Morning Brief: The racial inequity in clean energy and how to fight it


The racial inequity in clean energy and how to fight it: In this moment of reckoning and reflection about racial inequity in our country, it’s time to be forthright about the inequalities in the rapidly expanding business of clean energy. This industry is providing economic opportunities, but the benefits are not distributed fairly across races and income levels. Predominantly white and affluent communities are getting most of the jobs in the solar industry, and also most of the clean air and financial benefits of having solar on their homes. In 2019, the solar industry’s workforce was 7.7% “black or African American,” according to the Solar Foundation, while black workers represent 13% of the U.S. labor force. Source: ICN

Large-scale battery installer NEC Energy Solutions is folding as fierce competition squeezes the industry and the coronavirus derailed efforts to find a buyer. The company, which has long struggled to turn a profit, told customers it would begin an “orderly wind down,” according to a letter seen by Bloomberg. It will finish projects under development but not seek new business. NEC’s parent, the Japanese conglomerate NEC, had been trying to sell the business. Source: Bloomberg

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a brief today urging FERC to reject a pending petition aimed at gutting net metering for distributed-solar power by putting it under federal control. A declaratory order petition filed in April by the secretive New England Ratepayers Association claims that retail net metering should be under FERC jurisdiction and that distributed-solar customers should have higher utility bills. That would end states’ ability to enforce their own net-metering policies, which encourage rooftop solar installations. FERC has also failed to respond to the Center’s April 28, 2020 Freedom of Information Act request concerning the association’s communications with the agency.  Source: The Center For Biological Diversity

National forum launched for solar & storage code and permitting solutions: A newly launched, three-year project, supported by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. DOE ​Solar Energy Technologies Office​, will bring together stakeholders to identify and develop solutions to solar and solar-plus-storage code enforcement and permitting challenges. The project builds upon and will significantly expand the work of the Sustainable Energy Action Committee (SEAC), an organization that brings together authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs)—such as local building and fire departments, contractors, manufacturers, suppliers, utilities, testing labs and other clean energy stakeholders for collaboration and problem solving related to solar PV installation and energy storage projects.

Merger brings solar power and fossil fuels together: Charlottesville-based gasoline, propane and fuel oil distributor Tiger Fuel has purchased 40% of locally-based Altenergy as the first step toward outright acquisition of the solar energy company. Altenergy has offices across the country, with branches in Idaho, Michigan, Missouri, Maryland, and Virginia. It has worked on 1,600 projects nationwide in its 15 years in business. Source: The Daily Progress

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