Monthly Archives: March 2014

Promoting Solar Energy in Nebraska

Nebraska has tremendous potential for solar energy production, as high as ninth in the nation according to one source.  Currently, however, solar accounts for less than 1/2 of 1% of electricity production in our state.

Nebraskans for Solar (NFS), a public interest nonprofit, incorporated in 2012, has as one of its missions to develop a statewide Solar Powered Low-Income Housing Program in partnership with other nonprofits that build or rehabilitate low-income housing.  As low-income families pay a higher percentage of their income on domestic energy needs than everyone else, NFS seeks to provide them with the means to reduce their utility bills by being able to generate their own clean, renewable energy, energy that will never increase in price.  The money these families save can be spent on food, education, and other needs.

Initially, NFS is focusing its efforts in North and South Omaha.  These are regions in our state where a major percentage of low-income families are concentrated.  North Omaha, in particular, has one of the highest levels of poverty among minorities in the entire nation.

NFS and one of its community partners, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha, raised funds to install solar hot water systems on two energy-efficient Habitat houses in North Omaha in November of 2013.  These two homes are currently the only two solar-powered Habitat homes in Nebraska.  However, NFS and Habitat for Humanity of Omaha are seeking to raise funds to install solar hot water systems on 5 more Habitat homes and will launch a crowd funding campaign on the website Indiegogo on April 8, 2014.  These homes as well as the two previous installations will provide models for a statewide Solar-Powered, Low-Income Housing Program.

New Report – Leading from the Middle: How Illinois Communities Unleashed Renewable Energy

– from the Introduction:

The vast majority of Americans support the use of renewable energy, with solar and wind enjoying strong support across the political spectrum and in every region of the country. Yet even with renewables now competitively priced, most cities and counties lack access to clean energy options and still cannot choose to buy clean energy. Without access to the energy market, most cities cannot meet their greenhouse gas reduction targets and sustainability goals in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

 

Cities in Illinois, however, have harnessed a little-known local energy model called Community Choice Aggregation (CCA; also known as municipal aggregation) to switch to clean power and save their ratepayers millions of dollars. In fact, since 2013 over 90 Illinois towns, representing 1.7 million people, transitioned to 100% renewable electricity by using Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).

 

To download and save the complete 55-page report, click here:

http://assets.worldwildlife.org/publications/671/files/original/Leading_from_the_Middle_IL_Report_FINAL.pdf?1394123024

 

 

The Whole Earth Summit – Free & Online

The Whole Earth Summit starts tomorrow, March 11th through the 13th. It’s free, online, and features 42 speakers who will share insights about food, water, renewable energy, ecological activism, social transformation, practical models for making a difference, and other topics. Participants will include Bill McKibben, Joel Salatin, Raj Patel, Danielle Nierenberg, and Allan Savory. For more information, visit: www.wholeearthsummit.org