California OKs first community solar program under new building standard, troubling rooftop advocates

Author: Kavya Balaraman   Published: 2/24/2020      Utility Dive

Charlotte, North Carolina, becomes largest US city to acquire large-scale solar through a green tariff

Author:Chis Teale          Published: 2/25/2020      Utility Dive

The city council approved a 35-megawatt project to generate 24% of its municipal electricity, and could spark trends elsewhere, according to observers.

Brandon Walker

The Charlotte, North Carolina, City Council approved a plan to buy power from a solar project that supporters say will help Charlotte meet its ambitious climate goals, and may act as a model for other cities.

Elected officials gave the 35-megawatt project their unanimous approval Monday night, signaling the go-ahead for construction of a solar farm in nearby Statesville, North Carolina. The project is expected to produce enough zero-carbon electricity to power the equivalent of 10,000 homes annually, and reach 24% of its goal to power municipal buildings with carbon-free energy by 2030.

The plan approval follows the city’s acceptance into utility Duke Energy’s Green Source Advantage (GSA) program, which helps large customers in North Carolina support the development of large, utility-scale renewable energy while meeting their sustainability goals and lowering carbon emissions.

The city partnered with the likes of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and World Resources Institute (WRI) to bring the plan to fruition, something proponents said could set off a stream of copycat projects as cities work to reach their climate goals.

“As these cities start to execute these deals, I think there’ll be a wave coming in after them in a lot of cities,” Ali Rotatori, a senior associate at RMI, told Smart Cities Dive. “A lot are realizing that it’s now 2020 and they made these goals for 2025 and 2030, and they really need to get starting on them. I see a lot of people waiting or getting their ducks in a row and watching what other cities are doing and learning from that.”

The deal makes Charlotte the most populous city in the United States to acquire large-scale solar through a green tariff like GSA, according to a WRI spokesperson. The deal is expected to create nearly 500 jobs, improve air quality and save the city $2 million over 20 years in electricity spending, the spokesperson told Smart Cities Dive in an email. Construction costs for the solar farm will be around $35 million.

Under the terms of its Strategic Energy Action Plan, approved unanimously by city council in December 2018, Charlotte committed to having all its municipal buildings and fleet get their energy from carbon free sources by 2030. The goal is part of its wider Sustainable and Resilient Charlotte by 2050 Resolution, which set a community-wide goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to below 2 tons of carbon dioxide per person per year.

Charlotte was also named as one of the 25 Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge winners in late 2018. Winning cities receive two years of financial and technical support, something Charlotte officials said was enormously helpful as they navigated a complex and long procurement process and request for proposals (RFP).

Cities typically are required by law to procure large-scale renewables through their state utility. But under Duke Energy’s GSA program, rather than have the utility go out and procure the renewable themselves, customers can find their own projects and bring them back for approval by Duke based on certain criteria and qualifications. Once Charlotte found the program and was accepted, the city issued an RFP looking for a solar developer to partner with.

“We had never done this type of RFP before, so our procurement folks, it was all new to them,” Heather Bolick, energy and sustainability coordinator for the City of Charlotte, told Smart Cities Dive. “It was new to our finance team; it was new to our attorney’s office. We really had to work very hard on getting all those parties on board in the beginning.”

From Duke’s point of view, the solar farm fits well with its own goals to reduce carbon emissions, and is part of a broader effort with the city that has included the two parties signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) pledging cooperation on environmental goals and collaborating on other projects like a microgrid.

For those in Statesville, where the solar farm will be located on a Duke transmission line, project leaders said there will be plenty of opportunities, too. Local solar developer Carolina Solar Energy worked on identifying the land and bringing residents on board, something they started by hosting a dinner with neighbors who live close to the location and answering their questions.

They then worked with landowners to secure leases to their property for the panels and pursuing the environmental studies, with the solar farm set to generate more income for them than a traditional farming or timber project through paying the terms of that lease. The solar farm will also pay property taxes for the land.

“Many rural landowners see solar as a unique opportunity to really optimize the value they can get from their rural property,” Carolina Solar Energy CEO Carson Harkrader told Smart Cities Dive.

Other cities have charged hard on rolling out solar programs, spurred in part by the American Cities Climate Challenge Renewables Accelerator, a joint effort launched last year between the American Cities Climate Challenge, RMI, WRI and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) to help cities generate more than 2.8 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity and decarbonize their electricity systems.

In the intervening period, Cincinnati signed a deal to build what’s been touted as the country’s largest municipal solar facility. And Philadelphia launched a new regional climate collaborative that gives local businesses, universities and other institutions training to procure clean energy. Those city-level efforts, in addition to Charlotte’s work, are going to “pave the way for other cities to follow suit,” Rotatori said.

“What I’ve learned from working with cities over the past year is that they like the help from technical experts as they call us,” she said. “But learning from each other and seeing what a city has done and being able to replicate it and ask questions is the best way for them to learn and follow, and that’s who they trust the most.”

End Duke Energy’s monopoly in North Carolina? It’s complicated

Author: Elizabeth Ouzts   Published: 2/25/2020        Energy News Network

Photo illustration of the Duke Energy website.

As neighboring states inch toward more electric competition, North Carolina takes it slow.

The South Carolina House of Representatives just took the first step toward loosening monopoly utilities’ grip on the state’s energy market.

Virginia lawmakers are exploring whether to expand competition in the commonwealth to encourage more renewable energy.

In between the two, North Carolina is taking it slow.

Despite growing frustration across the political spectrum with Duke Energy’s rising rates and meager clean energy plans, there’s no clear path to ending the 115-year-old utility’s monopoly outright.

Experts caution it would be a huge political, technical, and bureaucratic feat, and it wouldn’t guarantee more clean energy or greater consumer power in and of itself. Many say the first step is a comprehensive study to determine how and whether competition would achieve those goals — but even that isn’t imminent in an election year with a part-time legislature.

“We need to do something. It’s time to look at a change,” said Rep. John Szoka, a Republican from Fayetteville who chairs the North Carolina House energy committee. But, he stressed, “what we change would have a huge impact, so we need to be deliberate in what we do.”

‘They’ve just been stonewalling’

Like many states, North Carolina flirted with deregulation at the start of the century, then recoiled. In April 2000, a study commission of legislators and other stakeholders unanimously recommended limited retail and wholesale competition. Then, the California deregulation crisis blew up: Price gouging and speculation on the wholesale market eventually made its way to the retail market. Ratepayers saw rolling blackouts, and their bills double or even triple.

“California imploded,” said Richard Harkrader, the founder of Carolina Solar Energy and a member of the study commission. “People overnight soured on this whole idea of deregulation.”

Charlotte-based Duke has since merged with the state’s other major electric monopoly, Raleigh-based Progress Energy. Today, the company is one of the nation’s largest electric suppliers, with a hand in virtually every electron made, distributed, and sold in North Carolina. It produces the vast majority of the state’s electricity — most of it from coal, gas, and nuclear. It serves about 3.4 million homes and businesses directly, and another 1.6 million by selling electricity wholesale to nonprofit rural co-ops and municipal utilities.

Almost everywhere, Duke controls distribution and transmission; where it doesn’t, it still has a footprint. In the northeast corner of the state, where Virginia-based Dominion Energy delivers electricity and another entity controls transmission, Duke subsidiary Piedmont Natural Gas provides gas service, as it does to about three-fourths of the state’s counties.

With a few narrow exceptions, third-party electricity sales are prohibited; solar companies can’t erect panels and sell the output to anyone other than a regulated utility. And they can’t sell their power unless they’re connected to a grid run almost exclusively by Duke.

Thanks in large part to favorable state rules under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act, or PURPA, independent solar developers have gained a sizable foothold here. They own the vast amount of North Carolina’s solar power capacity — the second most in the country.

But they and Duke are at loggerheads, with the utility introducing new tests and surcharges for grid connections that have delayed projects from coming online. A 2017 law designed to break the logjam has mostly fallen short: Solar farms are still waiting to connect under the old PURPA scheme, delaying a new competitive bidding program that was supposed to take its place.

“They’ve just been stonewalling,” Harkrader said of Duke. “There’s really not much solar being built now. Most everybody, including my company, are now working outside of North Carolina.”

Large electricity consumers seeking to meet aggressive clean energy goals are also at Duke’s mercy since they can’t buy renewable energy directly. Authors of the 2017 law also tried to solve this problem, but a green tariff and solar panel leasing program have drawn lackluster participation to date.

Customers of all sizes also question Duke’s steadily increasing bills, especially to cover coal ash cleanup and a multibillion-dollar grid improvement plan. Across the state, hearings are underway now to debate Duke’s second proposal in three years to raise rates. “Most people believe they don’t have any say or recourse when it comes to their ever-growing electric bill,” said Donna Chavis, senior fossil fuels campaigner with Friends of the Earth.

On top of these complaints, many critics say Duke’s power generation plans are making the climate crisis worse. The company touts a midcentury carbon neutrality goal but plans to build a dozen new gas units and derive just 8% of its electricity sales from renewable power in 2034. Along with Dominion, Duke is a major owner of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the 600-mile fracked gas project now held up by court challenges.

No silver bullet for competition

Across the political divide, reformers say these symptoms stem from the underlying problem of Duke’s monopoly. Yet Conservatives for Clean Energy, the Energy Justice North Carolina coalition, and many energy experts agree: There’s no silver bullet for exactly how to relax the company’s control on the market.

The most consensus is for wholesale competition, in which the state’s co-ops and large energy consumers could buy from the power producer that delivered the lowest price or cleanest electricity. But how to enable such competition is up for debate.

One way is for North Carolina to join or create a regional transmission organization or an independent service operator. Overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, RTOs and ISOs manage transmission and access to the electric grid and allow competition on the wholesale market between power producers.

The small corner of North Carolina served by Dominion is already in an RTO called PJM, which includes Ohio and Mid-Atlantic states. The state’s only operating wind farm is in PJM territory, allowing it to supply renewable electrons to Amazon for data centers outside North Carolina.

But PJM has drawn criticism, since its rules generally favor gas and uneconomic coal plants and discourage new solar and wind farms. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, just 25% of new power plants built in the PJM region in the last decade were solar, wind, or other renewables — the lowest of any RTO or ISO in the country. “It’s not at all clear that Duke joining PJM would result in a cleaner grid for North Carolina,” said Gudrun Thompson, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Creating a new organization also has skeptics. Advocates are wary of ceding regulatory authority to a federal agency appointed by President Donald Trump, especially now that the state’s utilities commission consists of all but one person appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat. Case in point: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission just established new rules for PJM’s capacity market that further penalize renewable energy.

“Now, a bunch of states are considering leaving the [PJM] capacity market because it would force them to double pay if they want to move forward on clean energy,” said David Rogers, the southeast deputy regional director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. “Markets are only as good as rules and the oversight that governs them.”

Another method for permitting wholesale competition is an energy imbalance market, a voluntary collection of utilities and other system operators in which real-time kilowatt-hours, not power plants, are bought and sold as needed. In the western United States, the model has allowed solar and wind energy that would otherwise be curtailed in one state to be sold in another — fostering the growth of renewables and lowering prices. “It’s a really interesting way to inject some competition into an otherwise monopoly regulated structure,” Thompson said.

In a variation on the energy imbalance market, utilities could share reserve margins, the capacity to produce power when demand is at its highest conceivable peak. “That way, not everyone needs to be at the inflated reserve margins that they all claim they need,” Rogers said. “Duke and Dominion and Southern Company could just make that agreement right now.”

The final most-discussed option for wholesale competition is an all-source procurement system. Duke would maintain its control of the grid and distribution, but rather than plan for and build new generation sources to meet power needs, the company would issue a request for proposals for a certain amount of capacity from a variety of “fuels” such as solar, battery storage, and gas. In Colorado two years ago, this scheme produced the lowest prices of storage combined with wind and solar the nation had ever seen, Utility Dive reported.

‘We just don’t have the time’

Retail competition is another matter. Most open to the possibility is Energy Justice North Carolina, the coalition of more than a dozen community, state and national environmental groups organized around ending the Duke monopoly. They see retail competition as a potential avenue for the historically marginalized to take control of their energy production.

“There’s no doubt that there will be a transition toward a more regenerative economy and away from an extractive economy,” said Connie Leeper, organizing director with coalition member NC WARN, an outspoken Duke critic. “Will that be a just transition?”

But others worry complete deregulation could allow energy companies to prey on vulnerable customers. “It could potentially increase clean energy penetration,” said Peter Ledford, general counsel for the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, “but retail competition comes with so many consumer-protection concerns.”

Still, to a person, everyone interviewed for this story said the first step toward competition was not deregulating one sector of the market in a particular way. Instead, it’s a comprehensive study of all the options, including what has worked in other states.

“We have to all go into this with an open mind,” said Mark Fleming, the head of the Conservatives for Clean Energy. “It’s not a real process if you go into it with an outcome already pre-planned.”

Fleming’s group is also active in South Carolina, where the House just passed a bill to begin an exhaustive study of deregulation. But that sort of analysis looks further away in North Carolina.

In a clean energy plan connected to Cooper’s executive order on climate, the state’s Department of Environmental Quality recommends the legislature authorize a study of the costs and benefits of retail and wholesale competition. The study is listed as a “medium or long term” item, meaning it could be completed as soon as one year or as long as five years from now.

Rep. Larry Strickland, a Republican from Johnston County, has introduced a bill to study the RTO route. But it didn’t get a hearing in last year’s long session, and most observers doubt it will move in the short session scheduled to begin in April.

In an email, Strickland acknowledged it may be difficult to pass his bill this year given time constraints. But, he continued, “I will continue to fight for a study to examine if a Regional Transmission Organization is a market reform that will save ratepayers across North Carolina money.”

Asked about the push for deregulation and Strickland’s bill in particular, Duke didn’t take a position. But, spokesperson Grace Rountree stressed in an email, “North Carolina is a national leader in clean energy and providing customers with reliable, increasingly clean electricity at prices lower than the national average.”

She added, “we generally welcome balanced studies that look at ways to improve public policy impacting our customers and Duke Energy looks forward to working collaboratively with stakeholders through the legislative process.”

From Rep. Szoka’s point of view, that process won’t happen until 2021. “We’re talking about a huge change in how you regulate electricity in this state,” he said. “In the short session, in an election year, we just don’t have the time.”

Conversation with Kia Jackson Founder Black Experience

Author: Kia Jackson         Published: 2/25/2020    PCPCLLC


contact. is a networking and educational talk series for newcomers and entrepreneurs to “plug-in” with industry experts and leaders.
Limited Seating is real, not a sales gimmick. This talk series and networking is an opportunity to learn “How to?” and “What it’s all about?”. Get all your questions answered. Make contacts with the industry leaders. Whether you are unsure, or committed to be in cannabis, this is where you can gain accurate and reliable education to propel your next step. Invest in your future.

To empower entrepreneurs by providing them with the knowledge, tools, and connections to create and grow successful cannabis businesses.


Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar

Author: Solar Technology Office Published: 2/25/2020  Pcpcllc

Lanai solar farm sheep

Photographer: Merrill Smith

A growing number of farms and agricultural businesses are looking to solar to power their daily operations. Thanks in part to the Solar Energy Technologies Office’s investments, the cost of going solar has declined, enabling more installations across the country. Consider these questions to help you determine what’s best for you and your farm.

What are the benefits of co-locating solar and crop production?
Will solar modules contaminate the soil underneath or around them?
Can solar modules change the microclimate underneath the modules and worsen invasive species, fungal, nematode or other pest problems?
Will solar modules heat up and dry out vegetation or crops under the modules?
Can wild animals like antelope or elk graze under solar modules?
Can domesticated animals like sheep or cattle graze at ground-mounted solar facilities?
What is the impact of solar modules on birds or other wildlife species?
Can you grow native vegetation or pollinator habitat underneath solar modules?
Will solar modules drive up the price of food?
Is it safe to spray agrochemicals near solar modules?
Can solar modules power my irrigation equipment?
I lease my farmland. Can I still install solar PV?
I can’t drive my tractor through or around solar modules. Are there ways I can still install solar?
I need to burn my fields every year. Can I still install solar PV?
My farmland floods in the spring. Can I still install solar PV?
What are the impacts of dust on the performance of solar PV modules?
Can my land be converted back to agricultural land after the life of the solar system?
Are there trade-offs of raising solar modules to accommodate crop production?

Top News: 2020 Funding Opportunity Is Open; Solar Prize Round 3 Competitors Announced; Input on Solar Variability Prediction Wanted

Author: DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office  Published: 2/25/2020   Pcpcllc

Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Solar Energy Technologies Office

Our biggest news of 2020: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) announced $125.5 million in funding for new projects. Letters of intent are due March 9, so start your applications! Innovation is the name of the game, as the newly selected semifinalists in Round 3 of the American-Made Solar Prize can tell you. The Round 2 competitors will be demonstrating their ideas at a big event in March, which you don’t want to miss. SETO wants your ideas about solar variability prediction, so check out our request for information (RFI) and tell us what you think—responses are due March 4.

These stories and more in this edition of the SETO newsletter.

Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2020 Funding Opportunity

What Would You Do with $125.5 Million?

If your answer is “Give it to projects that advance research and development of solar energy technologies,” you’re reading the right newsletter. On February 5, 2020, DOE announced that the Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2020 (SETO 2020) Funding Program will award $125.5 million to projects that lower solar costs, enable solar-plus-storage, enhance cybersecurity protections, increase manufacturing, develop solar-powered microgrids, and site solar with agriculture. There’s also space for artificial intelligence: We are looking for projects that use machine learning to improve solar. SETO expects to award 55 to 80 projects. Keep in mind: You must file a letter of intent to apply, and it’s due March 9, 2020.

American-Made Solar Prize: Demo Day and New Competitors

If you want to see innovation in action, make sure you’re in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on March 27, 2020: That’s when the teams competing the American-Made Solar Prize Round 2 will demonstrate their proofs of concept at a national event during Carnegie Mellon University’s Energy Week, for a chance to win $100,000 and compete for the grand prize, a $1 million pool.

The newest batch of competitors, which were announced on February 11, 2020, are competing in Round 3. They will receive $50,000 to turn their ideas into proofs of concept and present them at a national demonstration day event in June. Some of those ideas? A hybrid renewable-energy power tower, a mobile solar array on skis, and a residential solar installation that can transform into a microgrid. Read more about these 20 teams and their inventive works in progress.

In the Forecast: Solar Variability Prediction

Since the sun is not always up or out, better prediction of solar power would help SETO’s grid integration efforts and inform the major players in solar power output—grid operators, owners and operators of utility-scale plants, and aggregators of distributed photovoltaic (PV) systems. This is where you come in: In January, SETO issued a request for information, asking for your input on predicting solar irradiance and power so we can best plan our efforts to fund related technologies. Email your response to by March 4, 2020, at 12 p.m. ET. We look forward to hearing from you.

High Praise: Commonwealth Edison Project Wins Award

At the DISTRIBUTECH International 2020 conference in January, SETO awardee Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) received the Best Practices Award for Product Innovation for its Bronzeville Community Microgrid, a project that was awarded $4 million in 2016. Recognizing ComEd’s contribution to a more sustainable, resilient power system in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago and the broader service area, the industry group Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative and an independent advisory panel awarded the ComEd team for its leadership in the shift toward a more consumer-centric energy ecosystem. Well done!

The Lowdown on Systems Integration

The nation’s power grid is complicated, but we’re making it easier with our systems integration “basics” webpages. Perhaps you read the one on inverters and grid services recently. But what about distributed energy systems and microgrids? Now we have those basics, too, so you can get a more complete picture of how solar energy technologies work together to deliver power, even when the weather refuses to cooperate.

Better Than Summer School: Apply for the HOPE Workshop

Graduate students interested in staying on top of the latest solar technology advancements should apply for the Hands-On Photovoltaic Experience (HOPE) Workshop, a week-long, immersive learning opportunity July 19–24, 2020, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. The workshop offers students the chance to see how solar cells and modules are made, learn advanced characterization techniques, and meet NREL scientists and other researchers from across the country. Applications are due March 9, 2020, so tell your friends and apply today!

Shedding Light: Solar on the Farm

Bringing solar energy to land used for agriculture offers benefits to farmers as well as developers, including reduced installation and electricity costs. We want to make the process easier by addressing the many questions associated with installing PV around crops and animals, such as how it affects the soil, vegetation, domesticated and wild animals, pollinator habitat—pollinator-friendly legislation exists in seven states now—and more. Read all about it in the Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar, and if you have ideas that can help expand solar adoption on agricultural lands, take a look at Topic Area 6: Solar and Agriculture in the SETO 2020 funding opportunity announcement and apply today.


23rd Annual Transmission Summit East
March 4–6 | Arlington, Virginia
Join SETO Director Becca Jones-Albertus at this summit to discuss strategies to integrate storage and distributed assets, protect against extreme weather and cyber threats, and leverage cloud computing.

Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC)
March 15–19 | New Orleans, Louisiana
Meet up with SETO staff at APEC, which brings researchers and practitioners from around the world to discuss the latest developments in the power electronics industry.

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Energy Week
March 23–27 | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
SETO Deputy Director Maria Vargas will give the keynote speech at CMU Energy Week, now in its fifth year, where CEOs, entrepreneurs, government leaders, academic experts, and students discuss ways to advance energy technologies and innovations.

SETO in the News

Solar Photo of the Week

PV array at the National Wind Technology Center in Colorado

A PV array at the National Wind Technology Center in Colorado. Photo by Dennis Schroeder. Click the photo to download it.

Thanks for reading the SETO newsletter! If someone forwarded this to you, you can subscribe here.

SETO is part of the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Beating China at the lithium game — can the US secure supplies to meet its renewables targets?

Author: Teague Egan    Published: 2/18/2020       Utility Dive

Credit: Green Charge Networks

The following is a contributed article by Teague Egan, founder, CEO and product architect of EnergyX.

We have all been witness to the meteoric rise of Tesla’s stock price since the beginning of the year. With a market capitalization now worth significantly more than Ford and GM combined, the electric vehicle producer and battery maker is showing us the way to a sustainable energy future.

Others are following in Tesla’s footsteps. GM has recently announced a $2.3 billion joint venture battery factory, in partnership with LG Chem, to produce cells for 20 new electric vehicles the company plans to introduce globally by 2023. Ford has announced plans for several all-electric vehicles including its widely popular F-150. The future is upon us, but a few obstacles remain in our path.

A major component for both electric vehicles (EVs) and large-scale battery storage for renewable energy production, lithium is set to play a key role in the renewable energy revolution. Both EVs and such energy storage rely on lithium as an absolutely essential, non-replaceable component of the battery, making the metal one of the most sought after resources on the energy market. People are already calling lithium “white petroleum“, and I am convinced over the coming decades it will replace oil and gas as the most important natural resource in the world; the backbone to our energy infrastructure.

Demand for battery energy storage is expected to grow exponentially over the next 10-20 years and beyond, underpinned by increasing awareness of the need to limit fossil fuel usage. As a result, lithium demand in 2018 of 270,000 metric tons of Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE) is expected to reach more than 1,000,000 metric tons of LCE by 2025, with some estimates as high as 1.5 million.

As the importance of lithium-ion batteries grows for residential, commercial and military use, the criticality of establishing and expanding domestic sources of lithium is an important national security issue. However today, the U.S. contributes less than 2% of world supply of lithium even though it holds 17% of global lithium reserves. U.S. lithium production has historically been hampered by the relatively low concentration of lithium in U.S. brines, and lack of new technology available to economically extract it.

Resource market

The lack of U.S. domestic lithium production is a critical issue. With production roughly split between hard rock mining and extraction from lithium concentrated brines sources, the vast amount of brines come from sources in Chile and Argentina. However, the world’s largest reserve lies in the high mountain deserts of Bolivia. I remember the first time I stepped foot onto Salar de Uyuni, a jaw dropping, 4,000 square mile, national treasure as white as a polar bear. An ocean of lithium lay below the salt crust, just waiting to be utilized in the electric vehicles around the world.

While over 50% of the entire world’s reserves can be found in the Lithium Triangle (the brines located in Chile, Bolivia and Argentina), securing access to these reserves and production is highly dependent on the constantly changing geopolitical landscape in the region. Bolivia recently overthrew its government in a coup, ousting President Evo Morales in a bid to accelerate commercial lithium production. The country has been battling internally for 12 year trying to unlock its white petroleum. In December 2019, Chile was forced to cancel COP25, the United Nations climate conference, due to nationwide labor protests, and riots in the capital city of Santiago. Meanwhile, Argentina has been suffering from extreme levels of inflation and other political and economic struggles for years.

China is a critical player, too.

In its Energy Resource Governance Initiative, the U.S. State Department notes that: “over 80% of the global supply chain of rare earth elements, important minerals for electric vehicles and wind turbine components, is controlled by one country.” China has been supporting lithium and copper mining operations globally, and has had a hand in funding new nickel mines, as it seeks to satisfy its demand for EVs.

In December 2018, Tianqi, a Chinese manufacturing company, bought a 23.8% share in Chilean-based SQM, the world’s second largest lithium producer, from Canadian fertilizer company Nutrien for $4.1 billion, the largest deal in history for a lithium asset. Moves like this are further solidifying China’s dominance on the sector. Already, the global leader in sales and production of electric vehicles, Beijing’s mining and manufacturing prowess has left Washington behind.

China controls 51% of the global total of chemical lithium, 62% of chemical cobalt and 100% of spherical graphite — the major components of lithium-ion batteries. The United States is at risk of missing out on its renewable targets and needs to secure lithium deposits to help drive its renewable and sustainable development industries.

The Trump administration has vastly increased traditional fossil fuel production as it also has championed so-called ‘clean-coal’ and natural gas, while Beijing’s dominance in the renewable energy and electric vehicle markets has led to a quiet transition in industry priorities. Far from reducing fossil fuel subsidies or moving away from coal-powered energy generation, the State Department is looking for a way to limit China’s dominance on renewable energy. The U.S. is missing the boat.

This means that the Trump administration will have to invest in a market it has repeatedly spurned. Following in the steps of China and the European Union, in 2017, the United States cited the economy and national security as it directed scientists to find a new source of lithium within the nation’s borders. “Global investment in mineral-intensive renewable power generation and battery storage technologies continues to outpace investment in fossil fuel power generation by over 100 percent annually,” the State Department posited last June as it explained that it is seeking to “promote integrated and resilient supply chains.”


In a move that echoes the State Department’s initiative, Tesla’s Elon Musk recently announced that the company will foray into lithium mining to secure its own resource. The leading American company driving U.S. interests in the lithium-ion battery supply chain, Tesla has massive factories in both California and Nevada. These are strategically located in close proximity to lithium reserves in the Salton Sea, CA and Silver Peak, Nevada, where Albemarle (the top lithium producer) has operations, and only 400 miles from the Great Salt Lake, Utah, where Cargill operates high lithium concentrated salt production.

Tesla is not just the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer but also a leading innovator in battery technology and the supply chain associated therewith. The company has long promoted electric vehicles and sustainable engineering, with its large-scale battery in South Australia also changing how nations view renewable energy storage.

While Tesla has been leading the private sector, federal departments have also been working towards improving the United States’ position as a major force in the global lithium market. In January, former Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced several new initiatives: “The Department of Energy (DOE) will leverage the power of competition and the resources of the private sector, universities, and the National Laboratories to develop innovative recycling technologies, which will bolster economic growth, strengthen our energy security, and improve the environment.”

Race for lithium

America can do better! We are not followers; we do not wait for others to take the lead, and we are not going to wait on the sidelines of the most important global transition of the century. From the Industrial Revolution to the Space Race, competition between the United States and other major powers has always driven innovation.

A quiet transition away from the Trump Administration’s stance on energy will help the U.S. build a strong foundation to compete internationally. China’s lead in the electric vehicle and renewable energy markets, as well as its dominance throughout the production chain, have created a sense of urgency in the U.S.

To meet its renewables targets, the U.S. needs to secure its lithium supplies or find a different way to compete with Beijing’s mining and manufacturing prowess. The State Department’s initiative and actions from Tesla and the Department of Energy show that Washington is serious about competing in global markets.

With the new energy race heating up, several companies are looking to develop what’s being dubbed “direct lithium extraction” technologies that can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of lithium production.

Production from brine takes an average of 18 months with recovery rates as low as 30%. Furthermore, many lithium deposits are located in hard to reach areas, and conventional methods are impractical due to geographical terrain, lower than optimal concentrations, or external elements such as weather. Direct lithium extraction is the answer the U.S. is looking for to catch the Chinese in this ever important rivalry, and in the near future, we will become self-reliable on white petroleum.


Jeff Bezos commits $10B to climate. How should he spend it?

Author: Catherine Morehouse    Published: 2/19/202 0        Utility Dive

Credit: Getty Images

Billionaire Jeff Bezos, founder, president and CEO of e-commerce company Amazon, on Monday announced his commitment to providing $10 billion toward fighting climate change.

Specifics of the plan were sparse — in his Instagram post announcing the funding, he said the Bezos Earth Fund will provide funding for “scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.” He’ll begin issuing grants this summer and said the $10 billion is “to start,” but doesn’t specify how much more he plans to spend or over what time period.

Some speculate the billionaire’s move was timed to deflect attention from FRONTLINE’s release of a documentary that includes criticisms of his technology empire’s carbon footprint and rising pressure from the company’s employees about not doing enough on climate change.

“Clearly this was done quickly … he’s not fleshed out how exactly he wants to spend the money at the moment, it seems it’s going to anybody and everybody,” Aseem Prakash, political science professor at the University of Washington and founding director of the school’s Center for Environmental Politics told Utility Dive.

Despite the uncertainties, it’s clear to most observers that the funding could have huge impacts for fighting climate change.

“It dwarfs other philanthropy in this realm,” Robert Stavins, professor of energy and economic development at Harvard and director of the university’s environmental economics program told Utility Dive. “It sort of rises to the level of government actions in the climate policy or climate realm. So it’s potentially very significant.”

Michael Bloomberg launched a $500 million Beyond Carbon campaign, the largest coordinated climate change plan in the U.S. at the time, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies. The former New York mayor also launched Beyond Coal in 2011, and has invested $100 million since then on the campaign, which credits itself for the early retirement of over half the country’s coal fleet. Bezos and Bill Gates in 2016 also set up a $1 billion venture capital fund to invest in energy startups committed to reducing carbon emissions.

In sum, $10 billion could go a long way.

“It’s an insane scale-up of all the [climate] funding and I think it [is] a genuine question about how is this going to get spent?” Leah Stokes, assistant professor of energy and environmental politics and the University of California, Santa Barbara, told Utility Dive.

How should he spend it?

Some say the funding would be best spent on emerging technologies and scientific research, while others argue targeting policy and advocacy campaigns are the best use of $10 billion. Others say a healthy hybrid is best.

An unwise way to spend the money would be to make repeat investments in climate action that already has funding, thereby freeing up those investments to be spent somewhere else, said Stavins.

ChargePoint commits $1B to expand EV charging as Ocasio-Cortez, others unveil bills for a national network

Author: Robert Walton            Published: 2/10/2020           Utility Dive

Credit: CARB Mid Term Report

Dive Brief:

What is ISO 14001?

Author: International Organization for Standardization  Published: 2/18/2020

The ISO story began in 1946 when delegates from 25 countries met at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London and decided to create a new international organization ‘to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards’. On 23 February 1947 the new organization, ISO, officially began operations.

Since then, we have published over 23019 International Standards covering almost all aspects of technology and manufacturing.

Today we have members from 164 countries and 781 technical committees and subcommittees to take care of standards development. More than 160 people work for ISO’s Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.

To find out more about the history of ISO, see our timeline.


ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 164 national standards bodies.

Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.

You’ll find our Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. Learn more about our structure and how we are governed.


International Organization for Standardization
ISO Central Secretariat
Chemin de Blandonnet 8
CP 401 – 1214 Vernier, Geneva, Switzerland

Tel.: +41 22 749 01 11
Fax: +41 22 733 34 30

International Standards make things work. They give world-class specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. They are instrumental in facilitating international trade.

ISO has published 23019 International Standards and related documents, covering almost every industry, from technology, to food safety, to agriculture and healthcare. ISO International Standards impact everyone, everywhere.

Learn more about standards and what they can do for you

What ISO Standards can do for you

spread sheet data show on tablet illuminated with light
Our key achievements in figures at a single glance

ISO doesn’t provide certification or conformity assessment. You’ll need to contact an external certification body for that. Read more about certification and how to find a certification body.


Ameren’s hourly pricing program could reduce EV charging costs almost 90%, study finds

Author: Robert Walton       Published: 2/11/2020    Utility Dive

redit: Flickr; National Renewable Energy Lab

Dive Brief:

  • A new analysis from Illinois consumer advocate group Citizens Utility Board (CUB) concludes Ameren customers with an electric vehicle (EV) could reduce annual charging costs by almost 90% through the utility’s Power Smart Pricing rate.
  • The dynamic rate offering is based on day-ahead prices in the Midcontinent ISO, and is open to all of Ameren’s residential customers. CUB’s analysis shows potential savings may be most significant for EV owners.
  • The report examined 2018 rates and concluded potential savings for EV owners ranged from $54 to $379 in that year, compared with paying the utility’s traditional electric prices. According to the utility, more than 13,000 customers have signed up for the Power Smart Pricing (PSP) program and so far they have saved more than $12 million.

Dive Insight:

The specifics of CUB’s analysis indicate that most customers would likely not realize all of their potential savings, but the group says the study makes a strong argument for opt-out rates for EV owners.

“With the aid of the sophisticated sensor and data-analysis capabilities prevalent in vehicle charging technology, utilities could isolate EV-related consumption, making a separate opt-out policy feasible,” the report concludes.

The analysis used actual 2018 MISO locational marginal prices to compare what “perfectly rational EV drivers” would pay to charge their vehicle on Ameren’s Power Smart Pricing program.

“Electricity customers are hungry for good choices in the market, and Power Smart Pricing is one of the best, whether you drive an EV or not,” CUB Executive Director David Kolata said in a statement.

The advocacy group is currently lobbying Illinois lawmakers to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which includes an electrification provision to encourage off-peak EV charging. Kolata says the bill would help to “make sure the grid is prepared for the rise of EVs,” by connecting drivers to pricing programs like Ameren’s.

Ameren says it estimates about 3,400 electric vehicles are owned in its service territory.

“Most customers tell us that they are satisfied with the program,” an Ameren spokesperson said in an email. “We expect PSP enrollments to grow as customers acquire more in-home devices that enable them to manage and track their usage.”

CUB’s analysis of the program’s potential for EV drivers included three “representative” EVs: the 2018 Toyota Prius Prime, the 2018 Chevy Bolt and the Tesla 3 Long-Range. Researchers say they also used “off -the-shelf representative Level 2 and Level 3 chargers to estimate the maximum achievable charge rate.”

CUB calculated what EV drivers would pay to charge their car on Ameren’s flat-rate energy tariff to meet their daily driving needs, and compared that to the lowest-available rates on the PSP program.

Ameren’s dynamic pricing program “would have saved EV owners significantly over its flat-rate tariff in 2018,” with cost reductions from 86% to 88%, equaling as much as $379 over the study period, the CUB found.

The group says programs like Ameren’s PSP help reduce peak electricity demand, which “eases stress on the grid, helping to prevent costly power outages. It also avoids the need to fire up expensive ‘peaker’ power plants, cutting pollution and lowering electricity costs for everyone.”

There are more than 1 million EVs owned in the United States, but that figure is expected to increase sharply in coming years. According to the Edison Electric Institute, a jump in sales over the next decade could mean 19 million emissions-free vehicles on U.S. roads by 2030.

FirstEnergy CEO says he’s ready to help Ohio lawmakers deal with FERC’s PJM MOPR ruling

Author: John Funk     Published: 2/11/2020       Utility Dive


Dive Brief:

  • Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp.’s chief executive officer says his company is ready to assist state lawmakers develop a new energy policy to deal, in part, with the impact of the December Federal Energy Regulatory Commission order directing PJM Interconnection to offset state subsidies given to owners of certain generating resources, including renewables and nuclear plants.
  • CEO Charles Jones told financial analysts during the company’s fourth quarter and 2019 earnings call Friday that Ohio’s government is generally unhappy with the results of electric utility deregulation, including PJM’s market system. The PJM auction system is designed to give customers the lowest priced electricity at any given time.
  • Insisting that he has no official position, given that the company’s power plant subsidiary FirstEnergy Solutions (FES) will soon emerge from bankruptcy as an independent and unregulated company, Jones repeated an argument that the market system which has emerged since Ohio began moving toward deregulation 20 years ago “does not provide the best long-term outcome for my customers.”

Dive Insight:

The unhappiness of state lawmakers that Jones alluded to had already erupted on Jan. 28 when the Ohio Senate’s Energy and Public Utilities Committee invited the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) and a pro-coal group, America’s Power, to submit testimony to help the committee start developing “a comprehensive energy policy.”

The OCC’s testimony focused on excessive charges that Ohio’s delivery utilities have added to rates since lawmakers last tweaked deregulation rules in 2008. America’s Power recapped the arguments of coal interests and owners of coal-fired power plants, that gas turbine plants and wind and solar farms make the grid less secure.

While the state’s traditional utilities long resisted deregulation with the argument that it would not encourage the development of new power plants, Ohio’s lawmakers have more recently been reacting to the December FERC order requiring PJM to offset state subsidies to certain power plants, including subsidized wind and solar farms, competing in PJM-run markets. If implemented, the order could cost Ohio electric customers more than $1 billion a year in new fees — on top of new state-ordered fees, according to one study.

The FERC order came on the heels of Ohio House Bill 6, passed last year, providing $150 million a year from 2021 through 2027 in new customer-paid subsidies for two nuclear plants owned by FES and $60 million a year from 2020 through 2030 for two old coal-fired plants owned by the Ohio Valley Electric Corp., created by a consortium of utilities in the 1950s.

Jones said state lawmakers had “already kind of talked about their disappointment with the PJM market and their intention to use the next year or so to look at energy policy for the state.”

“I think there are a lot of things they are going to look at, but beyond that, you know what our intention is. We’ll be at the table helping where they want help, providing our guidance where they want guidance, and expressing our views where we feel strongly about certain things should go a certain way,” he told analysts.

With the exception of its West Virginia operations, FirstEnergy is now a delivery-only company and the candid acknowledgment from Jones that the company stands ready to dive into state energy policy came during a discussion of how the company is now focused on steady growth through safe investments in its local distribution and long-distance transmission systems.

The company reported full-year 2019 net earnings of $908 million, or $1.68 per share on total revenue of $11 billion. That compared to 2018 earnings of $981 million, or $1.99 per share, on $11.3 billion in revenue. The company is forecasting 2020 earnings of $900 million to $1.41 billion.


DOE Announces $125.5 Million in New Funding for Solar Technologies

Author: DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office Published: 2/5/2020    DOE

OfficeSolar Energy Technologies Office
Funding Number: DE-FOA-0002243
Funding Amount: $125.5 million


On February 5, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2020 (SETO 2020) funding program, which will provide $125.5 million in funding for projects that will advance research in solar energy technologies.

These projects will help achieve the solar office’s goal of improving the affordability, reliability, and value of solar technologies on the grid. Learn more about SETO’s goals and how to apply for a funding opportunity.

SETO expects to make about 55 to 80 awards under the SETO 2020 funding opportunity announcement (FOA), each ranging from $300,000 to $39 million.

Several topic areas in this funding program encourage collaborative work to enable and accelerate outcomes. SETO seeks diverse teams comprising members of companies and community organizations, researchers, solar developers, and other stakeholders who work across various technology sectors, locations, and scientific disciplines.

To facilitate the formation of teams, SETO is providing a forum where interested parties can add themselves to a Teaming Partner List, which allows organizations that may wish to apply to the FOA but not as the prime applicant, to express interest to potential partners. The Teaming Partner List and instructions will be available on EERE Exchange under FOA DE-FOA-0002243 during the FOA application period. The list will be updated at least weekly until the close of the full-application period.


The SETO 2020 FOA webinar will be held on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

The next quarterly stakeholder webinar will be on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Register today.

Topic Areas

TOPIC AREA 1: Photovoltaics Hardware Research
$15 million, ~8-12 projects

This topic area seeks projects that will improve the functions of photovoltaic (PV) hardware over the long term, maximizing energy yields, increasing efficiency, and improving PV system modeling to ensure reliable performance prediction.

TOPIC AREA 2: Integrated Thermal Energy Storage and Brayton Cycle Equipment Demonstration (Integrated TESTBED)
$39 million, ~1-2 projects

This topic area seeks to develop, build, and operate a supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) power cycle integrated with thermal energy storage at temperatures ranging from 550°C to 630°C at a new or existing facility. The goal of this topic is to accelerate the commercialization of the sCO2 Brayton cycle and provide operational experience for utilities, operators, and concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) developers.

TOPIC AREA 3: Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies 3 (SEEDS 3)
$10 million, ~6-8 projects

This topic area will fund research programs that study how knowledge spreads throughout the solar energy ecosystem and how solar adoption interacts with other emerging energy technologies, such as energy storage. In particular, this topic will focus on understanding the large-scale dynamics of the flow of solar information. The goal is to reduce the non-hardware costs of solar energy by efficiently delivering knowledge to key stakeholders so that decisions can be made quickly and effectively in a rapidly changing energy landscape.

TOPIC AREA 4: Innovations in Manufacturing: Hardware Incubator
$14 million, ~7-9 projects

This topic seeks to fund innovative product ideas that can advance solar energy technologies by lowering costs while facilitating the secure integration of solar electricity into the nation’s energy grid. SETO has a particular interest in applications that develop impactful technologies that will support a strong U.S. solar manufacturing sector and supply chain. The goal of this topic is to de-risk new technologies, bring a prototype to a pre-commercial stage, and retire any business or market risks to spur follow-on private investments, patents, scientific and technical publications, and jobs.

TOPIC AREA 5: Systems Integration
$30 million, ~7-11 projects

This topic area will enhance solar’s ability to provide greater grid resilience and improved reliability to the nation’s electricity grid, especially at the community level. This work will improve the ability of communities to maintain power during and restore power after man-made or natural disasters, improve cybersecurity for PV inverters and power systems, and develop advanced hybrid plants that operate collaboratively with other resources for improved reliability and resilience.

TOPIC AREA 6: Solar and Agriculture: System Design, Value Frameworks, and Impacts Analysis
$6.5 million, ~4-6 projects

This topic area will build upon and expand ongoing SETO projects related to the co-location of solar and agriculture by developing technology, evaluating practices to date, and conducting research and analysis that enable farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural enterprises to gain value from solar technologies while maintaining availability of land for agricultural purposes. The goal is to facilitate and expand the co-location of solar and agricultural activities where it benefits both industries and the local community. For this topic, co-location is defined as agricultural production (i.e., crop or livestock production, or pollinator habitat) underneath solar panels and/or in adjacent zones around the solar panels.

TOPIC AREA 7: Artificial Intelligence (AI) Applications in Solar Energy with Emphasis on Machine Learning
$6 million, ~8-12 projects

This topic area will leverage the substantial AI-related know-how developed in the United States to develop disruptive solutions across the value chain of the solar industry. These projects will form partnerships between experts in AI and industry stakeholders such as solar power plant operators or owners, electric utilities, PV module manufacturers, and others that can supply the necessary data as well as solar-related subject matter expertise.

TOPIC AREA 8: Small Innovative Projects in Solar (SIPS): PV and CSP
$5 million, ~15-20 projects

This topic area intends to fund innovative, novel ideas in PV and CSP that can produce significant results within the first year of performance. If successful, the outcomes will open up new avenues for continued study. These projects are riskier than research ideas based on established technologies and will typically receive smaller funding amounts than projects in other topic areas.

Prior to submitting a full application for topic areas 1-7 of this opportunity, a brief, mandatory letter of intent is due on March 9, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. ET. A mandatory letter of intent for topic 8 is due byApril 9, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. ET. See all application deadlines in the table below.

Key Dates

FOA Issue Date: February 5, 2020
Submission Deadline for Mandatory Letter of Intent (LOI) for Topics 1-7: March 9, 2020
Informational Webinar: February 12, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. ETRegister Here
Submission Deadline for Concept Papers:

Applicants must submit a Concept Paper by 5:00 p.m. ET on the due date listed to be eligible to submit a Full Application.

Topic Area 8 SIPS applicants DO NOT submit a Concept Paper.

March 16, 2020
Submission Deadline for Mandatory LOI for Topic Area 8: Small Innovative Projects in Solar (SIPS) April 9, 2020
Submission Deadline for Full Applications:

Conversation With Will R. Shirley, Sr. President/CEO of Sun Dail Solar

Author: Will R. Shirley           Published: 02/11/2020

Will R. Shirley, Sr.

Will brings 23 years of systems technology experience to the Company. Will worked as VP of Operations for the Company before purchasing it outright


Caleb Dana

Mr. Dana is a Senior Principal Engineer with Sundial Solar with over 30 years of environmental consulting and engineering experience. Mr. Dana manages or provides principal oversight for  solar project site analysis and design.

Patty Patterson

As DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY SOLAR, Ms. Patterson brings a Business Management degree and extensive management operations experience. She will lead the effort to bring Community Solar to neighborhoods throughout the State.

Zac Dana

Zac is the Company’s lead installer.  Zac is on management and operations hiatis gaining training that this company desires.  Upon his return Zac will perform as one of the corporate managers for installations & operations

Girard Gray, Sr.

Mr. Gray is a graduate of Ontility’s “Entry Level Solar Installation Course” a NABCEP licensed course of study and is a former lead solar instructor for The Hope Center in Gretna, Mr. Gray became associated with Sundial Solar in 2012.

Tawnya Ferguson

Tawnya is a former Manager for a large commercial concern with responsibilities in employee management, accounting, word processing, inventory control, corporate sales management and data customization.  Tawnya joined Sundial Solar 2015.


Based in the Capitol City of Mississippi, We Deliver Comprehensive Solar Services for Your Home, Business and Local Government – Trusted Services You can depend on.

Our Solar Team has a well-deserved reputation of excellence in providing smart, sensible, and cost-effective solar services to our clients.


The Company was organized in 2009 and is one of the longest serving active solar providers in the State of Mississippi.  Since 2009, the Company has gained relevant partnerships with major US-based solar financiers, solar manufacturers,  solar distributors and out-of-state solar installation companies. Our expertese, coupled with our partners, guarantee you, our clients, the best technology at the best cost available.

The Company is a Founding/Charter Member of our local trade association, the Gulf State Renewable Energy Industries Association (GSREIA) which is based in New Orleans, LA.

The Company is also a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – Local 480.  We utilize only skilled electrical craftsmen for most of our solar construction projects.

We serve a wide range of clientele, and every client relationship is valued greatly and treated with dignity and respect. Each engagement benefits from the depth and breadth of our solar expertise.


BRIEF Can the US power sector significantly reduce carbon emissions by 2040? Not according to EIA

Author:  lulia Gheorghiu            Published: 01/30/2020         Utility Dive

Credit Getty Images

Dive Brief:

  • The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its annual outlook on Wednesday, including projections for a modest overall decline in power sector carbon emissions, with natural gas as the leading source of generation through 2040.
  • The continued low price of natural gas is expected to increase emissions, making carbon dioxide emissions in 2050 only 4% below 2019 levels, assuming constant laws and regulations. According to the outlook, carbon dioxide emissions across all sectors will flatline in 2030 until beginning to increase in 2040, based on the growing power consumption of industrial and transportation sectors.
  • Investor-owned utility trade group Edison Electric Institute (EEI) maintains that power sector and overall emissions reductions will be even greater than what EIA forecast based on clean energy commitments made by companies (including EEI members) and accelerating transportation electrification. “We expect more significant emissions reductions will occur,” Brian Reil, EEI spokesperson, told Utility Dive.

Dive Insight:

As EIA’s model uses the policies in place right now to create future projections through 2050, a “business as usual assumption drives the reference case, … [and] makes [EIA] projections of energy very conservative,” Peter Saundry, Johns Hopkins University professor and chief scientist of the nonprofit National Council for Science and the Environment, told Utility Dive.

“Their model is not set up to recognize evolving advances in policy or strong advances in technology,” he said, echoing EIA administrator Linda Capuano’s comments that the outlook is a projection, “not a prediction.”

Credit: EIA

While the announced retirements of coal-fired generation capacity create a decrease in power sector emissions, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are expected to grow modestly in 2030s-2040s, according to the EIA, as continued natural gas additions and nuclear retirements offset increases in renewable generation.

The analysis doesn’t take into account additional expected coal plant retirements and future state initiatives to reduce emissions.

“One area where EIA is fairly pessimistic is the rollout of EVs,” Saundry said. “That has a lot to do with fairly conservative assumptions about how fast the cost of battery energy storage comes down.”

According to EIA’s transportation team leader, John Maple, not a lot of change is expected between the 2019 and 2020 sales distribution of electric vehicles. Longer range (200- and 300-mile) U.S. EV sales will grow from 280,000 in 2019 to 1.9 million in 2050, the EIA said.​

With the Trump administration working to block California from setting more ambitious fuel economy standards than the federal government, the EIA predicts motor gasoline consumption will rise.

But “regardless of that standard, I see EVs making a more aggressive inroad because I foresee a cost decline of energy storage,” Saundry said.

Others, like EEI, also dispute the EIA’s projection.

EEI has been lobbying for an increase in the tax credit for electric vehicle purchases, while supporting the development of utility-owned charging infrastructure for the vehicles.

“As of December 31, 2019, there were nearly 1.5 million electric vehicles on U.S. roads, and we project that number to increase to 18.7 million by 2030,” Reil said.

Democrats accuse Energy Department of underspending on clean energy research

Author: James Osborne    Published:02/05/2020  Houston Chronicle

The accusations of underspending follows efforts by the Trump administration to cut funding for the EERE office under former Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

Photo: AFP Contributor/AFP via Getty Images

The accusations of underspending follows efforts by the Trump administration to cut funding for the EERE office under former Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

WASHINGTON — The Department of Energy isn’t distributing funding for clean energy research fast enough, House Democrats said Wednesday.

At a hearing before the oversight panel of the House Science and Space Committee, Chairman Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., said the department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy didn’t spend $823 million in funding appropriated by Congress last year, more than a third of its budget.

“We want to make sure EERE manages its R&D investments in an efficient manner and in keeping with congressional intent,” he said. “If potential grantees do not think EERE is a reliable partner, they are less likely to engage with DOE in the future. I am concerned about the effect this could have on the United States’ position as a global leader in clean energy.”

The criticism follows repeated efforts by the Trump administration to cut funding to the EERE office under former Energy Secretary Rick Perry. But Assistant Secretary for the EERE Daniel Simmons said that it was not the office’s intention to withhold spending and that carrying over funding from one year’s budget to the next was in line with the final years of the Obama administration.

“What matters at the end of the day is appropriated dollars. The president’s proposed budget is the beginning of the process,” he said. “It takes a while to get the funding announcements out the door.”

At the same time, Foster said, staffing levels at the EERE office have “severely dropped,” despite increases in salaries and benefits for DOE staff.

But Republicans on the science committee pushed back, arguing that it was the department’s job to move cautiously in the distribution of more than $1.3 billion in outside research funding last year.

“After increases by the Obama administration, EERE is by far DOE’s largest applied research program,” Beaumont Republican Rep. Randy Weber said.  “It is clear DOE has operated appropriately and within its mandate for grant funding review.”

WoodMac sees challenges for onshore wind: ‘Low hanging fruit has already been picked’

Author:      Published: 02/06/2020    Utility  Dive

Credit: Fotolia

Dive Brief:

  • Despite the enormous recent growth in wind power in the U.S., the lack of investment into new transmission lines, among other challenges, will make it more difficult for onshore wind to compete against solar power as the dominant source of clean energy, according to a new analysis from Wood Mackenzie.
  • “National and pan-regional super grid projects,” where one governing entity plans and builds new transmission capacity, may be the answer to overcome the coordination problems among grid operators, utilities and state regulators that currently block new transmission infrastructure, according to a statement from Wood Mackenzie on Wednesday that draws from the research firm’s 2020 outlook insight for global wind.
  • Another challenge for wind going forward is the fact that the “low-hanging fruit” of cost reductions, such as technological innovations that have made wind turbines more efficient, have already been picked, Wood Mackenzie Head of Global Wind Research Dan Shreve said in the statement.

Dive Insight:

Many of the cheapest, most efficient places to build new wind turbines are those isolated from population centers, necessitating large transmission investments in order to connect the wind farms to electricity demand. But what is changing, according to Shreve, is that the “top tier” wind resources yet to be developed are particularly difficult to reach with transmission infrastructure, often due to political opposition.

“A spate of high profile transmission projects,” such as the Multi-Value Projects in the region of Midwest grid operator MISO, “over the last decade helped reduce congestion within high wind penetration zones, as was evidenced by a reduction in the frequency of curtailment,” Shreve said in an email to Utility Dive.

“However, efforts to build out new long haul transmission have been stymied as of late by local opposition groups while the costs of even small scale transmission upgrades has ballooned in wind rich regions,” he said.

Just five states — Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas and Illinois — account for 70% of new wind installations over the last five years, according to Shreve, because that is where the best wind resources are, leading to low costs. But when those resources cannot be tapped to meet state or utility emissions reduction goals, potentially cheap wind energy is being left on the table.

“Top tier wind resources are critical to reaching the low power prices demanded by the market. These tend to be more localised than solar resources and situated in more remote locations,” Wood Mackenzie’s statement said, adding that “a lack of bulk transmission investment to support the expansion of wind power” is one of the “primary barriers” to decarbonizing the U.S. grid.

Curtailment occurs when there is more energy being produced than the market requires. Due to the transmission difficulties, many new wind farms are being built “in parts of the grid that are already saturated” but the owners of those projects simply have to accept curtailment, Grid Strategies Vice President Michael Goggin told Utility Dive.

While solar energy also faces constraints on where it can be built, siting is “a slightly larger impediment for wind than for solar,” according to Goggin, because if one location does not work out, it is relatively easy to find other locations where sun ray exposure is as strong, but locations with high wind resources are more limited. Even in regions with “strong low-cost wind resources,” there is a “low success rate” for proposed wind projects that enter the queue of projects hoping to interconnect to the grid, he said.

Over the past several years, wind energy has reduced costs significantly through technological improvements, like taller and more efficient turbine blades. But Wood Mackenzie expects future cost reductions to be “marginal.” More technological progress is expected for offshore wind compared to onshore, the statement said.

“Key evolutionary changes in turbine tower design, blade materials and controls will cause further reductions in onshore wind’s [levelized cost of electricity], however none can be considered true game change

Maryland regulators take cautious approach to multi-year rates, approve pilot for 1 utility

Author: Robert Walton       02/06/2020       Utility Dive


Author:                Published: 02/4/2020      Baltimore  Magazine


JACOB LOGAN SAW AN OPPORTUNITY. It was 1945, and Cherry Hill was finally being developed to alleviate housing shortages for the Black veterans and World War II defense workers that had flooded into Baltimore.

After years of delays because of white backlash at other proposed sites, the Cherry Hill project—the first suburban-style planned community for African Americans, and perhaps most conspicuous example of residential segregation by design ever in the United States—went up quickly once it got the go-ahead. Families rushed into the new rowhouses and apartment buildings before basic infrastructure, such as a school, shopping center, or grocery store, were even in place.

Originally from the rural South, Logan worked at the Bethlehem-Fairfield docks, having come to Baltimore during the war to build Liberty ships. Despite a fifth-grade education, he’d also managed to save and invest in a small corner grocery in a nearby Black section of South Baltimore by the time construction in Cherry Hill began. His wife, Estelle, a former downtown elevator operator, ran the store during the day while he toiled at his union job at the port. She was also from North Carolina, but they’d met in Baltimore.

In a moment of inspiration, the 25-year-old Logan purchased a used delivery truck when Cherry Hill opened its doors. Cramming the vehicle with every foodstuff, household, and drug store item he could buy or get on credit, he started making two Cherry Hill runs a day in his mini-Walmart on wheels. He drove through once in the morning, and then again after the neighborhood kids had returned from school. Later, he replaced the truck with an old, but bigger, school bus. “Oh, my God, how I remember,” recalls Linda Morris, author of Cherry Hill: Raising Successful Black Children in Jim Crow Baltimore. “We’d chase down the street after the bus: ‘Mister Logan, Mister Logan, do you have penny candy? Do you have penny candy today?’”


Born in 1920, Logan had grown up in the western corner of North Carolina, in Rutherford County, so named for a local plantation slaveholder and former U.S. Army general who had made his mark in the southern Appalachian “Indian” wars. Logan was raised on his grandparents’ farm, where he worked as a boy until he left home and school at 12 for domestic employment with a white family in nearby Forest City—coincidentally the site of one of the state’s most notorious lynchings—for room, board, and $1 a week. Three years later, with scant prospects in his state of origin, he left all he knew behind to earn $10 a week as a houseman for another white family in New York. He bolted to Baltimore after learning of higher wages building ships in the war effort.

Eventually, Logan would leave his Bethlehem-Fairfield job, too, opening a second grocery store in Turner Station, the then-fast-growing Black community in southeast Baltimore County. Building on his entrepreneurial successes, he launched a popular bread company in the 1950s, plastering his visage on loaves of “Daddy Logan” bread. When he retired at 73, he took up golf, which he’d dreamt of playing since his teenage caddying days.

“When the white businessman he worked for in New York told him he’d never be able to learn the game because he was Black—he would’ve said Negro or Colored in those days—my father never forgot that moment,” recalls Logan’s daughter, Francesca Brooks. “He played every day after he retired at Baltimore’s public courses and everywhere else. In his 80s, he’d challenge anyone to play him for money. His last golf trip, he took his son-in-law with him back to North Carolina, to play Pinehurst [the famous, long-segregated professional course]. That meant everything to him because of its history. He was 95. That was his bucket list. He died two years later in 2017. Only once did I hear him express anything like regret or bitterness. I guess he kept those thoughts and feelings from us. ‘I made it a long way in my lifetime,’ he said. ‘I just would’ve liked to have seen how far I could’ve gotten, if I hadn’t started so far behind.’”


“I was leaving the South to fling myself into the unknown . . .  I was taking a part of the South to transplant in alien soil, to see if it could grow differently, if it could drink of new and cool rains, bend in strange winds, respond to the warmth of other suns and, perhaps, to bloom.”

—Richard Wright, from Black Boy, 1945

The Great Migration, the exodus of more than 6 million African Americans from the rural South to cities in the North—or in Baltimore’s case, almost North—Midwest, and West between 1910 and 1970, was one of the largest internal movements of people in U.S. history. It also remains, with the exception of Isabel Wilkerson’s award-winning treatise, The Warmth of Other Suns, whose title honors the Mississippi-born Wright, one of the most under-chronicled stories of the 20th century.

In each U.S. Census prior to 1910, more than 90 percent of the country’s Black population lived in the South, with the overwhelming majority of those individuals spread out in rural areas across former Confederate States. By the end of the Great Migration, nearly half of the nation’s Black population had decamped for the booming cities of Detroit, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia, and Cleveland, Newark, Pittsburgh, and “Up-South” Baltimore, to name a few, in hopes of economic opportunity, education, relief from white oppression and violence, and something closer to full participation in the civic life of their own country.

Without this leaderless mass flight— “Oftentimes, just to go away is one of the most aggressive things that another person can do,” wrote John Dollard, an anthropologist studying the racial caste system of the South in the 1930s—there would be no successful World War II defense build-up at Sparrows Point, the Bethlehem-Fairfield shipyards, or the huge Glenn L. Martin aircraft plant in Baltimore. There would be no Steel Belt, no “Big Three” auto-making capital in Detroit, no “City of Big Shoulders” meatpacking houses and railroad yards. Which means there would also be no Motown, no Chicago blues, no Muddy Waters, no Aretha Franklin, and no Jackson 5. There’d be no Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston—a Florida native who attended high school in Baltimore. There’d be no modern jazz as we know it. Thelonius Monk and John Coltrane were born less than a decade apart in rural North Carolina—just like Jacob Logan.

In Baltimore, the proportion of the Black population tripled during the Great Migration, growing from less than 85,000, 15 percent of the city’s overall population, in 1910, to more than 420,000 and a near majority by 1970.  As it is impossible to imagine this country without the contributions of those who fled the Deep South for Detroit, Chicago, and New York, it’s impossible to conjure a Baltimore without the hundreds of thousands of people who came to the city as part of the Great Migration—whether under their own volition or carried to new futures by their parents.

A few notables: the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the son of former South Carolina sharecroppers; Judge Robert Bell, retired Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals, who returned home to North Carolina during his boyhood summers to tie and cure tobacco; former state Sen. Clarence Blount, also the son of Carolina tobacco workers and the first African-American majority leader in the General Assembly; former state Sen. Verda Welcome, one of 16 children raised on a small North Carolina farm and the first Black woman ever elected to a U.S. state Senate; former city councilwoman and homeless advocate Bea Gaddy; acclaimed poet Lucille Clifton, twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and renowned singer Ethel Ennis, Baltimore’s “first lady of jazz,” who died a year ago this month. Her parents, a Harlem Park barber and a homemaker who played piano at Ames United Methodist Church, both migrated from South Carolina and met in Baltimore.


Businessman, investor, and subsequent political power player “Little Willie” Adams left the cotton fields of Zebulon, North Carolina, in 1929 at 15. A literal rags-to-riches story, Adams worked his way up from running numbers and cutting sailcloth into rags at a Fells Point shop to running his own illegal lottery operation, among other business. Later, he emerged to use his influence, wealth, and resources to finance scores of legal Black businesses, including the Super Pride grocery chain and Parks Sausage Co., one of the first Black-owned companies to trade publicly on Wall Street.

At the same time, William March, born to a North Carolina Lutheran minister following the flock to Baltimore, clerked a post office night shift while building his eastside funeral business into one of the largest African-American-owned mortuary services in the country. March would also co-found the Harbor Bank of Maryland, the state’s first Black-owned commercial bank. And before all that, Master Sergeant March participated in the 1944 D-Day landing at Normandy.

Negro League star Leon Day was born in Virginia, moved to Baltimore with his family as a youngster, and ended up in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. A generation after Olympian Jesse Owens, heavyweight champion Joe Louis, and Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson made their marks—all children of sharecroppers who made their way North or West as part of the Great Migration—Jim Parker and Gene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb, born in Georgia and Alabama, respectively, came to Baltimore and helped the Colts win two NFL titles. Orioles’ great Frank Robinson, as well as standout Don Buford, both born in Texas in the 1930s, helped the O’s become the best team in baseball. Earl “the Pearl” Monroe and Wes Unseld, drafted back-to-back in 1967 and 1968, came with roots in Kentucky and North Carolina, respectively, and made the Bullets the most exciting team in professional basketball.

The parents of Kurt Schmoke, the city’s first elected Black mayor, are from North Carolina and Georgia and met here.

Quiltmaker Elizabeth Talford Scott, a middle child of 14, whose family sharecropped vegetables and cotton on the land where they once had been enslaved, made the Great Migration journey from rural South Carolina to Sandtown-Winchester in the late 1930s. She worked as a housekeeper and nanny and eventually met Charlie Scott Jr., a Bethlehem Steel crane operator and son of North Carolina tobacco sharecroppers. Their daughter is MacArthur “Genius” Grant winner and artist Joyce J. Scott.

“My parents left the South in order to get jobs that weren’t back-breaking and to join other family who had already left,” says Scott, whose mother died in 2011. “My mother came to Washington, D.C., first. She was on her way to Chicago, and Baltimore was supposed to be a way station. Then she met my father. My mother went to a one-room schoolhouse, and my father, the same thing. They left to get away from the persistent and overt racism that happened every day. They told stories of being afraid of the police, of people arrested for loitering and being put in jail without a trial or put on a chain gang for weeks, months, and years to work on some white farmer’s land. Those things [related to a penal labor practice known as “convict leasing”] are not myths. That was prevalent.

“There were so many people in West Baltimore from Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina—there were whole communities and congregations that were like ‘Little Virginia,’ ‘Little North Carolina,’ and ‘Little South Carolina,’” continues Scott, who attended since-closed, once all-white Eastern High School during the mid-1960s civil rights era. “They helped people from the country adapt to the city.”

Joyce J. Scott and Elizabeth Talford Scott’s joint exhibition last year at The Baltimore Museum of Art, Hitching Their Dreams to Untamed Stars, evoked both the Underground Railroad and “over-ground” Great Migration. “Those exoduses are cousins,” Scott says. One of her mother’s quilts in the show, “Plantation,” features a galaxy of multicolored stars in the night sky, referencing both the land where she grew up and the constellation maps enslaved people used to escape to the North.

“What seems of most interest here is that they were in the frame of mind for leaving,” the Black scholar Emmett J. Scott (no relation to Joyce J. Scott or Elizabeth Talford Scott) wrote in 1920 of the first Great Migration wave, kickstarted by labor shortages in the North as European immigration came to an abrupt halt during World War I. “They left as though they were fleeing some curse; they were willing to make almost any sacrifice to obtain a railroad ticket and they left with the intention of staying.”

This flight from the Deep South, continued Emmett J. Scott, whose papers are archived at Morgan State University, suggested nothing short of the Israelites’ decision to flee Egypt and cross the Jordan River for the Promised Land. “At times, demonstrations took on a rather spectacular aspect, as when a party of 147 from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, while crossing the Ohio River, held solemn ceremonies,” he reported. “These migrants knelt down and prayed; the men stopped their watches and, amid tears of joy, sang the familiar songs of deliverance . . . One woman of the party declared that she could detect an actual difference in the atmosphere beyond the Ohio River, explaining that it was much lighter and that she could get her breath more easily.”


At first, Great Migration arrivals into Baltimore were mostly in-state transplants, as one might expect, from Eastern Shore sharecropping farms and Southern Maryland tobacco fields. In 1910, 87 percent of the city’s Black population was native to Maryland, with migrants from Virginia making up the largest group of those born outside of the state. By 1920, however, the share of Black Baltimoreans who were Maryland natives had already declined to 76 percent. By the outset of the Great Depression, nearly half of the city’s Black population had been born outside Maryland.

The early in-state migrants were lured up and across the Chesapeake Bay by the already large and, in many cases, thriving Black neighborhoods in East and West Baltimore that had been built around Black churches, Black-owned businesses, then-Morgan College, and the city’s burgeoning mill, railroad, factory, and port industries. Since at least Frederick Douglass’ time in the city in the 1830s, African Americans from the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland had viewed Baltimore as a kind of mecca. After the Civil War and brief optimism of Reconstruction, they continued to come seeking better jobs and wages and education for their children.

Equally important: those leaving Maryland’s rural counties for Baltimore were also seeking relief from discrimination and political oppression, as well as the ever-present threat of white violence—they were, for all intents and purposes, refugees seeking asylum within the borders of their own state. Baltimore was still segregated, but it provided greater opportunity and options, and it was safer. From 1877 to 1950, more than 4,000 Black Americans, an average of more than one person a week, were lynched in the U.S. The last three of the more than 40 lynchings that took place in Maryland occurred in the early 1930s on the Eastern Shore, later than commonly assumed, and still within the lifetime of many Maryland residents today. But no lynching, as far as anyone knows, ever took place in Baltimore City, where there had always been a large, free, dynamic Black population.

Such was the terror inspired by lynchings and near-lynchings, according to Charles Chavis Jr., director of the John Mitchell Jr. Program for History, Justice, and Race at George Mason University, that there was a direct correlation between those witnessing lynchings on the Eastern Shore and those fleeing to Philadelphia and Baltimore. “In terms of the Eastern Shore and its sense of place, with its agriculture and isolation, it possessed the spirit of the antebellum Deep South,” says Chavis. “The whole concept of Maryland as ‘the Middle Ground’ with both a history of slavery and also always a large free Black population in Baltimore makes it unique in the story of the Great Migration. Baltimore wasn’t the ‘North,’ but for many, it was ‘close enough.’”


  One of those early Great Migration Baltimore families with Chesapeake roots is pictured on the cover of this issue. The proud dad and city postal worker at the far left of the photograph, Walter Dean Sr., had family in Dorchester County. His father left in search of employment shortly after the start of the Great Migration and met his future wife in Baltimore. Alongside Dean Sr. in the full photo (see table of contents) by photographer Henry Phillips—whose own family descended from Southern Maryland, Virginia, and Florida migrants—are his wife, Ruth, and seven of their nine children. The two oldest sons, including civil rights leader and state delegate Walter Dean Jr., were grown and serving in the Air Force by the time the image, which appeared in the Afro-American on March 31, 1956, was taken. It depicts the family after a shopping trip for Easter shoes.

“In that photograph are my grandfather and grandmother, my aunts, one of my uncles, and my mother—she is the second to last from the right,” says Monica Bland, who runs a local business. “In fact, everyone in that photo is alive today, other than my grandparents. My great-grandmother’s family was from the same Church Creek area as Harriet Tubman, about six miles outside Cambridge, and we grew up driving back there on Memorial Day to visit family. I was young, but I remember going to church, the country food and the cookouts, and most of all that we’d stop at Dairy Queen on the way back. My great-grandfather, who was born in 1885, died in 1963, three years before I was born. He’d come to Baltimore to work as a young man and eventually got a job at Bethlehem Steel and worked there a long time. Everyone in that picture made it to the middle class.”

In the ensuing decades, as post-war industrialization shifted into high gear, thousands of others fled from Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida to Baltimore (and the rest of the cities in the northeast corridor), typically on the most direct roads, rails, and bus lines available. In similar fashion, Alabamians, Mississippians, Tennesseans, and Arkansans generally headed due north for the Midwest, while Louisianans and Texans went west for California.

They were leaving behind childhood homes and close-knit families in an age before rural electrification was complete and every house had a telephone, which made the distance between a South Carolina farm and an East or West Baltimore rowhouse feel much greater than today. As with the German, Eastern European, and Jewish immigrants who had arrived at the piers at Locust Point a generation or three earlier, Southern migrants tended to be mostly young, healthy, resilient adults. But as anyone from Baltimore knows, those Southern bonds remain deeply embedded to this day, and city parks are filled each summer with cookouts as Southern family members come up for reunions. And each summer, of course, Baltimore families also trek back to Virginia and the Carolinas to reconnect with relatives who never left.



Those visits are enjoyable, obviously, but sometimes complicated as well. Loyola University professor Kaye Whitehead spent the past holiday season visiting her childhood home in South Carolina with her parents, husband, and college-student son. It was a trip that included stops at her grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ gravesites and a journey filled with smiles, hugs, and love, but also recollections of cruel history and tears. “My son is starting to understand that he is a descendant of men and women who chose to survive,” Whitehead wrote in a series of Facebook posts documenting the trip. “My prayer is that he never forgets.”

In doing research for his memoir, Johns Hopkins University professor Lawrence Jackson, a West Baltimore native and author of My Father’s Name: A Black Virginia Family after the Civil War, had trouble simply locating his grandparents’ home in Virginia, which he had visited regularly as a child in the early ’70s. “My grandparents lived in a house that didn’t have indoor plumbing, just outhouses, and I can still remember sitting in the grass near the railroad tracks as a kid, hoping a train would go by,” he recalls. “So many of the landmarks were gone, it was hard to find. Going back also made me think about the erasure of Black history that has taken place.”

For Baltimore City Office of Civil Rights spokesman John Wesley, born in 1948 in Mississippi, contradictions and complex feelings around family and birthplace are forever intertwined. Wesley grew up on a farm across the street from the white men who beat, shot, and threw the body of Emmett Till in the Tallahatchie River after the 14-year-old Chicago teenager—visiting family over the summer—was accused of offending a white woman in a grocery store. Medgar Evers, the state’s field secretary for the NAACP, killed in 1963, was a family friend. “Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there was nothing you could do about anything in Mississippi, whether it was getting a fair trial or getting fair wages,” Wesley says. “You’d get paid $2.50 for picking 100 pounds of cotton. Do you know how long it takes to pick 100 pounds of cotton? All day.”

Wesley’s godmother was the legendary civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. He arrived in Baltimore after landing a job at WJZ-TV in 1973. “Those things you grow up with, you never forget, that’s for better and worse,” Wesley says. “That includes the land, culture, taking your time with people, the food—the pigs’ feet, pigs’ tail, pigs’ ears that we grew up eating, and rabbit and rabbit gravy, too. And you remember the fig trees and pecan trees and fields where you worked, and where your parents and grandparents worked. There was a concrete bench that was in front of my godmother’s house that is still there. My favorite pecan tree is still there, too. It’s still home.”


If the labor of those migrating from the Deep South was welcome in the factories and mills of Baltimore, and in the kitchens and homes of white families here and in other cities above the Mason-Dixon line, the people themselves often were not. The flip side of the Great Migration is, of course, Jim Crow. “They are inseparable,” says David Taft Terry, former executive director of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum and author of The Struggle and the Urban South: Confronting Jim Crow in Baltimore before the Movement.

Jim Crow, the apartheid system legalized by the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision that made “separate but equal” the law of the land, may have driven African Americans from the Deep South, but it also still plagued migrants whatever their destination, maybe more in Baltimore than any other Great Migration harbor. The broader white population here, and elsewhere, certainly did not take up the cause of desegregation and anti-racism at any time during the Great Migration. The white business community was all too happy to exploit cheap labor while also using the threat of Black replacements to keep white blue-collar workers in line. White political leaders in Maryland and other places, pandering to whites both established and arriving from the rural South for those same manufacturing jobs, often proved all too eager to fan the flames of “fear” for votes. It is no mere coincidence that Baltimore’s extraordinary, first-of-its-kind residential segregation ordinances, later copied in other American cities, as well as apartheid South Africa, were written into law in 1910, just as the Great Migration, coined “the Negro Invasion” by the Baltimore Sun, was getting underway.

Baltimore’s mandate that Black individuals could only move into majority Black blocks, and white people could only move into majority white blocks, was ultimately shot down by the U.S. Supreme Court. But those restrictions were soon replaced with equally efficient redlining and blockbusting practices, as well as private racial housing covenants. Black individuals and families coming to Baltimore not only had to deal with second-class social status, but often substandard alley house and public housing conditions and always a “Colored” school system that received a fraction of the taxpayer support of white schools. The racist housing, workplace, public accommodation, recreation, shopping, and theater practices—not to mention planning that promoted “slum clearance” and urban highway projects that cut through Black neighborhoods—remained intact well into the 1960s. Other Jim Crow policies and practices, like the War on Drugs and disinvestment of Black neighborhoods, the acceptance of police brutality by the city police department, and chronic underfunding of the city’s majority Black public-school system and the city’s historically Black colleges, to name a few, remain in place.


Jim Crow laws, in other words, were established to do more than prevent contact between Black people and white people. The intention was to portray white people as superior, but for a larger purpose—the mendacious social construction was (and still is) easily exploited for the purpose of maintaining economic and political power. In Baltimore, Jim Crow rules were clear to those who grew up in the city, if not always clear to outsiders. “Baltimore was always different,” says University of Maryland law professor and Young Thurgood author Larry Gibson, 77. “The assumption is it’s because it is situated in a border state, but the fact is, you have these very different regions within Maryland—the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland, which are more like the Deep South, and Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Carroll County, and Western Maryland, too. They all surround Baltimore, and the influence is profound. I went to Howard University, and we used to say then that Baltimore was south of D.C. You could eat at more places in Washington. Go out and do things more freely. The strange thing was that in Baltimore, you didn’t see the ‘Colored’ or ‘White Only’ signs on everything like you did further South,” Gibson continues. “Those signs are not even in the photographs of Baltimore of the time. I don’t know why, but you just knew growing up in Baltimore where you could go and where you couldn’t—what park you could go to and what restaurant you could go to—and the ones you can’t. For some reason, no one had to tell you, that’s how ingrained it was.”

Gibson’s mother migrated to Baltimore from St. Mary’s County tobacco country, where he still has many close family members and first cousins. His father’s family is from North Carolina. Like many children of the Great Migration, he enjoyed visits with his maternal-side relatives, to fish and spend time outdoors in the countryside.  In many ways, the modern civil rights movement begins in Baltimore. That’s in large part because of the significant free Black community that long existed in the city, and a number of uncommon individuals with pre-Great Migration roots in Baltimore, including Rev. Harvey Johnson, who founded the Mutual United Brotherhood of Liberty, predecessor of the NAACP; Carl Murphy, longtime publisher of the Afro-American; Thurgood Marshall, the first head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and first Black justice to sit on the Supreme Court; Lillie Carroll Jackson, the head of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP from 1935-1970; and her daughter Juanita Jackson Mitchell and her husband Clarence Mitchell Jr.

Motivated by the lynching of George Armwood in Princess Anne County in 1933, Marshall, 19 months after passing the bar, took up the case of Amherst College graduate Donald Murray and successfully challenged the University of Maryland law school’s policy of not admitting Black applicants. In 1950, Marshall won another key victory on the road to his Brown v. the Board of Education victory four years later when he took up the case of aspiring Baltimore nurse Esther McCready, who had challenged the University of Maryland nursing school’s policy of not admitting Black students.

Meanwhile, the city’s burgeoning Black population augmented the budding mid-century civil rights protest movement in Baltimore. Morgan State’s growing student body provided strength-in-numbers support for the long picket at Ford’s Theatre in the 1940s and 1950s, and sit-ins at Read’s Drug Stores, the Northwood movie theater, White Coffee Pot restaurants, and Arundel Ice Cream shops over the next two decades. Hundreds of people were arrested at the segregation protests at the Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in 1963. Having already come so far, often it was young Black migrants from the South who put their bodies on the line to challenge Jim Crow in Baltimore.

In 1960, Dunbar High junior Robert Bell, future chief judge of Maryland’s highest court, took part in a sit-in protest at Hooper’s Restaurant that led to a case that reached the Supreme Court. “In North Carolina, where I was from, there was just a small town, so everything was segregated. You sat in the balcony at the movie theater, went to the back door at the restaurant to get served,” Bell recalls during a break at a recent Maryland Lynching Memorial Project symposium at the Morgan State Center for Civil Rights in Education, which is named after him. “In East Baltimore, though, where my mother moved us before I started school, we had a Black theater in the neighborhood where you could sit anywhere you like. We had Black restaurants. You could shop on Gay Street and try on and buy all your clothes and shoes. But then, if you went downtown, the rules were totally different. Somehow that made it all the more crazy, more striking. College students from Morgan had come to Dunbar to recruit student volunteers for a sit-in, and it wasn’t hard to persuade me to go along.”


Thomas Dartmouth Rice, a white American actor, gained wide popularity performing in blackface as “Jim Crow,” a hapless, exaggerated, highly distorted black character who sang “Negro ditties.”  By the late 1830s, the term “Jim Crow” had become a racial epithet for blacks, with Rice’s traveling minstrel shows aiding the spread of Jim Crow as a slur. By the turn of the 19th century, Jim Crow was in use to describe codified laws and practices that segregated and oppressed blacks in the South and North.


1870: Maryland rejects the ratified 15th Amendment guaranteeing voting rights to African Americans.

1884: Interracial marriages banned in Maryland.

1891: The University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore bans African Americans from attending.

1904: Public transportation and other public facilities in Maryland are segregated by law.

1906-9: Edd Watson, Henry Davis, James Reed, William Burns, and William Ramsay are lynched on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

1910: Baltimore enacts the nation’s first housing ordinance segregating neighborhoods by blocks.

1911: King Johnson is lynched in Anne Arundel County.

1913: NAACP chapter established in Baltimore.

1915: Chapter 51 of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is formed in Mount Rainier.

1922: KKK rallies in Baltimore and Frederick.

1924:Maryland passes a law punishing “any white woman who shall suffer or permit herself to be got with child by a Negro or mulatto . . . to the penitentiary for not less than 18 months.”

1931:A white mob lynches Matthew Williams in Salisbury.

1933: George Armwood is lynched in Princess Anne.

1942: Baltimore police officer kills an unarmed Black soldier, Pvt. Thomas Broadus, setting off police brutality and discrimination protests in the state.

1947: Baltimore’s NAACP branch begins a five-year, ultimately successful, picket of Ford’s Theatre.

1948: 24 Black and white tennis players are arrested while playing together on Druid Hill Park’s “whites-only” courts.

1954: Baltimore public schools desegregate following landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision; Anne Arundel and Howard counties will take more than a decade to comply.

1955: Morgan State students and the Committee on Racial Equality (CORE) organize historic sit-in protests and desegregate Read’s lunch counters.

1959: 90 years after the 14th Amendment guaranteeing full civil rights to African Americans is adopted, Maryland finally ratifies the amendment.

1960: Local high school students, including future Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert Bell, then a junior at Dunbar High, demand service at Hooper’s Restaurant at Charles and Fayette Streets in a case that eventually reaches the U.S. Supreme Court.

1960: Morgan State students are arrested at Hecht-May Co. department store in the Northwood Shopping Center.

1963: Nearly 350 Morgan State students are arrested protesting segregation at the Northwood movie theater.

1963: July 4 and 7, nearly 400 demonstrators are arrested while protesting segregation at Gwynn Oak Amusement Park.

1963: Racial tensions rise in Cambridge after pro-segregation police and white citizens attack Black students attempting to get served at the Dizzyland restaurant.

1966: KKK cross-burnings in Camp Springs.

1967: Over Easter weekend, three crosses are burned in Laurel.

1972: Alabama Gov. George Wallace, a segregationist, wins state Democratic primary.

2017: Baltimore City removes four Confederate monuments.

Even before that, in the summer of 1944, a decade before Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, a young Baltimore mother with two children named Irene Morgan, who built B-26 bombers at the Glenn L. Martin plant by day, refused to give up her seat on a Greyhound bus after visiting her mother back home in Gloucester County, Virginia. Morgan’s husband worked on Baltimore’s docks, and she was returning to the city after an extended stay with her mother while recovering from a miscarriage. When the bus grew crowded and the Greyhound driver demanded she give her seat to a white couple, Morgan refused. When a sheriff’s deputy at the jail, where the driver drove when she wouldn’t budge, tried to pull her off, Morgan resisted and spent seven hours in county lock-up.

She paid the $100 fine for resisting arrest, but she refused to pay the $10 fine for violating a Virginia law requiring segregated seating in public transportation. Morgan, who died in 2007, was driven, as a family member explained, by “the pent-up bitterness of years of seeing the Colored people pushed around,” and she accepted the burden of bearing witness in court. The NAACP and Marshall took up her cause and won a landmark desegregation victory regarding interstate transportation in 1946.

A year after the decision, white and Black activists with the newly formed Congress of Racial Equality launched a two-week “Journey of Reconciliation” through the South to explain and test the Morgan decision. On buses and trains, they sang a song penned by organizers called “You Don’t Have to Ride Jim Crow!”

On June the Third the high court said, When you ride interstate, Jim Crow is dead. . . . Get on the bus, sit anyplace, ’Cause Irene Morgan won her case. You don’t have to ride Jim Crow.

In the ensuing years, Morgan would remarry and move to New York, where she ran a childcare business. At 68, she earned a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University. In her 70s, she received a master’s degree in urban studies.

“[The deputy sheriff] put his hand on me to arrest me, so I took my foot and kicked him,” recounted Morgan, who returned to Virginia to live out her final years, a half-century later in a PBS documentary. “He was blue and purple and turned all colors. I started to bite him, but he looked dirty, so I couldn’t bite him. So all I could do was claw and tear his clothes.

“That was a seat I had paid for,” she said. “Sometimes, you are so enraged, you don’t have time to be afraid.”




My mother was pregnant with me upon our arrival at 613 I Street in Sparrows Point in 1949. In order to live in the company houses, as we did, the head of the household had to work for the company. There was myself, my brothers Emile, Gerald, Chauncey, and, later to come, our baby sister, Leatrice, living there. Our oldest brother, Reggie, lived in Virginia with our grandparents, but stayed with us in the summer. Our older sisters, Eleanor, Jenny, and Curley, were grown by then. One early memory was when I was invited across the street to Ms. Pearl Boware’s house for a soft candy peppermint stick pushed down into a juicy lemon.

People on the “white” side lived on C through H streets, and we on the “Colored” side lived on I, J, and K streets. Although we were free to walk or ride over to “the other side” as it was called, we just took care of our business at the white-owned establishments [restaurants, grocery, department, and drug stores]. We didn’t linger when we finished—we headed right back over to “our” side. I went to an all-Black school until ninth grade. Our family used to go down to Virginia to visit my grandparents in the summertime, and I remember being shocked at the end of one summer that my cousins in Virginia weren’t going to school that year. They had closed the school rather than desegregate.

There was still farming going on down there [on my grandparents’ land], and my father always kept a big vegetable garden—tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, greens, string beans, collards—across the street from our house, too. He brought the country with us to Sparrows Point. One particular time, we found ourselves with a feathered friend . . . a brown hen that was brought back as a pet.

My dad was very proud when I had gotten a job at the main office of Bethlehem Steel—I was the second Black person to work in the purchasing department. My brothers Gerald and Chauncey worked at Bethlehem Steel, too. Daddy liked to visit “Mickey’s” after work, where he could unwind with his friends. Then, he would drive home and have a delicious meal, which my mother had prepared. He always said grace. And when Sunday came, he dressed in a suit and tie to go to church with the rest of our family. Daddy served as an usher, dutifully, for as long as I can remember. He was a sincere man with a love for Christ. As a boy in Virginia, he worked on his parent’s farm and only had a third-grade education [but] he was highly intelligent. He would memorize scripture, not wanting people to know he couldn’t read sufficiently. He found a way to keep that to himself. When he was to participate by “reading” from the Bible during a special program, he simply walked to the rostrum, opened his Bible to his favorite scripture, Psalm 133, and “read” it from his memory. —Edited from Steel-Town Girl and 2019 interview.



The South was always pretty tough, places like Mississippi were just backwards, racially speaking. And we got this real hateful climate where people in the Congress and other leaders were speaking forcefully about the fact that they were not going to integrate schools. George Lee was killed for trying to get Black folks to register to vote. He was actually one of two people who were killed in 1954 there, just before in 1955 Emmett Till was killed. You went out there to do a job. Most of us thought that it was important.

Shortly after that, we were [in Atlanta with] the Freedom Riders. Martin Luther King told our good friend Simeon Booker [the first Black journalist at The Washington Post] that the KKK and others were planning to see that the Freedom Riders never got out of Alabama alive. I was on the Greyhound, and they threw this firebomb thing in the seat just behind me, which was an empty seat.

I got a few burns on the back of the ear and that sort of thing, but nothing serious. Suddenly, it was pitch black on that bus. And I said, “Well, I’m going to be the last guy off this bus. Nobody gets trapped on here.” So, I just put a handkerchief over my mouth and nose and hung around as long as I could. I tell you, when you stepped off that bus and you looked around and saw these people crawling around, trying to get the smoke out of their chest, and people crawling and coughing and gagging, it was one of those sights that makes you wonder why Americans are doing that sort of thing to fellow Americans who were just trying to exercise their rights. Eventually, that bus burned right down, broad open daylight. —Edited from a Library of Congress oral history, 2011.



That picture was taken at my father’s gas station on the southwest corner of Lafayette Avenue and North Gilmore Street. It was probably 1958. I was 8. My dad was the proprietor of that gas station and a second one located at West North Avenue and McCulloh Street. I remember my dad telling me that he was the first Black—“Colored” in those days—Sinclair station proprietor in Baltimore. He became the proprietor in 1952. The location pictured was a full-service station, offering basic maintenance like oil changes, as well as mechanical repairs and tire service. The station on North Avenue offered gasoline and oil changes only. My dad also had a tow truck in addition to the tank truck in the picture. He used the tanker to deliver heating fuel oil during the cold months. Regarding the photograph, from left to right are me, my dad, and my mom. I do not remember the names of the remaining individuals, but they worked for my dad.

My dad closed the North Avenue location in 1960 and the main location in 1961. He later taught automotive repair in Baltimore City public schools. My dad was the youngest of six children and was born in Baltimore in 1921, but his oldest siblings were born in Virginia. He served in the Army with my mother’s brother, and that’s how [my parents] met. Her family had migrated to Philadelphia from around Griffin, Georgia, in 1919, shortly after her parents married. I was told my grandfather said, “I’m not going to raise my children in the South.”

Both my parents—they married shortly after he returned from World War II, in June 1946—have gone to be with Jesus and are laid to rest at the Maryland Veterans Cemetery at Garrison Forrest. This was my dad’s request. He passed in 1995 in Baltimore. My mother, Eunice, died at 86 in 2011. He was a member of 548th Combat Engineers Company, a segregated all-Black unit, and a motor sergeant, which was as high as you could go. He said several times that he wanted to be “with my boys” when his time came. —Edited from 2019 interview.



From 8 years old, I wanted to be a nurse, and Provident Hospital was the only school in Baltimore because everything else was segregated. All hospitals were segregated. There was nothing wrong with Provident. When I graduated from high school, one of my classmates was admitted there. But I said to another classmate, “It’s a shame we can’t go to any school we want to go to merely because of our race.” I said, “Let’s write to the white schools.” I don’t know where it came from. She said, “You know what they are going to say.” I said, “Yes, but let’s write anyway.” All of this is just coming [out of me].

We started getting replies back: “We don’t accept Negroes.” “We don’t accept Negroes at this time.” Maryland sent me the catalogue that we had requested and the application. When I took my [physical examination] form to my medical doctor, he said, “Did you contact the NAACP? You know you are not going to get in there without their help.” They sent me the application, but he said that doesn’t mean anything. I believe [my physician] contacted the NAACP, because I heard from Donald Murray [who had integrated Maryland’s law school]. They wanted me to talk to Charles Houston [the NAACP’s first litigation director], and the first thing he said was, “Who put you up to it?” I told him nobody. He said, “Okay, you’re very brave, and since you started it, we’ll let you continue, and if you get into any trouble, call on us.”

Of course, the admission date [came] and I hadn’t heard from them. It was always, “The committee on admissions is reviewing your credentials”—that was their mantra. I called them. That’s when Charles Houston and Donald Gaines Murray went into the lower court to argue. We lost there. Charles Houston had a heart attack by the time the appeal came up, so that’s how Thurgood Marshall got in. He was called down from New York to argue the appeal with Donald Murray, and in April 1950, the decision was handed down that the university had to admit me. And that was another song and dance. I remember that first day when they pretended they had no [dormitory] rooms there and I had to commute. It was so stressful. That first day a nurse had come to me and said, “If you don’t pray to God, you won’t get out of here because nobody here is for you.” And I looked at her and I said, “If God intends for me to get out of here, nobody here can stop me.” Many trials and tribulations, but I did graduate. I still go back to encourage the young people coming in. —Edited from remarks at Maryland Historical Society, 2012.