Mike DellaGala: Getting to NTP – Using Development Capital To Boost Projects To Completion

Mike DellaGala has been in solar for a long time and we’ve known each other about that long. I wanted to have Mike on the podcast to talk about the change in his business model. For many years, Mike was a sponsor in the market, his goal was to buy projects with as little risk as possible at the highest returns he could find.

Today, he has shifted DGEP Management to get into projects as early as possible and provide the capital needed to get to NTP. With developers using their networks and capabilities to dream up a project, the large interconnection fees are sometimes hard to find and this void is his target.

We talk about the 201 petition, market inefficiencies and policies that work for solar.

Make sure to check out SolarWakeup Live! in Boston on 10/31 and D.C. on 12/6. Tickets available but selling fast.

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Amory Lovins – Founder of Rocky Mountain Institute and Electricity Grid Visionary

Now that the DOE grid has been released, we speak with the visionary Amory Lovins of RMI. Amory is the founder of RMI which recently celebrated its 35th anniversary.

I asked Amory about his thoughts on the study and some more questions.

Can we blame LED lightbulbs for stagnating demand or is it something else?
What is the most dangerous conclusion in the study?
Why do you think Connecticut and Texas agree that energy markets should be deregulated?
Will there ever be another coal or nuclear plant built in the US?
If you were to write this grid study, what would be the biggest difference in the report?

This is one of the biggest names to join EnergyWakeup to date and we are thankful to have Amory’s leadership in the clean energy space.

If you enjoyed this episode as much as I did, make sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher radio. Please subscribe and share with your friends how much EnergyWakeup is helping you!

The Clinton And Trump Supporters Venn Diagram of Agreement

 When it comes to an overlap of issues that both Clinton and Trump supporters agree on, the issues are limited. Issues on energy are no different and show a large divergence on all fossil fuel issues but there is some agreement. In a poll conducted from August 16th to September 12th by Pew Research, 1,324 registered voters were asked about their support regarding coal, fracking, nuclear, wind and solar.

Mr. Trump has been very supportive of coal, in particular clean coal, that it comes up during debates and is a standard part of his stump speech. The effort goes to reach out to voters that support coal and his polling is supported by Pew. In this poll, supporters were the most polarized. 69% of Trump supporters are in favor of more coal while 22% of Clinton fans.

Contrary to what utilities have been doing across the US, supporters start to align on their favorability when it comes to fracking and nuclear. Natural gas and nuclear power are the primary increases in ratebase spending by utilities. The support for fracking and nuclear energy barely surpass the 50% levels.

Social experiments can be a nice way to prove that polling works. A solar company attended a Trump rally with a simple message, build a wall…of solar panels on your roof. There was little disagreement from Trump supporters on having more solar. Numbers back up the video with 91% of Clinton supporters and 84% of Trump supporters favoring expansion of solar.

As the electorate gets together on an issue, the movement ends up in the political arena. National Geographic covered the influence that the utilities yield in State Capitols and remain powerful but these kinds of polls can only go to further the political will of legislators to go where the voters already are. Much like the support for coal is so strong, the support for solar may begin to transcend party lines.

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Why Trump Shouldn’t Worry for the Coal Workers in Ohio

by Yann Brandt, Managing Editor

According to The Ohio Coal Association, there are 3,000 coal workers in Ohio. Their jobs are in jeopardy in a State that gets 69% of its energy from coal and is the 4th largest consumer of coal in the Country. So the question is why are their jobs in jeopardy and what is the policy answer to the problem?

In the last policy question of the second Presidential debate, Ken Bone asked, “What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?” This was the only question about energy or climate change of the evening.

Of course Trump blamed Obama’s EPA regulations for killing the coal jobs in Ohio but let’s look at some facts. In reality, coal has lost its market dominance due to the availability of cheap natural gas.

Ohio is thriving in solar however, against the odds put forth by Governor Kasich. With 4,811 solar jobs in 2015, Ohio’s solar industry grew by 15% even after Kasich signed SB 310, the bill to freeze the State’s renewable standard (RPS). The RPS, unless repealed, would bring Ohio up to 22% of renewable power and energy efficiency by 2027.

In 2016, Ohio will once again grow the solar jobs count by 970, a 20% growth rate. This growth would allow a third of coal workers to organically get into the solar workforce and continue to bring energy to the people and utilities of Ohio. Imagine how easily Governor Kasich could create 3,000 jobs in solar for Ohio’s coal workers.

Training for coal workers is more available than ever, programs like IREC’s workforce development training is highlighted in Harvard’s Business Review. Veterans looking to enter the solar workforce also have access to Solar Foundation’s Solar Ready Vets program supported by the Department of Energy. Job openings and training programs for solar continue to increase in availability throughout America.

Mr. Trump should understand what Americans already know and want. More solar on the grid. More solar means more jobs and more choice for consumers.

Solar can help create jobs for Coal Workers

With 89% of Americans supportive of solar, both sides of the aisle can agree that the solar industry is ready, willing and able to create long term and sustainable careers for Ohio’s 3,000 coal workers.