Monthly Archives: January 2018

Wind power closes 2017 strong, lifting the American economy

New wind farms drove $11 billion in private investment, with more
on the way, 
American Wind Energy Association Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. wind power industry closed 2017 strong, delivering 7,017 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity representing $11 billion in new private investment, according to the U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2017 Market Report. Twenty-nine new wind farms totaling 4,125 MW came online across 16 states in the fourth quarter.

The wind industry’s powerful growth is poised to continue in 2018 and beyond, delivering jobs and private investment to rural areas and factory towns. The pipeline of wind farms under construction or in advanced development totals 28,668 MW, a 34 percent increase compared to the end of 2016. Read the entire press release here

Image: Rendering of 320-megawatt Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm under construction in Dixon County, Nebraska by Enel Green Power North America.

Public version of the report.

Nebraska Wind Facts (PDF)

Wind Projects

  • Installed wind capacity: 1,426 MW
    State rank for installed wind capacity: 17th
  • Number of wind turbines: 785
    State rank for number of wind turbines: 17th
  • Wind projects online: 23 (Projects above 10 MW: 16)
  • Wind capacity under construction: 702 MW
  • Wind capacity in advanced development: 726 MW

Wind Generation
During 2016, wind energy provided 10.09% of all in-state electricity production.

  • State rank for share of electricity: 14th
  • Number of homes powered by wind in 2016: 351,000

New study: 92 percent of wind project neighbors positive or neutral toward turbines

Written by Anna Luke, Into the Wind, American Wind Energy Association Blog

Over 1.3 million U.S. homes are located within five miles of a large wind turbine. But there hadn’t been a nationwide survey to learn how those people felt about their local wind
project – until now. A study led by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that more than 9 in 10 people who live close to wind turbines view them positively or neutrally.

This is helpful information for those living in areas contemplating welcoming a wind farm. Since there is currently a large pipeline of wind projects in development, more communities will be faced with this choice in the coming years. Knowing that other communities with existing projects feel good about their choices can give reassurance to prospective wind farm hosts. Read the entire blog post here.

Photo by NextEra Energy Resources showing wind turbines that are part of the Steele Flats Wind Energy Center in Jefferson and Gage Counties in Nebraska.

Download Summary of Survey Results (PDF) here.

Webinar Series
A Berkeley Lab 4-part webinar series, Understanding Wind Project Neighbors Through a National Survey of Attitudes, will be held every other Tuesday, 12 pm Central Time. Listen to a recording of the January 30th webinar and register for the other three by clicking the links below.

More information can be found here.

The 50 States of Solar Report details state-level solar policy action in Q4, all of 2017

By Paul Ciampoli, American Public Power Association

A new report from the NC Clean Energy Technology Center reports that 45 states and the District of Columbia took some type of solar policy action during 2017, while in the fourth quarter of last year, 42 states and the District of Columbia took some type of action on distributed solar policy or rate design. Read more here.

The report’s executive summary is available here.


Nebraskans for Solar Board Endorses Husker Power Plan

On Wednesday, January 17, 2018, Clean Energy Nebraska announced the release of the Husker Power Plan, a state clean energy plan for Nebraska. “Former Nebraska Wildlife Federation Executive Director Duane Hovorka wrote the plan together with clean energy supporters, stakeholders, concerned citizens and advice from energy consultants.”

Last week Nebraskans for Solar’s Board of Directors voted to endorse the plan, joining other groups, which include: Nebraska Wildlife Federation, Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraskans for Peace, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Nebraska 350.Org, League of Women Voters of Nebraska and Nebraska Sierra Club.

Among other clean energy initiatives, the Husker Power Plan calls for adding over the next 5 years: 1,500 to 1,850 megawatts of new wind energy to the 1,520 megawatts currently in place or under construction and 129 to 150 megawatts of utility-scale and community solar. The document’s concluding statement:

“As we have outlined in this Husker Power Plan, with the right mix of energy efficiency, peak demand management, wind, solar, energy storage and other clean energy options, Nebraska can transition away from dirty fossil fuels like coal, providing enormous health benefits to our residents. We can lock in a clean energy future with electricity that is affordable, prices that are predictable, and energy produced largely within our borders. We can save Nebraska businesses and residents hundreds of millions of dollars every year in energy costs, and the environmental and health benefits would be even larger than the economic benefits. With our Husker Power Plan, we can give ourselves a clean energy future, and leave our children and their children a more efficient and effective economy and a better world.”

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Husker Power Plan for Electric Utilities (PDF)
Consultants Report – The Husker Power Plan: A New Energy Plan for Nebraska (PDF)


How-to: New book ‘DIY Solar Power’ puts solar energy in your hands [free chapter]

Electrek guest post by Micah Toll, author of DIY Lithium Batteries








My new book, DIY Solar Power, is the culmination of years of work and experience with electronics, batteries and – of course – solar power. I wrote the book with the needs of multiple audiences in mind, including those that are just beginning to enter the world of solar power and those that have some prior experience but desire a deeper understanding of the subject to apply it to their own current projects. There are so many interesting and useful ways to employ solar power in your own gadgets, and I covered as many as possible in my book. Read more here.

Nebraskans for Solar will have both books at our information tables for our community event this Thursday, February 1, 2018: Recent Solar Energy Developments in Nebraska With Ken Winston @ UNO’s Community Engagement Center, Rooms 201 & 205  Ken is director of policy and outreach for Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light. 

Additional details are posted on our calendar. The public is invited. Please join us!

Seeking a balance on wind energy

Written by Josh Moenning, Norfolk Mayor/City Administrator
Published by the Norfolk Daily News

Wind energy has been blowing across the local news lately. For some, wind towers and turbines are noisy eyesores they’d rather never see. For others, wind farms are an opportunity for additional farm income, new jobs, and new tax revenue. Local elected officials are left to make zoning and regulatory decisions.

It’s important, as we weigh all considerations, that a full discussion about wind is allowed and that each perspective is heard and respected since our region will continue to be highly sought after for development.

Continue reading here.

What India’s Solar Tariff Exemption Could Mean for the US Market

By Julia Pyper, Greentech Media

The market impact from new solar tariffs announced earlier this week is shaping up to be less severe than it could have been. But while analysts don’t expect solar cell and module prices to skyrocket, some big business decisions will be made in the coming weeks and months around the modest price increase — which has prompted a series of questions around how, exactly, the new tariffs will be implemented. One of the interesting pieces of information revealed in trade documents obtained by GTM this week is that crystalline silicon solar products from India are not subject to the new tariffs. Click here to read the full article.

Photo Credit: Adani, the largest cell and module manufacturer in India.
Additional information should become available in the coming days, with the tariffs scheduled to take effect on February 7. On February 22, the USTR will release the rules for companies seeking exemptions from the tariffs. The possibility of an exemption is particularly significant for San Jose-based SunPower, which announced this week it is canceling $20 million in investment as a result of the tariffs.

Putting the ‘farm’ back in solar farms: Study to test ag potential at PV sites

 Written by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Minnesota will be included in a study to help federal researchers test the potential of pollinator-friendly habitat and fruit and vegetable crops around solar arrays.  The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will plant vegetation this year at three Minnesota solar installations owned by Enel Green Power. The sites are among 15 around the country that will be part of the research project. Read more here.

Photo: A beekeeper at Bolton Bees, which produces honey at a Twin Cities solar farm.
Credit: Matthew Gorrie / Bolton Bees


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Renewable Energy Is Critical To Stopping Global Warming

By Jake Richardson, CleanTechnica

This article is part of our “CleanTechnica Answer Box” collection. For some reason, there are certain anti-cleantech talking points that get thrown around over and over that are absolute bunk. We got tired of dealing with the same myths repeatedly and also saw others who spent time responding to these untruths in many discussions on CleanTechnica and elsewhere could use some help more efficiently and effectively doing so, so at the suggestion of a reader we created this resource in the same vein as Skeptical Science’s responses to global warming & climate change myths.

Read the entire article here.

Industries split over Trump’s tariffs on solar parts, washing machines

By Cole Epley, Omaha World-Herald

Michael Shonka, owner of Omaha-based solar designer and installer Solar Heat and Electric, installed the state’s first community solar project in Central City in 2013. He acknowledges the trade imbalance between Asian manufacturers of solar components and U.S. buyers like himself and his clients but questions why the entire industry should suffer.

“You might think you’re doing something (helpful) but there are very definite unintended consequences” of instituting import tariffs, said Shonka, who is also chair of Nebraskans for Solar. Making panels potentially more expensive will harm the industry as a whole, he said, even if it does give a boost to domestic manufacturers. Read the entire article here.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press