Nebraska aims to decarbonize its power sector by 2050 – Nebraska sets a target to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in the coming decades. The board of directors of the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), the state’s largest electric utility voted in favor of adopting a nonbinding plan of achieving a net-zero emissions electricity sector by 2050. NPPD joins the state’s two other major utilities, Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) and Lincoln Electric System (LES), which have already committed to decarbonization. LES adopted a 100 percent net decarbonization goal by 2040 last year and OPPD has committed to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Nebraska gets about half of its electricity from coal, nearly a quarter from wind and about 17% from nuclear power, according to the Energy Information Administration.

California becomes the first state to require solar power and batteries in commercial structures – California has become the first state to require solar power plus energy storage to be integrated into all future commercial structures via its most recent update to building codes. Additionally, the new building code added a requirement that all new residential construction must be ready for the addition of energy storage. The rules that the California Clean Energy Commission (CEC) voted to approve can be found in the 2022 Build Energy Efficiency Standards. The regulatory body estimates this requirement may add 280 MW of annual solar capacity, as well as 400 MWh of energy storage.

Net metering 3.0 in California: What homeowners need to know – The commission will vote on the final decision by January 27th, 2022 at the earliest. The current proposed structure requires customers to switch to specific Time of Use billing plans with high costs of electricity during peak times and low costs during off-peak times. Additionally, it reduces compensation for excess energy sent to the grid, and measures that energy in real-time, as opposed to hourly, like NEM does. It also adds a monthly Grid Participation Charge of $8 per kW of solar to the bills of all people who go solar after implementation of the new rules, costing the average homeowner almost $600 per year, or $15,000 over 25 years. There are small incentives called Market Transition Credits that reduce the Grid Participation Charge by small amounts for a customer’s first 10 years on net billing. Low-income homeowners do not have to pay the Grid Participation Charge, and get larger Market Transition Credits. The proposal also retroactively reduces the period of eligibility for NEM 1.0 and NEM 2.0 from 20 to 15 years, meaning existing solar owners will be affected if the decision is implemented as written.

Biden signs bill banning goods from China’s Xinjiang over forced labor – President Biden signed into law Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, legislation that bans imports from China’s Xinjiang region over concerns about forced labor. Key to the legislation is a “rebuttable presumption” that assumes all goods from Xinjiang, where Beijing has established detention camps for Uyghurs and other Muslim groups, are made with forced labor. It bars imports unless it can be proven otherwise. Some goods — such as cotton, tomatoes, and polysilicon used in solar-panel manufacturing — are designated “high priority” for enforcement action.