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Wind & Wildlife, Solar & Home Values, Renewable Relief

The Monthly Boost

August 2020

Welcome to the August 2020 edition of the Monthly Boost.  Lear & Lear's links to news, updates and notes in the renewable energy industry

OK.  We're still in uncertain times . . . But renewable energy continues to grow, and we continue to counsel our clients on how to take advantage of it.  Read on to find out how. News Wind & Wildlife in Harmony  In the "wind belt," a chain of seventeen states--many of which Lear & Lear is licensed in--stretching from Montana to Texas to Ohio, more than 1,000 gigawatts of wind power are waiting to be produced and with minimal impact on wildlife, says a new study.  According to the Nature Conservancy, which conducted the study, wind development projects in places likely to impact wildlife can cause delays, drive up costs and even end in cancellation.  Targeting blustery regions with lower impact on our furry and feathered friends can get the blades moving more quickly and frequently. Check out the write up here, and the Nature Conservancy's map here A Renewing High 25%.  That's how much of the nation's electricity was produced from renewable energy in the month of May--a new high.  It's not just a fad anymore.  Both BP and Shell are doubling down on renewables.  It could be the renewable normal. Solar Hurt Home Values? Signs Point to No, but More Data Needed In addition to the regular complaints about erosion and runoff from solar development, homeowners frequently complain solar fields drive values down.  But in the only widely available independent study, a majority of home appraisers said solar nearby solar installations either had no impact on home values or had a positive effect. There is still no study comparing home values close to solar fields with homes further away, so the case isn't closed, but unless the surveyed appraisers were lying or biased, the best available light is bright. Law Massachusetts Solar Rules:  Scaled Back but Still Restrictive   Final rules governing solar development in Massachusetts eased some restrictions on the type of land where solar installations can be built, allowing some projects underway to be developed on protected lands while keeping in place recently imposed restrictions for future projects.  Read a summary of the rules here, and a final redline version of the rules here. McGirt v. Oklahoma:  Who's the Lessor Now? In McGirt v. Oklahoma the Supreme Court ruled that much of eastern Oklahoma is now tribal land for many criminal law matters, and potentially for regulatory matters like wind and solar development.  This means the federal government, which retains authority over tribal land, with tribes serving as beneficiaries, likely now has the power to lease solar and wind interests and to set relevant rules.  Needless to say, this decision raises some complex problems and may affect interests even outside Oklahoma.  You can read the decision here.   And here's a couple of press reports touching on key issues moving forward.   This is a big one.  Let us know if you want us to walk you through anything.   Notes Opportunity Rolling Blackout California residents endured rolling blackouts earlier this month, with possibly more to come.  Those blackouts are due in part, says Stephen Berberich, President of CAISO, the Golden State's grid operator, to a lack of reserve energy during peak demand, often evening hours, when solar generation drops to zero.  The solution?  A better mix of energy sources, including solar and wind--and a lot of batteries to store that energy.  How big should the new mix be?  According to CAISO, 4,700 megawatts by 2022, with additional resources for this year.  Now's the time if you want to invest in solar and wind in California. Relief in a Time of Corona ALLETE Clean Energy announced a $50,000 grant to Mill Creek School District in Mill Creek, Oklahoma in partnership with GE Renewable Energy and Wanzek Construction. Much of the gift will likely go to iPads for students and laptops for teachers.  Feedback?  Topics you want to hear more about?  A little guidance on any of the issues mentioned here.  Just let us know: Until the next Boost! 

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