In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • A new luxury development in Burns, Oregon, will feature 600 homes with solar off-grid microgrids.
  • The US DOJ drops its antitrust investigation against Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, and BMW.
  • Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti signs an enhanced Green New Deal plan to stop using fossil fuels.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Solar off-grid microgrids in Oregon

The 140,000-acre Silvies Valley Ranch, formerly a dude ranch outside of Burns, Oregon, is an eco-friendly ranch and luxury resort. Visitors and homeowners don’t use ICE vehicles. Instead, they’re given electric golf carts to drive. The development also uses a graywater system, sustainable materials, and a native plant landscape.

Silvies Valley Ranch is developing 600 homes that will be between 2,000 to 6,000 square feet each. They will be built in three phases of 200 homes (pictured) over the next two to three years.

Each home will feature Humless solar off-grid microgrids. That’s because it’s cheaper than paying the utility company $7 million to run lines to the development.

The solar off-grid microgrid systems will consist of solar panels on each home coupled with a Humless Universal System, a battery system of anywhere from 30-70kWh, depending on the home’s size.

Microgrid Systems explains how the solar off-grid microgrids work:

The Humless system is unique, the company says, because it has the ability to be both AC and DC coupling simultaneously. AC and DC coupling is related to how the PV panels are connected to the system. Most DC panels are connected through an AC inverter, the company says. Smaller off-grid solar and storage systems generally are DC coupled because DC systems are simpler to build and are less expensive. Typically home and business solar systems are DC connected. But AC-coupled systems allow energy to be used more efficiently, the company says.

Eric Lobdell, VP of business development for Humless, said:

You can get more benefit from the homeowners’ solar panels by keeping them turned on, creating a family home microgrid. Panels charge the energy storage system for when they need it most.

DOJ scraps automaker investigation

The US Department of Justice has dropped its investigation into Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, and BMW for antitrust practices. The four automakers sided with the state of California to implement stricter emissions standards for cars and light trucks than the Trump administration wants.

As Electrek has previously reported:

Since the 1970s, California has held (and legally defended) a waiver through the Clean Air Act that allows them to set stronger standards than the federal government.

This waiver has been responsible for a tremendous improvement in air quality in California’s population centers, including a 98% reduction in some vehicle-based pollutants in the LA basin. It has been so successful that other states [13] representing a huge chunk of the US auto market have joined in.

Those 14 states account for around 40% of the US population.

So why did the DOJ drop the investigation? Because the four automakers weren’t actually violating any laws. They were self-regulating — exactly what Republicans claim they wanted all along.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said:

These trumped-up charges were always a sham — a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to prevent more automakers from joining California and agreeing to stronger emissions standards. [The decision is] a victory for anyone who cares about the rule of law and clean air.

Los Angeles goes even greener

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive directive yesterday called “LA’s Green New Deal: Leading By Example.” The theme of the signing was “A Decade of Action,” referring to scientific reports that the use of fossil fuels need to be ceased by 2030.

The directive aims to remove non-green energy from the city’s main sources of CO2 emissions, which include transport, buildings, electricity, and trash.

According to the City of Los Angeles, the “Decade of Action” includes the following:

  • Develop a series of bus and light rail infrastructure improvements — such as bus-only lanes, signal priority and queue jumpers — to improve transit speeds by 30% by 2028.
  • Promote walking, bicycling and micro-mobility with a comprehensive Citywide network of active transportation corridors, including Class IV protected bike lanes, Class I paths along regional waterways, and Class III low-stress neighborhood bike improvements.
  • Encourage city pension boards to explore divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in the green economy.
  • Mandate that all new construction, major upgrades and retrofits of municipally owned buildings demonstrate a pathway to carbon neutrality.
  • Accelerate the city’s bus fleet target to be entirely zero-emission in time for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • Support Metro in the development of a congestion pricing pilot program.
  • Expand low-income and multi-family household access to local clean energy.
  • Ensure that City Hall is zero-waste by 2025.
  • Amend the city’s Green Building Code to ensure all new roofs and renovations are cool roofs.

Photo: Humless

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