Monthly Archives: January 2018

Nebraska clean energy plan focuses on wind, solar, efficiency

By Don Walton, Lincoln Journal Star

A clean energy coalition urged Nebraska on Wednesday to focus more on development of wind and solar power sources along with energy efficiency to help build a more environmentally friendly and healthier future. The coalition’s Husker Power Plan would “ramp up Nebraska’s investment in energy-efficiency measures like weatherizing homes and businesses, replacing outdated lighting systems and motors and reducing wasteful use of energy,” said Duane Hovorka, former executive director of the Nebraska Wildlife Federation. Continue reading here.

RELATED READING
‘Husker Power Plan’ aims to cut greenhouse emissions while keeping electric costs low, creating jobs, by Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald
The Husker Power Plan calls for doubling the state’s use of wind power over the next five years and adding 129 megawatts of community solar energy projects. The plan, done by the consultant Sommer Energy, also recommends aggressive work to reduce electric consumption by 2 percent a year.

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

Power, to the people

By Daniella Cheslow, PV Magazine International

Puerto Rico: The devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria on the island of Puerto Rico was vast and indiscriminate. Reporter Daniella Cheslow visited some of the area’s most badly affected and found a shredded grid, a rising demand for energy independence, solar and storage, and a heartening reminder of humankind’s capacity for kindness, endurance and determination.
Click here to read the entire story.

Photo: Christine Nieves looks at newly donated solar panels atop a community kitchen in Humacao, Puerto Rico on December 16, 2017. Nieves founded the kitchen to feed neighbors after Hurricane Maria, and she hopes to find models for financing solar power for the poor on the island.

Puerto Rico’s apagón, or “super blackout,” is the longest and largest major power outage in modern U.S. history. Without electricity, there is no reliable source of clean water. School is out, indefinitely. Health care is fraught. Small businesses are faltering. The tasks of daily life are both exhausting and dangerous. – The Washington Post

Xcel Energy receives shockingly low bids for Colorado electricity from renewable sources

Solar and wind generation with storage now competitive with coal power.
Written by Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post

What stands out about the response Xcel received is that wind sources with storage are now cheaper than coal generation, and solar plus storage is now cheaper than about 75 percent of coal generation in the state, according to CarbonTracker. “As far as we know, these are the lowest renewables plus storage bids in the U.S. to date. Click here to read more.

Photo by Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post file

RELATED READING
In Colorado, a glimpse of renewable energy’s insanely cheap future: Even with storage, new renewables beat existing coal, Vox

MORE U.S. NEWS

GLOBAL NEWS

Solar industry, NAACP partner for more than 30 installations

Posted by Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

GRID Alternatives, Solar Energy  Industries Association, Sunrun, United Methodist Women, Vote Solar joined the NAACP to kick off a solar equity campaign focused on low-income communities and creating jobs . . . Called the “Keeping it Green While Living the Dream”, the coalition has made a year-long commitment to train 100 people, install solar on 20 households and 10 community centers and strengthen laws in at least five states that strengthen equity in solar-access policies. Read more here.

Photo: Grid Alternatives

NAACP’s JUST ENERGY TOOLKIT
Just Energy Policies and Practices Action Toolkit
The toolkit contains modules to help guide individuals and communities move towards an energy economy that is sustainable, equitable, and just for all its members. It includes a section on how to pass net metering, distributed generation and community shared renewable energy policies, a fact sheet on advancing equity, inclusion, and leadership in the solar industry, and a fact sheet on solar consumer protection. The toolkit is designed to operate in conjunction with the NAACP’s Just Energy Policies: Model Energy Policies Guide, which contains specific information for people wanting to change policy.

Ford shifts gears, invests $11 billion in future of electric car production

By Keith Naughton, Ryan Beene and Gabrielle Coppola / Bloomberg News
Published by The Omaha World-Herald

Ford Motor Co. will more than double its spending on electric vehicles, amplifying its investment in a segment that the auto industry sees growing from what’s now just a fraction of the market.
The carmaker will shell out $11 billion to bring 40 electric vehicles to market by 2022, Jim Farley, president of global markets, said during a presentation at the Detroit auto show. That’s up from the $4.5 billion that Ford said in late 2015 it would invest through the end of the decade.
Click here to continue reading.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST
NPPD’s pilot EV charging station incentive program
Nebraska Public Power District, in partnership with its wholesale utility customers, has a need to understand the future impact of electric vehicle charging on the electric distribution system. Electrification of the transportation sector is expected to grow and have a substantial impact on the electricity delivery system. By collecting data on individual charging stations, the utilities can better implement strategies to maintain and improve utility infrastructure. In order to collect this information, the utility is offering an incentive to eligible customers with qualifying equipment. A $200 EnergyWise incentive for the installation of a residential vehicle charging station is available for a limited time from Nebraska Public Power District and your local public power utility.

Interview With John Kostyack & David Gardner — A New Wind Energy Foundation Report (CleanTechnica Exclusive)

By Carolyn Fortune

The Wind Energy Foundation has just released a new report. In it, they talk about the need for US transmission planners to modify their calculations based on the number of big companies that are increasingly signing deals to buy wind and solar power. In this CleanTechnica exclusive, we interview John Kostyack, executive director of the Wind Energy Foundation, and David Gardiner, lead author representing David Gardiner and Associates, about the report and its consequences for broader wind and solar energy access.

Information from the report: “The strongest and often lowest-cost renewable energy resources are located in the central U.S. region, 15 states between the Rockies and the Mississippi River: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. This region accounts for 88% of the country’s wind technical potential and 56% of the country’s utility-scale solar photovoltaic technical potential, yet is home to only 30% of projected 2050 electricity demand. This finding suggests that future transmission is needed to export this electricity from this high-production region to the growing demand outside of this region.”
Read More Here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Center for Rural Affairs Report: Generation and Delivery: The economic impact of transmission infrastructure in rural counties, written by Timothy Collins, consultant, with support from Johnathan Hladik, Policy Program Director

Coal ‘action plan’ finds success: Trump contributor has gotten about half of the items on his wish list

By Michael Biesecker, Associated PressOmaha World-Herald

[The coal wish list Robert Murray, the chairman and CEO of Ohio-based Murray Energy, sent to the White House includes] “pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accords and revoking the Clean Power Plan . . . Under Trump, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has also moved to reconsider rules meant to protect miners from breathing coal and rock
dust — the primary cause of black lung disease — and diesel exhaust, which can cause
cancer . . . Only about 500 coal mining jobs were added in Trump’s first year, bringing the total to about 50,900 nationally, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read more here.

Photo by The Associated Press

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • 2017 U. S. Energy and Employment Report, Department of Energy
    In 2016 Just under 374,000 individuals worked, in whole or in part, for solar firms, with more than 260,000 of those employees spending the majority of their time on solar. There are an additional 102,000 workers employed at wind firms across the nation. The solar workforce increased by 25% in 2016, while wind employment increased by 32%.
  • In coal country: Ohio and other states throughout the region are developing local sources of clean energy and green jobs that are good for people, the planet and profits:

LOCAL GRASSROOTS GROUPS 
Not only businesses but also social entrepreneurs and nonprofits all across Appalachia are leading the region’s transition from coal to renewable energy.  Some of these grassroots groups have been in existence for a number of years, while others are relatively new. All of them, however, share the same mission of creating a post-coal future for their own and neighboring communities. Examples of these groups include:

SOLAR HOLLER
What We Believe: Solar Holler isn’t your typical company. We’re a social enterprise that is focused on bringing clean and local energy within reach of those who need it most–Appalachia’s community organizations, non-profits, municipalities, and our low-income neighbors.  Why is our focus there?  Because every dollar a church, or a library, or a municipality doesn’t spend on utility bills means another dollar is going toward improving our towns and communities. Because West Virginia’s miners and their families powered America’s growth and cities during the 20th Century.  If we have anything to do with it, we’ll power America throughout the 21st Century, too–with clean, renewable energy. And, most importantly, because these hills and hollers are home. Websitewww.solarholler.com 

KENTUCKIANS FOR THE COMMONWEALTH
We are Kentuckians. We believe that today we have our best chance in decades to build New Power in Kentucky. New Power means thousands of new jobs, healthy communities and opportunities for our children. But we have to address the problems caused by Old Power – old political power, old economic power and old energy power. Website: www.kftc.org 

I LOVE MOUNTAINS.ORG
Local, state, and regional organizations across Appalachia are working together to end mountaintop removal and create a prosperous future for the region. Through iLoveMountains.org, members of the Alliance for Appalachia have come together to use cutting edge technology to inform and involve Americans in their efforts to save mountains and communities.

Partners

1. Appalachian Voices
2. Black Warrior Riverkeeper 
3. Center for Coalfield Justice
4. Coal River Mountain Watch
5. Heartwood
6. Keeper of the Mountains Foundation
7. Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
8. Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
9. Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment
10. Sierra Club Environmental Justice
11. Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards
12. SouthWings
13. STAY Project
14. West Virginia Highlands Conservancy

Website: www.ilovemountains.org

Ohio conservatives could shift solar debate in a positive direction

By Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

According to a new poll by Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, 79% of Republicans and independents who identify as conservative (the only groups polled) support the expansion of clean energy and policies to encourage such growth. Among the policy prescriptions those polled support include increasing the state’s renewable energy standard (RES) and changing wind setback rules. Public Opinion Strategies also found 60% of conservatives support requiring utilities to use renewable energy to produce 12.5% of their electricity by 2027, and 76% supported increasing research into battery storage technologies, which most analysts consider the next boom market in the renewable energy economic sector. Most surprising was the finding that 85% of conservative voters voiced willingness to pay more personally for their electricity if sourced from renewable energy sources. Click here to read more.

Ohio Conservative Energy Forum Website

Photo: Pixabay

MORE GOOD NEWS

California regulators choose clean energy and storage over existing gas plants

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

In California and other regions where the transition to renewable energy is most advanced, the tide is turning not only against coal and nuclear power, but against gas plants as well. As the latest evidence of this, last Thursday the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued an order that calls for utility Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) to hold one or more solicitations for energy storage and/or “preferred resources” to address local capacity and voltage needs in two different parts of the state. Continue reading here.

Photo by Pedro Xing

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

UPCOMING ENERGY STORAGE WEBINARS

Solar Power is Heating Up at Schools Nationwide

By Tish Tablan, National Organizer, Generation 180

More and more schools are taking advantage of their large roofs and open spaces to generate clean power and save money. Solar schools are creating a brighter future by spreading energy awareness to students, parents, and the community.

Generation 180 has recently launched some exciting initiatives to empower schools nationwide to take advantage of all the benefits of solar energy.

  • We’ve just launched our nationwide Solar Schools campaign, which aims to help schools go solar with greater confidence and success.
  • We’ve partnered with The Solar Foundation and the Solar Energy Industries Association  to produce the 2017 Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in US Schools.  This report provides the most comprehensive inventory of solar schools across America and shares the successful approaches of schools transitioning to solar power
  • In addition to the report, Generation 180 offers how-to resources to empower stakeholders to become solar champions who can effectively advocate for solar schools in their own communities.

You Can Help Schools Go Solar

You can help make a brighter future possible. Generation 180 is forming teams of volunteers throughout the country to rally local support from educators, district leaders and community members and providing resources to assist schools in going solar. Contact us to learn about starting a volunteer team in your community. Learn about volunteer teams.

  • Generation 180 is a non-profit committed to advancing the transition to clean energy and supporting a cultural shift in energy awareness through original, engaging content, digitally-enabled campaigns, and an empowered volunteer network.
  • Questions? Contact National Organizer Tish Tabian: tish@generation180.org
  • U.S. Solar Schools Map
  • Nebraska Solar Schools, founded by Nebraskans for Solar and statewide partners, is a program  that provides K-12 educators with resources and tools for incorporating renewable energy education into their classrooms and schools. The resources support Nebraska and national science standards. The program is offered to public and non-public schools, as well as places like schools such as children’s museums, zoos, nature preserves and science and technology centers.