Author Archives: Helen Deffenbacher

Hastings, Adams County gear up for solar future

By Tony Herman, Hastings Tribune

After John Carllson put up a 40-foot by 80-foot shop last year at his home in Ayr, it just made sense to cover the south side of the roof with solar panels. His brother had erected solar panels at his home in Hordville. Carllson and his wife, Linda, were inspired. “I’d been kicking it around, and after I put the building up we talked it over,” said Carllson, who retired from working in the Hastings Utilities gas department. “I think it’s the coming thing. It’s free power from the sun.” Continue reading here.

Photo by Amy Roh: Heath Jennings (left) and Johnny Moser, of Interconnection Systems Incorporated out of Central City, install solar panels Tuesday in Ayr.

ALSO WRITTEN BY TONY HERMAN
Renewable energy now key component of development, Hastings Tribune
As officials from the city of Hastings have discussed a community solar project to diversify the local energy generation profile, one of the considerations most often talked about is how renewables may enhance economic development prospects. That has certainly been the case in Omaha.

ALSO IN THE NEWS
Central Community College wind turbine exceeding expectations, KSNB, Hastings
CCC was just approved for an energy technology program, encompassing wind and solar power. 

OPPD’s board set to take an environmental tilt. What will it mean for electricity costs?

By Aaron Sanderford, Omaha World-Herald

The costs of OPPD going further, faster on renewables and carbon are not yet clear. OPPD officials have said they had not yet determined how much more, if any, customers are paying for electricity because of the renewable energy the utility has already added to the mix . . . People should not draw a direct correlation between renewables and rising rates, said Javier Fernandez, the district’s chief financial officer . . . If the next OPPD board aims the utility at 100 percent renewables or zero carbon, [Russ Baker, director of OPPD’s environmental and regulatory affairs] said OPPD management will work with them to mull what that would look like, what it might cost and how technology would need to change. Read more here.

Image Credit: Facebook, one of a growing number of corporations that are committed to sourcing 100% of their energy from renewables and encouraging their suppliers to do so, as well. Facebook’s goal is to reach that level by 2020. RE100

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

REPORTS OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

  • Lazard’s recently-released Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) analysis reports that solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind costs have dropped an astounding 88% and 69% since 2009, respectively.
  • Sierra Club’s 2018 Case Study Report: Ten cities that have made commitments to be powered entirely with clean energy. Download the Case Studies 2018 Report (PDF} in English or Spanish.
  • Free SEPA Research: Non-Wires Alternatives: Case Studies from Leading U.S. Projects
    In today’s electricity market, non-wires alternatives are capturing public attention and inspiring decision makers to explore the grid benefits and potential cost savings resulting from integrating new distributed technologies in place of new infrastructure upgrades.

Colorado co-op seeks exit from coal-heavy Tri-State to pursue renewables

By Gavin Bade, Utility Dive

[Delta Montrose Electric Association’s] decision to leave Tri-State demonstrates how the increasing competitiveness of renewable energy is upending the economics of power production in the American West.

Tri-State is a generation and transmission provider that supplies power to more than 40 rural cooperatives across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. While it has increased renewable energy in recent years, coal is still its largest source of electricity — around half its capacity — and member co-ops are required to purchase all but 5% of their power from the company. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Flickr: Jimmy Thomas

Diverse City-wide Coalition Launched to Lead 100 Percent Clean Energy Future for Chicago

Sierra Club News Release

CHICAGO, IL — On Tuesday, the Ready For 100 Chicago Collective announced their formation as a new community coalition working to move Chicago to a 100 percent clean, renewable energy future. The coalition is made up of dozens of community- and state-based organizations, including Illinois Sierra Club, IBEW Local 134, People for Community Recovery, The Climate Reality Project Chicago Chapter, SEIU Local 1, Citizens Utility Board, and other environmental, education, youth, labor, and justice groups across Chicago. Read more here.

SEIA Hosts Day of Understanding to Address Bias and Advance Diversity and Inclusion

Solar Energy Industries Association News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) joins more than 150 organizations for the “Day of Understanding” hosted by CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion to address bias and increase understanding in the workplace and beyond. “Improving the diversity of the solar industry is one of my top priorities and I know to succeed I must start with my own organization,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. For more information on the Day of Understanding and how you can get involved by signing the “I Act On” pledge, go to www.ceoaction.com. Read the entire news release here.

Related

This Is Why I’m Pledging To Make The Solar Industry More Diverse

By Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA President and CEO
Published by Huffington Post

RESOURCES

Rural Jobs: A Big Reason Midwest Should Love Clean Energy

By Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News

Wind turbines have become a familiar part of the landscape in the rural Midwest, and with them have come jobs, income for farmers and tax revenue for communities. They’re one sign of how the clean energy transition is helping to transform areas that sometimes struggle to attract jobs and investment.

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council shows the extent to which clean energy is contributing jobs to the rural economies of 12 Midwestern states. It also reflects what the rural Midwest stands to lose from Trump administration actions that harm clean energy, such as its recent call to eliminate subsidies for renewable energy, its tariffs on solar energy equipment, and its plan to weaken the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. The authors say the numbers underscore the need in the Midwest for government policies that are supportive of clean energy instead. Read more here.

Dan Gearino covers the U.S. Midwest, part of Inside Climate News’ National Environment Reporting Network. His coverage deals with the business side of the clean-energy transition, and he writes Inside Climate News’ Clean Economy Weekly Newsletter.

Image: Pixabay / Public Domain

RESOURCES: SOLAR & WIND ENERGY JOBS

Four key takeaways from a Michigan utility’s clean energy transition

By Andy Balaskovitz, Midwest Energy News

In a speech this week to a large, business-friendly crowd in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe presented an economic case for solar power, electric vehicles and moving past coal. The company closed seven Michigan coal plants in 2016, cutting carbon emissions 25 percent without hurting its workforce. As the company focuses on solar in the coming years, Poppe said electric vehicles will play a growing role in the company’s “triple bottom line” principle of serving people, the planet and prosperity. Read more here.

Photo: Consumers Energy’s community solar array at Grand Valley State University.

MORE CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION NEWS

EIA says 4 GW of coal-fired capacity may retire by end of 2019, American Public Power Association. So far in 2018, 11 GW of coal-fired generating capacity has retired through September, and another 3 GW are expected to retire in the final three months of the year, based on data reported to EIA by plant owners and operators. “If these plants retire as planned, 2018 will be the second-highest year for coal retirements. Another 4 GW of capacity are planning to retire by the end of 2019,” EIA reported.

U.S. energy storage storm grows in strength, PV Magazine

A Wood Mackenzie report shows U.S. energy storage deployments tripling in capacity during Q3 ’18 versus last year’s volume, while noting that the future pipeline growth rate doubled versus prior quarters to reach a 33 GW of future projects.


NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

EV NEWS

 

New plans by VW, Tesla and BYD support predictions that EV sales are set to skyrocket, PV Magazine

 

 

Major Study Shows Electric Bikes Good For Health, CleanTechnica
There was moderate evidence that e-cycling provided physical activity of at least moderate intensity, which was lower than the intensity elicited during conventional cycling, but higher than that during walking. There was also moderate evidence that e-cycling can improve cardiorespiratory fitness in physically inactive individuals. Photo: Omaha QuikByke Kiosk

ENERGY CONSERVATION

 

Rule your attic, save on energy costs, The Wire, OPPD Blog

100 Cities Agree: 100% Clean Energy For All

Written by Jodie Van Horn, Director of Sierra Club’s Ready For 100 Campaign

The Ready For 100 campaign began with an incredible idea: that the United States can be powered by 100% clean, renewable energy. The idea was initially ridiculed. Skeptics said we could never achieve such an ambitious, idealistic vision. We heard every version of “no,” “can’t,” “won’t,” and “shouldn’t.” We were laughed out of rooms.

So we did what anyone with a bold idea and a dream for a better future does: we persisted, and we organized. Just three years since Ready For 100 launched, we have helped build a strong, diverse movement of residents, businesses, faith leaders, community groups, and city leaders all across the country who are calling for 100% clean energy for 100% of the people. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Final hurdle cleared in California’s solar mandate for new homes

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

In the words of Kelly Knutsen, it’s officially official. Today the California Building Standards Commission unanimously voted to confirm a change to the state’s building code which will require that all newly built low-rise (three stories or less) residential units in the state either incorporate rooftop solar or hold a community solar contract, starting in 2020.

“These highly energy efficient and solar-powered homes will save families money on their energy bills from the moment they walk through their front door,” stated Knutsen, the director of technology advancement for the California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA). Knutsen also notes that this will include a solar plus storage option. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Lincoln, Nebraska-based GRNE Solar, “The Sun Haven.”

 

News Release: California Solar Building Requirement Crosses Finish Line, Solar Energy Industries Association

 

From bedroom community to business hotspot

By Tony Dreibus, Freelance Writer, The Wire, OPPD Blog

Sarpy County for years was known as a bedroom community, an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Recently, it’s become a destination for companies seeking available land, access to major roadways and a steady supply of potential employees. Facebook is one such company. The social network in April 2017 announced it was going to build a facility near Highway 50 and Capehart Road. Less than a year later, the company said the project would consist of six buildings instead of two. Read more here.

Facebook Photo

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS

NEW REPORT

Solar Homes: The Next Step for Clean Energy, Environment America and Frontier Group

Installing solar panels on all new homes is a common-sense step that would create a wave of clean, renewable energy, reduce dangerous greenhouse gas emissions, cut air pollution, save consumers money and help to create a more resilient electric grid. Download the Report.

HAPPENING IN OTHER STATES

Milwaukee eyes its own rooftop solar mandate with a California clone,
PV Magazine

The proposed legislation would require all new residential units in the city to include solar arrays, starting in 2019. A July poll by Morning Consult found that nearly 2/3 of Americans would support a solar mandate for new homes.

NATIONAL LEADERSHIP AWARDS

The Utility Dive Awards for 2018
The awards recognize the utility industry’s top disruptors and innovators. These executives and companies are key leaders in the sector’s pivotal transition.
Utility of the Year: Xcel
CEO of the Year: Jim Robo, NextEra Energy
Green Initiative of the Year: Washington, DC’s Green Bank

EV NEWS

1M EVs in the US ‘a step in our journey’ to combat climate change,
Smart Cities Dive
Image: License plate belonging to Don Cox, Stanford University Emeritus Professor and adjunct professor in UNL’s College of Engineering. His avocation is electric vehicles; he has taught EV classes at UNL and UNO. Owner of four Teslas, Don is known to generously offer demo rides to other EV enthusiasts, including students and colleagues.