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How Renewables Could Help Solve Climate Change

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The global pandemic, COVID-19, has sent the federal government into a sort of frenzy. The crisis has forced the government to step up in this time of need and provide incentives to help sustain the U.S. economy. While this is necessary to avoid a depression, it comes at a price—the federal debt amount is spiking and it will need to be repaid somehow. Combining this pressure with the growing problem of climate change will result in a challenge that we have yet to surmise. We believe that renewable energy will be one of the most effective tools we have in the fight against climate change. 

In years past, the federal government’s climate-related disaster recovery spending was already reaching astronomical numbers. In an analysis conducted by The Center for American Congress, they found that the federal government—meaning taxpayers—spent $136 billion total on disaster relief and recovery, costing on average about $400 per household per year. This money goes to repairing federally owned properties, insurance, making structures stable, and disaster aid. 

Climate Disaster Spending

Last year, 14 billion-dollar disasters occurred, the fifth year in a row with more than 10. Research suggests that the future projections aren’t looking too promising, either. Reports from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated that the average annual number of catastrophes causing over a billion-dollars’ worth of damages over the past five years has doubled the average over the past four decades. The administration warned that this is directly correlated to climate change. 

In 2018, the federal government’s national climate assessment predicted continued warming stating, “it is expected to cause substantial net damage to the U.S. economy throughout this century, especially in the absence of increased adaptation efforts.” BlackRock, a global investment firm goes on to suggest that if we continue to use fossil fuels, by the year 2050 we will see a 275% increase in major hurricane risk. PG&E, California’s utility company was forced to file for bankruptcy last year when devastating wildfires ripped across the state causing over $30 billion in damages. 

While the federal government will have to cover these losses, state and local governments will struggle because they cannot borrow money as the federal government can. States overwhelmed with disaster costs will be forced to turn to the federal government for assistance. Additionally, banks are moving risky mortgages onto government-backed lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. With the climate worsening, defaults will rise as the federal government will be personally liable. The Federal Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program is over $20 billion in debt. Debt projections continue to increase, and the federal deficit is expected to reach $4 trillion in 2020. 

What can be done to reduce our world from the exposure to climate-related disasters? Experts suggest cutting greenhouse gas emissions and increasing spending to bolster infrastructure when faced with extreme climate catastrophes. Greenhouse gas emissions have been dramatically increasing over the years but we’re seeing a positive uptick in wind and solar energy. Advancements to solar equipment and huge cost improvements are making renewables increasingly more competitive with fossil fuels. 

Carbon Tax for Change

We recognize we have a choice between a carbon tax or a climate disaster tax. A carbon tax can directly reduce and eliminate the use of fossil fuels that are rapidly destroying our climate as well as provide revenue, job opportunities, and encourage organizations to reduce their carbon footprint. While this may not affect climate change directly for some time, it’s a positive step to take to reduce emissions worldwide and better prepare the United States for other crises that arise, like the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

At Intersect Energy, we are a developer of renewable energy. We recognize New Jersey’s Master Energy plan for reducing the state’s carbon footprint and fully support this initiative to address climate change. We’re here to provide you with the most up-to-date information and current energy news in our area. For all the latest solar happenings, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn.

 

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How Renewables Could Help Solve Climate Change

By admin,

 

The global pandemic, COVID-19, has sent the federal government into a sort of frenzy. The crisis has forced the government to step up in this time of need and provide incentives to help sustain the U.S. economy. While this is necessary to avoid a depression, it comes at a price—the federal debt amount is spiking and it will need to be repaid somehow. Combining this pressure with the growing problem of climate change will result in a challenge that we have yet to surmise. We believe that renewable energy will be one of the most effective tools we have in the fight against climate change. 

 

In years past, the federal government’s climate-related disaster recovery spending was already reaching astronomical numbers. In 2017 alone, Congress allotted $136 billion in additional funding for disaster recovery, costing taxpayers about $1,000. This money goes to repairing federally owned properties, insurance, making structures stable, and disaster aid. 

 

Climate Disaster Spending

Last year, 14 billion-dollar disasters occurred, the fifth year in a row with more than 10. Research suggests that the future projections aren’t looking too promising, either. Reports from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated that the average annual number of catastrophes causing over a billion-dollars’ worth of damages over the past five years has doubled the average over the past four decades. The administration warned that this is directly correlated to climate change. 

 

In 2018, the federal government’s national climate assessment predicted continued warming stating, “it is expected to cause substantial net damage to the U.S. economy throughout this century, especially in the absence of increased adaptation efforts.” BlackRock, a global investment firm goes on to suggest that if we continue to use fossil fuels, by the year 2050 we will see a 275% increase in major hurricane risk. PG&E, California’s utility company was forced to file for bankruptcy last year when devastating wildfires ripped across the state causing over $30 billion in damages. 

 

While the federal government will have to cover these losses, state and local governments will struggle because they cannot borrow money as the federal government can. States overwhelmed with disaster costs will be forced to turn to the federal government for assistance. Additionally, banks are moving risky mortgages onto government-backed lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. With the climate worsening, defaults will rise as the federal government will be personally liable. The Federal Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program is over $20 billion in debt. Debt projections continue to increase, and the federal deficit is expected to reach $4 trillion in 2020. 

What can be done to reduce our world from the exposure to climate-related disasters? Experts suggest cutting greenhouse gas emissions and increasing spending to bolster infrastructure when faced with extreme climate catastrophes. Greenhouse gas emissions have been dramatically increasing over the years but we’re seeing a positive uptick in wind and solar energy. Advancements to solar equipment and huge cost improvements are making renewables increasingly more competitive with fossil fuels. 

 

Carbon Tax for Change

We recognize we have a choice between a carbon tax or a climate disaster tax. A carbon tax can directly reduce and eliminate the use of fossil fuels that are rapidly destroying our climate as well as provide revenue, job opportunities, and encourage organizations to reduce their carbon footprint. While this may not affect climate change directly for some time, it’s a positive step to take to reduce emissions worldwide and better prepare the United States for other crises that arise, like the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

At Intersect Energy, we are a developer of renewable energy. We recognize New Jersey’s Master Energy plan for reducing the state’s carbon footprint and fully support this initiative to address climate change. We’re here to provide you with the most up-to-date information and current energy news in our area. For all the latest solar happenings, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn.

 

 

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New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition’s New Initiative to Electrify Transportation

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The New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition (NJCC) has reported a new initiative that could prove major for the electrification of New Jersey’s transportation infrastructure. In March 2020, New Jersey happily saw $20 million in proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). This is the first payout since they rejoined the agreement. This initiative is the first of its kind—a mandatory, market-based program aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the US. These proceeds will not only help New Jersey reduce their emissions but trailblaze the way for new solar sectors installations, technologies, and ecological restoration projects as well as create better financing mechanisms and improve solar vehicle technologies. 

 

According to the Strategic Funding Plan, developed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Board of Public Utilities, and the Economic Development Agency, 60% of funds will be allotted to the Economic Development Agency, and 40% will be split up between the Board of Public Utilities, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The funding plan goes into further detail, outlining four main initiatives including organizing clean transportation, creating a Green Bank for the state, promoting blue carbon in the world’s coastal ocean ecosystems, and boosting forests. 

 

As of April 17th, the New Jersey Economic Development Agency released the state’s plan of investing $80 million annually in “programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, drive forward projects that boost clean energy and create jobs, protect the health of residents in environmental justice communities, and increase the resiliency of coastal communities.” 

 

New Jersey’s Climate Change Policy and 2020 Energy Master Plan

In Governor Phil Murphy’s 2020 Energy Master Plan, his administration has set a statewide goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. The initiatives mentioned above were also a part of his climate change policy approach. New Jersey formally re-entered the emission trading agreement in early 2020 after two years of being on the outs. They rejoined alongside Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island. The state had been one of the original participants in the regional program. The proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will be used to aid the initiatives and support the goal of Governor Murphy’s 100% carbon-neutral electricity generation by 2050, with a focus on the state’s largest emitter—the transportation sector.

 

The state of New Jersey houses over 9 million residents, 21 counties and over 500 municipalities, making it one of the most densely populated states in the US. Out of over 6 million vehicles registered in New Jersey, almost 4 million are cars and the remaining 2 million are trucks and other commercial vehicles. With those facts and figures in place, no one is surprised by the transportation sector’s emissions, accounting for 71% of nitrogen oxide emissions and 42% in greenhouse gas emissions. Because of the location of the state, and its many roadways and waterways, there are significant transportation related challenges New Jersey will have to overcome to achieve 100% carbon-neutrality.

 

Emissions in EJ Communities in New Jersey

Because of location, most Environmental Justice (EJ) communities in New Jersey grapple with the transportation sector’s emissions. Oftentimes, low-income housing is located along the major road and waterways of these sectors, leading to higher rates of pollution in these areas. This causes health conditions like asthma, lung disease, and cancer for many. Governor Murphy’s Energy Master Plan takes this into account and recognizes the need to reduce the emissions from the transportation sector so the EJ communities start feeling some relief. This is where the initiatives of the RGGI Strategic Funding Plan comes into play. As stated, this plan is focused on organizing clean and stable transportation with a focus on electrification, which is echoed throughout Governor Murphy’s Energy Master Plan. Both plans highlight the need for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at multi-family homes, hotels, and places of business as well as light-, medium-, and heavy-duty hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) charging stations at commercial and industrial institutions. 

 

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Using VW Trust

Along with the funds from the RGGI’s plan, the NJDEP aims to use the Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Environmental Mitigation Trust to help fund over $35 million worth of projects to replace old machinery and vehicles to ones that run on electricity. Additionally, the VW Mitigation Trust will assist with EV charging station infrastructure and design, allotting another $7.6 million.

Commissioner Catherine McCabe stated, “New Jersey’s transportation sector is a major source of both greenhouse gases and pollutants that threaten the health of our residents. This injection of millions of dollars will grow the clean energy economy and protect our residents against climate threats.” 

Supplementary Initiatives Aimed to Electrify NJ’s Transportation Sector

Governor Murphy’s Energy Master Plan, the RGGI Funding Plan and now the VW Mitigation Trust are all huge successes in New Jersey’s move to electrify the transportation sector. Additional initiatives include:

  • Increase in electric vehicle use – increased legislation and goals for more sales of public charging stations for EVs.
  • Partnership to Plug In initiative – this statewide partnership aims to build out and support necessary infrastructure for EVs in New Jersey.
  • It Pay$ to Plug-In Program – this program provides rebates to offset the cost of purchasing and installing EV charging stations. 
  • NESCAUM Statement of Intent – this understanding hopes to advance the deployment of medium- and heavy-duty hybrid electric vehicles.

 

While these initiatives are all strongly supported by the New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition, they have noticed none of these plans include other renewable energy sources, like natural gas, which is cheaper and more widely available. At Intersect Energy, we’re here to provide you with the most current energy news and comprehensive green solutions in our area. For all the latest solar energy happenings, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn.  

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Pollinator-Friendly Solar Initiatives

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One of the largest and most controversial factors that can potentially disrupt a solar install project is the location. The location is extremely important for likely solar sites and can oftentimes be met with local resistance. Solar cynics like to argue that the site is sitting on potentially productive land as well as the “industrial chic decor” of the installation itself isn’t a very welcomed sight.

We do have some good news to report for these controversial solar initiatives—according to a widening body of research, this resistance can be met with support if the solar projects are designed with greener, cleaner solutions in place. One trend we’re seeing that’s gaining momentum across the country is “pollinator-friendly” landscaping. This idea swaps out the use of gravel and turf to cover the exposed soil with pollinator-friendly vegetation, like grasses, native greenery, and wildflowers. The idea behind this practice is to encourage bees and other pollinators to visit these solar project sites, which is essential for helping boost and maintain local agriculture. 

Pollinators play an integral role in agricultural production in the United States, with approximately one quarter depending upon pollinators. Clearing out large fields for solar projects (1 MW of solar requires 5 to 10 acres of land) to be installed comes at the expense of these pollinators, who depend on this space for shelter and food. Pollinator-friendly landscaping is a common-sense solution to halt this happening and these areas can be potentially conserved for the future return to agriculture.   

 

Benefits of Pollinator-Friendly Solar Sites

Choosing pollinator-friendly landscaping while designing a solar site has many advantages. For starters, it can help to boost the overall output of the solar installation. A solar site covered with gravel, turf or crushed rock “can cut the solar project efficiency by half a percent for every two degrees of temperature increase above 77 degrees Fahrenheit”, says Rob Davis, director of the Center for Pollinators in Energy. “Thicker vegetation helps you mitigate the effects of heat and keep your solar farm operating at peak temperature.” says Davis. Other benefits developers have noticed are improved water and soil quality because of the deep root systems of the pollinator-friendly plants, as well as lower construction and solar site maintenance costs and improved economic impacts, like the introduction of solar honey.

Georgena Terry, author of a report on pollinator-friendly state policies also points out that these initiatives garner support from stakeholders because they are “feel-good initiatives that “have few detractors and appeal to both sides of the aisle.”

 

Pollinator-Friendly Solar Laws and Programs

A handful of states (7) now have pollinator-friendly solar landscaping design laws in place. In 2016, Minnesota became the first state to adopt a pollinator-friendly law, followed by Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New York, South Carolina, and Vermont. While Virginia has no specific laws in place, they have developed their own program, Pollinator Smart, designed to “provide incentives and tools for the solar industry to adopt a native plant strategy to meet soil and water control regulations, community needs, and the needs of our biosphere.”  

Many regions with no firm pollinator-friendly laws in place have developed their own unique programs that vary slightly. A common thread was seen throughout each program and that’s the use of a pollinator-friendly scorecard. This scorecard provides developers with entomologist-approved standards that are beneficial for the pollinators. 

 With more and more states gaining support and adopting successful programs and practices in favor of pollinator-friendly solar projects, we don’t see this trend slowing down any time soon. As Rob Davis has stated, “We’d really like to ensure that the land under and around the panels is benefiting us as much as the clean energy is.” At Intersect Energy, we always provide innovative and efficient green solar solutions to our clients. Stay up-to-date with all the latest news by following us on LinkedIn.

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Solar, Wind and Hydropower Renewables Displacing Fossil Fuels During the COVID-19 Crisis

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Many states across the country have been forced into mandatory lockdowns due to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The lockdowns have significantly lowered air pollution and global emissions are expected to decline by at least 8% this year during the pandemic. In a study conducted by the International Energy Agency, (IEA) their findings suggest that during the remainder of 2020, renewable energy will be “the only energy source likely to experience demand growth”. As the economy slowly recovers, experts assume that the fossil fuel industry will take a hit and the U.S. will be one step closer to using clean, renewable energy. Since the beginning of May, the U.S. has produced more renewable energy than coal-fired power for 40 straight days. Generation from sources like solar, wind and hydropower have completely overtaken fossil fuels making this an incredible milestone for renewable energy. 

In the IEA’s Global Energy Review 2020 report, they examined the similarities and differences that the pandemic has had on all global energy systems. Their findings through mid-April show that countries undergoing a full lockdown are experiencing an average “25% decline in energy demand per week”. Global oil demand, nuclear power plants and natural gas all declined in the first quarter of 2020 while renewable energy demand increased by almost 2%. For many that lobby against the support of renewables, the Global Energy Review 2020 pointed out that the priority dispatch, which helps with the integration of renewable energy into the electricity system to promote security of supply and sustainability, is the main reason why renewables have proven resilient in these unprecedented times when the demand for energy is low. 

A Recovering Economy 

As economies across the world prepare their recovery plans post pandemic, the IEA predicts the global energy demand will fall by at least 6% this year. Coal-fired power will fall more than 10%, with gas consumption seeing its biggest fall in history, a record 5% slump. Oil demand will drop by 9% in 2020 due to limited mobility and aviation restrictions, while nuclear power is expected to fall 3% since last year. Carbon emissions will see their largest fall ever, with the IEA predicting an almost 8% drop but warning of a rebound that could be larger than ever once things return to normal. Solar and wind power have risen to 9% in the first quarter of 2020 due to warmer weather, lower gas prices and more renewables that were added to the grid in 2019 as well as the significant dip in electricity demand due to individuals staying home. All in all, renewable energy has accounted for over 25% of generation in the first quarter of 2020. 

While energy systems across the globe have suffered, there still lies some uncertainty with the small scale solar sector. Because of the lockdowns, installations have slowed or stopped all together. The uncertainty of the economy is sure to halt any homeowners’ future plans for solar rooftop installation or at least postpone them for the time being. While the trend of renewable ascension is expected to continue, experts are now hopeful that solar, wind and hydro energy will exceed coal consumption into 2021, with the COVID-19 crisis accelerating this change. Little was mentioned in the report regarding energy storage

Regardless of what happens during the economic recovery, one statement reflected the damage that could be done to the fossil fuel industry in the long run, stating, ”Renewables are the only energy source likely to experience demand growth across the remainder of 2020 regardless of the length of lockdown or strength of recovery”.

Here at Intersect Energy, we’re a Distributed Energy Resource developer dedicated to providing turnkey services to our customers. We provide initial assessment and design services, construction management and financing. Regardless of what the future holds, we are here to provide all the latest news and resources as well as our desirable green energy solutions. To receive the most up-to-date news, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn

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800 MW of Rooftop Solar Added to the Northeastern United States in 2019

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Solar contractors across nine Northeastern states added about 800 MW of small-scale installations in 2019, with New Jersey and New York making up about three-fifths of the total installed capacity. Contractors generally refer to these small scale-installations or rooftop solar panels as installations smaller than one megawatt. In 2020, The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) hopes to see New Jersey and New York continuing to be trailblazers, renewing their current solar initiative plan and expanding on their current one, respectively.

In the past 12 months, we saw Massachusetts lead in cumulative rooftop installations per capita, with Vermont and New Jersey trailing closely behind in second and third. Rhode Island took the lead in rooftop solar installation additions per capita in 2019 by a two-to-one margin. Maine and Pennsylvania were the only two states in 2019 that did not exceed the U.S. national average of 69 watts of rooftop solar per capita, with New York and New Hampshire needing to establish a hefty amount of rooftop solar installations this year to keep that honor.

State Policy Goals

Regardless of the size of solar installation, the technology used, or where it’s located, local, state and federal policies have a major impact on the success of distributed solar initiatives. SEIA helps support these initiatives statewide by being engaged with policymakers in Washington, D.C. Several groups in the Northeast shared their policy goals and plans for 2020, with all of them hoping to continue the forward momentum into the future.

New Jersey

New Jersey’s current plan is set to expire, so looking ahead, SEIA is looking for a replacement program to install at least another 3 GW of distributed solar, short-term. Vote Solar, whose mission is to make solar a more mainstream energy resource, is pressing for $125 million per year in state funding; which will provide 250,000 lower income families the opportunity to go solar by 2030 with 400 megawatts of solar storage. Pari Kasotia, Vote Solar’s Mid-Atlantic Director says, “By focusing on low-income families, we are ensuring that on-bill savings, which are more difficult for low-income families to access, are available to everyone.”

New York

SEIA is pushing for state funding for New York’s agency, NYSERDA. This petition requests $573 million to help meet a state goal of 6 GW of distributed solar capacity by 2025. Vote Solar’s goal in New York is to serve 250,000 low income families with solar so everyone in the community can participate in the state initiative for cleaner energy.

Massachusetts

Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) is a sustainable solar initiative program that promotes cost-effective solar development in Massachusetts. Vote Solar’s goal in Massachusetts is to simplify the program so that low-income families will have the chance to go solar without needing to sign a contract. SEIA is more focused on the solar project sites of the SMART program. David Gahl, SEIA’s Senior Director of Northeast state affairs states, “The program applies an incentive subtractor for certain distributed solar projects built on green fields and previously undisturbed property. This is essentially a penalty that’s assessed on a cent per kilowatt-hour basis.” SEIA would like to see an approach that more clearly designates the type of parcel where the solar installations would be applied.

Solar Potential for the Future

The solar potential across the U.S. is greater than it may seem, especially in the Northeast. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) created a solar potential map of the U.S., where at first glance, the map is very misleading. It highlights the Southwestern desert as a hotspot for solar potential, then, as you move across the U.S., it appears the potential dramatically drops off, which isn’t true. In fact, there’s solar potential everywhere across the continental United States.

At Intersect Energy, we offer innovative and efficient solutions for renewable energy. We help commercial and industrial companies with solar energy development projects in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. Our solutions reduce operating costs and sources of local green energy. To keep up with all the latest news in renewable energy, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn.

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New Jersey Unveils Master Plan for 14 GW More Solar Energy Through 2035 and Beyond

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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is making a pledge to fight climate change in his 290-page document that outlines the state’s master energy plan. This extensive plan includes electrification initiatives that call for more solar charging vehicles and solar heating buildings. The master plan has a goal of 17 GW of solar by 2035, and given the 3 GW of existing solar, speculations suggest that this goal can be comfortably met by adding just 950 MW of solar each year through 2035 and 400 MW of distributed energy each year through 2030.

By 2050, the governor would like to reach 32 GW of solar, 11 GW of offshore wind and 9 GW of solar battery storage. What do all these numbers look like in the grand scheme of things? New Jersey’s ambitious least-cost clean energy strategy hopes to reach 50% clean energy by 2030 and 100% clean energy by 2050. New Jersey’s master plan is further aiming to slash greenhouse gas emissions, greatly reducing the state’s contribution to climate change.

A least cost strategy was supported and identified through analysis from the Rocky Mountain Institute. The master plan starts New Jersey on a path towards reducing its carbon emissions by 80% and reaching 100% carbon-neutral electrical generation by 2050. In order to meet these goals, future costs of solar and solar storage would have to meet the “low” forecast as stated in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Annual Technology Baseline. New Jersey’s transportation, electricity and buildings will all have to reduce their emissions significantly in the upcoming years to meet the clean energy targets by 2050.

New Jersey’s Extensive Clean Energy Initiative

Looking at those levels of solar capacity, New Jersey’s current electricity load would double, with electrification of 90% of space and water heating in many buildings as well as must vehicles running on the power of the sun. Governor Murphy called this master plan a way of “weaning the state off its century-old addiction to fossil fuels.”

The energy strategy will cost almost the same as “business as usual”, increasing the energy system spending by only 0.2% of gross state product in the next 30 years and further reducing total costs when you count clean air health benefits and the social cost of carbon. In this strategy scenario, New Jersey is including fossil fuels but making an effort to be zero-carbon biogas and hydrogen by 2050 and beyond.

New Jersey—A State of Firsts

In one of the most important, seven key strategies of Governor Murphy’s master plan, New Jersey state law will now not sign off on a proposed building project if it “does not align with our broader efforts to combat climate change.” says Murphy, further adding “It will either need to be amended, or it will not be approved. In this, New Jersey will lead the nation and set the standard.”

This radical need for change and positive forward movement comes from the challenges the Governor recognizes that the state of New Jersey is imminently facing. With steadily rising sea levels along the Jersey coast and the harmful effects of fossil fuel emissions affecting the health of millions, this master energy plan looks to help abolish some of these challenges. At Intersect Energy, our turnkey energy solutions provide further assistance to the efforts put forth by the state of New Jersey. We offer assessment, design, financing, installation and alternative energy management to commercial and industrial companies who are looking to lessen their carbon footprint. For continued news in renewable energy, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn.

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Renewable Energy Predictions for 2020

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2019 saw an abundance of clean energy dominance in the United States. From 11 states having a 100% commitment or achievement to clean energy to solar and solar battery storage prices becoming more and more affordable throughout the country, clean, renewable energy is here to stay. With that being said, we’re looking to the future. What will 2020 hold? What can we expect from clean energy in the next decade?

Solar+ Decade

SEIA, the national trade association for the U.S. solar industry, announced that the 2020’s would be the Solar+ Decade. Their radical vision predicts that by the end of the decade, solar energy will account for 20% of all U.S. electricity generation. This is an attainable goal thanks to progressions in clean energy sources and solar storage systems.

If successful, not only will this initiative be great for the environment, it will also bring about new job opportunities, cleaner air, lower energy bills, better health and add billions of dollars back into the United States economy. With solar popularity soaring, prices will continue to fall, and SEIA predicts solar installations will hit a record high of 19 gigawatts this year, enough to power over 3 million homes.

Policy Change

For this vision to become a reality, Congress and the White House will need to create pro-solar policies and put an end to solar tariffs. Tax policies will need to be updated and trade laws must propel growth. State policies must continue with their forward momentum—carving out specific renewable standards that create opportunities for all forms of solar generation.

A recent financial sector survey states that between now and 2030, the U.S. private investment in renewable energy could reach up to $1 trillion. Achieving this would greatly help with renewable growth, promoting technologies like storage systems, modernized transmission systems and the deployment of pollution-free renewable power.

End of an Era for Coal and Natural Gas

More than half of today’s electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels. But, since 2010, we have seen a rapid decline in the use of coal, with over 500 coal-fired power units closing. We see this decline continue into the future as renewable energy has been beating coal on cost in parts all over the country. In 2018, 74% of U.S. coal plants were more expensive than renewables, with coal generation falling 18%.

2020 and beyond will also hope to see the demise of natural gas. Causing the unnecessary heating of our planet, carbon pollution and harmful health factors, the need to stop burning gas has never been greater. Gas has now replaced coal as being among the largest source of carbon pollution in many parts of the country. Most gas is burned in areas that are densely populated. Because policymakers are concerned about dirty air and clean energy is now cheaper than gas, many cities are banning the use of gas in new construction.

The road may be rocky and cluttered with obstructions, but we believe the solar industry will expand exponentially this decade. While ambitious, the goal of 20% clean energy generation is achievable. At Intersect Energy, our goals align with SEIA. We believe our solar development projects can help to maximize the economic benefits for our clients. Let’s continue this forward progression into the future. For all your green energy needs, look to the professionals at Intersect Energy. To keep up with all the latest news in renewable energy, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn.

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Projections See U.S. and Canada Lowering Conventional Energy Use With Distributed Energy Resources on the Rise

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DNV GL, a world-leader in quality assurance and risk management services for maritime, oil, gas, power and renewable industries, recently released their annual Energy Transition Outlook for 2019 with projections into the year 2050. This report is DNV GL’s view on the future of energy and what the path ahead most likely will look like. While the United States and Canada are both projected to see an increase in population and wealth, the total energy usage will be lowered by about 30%. Why? An increase in CO2 free electricity by use of Distributed Energy Resources of Solar and Wind.

The study shows that by the year 2050, the United States and Canada are both looking at 24% of their total electricity use coming from solar PV. This will be made possible because by the late 2020’s, 962 GWac of solar power will be generated, being installed at a rate of 35 to 45GWac of capacity per year.

Wind turbines will be generating almost 50% of electricity by 2050, with onshore wind climbing to 26% and offshore wind rising to 22% from 0% of today. Hydro and nuclear power, respectively, will be around 8% and gas-fired generation will hover around 10%. Coal, a non-renewable energy resource, will account for about 0% of generation as early as the ‘30’s. This means that by 2050, over 80% of electricity being generated in the United States and Canada will be coming from distributed energy resources.

Seasonal energy storage wasn’t included in the report. The battery storage systems considered were from flow, lithium ion batteries, pumped hydroelectric energy storage and electric vehicles. Standalone systems that use lithium ion batteries deliver only a small amount of energy storage, while electric vehicles (EV) and flow batteries offer greater energy storage services.

In the coming years, DNV GL anticipates that globally, 12 TWac of solar power will be installed, with China leading the pack—being responsible for a little over 4 TWac, while 2 TWac of that capacity will be coming from India (TWac refers to the nominal power output when converted from DC to AC). At this point in time, DNV GL predicts that one-third of global electricity will come from PV. By the ‘30’s, 600 GWac will be installed annually, with solar power making up 60% of all new electricity generating capacity installed each year.

Regional energy usage will still heavily be composed of nonrenewable resources like coal, oil and nuclear fuels in the foreseeable future. But, the CO2 emissions from these nonrenewable sources will slowly begin to decline due to efficiency gains versus the lack of newer, cleaner sources. By 2050, we’re looking at electricity accounting for 45% of total energy used, with 90% coming from CO2 free distributed energy resources.

At Intersect Energy, we provide analysis, financing and structuring of alternative energy solutions to our clients. Our goal is to reduce your site’s environmental impact while helping to maximize your savings. Our distributed energy resources including solar, wind, cogeneration, CHP and fuel cells help save an average of 20% in energy cost to our clients. Lower your conventional energy usage by trusting in the experts at Intersect Energy for all your green energy needs! To keep up with all the latest news in renewable energy, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn.

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EOUS By Intersect Energy

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Intersect Energy, LLC has developed a revolutionary portable packaging of solar power with a battery system. This system allows for immediate and rapid expansion of remote electrification for rural development, humanitarian relief, commercial and military uses. Intersect’s unit, named EOUS, is a green way to supply power for beyond the grid (BTG) distributed resources. The EOUS system can provide 7-12 kW anywhere in the world for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If more power is needed, another unit can easily be tied into the existing system. We believe our system is also a perfect green solution for rapid deployment when power isn’t readily available due to disasters, weather or blackouts.

Each individual EOUS unit utilizes up to 120 module solar panels and batteries of 300-400 kW sizing to completely optimize the space inside of a standard ISO 20-foot container, allowing for over 40 kW direct current (DC) nameplate capacity for each unit. The battery system is placed in the bottom two racks of EOUS, providing stability for the unit.

At Intersect Energy, we recognize that skilled labor is in short supply in most BTG areas that require this level of power. Therefore, we engineered our EOUS unit’s installation to be as simple as possible. 90% of EOUS is wired out in the manufacturing facility, meaning that the remaining installation is almost as simple as a plug and play scenario. A quick connect electrical system is used to allow someone with little to no experience to set up the system in as little as 4-6 hours with energy becoming immediately available, sourced solely from the sun.

EOUS allows electric energy to be supplied at a much lower cost to rural communities, during disaster or in conflict zones—anywhere in the world. EOUS is rugged and can withstand most weather conditions, making it the best energy solution for multiple initiatives. Each EOUS unit is designed to work independently from an existing grid and can be easily transported, deployed and up in running in no time.

California Naval Base to Test Similar Transportable Battery Storage Systems as EOUS

Interestingly enough, Northern Reliability Inc. (NRI) was selected by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to develop a similar product as Intersect Energy’s EOUS for the U.S. Navy. This Battery Energy Storage System, better known as BESS, is being launched at a Southern California Naval base in early 2020 where it will go through testing and operational use.

The creation of these systems is looking to combine solar energy and the BESS along with Navy site generation to provide backup power to naval equipment and facilities when faced with electrical outages due to combat, blackouts, disasters and weather. Much like EOUS, these naval solar power battery systems will be transportable, rapidly deployable and able to work independently or together with the larger local electrical grid.

Intersect’s Cutting-Edge Technology

With each passing day, microgrids are becoming more common; however, the use of transportable microgrids is a somewhat new concept. Our development is revolutionary—taking away the difficulty (money, skilled labor, time) to connect to existing grids as well as completely abolishing the need for fossil fuel. We believe transportable microgrids could be the missing, essential piece of the puzzle for disaster relief areas and military zones where the power from an existing grid has been disrupted.

At Intersect Energy, we provide turnkey solutions to our customers, offering assessment, design, financing, installation and management services. Our EOUS unit is the best energy solution and should be considered in any sustainable initiative. Decrease your electricity prices by increasing your solar energy consumption with Intersect! To keep up with all the latest news in renewable energy, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn.

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