Monthly Archives: July 2017

Utility Helps Wean Vermonters From the Electric Grid

By Diane Cardwell, New York Times

The projects are part of a bold experiment aimed at turning homes, neighborhoods and towns into virtual power plants, able to reduce the amount of energy they draw from the central electric system. But behind them are not green energy advocates or proponents of living off the land. Instead, it’s the local electric company, Green Mountain Power.

Green Mountain’s chief executive, Mary Powell, sees the program here as the best way to please customers while making the system more environmentally and physically sustainable. “Customers, especially in Vermont with the energy-independence values that people have, want to move more toward self-generation.”

Read more here.

Top Photo: Each unit of the McKnight Lane development in Waltham, Vermont, has solar panels installed on the roof. Credit: Jacob Hannah for The New York Times

Protesters plan to put solar panels in the oil pipeline’s path

Nebraska Radio Network Contributor, William Padmore, KLIN,  Lincoln

With the Nebraska Public Service Commission’s weeklong Keystone XL public hearing in Lincoln starting next Monday, BOLD Nebraska is launching a new plan to fight against the planned pipeline. BOLD founder Jane Kleeb says the group plans to place solar panels directly in the way of the pipeline’s proposed route. Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING / VIEWING
Keystone opponents build solar panel on pipeline’s route, Nebraska TV
Jane Kleeb, founder of Bold Nebraska, said they’ve raised over $40,000 online for their Solar XL Project and said they’re turning their words into action. “We’re not just out in the streets protesting with signs, but we’re actually building the type of energy we want to see,” Kleeb said. Polk County farmer, Jim Carlson, is the first to install a solar panel and said he turned down $250,000 from the Trans-Canada Corporation.

NBC Nebraska Newscast: Local farmer builds solar panel array on land to fight Keystone XL pipeline

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION HEARINGS
August 7th through the 11th at 9 a.m. at the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel, 333 South 13th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska. Click this link for more information: http://www.psc.nebraska.gov/natgas/Keystone_Pipeline.html

August 4th Omaha World-Herald Article Regarding Testimony:
Judge: XL foes can’t testify about safety, necessity

Public Comment Form: http://www.psc.nebraska.gov/admin/admin_forms/pipeline.html

JPMorgan Chase goes all in on renewable energy

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

The financial services giant plans to source renewables for 100% of its global energy needs by 2020, and to facilitate $200 billion in clean financing through 2025 – the largest commitment by any global financial institution to date. Continue reading.

Read about more companies that have made a commitment to go 100% renewable, the actions they are taking and why at RE100.Org: http://there100.org/companies

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Oil industry has skeptics about need now for XL: Market has changed since TransCanada proposed its pipeline nine years ago

Written by Paul Hammel, Sunday World-Herald

TransCanada, the company seeking to build the pipeline, acknowledged Friday that the project might be abandoned . . . The legal courtlike hearings to determine whether the 275-mile route will be approved by the Nebraska Public Service Commission are scheduled from Aug. 7 to 11 in Lincoln. By Nov. 23 the five-member elected commission must decide if the pipeline route is in the “public interest.”

Read the entire article here.

AWEA’s Second Quarter 2017 Report: Top 5 story lines

By Hannah Hunt, Into the Wind, American Wind Energy Association Blog

Among the story lines:

  1. The U.S. wind industry reported 25,819 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity under construction or in advanced development during the second quarter, a 41 percent increase over this time last year. That includes a combined 3,841 MW in new announcements. And nearly 80 percent of that activity is found in the Midwest, Texas and the Mountain West.
  2. Kansas just became the fifth state to surpass 5,000 MW of installed capacity, with enough wind power to supply 1.5 million average homes. Kansas wind supports nearly 6,000 in-state jobs and makes lease payments up to $15 million a year to its farmers and ranchers for hosting turbines.

Read more about the report’s top 5 story lines here.

Referenced in Hannah Hunt’s article:
Gov. Brownback: Wind power could supply 50 percent of Kansas electricity
Kansas has proven it can quickly develop its wind power potential. In 2011, wind created only eight percent of the state’s electricity, only a third of what it does today. This growth has been good for the state’s families and businesses, helping them keep more money in their pockets while supporting up to 6,000 well-paying jobs. Through 2050, wind could save consumers over $1.6 billion on their electric bills, on top of nearly $4 billion in savings resulting from protection against conventional fuel price fluctuations.

Also referenced in the article: Winds of Change video from Westar Energy that shows how wind energy is benefiting Kansas families and businesses. Click image to watch it.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Wind Power: Propelling America into the 21st century, Into the Wind

5 Ways OPPD Is Making the Greater Omaha Community More Solar Friendly for Customer Owners

The first four steps that OPPD has stated it is undertaking to provide customer-owners with the information and tools they need to “go solar” are posted on our Home Page. These will make the solar installation process more streamlined and cost-effective for installers, code inspectors, and customers.  Additionally, OPPD is moving forward on community solar development. (See August 5th update, below).

OPPD is to be commended for taking each one of these steps for all customer owners who want to install a solar system on their homes and/or businesses or who wish to participate in a community solar program.

      • OPPD plans to offer solar installers and code inspectors training on the interconnection process and is currently reviewing three major items prior to that effort. They are:
      • OPPD Distributed Generation (DG) Manual: This document provides the guidance and specifications that inter-connected systems, such as solar arrays, are required to meet prior to going “on-line.”
      • The ConnectDER: Effective July 1, 2017, the ConnectDER has been accepted by OPPD for use on certain Distributive Energy Resources (DER), including solar installations. The device has the potential of creating a “fast track” for residential (net metering) solar applications.  The ConnectDER offers various advantages, including added protection of house circuit breakers and the Distributed Energy Resources installation, itself. Any questions should be directed to Wyndle Young 402-636-3552 or email at wlyoung@oppd.com
        ConnectDER Video
         
      • OPPD Website: Renovation of the Distributed Generation portion of OPPD’s website.
      • OPPD has met with representatives from 12 different groups, including Nebraskans for Solar, to discuss concepts for community solar projects, and has issued a Non-Sealed Bid Request for Community Solar Proposals (August 5th Update):

Photo: Solar farm on a former landfill. Credit: Energy Center

The ConnectDER – Solar innovation that saves time & money

Click image to watch a brief video about the ConnectDER.

The ConnectDER enables rapid connection of grid-ready distributed energy resources (DERs), especially solar photovoltaic systems, by creating a connection point to a collar that installs between a residential electric meter and a meter socket.  It drives a number of benefits for the installation process:

  • Reduces costs by removing some balance of system components and premises wiring upgrades
  • Minimizes logistics headaches & site inspection time
  • Eliminates one of the primary areas of inspection failures, the load-side wiring

It comes in two versions: the Simple ConnectDER, which provides the basic connection, and the Smart ConnectDER, which adds metering and management functions for the local utility.

Department of Energy Information About The ConnectDER
Typically, after sunlight gathered by solar panels is turned into electricity by an inverter, it must be connected to a home’s electrical service panel. This can be difficult because panels are often located in hard-to-reach areas of a home, like basements or attics. For those who live in older homes, electrical service panels may not be built to handle the amount of energy being produced by solar panels and upgrading may be expensive.

The ConnectDER device makes it faster and easier to install a solar array by removing the need to upgrade electrical service panels or run wiring through a home’s interior, meaning solar technicians don’t need to enter your home. The ConnectDER is mounted between a home’s electric meter and meter socket, which is located outside. Cables from the inverter are connected directly to the device instead of being routed through a home. The meter can also handle more voltage than an electrical service panel, easily bearing the burden of routing power into the home.

By removing the need to replace the electrical service panel and run wiring through a house, the ConnectDER device saves consumers in installation costs. It also saves time, shortening what can be a lengthy process.

Watch a brief video about the ConnectDER.

Website: www.connectder.com
Questions? The website provides a contact form, or send an email to: info@connectder.com 

Can Nebraska Go Green?

Announcement Via Green Omaha Coalition

Bellevue University’s John B. Muller Administrative Services Building

WHEN: Sunday, July 30th from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: Bellevue University, 1000 Galvin Road S

A panel of experts will update you on ways we can “green up” Nebraska, including current efforts, areas that need improvement, and future plans. Hear from:

  • Dr. Alan Kolok, “Nebraska’s Waterways”
  • Dr. Ali Khan, “Your Health & Environmental Issues”
  • John Hansen, “Wind Energy in Nebraska”
  • Michael O’Hara, “Green the Stream”
  • Joe Lang, “Public Power Efforts”
  • Laura Priest, “Solar Power Efforts”

After the presentations, there will be a Q & A with the audience moderated by Senator Carol Blood.

The event will be held in the community room on the lower level of the John B. Muller Administrative Services Building (ASB).

Join this event on Facebook.

Renewable Energy Booming after a Decade of Progress

Environment America News Release

The United States generates nearly eight times as much electricity from the sun and the wind than it did in 2007 – enough to power more than 25 million homes – and the average American uses 10 percent less energy than he or she did 10 years ago, according to a new report by Environment America Research and Policy Center. The report, Renewables on the Rise: A Decade of Progress Toward a Clean Energy Future, also cites a 20-fold increase in battery storage of electricity and the meteoric rise in sales of electric cars – from virtually none in 2007 to nearly 160,000 last year – as evidence that despite attempted rollbacks in Washington, a clean energy revolution is under way across the U.S. Read the entire release.

Download the Report

Wisconsin’s Northland College Divests From Fossil Fuels

By Elizabeth McMahon, Wisconsin Public Radio

Around $823,000 of the college’s $28 million endowment is invested in fossil fuel companies, but the college plans to phase out that investment over the next five years. Read the complete story here.

Photo Credit: Northland College

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING