would go to the mall and buy solar,” he said. “But it’s not something that’s an impulse buy. … It’s a premium-priced product. They’ve never disclosed how many they’ve installed, but it’s low digits.”

But he added, “investors don’t really care about the solar arm.”

 

SC lawmakers troubled by lack of solar diversity: ‘Klan probably hired more black people’

Author: Jamie Lovegrove            Published: March 26, 2019                    The Post and Courier

Todd Rutherford (copy)

S.C. House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, said the level of diversity in the state’s solar workforce is “abysmal” during a Legislative Black Caucus meeting on March 26, 2019. File/Andrew Brown/Staff
COLUMBIA — Black lawmakers in the S.C. House expressed grave concern with the level of diversity in the state’s growing solar workforce Tuesday, telling an industry supporter that “the Klan probably hired more black people than you all do.”

Data compiled by the nonprofit Solar Foundation found that 8.6 percent of South Carolina’s solar workers in 2018 were African-American, just above the national average of 7.6 percent. By contrast, 27 percent of South Carolina’s population is black, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, called the figures “embarrassing” during a Tuesday meeting of the Legislative Black Caucus, demanding that solar advocates not come back until they can show substantial improvements.

“It looks to me as if we are supporting an industry that is doing all it can to keep out African-Americans,” said Rutherford, who added that he has installed solar panels at his home. “The Klan probably hired more black people than you all do.”

The criticism comes at a crucial time for the industry as it is seeking continued legislative support for a bill that advocates say is needed to expand the industry in South Carolina. The House unanimously approved legislation to that effect last month, but it has slowed down in the Senate due to disputes about the length of large-scale solar farm contracts.

Rutherford’s comments came during a presentation by John Tynan, executive director of the Conservation Voters of South Carolina, which has supported the solar industry in the state. Solar company officials were unable to attend because of spring break and other commitments, Tynan said.

“I think the solar industry recognizes — and every person in the industry I’ve spoken to has said — we have a long way to go and this does not reflect the values of the industry and what they strive to achieve,” Tynan said.

Overall, South Carolina added 154 new solar jobs in 2018, the Solar Foundation found, bringing the total to 2,983 in the state, which ranks 25th nationwide.

The percentage of solar employees in the state who are black has increased from 6.7 percent in 2017, an improvement that Tynan said offers some consolation.

“At the very least the 2018 numbers are headed in an upward direction, which is good,” Tynan said. “But I agree it’s still not where I’m sure you all would like that number to be, nor where we would hope it to be.”

Abigail Ross Hopper, the president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, took issue with Rutherford’s remarks and said they are actively working towards improving diversity in the national solar workforce.

She said the trade group has published a “Diversity Best Practices Guide,” urged member companies to sign a diversity pledge — 20 already have and they are aiming for 100 by the end of April — and is working with historically black colleges and the NAACP to “create pathways to improve industry diversity.”

“We are taking important steps to improve diversity and inclusion in our industry, and we are committed to making sure our workforce looks like the rest of America,” Ross Hopper said.

Black Caucus chairman Jerry Govan, D-Orangeburg, told Tynan he hopes they can continue to have further discussions about the issue in the future.

“Diversity is very important,” Govan said.

Follow Jamie Lovegrove on Twitter @jslovegrove.

How Solar Panels on a Church Rooftop Broke the Law in N.C.

Author: Dan Gearino        Published:  May 14, 2018             Inside Climate News

An environmental group installed solar panels atop Faith Community Church to sell the church cheap, clean electricity. Credit: NC WARN

An environmental group installed solar panels atop Faith Community Church three years ago to sell the church clean energy at rates far lower than the local utility’s. A court ruled that by selling the power, the group violated state restrictions. Credit: NC WARN

A North Carolina environmental group that tried to challenge the state’s utility monopoly by installing solar panels on the roof of a predominantly African-American church and selling the church cheap, clean power has lost its appeal to the state’s highest court.

Advocates say they are disappointed in the ruling, but they aren’t giving up the fight to lift restrictions on clean energy.

The case involved an attempt to bust through restrictions that solar advocates face in much of the Southeast.

The region has a history of maintaining strong utility monopolies while other states have opened their markets to competition. The result, advocates say, limits rooftop solar in a region with some of the strongest solar power potential.

Walmart sues Tesla, says solar panels caused series of fires

Author: Robert Walton                      Published: August 21, 2019           Utility Dive

Dive Brief:

  • Tesla solar panels sparked fires at at least seven Walmart stores last year, causing millions in damage, the retail giant alleged in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
  • Walmart accused Tesla of “gross negligence” and said the fires were caused by the company’s failure to follow “prudent industry practices” in installing, operating and maintaining its solar systems.
  • According to the lawsuit, Walmart had leased or licensed roof space to Tesla at more than 240 locations for the installation, operation, and maintenance — but following the fires, requested all systems be de-energized.

Dive Insight:

Walmart pulled no punches in its filing, laying blame squarely on Tesla for what it calls shoddy workmanship.

In the suit, Walmart said its inspectors observed “negligent and dangerous wire connection practices, which were readily apparent at many of the sites visited and are a critical risk factor in contributing to fires.”

Tesla did not immediately return a request for comment. The lawsuit says Tesla has reimbursed Walmart for some, but not all of the losses.

The largest losses occurred at the company’s store in Indio, California, where a fire caused damage to the facility and its merchandise. Walmart said repair costs totaled more than $3.1 million, and merchandise valued at more than $6 million was “destroyed.”

Including consultant and attorney fees, the company said it expects out-of-pocket damages incurred as a result of the Indio fire to exceed $8.2 million.

(Credit: Walmart lawsuit)

After reviewing the damage caused by fires, Walmart said in some instances it appeared Tesla personnel made cable connections using connectors that were not compatible.

Walmart said its investigations “quickly discovered that Tesla routinely deployed individuals to inspect the solar systems who lacked basic solar training and knowledge.”

Tesla has struggled with its solar business, since acquiring SolarCity in 2016, when it was the leading solar installer in the United States. Since the $2.6 billion acquisition, the company has lost market share as installations declined.

On Sunday, the day before the lawsuit was filed, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the company had “relaunched” its solar division and will offer torent rooftop panels to homeowners in six states, starting at $50/month for a 3.8 kW system.

According to Walmart, Tesla last month responded to Walmart’s complaint and “admitted that its site inspections to date ‘have identified areas for improvement and opportunities for error correction.'”

Walmart asked the court to conclude Tesla breached its solar agreements, require it to “remove the solar panel systems from all Walmart locations,” and award damages “in an amount reflecting the outstanding value of out-of-pocket costs and consulting fees in connection with all the fires caused by Tesla’s solar panel systems.”

The suit also requests the court award damages “reflecting the value of any contractual payments owed to Walmart” under its solar agreements with Tesla.

GO SOLAR IN YOUR COMMUNITY NAACP

Author: NAACP ENVIRONMENTAL AND CLIMATE JUSTICE PROGRAM    Published: August 21. 2019   PCPCLLC

Thank you, Rosario!

Thank you, Rosario Dawson, for promoting our work!  The Solar Equity Initiative is a project of NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program and will advance the following NAACP’s civil rights programs: economic development, labor, education, health and criminal justice.

Our year-long project will:

  • Provide solar job skills training to 100 individuals
  • Coordinate the installation of solar panels on 20 households and 10 community centers
  • Strengthen equity in solar access policies in at least 5 states across the country.

 

 

Go Solar

Commit to:

 

To Learn More

Just Energy Policies and Practices ACTION Toolkit

Coal Blooded:  Putting Profits Before People

Fumes Across the Fence-Line

Or many more of our FREE resources!

 


We extend a special thanks to our partners who are supporting the Solar Equity Initiative: GRID Alternatives, Solar Energy Industries Association,Sunrun, United Methodist Women, and Vote Solar.

 

 

 

 

Vote Solar’s Access & Equity Director Receives Prestigious C3E Award

Author: Zadie Oleksiw          Published: December 4 2018      Vote Solar

Melanie Santiago-Mosier earns 2018 Advocacy Award for nationally-recognized policy leadership expanding solar access to low income and disadvantaged communities

Today, Vote Solar Access & Equity Director Melanie Santiago-Mosier was awarded the competitive Advocacy Award during the 7th annual U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Women in Clean Energy Symposium, a distinct award that recognizes Santiago-Mosier for her impact advancing clean energy through policy leadership. C3E is a prestigious program of the Department of Energy, in collaboration with MIT, Texas A&M, and Stanford, that honors outstanding women in clean energy. The award ceremony was held today at Stanford University.

“It’s an honor to be recognized in this year’s cohort of C3E awardees,” saidMelanie Santiago-Mosier. “I’ve had the privilege of working with women whose tireless support and mentorship has been a source of inspiration throughout my career, and today I’m humbled to be among distinguished leaders committed to the success of women and excited about the opportunity to use this honor as a springboard for continuing to support women in clean energy.”

Santiago-Mosier helped launch Vote Solar’s Low-Income Solar Access program in 2016, and today her work focuses on four objectives: policy analysis and research, thought leadership, partnerships, and advancing statewide policy campaigns to increase access and equity. This policy work is also centered in Vote Solar’s broader vision for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), which Santiago-Mosier has helped to lead. This work includes commitments to programs, partnerships and internal practices that help advance a more just energy system.

Today she’s the Program Director of Access and Equity, an evolution of the program to encompass the broader scope of solar energy’s ability to equalize growing inequality in the U.S. by creating domestic jobs across a variety of education levels, lowering energy costs, and improving public health makes it a powerful tool for addressing these pressing economic and social issues. In an era when economic issues are a top priority for a majority of Americans, connecting the dots between solar and economic opportunity will further accelerate our transition to clean energy.

Becky Stanfield, Melanie Santiago-Mosier (center) Rosalind Jackson, C3E.jpeg

“We believe that everyone should have the ability to participate in, and benefit from, the clean energy economy, and we’re proud to have Melanie at the helm of our work to make that possible,” said Adam Browning, executive director at Vote Solar. “Melanie earned this award for her unwavering dedication to maximizing solar energy’s potential as a force for social good. Her leadership building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive clean energy future is inspiring, and all of us that are lucky enough to work with her are very happy she’s receiving this well-deserved recognition.”

Based on a deep personal commitment to advancing women of color in the solar industry, Santiago-Mosier will invest the $8,000 C3E-awarded prize money in the next edition of The Solar Foundation’s U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study, due for release in spring 2019. This updated study will provide the latest data on women, people of color, and veterans in the solar workforce, along with best practices and model policies on diversity and inclusion. This study will also include a detailed section on women of color in the solar industry.

“Melanie is a force and we are so honored that she is choosing to use her award to support our research on a diverse and inclusive solar workforce,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director at The Solar Foundation. “This award gives well-deserved recognition to Melanie’s tireless efforts to make the benefits of solar energy accessible to everyone. Her generous contribution will help us produce an expanded Solar Industry Diversity Study that helps move the industry forward.”

Santiago-Mosier has been involved in clean energy policy and advocacy for over a decade and is accomplished in clean energy advocacy before state legislatures and public utility commissions, winning legislation, regulations, and other policy matters that advanced solar and clean energy. Beyond her professional accomplishments, Santiago-Mosier has taken on more than ten volunteer leadership and board roles over the past decade.

 

Tesla relaunches solar division, will rent rooftop systems in 6 states

Author: Robert Walton      Published:  August 20, 2019       Utility Dive

Dive Brief:

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter Sunday that the company has “relaunched” its solar division and will offer to rent rooftop panels to homeowners in six states, starting at $50/month for a 3.8 kW system.
  • The company plans to offer panels for rent in Southwest states that get a lot of sun throughout the year, like California, Arizona and New Mexico, and East Coast states with clean energy goals, like Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
  • Tesla bought SolarCity in 2016, when it was the leading solar installer in the United States. Since the $2.6 billion acquisition, the company has lost market share as installations declined.

Dive Insight:

Tesla is looking for ways to reverse its declining solar market share. The company installed 6.3% of the U.S. residential solar capacity in the first quarter of 2019 — falling into third place, behind Sunrun’s 11% market share and Vivint Solar’s 7.6% share, according to WoodMackenzie.

Musk announced the relaunch with typical bombast.

“With the new lower Tesla pricing, it’s like having a money printer on your roof if you live a state with high electricity costs,” Musk tweeted. “Still better to buy, but the rental option makes the economics obvious.”

A simple online form allows a customer to choose from three sizes of systems: 3.8 kW, 7.6 kW and and 11.4 kW. The company charges no installation fee and does not require a long-term contract, but requires a $100 fee for signing up. Tesla says removing the panels will cost $1,500.

Tesla did not respond to questions about the relaunch, including whether the company would utilize its delayed “solar roof” product.

Tesla announced the solar roof more than two years ago, but has never rolled out the product at scale. The high-end panels are designed to look like traditional roofing materials, while working to tie together Tesla’s corporate strategy of linking energy storage, solar and transportation electrification.

All told, customers of 20 utilities will be able to take advantage of Tesla’s solar rental offering.

(Credit: Tesla)

Tesla says its residential batteries can be added via purchase, but not by rental.

“At this time, Powerwall cannot be added to the rental agreement,” the company says on its web site. “However, you can buy Powerwall and we will install at the same time. There is tremendous value in adding Powerwall to your solar rental since it provides backup power and greater energy independence.”

North Carolina clean energy plan could reduce power sector emissions up to 70% by 2030

Author: By Robert Walton Published:  Aug. 20, 2019      Utility Dive

Dive Brief:

  • The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on Friday released a draft Clean Energy Plan that calls for the state to reduce power sector greenhouse gas emissions between 60% and 70% by 2030, relative to 2005 levels, and “work towards zero emissions by 2050.”
  • The draft includes seven “priority recommendations,” including establishing a comprehensive utility system planning process that “connects resource, transmission, and distribution planning,” while facilitating growth of distributed energy resources.
  • DEQ must deliver the Clean Energy Plan to Gov. Roy Cooper, D, by Oct. 1, to comply with last year’s Executive Order. Comments are due Sept. 9.2019

Dive Insight:

North Carolina’s draft plan calls for structural changes in the utility sector, and acknowledges it will require new legislation and policies.

Coal, gas and nuclear power plants generated about 90% of North Carolina’s power in 2017, with 27% from coal and 30% from gas. Development of the state’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, however, has helped its solar resources take off, making North Carolina the second largest solar generator in the country.

(Credit: North Carolina DEQ)

One of the plan’s seven recommendations includes addressing “equitable access and energy affordability.”

The plan calls for including “non-energy equity-focused costs and benefits in decisions regarding resource needs, program design, cost-benefit analyses, and facility siting.”

The plan also calls for a stakeholder process to better align utility incentives with the public interest and state energy and carbon policies. It would require utilities to develop rate design pilots to encourage off-peak charging of electric vehicles, facilitate DER interconnections, and increase the use of efficiency and demand side management strategies.

“In the wake of continuing declining costs of renewable generation and battery storage options, North Carolina regulators and policy makers will be called upon to evaluate economic viability of traditional infrastructure projects whose costs will be borne by ratepayers for years to come,” the draft plan says.

Environmental advocates say the plan is essential to move the state away from fossil fuels.

Duke Energy, the largest electric utility in the state, said it reviewing the proposed plan. The company says it has significantly reduced carbon emissions by retiring coal and adding more renewables.

“We are transitioning our system to even cleaner energy, while upholding our responsibility to provide reliable, affordable power to customers,” the company said in a statement. “We look forward to continued dialogue with diverse stakeholders to achieve the critical energy policy objectives for the state of North Carolina.”

 

 

 

 

What’s the best role for utilities as EVs proliferate? With Pepco, DC aims to find the right balance

Author: Catherine Morehouse                  Published: Aug. 7, 2019                      Utility Dive

Dive Brief:

  • Washington D.C. regulators on Friday rejected part of Pepco’s applicationto operate its own electric vehicle program, while opening up the broader order for more comments.
  • The Public Service Commission’s decision approves some of Pepco’s EV offerings, but maintains an earlier regulatory decision that denied the utility’s request to own and operate its own charging stations. Instead, the PSC is sticking with the “make ready” model, where the utility makes its transmission infrastructure ready for third party EV charging companies to build out stations.
  • The order also raises more questions about how, if at all, to regulate third party charging companies as well as how to address a lack of charging infrastructure in certain parts of the city. The PSC first denied the utility’s transportation electrification proposal in April and the utility submitted a plan for regulators to reconsider in May.

Dive Insight:

SOLAR POLICY Solar Policy Round-up: 9 Wins in the First Half of 2019

Author: Sunny Wang             Published: July 11, 2019  Aurora Blog

There have been a number of positive developments for the solar industry in the U.S. in 2019 to date. The biggest news so far has to be the movement toward 100% renewable energy. Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Washington, and Washington, D.C. all codified their commitment to 100% renewable energy earlier this year—that’s a total of seven states and U.S. territories! They join California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Minnesota which have also formally committed to 100% clean or renewable energy targets.

Two other big wins are community solar and residential net metering. Colorado and Maine enabled larger-scale community solar projects, and South Carolina provided pathways for community solar to grow; Maryland extended their pilot program through 2022. Maine restored their residential net metering that the previous administration rolled back, and South Carolina eliminated net metering caps while extending existing rates for two years. In addition to committing to 100% renewable energy, Puerto Rico also protected net metering for five years in the same bill.There is a lot of work still to be done for solar in the U.S., but with many of the solar policy development highlights from 2019 being positive, a quick celebration for these wins is in order!

See how Aurora Solar software can help you close more sales in a free consultation.

These 9 states and territories/districts had notable solar policy changes in 2019.

Colorado

Earlier this year Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a flurry of climate and renewable energy bills, seven to be exact! Among them is the Community Solar Gardens Modernization Act (HB 19-1003) which increases the maximum size of community solar projects from 2 MW to 5 MW, with the cap eventually increasing to 10 MW.

Polis also unveiled a roadmap that would take Colorado to 100% renewable energy by 2040.

[Fun Fact: The Coyote Ridge Community Solar Farm in Fort Collins, Colorado is the largest low-income community solar project in the U.S. at 1.95 MW.]

Maine

Maine is also having a great year in solar friendly bills. Governor Janet Mills signed three big solar energy wins—committing the state to 100% renewable energy by 2050, reducing barriers to access clean and affordable solar power, and restoring net metering.

An Act To Reform Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (LD 1494) increases the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) from 40% today to 80% by 2030, with a goal of 100% by 2050. Among many other benefits, An Act to Promote Solar Energy Projects & Distributed Generation Resources (LD 1711) will create new jobs, create a grant program to support the installation of over 375 MW of distributed solar, and enable larger-scale community solar projects.

Additionally, An Act to Eliminate Gross Metering (LD 91) restored residential net metering in Maine. Maine for many years had net metering, but it was rolled backduring the administration of former Maine Governor Paul LePage. Now, residents who own their systems will again receive a one-to-one credit for supplying excess energy back to the grid—a huge win for solar customers in the state!

Maryland

Maryland’s Clean Energy Jobs Act (SB 516) became law without Governor Larry Hogan’s signature, and commits the state to 100% renewable energy by 2040, with an interim goal of 50% by 2030. This bill also increases the requirement for 2.5% in-state produced solar to 14.5%, provides funding for clean energy workforce development, and requires utilities in the state to subsidize solar and wind. The in-state solar requirement is especially noteworthy because it’s one of the most aggressive (if not the most) of any state RPS policy.

Community solar also got a win in Maryland with the enactment of Extension of Community Solar pilot (HB 683), which extended the state’s community solar pilot program through 2022. The bill also removed the cap on the number of subscribers per project and increased the allowable generating capacity per system.

See how Aurora helps solar companies grow revenue, cut costs, and impress their customers

Nevada

On Earth Day, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed SB 358 and raised the state’s RPS to 50% by 2030 and committed the state to 100% clean energy by 2050. This legislation sped up what Nevada voters approved last year—to include an increase to the state’s RPS in their constitution; the state now does not need to hold the second vote required to approve constitutional change.

New Mexico

In March, New Mexico officially committed to 100% renewable energy by 2045, with interim targets of 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2040 when Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Energy Transition Act (SB 489).

The state’s largest utility, Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), alsosupports the bill. PNM had already filed plans to shut down its coal assets, and SB 489 provides a system to help ease the closure of San Juan Generating Station. It establishes a financing system to make up for revenue lost, a $20 million fund to aid displaced coal workers, and job training programs for the renewable energy industry.

Puerto Rico

On April 11th, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello signed the Puerto Rico Public Policy Act (SB 1121) committing 100% renewable energy bill by 2050 with interim goals of 40% by 2025 and 50% by 2040. This bill also requires a complete transition away from coal by 2028; there is only one coal plant on the island.

Additionally, it protects net metering for five years, mandates automatic interconnection for systems under 25 KW, and reduces approval time to 90 days for commercial and industrial solar projects. Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority is planning to rebuild the island’s grid into eight mini-grids.

South Carolina

In South Carolina, net metering caps were eliminated and existing residential solar rates were extended for two years with Governor Henry McMaster’s signature forThe Energy Freedom Act (HB 3659 / SB 332). This bill also provides pathways for community solar to grow and removes restrictions to expansion of affordable solar options.

Washington

Washington not only committed to 100% renewable energy by 2045 with Governor Jay Inslee’s signature on the 100% Clean Electricity bill (SB 5116 / HB 1211), the bill also requires the state’s utilities to ramp off of coal power completely by 2025 and to be 100% carbon-neutral by 2030.

Washington, D.C.

In January, Governor Muriel Bowser signed the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018 (B22-0904) setting a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2032. This bill is by far the most ambitious in terms of target date for all electricity sold to come from renewable sources. Among other action items, this bill will double the District’s required amount of solar energy, provide energy bill assistance to low- and moderate-income residents, and fund the DC Green Bank to attract clean energy projects.


These state actions in the first half of 2019 paint a positive picture for the future of the solar industry and are great news for solar contractors. What other policy developments are you excited about? Let us know in the comments below!

Duke Energy names new South Carolina state president

Author:  Ryan Mosier             Publisher: Duke Energy                            August 9, 2019

Duke Energy names new South Carolina state president

  • Michael Callahan will manage state and local regulatory and government relations, and community affairs

  • Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe will become executive vice president, chief legal officer for the company

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Duke Energy today announced a change in its executive leadership in South Carolina that will continue the company’s long-standing commitment to its 760,000 electric and 162,000 gas customers in the Palmetto State.

Michael Callahan – currently vice president of investor relations – will succeed Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe as South Carolina state president.

Callahan, 44, will manage state and local regulatory and government relations in South Carolina. He will work closely with the corporate and regulatory strategy team to advance legislative, rate and regulatory initiatives in the state. His team also leads community relations for Duke Energy across the Palmetto State. As the state president, Callahan will manage continued efforts to engage and work with customers and stakeholders across many topics, including the growth of renewables, the advancement of electrification efforts, strategic philanthropic initiatives and grassroots engagement with customers big and small.

Ghartey-Tagoe, 56, will become executive vice president, chief legal officer. In this role, he will be the primary legal advisor to Duke Energy’s board of directors and senior management, and lead the Office of the General Counsel, which includes the company’s legal, corporate governance, ethics and compliance, and audit functions.

“Michael’s many years of experience throughout the company have prepared him well for this critical role,” said Lloyd Yates, executive vice president customer and delivery operations, and president, Carolinas region. “In his new role, he will build on the great progress Kodwo and team have already accomplished, and he will continue to advocate for policies and practices that meet the energy needs of our customers and South Carolina in cost-effective, environmentally sound ways.”

In his role as vice president of investor relations, Callahan oversaw Duke Energy’s investor relations and shareholder services organizations. Before that, he served as director of regulated utilities forecasting for Duke Energy, where he was responsible for preparing and consolidating regulated utility forecasts to support financial planning and strategic decision-making activities.

Callahan joined Duke Energy in 2002. Prior to joining Duke Energy, Callahan was a senior consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

A native of Fulton, N.Y., Callahan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and a Master of Business of Administration degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is also a certified public accountant in both North Carolina and New York.

Duke Energy

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit’s regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to more than 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2019 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, and Forbes’ 2019 “America’s Best Employers” list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’sillumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram andFacebook.

Contact: Ryan Mosier
24-Hour: 800.559.3853

North America Smart Energy Week

Author: Utility Dive utility@divenewsletter.com       Sat, Aug 17, 2019 8:03 am

September 23-26, 2019

Salt Palace Convention Center Salt Lake City, UT

 

North America Smart Energy Week, powered by Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), is the largest gathering of solar, smart energy, microgrids, energy storage, hydrogen fuel cell professionals, EVs, and wind professionals in North America. Anchored by the flagship event, Solar Power International, North America Smart Energy Week brings together an extensive alliance of renewable energy leaders for four days of networking, education, and innovation that moves the industry forward. The event has diversified to include Energy Storage International, the Smart Energy Marketplace + Microgrid, Hydrogen + Fuel Cells International. Unlike other solar industry events, all proceeds support the expansion of the U.S. solar market through SEIA and SEPA’s year-round research and education activities, as well as SEIA’s advocacy efforts.

Solar Power International (SPI) is the largest, fastest growing and most awarded solar trade show in North America.  The event draws 19,000 attendees and 700 exhibitors from around the world. With its breadth of industry experts sharing their knowledge and exhibitions from the industry’s pacemakers, SPI is the leader among solar trade shows.

Energy Storage International (ESI) paves the way for greater integration between the energy storage and renewable energy markets. As the largest energy storage event in North America, ESI features over 250 exhibitors and 12,000 attendees interested in energy storage technology, three full days of education investigating policy advances, market forecasts, new technology and applications, as well as additional relevant, timely industry-developed content designed to grow the storage market.

Everything comes together in the Smart Energy Microgrid Marketplace, where the entire solar, energy storage, hydrogen fuel cells, distributed wind, and smart energy microgrid landscapes will be on display. The marketplace features a fully-functioning “live” microgrid, power conversion equipment, energy management systems, building and home smart energy products, electric vehicle charging stations, energy storage systems, and solar energy products.

For the second year in a row, hydrogen and fuel cells technology will be on the agenda at SPI, ESI, and North America Smart Energy Week. Hydrogen + Fuel Cells International is where attendees can profit from several synergy effects between the solar and energy storage industries that will be present in Salt Lake City.

South Carolina H3659 – The Energy Freedom Act

Author:   Solar Industry Trade Assoication                Published: August 17, 2019   SEIA

This document is written to reflect the order of the bill as passed. The full bill text can be found here.
Prepared by Maggie Clark, SEIA, mclark@seia.org
Large-scale Solar/PURPA
• “as soon as is practicable after the effective date of this chapter” the Commission will open an
individual docket to establish each utility’s standard offer, avoided cost methodologies, standard
PPAs, commitment to sell forms (LEOs), and anything else needed to implement this section
• This proceeding will occur once every 24 months to ensure timely updates of contracts and rates
• The commission shall approve form PPAs for qualifying facilities not eligible for the standard offer –
these approved, published agreements shall contain enumerated terms and conditions but no
information related to pricing or length of the PPA (both negotiated)
• Commission may approve multiple form PPAs for different generation types/characteristics, and
parties are not bound to use the form PPAs
• “Any decisions by the Commission shall be just and reasonable to the ratepayers of the electrical
utility, in the public interest, consistent with PURPA and the FERC’s implementing regulations and
orders, and nondiscriminatory to small power producers; and shall strive to reduce the risk placed on
the using and consuming public”

The Weeds – PURPA
• Rates paid to small power producers shall be nondiscriminatory and fully + accurately reflect the
utility’s avoided costs
• PPAs shall be commercially reasonable and consistent with PURPA
• Each utility’s avoided cost methodology fairly accounts for costs avoided – energy, capacity, and
ancillary services provided or consumed by small power producers including those utilizing energy
storage equipment. Approved avoided costs may differ based on geographic location and resource
type.
• Avoided cost rates offered to non-standard offer QFs must be calculated based on the most recently
approved avoided cost methodology. If parties are unable to agree on a negotiated rate, small power
producers retain right to dispute issues before the Commission
• Small power producers are eligible for avoided cost rates in effect at the time of delivering an
executed notice of commitment to sell form to the utility. The commitment to sell form must provide
a “reasonable” period of time from its submittal to execution of a PPA. Prohibits forced execution of a
PPA prior to receipt of a final interconnection agreement.
• Commission shall examine if PPAs should include terms that prohibit: 1. Termination of a PPA due to
delays if such delays are due to the utility’s interconnection procedures; 2. Reduction of price paid to
small power producers due to intermittent nature of generation
• Commission is authorized (not required) to open a docket for the purposes of creating competitive
procurement programs if the commission deems such action to be in the public interest
• Grandfathering sections (F)(1) and (2)
o Eligibility requirement: projects in the interconnection queue prior to effective
date of this act
South Carolina H3659 –

The Energy Freedom Act
www.seia.org May 2019
o Goal: interconnect South Carolina-located applicable projects under terms
outlined below until execution of interconnection agreements and PPAs with
an aggregate nameplate capacity is equal to 20% of previous five-year retail
peak load average
o Terms: 10-year fixed price PPA with commercially reasonable terms.
Commission may approve contractions longer than 10 years, but these
contracts must contain additional terms, conditions or rate structures
including a reduction in the contract price relative to the ten year avoided cost.
o Qualifying language: “Commission is expressly directed to consider the potential benefits
of terms with a longer duration to promote the state’s policy of encouraging renewable
energy”
• Commission is authorized to employ third-party consultants and experts to evaluate avoided cost
rates, methodologies, terms, calculations, and conditions. The commission shall engage a qualified
independent third party to submit a report on each utility’s avoided cost calculation pursuant to this
section
• Each avoided cost filing must be reasonably transparent so that underlying assumptions, data, and
results can be independently reviewed and verified by the parties and the commission

Voluntary Renewable Energy Program (C&I Procurement)
• Within 120 days of effective date, each utility shall file a program for voluntary large-scale renewable
energy procurement
• Participating customer shall have right to select renewable energy facility and negotiate directly with
the supplier on the price to be paid by the customer for the energy, capacity, and environmental
attributes of the facility
• Participating customer will pay retail bill minus generation credit, plus reimbursement for utility
payment to renewable energy supplier, plus an admin fee
• Eligible participating customers can bundle demand
• Commission may approve a program that provides for variable and fixed generation credit options
• Non-participating customers shall bear no costs associated with program
• Facility may be located anywhere within the utility’s balancing authority (NC or SC for Duke)

Neighborhood Community Solar Programs
• Intent: expand opportunity to support solar and access to solar options to all South Carolinians,
regardless of income level. Encourages (does not require) all utilities in the state to consider offering
neighborhood community solar programs
• Within 60 days of effective date, Commission will open a docket to review previous community solar
programs established under Act 236 in 2014. Utilities then may propose new programs.

Electric Utility Customer Rights
• General Assembly finds that there is a critical need to protect customers from rising costs, provide
opportunities for customers to reduce or manage electric consumption in a manner that contributes
South Carolina H3659 –

The Energy Freedom Act
www.seia.org May 2019
to reductions in utility peak demand and other drivers of electric utility costs, and equip customers
with the information and ability to manage their electric bills
• “Every customer of an electrical utility has the right to a rate schedule that offers the customer a
reasonable opportunity to employ such energy and cost saving measures as energy efficiency, demand
response, or onsite distributed energy resources in order to reduce consumption of electricity from the
electrical utility’s grid and to reduce electrical utility costs”
• “In fixing just and reasonable utility rates pursuant to Section 58-3-140 and Section 58-27-810, the
commission shall consider whether rates are designed to discourage the wasteful use of public utility
services while promoting all use that is economically justified in view of the relationships between costs
incurred and benefits received, and that no one class of customers are unduly burdening another, and
that each customer class pays, as close as practicable, the cost of providing service to them.”
• “For each class of service, the commission must ensure that each electrical utility offers to each class of
service a minimum of one reasonable rate option that aligns the customer’s ability to achieve bill
savings with long-term reductions in the overall cost the electrical utility will incur in providing electric
service, including, but not limited to, time-variant pricing structures.”
• “Every customer of an electrical utility has a right to obtain their own electric usage data in a machinereadable,
accessible format to the extent such is readily available. Electrical utilities shall allow
customers an electronic means to assent to share the customer’s energy usage data with a third-party
vendor designated by the customer.”

Distributed Generation
• Amends definition of “customer-generator” to include owner/operator/lessee of an electric
generation unit from a renewable energy resource including an energy storage device
• Nonresidential customer – 1 MW AC limit, or 100% of contract demand
• Residential customer – 20kW AC limit
• Intent of General Assembly to build upon success of Act 236 in 2014, avoid distribution to growing
market, and require the commission to establish a successor NEM tariff that fairly allocates costs and
benefits to eliminate cost shift or subsidization to the great extent practicable
• An electric utility shall make full retail rate NEM available to all customer-generators that apply
before June 1, 2021. Customers who participate in NEM program after effective date of this act but
before 6/1/21 shall continue net energy metering until May 31, 2029
• Successor NEM tariff
• Docket opened no later than January 1, 2020
• Investigate costs/benefits of current NEM program
• Establish methodology for calculating value of energy produced by customer-generators
• Commission shall consider:
o Aggregate impact of customer-generators on the long-run marginal utility costs of
generation, distribution, transmission
o Cost of service implications on customers within the same class; including whether
customer-generators provide an adequate rate of return to the utility
o Direct and indirect economic impact of NEM program to the state
South Carolina H3659 –

The Energy Freedom Act
www.seia.org May 2019
• Commission shall establish a success NEM tariff “solar choice metering tariff” for customergenerators
to go into effect for applications received after May 31, 2021
o Shall include methodology to compensate customer-generators for the benefits provided
by their generation to the power system
o If time-variant rate schedules are justified
o Are additional mitigation measures warranted to transition existing customergenerators
(i.e. should they extend the grandfathering period)
o Permit customers to utilize generated energy behind the meter without penalty
• Leasing
o Utilities and their affiliates may offer renewable generation facility leases

Integrated Resource Plans
• Electric utilities, cooperatives, munis, and the South Carolina Public Service Authority (SCooper) must prepare integrated resource plans at least once every three years
• Coops, munis, and Santee Cooper shall submit their IRPs to the State Energy Office
• IRPs must include:
o Long term forecast under various reasonable scenarios
o Type of generation proposed for new facilities, proposed capacity including fuel cost
sensitives under various reasonable scenarios
o Projected energy purchased produced from renewable energy resources
o Summary of transmission investments planned by utility
o Several resource portfolios developed with the purpose of fairly evaluating DSM, supplyside,
storage, including low-med-high cases for adoption of renewable energy and
cogeneration, EE, and demand response
o More – see statute
• Commission shall approve, deny or modify an electric utility’s IRP within the scope of these stated
interests:
o Resource adequacy and applicable planning reserve margins
o Consumer affordability and least cost
o Compliance with environmental regulations
o Power supply reliability
o Commodity price risks
o Diversity of generation supply
• Electric utilities shall submit annual updates to its IRP
Integration Study
• Commission and ORS are authorized to initiate a study to evaluate integration of renewable energy
and emerging energy technologies (storage). Evaluate what is required for utilities to integrate
increased levels of RE to ensure safe/reliable operation of grid. Commission shall provide opportunity
South Carolina H3659 –
The Energy Freedom Act
www.seia.org May 2019
for parties to have input on scope and provide comments on draft report. May hire and retail a
consultant to assist with this study. Studies shall be based on balancing areas of each electrical utility
(NC and SC for Duke)

All Source Procurement
• May not commence construction of a major utility facility for generation without first having made a
demonstration that the facility has been compared to other generation options in terms of cost,
reliability, and other regulatory implications – commission can adopt rules for such evaluation of
other generation options
• Commission may require:
o a commission-approved process that includes assessment from an unbiased independent
evaluator retained by ORS to ascertain reasonableness of any certificate sought for new
generation
o Report from independent evaluator on the transparency, completeness, and integrity of
bidding processes
o Interested parties may review and comment on RFPS, bid instructions, bid criteria
o Independent evaluator access and review of final bid evaluation and pricing information
for any and all projects to be evaluated in comparison to the RFP bids received
o Demonstration that the facility is consistent with an approved IRP
o Utility affiliates/nonaffiliates may participate in RFP
Interconnection Procedure Review
• Within 6 months of effective date, establish proceedings for the purpose of considering revisions to
the established interconnection standards
• Commission shall ensure such standard provide for efficient and timely processing of interconnection
requests – such standards shall address impact of the addition of energy storage and
establishing/amending existing interconnection requests to include energy storage
• For interconnection disputes, first resolve amongst parties then take it to Commission, commission
shall resolve within 6 months of petition filing
• Commission shall establish reasonable guidelines to ensure reasonable timelines, including time
requirements to deliver a final system impact study to all generators that execute a system impacts
study agreement prior to three months after the effective date of this act
• Shall consider additional performance incentives and enforcement mechanisms to ensure utility
compliance
• Commission authorized to do a comprehensive independent review of existing procedures and
needed changes
Consumer Protection
• Directs ORS to develop consumer protection regulations including disclosures provided by sellers and lessors

Installers must act now to resolve racial disparity in rooftop solar -Solar Power World

Author:  , Solar Power World Published: https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2019/07/installers-racial-disparity-rooftop-solar/

by , Solar Power World

Installers must act now to resolve racial disparity in rooftop solar

“Solar Energy World’s advertisements feature people of different races, which may help assure people of color that solar is not just for white, affluent people.”

Racial disparity in rooftop solar PV deployment has historically been attributed to income or home ownership inequality in communities of color. But a study by Tufts University and the University of California, Berkeley, found the disparity remains even when adjusting for those two factors.

“For me, it was like a bucket of ice water in my face that really, really hit home,” said Melanie Santiago-Mosier, senior director of Vote Solar’s Access & Equity Program. “That despite income and despite homeownership, there’s a very pronounced disparity in terms of rooftop solar deployment based on race, and that was horrifying for me to read.”

Vote Solar’s mission is to bring solar to the mainstream — meaning no one gets left behind — so the organization has been working on solutions for bringing solar to low-income communities for some time. But after reading this study, Santiago-Mosier said there’s a need to more deeply examine the underlying inequity in solar beyond the previously known roadblocks.

“We already knew that there were challenges in deploying solar for lower-income communities, but now I think we’re starting to sharpen our focus and think a little bit more about what equity means and what we can do about it,” she said.

The Tufts study identifies the disparity but does not outright name the causes. It does provide some hints, though.

Lack of initial solar seeding

The social diffusion effect, also known as “seeding,” is the phenomenon that homeowners are more likely to install solar if their neighbor does.

The Tufts study found black-majority communities suffer from a disproportional lack of this initial solar deployment. However, when communities of color are seeded with solar, the resulting deployment significantly increases compared with other racial/ethnic groups for median household income below the national average. This means solar installers are missing out on business by not selling to these communities.

“What that tells me is that solar salespeople are simply not going into those communities,” Santiago-Mosier said. “I think that is just something that we need to recognize and think about and be humble about.”

Seattle-based installer SolTerra Solar (No. 254 on the 2019 Top Solar Contractors list) has a diverse company makeup and is led by a woman CEO, but even this progressive company acknowledges a disparity in its clientele. CEO Aimee Carpenter thinks the problem starts with marketing.

“My first guess would be that the normal means of solar marketing and how and where people are searching for these home-improvement projects is specifically targeting more affluential neighborhoods or more white neighborhoods,” Carpenter said.

She thinks a first step is going beyond the typical outreach methods when it comes to marketing solar, and even talking with community leaders to determine how to reach communities of color.

“I think this will inspire me to be a little bit conscientious about my outreach efforts and look into whether or not I can contribute to changing the status quo,” Carpenter said.

The Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (No. 295 on the 2019 Top Solar Contractors list) is a nonprofit installer focused exclusively on low-income installations, but executive director Jason Edens hypothesized that there’s some implicit bias at play in traditional residential solar marketing.

“Most sales strategies are probably myopically targeting those communities that they perceive to have the means to invest in solar, and unfortunately a lot of biases and discriminatory thinking or practices come to play in those sales and marketing strategies,” Edens said. “I think oftentimes, lower-income communities and/or communities of color might be perceived by some developers as not prioritizing environmental attributes or environmental aspirations.”

Edens sees this perception proved wrong in his company’s installations for First Nations and other low-income communities. He’s found the social diffusion effect is strong in First Nations communities — when one installation goes up, the neighbors start asking how they can get a solar rooftop too.

Maryland-based solar installer Solar Energy World (No. 85 on the 2019 Top Solar Contractors list) said its parameters for targeted solar marketing have to do only with roof space and home ownership status. The company only targets residential roofs that can fit 15 or more solar panels. Chief marketing officer Laureen Peck said Solar Energy World’s advertisements feature people of different races, which may help assure people of color that solar is not just for white, affluent people. The company holds workshops about going solar and sees a diverse turnout that’s also reflected in its client base.

All three companies recognize the increased potential of other residents going solar once a neighbor does, and some even have dedicated marketing campaigns to capitalize on the social diffusion effect. Carpenter acknowledges that making a concentrated effort to seed solar in communities of color could help close this rooftop solar racial gap.

“If a person of color sees only white homeowners installing solar and they don’t see anyone in their community doing it, it may seem or be perceived as more out of reach than it really is,” Carpenter said. “Whereas if there are community leaders or influential families in a specific community or neighborhood that have solar now, all of a sudden that’s going to open the dialogue that otherwise wasn’t there before.”

Lack of representation

Marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum — the people at the top of a company influence sales strategies. So, when all the top influencers are white men, it’s no wonder communities that look like them are getting most of their marketing attention. The “U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study 2019” by The Solar Foundation found that among all senior executives reported by solar firms, 88% are white and 80% are men.

“It just makes me wonder, if white people are making all these business decisions, is it any wonder that white people are being served by solar?” Vote Solar’s Santiago-Mosier said. “I think that there’s an opportunity here for the solar industry to rethink its sales strategies, to rethink its marketing strategies and to rethink frankly who is in those positions to do the sales, to do the marketing, to make business decisions and so on.”

SolTerra’s Carpenter said she’s noticed her company has had success accessing clients not typically served by other traditional solar companies because there’s a strong interest in supporting woman-owned businesses in Washington state. She thinks her unique position as one of the few female solar CEOs may allow her to access even more markets that are racially diverse as well as gender-diverse.

Carpenter’s diverse staff didn’t just happen passively. She was devoted to hiring a 50/50 male/female sales staff, but she found that mostly men applied to the role. She had to personally seek out women for her sales team, and she thinks that same intentionality is needed to hire a racially diverse staff.

“There’s an imposter syndrome challenge that is faced with both women and people of color, where they don’t see anyone that looks like themselves in a leadership role or a technical sales role, and the opportunity that they may have there, they dismiss themselves from,” she said.

Canopy Energy (No. 169 on the 2019 Top Solar Contractors list), based in Van Nuys, California, said the company knows solar support is strong throughout the state, but especially in communities of color. COO Jordan Cohen said the company hires from these communities at all levels, from engineers to managers.

“The word of mouth is very efficient because they get to experience it from within and provide trust in these communities because they live in them,” Cohen said. “We believe that they are our best ambassadors.”

Santiago-Mosier sees intentionality as a key factor to solving the disparity in rooftop PV deployment. She said that business as usual may not have intended to leave communities of color out of solar but has inadvertently done so anyway. The path forward is one where companies go out of their way to engage with communities of color on their terms, hire diverse staffs and begin seeding solar in communities that don’t have it.

“Everyone in the solar industry just really needs to think critically about who’s in its workforce and who are the consumers,” Santiago-Mosier said. “I think it’s just being a little bit vulnerable, aware and willing to share power and making a commitment to act with more intentionality.”

She acknowledges this change won’t happen overnight, but also knows the stakes are high. The United Nations found the world has less than 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe.

“We need every single voice out there chiming along with us, demanding action right now to implement more clean energy technologies to get solar out into the world everywhere,” Santiago-Mosier said. “If communities of color are not seeing the benefits of clean energy, what reason would they have to join in the fight? We really have to be sure that there’s a reason for people to fight along with us.”


This story was featured exclusively in our 2019 Top Solar Contractors issue. See the issue and full list of top U.S. solar installers here. 

Please fill out the form to learn if you’re solar eligible

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities/National and Federal Opportunities for the week ending August 9th!!

Author: U.S._Department_of_Education  Published: 8/13/19 ed.gov@public.govdelivery.com

Request for Public Comment on Establishing a Priority for Opportunity Zones

The Secretary of Education proposes to establish a priority for discretionary grant programs that would align the Department of Education’s (the Department’s) discretionary grant investments with the Administration’s Opportunity Zones initiative, which aims to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities.

The Department invites you to submit comments regarding the proposed priority. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in developing the notice of final priority, we urge you to identify clearly the specific issues that each comment addresses. We are particularly interested in comments that provide examples of how Qualified Opportunity Funds can support activities carried out under the Department’s discretionary grant programs.

More information is available in the Federal Register notice.Comments must be received on or before August 28, 2019.



Other Federal Opportunities



Appalachian Regional Commission

Request for Proposals: ARC High School Entrepreneurship Program Implementation

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) invites proposals from eligible organizations to partner with ARC on the implementation of a new high-school entrepreneurship program. The purpose is to provide comprehensive entrepreneurial training and supportive services to selected high school students who will be in their senior year of high school during the 2020-2021 academic year.

The main objectives of the program will be to expose high school juniors to the entrepreneurial mindset through a structured and unstructured, hands-on approach to experiential learning; provide foundational and advanced-level skills training in entrepreneurship; and provide supportive and mentorship services to students, enabling them to successfully utilize all stages of the design process, from innovation, to development, to actualization.

ARC is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation. ARC’s Research and Evaluation Division conducts research and evaluations regarding key economic, demographic, and quality of life factors that affect economic development in the Appalachian Region. Learn more at the ARC website.

Proposals are due electronically by 5:00 p.m. ET on the newly extended deadline of Friday, September 6, 2019.

Download the RFP..



Corporation for National and Community Service

CNCS released the Fiscal Year 2020 Senior Corps RSVP Competition Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). For decades, Senior Corps RSVP has engaged older Americans in volunteer service that meets national and community needs and delivers lasting, meaningful results. With this NOFO, CNCS intends to fund successful applicants that increase the impact of volunteers age 55 and older who provide volunteer service in response to local community needs.

Please see The Notice of Funding Opportunity and Appendix A for a full list of the available opportunities.

Eligible Applicants

The following entities, including those that are current CNCS grantees, are eligible to apply: public or private nonprofit organizations (including faith-based and other community organizations); institutions of higher education; government entities within states or territories (e.g. cities, counties); government-recognized veteran service organizations; labor organizations; partnerships and consortia; and Indian Tribes.

We strongly encourage all eligible applicants to visit: RSVP Competition to learn more about how Senior Corps RSVP can help them increase their impact by engaging adults age 55 years and older in volunteer service.

Timeline

  • Notice of Intent to Apply: Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a Notice of Intent to Apply. The Notice of Intent to Apply should be completed via Survey Monkey no later than 5:00 PM Eastern, Friday, August 30, 2019.
  • Application Deadline: Applications must be submitted no later than 5:00 PM Eastern, Wednesday, September 25, 2019. Successful applicants will be notified in mid-February 2020.

Funding Priorities

Senior Corps RSVP volunteers help organizations expand services, build capacity, develop partnerships, leverage resources, create sustainable projects, and recruit and manage other volunteers. Grant funding partially covers expenses to operate a Senior Corps RSVP project such as staffing, supplies, volunteer stations, and training of staff and members.

This Senior Corps RSVP NOFO prioritizes grant-making in the six focus areas identified by the Serve America Act of 2009 and in alignment with the CNCS Strategic Plan: Disaster Services; Economic Opportunity; Education; Environmental Stewardship; Healthy Futures; and Veterans and Military Families.

Within the six focus areas, Senior Corps funding priorities include:

  • Evidence-Based Program Implementation
  • Access to Care – Opioid Abuse
  • Aging in Place – Elder Justice
  • Aging in Place – Independent Living
  • Economic Opportunity – Workforce Development
  • Education – Intergenerational Programming
  • Disaster Services
  • Veterans and Military Families

Technical Assistance

CNCS will host a series of technical assistance calls to answer questions about this funding opportunity, performance measures, and eGrants. CNCS strongly encourages all interested applicants to participate in these sessions.

Call dates and times can be found:  If you have questions at any time during the application period, please send an email to: 2020RSVP@cns.gov



Department of Defense

The Air Force Information Technology & Cyberpower Education and Training Event

AFITC 2019 – August 26-28th – Montgomery, Alabama

Mark your calendars! The AFITC Education and Training Event will be returning to Montgomery, Alabama this August.

Join thousands of AF peers, along with scores of private sector leaders in the IT and cyber security field. Learn how to assess and combat the newest and most prevailing threats to our global networks and national defense.

Nearly 4000 attendees, speakers, and exhibitors participated in the AFITC 2018, while the trade show hosted over 170 companies who showcased cutting edge products, services, and information to help further the public/private partnership crucial in keeping our country safe and secure.

Exhibit Sign Up, Attendee registration and hotel reservations are Now Open! In the meantime, block out August 26-28th for the AFITC Education and Training Event 2019.

For 2019, the theme is Cyberpower: Critical to Multi-Domain Operations. We are currently developing this year’s training program, so look for updates as the training program takes shape in the coming weeks.

Call for Papers – Now Closed

The AFITC 2019 Call for Papers is now closed! All 2019 breakout sessions will fall into one of these seven training themes.

.           Network We Need; Enterprise IT as a Service and Change Focus

.           Cyber Security that Works; Critical Infrastructure / Internet of Things (IoT), Supply Chain Mgt Focus

.           Vibrant and Ready Cyber Airmen; Officer, Enlisted, Civil Service Focus

.           Empowering Partner Transformation; Business Systems Focus

.           Data; Transformation to a Data Driven Digital Air Force Focus

.           Agile Development; Software Factory, DevOps, Kessel Run Focus

.           Emerging Cyber Threats; Cyber Defense and Emerging Electromagnetic Threats Focus

*Selected speakers will be notified on July 19. Draft briefs are due to the conference scheduling lead by July 26, with final briefings due by August 9. For U.S. government speakers, final briefs must be cleared through your respective Public Affairs’ Security and Policy Review process by August 9.



Department of Labor

Calling all HBCU Higher Education Professionals —

Are you looking to participate in a program that would help your students with disabilities find employment? The WRP may be the perfect fit for you!

The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP) is a recruitment and referral program that connects public and private-sector employers nationwide with college students, graduate students, and recent graduates with disabilities eager to demonstrate their skills through summer internships or permanent jobs.

The Workforce Recruitment Program seeks to:

    • Function as a primary pipeline for bringing new talent into the Federal Government to fill mission critical jobs.
  • Help participating college Career Centers and Disability Services Offices help candidates with disabilities find employment through effective strategies, such as the use of accommodations and the Schedule A Hiring Authority.

Applicants for the program must:

  • Be eligible for the Schedule A Hiring Authority for persons with disabilities AND
  • Be a U.S. citizen AND
  • Be enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education on a substantially full-time basis seeking a degree (unless the severity of the disability or program requirements preclude the student from taking a substantially full-time load) OR
  • Have graduated within the past year (April 1, 20119 or more recently).

The WRP is run on an annual basis and requires applicants to have a phone interview with one of our federal recruiters. The interviews take place from October through mid-November of each year and are coordinated on college campuses by Disability Services or Career Services offices. Currently, over 350 colleges and universities participate in the program, and additional campuses are added each year.

In order to participate in the WRP, schools must be accredited by one of the accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Schools can REGISTER from April-June 2020.

During non-registration periods, schools can get more information and join the WRP mailing list by contacting WRP Managers.



Department of the Interior

Below are positions with the USFWS posted August 5, 2019.

Public Affairs Specialist Department: Department of the Interior Agency: Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service Number of Job Opportunities & Location(s): 1 vacancy – Boise, Idaho Salary: $74,596.00 to $96,978.00 / Per Year Series and Grade: GS-1035-12 Open Period: Monday, August 5, 2019 to Friday, August 16, 2019 Position Information: Permanent – Full-Time Who May Apply: Career transition (CTAP, ICTAP, RPL), Open to the public

Forestry Technician (Fire) Department: Department of the Interior Agency: Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service Number of Job Opportunities & Location(s): 1 vacancy – Sasabe, Arizona Salary: $38,173.00 to $49,630.00 / Per Year Series and Grade: GS-0462-6 Open Period: Monday, August 5, 2019 to Friday, August 16, 2019 Position Information: Permanent – Full-Time Who May Apply: Open to the public

Maintenance Mechanic Department: Department of the Interior Agency: Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service Number of Job Opportunities & Location(s): 1 vacancy – Entiat, Washington Salary: $22.94 to $26.78 / Per Hour Series and Grade: WG-4749-9 Open Period: Monday, August 5, 2019 to Friday, August 16, 2019 Position Information: Permanent – Full-Time Who May Apply: Career transition (CTAP, ICTAP, RPL), Open to the public

Pest Control Worker (Leader) Department: Department of the Interior Agency: Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service Number of Job Opportunities & Location(s): 1 vacancy – Hilo, Hawaii Salary: $21.36 to $24.92 / Per Hour Series and Grade: WL-5026-5 Open Period: Monday, August 5, 2019 to Friday, August 16, 2019 Position Information: Multiple Appointment Types – Full-Time Who May Apply: Career transition (CTAP, ICTAP, RPL), Open to the public