Monthly Archives: October 2017

Moniz: Utilities should prepare for very low carbon future

Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

While the Trump Administration is taking a number of steps to bolster coal-fired generation and rescind climate regulations, electric utilities should prepare for a very low-carbon future, former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told Utility Dive at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas last week.

Despite the White House’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, “there is no going back on the fight against climate and the innovation prize is enormous,” Moniz said. “We are talking about multi-trillion-dollar markets. The real issue is that the U.S. needs to capture a big part of that market to keep its innovation edge.” Click here to read more.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Native American Leaders Meet In Milwaukee, Push For Climate Action

By Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio

Native American leaders meeting in Milwaukee this week at the convention of the National Congress of American Indians are asking the Trump administration to do more to combat climate change. Tribal leaders speaking at the conference say recent wildfires and hurricanes that have destroyed housing and other resources are a sign of rising global temperatures, and that federal action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is needed.

[The article features the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe, as well as the Oneida, Ho-Chunk and Menominee Tribes as several examples of Native Americans’ leadership on climate action]. Read more here.

Photo: Tribal art on display at the National Congress of American Indians convention in Milwaukee. Chuck Quirmbach / Wisconsin Public Radio

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Facebook to tap the wind for power to Papillion plant

WOWT News

Facebook says the company worked with OPPD and Tradewind Energy to partner on a large new wind farm, known as the Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project. The project is located in Dixon County, Nebraska, about 100 miles from the data center. It’s expected to create up to 300 additional construction jobs. Read more here.

Tradewind Energy Photo: The Facebook Data Center in Papillion will be powered 100% by renewable energy, with 200MW sourced from the 320MW Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project.

Tradewind Energy Information on the Rattlesnake Creek Project

  • More than 100 landowners and over 32,000 acres will be involved in the project. The project will take a minimal amount of acreage (1% to 2%) out of service, including land for roads, turbine foundations, and maintenance buildings.
  • The project’s construction and operation will utilize a considerable amount of local materials and labor providing both short term and long term economic benefits.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

New connection technology is cutting cost of solar installation

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

ConnectDER, as it’s known, generally eliminates the need to enter a home and it greatly reduces the amount of electrical work required. “It allows you to inject the solar on the customer side of the meter prior to getting into the home,” said Michael Shonka, a solar installer who has put the new equipment in a half-dozen homes in the Omaha area.  “This means we can cut out $1,000 to $2,000 worth of cost in the system because you don’t need electricians to go through foundations trying to get to the service panel, and you don’t need to rearrange the panel.” Read more here.

Photo: The ConnectDER device allows a solar array to be connected directly to the meter, eliminating the need for electrical work inside the home.

ALSO WRITTEN BY KAREN UHLENHUTH
Midwestern poultry farmers cut bills in half with new heating system: Maintaining a tropical temperature for his turkeys, even through a Nebraska winter, used to cost Bill Bevans in the neighborhood of $60,000 annually. Not any longer.

Chadron explores solar project

By Kerri Rempp, Rapid City Journal

Chadron could become the next community in the state to implement a community solar program if it can generate enough interest and locate land for the project that fits within its budgetary constraints. The council discussed the idea with Terry Rajewich of the Nebraska Public Power District Monday . . . More than 150 homes are included on a list presented to NPPD as potential community solar customers. “That is phenomenal,” Rajewich said, who later added that she handles more inquiries about solar energy from Chadron than anywhere else in her service area. Read more here.

Photo: The City of Chadron is exploring the idea of a community solar farm like this one.

Solar energy talks happening in Fremont and Omaha

By Sam Pimper, Fremont Tribune

From 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, those gathering at Keene Memorial Library will listen to City Administrator Brian Newton, along with Michael Shonka, another Nebraska solar power advocate, speak about various topics surrounding the Fremont project and solar energy as a whole.

Those unable to attend the Thursday conversation are invited to attend a Smart Energy Talks Nebraska presentation happening from 9 a.m. through 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at the University of Nebraska at Omaha inside of the Milo Bail Student Center. Click here to read more.

Fremont Solar Rountable
Keene Memorial Library
1030 N Broad Street
Fremont, Nebraska 68025
Questions? Contact organizers:
Jamison Wills jamisonwills@nlcef.org or
Nic Nealy nicnealy@nlcef.org
Nebraska Conservation Education Fund

Top Photo: Telesis Inc solar array in Lincoln. The Fremont Community Solar Farm, under construction on a 10-acre plot of land located south of Jack Sutton Drive, will consist of approximately 5,000 panels and will be operational by the end of 2017. Credit: Lincoln Journal Star

We Are Still In Network Continues to Grow

The largest network of local leaders in support of climate action, We Are Still In currently represents 2,300 U.S. mayors, governors, tribal leaders, CEOs, and university presidents who have signed the We Are Still In declaration to uphold the Paris Agreement. This network includes more than 127 million Americans in all 50 states and $6.2 trillion of the U.S. economy.

Visit the We Are Still In website to read the declaration and the success stories and climate action initiatives all across the U.S.

Researchers Show Projected Costs of Climate Change

KIOW: Economists warn that the costs of climate change in the United States, from the health impacts of air pollution to natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires, could top $350 billion annually in the next 10 years. However, Ryan Wiser, a senior scientist with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said some of those costs could be offset if more states commit to renewable energy. Click here to read more.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

 NEW BOOK
Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions, Island Press

The contributors offer their perspectives and approaches to climate and clean energy from rural Mississippi, to the South Bronx, to Californian immigrant and refugee communities, to urban and semi-rural communities in the Northeast. Taken together, the contributions in this book show what an alternative, democratized energy future can look like.

Book Description
Contents
Excerpt: 4 Energy Cooperatives Leading the Way to a Sustainable Future

Webster County leaders get up-close look at wind farm

By Will Vraspir, Hastings Tribune

Employees with NextEra Energy Resources, the Florida-based company that is building and operating the wind farm, gave tours of a few wind turbine sites in various stages of
completion . . .  Electricity from the wind farm will be sold to Northeast Nebraska Public Power District and the cities of Beatrice, Fremont, South Sioux City and Wayne.

Click here to read more.

Photo: Jeff Damen, senior manager for NextEra Energy Resources, (center) provides a tour to local leaders at the Cottonwood Wind Energy Center near Blue Hill, scheduled for completion in November. Credit: Will Vraspir

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Wind turbines going up in Webster County, by Tony Herman, Hastings Tribune

According to a fact sheet for the project, Cottonwood Wind Energy Center will generate more than 200 construction jobs and six to 10 full-time operation jobs. Regarding income, $9.4 million in property taxes and $30 million in landowner payments are anticipated during the first 30 years of the project. [Project Manager Phil] Clement said the turbines are built for a 35-year life span.

Utilities take note: Next generation utility-led community solar is emerging

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive
Flexible subscriptions and solar-plus plans “push the envelope” of utility programs.

[Smart Electric Power Alliance Utility Strategy Manager Dan] Chwastyk said the success of the Municipal Utility of Freemont, NE, SunShares program may be one version of next generation community solar. Fremont worked with SEPA on a survey to understand what customers wanted, Department of Utilities General Manager Brian Newton told Utility Dive . . . Newton said the utility decided the best way to capture the interest was to offer two kinds of subscriptions.
Read the entire article here.

Photo by Mike Kruger: Construction began in October on Fremont’s first solar farm, which sold out in 7 weeks and is expected to go online in December. A second solar farm already has a waiting list of 70.

To learn more about Fremont’s innovative community solar program, click the following links:

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Nebraska town can’t get enough of community solar: Smart program design drives sold-out project, Smart Electric Power Alliance

Fremont Business Park, Greater Fremont Development Council

  • 80 acres municipally-owned, shovel ready; Olsson Associates master planned site
  • 10MW power available with ability to grow with customer
  • Power rates in the 4.5 to 4.9 cent range per kWh – Municipally-owned utilities
  • Fixed rate period up to 5 yrs. available per Nebraska State law and dependent on size and scope of project
  • Municipality has two sources for power backup; NPPD & OPPD through automatic interconnect agreements