Conversation with Women Cyber & STEM Leaders

Author: Talib Karim           3/30/2021             Steam4US

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STEM4US! and our network of over 10,000 parents, educators, and professionals, invite you to a Special Online Conversation with Women Leaders in Cyber & STEM.

When: Tuesday, March 30, 2021, 7PM-8:30 PM (Eastern)

Dont miss this unique opportunity.  Tune in to learn, get inspired, and share your questions and comments.

Get set to enjoy this historic conversation with women on what its like to lead Cyber & STEM organizations in business, government and education during the Biden-Harris era.

Talib I. Karim, Esq. – STEM4US! CEO

STEM4US! 2020-2021 Partners
David Ownes
Legacy Bridges STEM Academy, Inc.
Cyber Training Group International LLC/JacoTravel LLC
National African American Drug Policy Coalition
Brooks & Associates Global Learning Services, LLC
The McCain Group LLC
Mission 2 Change
Col. Walter Ingram, USAF
Stan Bennet
Daryl Horton
Ernest Stewart
Jeffory Harrison
James Kerr
Margret Tyus
Andrew Holloway
African Housing Equity Fund
American Association of Blacks in Energy
Davis Dance Studio
Digitize Learning
Hon. Martavious Jones, Memphis City Council
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Eastern Province
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Hyattsville/Landover (MD) Alumni Chapter
Fatima Iqbal-Zubair
Perry Paylor, Deputy State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
Dr. Nicole Cranston
Jesse Wimbish

National Association of Black In Solar Launches New Website

Author: Ronald Bethea               3/28/2021         


Blacks In

                  POWER FOR PEOPLE



1105 W Street SE Washington, D.C. 20020   Phone 202.506.7586 WELCOME TO BLACKS IN SOLAR T/A Blacks in Solar PRESS RELEASE The Platform presented herein is in response to 5 years of solar industry research and data analysis Compiled by the POSITIVE CHANGE PURCHASING COOPERATIVE LLC of Takoma Park Maryland 20912 Founding/Charter Members From: Ronald K. […]


IRS Postpones April 15 Deadline

Author: Alistair M. Nevius, J.D.      Published: 3/17/21        The Tax Adviser

The IRS announced on Wednesday that it is postponing the deadline for all individual tax returns. Returns otherwise due April 15 will not have to be filed until May 17 this year. The IRS says it will issue formal guidance in the near future.

The postponement applies only to individual taxpayers, who can postpone their federal income tax returns and income tax payment due on April 15 until May 17, 2021. They do not have to file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to qualify for this postponement.

The IRS says taxpayers who request an extension using Form 4868 will, as usual, have until Oct. 15 to file their returns, but their tax payments will be due May 17.

No interest, penalty, or addition to tax for failure to file a federal income tax return or to pay federal income taxes will accrue between April 15, 2021, and May 17, 2021, for any return or payment postponed by the announcement.

The postponement does not apply to estimated income tax payments due April 15, 2021, for 2021 tax years. The postponement, as announced on Wednesday, does not apply to any other type of federal tax or to any federal information returns.

In a statement, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig attributed the postponement to hardships taxpayers are experiencing due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, the IRS is also having to cope with tax changes made by the American Rescue Plan Act, P.L. 117-2, enacted March 11, which included a new round of economic impact payments that the IRS must send out. The IRS recently reported that it has now sent out 90 million stimulus payments under the American Rescue Plan Act.

The American Rescue Plan Act also includes changes that retroactively affect 2020 returns, including making the first $10,200 in unemployment benefits tax-free for many taxpayers. The IRS recently released informal guidance on its website for taxpayers who received unemployment benefits in 2020. The webpage includes an unemployment compensation exclusion worksheet. The IRS promises more guidance and on Saturday urged taxpayers to wait to file amended returns.

This marks the second year in a row that the April 15 deadline has been postponed. Last year, federal tax filing and payment deadlines were postponed to July 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s filing season started later than usual (Feb. 12), and as of March 5 the IRS was reporting that it had received 55.7 million returns and had processed 49 million returns. Total refunds were down 32% compared to the prior season.

AICPA response

The AICPA pointed out in a statement issued late Wednesday that many taxpayers will not benefit from the extended deadline. The failure to include estimated payments nullifies any benefit of a postponement, since the tax return work has to be done to calculate estimated payments, the AICPA noted. More than 9.5 million individual returns filed in for the 2018 tax year included estimated payments.

“While we appreciate the IRS’ recognition that a filing deadline postponement is indeed necessary, the announcement is far too selective in who is receiving relief,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA. “In fact, the taxpayers who are most likely to benefit from this additional time are taxpayers who are able to meet the original filing deadline.”

In letters to Treasury and the IRS, the AICPA has requested that payment and filing deadlines be extended to June 15.

“This selective decision by the IRS unfortunately creates more bureaucracy and confusion and is out of sync with real world stresses that taxpayers, tax practitioners and small businesses are dealing with,” said Melancon.

Senate Passes PPP Deadline Extension

Author: Jeff Drew         Published: 3/25/21                Journal of Accountancy

Senate Logo

A bill to move the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application deadline from March 31 to May 31 won approval in the U.S. Senate on Thursday.

The final vote to approve the PPP Extension Act of 2021, H.R. 1799, was 92–7.

There was some drama, however. A measure to amend the bill was narrowly defeated 52–48. The amendment, proposed by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., would have restricted the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) ability to prioritize certain PPP borrowers over others. If the measure had passed, it could have led to an amended bill having to be sent back for approval to the House of Representatives, which had passed the original bill 415–3 but currently is adjourned.

As it stands, the votes Thursday send the legislation to President Joe Biden for his signature several days before the PPP was set to expire.

The AICPA praised the passage of the PPP Extension Act, which extends the filing deadline for PPP applications by 60 days and provides an additional 30 days for the SBA to finish processing applications received by May 31.

In a news release, the AICPA said that the additional 60 days provided by the bill will greatly help small businesses, not-for-profits, and the CPAs that serve them complete existing PPP loan applications and file new ones. The extension act also provides the SBA time to address significant loan application process challenges, including confusing validation and error codes, delayed guidance, and changes to the PPP loan amount calculation for self-employed borrowers, the AICPA release said.

Patrick Kelley, associate administrator for the SBA’s Office of Capital Access, testified during a Senate Small Business Committee meeting Wednesday that 190,000 applications were still held up in the SBA’s PPP platform due to unresolved error codes related to validation checks instituted by the SBA to help prevent fraudulent applications from being funded.

The PPP Extension Act does not provide any additional funding for the current round of the PPP, which Congress provided with more than $290 billion to make forgivable loans to small businesses and not-for-profits. From the program’s opening on Jan. 11 through March 21, the SBA has approved more than 3.1 million loans totaling nearly $196 billion. In his testimony Wednesday, Kelley said that at the current lending rate, the PPP should have enough funding to last through mid-April.

AICPA experts discuss the latest on the PPP and other small business aid programs during a virtual town hall held every other week. The webcasts, which provide CPE credit, are free to AICPA members and $39.99 for nonmembers. Go to the AICPA Town Hall Series webpage for more information and to register. Recordings of Town Hall events are available to view for free on AICPA TV.

The AICPA’s Paycheck Protection Program Resources page houses resources and tools produced by the AICPA to help address the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Accounting firms can prepare and process applications for the PPP on the CPA Business Funding Portal, created by the AICPA,, and fintech partner Biz2Credit.

For more news and reporting on the coronavirus and how CPAs can handle challenges related to the outbreak, visit the JofA’s coronavirus resources page or subscribe to our email alerts for breaking PPP news.

— Jeff Drew ( is a JofA senior editor.

State-Based Energy Groups: Congress Must Pass Biden’s 100% Clean Electricity Standard Now

Author: Laura Cosky        Published: 3/17/21      CCAN

State-Based Energy Groups: Congress Must Pass Biden’s 100% Clean Electricity Standard Now

Nonprofits active in every region of the country say renewable power mandate is key to solving climate change, creating new jobs, and addressing equity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 22, 2021

Contact: Laura Cofsky,, 202-642-9336

Mike Tidwell,, 240-460-583

WASHINGTON, DC — Six of the nation’s best-known groups fighting climate change at the state and regional levels today asked Congress to quickly pass President Biden’s proposal for 100% clean electricity nationwide by 2035. Such a measure, the groups say, would dramatically build on proven local successes in using clean-energy mandates to create jobs, clean the air, and fight climate change.

As a candidate, Joe Biden pledged to quickly enact legislation mandating that all the nation’s electricity be carbon-pollution free by the year 2035. That legislative vote will likely come before Congress soon – sometime this spring.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders today, the regional leaders said such a policy was “vital” in the fight against global warming while rebuilding the US economy with environmental justice. Read the letter here.

The six signatory groups are active in 27 states whose populations, collectively, exceed 155 million people.

Said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, one of the signatory groups:

“Congress, right now, must build on state-based successes in advancing wind and solar and other clean electricity sources. Joe Biden’s 100%-by-2035 plan will have a global impact while capitalizing on these state-based track records. We’ve already created 2.5 million jobs using similar policies in regions from New England to the Pacific Northwest and from the Chesapeake Bay to the Rocky Mountains. It’s now time for Congress to make 100% clean electricity our national policy.”

Groups signing today’s letter to Congress are:

  • Chesapeake Climate Action Network – Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, D.C.
  • Climate Solutions – Oregon, Washington
  • Southern Alliance for Clean Energy – Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi
  •  Acadia Center – Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York
  • Western Resources Advocates – Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming
  • Fresh Energy – Minnesota


The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the first grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For nearly 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

House Democrats introduce bill with pathway to 100% clean energy by 2035

Author: Catherine Morehouse        Published: 3/3/21      Utility Dive

PACENation’s Action Plan To Build a More Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive PACE Marketplace

Author: PACE Nation Staff      Published: 3/18/21

PACE financing is
communities by enabling
property owners to make
their homes and
businesses more efficient
and resilient.

PACE pays for 100% of the hard and soft costs of completing an energy efficiency, renewable energy, or resiliency project.


Download the PACE Basics one-pager

In March 2019, 150 leaders in the PACE community raised their hands and made a commitment to build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive (DEI) PACE marketplace. These leaders agreed to work with PACENation to develop a set of proactive steps we can take together to build a PACE marketplace that is good for people, good for communities and good for business.

The commitments included in this plan are intended as another step to facilitate the growth of a PACE marketplace that enables historically underserved and underrepresented communities to be full participants in our nation’s clean energy future. For us, full participation means access to capital for critical building upgrades, access to jobs and career advancement, and access to wealth creation opportunities for people of color, women, people who identify as LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities.

To develop this action plan, we sought guidance and perspective from experienced leaders who have dedicated their careers to advocating for racial, economic and environmental justice. We are grateful to everyone in the PACE community who showed up for hard conversations — and to everyone who was willing to listen and learn — as we pushed ourselves to do better.

The undersigned individuals are committing their organizations to fulfill all of the actions included below. We will report on our progress in the months ahead.

As we begin the work of implementing this plan, we welcome continued feedback and ideas. We know there is so much more to do.

Our Commitment to Action

We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, have aligned around the following commitments, which we believe represent a strong first step toward building a more diverse, equitable and inclusive PACE marketplace. Our commitments fall into four categories:

Transparency and Accountability, Hiring and Organizational Leadership, Cultivating Future Leaders, and Strengthening PACE for All Communities.

Transparency and Accountability

In order to facilitate full transparency and accountability about how we are living up to our DEI commitments inside our own organizations, each of us commits to:

  • Share employment data with PACENation on an annual basis (subject to internal corporate requirements) so that PACENation can track the PACE industry’s progress in hiring and promoting people of color, women, people who identify as LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities;
  • Develop specific strategies and tactics to increase the diversity of the PACE supply chain and the companies we do business with.

Hiring and Organizational Leadership

In order to improve the diversity of our own organizations, especially at senior leadership levels and above, each of us commits to:

  • Review recruitment efforts and outline the steps necessary to increase the diversity of our Board of Directors, senior leadership staff and other staff within the next 3 months and then take concrete action to increase the diversity of our Board and leadership within the next 18 months;
  • Review hiring practices and implement measures to better reach a diverse pool of candidates.

Cultivating Future Leaders

In order to establish career pathways for future leaders and foster a corporate culture that prioritizes Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, each of us commits to:

  • Support an industry-wide “Access and Equity Internship Program,” a paid internship program that is designed to create career pathways for young leaders. Support for this initiative can include but is not limited to funding an internship at one’s own organization, helping to fund an internship opportunity with a local government or PACE administrator, or hosting an internship opportunity that is jointly funded by others;
  • Encourage all employees to participate in unconscious bias and allyship training offered annually by PACENation.

Strengthening PACE for All Communities

In order to ensure PACE financing benefits all communities, especially historically underserved communities, each of us commits to:

  • (Residential PACE providers only) Coordinate with community stakeholders and relevant policymakers to accelerate the adoption of enhanced national consumer protection standards that will be enforced in all residential PACE programs;
  • (Commercial PACE providers only) Coordinate with community organizations and relevant federal agencies (e.g. the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) to reduce barriers and accelerate investment into affordable multi-family housing and long-term care facilities, where high energy costs disproportionately impact low-income communities of color;
  • (PACENation only) Support city and county officials in their efforts to ensure access to clean drinking water and clean energy in low-income communities.

Signatories as of March 18, 2021:

Colin Bishopp
Executive Director, PACENation

Mary Luevano
Deputy Director, PACENation

Michael Centore
Director, Market Research, PACENation

Jessica Bailey
CEO, Greenworks Lending

Caleb Bell
Partner, Bricker & Eckler LLP

Anthony (Tony) DiPrima, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility, Inc.

Mohammed Elahi
Deputy Director, Cook County Bureau of Economic Development

Andy Holzhauser
Partner, Donovan Energy

Mark Floyd
CEO, Renew Financial

Bryan Garcia
President & CEO, Connecticut Green Bank

Bob Giles
CEO, PACE Funding Group

Rafi Golberstein
CEO, PACE Loan Group

Diane Hodiak
Executive Director, 350 Deschutes

Art Krebs
CEO, Construction Art

Fred Lee

Tim Mathison
General Counsel, Slipstream

Mariah Peake
Managing Partner, Ebee Management Group

Jim Reinhart
CEO, Ygrene Energy Fund

Emily Schapira
President & CEO, Philadelphia Energy Authority

Erick Shambarger
Environmental Sustainability Director, City of Milwaukee

Andrew Stone
Founder, President, PACE Fund NM

Todd M. Williams
President & General Counsel, Lean and Green Michigan, LLC

PACE-enabling legislation is active in 36 states plus D.C., and PACE programs are now active (launched and operating) in 24 states plus D.C. Residential PACE is currently offered in California, Florida, and Missouri. Click your state to find PACE programs operating in your area.


Policy & program updates




CDC Ignores Inquiry Into Increasing Number of Deaths, Injuries Reported After COVID Vaccines

Author: Megan Redshaw                  Published: 3/19/21         The Dender

VAERS data released today showed 38,444 reports of adverse events following COVID vaccines, including 1,739 deaths and 6,286 serious injuries since Dec. 14, 2020.


On March 8, The Defender contacted the CDC with questions about how the agency is investigating reports of deaths and injuries after COVID vaccines. We provided a written list of questions asking the status of investigations on deaths reported in the media, if autopsies are being done, the standard for determining whether an injury is causally connected to a vaccine and the known issues with VAERS — namely whether healthcare providers are reporting all injuries and deaths that might be connected to the COVID vaccine, and what education initiatives are in place to encourage and facilitate proper and accurate reporting. We asked for a reply within two days.

As of today, 11 days later, the CDC has not answered our questions. Instead, when we call them, they respond saying, “they have received our email, they will escalate it and it is in the system.” When we asked if we could speak with the person reviewing the email, we were told that information could not be provided. When we emailed them to follow up, we received no response.

Every Friday, VAERS makes public all vaccine injury reports received by the system as of Friday of the previous week. The 38,444 adverse events reported between Dec. 14, 2020, and March 11 include 1,739 deaths and 6,286 serious injuries.

This week’s data included reports of 478 cases of Bell’s Palsy. Of those, 66% of cases were reported after Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations — almost twice as many as reported (36%) following vaccination with the Moderna vaccine.

The first Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID vaccine was administered in the U.S. on March 2. As of March 11, nine anaphylactic reactions associated with J&J’s vaccine had been reported to VAERS. As The Defender reported earlier this month, the J&J vaccine contains polysorbate 80, known to trigger allergic reactions, The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines contain polyethylene glycol (PEG), also known to trigger anaphylactic reactions.

In the U.S., 98.2 million COVID vaccine doses had been administered as of March 11.

From the 3/11/2021 release of Vaers data.

VAERS is the primary mechanism for reporting adverse vaccine reactions in the U.S. Reports submitted to VAERS require further investigation before a causal relationship can be confirmed.

For the most part, today’s data reflect trends that have emerged since The Defender first began tracking VAERS reports related to COVID vaccines.

This week’s VAERS data show:

  • Of the 1,739 deaths reported as of March 11, 30% occurred within 48 hours of vaccination, 21% occurred within 24 hours, and 46% occurred in people who became ill within 48 hours of being vaccinated. By comparison, during the same period, there were only 85 deaths reported following flu vaccines.
  • Nineteen percent of deaths were related to cardiac disorders.
  • Fifty-three percent of those who died were male, 44% were female and the remaining death reports did not include gender of the deceased.
  • The average age of those who died was 77.9 and the youngest death was an 18-year-old.
  • As of March 11, 289 pregnant women had reported adverse events related to COVID vaccines, including 90 reports of miscarriage or premature birth. None of the COVID vaccines approved for Emergency Use Authorization has been confirmed safe or effective for pregnant women, although J&J said earlier this month it would begin testing on pregnant women, infants and the immunocompromised.
  • There were 1,689 reports of anaphylaxis, with 59% of cases attributed to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 41% to Moderna.

The average age of death reported remains 77.9, however the youngest reported death this week dropped from 23 to 18. According to VAERS, the teenager developed fatigue, body aches and a headache one day after receiving the Moderna vaccine on March 3. On March 5 he complained of chest pain, and died in his sleep later that day.

The latest data also includes the report of a 22-year-old woman with a “significant, lifelong underlying medical condition” who died 24 days after the vaccine.

According to the CDC’s website, “the CDC follows up on any report of death to request additional information and learn more about what occurred and to determine whether the death was a result of the vaccine or unrelated.”

To date, the only information the CDC has published related to the investigation of COVID vaccine-related deaths and how those investigations were conducted is a COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Update via the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) published on Jan. 27.

The safety update analyzed only the 198 reported deaths that occurred within the first month after the first COVID vaccine was administered in the U.S. It is unknown whether the CDC has investigated any of the 1,541 reported deaths since or, if investigations were conducted, what the results showed.

On March 16, The Defender reported that more than 20 countries suspended use of AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine after reports of blood clots, some resulting in death, in healthy people who received the vaccine. The World Health Organization (WHO) said an ongoing analysis by its vaccines advisory committee had not established a causal link between the vaccine and blood clots and that countries should keep using it.

On March 18, the European Medicine Agency (EMA) released the results of its investigation into the AstraZeneca vaccine. The EMA said Thursday the vaccine “may be associated with very rare cases of blood clots,” but the agency still considers it to be “safe and effective” and countries should continue to use it.

The EMA determined AstraZeneca’s vaccine was not associated with an “overall risk” of blood clots in those vaccinated and there was no evidence of a problem related to specific batches of the vaccine or manufacturing sites, The Defender reported.

According to Reuters, about a dozen countries resumed use of AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine today, including Germany, Indonesia and France as EU and British regulators said the benefits outweighed any risks of potential blood clots. AstraZeneca’s vaccine is not yet approved for emergency use in the U.S.

On March 18, The Defender reported Pfizer’s chief financial officer told analysts and investors during a recent earnings call that the company plans to turn its COVID vaccine with German company BioNTech into an even bigger cash cow once the pandemic ends.

Pfizer’s vaccine is already the second-highest revenue-generating drug in the world. The vaccine maker expects revenues of $15 billion in 2021 based on current contracts for its COVID vaccine, but that number could double as Pfizer says it can potentially deliver 2 billion doses this year.

Leaked documents obtained as a result of a cyberattack on the EMA and reviewed by The BMJ revealed regulators had major concerns over unexpectedly low quantities of intact mRNA in batches of the Pfizer’s COVID vaccine developed for commercial production, as reported this week by The Defender.

A leaked email identified “a significant difference in % RNA integrity/truncated species” between the clinical batches and proposed commercial batches — from around 78% to 55%. Pfizer was not manufacturing vaccines to the specifications expected, and the impact of this loss of RNA integrity on safety and efficacy of the vaccine was not identified, according to the email. The EMA responded by filing two “major objections” with Pfizer, along with a host of other questions it wanted addressed. It’s unclear if the agency’s concerns were satisfied.

Children’s Health Defense asks anyone who has experienced an adverse reaction, to any vaccine, to file a report following these three steps.


Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured. Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission.

Teachers Sue LA School District Over COVID Vaccine Mandate

Author: Megan Redshaw   Published: 3/22/21             The Defender

Study of utility shutoffs during COVID-19 finds disproportionate impact in southeastern states

Author: Emma Penord               3/22/2021            Utility Dive

Dive Brief:

  • More than 750,000 households had their power disconnected during COVID-19 across ten states for which data is publicly available, with the greatest impacts centered in southeastern states including Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas, according to an analysis from the Center for Biological Diversity.
  • Georgia Power disconnected 131,000 residential customers between July 2020 and January 2021, but shutoffs have since reached pre-pandemic levels, which averaged 19,000 residential customers per month, according to a company spokesperson.
  • In addition to highlighting the disparities created by states’ varied approaches to shutoff moratoriums during the pandemic, Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association, said the Center’s report illustrates existing economic disparities and the need for improved reporting of shutoff data.

Dive Insight:

An effort by the Center for Biological Diversity to quantify the number of Americans who had their power shut off during COVID-19 may not be comprehensive, but it does illustrate the two Americas that emerged during the pandemic, according to Wolfe.

The report, released earlier this week, focuses on just ten states due to the lack of publicly available data, according to Greer Ryan, the author of the report and an energy policy analyst at the Center for Biological Diversity. Ten other states had no shutoffs due to emergency moratoriums, leaving about 30 states for which Ryan said she was unable to obtain data.

Even so, Wolfe said, the report paints a stark picture of the discrepancies that unfolded across the U.S. in 2020 as a result of differences in policy and prosperity. While some states, including Georgia and Florida, reported hundreds of thousands of disconnects during the pandemic, in others only a few thousand residents were reportedly cut off.

“What the paper is really saying, is we have two different countries here,” Wolfe said. “One part of the country with strong protections, and one weak. There’s no concern in New York or California. The concern is in Georgia.”

A spokesperson for Georgia Power confirmed that the company had disconnected 131,000 residential customers during the pandemic, but noted that disconnects have returned to pre-pandemic levels and that the utility has worked with its customers and with government and non-profit partners to try to keep households’ power on during the crisis. Around two-thirds of customers were connected within a day or two of being disconnected, and properties that were not quickly reconnected were often found vacated without notice.

“Georgia Power has recognized the extraordinary burden our customers have faced since the pandemic began,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

Wolfe said he felt it important not to demonize or blame individual utilities for the shutoffs. Utilities, he said, often face the same social and economic inequities that contributed to the disconnection imbalance in the first place.

“This is really a social problem, and utilities are not social service agencies,” Wolfe said, explaining that states like Georgia have a lot of residents living in poverty and, consequently, fewer social resources to draw on for those in need of help. “If we want utilities to have a statewide moratorium, or better discounts for low income families, the money has to come from someplace.”

Wolfe said that with new federal support on the way as a result of the latest stimulus, he hoped utilities could hold off on additional disconnections until those funds become available.

Both Wolfe and Ryan said they hope to see more states reporting disconnect data in the future, as Wolfe said this data could prove useful as an indicator of economic distress.

“A family won’t let its power be shut off as a game,” Wolfe said. “Usually you’re in a very dire state if your power has been shut off.”

The State(s) of Distributed Solar — 2020 Update

Author: Maria McCoy           Published:  3/16/2021            ILRS

Many things fell stagnant in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but not the U.S solar industry. In fact, the first three quarters of 2020 saw the most new utility-scale solar ever installed in those respective quarters, as compared to previous years. That’s 6.4 gigawatts of large solar capacity installed in 2020. The pandemic took more of a toll on the distributed solar market, but it still had a fairly strong showing: 4.5 gigawatts of new capacity. These expansions in centralized and distributed solar generation capacity will help to power the ever-growing list of states and cities that have set ambitious 100 percent renewable energy goals.

The map below illustrates the size of each state’s solar market at the end of 2020, with pie charts showing the corresponding share of smaller distributed solar systems (1 megawatt and smaller). The pie charts also display the community solar programs in Colorado, New York, Minnesota, and Massachusetts, to provide an alternative model to large-scale utility solar projects.

Since community solar systems are typically larger than 1 megawatt of rated capacity, we subtracted our own figures on state community solar capacity from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s figures on state large-scale solar projects. We plan to track this data for more state community solar programs as the programs grow and data becomes available.

Interested in reading more about community solar programs around the country? See ILSR’s National Community Solar Programs Tracker.

The state-by-state landscape has changed since our 2019 update, with more states expanding their solar capacity. Only nine states fall short of our 100 megawatt reporting threshold, down from 11 last year.

As part of a 2020 spending and relief package, the federal government extended the 26 percent solar investment tax credit until 2022. Given the extension, it will now phase out in 2024 for residential solar and 2025 for utility-scale solar. Thanks to this credit, other incentives, and the plummeting cost of solar technology, 42 gigawatts of large-scale solar and 27 gigawatts of small-scale solar have been installed in the U.S. as of 2020. Much of this installation can be attributed to state solar leaders that continue to shine. However, some blossoming solar states saw gains that put them on the map.

Here are some of the biggest changes since our 2019 update:

  • Wyoming and Maine have crossed threshold to 100 megawatts
  • Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin crossed the 250 megawatt threshold
  • Colorado and Minnesota crossed the threshold to over 1,000 megawatts

16 states now claim more than 1,000 megawatts of total solar capacity (shown in red), and 39 have more than 100 megawatts (states shown in yellow, orange, and red).

Of the 16 states that now contribute more than 1,000 megawatts of solar power, five leaders boast shares of distributed generation greater than 50 percent:

  • New York (2,458 megawatts of total solar, 74 percent from small, distributed sources)
  • Hawaii (1,011 megawatts of total solar, 72 percent from small, distributed sources)
  • Maryland (1,170 megawatts of total solar, 71 percent from small, distributed sources)
  • New Jersey (2,816 megawatts of total solar, 66 percent from small, distributed sources)
  • Massachusetts (2,710 megawatts of total solar, with 65 percent from small, distributed sources)

Read about Why Utilities in Minnesota and Other States Need to Plan for More Competition and stay tuned for a 2021 50 state distributed solar model.

The following graphic highlights the top four states of distributed solar.

Though they don’t reach the 1,000 megawatt benchmark, seven states on our map have impressive distributed solar shares of 75 percent or more:

  • New Hampshire (121 megawatts of total solar, 100 percent from small, distributed sources)
  • Washington (227 megawatts of total solar, 90 percent from small, distributed sources)
  • Iowa (165 megawatts of total solar, 89 percent from small, distributed sources)
  • Illinois (631 megawatts of total solar, 82 percent from small, distributed sources)
  • Connecticut (768 megawatts of total solar, 79 percent from small, distributed sources)
  • Missouri (299 megawatts of total solar, 79 percent from small, distributed sources)
  • Pennsylvania (608 megawatts of total solar, 75 percent from small, distributed sources)

State energy policies are crucial in support of local decision-making and promoting the adoption of distributed solar. Some essential policies include net metering, simplified interconnection, property assessed clean energy, a renewable portfolio standard carve out for solar or distributed energy, and solar or solar-ready mandates for buildings. We track these policies and others in our Community Power Map.

Six states could generate half or more of their annual energy use with rooftop solar. Click to find out how much solar potential is in your state.

One policy with growing popularity is community solar. Community solar, enabled in 19 states and the District of Columbia, brings many of the benefits of clean energy to those who have traditionally been left out of solar ownership. Community solar gardens — which are larger than residential solar installations, but smaller than utility-owned solar fields — are the most cost-effective size for solar and reduce electric bills for members of the community.

The following graphic (new this year) highlights the four community solar-enabling states — Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New York — that we are able to track at this time.

Distributed solar, and especially community solar, is cost competitive and can be deployed at scale. It also has many benefits besides clean energy generation, which include job creation, economic stimulation, and the potential to build wealth – all of which are essential as we face our current climate and economic crises.

Support the 30 Million Solar Homes campaign, which proposes rooftop & community solar to help address climate change, the economic downturn, & social injustice.

This States of Distributed Solar analysis is updated annually. For a historical snapshot, explore our archived analyses of distributed solar by state in 201920182017, and 2016.

This article originally posted at For timely updates, follow John Farrell on Twitter or get the Energy Democracy weekly update.

National Clean Energy Coalition Urges FERC to Carefully Examine Southeast Utilities’ Proposed Electricity Trading Platform and Host a Regional Technical Conference on Wholesale Market Reform Needs

Author: Cayli Baker                   Published: 3/19/2021              AEE

Filing proposes ways to make Southeast electricity market design more inclusive, transparent, and cost-efficient for customers, laying foundation for broader market reforms in the region.

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2021 — Today, national associations Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), Advanced Energy Buyers Group (AEBG), Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced they have submitted joint comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking regulators to closely examine shortcomings in the Southeast Energy Exchange Market (SEEM) proposal, which 14 electric utilities submitted to FERC in February 2021.

Representing a broad coalition of clean electricity customers and developers, the groups explain that it is not clear whether SEEM, as proposed, will provide customers in the Southeast with promised modest cost benefits. It is also unclear whether SEEM will be a step toward answering the call of state leaders and customers in the region for competitive regional wholesale markets that allow them to cost-effectively develop and access clean energy supplies.

The coalition pointed to the need for more detailed information regarding the proposed market design and advocated for modifications that would enhance transparency, governance and consumer protections within SEEM. Specifically, the comments urge FERC to:

  1. Require the utilities to supplement their filing with additional implementation details that are necessary to determine whether SEEM is just and reasonable;
  2. Consider modifications to the proposed SEEM design that enhance market and stakeholder protections; and
  3. Initiate a joint conference with state regulators and energy officials to convene broader discussions on the future of wholesale markets and transmission integration in the Southeast.

“The SEEM proposal falls far short of the wholesale market reforms that states and customers in the Southeast need to help them take advantage of low-cost advanced energy supplies and achieve their decarbonization goals,” said Jeff Dennis, Managing Director and General Counsel at AEE, which also facilitates the policy work of AEBG. “The electricity grid of the future requires a new approach to wholesale market and transmission access in the Southeast, and FERC should approach the SEEM, and subsequent conversations with leaders in the region about the future of its markets, with that in mind.”

“As customers increasingly make bold sustainability commitments that require access to clean and renewable energy, we support more competitive wholesale market options in the Southeast to help satisfy growing demand for clean energy in the region,” said Bryn Baker, Director of Policy at REBA. “We want to be sure that SEEM is designed to be a building block, and not a stumbling block, in the path to an affordable clean energy future that will benefit everyone.”

“The SEEM proposal fails to encourage competition, the most essential function of an energy market,” said Gizelle Wray, Director of Regulatory Affairs at SEIA. “To efficiently serve ratepayers in the Southeast, a regional energy market must embrace all generators, including renewable energy, and offer both long-term cost savings and a significant reduction in carbon emissions. This proposal only brushes the surface of what’s possible, and we urge FERC to reject this anti-competitive framework.”

The organizations note that their members support the expansion of competitive wholesale electricity market frameworks in the Southeast. They point to a recent study indicating that a fully competitive regional wholesale market in the Southeast would provide significant benefits to the region, well above those benefits expected to be realized through the SEEM proposal.

The business groups’ joint comments are available here.

About Advanced Energy Economy
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. AEE is the only industry association in the U.S. that represents the full range of advanced energy technologies and services, both grid-scale and distributed. Advanced energy includes energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage, wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, electric vehicles, and more. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. Engaged at the federal level and more than a dozen states around the country, AEE represents more than 100 companies in the $238 billion U.S. advanced energy industry, which employs 3.6 million U.S. workers. AEE’s PowerSuite online platform allows users to track regulatory and legislative issues in state legislatures, U.S. Congress, state PUCs, RTOs/ISOs, and FERC. Sign up for a free trial at Follow us at @AEEnet.
About Advanced Energy Buyers Group
The Advanced Energy Buyers Group is a business-led coalition of large energy users engaging on policies to expand opportunities to procure energy that is secure, clean, and affordable. Members of the Advanced Energy Buyers Group are leading companies and organizations spanning a range of market sectors, including technology, retail, education, and manufacturing. AE Buyers Group members share a common interest in expanding their use of advanced energy, with the goal of becoming more competitive, resilient, and sustainable enterprises far into the future. The Advanced Energy Buyers Group is convened and facilitated by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a national business association of advanced energy companies.
Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance

Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance is a national association for large-scale energy buyers seeking to procure renewable energy across the U.S. With more than 250 members from across the commercial and industrial sectors, non-profit organizations, as well as energy providers and service providers, REBA is working towards the creation of a resilient, zero-carbon energy system. REBA’s members represent over $6 trillion in annual revenues and over 14 million U.S. employees. REBA’s goal is to catalyze 60 gigawatts of new renewable energy projects by 2025 and to unlock the energy market for all large-scale energy buyers by creating viable pathways to procurement. 

About SEIA®

The Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA) is leading the transformation to a clean energy economy, creating the framework for solar to achieve 20% of U.S. electricity generation by 2030. SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies and other strategic partners to fight for policies that create jobs in every community and shape fair market rules that promote competition and the growth of reliable, low-cost solar power. Founded in 1974, SEIA is a national trade association building a comprehensive vision for the Solar+ Decade through research, education and advocacy. Visit SEIA online at and follow @SEIA on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Media Contacts
AEE, AEBG: Monique Hanis,, 202-236-8220
REBA: Monica Jaburg,, 703-975-7799
SEIA: Jen Bristol,, 202-556-2886

Pfizer’s COVID Vaccine Could Become Most Lucrative Drug in the World

Author: Megan Redshaw      Published: 3/18/2021       The Defender Children’s Health News & Views

Maryland lawmakers approve $577M to settle HBCU lawsuit

Author: Staff   3/18/2021   AP     

Your Source for Cool Jazz and More…


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Maryland General Assembly has passed a measure to set aside $577 million over 10 years to settle a federal lawsuit that alleged discrimination and underfunding at the state’s four historically Black colleges and universities.

The House of Delegates gave the bill final approval Wednesday on a 120-14 vote.

The measure now goes to Gov. Larry Hogan, who vetoed a similar bill last year after citing economic difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s measure would not begin payments until fiscal year 2023 in an adjustment to account for the pandemic.

Most of the measure’s provisions are contingent on a final settlement agreement being reached by the parties by June 1.

Morgan State University President Dr. David Wilson tweeted, “I’m pleased to see that this 15 year-old lawsuit is finally coming to closure. This funding will aid us in planning for Research 1 status ⁦at Morgan State”.

American Rescue Plan Information and Fact Sheets

Author: Charles Motte        3/18/2021        HU DC SBCD

Hello Ronald Bethea,

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act into law, which provides additional relief for the nation’s small businesses and hard-hit industries for programs the SBA is currently administering and adds new efforts. Specifically, the new law includes:

  • $7.25 billion additional for the Paycheck Protection Program, including to expand eligibility to additional nonprofits and digital news services
  • Additional funds are allocated for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, and now allows businesses to apply for both a PPP loan after Dec. 27, 2020, and the SVOG
  • $15 billion additional for Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance (EIDL) payments, including NEW $5 billion for Supplemental Targeted EIDL Advance payments for those hardest hit
  • NEW: $28.6 billion for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund for industry-focused grants
  • NEW: $100 million to establish a Community Navigator pilot program; grants will go to eligible organizations supporting efforts to improve access to COVID–19 pandemic assistance programs and resources.

Below are links to several ARP fact sheets that may be of interest.


This information is provided as a courtesy of the DC Small Business Development Center Network.

Montgomery County Green Bank Green Notes March 2021

Author: Montgomery Green Bank Staff    3/18/2021       Montgomery Green Bank

Green Notes: March 2021
Green Bank Becomes New County C-PACE Administrator

The Montgomery County Green Bank is the new administrator of the County’s Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program, making the Green Bank the region’s premier provider of commercial financing solutions for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

C-PACE is an innovative financing tool that helps commercial properties finance clean energy upgrades through their property taxes. Qualified properties can use C-PACE to receive lower-cost, long-term flexible financing for up to 100% for clean energy property improvements.

Commercial Solar Power Purchase Agreement Program
is Taking Off 

The Montgomery County Green Bank’s Commercial Solar Power Purchase Agreement Program is getting a lot of attention since it launched in February. Small commercial and nonprofit organizations, including common ownership community associations and affordable housing nonprofits, are looking at the PPA to finance new solar generation on their properties. The program finances solar energy systems of as little as 25kW for no out-of-pocket costs and with low-cost pricing for energy generated from the solar array.

If you have an interested party, please contact us. The program has a limited amount of funding available and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Our pipeline is filling quickly!

Green Bank Offers Growing Portfolio of Commercial Financial Products 

The Green Bank has become the county’s one-stop shop for commercial renewable energy and energy efficiency financing products. In addition to the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) and Commercial Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) programs mentioned above, the Green Bank also offers these  products for commercial customers:

  • The Commercial Loan for Energy Efficiency and Renewables (CLEER) program offers commercial loans for energy efficiency, solar PV, energy storage and other projects.
  • The Small Business Energy Savings Solutions program offers low-cost, flexible payment option loans to small businesses seeking to re-open during the pandemic by financing energy as well as non-energy related improvements that improve the indoor air quality of the working and customer spaces.
Green Bank Homeowner Profile: Lorig Charkoudian

Maryland State Delegate Lorig Charkoudian is one of the Green Bank’s many passionate customers. She recently tapped the Green Bank’s Clean Energy Advantage (CEA) program to help fund the installation of a ground source heat pump at her home to reduce her household’s dependence on fossil gas for heat and the project. Read the Green Bank’s interview with Lorig here.

Residential Update: CEA Progress to date – two geothermal, six solar loans closed, producing 113,376 kWh of clean, renewable energy and mitigating 80.3 metric tons of CO2. And more in the pipeline!

Green Bank Board Meeting on March 24, 2021
The Green Bank’s Board of Directors will meet via teleconference from 1:30 – 4:30 pm on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. The public is welcome to attend.   RSVP to

See agenda and more about the meeting by clicking here.

Online Resources and Events
While you’re staying-at-home, you can take advantage of these resources and webinars to be learning-at-home.

March 22 from 1-2: Navigating Air Purification Devices During COVID
As part of the Better Buildings series, Seema Bhangar of WeWork and Marwa Zaatari of Blue Box Air will discuss new air purification technologies and highlight proven and impactful strategies for safe reopening without compromising energy efficiency. Learn more and register here.

May 4-6: Montgomery County Energy Summit
This annual Summit will feature the latest trends in green building, energy efficiency, renewable energy and related topics for commercial, multifamily, and residential properties in the county. So hold the date for this year’s summit, with the theme, “Resiliency, from Buildings to Community.” Preliminary info about the summit can be found here.

May 17-20: US DOE’s Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit
The U.S. Department of Energy will hold its Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit sharing the latest and greatest in building efficiency developments. More details about speakers and panels will be released here.

May 25-26: ACEEE Energy Efficiency Finance Forum
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is holding another virtual conference, this time on how financing can drive a clean energy future. Learn more and register here.

June 26-30: ASHRAE Annual Conference
ASHRAE holds its annual conference to discuss the latest advances in energy efficiency in HVAC systems and appliances. Learn more about the virtual conference here.

Green Bank Video Library
Catch up on the Green Bank’s growing archive of recorded webinars addressing topics such as how to use the Green Bank’s products to recover from COVID-19 economic setbacks or finance common ownership community property improvements.

Clean Energy Solutions Webinar Archive
View the library of Clean Energy Solutions webinars on topics ranging from home appliance efficiency, benchmarking, and breaking through the information barrier to achieve energy savings.

New Buildings Institute Webinar Archive
View NBI’s archive of on-demand webinar recordings on topics ranging from codes and policies to advance net zero to zero net carbon schools. View them all at:

ENERGY STAR Recorded Webinars and Online Contractor Trainings
Learn about the latest ENERGY STAR residential programs, recognizing advanced energy efficiency in homes, or revisit your contractor trainings for Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, and refresh requirements, objectives, and strategies.

Home Energy Score Training Webinars
Brush up on your Home Energy Score understanding with these webinars from the U.S. DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge

The Right Combination Webinar Slides

Author: DOE Staff Technologies Office SETO   Published: 3/17/2021        SETO

On February 25-26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy (DOE) Technologies Office (SETO) hosted the webinar series “The Right Combination: Solar, Storage, and Demand Response” to learn about DOE’s work to develop and demonstrate technologies that enable solar plus energy storage and demand response.

The World’s Three Biggest Coal Users Get Ready to Burn Even More

Author: Will Wade                 Published: 3/16/2021         Bloomberg Green Energy Science

  • U.S. power plants expected to burn 16% more this year
    Increase is a setback for efforts to curb global emission

U.S. power plants are going to consume 16% more coal this year than in 2020, and then another 3% in 2022, the Energy Information Administration said last week. China and India, which together account for almost two-thirds of demand, have no plans to cut back in the near term.

This means higher emissions, a setback for climate action ahead of international talks this year intended to raise the level of ambition from commitments under the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gases. In the U.S., the gains may undermine President Joe Biden’s push to reestablish America as an environmental leader and raise pressure on him to quickly implement his climate agenda.

“We’re going to see a really marked increase in emissions,” with coal consumption at U.S. power plants returning almost to 2019 levels, said Amanda Levin, policy analyst at the New York-based National Resources Defense Council. But if Biden implements green-energy policies as expected, “we could actually see changes pretty quickly.”

Coal Hunger

China, India and the U.S. remain the world’s largest consumers of coal

Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy

Data shows 2019 share of global coal consumption

The U.S. increase stems from higher natural gas prices and the recovery from the pandemic. For China and India, it’s a reflection of rising electricity demand that’s keeping coal as the dominant source of power generation even as they add vast amounts of solar and wind capacity.

While Biden’s Covid stimulus didn’t focus on green energy, a pending infrastructure bill is expected to include plans to fulfill his campaign pledges on climate change, making the U.S. best poised to salvage progress in reducing global emissions. Biden has said the U.S will target carbon neutrality by 2050, and is convening an April meeting that’s expected to include China and India.

Read more: Biden Is Betting His Whole Climate Agenda on Infrastructure

China’s President Xi Jinping surprised the world with his promise last year to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060. India has yet to make any similar commitment.

In China’s latest five-year plan announced March 5, Premier Li Keqiang didn’t set a hard target for emissions reduction, and said coal would remain a key component of the electricity strategy. More detailed energy plans to be published later in the year could include specific steps on curbing fossil fuel consumption.

While Beijing has reduced coal’s share in the nation’s energy mix in recent years, total power consumption has risen, so its usage has also climbed. Complicating the picture is that China also has the world’s biggest fleet of coal-fired power plants, and more than half of them are less than 10 years old. Because they can run for several more decades, it’ll be tough to shift to alternatives.

“All of that installed capacity doesn’t go away overnight,” said Dennis Wamsted, an analyst for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

Read More: China’s Race to Net Zero Emissions Gets Off to a Slow Start

Though a recovery in energy-intensive sectors like construction and metal production is currently boosting short-term coal demand, consumption will fall in the years ahead as China acts on climate promises, said Tang Daqian, an associate director at Fitch Bohua.

While the country has implemented an ambitious rollout of solar power, coal continues to account for around 70% of its electricity generation. Consumption at power plants will rise 10% this year, and is set to increase every year through at least 2027, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.


U.S. power plants are expected to burn more coal

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

In the U.S., coal is rebounding after the coronavirus pandemic curtailed electricity usage and cut demand for the fuel by 19% last year. It’s also the result of gains in natural gas prices, which are up more than 40% from a year ago. When gas gets more expensive, utilities will often start burning more coal to bring down costs, even though it puts out twice the emissions. The EIA expects gas prices to remain high into 2022, pointing to strong demand for coal next year.

In the longer term, coal’s prospects are bleaker. While top users’ consumption might be rising in 2021, emerging markets that once seemed like the brightest spot for long-term demand are turning their back on the fuel as financing becomes more difficult and alternatives like gas and renewables are getting more accessible and cheaper. Bangladesh is abandoning almost all of its planned projects and the Philippines last year declared a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants.

“The trend is down, down and continuing to go down,” said IEEFA’s Wamsted.

But first, the fuel is poised for a revival that’ll lift overall global demand this year after two successive annual declines, according to the International Energy Agency. Its projection for a 2.6% increase in consumption this year reflects expectations for a pickup in every region of the world.

Coal India, the world’s largest producer, expects consumption will be boosted as industries including steel, cement and aluminum return to pre-virus levels of output. The company this month approved more than $6 billion in investments in new mines and expansions.

“There are climate-change issues about coal, but India’s energy needs won’t allow it to dump the fuel instantly,” said Binay Dayal, the firm’s technical director.

— With assistance by James Thornhill, Rajesh Kumar Singh, Dan Murtaugh, Ronan Martin, and Krystal Chia

Q&A Taking Charge: Commissioner Clements on FERC’s ‘make or break’ role amid the energy transition

Author: Catherine Morehouse       3/16/2021                Utility Dive