Monthly Archives: June 2018

Wind energy the new ‘cash crop’ for Colorado farmers

By Liz Forster, The Gazette

For more than a century, Jan and Virgil Kochis’ family has farmed wheat, corn and other cash crops on 10,000 acres of pasture and farmland near Matheson in Elbert County.

It’s the only lifestyle they know, they said. So when crop prices started to plummet, the Kochises turned to a resource that is breathing new economic life into eastern Colorado: wind turbines. Continue reading here.

Liz Forster is a general assignment reporter with a focus on environment and public safety. She is a Colorado College graduate, avid hiker and skier, and craft beer enthusiast.

Photo by Excel Energy: Colorado Wind Turbines

RELATED READING

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

What Midwestern Electric Utilities Are Saying About Clean Energy

By Isak Kvam, Communications / Policy Associate, Wind on the Wires

The energy industry has experienced a lot of change, particularly because the cost of wind and solar energy has plummeted faster than experts ever expected. Many electric utilities have taken advantage of this cheap, home-grown renewable energy and the benefits it brings to their customers, their bottom line, our economy, and our environment. You don’t have to take it from us — read on to learn how – and why – electric utilities are investing in low-cost wind and solar energy throughout the Midwest! Continue here.

Creative Commons Photo

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Renewables For Everyone: Moving Beyond the Fortune 500, Spark, RMI Newsletter
This blog post is part of a series from RMI’s Business Renewables Center (BRC), which streamlines and accelerates corporate purchasing of off-site, large-scale renewable energy.

Midlands Voices: It is time for Nebraska to prepare for climate change

By Donald Wilhite, Omaha World-Herald

The writer is professor and director emeritus in climate science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is the founding director of UNL’s National Drought Mitigation Center.

I applaud The World-Herald for publishing several articles on climate change and its implications for Nebraska on June 18. Educating all Nebraskans about both the threats and opportunities associated with climate change is vital to adapt to and prepare for the changes that lie ahead.

Both globally and locally, few people deny that our climate is changing. Globally, we have experienced 400 consecutive months where the average temperatures have exceeded the 30-year average. However, many people still reject the notion that human actions, specifically the burning of fossil fuels and land use changes, are the primary reasons for the observed changes. Continue reading.

ALSO PUBLISHED BY THE OMAHA WORLD-HERALD

Electrek is sponsoring the American Solar Challenge! Join Us!

By Sam Weintraub, Electrek Publisher and Editor

We’re proud to announce Electrek is sponsoring the American Solar Challenge this year. The 2018 event (PDF Flyer), which begins next weekend, will see racers take their Solar-powered “cars” from OmahaNebraska to BendOregon loosely through the Oregon Trail. I use quotes because to get the watts/mile equation on these vehicles to within what’s possible with a car footprint solar array, you’ll essentially need 4-wheeled electric bicycles.

The American Solar Challenge (ASC) is a multi-day, 1,500-2,000 mile cross-country endurance rally across North America. The event is typically held every other year during the summer and is open to collegiate level solar car teams from countries all over the world. The routes have varied greatly over the course of the event’s rich history, but they are always designed to provide teams with a great opportunity to demonstrate their solar cars under real world driving conditions and thoroughly test the reliability of all onboard systems.

Click image, below, to link to the American Solar Challenge on Facebook. 

TRACK AND ROUTE / DISPLAY DAY AT LEWIS & CLARK LANDING IN OMAHA

Hosting both the scrutineering and Formula Sun Grand Prix portions of the event will be Motorsport Park Hastings in Hastings, Nebraska. The 2018 Formula Sun Grand Prix will be the first at the 2.15 mile track.

Following the track race, teams will move to the starting point of the American Solar Challenge in Omaha, Nebraska at Lewis & Clark Landing. This is where the display day and multi-occupant judging will take place.

Display: July 13, 3:00-7:00pm
Start Line: July 14 at 8:00am

(Nebraskans for Solar will be among organizations sponsoring booths at the American Solar Challenge display day at Lewis & Clark Landing on July 13).

For the road portion of the event, teams can expect a journey covering more than 1,700 miles. The route will cover portions of the Oregon Trail from Nebraska to Oregon; the stops are listed here: ASC 2018 Route Book Download

Additional details are posted on our calendar and here.

Report: Renewables push could mean billions for Michigan economy

By Andy Balaskovitz, Energy News Network

Michigan could see billions in economic impact and tens of thousands of new jobs if its major utilities follow through on voluntary pledges to boost renewable energy, according to a new report released Thursday by a conservative energy group.

The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum report highlights the potential economic impact as utilities comply with a 15 percent renewable energy standard by 2021. It also projects the impact if Consumers Energy and DTE Energy reach 30 percent renewable by 2027, which is generally in line with the stated goals of the companies. Read more here.

Photo: Solar panels on a hillside. Creative Commons License, Pixabay

CESA’S 2018 STATE LEADERSHIP AWARDS
State Leadership in Clean Energy Awards: Advancing Clean Energy Progress: Past, Present, and Future

ADDITIONAL NATIONAL NEWS

LG to make high-efficiency solar panels in Alabama

GLOBAL NEWS

SEIA Releases Updated ‘SEIA Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power’

Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – To advance efforts to educate residential solar consumers across America and  pave the way to a positive solar buying experience, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) launched an updated SEIA Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power.

Available online, the free guide offers those interested in going solar a one-stop shop to better understand the basics of solar energy and ownership options. It includes key questions to ask solar installers before entering a transaction. The guide is a result of a joint effort of the leading companies across the solar industry and goes hand in hand with SEIA’s existing Solar Business Code by which all SEIA members abide. Read the entire news release here.

More SEIA Resources

Additional Guide for Local Landowners
Solar Land Lease: Considerations in Nebraska
Authors:

YouTube Video
Solar Farm Leases – John Hay

About SEIA
Celebrating its 44th anniversary in 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry, which now employs more than 250,000 Americans. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to build jobs and diversity, champion the use of cost-competitive solar in America, remove market barriers and educate the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.

Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning: Three priorities need to work together

By Nick Gebhart, Norfolk Daily News

City officials are considering investing in solar, among other potential projects, [Mayor Moenning said at a meeting held yesterday at the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce]. That’s partly because the state of Nebraska is one of the top states in the country in terms of wind and solar energy potential. “If we can develop some cheaper, renewable, home-grown power, that would be beneficial,” Moenning said.

Click here to read about each of the topics Mayor Moenning discussed at the meeting, hosted by the Nebraska Conservation Educational Fund.

Nebraska Conservation Educational Fund Website

Also published by Norfolk Daily News

New report highlights clean energy jobs in Colorado, Pennsylvania

By Sarina Weiss, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Over the past month, E2, a national, nonpartisan business group and partner of the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), published three jobs reports: Clean Jobs AmericaClean Jobs Colorado and Clean Jobs Pennsylvania.

Clean Jobs America reported that nearly 3.2 million Americans work in clean energy—in energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean vehicles, and other smaller sectors like energy storage and grid modernization. Wind power supports over 105,000 jobs nation-wide, with jobs in all 50 states. Many of these bring new opportunities to farming and factory towns, since more than 500 U.S. factories build wind-related parts. Continue reading here.

MORE INFORMATION LINKS

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

SEIA Press Release: New Data Shows Professional Sports Teams Are Going Solar at a Rapid Rate
WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to new research released today by the Solar Energy Industries Association, more than 46 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity are operating at 37 professional sports facilities nationwide. In the last five years alone, professional teams and facilities have installed nearly 34 MW of capacity across 16 installations, representing almost 75 percent of all the solar capacity currently in operation at sports arenas.

Every leading sports league in the United States, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, NASCAR and IndyCar boast solar assets. A third of the NFL stadiums in the U.S. have a solar system, with the MLB and NBA not far behind with 30 percent each. To put the proliferation of solar across professional sports in context, last year nearly 42 million Americans attended an event at a stadium, arena or raceway with a solar system.

Pixabay Photo

Hyundai announces deal to build energy storage projects with used EV battery packs

By Fred Lambert, Electrek

Automakers have two main options when it comes to managing used electric vehicle battery packs: they can use them in energy storage applications or recycle them for the materials. Hyundai announced a new deal today to do the former.

The Korean automaker has selected Wärtsilä, a technology company working on complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets, to be “a technology and commercial partnership designed to utilize second-life electric vehicle (EV) batteries for the growing energy storage market.” Continue here.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Microgrid Developer Finds Fertile Ground in the Texas Electricity Market

Registration Deadline for Solar Design and Installation Workshop Friday, June 29th!

Nebraska Extension in partnership with Dixon Power Systems

DOWNLOAD THE FLYER HERE

This workshop is open to the public.

Instructors:  John Hay, Department of Biosystems Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Jon Dixon, Dixon Power Systems
Cost: $450 for the week
Deadline: Registration and payment due by Friday, June 29th
Workshop Dates: July 9th – July 13th

WORKSHOP CONTENT

  • Introduction to Solar PV electronics and components
  • Basics of electricity, measuring, tools and safety
  • Solar siting – where to locate the panels, sun angles
  • Capabilities and limitations of solar PV
  • Electrical codes, state and federal policy, tax credits and economics
  • Building a rack
  • Attaching inverters and other components
  • Grounding and other wiring
  • Wire management and final appearance
  • Working with your utility and electrical inspector to complete grid interconnection

Photo: Previous workshop participants and their DIY solar array.