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Author: WHCEQ    Published: 4/30/2023  White House Council on Environmental Quality


Environmental News

(President Biden signs an Executive Order on environmental justice, April 21, 2023)

The Biden-Harris Administration is taking bold action to power American manufacturing and the clean energy boom, lower energy prices, create good-paying jobs in clean energy industries, meet our climate goals, and advance environmental justice and conservation by Investing in America.

Last week President Biden signed Executive Order 14096 on Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All. Watch the President’s remarks here, read more here, and see reactions here. The new Executive Order will:

  • Deepen the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government commitment to environmental justice.
  • Better protect overburdened communities from pollution and environmental harms.
  • Strengthen engagement with communities and mobilize federal agencies to confront existing and legacy barriers and injustices.
  • Promote the latest science, data, and research, including on cumulative impacts.
  • Expand interagency coordination and launch a new Office of Environmental Justice within the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
  • Increase accountability and transparency in federal environmental justice policy.
  • Honor and build on the foundation of ongoing environmental justice work.

On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $400 million in grants for thousands of electric and low-emission school buses across the nation. The grants are made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides an unprecedented $5 billion to transform the nation’s fleet of school buses. To learn more about the grant program, applicant eligibility, selection process, and informational webinar dates, visit EPA’s Clean School Bus Program webpage.

Also on Monday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched the Savings Hub, an online one-stop shop that will provide American consumers with savings tools to cut their energy costs and expand clean energy. DOE’s Energy Savings Hub also highlights a variety of low or no-cost DIY energy efficiency tips that can reduce energy usage and energy waste.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it is accepting applications for the first round of a new $400 million grant program under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that focuses on port electrification and efficiency improvements. The program is part of the Justice40 Initiative, President Biden’s commitment to ensure that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution. Learn more about the grant program here.

Also on Thursday, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced more than $146 million in funding for wetland conservation projects and National Wildlife Refuges. The funding provides the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners the ability to help conserve or restore 242,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds across North America – including Canada and Mexico. The announcement builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s America the Beautiful Initiative, a decade-long challenge to pursue a locally led and voluntary, nationwide effort to conserve, connect, and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife upon which we all depend.

In addition to these actions, last week the Biden-Harris Administration announced other new steps to further the President’s historic commitment to environmental justice, including publishing the first-ever Environmental Justice Scorecard, launching the White House Campaign for Environmental Justice, announcing new Justice40 covered programs, and taking new steps to combat plastic pollution in communities.

Also last week, President Biden convened the fourth virtual leader-level meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate, where he highlighted new steps the United States is taking to meet its ambitious 1.5°C-aligned goal of reducing emissions 50-52 percent in 2030. At the convening, President Biden announced significant new steps including a $1 billion contribution to the Green Climate Fund and a pledge of $500 million to Brazil’s Amazon Fund.

Last Friday, Vice President Harris traveled to Miami to announce $562 million in funding from the Department of Commerce for nearly 150 projects across 30 coastal states and territories to make communities and the economy more resilient to climate change, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda.

Last week, the Departments of Agriculture and Interior announced actions to foster forest conservation, enhance forest resilience to climate change, and inform policymaking on ensuring healthy forests on federally managed lands administered by the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. These actions represent concrete progress on the goals and priorities outlined one year ago in President Biden’s Executive Order from Earth Day 2022, Secretary Vilsack’s Memorandum on Climate Resilience and Carbon Stewardship, as well as in the USDA Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis StrategyClimate Adaptation Plan, and Reforestation Strategy.

Get Involved

Join us for a White House Climate and Environmental Justice Briefing on Wednesday, May 3rd at 2:00 PM ET to hear from senior Biden-Harris Administration officials on recent announcements that will strengthen environmental justice, expand the clean energy economy, and foster conservation and resilience to climate change. Register here.

As part of President Biden’s goal of having 50% of all new vehicle sales be electric by 2030, the White House is issuing a call to action to all stakeholders in the private and public sectors including advocacy and community groups, to dedicate resources and make independent commitments in order to actively support this historic transition to electric vehicles (EVs). The EV Acceleration Challenge invites your organization to share details about any new or not yet publicly announced commitments your organization is making in support of America’s EV transition. Submissions will be highlighted on a rolling basis. Learn more here.

Keep reading for more environmental updates from the Biden-Harris Administration and to learn about opportunities to provide public input on ongoing energy and environmental initiatives. If you were forwarded this email, or are not on our list yet, please sign up here.

Resources:

  • Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Maps: Updated map reflecting the more than 20,000 projects and funding announced in communities across the United States.
  • Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook: This guidebook provides an overview of the clean energy, climate mitigation and resilience, agriculture, and conservation-related tax incentives and investment programs in President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, including who is eligible to apply for funding and for what activities.
  • Inflation Reduction Act Tribal Guidebook: Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act’s Clean Energy and Climate Investments in Indian Country, which provides clear descriptions of the law’s tax incentives and funding programs for which Tribes are eligible.
  • Grants.gov: Learn about current federal grant opportunities.
  • Cleanenergy.gov: A one-stop shop for Inflation Reduction Act policy updates.
  • Energy Savings Hub | Department of Energy: Access resources made possible by President Biden’s Investing in America plan, which will help lower your energy costs, make your home safer and more comfortable, and help the planet.

NEWS CLIPS OF THE WEEK

The New York Times: Biden to Create White House Office of Environmental Justice

CNN: Biden announces new environmental justice initiatives

NBC: Biden to sign executive order that aims to advance environmental justice

The Hill: Biden administration to invest $140M in Western water projects

AP: Biden signs order prioritizing ‘environmental justice’

Reuters: Biden signs executive order on ‘environmental justice’

Reuters: U.S. vice president to visit Miami, announce $562 million climate investment

Miami Herald: ‘We still have time to make a difference’: VP touts climate change investment in Florida

 

TWEETS OF THE WEEK

President Biden (@POTUS): “When I met with environmental justice leaders, their stories about pollution were unforgettable. Imagine being scared to death about what the air or water is doing to your kids. This kind of injustice goes against everything America stands for – so we’re taking action.”

Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP): “The climate crisis poses a rising threat to coastal communities. Today, I visited Miami to announce $562 million to reduce the impact of storm surges, hurricanes, and rising sea levels, and to protect marine ecosystems and economies across the nation.”

The White House (@WhiteHouse): “Today, @POTUS signed an Executive Order making environmental justice the responsibility of every single federal executive agency. This means every federal agency must take into account disproportionate environmental and health impacts on communities – and work to prevent them.”

Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Department of Energy (@SecGranholm): “?ICYMI: We launched the @ENERGY Savings Hub. This is your go-to for information on how you can save money and save our planet. Access the hub from anywhere and see how you can save BIG $$$ with @POTUS’ historic clean energy investments.”

Michael Regan, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (@EPAMichaelRegan): “Environmental justice is a pillar of this Administration and @POTUS ’s Executive Order reaffirmed this today. From establishing EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice & Civil Rights to delivering on the Justice40 initiative, we’re cementing environmental justice into our work.”

Mitch Landrieu, White House Senior Advisor & Infrastructure Coordinator (@MitchLandrieu46): “It’s a full court press on building a clean energy economy & making communities more resilient to climate change. Thanks in part to @POTUS’ Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, @Interior’s water conservation grants will help modernize water infrastructure with 84 projects in 11 states.”

Jalonne White-Newsome, Senior Director of Environmental Justice, White House Council on Environmental Quality (@JWhiteNewsome46): “What a day for #EnvironmentalJustice! ?️ @POTUS signed the Revitalizing our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All EO ? @WHCEQ, @OMBPress, & @USDS released the first-ever Environmental Justice Scorecard ?@WhiteHouse launched the Campaign for Environmental Justice”

ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM THE BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION

PRESS RELEASE: Biden-Harris Administration Announces $400 Million Grant Program to Fund Clean School Buses that Reduce Emissions and Protect Children’s Health

“Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of at least $400 million in grants for cleaner school buses, reducing harmful pollution and protecting children’s health. Under President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, funding from EPA’s Clean School Bus Program will improve air quality in and around schools and communities, save schools money, create good-paying clean energy jobs and reduce greenhouse gas pollution, protecting people and the planet. The grants are made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides an unprecedented $5 billion to transform the nation’s fleet of school buses. This is the first round of funding available as grants and follows the nearly $1 billion the Biden-Harris Administration awarded through the rebate competition last year to fund electric and low-emission school buses across school districts.” Full announcement here.

PRESS RELEASE: Interior Department Announces More Than $146 Million for Wetland Conservation Projects and National Wildlife Refuge

“The Department of the Interior today announced that more than $146 million in funding has been approved by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, providing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners the ability to help conserve or restore 242,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds across North America – including Canada and Mexico.” Full announcement here.

PRESS RELEASE: DOE Launches New Consumer Energy Savings Hub

“The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today launched the Energy Savings Hub—an online one-stop shop for American families and consumers to access the savings tools that President Biden’s Investing in America agenda has made available to drastically cut energy costs. The new website—Energy.gov/Save—puts President Biden’s clean energy tax credits and forthcoming rebates right at Americans’ fingertips, helping people take control of their energy costs and have cleaner and more efficient options as a consumer—whether they are looking to purchase an electric vehicle, update an appliance, or make their home safer and more comfortable. Full implementation of the President’s Investing in America agenda will put the U.S. on track to achieve the nation’s goal of 2030 economy wide greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 2005 levels.” Full announcement here.

PRESS RELEASE: EPA Announces Public Hearing on Proposal to Strengthen Standards for Chemical and Polymers Plants

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a virtual public hearing on its proposal to significantly reduce hazardous air pollutants from chemical plants, including the highly toxic chemicals ethylene oxide (EtO) and chloroprene. The reductions would dramatically reduce the number of people with elevated air toxics-related cancer risks in communities surrounding the plants that use those two chemicals, especially communities historically overburdened by air toxics pollution, and cut more than 6,000 tons of toxic air pollution a year.” Full announcement here.

PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Department of Energy Announces $13 Million to Support Community Geothermal Heating and Cooling Solutions

“The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced 11 communities across 10 states have been selected to design community geothermal heating and cooling systems. Using clean geothermal energy for heating and cooling can help American cities across the country meet their energy needs, drive down costs, create jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Community-scale geothermal systems are relatively common outside the United States but have a comparably small presence domestically. These selections represent the first of two phases in a $13 million initiative to support the design and eventual deployment of community geothermal heating and cooling systems. Increasing the use of geothermal heating and cooling nationwide will contribute to President Biden’s goal of a net-zero economy by 2050. The projects are part of President Biden’s Justice40 initiative, which sets a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.” Full announcement here.

PRESS RELEASE: Biden-Harris Administration Opens Applications for First Year of $400M Competitive Grant Program to Reduce Truck Air Pollution at America’s Ports

“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration today opened applications for the first round of a new $400 million grant program under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that focuses on port electrification and efficiency improvements. This program is one of several ways the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda is investing billions of dollars in ports of all sizes to modernize their infrastructure, improve air quality, and strengthen supply chains. The FY2022-2023 funding for the Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Grant Program totals $160 million. The funding will focus on projects that reduce emissions from idling trucks at our nation’s ports, which negatively impacts air quality for surrounding communities, including small children, truck drivers, and port workers.” Full announcement here.

PRESS RELEASE: Biden-Harris Administration recommends $562 million investment to make communities resilient to climate impacts as part of Investing in America agenda

“Today, Vice President Harris announced that the Department of Commerce has recommended $562 million in funding — including investments in nearly 150 projects across 30 coastal and Great Lakes states and territories — to make communities and the economy more resilient to climate change, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda. At an event in Miami, Florida, Vice President Harris will highlight how this announcement reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to tackle the climate crisis and ensure that communities are more resilient to extreme weather events. The awards are made under NOAA’s Climate-Ready Coasts Initiative and are funded by the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and bolstered by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).“ Full announcement here.

PRESS RELEASE: Secretary Haaland Announces $125 Million to Restore Nation’s Lands and Waters as Part of President’s Investing in America Agenda

“During remarks at the Society of Environmental Journalists Annual Conference in Boise, Idaho, today, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced a $125 million investment from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to restore the nation’s lands and waters. The funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law advances the Department’s restoration and resilience framework unveiled last month, which will put people to work in locally led landscape restoration projects driven by collaborative partnerships while advancing climate resilience.” Full announcement here.

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Inside Climate News Weekly

Author: : Kristoffer Tigue Published: 4/30/2023  Inside Climate News

A years-long drought in the Horn of Africa would not have happened without the influence of human-caused climate change, a group of scientists have concluded.

The region, which includes Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, has suffered from drought conditions since the fall of 2020. While climate change has had only a minimal effect on rainfall, the researchers said, increased heat has forced more evaporation from plants and soils, drying them out. Tens of millions of people and animals have been pushed into starvation as a result of the drought and other instability in the region.

More of our coverage of the biggest story on the planet:

  • Fossil fuel companies lost out when the Supreme Court declined to hear arguments to move climate change lawsuits to federal courts—opening the door for cities, states and counties to sue at the state level, where they are more likely to succeed.

  • As President Biden seeks reelection, he faces grim approval ratings driven in part by blows to his environmental agenda. Can he repair his image?

  • A group of major corporations have bought into carbon offset projects that don’t exist yet. But whether the projects get built might not be the most important question surrounding the deal.

 

 

 

 

An Agricultural Drought In East Africa Was Caused by Climate Change, Scientists Find
BY GEORGINA GUSTIN
The drought has pushed millions of people into famine or famine-like conditions and killed millions of animals.

 

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeals From Fossil Fuel Companies in Climate Change Lawsuits
BY EMMA RICKETTS
Baltimore and other cities, states and counties are suing the industry for damages from climate-induced extreme weather and sea level rise. They want their cases heard at the state level, while the industry seeks consideration in the federal  courts.

s Extreme Fires Multiply, California Scientists Zero In on How Smoke Affects Pregnancy and Children
BY EMMA FOEHRINGER MERCHANT
Climate change portends ever more frequent fires, and the smoky haze is “not easy to run from anymore,” notes one of the study’s leaders.

Vying for a Second Term, Can Biden Repair His Damaged Climate and Environmental Justice Image?
BY KRISTOFFER TIGUE
Ahead of Biden’s reelection bid, announced on Tuesday, the president unveiled a slew of new efforts aimed at bolstering his environmental record. Will voters care?

Carbon Removal Projects Leap Forward With New Offset Deal. Will They Actually Help the Climate?
BY NICHOLAS KUSNETZ
Finance and insurance giants hope to offset their carbon emissions with “direct air capture” from a plant in Texas and smokestack carbon capture from Midwestern ethanol plants that would rely on a pipeline that may never be completed.

 

 

California Enters ‘Uncharted Territory’ After Cutting Payments to Rooftop Solar Owners by 75 Percent
BY DAN GEARINO
New net metering rules have taken effect in California, giving solar owners a much worse deal than they had before on the excess power they sell back to the grid. Will it tank demand for installation?

Amid Glimmers of Bipartisan Interest, Advocates Press Congress to Add Nuclear Power to the Climate Equation
BY EMMA RICKETTS
Cost overruns and missed deadlines remain a powerful deterrent to investors. Still, the nuclear industry hopes clean energy goals will help unleash federal aid.

Utilities Seize Control of the Coming Boom in Transmission Lines
BY DAN GEARINO
Legislatures in a dozen states have passed “right of first refusal” laws that freeze out competition in transmission line projects, raising concerns about higher energy costs for consumers.

Inside Biden’s Embattled Climate Agenda. Analysts Say the Fight Is Far From Over
BY KRISTOFFER TIGUE
Senate Republicans, with the help of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, voted to repeal Biden’s clean truck rule—the latest attack on federal regulations meant to address global warming.

Can Iceberg Surges in the Arctic Trigger Rapid Warming at the Other End of The World?
BY BOB BERWYN
New research shows a fast-acting climate connection between poles that may be driven by wind rather than by ocean currents.

Educator, Environmentalist, Union Leader, Senator, Paul Pinsky Now Gets to Turn His Climate Ideals Into Action
BY AMAN AZHAR
The long-time liberal state senator from Prince George’s County, an outspoken environmental critic of former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, takes over the Maryland Energy Administration in the Moore administration.

Illinois Launches Long-Awaited Job-Training Programs in the Clean Energy and Construction Sectors
BY AYDALI CAMPA
Not a single new job had come out of Illinois’ 2021 Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, but the state is now investing millions in creating a diverse pipeline of “thousands” of new skilled workers to help it achieve its ambitious clean-energy goals.

 

 

 

 

FERC close to final interconnection rule, interregional transfer proposal: Chairman Phillips

Author:     Published: 4/30/2023    Utility Dive 

FERC Commissioner Willie Phillips speaking at the 2022 ACORE Policy Forum

“I’m committed to working with my colleagues, to make sure that we can advance and keep the momentum going on these proceedings,” he said.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is “on the doorstep” of reforming the interconnection queue process and setting minimum levels of interregional transfer capacity, FERC’s Acting Chairman Willie Phillips said Thursday.

“In order to get the needed transmission projects financed and built, we must address the continuing barriers to regional and interregional transmission investment,” Phillips said at a meeting held by WIRES, a trade group for utilities, grid operators and other companies in the transmission sector.

FERC last year proposed revamping its transmission planning and cost allocation rules and reforming the process for generators to connect to the grid. The agency is also considering requiring regions to be able to transfer minimum amounts of electricity with their neighbors, partly to bolster reliability during extreme weather. Also, Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., is preparing a bill that would require regions to be able to transfer at least 30% of their peak load to their neighbors.

“I’m committed to working with my colleagues to make sure that we can advance and keep the momentum going on these proceedings so that we can see a real benefit to our transmission investment in the near term,” he said.

The bipartisan infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act will likely spur significant transmission development, according to Phillips.

FERC will also have to double down on transmission reform, he said. “We have to send the right signals to investors to let them know that we’re going to do everything we can to speed this process up,” Phillips said.

The best path to bolstering grid reliability is through interregional transfer requirements, according to Phillips.

“One of the best ways that we can maintain reliability and resilience is to make sure that we get power from one part of the country where it’s generated to where it’s needed,” Phillips said.

Building more transmission will increase costs in the near term, but lower them over the long term, according to Phillips.

“What I recommend is that we be thoughtful, that we be strategic and do this in a way that is efficient, that is sustainable,” he said. “I think a big part of doing this too, is not just building everything that we can.”

Transmission owners and developers should use “grid-enhancing technology” to increase capacity on existing lines at a lower cost than rebuilding them, according to Phillips.

Along with grid reliability and transmission reform, Phillips said his top priorities include environmental justice.

“You got the wrong man if you think that I’m not going to make every effort that we can to lift the voices of underserved communities,” Phillips said. “I grew up in an environmental justice community. I know what it feels like to live in the shadows of heavy industry. I know what it smells like.”

The United States has to be able to build out the energy system it needs and respect environmental justice communities at the same time, he said.

“What we have to do is make sure that we have the voices of underserved communities at the table and that they’re heard in a meaningful way, every step of the way,” Phillips said.

Early engagement with people affected by proposed infrastructure projects can reduce delays and litigation, according to Phillips.

When they work, regional transmission organizations and independent system operators have tremendous value, Phillips said, noting complaints about them mostly center on capacity markets.

While imperfect, they have fostered diverse generating resources, brought transparency to transmission planning and operations through their market monitors, and improved reliability, he said.

“I think we’ve seen some of these cracks at the seams and we’ve tried to address those,” he said.

Phillips urged stakeholders to communicate with the agency as much as possible. “I know that there’s been a lot of activity from FERC and we’re all exhausted,” he said. “I’ve tried to moderate that a little bit to sort of bring things down to a pace that’s digestible.”

Commerce at a Glance: April 30, 2023

Author: US DOC Staff     Published: 4/30/2023      U.S. Department of Commerce Communications

Commerce at a Glance
The Latest News

Readout of Secretary Raimondo’s Meeting with Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea Lee Chang-yang for the Supply Chain and Commercial Dialogue

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo met with Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Lee Chang-yang to hold the first Ministerial-level meeting of the U.S.–ROK Supply Chain and Commercial Dialogue.

Read More →

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo Announces Appointment of Chief Richard Carrizzo as Chair of FirstNet Authority Board

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the appointment of Chief Richard Carrizzo to serve as Board Chair of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority). Carrizzo is the Fire Chief for the Southern Platte Fire Protection District in Missouri who was first appointed to the FirstNet Authority Board in 2018 and reappointed in 2021, serving as the Board Vice Chair and the Advocacy Committee Chair.

Read More →

2023 SelectUSA Investment Summit Brings President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to the Global Stage and Announces New Speaker Line-Up

The Department of Commerce today announced additional speakers and programming for the 2023 SelectUSA Investment Summit scheduled for May 1-4 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD.

Read More →

Secretary Raimondo Announces U.S. Section of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council Talent for Growth Task Force

Recently, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the seven individuals who will serve on the U.S. Section of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) Talent for Growth Task Force. The Task Force’s work is intended to encourage public and private sector initiatives to drive development of the talent and skills needed for emerging and existing technologies.

Read More →

CHIPS for America Outlines Vision for the National Semiconductor Technology Center

This week, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a paper outlining its vision and strategy for a National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC), a key component of the research and development program established by President Biden’s CHIPS and Science Act.

Read More →

U.S. Department of Commerce Invites Industry Groups to Apply for Export Promotion Funding

This week, the U.S. Department of Commerce released a new funding opportunity through the 2023 Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) to support projects up to $300,000 each aimed to generate U.S. exports, help address trade barriers, enhance U.S. industry competitiveness, and create American jobs.

Read More →

Biden-Harris Administration Recommends $562 million Investment to Make Communities Resilient to Climate Impacts as Part of Investing in America Agenda

Recently, Vice President Harris announced that the Department of Commerce has recommended $562 million in funding for nearly 150 projects across 30 coastal states and territories to make communities and the economy more resilient to climate change, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda.

Read More →

More Commerce News →
Around Commerce
Al Roker Showcases Aquaculture as a Climate Solution
Al Roker Showcases Aquaculture as a Climate Solution
Al Roker and his team visited aquaculture efforts in California and Connecticut to learn firsthand how aquaculture can support working waterfronts, local businesses, and the coastal economy, all of which are threatened by climate change.
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From inspired to inspiring: Damian Earley
Journeys of Innovation: From inspired to inspiring: Damian Earley
Inspired by an invention education assembly at school in second grade, Damian Earley spent the next several years creating various contraptions and competing in invention competitions on the local, state, and national level.
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How Do You Measure Cholesterol in Blood Tests?
How Do You Measure Cholesterol in Blood Tests?
During an annual physical exam, your doctor may take blood samples and order lab tests that measure everything from your blood sugar levels for signs of diabetes to your cholesterol levels for risks of heart disease.
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Whale Week: Celebrating the Wonder of Whales
Whale Week: Celebrating the Wonder of Whales
Celebrate Whale Week 2023 with us! Discover NOAA’s work to study, recover, and conserve these magnificent marine mammals.
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Commerce by the Numbers
Personal Income and Outlays, March 2023
Personal income increased $67.9 billion, or 0.3 percent at a monthly rate, while consumer spending increased $8.2 billion, or less than 0.1 percent, in March. The personal saving rate (that is, personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income) was 5.1 percent in March, compared with 4.8 percent in February.
Learn More →
New and Improved Census Business Builder Version 5.1
Let’s explore the many features and functions of the new and improved Census Business Builder (CBB) 5.1, released just last week, through the lens of a small business owner eager to expand their business.Learn More →

Gross Domestic Product, First Quarter 2023 (Advance)
Real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 1.1 percent in the first quarter of 2023, according to the “advance” estimate. In the fourth quarter of 2022, real GDP increased 2.6 percent. The increase in the first quarter primarily reflected an increase in consumer spending that was partly offset by a decrease in inventory investment.Learn more →

In Case You Missed It
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April 24, 2023
EDA Announces Notice of Funding Opportunity for Regions Impacted by Natural Disasters
The U.S. Department of Commerce, through the Economic Development Administration (EDA), today announced newly available support to those communities impacted by natural disasters in 2021 and 2022.
Read More →
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April 12, 2023
Biden-Harris Administration Launches $1.5 Billion Innovation Fund to Develop a More Competitive and Diverse Telecommunications Supply Chain
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the formal launch of the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund, which will invest $1.5 billion in the development of open and interoperable networks.
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May 17, 2023
2023 National AANHPI Business Summit
The 2023 National Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month Business Summit is coming May 17. Join us from 9 A.M to 1 P.M. EST at the US Department of Commerce in-person, and learn about how we’re all working to support AANHPI communities and businesses.
Read More →
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Grid connections will remain a huge challenge for clean energy if FERC fails to meet this moment

Author: Sean Gallagher    Published: 4/13/2023    Utility Dive

To promote competition, interconnection reforms need standard processes and rules that leave little room for interpretation or discretion.

Wind turbines over a set of solar panels.

Sean Gallagher is the senior vice president of policy at the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Connecting solar projects to the bulk power grid should not be this hard.

More than 2 TW of generation and storage are stuck in interconnection queues around the country, a majority of which are solar energy projects. In 2022, interconnection wait times increased by 40% and costs have more than doubled in recent years, pushing our ambitious clean energy goals further out of reach.

Consumers are interested in buying more solar energy, and solar developers are ready to deliver, but the grid and interconnection processes are not working. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s proposed rules for interconnection reform were welcome, but as FERC works toward finalizing this rule, we should all keep in mind that queue reform solely for the sake of reform is not progress.

Over the last 25 years, FERC policies have promoted competition and the diversification of our energy sources through competitive generation. Independent power producers, like large-scale solar and storage developers, are bringing competition to the market, but have no power over transmission or interconnection. In contrast, many utilities and incumbent generators own or control transmission, introducing a major conflict of interest when it comes to new market entrants and protecting their generation from competition. To promote competition, interconnection reforms need standard processes and rules that leave little room for interpretation or discretion.

We urge FERC to focus on creating real, achievable reforms that could have a meaningful impact on clean energy deployment.

First, FERC must correct the most egregious issue in its proposed rules — an impossible to meet “commercial readiness requirement” that would turn commercial practice on its head. This rule would force clean energy projects to have a power purchase agreement (PPA) or contract in place to enter the interconnection queue. This is an insurmountable barrier that ignores commercial realities. Today, most offtakers require developers to be in the interconnection queue to be considered for a PPA. Moreover, because interconnection costs impact overall project costs, project developers can’t price PPAs for their customers with any certainty without interconnection cost information, making them unable to fulfill this requirement.

Second, FERC should remove the use of excessive penalties for interconnection queue withdrawals in its proposed rules. These penalties incentivize nonviable projects to linger in the interconnection queue in hopes that other projects will withdraw and reduce the costs of network upgrades. Instead, FERC should create workable offramps for nonviable queue projects that will allow projects to exit the queue in an orderly process at set points in the interconnection study process.

Third, all parties participating in the interconnection process need better information. Transmission providers should publicly post information about interconnection capacity constraints, hosting capacity, and circuit strength. Better information on grid conditions will allow interconnection customers to make better decisions before entering the queue.

And finally, fairness should be prioritized in all of the interconnection rules FERC creates for generators and transmission owners. This includes getting rid of the subjective “reasonable efforts” standard that currently allows transmission providers to ignore tariff-defined study deadlines. Instead, it should be replaced with enforceable requirements that are subject to penalties and study deadlines and readiness requirements that accommodate the business models of low-cost independent power producers.

Solar developers are ready and willing to do their part to fix the problems facing the interconnection queues. In fact, the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA’s) comments agreed with a number of reforms that would weed out some of the interconnection requests by requiring higher study deposits and site control requirements. SEIA supports reforms that contribute to systemwide reliability and require all generation sources to be good grid citizens in their inverter settings.

However, solar developers cannot do this alone. FERC and transmission providers must also come to the table.

Essential News for Clean Energy Champions: Funding Opportunity April 26,2023

Author: US DOE  Staff         Published:  4/26/2023     EERE

U.S. Department of Energy - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

EERE Weekly Jolt Essential News for Clean Energy Champions

FUNDING UPDATES

DOE Announces $38 Million to Modernize the Electricity Grid

DOE announced a $38 million funding opportunity for National Laboratories to advance key research and development priorities to build a grid that can deliver resilient, reliable, flexible, secure, sustainable, affordable, and equitable electricity. Proposals must include at least two National Laboratories and participation from external stakeholders such as industry, academia, and non-governmental organizations.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY NEWS

DOE Announces Annual Solar Decathlon Winners

DOE announced the winners of the 21st annual Solar Decathlon®, DOE’s longest running student competition that challenges the next generation of building professionals to design and construct high-performance, low-carbon buildings powered by renewable energy.

DOE Announces Finalists for Equitable and Affordable Solutions to Electrification (EAS-E) Prize 

EERE’s Building Technologies Office awarded six finalists $5,000 in cash and a $75,000 voucher to work with DOE national laboratories to advance their electrification solutions. The EAS-E Prize awarded a total of $2.4 million in cash prizes and technical assistance for innovative solutions that advance electrification retrofits across various residential building types.

RENEWNBLE NEWS

DOE Announces $13 Million to Support Community Geothermal Heating and Cooling

EERE selected 11 communities across 10 states to support the design and deployment of community geothermal heating and cooling systems. The projects feature a variety of communities and a range of system sizes, technologies, and geographies—offering diverse case studies that will model how other communities could implement community geothermal.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Investments to Support and Accelerate Community Solar Across America

As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, DOE announced several solar energy investments to cut home electricity bills and reduce local pollution.

  1. The National Community Solar Partnership selected 25 teams to participate in the $10 million Community Power Accelerator Prize, which aims to establish a strong, nationwide network of community solar project developers. Successful teams have the potential to deploy enough community solar to power nearly 30,000 American homes—and access $5 billion in private sector financing.
  2. The 2023 Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar launched, offering $200,000 in awards for community solar projects and programs that increase equitable access and ensure benefits go to subscribers and their communities. To apply, community solar project portfolios or programs must serve at least 50% residential customers and must have been energized on or after January 1, 2020. Applications are due July 14.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $82 Million To Enhance Domestic Solar Manufacturing and Recycling, Strengthen the Clean Energy Grid

DOE announced $52 million for 19 projects to strengthen the U.S. domestic solar supply chain and $30 million in funding for technologies that will help integrate solar energy into the grid. The projects aim to enhance domestic solar manufacturing, support the recycling of solar panels, and develop American-made solar technologies.

May 11 enhanced geothermal summit

On May 11, DOE will virtually convene stakeholders to discuss the Enhanced Geothermal Shot™—an ambitious initiative to cut the cost of enhanced geothermal systems by 90% by 2035. Register here.

CLEAN ENERGY IN ACTION

EERE Success Story—Hemp for Home Insulation by Hempitecture

U.S. homes and commercial buildings consume 39% of the country’s total energy, and to bring this number down, DOE partners with private companies and other organizations to develop unique approaches to improving building energy efficiency. One such company, Hempitecture Inc., produces industrial hemp for use in buildings as insulation.

EVENTS AND WEBINARS

Energy Efficiency and Demand Flexibility – Promoting and Scaling Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings

April 27 | 1 p.m. ET

In this Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call, learn about the successful projects and research findings that enabled integrated energy efficiency, demand flexibility, and demand response programs.

National Energy Codes Conference

May 2–4

Join experts from EERE’s Building Technologies Office in Chicago as they cover important code topics and discuss current funding opportunities.


Comprehensive Utility Energy Service Contract (UESC) In-Person Training

May 3–4 | 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m. ET

This two-day workshop will help attendees understand the fundamental elements of a UESC and how these limited-source performance contracts can be used to maximize investment into energy and water conservation measures.


AMMTO & IEDO Joint Peer Review

May 16–18

EERE’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office and Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office will meet in Washington, DC, for a joint Peer Review to evaluate their strategic and operational impact.


Hydrogen Program Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting

June 5–8 | 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

ETA, for DOE’s annual review of its hydrogen program. The Annual Merit Review will feature presentations and posters on DOE-funded work and a one-day, interagency track featuring presentations on hydrogen and fuel-cell initiatives from other federal agencies.

EEOC Chair Burrows Joins DOJ, CFPB, And FTC Officials to Release Joint Statement on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automated Systems

Author: US EEOC Staff     Published: 4/25/2023     EEOC

EEOC News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
April 25, 2023

EEOC Chair Burrows Joins DOJ, CFPB, And FTC Officials to Release Joint Statement on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automated Systems

WASHINGTON – U.S. EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows and officials from three other federal agencies jointly pledged today to uphold America’s commitment to the core principles of fairness, equality, and justice as emerging automated systems, including those sometimes marketed as “artificial intelligence” or “AI,” become increasingly common in our daily lives – impacting civil rights, fair competition, consumer protection, and equal opportunity.

EEOC Chair Burrows and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra, and Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan released their joint statement, outlining a commitment to enforce their respective laws and regulations to promote responsible innovation in automated systems.

All four agencies have previously expressed concerns about potentially harmful uses of automated systems and resolved to vigorously enforce their collective authorities and to monitor the development and use of automated systems.

“We have come together to make clear that the use of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, must be consistent with federal laws,” said Charlotte A. Burrows, Chair of the EEOC. “America’s workplace civil rights laws reflect our most cherished values of justice, fairness and opportunity, and the EEOC has a solemn responsibility to vigorously enforce them in this new context. We will continue to raise awareness on this topic; to help educate employers, vendors, and workers; and where necessary, to use our enforcement authorities to ensure AI does not become a high-tech pathway to discrimination.”

“Technology marketed as AI has spread to every corner of the economy, and regulators need to stay ahead of its growth to prevent discriminatory outcomes that threaten families’ financial stability,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “Today’s joint statement makes it clear that the CFPB will work with its partner enforcement agencies to root out discrimination caused by any tool or system that enables unlawful decision making.”

“As social media platforms, banks, landlords, employers, and other businesses that choose to rely on artificial intelligence, algorithms and other data tools to automate decision-making and to conduct business, we stand ready to hold accountable those entities that fail to address the discriminatory outcomes that too often result,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This is an all hands on deck moment and the Justice Department will continue to work with our government partners to investigate, challenge, and combat discrimination based on automated systems.”

“We already see how AI tools can turbocharge fraud and automate discrimination, and we won’t hesitate to use the full scope of our legal authorities to protect Americans from these threats,” said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. “Technological advances can deliver critical innovation—but claims of innovation must not be cover for lawbreaking. There is no AI exemption to the laws on the books, and the FTC will vigorously enforce the law to combat unfair or deceptive practices or unfair methods of competition.”

For information about the EEOC’s AI initiative, please visit: Artificial Intelligence and Algorithmic Fairness Initiative | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (eeoc.gov).

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.

 

Can Biden Repair His Climate Image?

Author: Kristoffer Tigue   Published: 4/25/2023    Inside Climate News

A twice-a-week digest of the most pressing climate-related news, released every Tuesday and Friday, written by Kristoffer Tigue.

Now Vying for Second Term, Can Biden Repair His Damaged Climate and Environmental Justice Image?

President Joe Biden speaks about the creation of new manufacturing jobs at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. on April 25, 2023. Credit: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

It’s not hard to see why some have hailed Joe Biden as America’s first climate president.

In a slew of executive orders during his first week in office, Biden promised to make addressing climate change and environmental injustice central to his presidency. He set, by far, the most ambitious climate agenda in U.S. history, pledging to slash the country’s emissions in half over the next decade compared to 2005 levels. Under his watch, Democrats passed their premier climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act, which dedicates some $370 billion to fund clean energy development and other climate efforts. And he brought the United States back into the Paris Agreement, the world’s most significant climate treaty, after his predecessor pulled the nation out of it.

“I came to the presidency determined … to reestablish the United States as a trustworthy, committed, global leader on climate,” Biden proclaimed to world leaders last year at the United Nations’ COP27 climate summit in Egypt.

But as Biden seeks reelection—he officially announced his 2024 bid on Tuesday—the Democratic president also faces grim approval ratings, driven in part by a series of legal blows and controversial administration decisions that threaten to derail his ambitious environmental agenda.

Biden’s approval rating on Monday sat at just 42.5 percent, compared to 52.8 percent who disapprove, according to the latest analysis by poll tracker and political news outlet FiveThirtyEight. And a recent poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that just 47 percent of Democrats say they want him to seek a second term, up from 37 percent in February.

In some ways, those figures can be tied to several decisions by the Biden administration that drew the ire of climate and environmental justice advocates, many of whom were key to Biden’s election. Activists lambasted Biden for not intervening in Minnesota’s controversial Line 3 oil pipeline. They criticized the administration for leaving race out of a key federal screening tool meant to identify disadvantaged communities long plagued by environmental hazards. They condemned the administration again when it significantly boosted U.S. exports of liquified natural gas in reaction to the Russian war in Ukraine. And again when the administration opened up approximately 144,000 acres in the Gulf Coast to new oil drilling leases.

Most recently, climate activists questioned Biden’s commitment to fighting climate change after the administration approved the Willow Project, a controversial oil and gas drilling venture in Alaska that’s expected to release 9.2 million metric tons of climate-warming emissions every year and garnered significant opposition from young people online. While Biden’s hands were tied in some of those decisions for legal reasons, such as the move to leave race out of the screening tool and opening up the Gulf Coast leases, activists say that the Willow Project stood out as a choice that was wholly unnecessary and fundamentally out of step with the president’s climate goals.

Before his Tuesday announcement, it appeared that Biden was attempting to mitigate some of those criticisms. Speaking Friday at the annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland specifically defended her department’s approval of the Willow Project. “We’re not going to say we’re not going to use gas and oil. That’s not reality,″ Haaland said at the event. “So we are doing the best we absolutely can.″

In a series of announcements later that day, the administration continued to defend its track record and unveiled new efforts to bolster the president’s environmental agenda.

Among those efforts was a new executive order signed by Biden on Friday that would create a White House Office of Environmental Justice. That office, which will be housed inside the Council on Environmental Quality, will help coordinate Biden’s broader environmental justice efforts across federal agencies.

The new order also directs federal agencies “to actively facilitate meaningful public participation” in their decision-making process. It directs them “to identify and address gaps in science, data, and research related to environmental justice” while also making that information more accessible to the public. And it also charges the agencies to create strategic plans that assess their efforts to advance environmental justice through their work. Those strategic plans will then be compiled in a federal Environmental Justice Scorecard, which the CEQ will use to evaluate the progress made on that front by 24 different federal agencies.

The Biden administration on Friday released phase one of that scorecard, which sets the baseline the CEQ will use to measure progress. The White House also announced that day that more than a dozen new programs from three agencies—the Department of Commerce, the National Science Foundation and NASA—will be filtered through Biden’s Justice40 initiative, which directs federal agencies to deliver 40 percent of the “overall benefits” of their environmental and energy investments to disadvantaged communities. Nearly 470 federal programs are now covered by that initiative, according to the White House press release.

It’s unclear if Biden’s latest spree of announcements will be enough to repair his damaged image among the progressives in his base. In fact, the announcements have so far received mixed reviews from environmentalists and social justice activists.

Carla Walker, the U.S. director of environmental justice and equity for the World Resources Institute, an international think tank, was heartened by Biden’s new executive order, especially its requirement that federal agencies now create strategic environmental justice plans. “I think it’s quite telling that there is a steady drumbeat of environmental justice activities from the Biden administration,” she told me in an interview. That’s “significant because it signals how important and critical this is, that it’s not a flash in the pan.”

Lew Daly, deputy director of climate policy for the Roosevelt Institute, another progressive think tank, was also encouraged by Friday’s announcements. But Daly, who has closely tracked how federal programs are or aren’t being filtered through Justice40, also sees lingering problems.

Specifically, he said, it’s still unclear whether the hundreds of billions of dollars in clean energy and electric vehicle tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act will be subject to Justice40. Progressive members of Congress raised that same issue last year in a letter to several top Biden officials. It’s “clearly a major missing piece in the Justice40 program,” Daly told me in an email. “Why isn’t the energy tax credit program a ‘covered’ program under Justice40?”

Jillian Blanchard, director of the climate change program for Lawyers for Good Government, saw the new executive order as the Biden administration attempting to take back some power in its ongoing struggle with Congress over executive authority. Since taking office, she said, Biden has been in “a showdown” with Republican lawmakers who have used the Congressional Review Act to stymie the president’s agenda.

Last month, Senate Republicans, joined by a handful of conservative-leaning Democrats, used that tactic to block a Biden administration rule that sought to bolster environmental protections under the Clean Water Act. Biden responded this month by vetoing that legislation. Still, Republicans have already harmed Biden’s environmental agenda just by threatening to use the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to block recently enacted federal agency regulations.

In February, activists criticized the Biden administration again after the Federal Highway Administration rescinded its own guidance directing state transportation officials to consider climate change and equity when spending federal infrastructure dollars on highway projects. Blanchard said that’s because congressional Republicans were threatening to block the guidance through congressional review, so she was happy to see the White House making an effort on Friday to move the needle back in the other direction. However, she noted, implementation of Biden’s agenda remains key.

“It is the Biden administration doubling down on the importance of environmental justice in federal agency decision making,” Blanchard said. “It is critical, and (Biden) made it very clear, this is a whole-of-government approach.”

More Top Climate News

Manchin Threatens to Back Repeal of Clean Energy Tax Credits: Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is largely responsible for the Inflation Reduction Act. The conservative-leaning Democrat negotiated with Senate leaders to pass the Democrats’ premier climate law last year. But during an interview on Fox News on Monday, Manchin said he would support the Republican effort to repeal the clean energy tax credits that make up the bulk of the IRA’s $370 billion earmarked for tackling climate change, Summer Concepcion reports for NBC News.

Biden’s Newest Big Climate Rule Will Rest on Rarely Used Technology: The Biden administration is expected to soon release sweeping new rules that would require power companies to use a novel technology to capture most of their carbon emissions rather than letting them enter the atmosphere, Jean Chemnick reports for POLITICO. The proposals would come just 10 months after the Supreme Court restricted the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate carbon emissions, potentially making the new rules even more expensive for energy providers, ICN previously reported.

Climate Protesters Try to Bring Berlin Traffic to a Halt: German climate activists temporarily brought traffic to a standstill in some parts of Berlin on Monday by gluing themselves to streets all over the capital, Kirsten Grieshaber reports for the Associated Press. It’s one of the first major escalations in disruptive climate protests this year after some activist groups agreed to soften their tactics last year amid harsh public backlash. “We will no longer accept that the government has no plan to stop the destruction of our livelihoods,” organizers said in a statement Monday. “We are resisting now.”

Today’s Indicator

That’s how high federal scientists believe the sea level will rise along U.S. coastlines in the next 30 years, based on current policies—or about 1,200 times more than the wildly inaccurate figure of 1/8th of an inch in 300 years cited by former President Donald Trump on Fox News this month.

The National Urban League The State of Black America Report

Author: NUL Staff    Published: 4/24/2023     MSNBC

Copy paste in browser to listen to Interview:

https://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/annual-report-from-national-urban-league-details-threats-to-black-americans-170478661869?eType=EmailBlastConten

National Urban League’s annual report reveals alarming rise in hate crimes

Hate crimes against Black Americans have increased by 44%, according to a preliminary report from California State University. The National Urban League’s State of Black America report details hundreds of bills introduced since January to suppress voting and censor Black history and structural racism. President and CEO Marc Morial joins Morning Joe, calling for awareness of hate groups and crimes, and for the passing of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. Morial emphasizes the destabilizing effect of extremism and its infiltration into mainstream politics. 

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State regulators urge PJM to speed interconnection for new generation in face of power plant retirements

Author:      Published: 4/24/2023     Utility Dive

The power plant on the Delaware River, at the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with the remote view on the Delaware Water Gap.

Dive Brief:

  • State utility regulators are urging the PJM Interconnection to push certain proposed generating projects through its stalled interconnection process to help replace retiring power plants.
  • PJM should also consider using a streamlined study process for proposed resources that would use interconnections from retiring power plants and ending the practice of reviewing “dead applications” that are submitted before PJM starts its new queue process, according to the April 20 letter from the Organization of PJM States Inc.
  • “Such additional efforts will provide a balanced approach to both retaining existing generation as well as furthering the deployment of new generation resources,” OPSI said.

Dive Insight:

The OPSI letter comes amid upheaval at PJM, which operates the grid and wholesale power markets in 13 Mid-Atlantic and Midwest states and Washington, D.C.

During Winter Storm Elliott about 47,000 MW in PJM were unexpectedly offline, triggering $1.8 billion in possible penalties and raising questions about the effectiveness of the grid operator’s “capacity performance” framework that penalizes power plant owners for failing to deliver power in emergencies and rewarding those that overperform. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has launched an inquiry into PJM’s capacity markets.

And in February, PJM issued a report finding that power plants may be retiring faster than they are being replaced, threatening grid reliability. The grid operator launched a fast-track stakeholder process, called Critical Issue Fast Path – Resource Adequacy, or CIFP, that largely focuses on reforms that could bolster existing power plants. PJM has asked FERC to let it delay upcoming capacity auctions so they can include reform measures.

“We’re rattling the foundations here,” Mike Jacobs, Union of Concerned Scientists senior energy analyst, said Friday. “And everything PJM is calling for in this moment of crisis is strengthening the status of the existing supply.”

PJM’s fast-track stakeholder process lacks measures, such as interconnection reforms, to help bring generation online, according to OPSI.

This is “especially poignant” because recent modeling by PJM’s Clean Attribute Performance Senior Task Force shows there is enough new thermal entry to replace over two-thirds of retiring thermal capacity this decade and ample pending non-thermal interconnection requests waiting to come online, according to OPSI.

“This clearly indicates that prioritizing a transition to even just a reasonably functioning interconnection process should be prominently front and center on the CIFP agenda,” OPSI said.

The PJM Power Providers Group didn’t respond to a request for comment.

FERC in December approved a PJM proposal to revamp its interconnection review process that includes a multi-year pause in reviewing new proposals, but only projects that entered the interconnection process before 2022 will likely be operating by 2030, according to OPSI.

The PJM board should consider three options: tie interconnection process reforms to the expedited CIFP timeline; state that efficiency improvements to the interconnection process are “in-scope” in the current CIFP timeline; or launch a new fast-track stakeholder process for bringing generation online to replace retiring units, according to OPSI.

State utility regulators don’t have a voting role in PJM, and OPSI’s letter is one of the few ways it can influence the grid operator, according to Jacobs.

PJM’s stakeholder process is dominated by companies that own power plants and are “lukewarm” to new power supply, he said.

“We might have set this up with a [governance] structure that doesn’t really work because of the ways we allocated who gets to vote,” Jacobs said.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is part of a group that last month urged PJM to reduce barriers to new generating resources.

The groups called for immediately streamlining the process for transferring transmission rights from retiring power plants; identifying near-term grid upgrades to help resources get through the interconnection backlog; and, reducing barriers to capacity imports.

CPSC Business Education Newsletter: April 2023

Author: US CPSC Staff   Published: 4/24/2023    CPSC Newsletter

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Small Business Newsletter masthead graphic

Dear Small Business Community,

Thank you for subscribing to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Business Education newsletter. If you have any questions about CPSC product safety requirements, you can reach the Small Business Ombudsman (SBO) team by sending an email through our online contact form, or by sending an email to us directly at: sbo@cpsc.gov. You can also call our business line at: (301) 504-7945, and leave us a voicemail, and we will call you back directly.

Commission Agenda and Priorities: Notice of Hearing on May 10, 2023

The Commission will conduct a public hearing to receive views from interested parties about the Commission’s agenda and priorities for fiscal years 2024 and 2025. The hybrid hearing will be held in person at CPSC’s headquarters and remotely via webinar on May 10, 2023, beginning at 10 a.m. EDT. Individuals who plan to attend the meeting remotely should pre-register here. In-person attendees do not need to register for the hearing. Comments or requests to make oral presentations—in person or remotely—and the written text of any oral presentations must be received by the Office of the Secretary not later than 5 p.m. EDT on April 28, 2023. For information about the hearing, or to request an opportunity to make an oral presentation, please see the Federal Register notice and Public Calendar notice.

Clothing Storage Units (CSUs)

On April 19, 2023, pursuant to the federal STURDY law, the Commission voted to adopt ASTM F2057-23 as a mandatory safety standard to protect young children from injury and death from furniture tip over incidents. Per STURDY, the Commission’s adoption of ASTM F2057-23 supersedes the current 16 CFR part 1261 rule, which was published on November 25, 2022 (87 FR 72598), unless the Commission receives a significant adverse comment within 30 days of publication in the Federal Register. A read-only copy of the ASTM standard is available for viewing at: https://www.astm.org/​READINGLIBRARY/​For more information please see the CPSC press release and audio recording of the Commission’s decisional meeting. To stay up to date on this rulemaking, subscribe to CPSC’s Federal Register notices.

Other Recent Commission Activity

Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Safety Standard for Portable Generators (comment period closes on June 20, 2023)

The Commission proposed a rule (81 FR 83556) that limits carbon monoxide (CO) emissions from portable generators and requires generators to shut off when specific emission levels are reached. The Commission is providing an opportunity for interested parties to present comments on a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking on June 14, 2023. Any person interested in making an oral presentation must send an email indicating this intent to the Office of the Secretary at cpsc-os@cpsc.gov by May 22, 2023. For additional information, or to submit a comment, please see the Federal Register notice.

Agency Information Collection Activities & Comment Request: Testing and Labeling of Non-Children’s Products Containing or Designed to Use Button Cell or Coin Batteries and Labeling of Button Cell or Coin Battery Packaging (comment period closes on June 12, 2023)

On February 9, 2023, CPSC published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) to establish testing and labeling requirements for consumer products that contain or are designed to use button cell or coin batteries, and for the labeling of button cell or coin battery packaging. The NPR estimated the burden associated with these requirements for children’s products, but did not include an estimated burden for testing and labeling of non-children’s products or for labeling button cell or coin battery packaging. Therefore, CPSC is currently requesting comments on a proposed collection of information for Testing and Labeling of Non-Children’s Products Containing or Designed to Use Button Cell or Coin Batteries and Labeling of Button Cell or Battery Packaging. For additional information, or to submit a comment please see the Federal Register notice.

Recent Commission Public Meetings and Briefings: Recordings of the Commission’s public meetings are available on the CPSC YouTube Channel:

CPSC Public Calendar: Please see the CPSC Public Calendar for information about upcoming Commission Meetings and other CPSC Events: Public Calendar | CPSC.gov. Subscribe to CPSC Public Calendar emails here: Subscriptions | CPSC.gov.

Helpful Information from the CPSC Newsroom

CPSC Report Finds 37 Percent Spike in Child Poisoning Deaths in 2021

Unintentional pediatric poisoning deaths spiked 37 percent in 2021, with 59 children under five years old losing their lives after gaining access to prescribed or illicit drugs. CPSC encourages consumers to safeguard their families, especially those more vulnerable, from poisoning by taking control of potentially harmful household products, medications, and drugs. For safety tips for drugs or medications, laundry packets, household cleaning supplies, and button cell or coin batteries, view the news release here.

New CPSC Report Shows Upward Trend in Carbon Monoxide (CO) Fatalities

CPSC released a new report that shows an upward trend in non-fire carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning deaths. The report, Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Deaths Associated with the Use of Consumer Products 2019 Annual Estimates, covers deaths from 2009 to 2019. For 2019, there were an estimated 250 consumer product-related CO deaths in the United States—greater than any other year in the report. Engine-Driven Tools, including generators, were associated with the largest percentage of non-fire CO poisoning deaths for 2019. The report shows that since 2009, portable generators alone have been associated with an estimated 765 non-fire CO poisoning deaths, accounting for 40 percent of all CO deaths related to consumer products under CPSC’s jurisdiction. For information about safety precautions involving portable generators, heating products, and CO alarms, view the news release here.

We hope you find the information presented here helpful, and we encourage you to share these resources with your employees and members, as well. Please get in touch with us if we can be of additional assistance.


The 2023 Community Power Scorecard

Author: Maria McCoy      Published: 4/24/2023     ILRS 


Read about Why ILSR’s Community Power Scorecard Matters.


States are awarded an A, B, C, D, or F letter grade. The 2023 scores are evaluated out of a total of 41 points. The scoring methodology and a breakdown of this year’s scores are available in this document.

Our scoring compiles data from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient EconomyDSIRE, the National Renewable Energy LaboratoryPACENationSolarReviews, and Vote Solar, as well as the data we regularly track on community solar, community choice aggregation, and state legislative changes in general. Last year’s scores are available in our 2022 Scorecard.

How Can Your State Get an “A” Community Power Score?

ILSR’s community power scorecard evaluates state policies as they are written, not their implementation. The work of advancing energy democracy requires continued advocacy, vigilance, and effort. An “A” grade does not mean that the work is done. Even in high-scoring states, like Massachusetts or California, advocates are still fighting for community power.

Policy and Regulatory Trends in 2022

States passed eight policies last year that impacted their 2023 community power scores.

California, Illinois, Maryland, and New Mexico each changed their interconnection rules for distributed energy resources. All four states added specific considerations for battery storage, which is something the Interstate Renewable Energy Council advocates for with its BATRIES interconnection reform package. Out of those states, only Maryland had a less-than-perfect interconnection grade, so Maryland’s community power score has increased by one point.


To compare state interconnection environments, among other policies, see our interactive Community Power Map.


The Washington and New Hampshire legislatures each demonstrated their desires to increase solar access with community solar policies that make specific accommodations for low-income subscribers (see Wash. HB1814 and N.H. SB270). California, by our grading criteria, did not receive any additional points for its new community solar policy — even though the policy is worthier than the state’s existing Enhanced Community Renewables program. Several other states explored, but did not implement community solar in 2022, including Arizona (see ILSR’s commentary), Ohio, and West Virginia.

Colorado’s General Assembly passed a law on building energy codes in 2022. The law sets the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code as the minimum requirement, while still allowing communities to set more stringent codes.

Lastly, several states lost points in 2022 for changing their net metering policies. Iowa and New York both added fees to self-generating customers. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission allowed the state’s utilities to switch to “instantaneous netting,” which dramatically reduces the value of customer-owned solar generation. California, which has been embroiled in the net metering debate for years, has finalized its latest net metering policy — a policy that slashes the solar compensation rate by up to 75 percent.

Click here for shareable images related to this year’s scorecard: states that excelled, states that did the worst, and regional comparisons.


This article originally posted at ilsr.org. For timely updates, follow John Farrell on Twitter, our energy work on Facebook, or sign up to get the Energy Democracy weekly update.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Investments to Support and Accelerate Community Solar Across America

Author: US DOE Staff  Published:4/21/2023   EERE   

U.S. Department of Energy - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Solar Energy Technologies Office

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Over $8 Billion Available Through Prizes, Private Capital, and a Conditional Loan Commitment Will Expand Access to Cheaper, Cleaner Energy for American Families and Deploy Solar Power to Underrepresented Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced several new solar energy investments to cut home electricity bills and reduce local pollution. These investments in communities across America will support President Biden’s goals of a 100% clean electricity grid by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. DOE’s National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) selected 25 teams to participate in the $10 million Community Power Accelerator Prize competition, which aims to establish a strong, nation-wide network of community solar project developers. Successful teams have the potential to deploy as much as 150 megawatts of community solar across the country—enough to power nearly 30 thousand American homes—and access $5 billion in private sector financing through the Community Power Accelerator™. DOE also launched the 2023 Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar, which offers $200,000 in prize awards for community solar projects and programs that increase equitable access and ensure benefits—such as greater household savings, good-paying jobs, and enhanced energy resilience—go to subscribers and their communities. Together these programs contribute to the President’s Justice40 initiative to ensure that every community benefits from the clean energy transition and underscores the Administration’s commitment to expanding access to affordable renewable energy across America.

“Ensuring every community has access to the benefits from affordable clean energy resources like solar is key to President Biden’s vision of an equitable clean energy future,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “With today’s announcements, DOE is providing an exciting new set of tools and important assistance to support solar deployment across the nation so that all communities can enjoy the economic and critical public health benefits that come with deploying renewable energy.”

Later today, Secretary Granholm will highlight the importance of these announcements at an event honoring the 2022 Sunny Awards winners in Washington, D.C. The Secretary will also tout newly announced investments from DOE, including $82 million in selections for research and development projects in solar energy and a $3 billion conditional loan commitment to Sunnova Energy Corporation’s Project Hestia, which aims to expand access to solar in disadvantaged communities. Please click here to watch the event. 

Community solar is a form of solar energy generation that allows all community members to access the incredible cost-saving and public health benefits of renewable energy, such as lower utility bills, community ownership and wealth-building, increased energy resilience, equitable workforce development, and low- and moderate-income household access. DOE initiatives like NCSP, the Community Power Accelerator, and the Sunny Awards support the Department’s efforts to ensure organizations and communities across the nation have access to the funding and assistance necessary to develop community solar projects that promote long-lasting and meaningful benefits to the surrounding areas.

Accelerating Equitable Community Solar Deployment 
The Community Power Accelerator Prize was designed to better enable community solar developers to learn, grow their operations, and support multiple projects. The prize will foster a robust ecosystem of community solar project developers that incorporate locally centered benefits into projects across the United States. The prize is a critical component of the Community Power Accelerator, a network of developers, investors, philanthropists, and community-based organizations that works together to ensure equitable community solar projects are adequately financed and deployed. Lenders participating in the network have committed to help community-based organizations and other mission-aligned project developers access financing and build community solar projects, particularly in disadvantaged and low-income communities.

The 25 winners will receive a cash prize of $50,000 each, participate in a learning lab, and obtain technical assistance to further scope out their project portfolios to get them ready for financing. At the end of the next phase of the competition, teams will list their projects on the Community Power Accelerator’s online platform, ensuring visibility to the platform’s financing and philanthropic partners. Through this process, the teams will develop skills critical to deploying hundreds of megawatts of equitable community solar, which support the NCSP’s goal of 20 gigawatts by 2025. The winners span 16 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and will serve diverse types of communities, for example:

  • Mana Pacific Inc. (Kihei, HI): A minority-, veteran-, and woman-owned company with projects designed to achieve 100% ownership by island residents of Moloka’i, the least developed island of Hawaii with the highest poverty rates and highest electricity rates in the country.
  • AV3 Energy (Rolla, MO): A new developer, this company created the first community solar program in Missouri and is designed to reduce electricity bills for rural households—unlocking a path for rural and remote Missouri towns to make the switch to solar.
  • Orleans Parish School Board (New Orleans, LA): New Orleans Public Schools and their partners aim to expand solar development and create a sustainable school district in a community servicing over 45,000 students, of which over 92% of students are non-white and over 80% are economically disadvantaged.
  • People United for Sustainable Housing (Buffalo, NY): A replicable project that supports affordable housing in underserved areas, providing electricity bill savings and job training opportunities for a vast network of community organizations.
  • SAGE Development Authority/Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Renewable Energy Power Authority (Fort Yates, ND): A portfolio of projects based around North and South Dakota tribes, leading to a model for community solar development in a new part of the country through tribal development.

View the full list of projects here.

Recognizing Best Practices in Community Solar 
DOE also opened submissions for its 2023 American-Made Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar. In its second year, the Sunny Awards will recognize community solar projects, and state, municipal, Tribal, and utility-led community solar programs that employ best practices in delivering benefits to their subscribers and communities. Applicants will compete for a prize pool of $200,000, including up to five Grand Prize Awards of $10,000 each.

The Sunny Awards is a prize competition that recognizes community solar projects and programs that employ or develop innovative ways to increase equitable access to the cost-saving and public health benefits of community solar.

In the inaugural 2022 Sunny Awards, DOE awarded over 30 community solar projects and programs nationwide, including Grand Prize winners:

  • District of Columbia’s Solar for All (Washington, DC): Solar for All is a program designed to reduce electricity bills for households in Washington, DC, through single-family and community solar projects.
  • Community Power: Jobs and Savings for LMI Households (Brooklyn, NY): Community Power delivers energy savings to 500 households, provides workforce training, and offers paid jobs to public housing residents.
  • Faribault Community Solar (Faribault, MN): The Faribault Community Solar project is a cooperatively-owned community solar array serving mostly low-to-moderate income residents in southern Minnesota.
  • JOE-4-SUN Ashland (Ashland, MA): JOE-4-SUN Ashland is a 6 MW community solar project that saves low-to-moderate income households over $400 per year on electricity costs and brings the benefits of clean, renewable energy to a superfund site.
  • Shungnak-Kobuk Community Solar Battery Independent Power Producer (Shungnak, AK): This solar and battery project led by the Shungnak and Kobuk tribes in the Northwest Arctic Borough region in Alaska aims to stabilize the cost of electricity and allow the communities to take charge of their energy future.

These five winners will help households achieve a projected combined total savings of $4.3 million on their energy bills. These winning projects and programs provide clean energy access for 7,300 low- to moderate-income households and demonstrate best practices in increasing resilience, expanding community ownership, building a more equitable workforce, and leading community engagement.

Learn more about DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies OfficeNational Community Solar Partnership, and the Community Power Accelerator.

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Solar Snapshot: New Funding for Innovative Solar Projects; Perovskite Startup Prize Finalists

Author:  US DOE Staff   Published: 4/19/2023   Solar Snapshot

U.S. Department of Energy - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Solar Energy Technologies Office

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What’s Inside: Solar Snapshot, the newsletter of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), shares recent announcementsupcoming eventsconnect the dots on solar energy campaign resourcesand more.

If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, you can subscribe here.

Reach out to us at solar@ee.doe.gov with any inquiries or suggestions.

Estimated read time: 4 minutes, 7 seconds

What’s New?

New Funding for Novel Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power (CSP) and Photovoltaic (PV) Technology

SETO just announced its Small Innovative Projects in Solar 2023 funding opportunity, a $6.5 million program for seedling research and development projects that focus on innovative and novel ideas in PV and CSP. Diverse teams from universities, federally funded research and development centers, nonprofits, community-based organizations, state agencies, local governments, and solar developers are encouraged to apply by June 1.

SIPSFY23

Two Finalists Advance to the Perovskite Startup Prize’s Liftoff Contest

The final Countdown Contest in the Perovskite Startup Prize has concluded, and two teams were just named finalists! American Perovskites and Perotech Energy were awarded $200,000 each for their novel, cost-effective technologies that will help accelerate the growth of the U.S. perovskite industry. They join four other finalists in the Liftoff Contest, where they will be asked to demonstrate substantial progress and validation of their technology and develop a network of mentors and partners

American-Made Challenges Perovskite Startup Prize

Upcoming Deadlines

Don’t forget to participate in these funding opportunities, prizes, and solicitations:

Some Light ? Reading

Input Requested on the U.S. Solar Manufacturing Workforce

SETO is seeking information and feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, manufacturers, suppliers, education and training providers, community-based organizations, and workers’ rights organizations on scaling the U.S. solar manufacturing workforce. Submit feedback by June 2.

The Potential of U.S. Agrivoltaics

Agrivoltaics, the co-location of solar energy installations and agriculture beneath or between rows of PV panels, has many potential benefits for the U.S. solar industry, farmers, and communities at large. Learn about the positive potential impacts of agrivoltaics: from creating clean energy jobs to easing land-use conflict.

Products & Publications

Upcoming Events

American-Made Earth Day Event

April 25 | 11:30 a.m. ET
The American-Made program is hosting an Earth Day event to celebrate the innovators and entrepreneurs supercharging the clean energy revolution. Hear from key energy industry players, past prize winners sharing their success stories, and prize administrators who will give updates on the latest winner announcements and new prize launches.

AMC Earth Day

Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) Meeting Series

April 26 & 27
i2X is hosting a new meeting series, the Solution e-Xchange, to facilitate open dialogue across the U.S. electricity ecosystem on important interconnection issues. Join the upcoming sessions:

Systems Integration Webinar Series 2023

April 26 | 4 p.m. ET
SETO’s Systems Integration team is hosting a monthly webinar series. Register for their next webinar, titled, ‘Secure Monitoring and Control of Solar Power Distribution System Through Dynamic Watermarking.’

Solar District Cup Project Pitch Championship

May 1 | 2 p.m. ET
Student teams in the Solar District Cup Collegiate Design Competition Class of 2022-2023 have been working hard on their designs to meet the solar-plus-storage needs of campus, tribal, and suburban mixed-use districts. The winning team for each division will compete in a head-to-head pitch championship. Register for this energetic virtual event and vote on your favorite team to win.

Webinar: AgriSolar Ownership, Lease, and Land Planning

May 4 | 1 p.m. ET
Join the AgriSolar Clearinghouse for a webinar series on agrivoltaics, the co-location of solar and agriculture on the same land. Additional webinars are scheduled in the coming months.

Power Electronics Grid Interface (PEGI) Industry Workshop

May 24-25 | Golden, CO
Join NREL for an in-person workshop and demonstration of the new PEGI Platform, which allows vendor technologies to plug into megawatts of grid infrastructure. Register by April 20.

Continuing Education Course: Community Solar Program and Subscription Design

May 23-24 | 12 p.m.ET
Learn and discuss the various elements of community solar program design, as well as ownership options relevant to municipal utilities in this new continuing education course presented in partnership with the American Public Power Association and NREL

Connect the Dots on Solar Energy

SETO is connecting the dots on solar innovation. Check out some of the SETO-funded innovations that benefit consumers, communities, and the solar industry:

Follow along with our Connect the Dots content on social media and join the conversation using the hashtag #ConnectSolar

Learn more about SETO or DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

 


Green Bank News | April 2023 Here’s The Latest News

Author:  MCGB Staff   Published: 4/20/2023   MCGB

April 26, 2023 Board of Directors Meeting

Date: April 26, 2023
Time: 1:30 pm- 4:30 pm Location: In- Person; 155 Gibbs St Rockville, MD; 4th Floor conference room

The Montgomery County Green Bank will be holding a Board of Directors Meeting on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, 1:30 pm- 4:30 pm. The public may attend in person in the 4th floor conference room at 155 Gibbs St in Rockville, MD. We appreciate an RSVP in advance to info@mcgreenbank.org. View the meeting agenda.

See below for more details on recent celebratory events.

Governor Moore Joins Seneca Village 2.18 MW Solar Rooftop Event

On Wednesday, April 19, the Montgomery County Green Bank hosted an event to celebrate the start of the largest rooftop solar project on an affordable multifamily property in Montgomery County at the Seneca Village Apartments. There was a high energy of enthusiasm for this model clean energy project on the rooftop of an affordable community in an Equity Emphasis Area of the County.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore, County Executive Marc Elrich, and Council President Glass joined the celebration of the 2.18 MW solar PV project at Seneca Village.  Setting the stage for the project were Aaron Orlofsky of ORLO (the property owner), Lisa Walsh of Solar Energy Services, Shruti Bhatnagar of the Sierra Club, and the Green Bank team of Bonnie Norman (Chair), Tom Deyo (CEO), and Steve Morel (CIO).

Watch the Event Recording

See below for more details on the upcoming Green Bank Market Series

May 9: Montgomery County Green Bank Market Series Event: Clean Energy Opportunities & Challenges for Common Ownership Communities in 2023

Date: May 9, 2023
Time: 
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Location: Rockville Innovation Center, 155 Gibbs Street, Rockville, MD

Join us on Tuesday, May 9 at 4:00 pm for an insightful, in-person panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities that Common Ownership Communities (COCs) will face in the coming year.

With the implementation of new state and county laws, building energy performance standards (BEPS), and electrification requirements, COCs will be presented with a unique set of opportunities and challenges. During this discussion, we will delve into important topics such as state & local BEPS, electrification, the Inflation Reduction Act, EV infrastructure, financing strategies, and available incentives and resources.

This event is geared toward association leadership, property managers, CPAs, vendors, and attorneys that support Montgomery County’s COCs.

Refreshments will be provided. Register soon because space is limited.

Register Now

The Green Bank is committed to working collaboratively with partner organizations. See below for more details on networking and outreach events

Held On March 28-29: DEP Montgomery County Energy Summit

 

 

The Green Bank participated in the 10th annual Montgomery County Energy Summit on March 28 and 29 as an event partner, exhibitor in the Innovation Alley, and host of two educational sessions.

The Green Bank’s Associate Director of Commercial & Industrial, Scott Dicke, hosted a session on their technical assistance and financing programs, highlighting that the programs aim to provide accessible financing options and expert guidance to support energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives.

The Green Bank’s Chief Investment Officer, Stephen Morel, gave a presentation on the Bank’s innovative approach to driving sustainable energy investment through channel partnerships, highlighting the collaboration with stakeholders to promote sustainability in Montgomery County.

The Green Bank’s CEO, Tom Deyo, was on the closing panel with representatives of US DOE and Pepco to discuss the tools and resources available in the County to support clean energy improvements in the County.

 April 22: Montgomery County Green Fest

his year, Montgomery County is observing “Earth Month” in April with a variety of events and activities aimed at motivating people to support sustainability, conservation, and environmental protection.

Join the Green Bank at the eighth annual GreenFest, a celebration of green living, will be held at two locations. On Saturday, April 22, “GreenFest in the Gardens” will be held at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, and on Sunday, April 23, “GreenFest in the City” will be held at Marian Fryer Town Plaza in Downtown Wheaton. The Green Bank is participating in “GreenFest in the City” on Sunday. These free events are suitable for the whole family.

Learn More

April 27: Solar Workshop for Faith and Community Leaders

Date: April 27, 2023
Time: 5
:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Location: WorkSource Montgomery, 11510 Georgia Ave, Wheaton-Glenmont, MD 20902

Join One Montgomery Green and Montgomery County Green Bank for a joint outreach event on addressing Faith and Community leaders about solar and renewable programs! The Green Bank’s Associate Director of Renewable Energy, Jordan Taylor, will be speaking to Faith and Community leaders on addressing their communities and groups to direct them to solar and energy efficiency programs.

Register Now

President Biden Signs Executive Order to Revitalize Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All

Author: WHCEQ  Staff       Published: 4/21/2023  White House Council on Environmental Quality

 

Greetings,

President Biden and Vice President Harris believe that every person has a right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live in a healthy community – now and into the future. During his first week in office, President Biden launched the most ambitious environmental justice agenda in our nation’s history. To continue delivering on that vision, today the President will sign an executive order further embedding environmental justice into the work of federal agencies to achieve real, measurable progress that communities can count on.

The new Executive Order, Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All, will:

  • Deepen the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government commitment to environmental justice.
  • Better protect overburdened communities from pollution and environmental harms.
  • Strengthen engagement with communities and mobilize federal agencies to confront existing and legacy barriers and injustices.
  • Promote the latest science, data, and research, including on cumulative impacts.
  • Expand interagency coordination and launch a new Office of Environmental Justice within the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
  • Increase accountability and transparency in federal environmental justice policy.
  • Honor and build on the foundation of ongoing environmental justice work.

In addition to the Executive Order, today the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing other new steps to further the President’s historic commitment to environmental justice, including Publishing the first-ever Environmental Justice Scorecard, launching the White House Campaign for Environmental Justice, announcing new Justice40 covered programs and taking new steps to combat plastic pollution in communities.

Additional information about today’s actions is available in the fact sheet below and available here.

Please share this news with your networks.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Signs Executive Order to Revitalize Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All

President Biden and Vice President Harris believe that every person has a right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live in a healthy community – now and into the future. During his first week in office, President Biden launched the most ambitious environmental justice agenda in our nation’s history. To continue delivering on that vision, today the President will sign an executive order further embedding environmental justice into the work of federal agencies to achieve real, measurable progress that communities can count on.

The Executive Order is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government effort to confront longstanding environmental injustices and inequities. For far too long, communities across our country have faced persistent environmental injustice through toxic pollution, underinvestment in infrastructure and critical services, and other disproportionate environmental harms often due to a legacy of racial discrimination including redlining. These communities with environmental justice concerns face even greater burdens due to climate change.

With this action, the President is working to ensure that all people – regardless of race, background, income, ability, Tribal affiliation, or zip code – can benefit from the vital safeguards enshrined in our nation’s foundational environmental and civil rights laws. That means cleaner air and water, reduced risk for asthma, cancer, and other health burdens, and better access to green space, safe and affordable housing, and clean transportation.

For President Biden, protecting our planet starts with ensuring everyone lives in a safe and healthy environment. Throughout Earth Week, President Biden, Vice President Harris, and other Cabinet-level officials are holding events and announcing commitments focused on how the President’s Investing in America agenda is creating good-paying clean energy jobs, lowering costs, meeting our climate goals, advancing environmental justice and conservation, and strengthening communities that for too long were left behind or left out.

The new Executive Order, Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All, will:

  • Deepen the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government commitment to environmental justice. The new Executive Order makes clear that the pursuit of environmental justice is a duty of all executive branch agencies and should be incorporated into their missions. It also affirms that environmental justice is central to the implementation of our bedrock civil rights and environmental laws.
  • Better protect overburdened communities from pollution and environmental harms. The Executive Order directs agencies to consider measures to address and prevent disproportionate and adverse environmental and health impacts on communities, including the cumulative impacts of pollution and other burdens like climate change. Additionally, it requires agencies to notify nearby communities in the event of a release of toxic substances from a federal facility, and to hold a public meeting to share information on resulting health risks and necessary precautions.
  • Strengthen engagement with communities and mobilize federal agencies to confront existing and legacy barriers and injustices. Communities with environmental justice concerns have long experienced exclusion and other significant barriers to having a voice in federal decision-making. The Executive Order recognizes this reality and that racism is a fundamental driver of environmental injustice. It directs agencies to actively facilitate meaningful public participation and just treatment of all people in agency decision-making. The Executive Order also underscores the vital importance of Tribal consultation and coordination, including to strengthen nation-to-nation relationships on issues involving environmental justice.
  • Promote the latest science, data, and research, including on cumulative impacts. The Executive Order directs agencies to identify and address gaps in science, data, and research related to environmental justice, to advance the analysis of cumulative impacts, and to make information on environmental and health concerns more publicly accessible to communities. To address the need for a coordinated strategy for identifying and filling environmental justice data and research gaps, the Executive Order establishes a new Environmental Justice Subcommittee within the National Science and Technology Council, led by the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
  • Expand interagency coordination and launch a new Office of Environmental Justice within the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Building on Executive Order 14008, the Executive Order adds agencies to the White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council to further a whole-of-government strategy to address current and historic environmental injustice. The Executive Order also establishes the White House Office of Environmental Justice, led by the Federal Chief Environmental Justice Officer, and tasks it with coordinating the implementation of environmental justice policy across the federal government, ensuring that federal efforts can evolve alongside our understanding of environmental justice.
  • Increase accountability and transparency in federal environmental justice policy. The Executive Order charges federal agencies with conducting new assessments of their environmental justice efforts and developing, implementing, and periodically updating an environmental justice strategic plan. These Environmental Justice Strategic Plans and Assessments will be submitted to the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and made public on a regular basis, including through the Environmental Justice Scorecard, a new government-wide assessment of federal agencies’ efforts to advance environmental justice.
  • Honor and build on the foundation of ongoing environmental justice work. Under the Executive Order, agencies will continue their efforts to advance environmental justice in ways that complement and deepen prior work. The Executive Order uses the term “disproportionate and adverse” as a simpler, modernized version of the phrase “disproportionately high and adverse” used in Executive Order 12898. Those phrases have the same meaning, but removing the word “high” eliminates potential misunderstanding that agencies should only be considering large disproportionate effects.

This action follows through on President Biden’s promise to modernize and improve how the federal government confronts environmental injustice to address the needs of present and future generations – a promise he made following meaningful engagement with communities with environmental justice concerns and solidified in Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. The Executive Order reflects the values, goals, and recommendations of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC), an expert body of leaders, researchers, practitioners, and community members. In line with the WHEJAC’s recommendations, the Executive Order outlines an ambitious approach to environmental justice that is informed by scientific research, high-quality data, and meaningful engagement with communities. It also reaffirms that the federal government must continue to be transparent and accountable for its actions.

The Executive Order builds on and supplements the foundational efforts of Executive Order 12898, signed by President Bill Clinton nearly 30 years ago. For the first time in our nation’s history, Executive Order 12898 recognized and sought to address what community members and leaders had been saying for decades: harmful pollution disproportionally impacts low-income communities and communities of color, among other vulnerable communities.

In addition to the Executive Order, today the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing other new steps to further the President’s historic commitment to environmental justice:

 

  • Publishing the first-ever Environmental Justice Scorecard. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), CEQ, and the U.S. Digital Service are publishing Phase One of the Environmental Justice Scorecard, the first government-wide assessment of federal agencies’ efforts to advance environmental justice. The first version of the Scorecard establishes a baseline for tracking the federal government’s efforts through 24 agencies to secure environmental justice, including to advance the Justice40 Initiative. Over time, it will show how the Administration’s actions are making meaningful changes in communities. The Scorecard incorporates recommendations from the WHEJAC and feedback from the public, environmental justice stakeholders, and experts.
  • Launching the White House Campaign for Environmental Justice. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring that people are seeing and experiencing the impacts of the President’s environmental justice agenda in their communities. To strengthen partnerships with communities that have been left behind for too long, the Administration is announcing the White House Campaign for Environmental Justice. The campaign, which is being kicked off today at the launch of the 21st Urban Waters Federal Partnership in Raleigh, North Carolina, will redouble the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to meet people where they are and better focus agency resources and attention on the needs of marginalized and overburdened communities.
  • Announcing new Justice40 covered programs. Through the Justice40 Initiative, the Biden-Harris Administration is reshaping hundreds of federal programs to ensure that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities. Today three additional agencies, the Department of Commerce, the National Science Foundation, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), announced their Justice40 covered programs. Now nearly 470 programs across nineteen federal agencies are covered under the President’s Justice40 Initiative.
  • Taking new steps to combat plastic pollution in communities. The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes that the plastic pollution crisis is an environmental justice issue, with disadvantaged communities in the U.S. and globally bearing social, economic, and public health burdens across the entire lifecycle of plastics. Today the Environmental Protection Agency is releasing a draft National Strategy on Preventing Plastic Pollution to combat the disparate impacts on communities affected by plastic from production to waste. The White House is also announcing a new Interagency Policy Committee (IPC) on Plastic Pollution and a Circular Economy. The IPC will coordinate federal efforts on plastic pollution, prioritizing public health, economic development, and equity to ensure that the benefits of acting on plastic pollution – including jobs, minimized exposure to harmful chemicals, and clean communities – are available to all.

Today’s announcements build on more than two years of progress under President Biden’s leadership to advance environmental justice. That progress includes:

For more on the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to advance environmental justice, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/environmentaljustice/.

DOE Announces $24M to Commercialize Innovative Solar Technologies

Author: US DOE Staff    Published: 4/21/2023     DOE

U.S. Department of Energy - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Solar Energy Technologies Office

FY22 Solar Manufacturing Incubator Funding Program

On April 20, 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) announced $24 million for research, development, and demonstration projects to spur innovation in domestic solar manufacturing, in particular to advance cadmium telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) technologies. 9 projects in 7 states will help boost the solar supply chain, make solar cells cheaper and more efficient, and develop new solar technologies that can be made in America.

The Solar Manufacturing Incubator funding program seeks to invest in innovative research, development, and demonstration projects that enable continued solar cost reductions, while developing next-generation solar technologies and boosting American solar manufacturing.

Two projects make significant investments in advancing CdTe solar manufacturing – a thin-film technology that can diversity the solar supply chain. Seven additional projects will de-risk new technologies and manufacturing processes, bringing the solutions to the prototype stage, and on the path to commercial success. The selected projects are:

  • BREK Electronics (Broomfield, CO): This team is developing a new inverter technology based on a silicon carbide transistor and high frequency planar magnetics that can significantly lower the cost and size of grid-tied inverters. (Award Amount: $500,000)
  • First Solar (Perrysburg, OH): This project will develop a tandem module combining CdTe and silicon—a new residential rooftop product that is more efficient than silicon or thin-film modules on the market today. (Award Amount: $7.3 million)
  • Guardian Devices (Albuquerque, NM): This team will produce self-extinguishing PV connectors that will prevent fires in PV systems. (Award Amount: $900,000)
  • LITESPEED Energy (Livermore, CA): This project will improve modules for floating PV systems, making them more resilient to wind and waves. (Award Amount: $1.6 million)
  • Makai Ocean Engineering (Waimanalo, HI): This project aims to de-risk an innovative heat exchange for use in Generation 3 concentrating solar-thermal power systems. (Award Amount: $600,000)
  • Mirai Solar (Mountainview, CA): This project will further develop and commercialize a foldable PV solar screen with variable shading and output power for controlled environment greenhouses. (Award Amount: $1.4 million)
  • Mission Drives Corp (Potsdam, NY): Mission Drives is developing an inverter to switch electricity input 100 times faster than conventional products using silicon carbide and gallium nitride wide bandgap components. (Award Amount: $1.2 million)
  • Toledo Solar (Perrsyburg, OH): This project will demonstrate the application of semitransparent CdTe solar panels to windows, addressing a new market for thin-film solar devices. (Award Amount: $8.7 million)
  • Vitro Flat Glass (Cheswick, PA): This team will improve the power output of CdTe modules through a high-performance superstrate, which is the glass on which a solar module is built. (Award Amount: $1.6 million)

With this round of selections, SETO’s manufacturing and competitiveness subprogram is looking to fund larger industrial research and demonstration awards to accelerate de-risking and commercialization of innovative technologies. These investments will grow the clean energy economy and help achieve the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of a decarbonized grid by 2035.

Learn more about SETO manufacturing and competitiveness research and read the new white paper on potential pathways to a resilient solar supply chain.

Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 15-22

Author: Brent Parton US DOL Assistant Secretary  Published: 4/21/2023      DOL

United States Department of Labor

SUBJECT

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Adult, Dislocated Worker and Youth Activities Program Allotments for Program Year (PY) 2023; PY 2023 Allotments for the Wagner-Peyser Act Employment Service (ES) Program; and PY 2023 Allotments of Workforce Information Grants to States

PURPOSE

To provide information to states and outlying areas on WIOA Title I Adult, Dislocated Worker and Youth Activities program allotments for PY 2023; final PY 2023 allotments for the Wagner-Peyser Act ES Program, as required by section 6(b)(5) of the Wagner-Peyser Act, as amended; and the allotments of Workforce Information Grants to States for PY 2023.

Questions regarding these allotments may be directed to the appropriate Regional Office. Information on allotments and planning requirements may also be found on the ETA Web site at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta.

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CONTACT
TO

STATE WORKFORCE AGENCIES
ALL STATE WORKFORCE LIAISONS

FROM

BRENT PARTON
Acting Assistant Secretary