Updates: Sustainable Energy Efforts after Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip

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By Independent Lens

Catch up on developments in sustainable energy efforts around the country that followed the conclusion of filming Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip in 2019.

North Carolina—Duke Energy and Coal Ash

In January 2020, North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality announced that Duke Energy agreed to remove nearly 80 millions tons of coal ash at six facilities, including the Belews Creek site featured in Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip, as well as from sites at Allen, Cliffside, Marshall, Mayo, and Roxboro. Read in-depth local coverage from The Mt. Airy News.

Nevada State Solar Laws

In the November 2020 election, voters in Nevada approved Question 6, “which amends the state constitution to mandate that Nevada’s electricity providers shift to at least 50 percent renewable energy by 2030” [Vox].

New Mexico and Ohio

Other energy bills voted on by Americans on a regional basis in 2020 included the move in in New Mexico to adjust the structure of the public utility regulatory body. In Ohio, the city of Columbus will buy clean energy in bulk. From The Hill:

Renewable energy advocates are also thrilled by a development in New Mexico, where a constitutional amendment was just passed that will drop the Public Regulation Commission, — the body responsible for the regulation of public utilities, as well as companies dealing with  transportation, transmission and pipeline, insurance and other public entities — from a five-member body down to a three-member commission, which will now be appointed by the governor and approved by the state senate.

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In Columbus, Ohio, a community choice aggregation program was just established that will have American Electric Power provide the city with net-100 percent renewable energy by 2023, providing customers with sustainable power at a price that is the same or less than customers would otherwise pay from the utility.

Rule Change in 2020 May Affect Solar 

Meanwhile, in the summer of 2020, federal regulators adjusted which energy projects are subject to a 1978 law designed to spur competition and innovation in the energy sector. From Bloomberg:

Federal regulators on Thursday imposed new limits on which energy projects fall under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, known as Purpa, which helped spur an entire generation of solar and wind farms across the country. More than 30% of solar facilities online today benefit from the law, according to BloombergNEF. The changes may alter those projects’ future prospects and eliminate a key incentive for future ones.

 

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