The Berkley Group assists localities in the development of local policies and regulations for renewables. Here are some recent news articles and resources that may be of interest to you and your locality:
US DOE Renewables Advancing Community Energy Resilience (RACER) funding opportunity: As we relayed last month, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) has announced this new funding opportunity which will award $25 million in funding for projects to enable communities to utilize solar and solar-plus-storage to prevent disruptions in power caused by extreme weather and other events, and to rapidly restore electricity if it goes down. The deadline for the submission of concept papers is 5/26/2022 at 5 p.m. ET; and full applications are due 7/25/2022 at 5 p.m. ET. You may find additional information on the program here: https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/articles/funding-notice-renewables-advancing-community-energy-resilience-racer
Foundational Agrivoltaic Research for Megawatt Scale (FARMS) funding opportunity: This one was just announced today, another U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) funding program that will award $8 million in funding for projects that examine how agrivoltaics can scale up to provide new economic opportunities to farmers, rural communities, and the solar industry. Agrivoltaics is defined as agricultural production, such as crop production, livestock grazing, and pollinator habitat that exist underneath solar panels and/or in between rows of solar panels. Projects will conduct a range of activities, including integrated agriculture-energy impact studies examining how agrivoltaic designs impact both agriculture production and energy production. Some projects will study how agrivoltaics can integrate into existing or enable new social and economic structures, while others will develop resources that will lower the barriers of entry to agrivoltaics, making it easier for agricultural producers and solar developers to benefit from these opportunities.
EV (Electric Vehicle) Action Plans: Prior to our Director of Environmental Programs employment with the Berkley Group, he was with the Town of Nags Head, North Carolina. One of the projects that he worked on initiating was the development of an EV Action Plan for the Town, which was to be developed with students from Duke University’s Master’s of Environmental Management program; the intent of the project was to develop an EV Action Plan for the Town as a proactive roadmap to plan for the increasing need for EV charging infrastructure. The students’ work has recently been completed, and you can find some resources, including the draft plan at the following links: https://nagsheadnc.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/4036?fileID=6313 https://dukespace.lib.duke.edu/dspace/handle/10161/24908 https://nicholas.duke.edu/news/masters-project-develops-electric-vehicle-action-plan-outer-banks-town
Virginia Solar Survey: As I expect that many of you in Virginia are aware, the Virginia Department of Energy and the Virginia Solar Initiative developed and conducted a statewide survey to better understand the barriers that local governments and localities face in implementing solar development. You may access a report on the survey results and findings here: https://solar.coopercenter.org/solar-survey
Virginia DEQ Post-development Stormwater Management at Solar Projects Policy: Again, for those of us in Virginia, you are likely aware of the memo issued by DEQ’s Director on March 29 (https://www.deq.virginia.gov/home/showdocument?id=13985) establishing a policy that was to be effective immediately that “Solar panels are to be considered unconnected impervious areas when performing post-development water quantity calculations using the hydrologic methods specified in the Virginia Stormwater Management Program Regulation, 9VAC25-870-72,” and that “Solar panels are to be considered impervious areas when performing post-development water quality calculations using the Virginia Runoff Reduction Method (VRRM).” It received less news, but this memo and policy was updated on April 14 (https://www.deq.virginia.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/14089) establishing that the aforementioned policy would only apply to project that do not obtain an interconnection approval by a regional transmission organization or electric utility by December 31, 2024.
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