A pair of bills now before the Nebraska legislature would provide a new potential funding source for community solar projects, and mandate that utilities allow community solar projects initiated by their customers. LB 610 would explicitly allow the Nebraska Environmental Trust to consider issuing grants to community solar projects. The trust’s funds, coming from a portion of the state’s lottery proceeds, amount to roughly $16 million yearly . . . The other community solar bill, known as the Shared Community Solar Act, essentially legalizes community solar projects and requires utilities to allow them.
By Benjamin Peters, The Missouri Times KCP&L was the first utility in the country to own and operate a commercial-scale wind facility in the state of Kansas. They’ve also continued looking into methods of harnessing solar energy, and partnered with the Kansas City Royals to place a 120-panel solar system at Kauffman Stadium. KCP&L also signed a 10-year agreement to buy renewable energy from Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District’s three hydroelectric plants, the first addition of hydro power to their energy mix. Ameren Missouri currently operates three hydroelectric energy centers. Ameren Missouri has also explored a number of energy alternatives and recently received the green light by the Missouri Public Service Commission to begin their pilot program on solar energy. Read more.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING / LISTENING
State senators: Nebraska needs to act on climate change (AUDIO), by Brent Martin, Nebraska Radio Network
State lawmakers serving on a special legislative committee say Nebraska needs to adopt a state climate action plan. Sen. Tyson Larson of O’Neill, co-chair of the committee, says he wants to see the committee re-authorize so it can pursue recommendations finalized just prior to the legislative session. “In terms of our recommendations for legislation, I think members of this committee or the legislature will see pieces of legislation that are affecting these things,” Larson tells reporters during a news conference at the Capitol.
On December 14, 2016, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced nearly $35 million for 28 higher education institutions from 25 states across the country to set up and operate regional Industrial Assessment Centers (IACS). The centers will provide site-specific recommendations to small manufacturers with opportunities to improve productivity, secure information, reduce waste and save energy while providing training for undergraduate and graduate engineering students in manufacturing processes, energy assessment procedures, and energy management systems. Read more here.
Photo credit: U.S. Department of Energy
To apply for an assessment, contact UNL’s IAC Program Director: Dr. Robert Williams Phone: (402) 472-4755 Email:email@example.com
A new NRDC study finds that higher electricity costs occur in states that fail to invest in clean energy. NRDC’s Ralph Cavanagh describes the study.
According to the data, the least-renewable friendly states saw bigger residential per kilowatt-hour rate increases from 2000 to 2015 than states that increased their clean energy portfolios. For example, residents of Iowa, which has increased its percentage of generation from renewable sources more than any state since 2000, pay only 0.6 cents more per kilowatt hour, adjusted for inflation, than they did in 2000, when renewable energy development was still in its infancy . . . The impact of efficiency initiatives on utility bills between the most and least energy-efficient states is stark. Read more.
City Energy: A Joint Project of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT)
Now comprising 20 cities, by 2030 the project could save more than $1.5 billion annually and reduce climate pollution equivalent to taking 2 million cars off the road for a year. The City Energy Project is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Kresge Foundation. These funders have invested an additional $10.5 million to expand the projects to the ten new cities, which include three in the Midwest: Des Moines, St. Louis and St. Paul. Click to read more.
To help make the university more sustainable and decrease energy costs, UNL is opening a new Thermal Energy Storage facility on City Campus. There’s been an operational TES facility on East Campus since 2012, but the City Campus addition will help further decrease costs and increase energy efficiency, Charlie Gibbs, technical manager at UNL, said. Planning for the new City Campus facility began in 2011, and facility construction is now underway. Read more.
This year’s Smart Energy Talks event is designed to help you identify and correct barriers to your health and comfort at home through presentations, demonstrations and discussions with experts. The free event is scheduled for Saturday at the Milo Bail Center on the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Dodge Street Campus near 62nd and Dodge Streets. Starting at 9 a.m., author and lecturer Corbett Lunsford will present his “Home Performance Crash Course” — a 90-minute presentation about improving performance in existing homes and how to build a healthy, efficient new home. Lunsford will also discuss and show video of his #TinyLab — a 210-square-foot home. Attendees will receive a free “Proof is Possible” workbook written by Lunsford. Click here for additional event details and opportunities.
Photo: Corbett Lunsford poses near his #TinyLab and an array of solar panels. Lunsford will speak Saturday during the Smart Energy Talks at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Milo Bail Student Center.
By Steven Nadel, Executive Director of the American Council for an
Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Republished by The Energy Collective
Click solar map to enlarge it.
Energy efficiency and solar advocates have on occasion butted heads over which option should be implemented in homes and buildings first and how much should be installed before the other is considered. Here at ACEEE we believe that, like market solutions vs. energy efficiency programs, this is a false choice. Both are valuable and can, and should, work together as an integrated solution to create cleaner and cheaper energy. While energy efficiency is just as clean as solar when it comes to emissions, efficiency by itself can’t produce energy for customers looking for a clean energy option, and solar without energy efficiency can’t reach the full extent of its potential. Continue reading.
Nebraska is making another stride on efficiency, launching an initiative to measure – and eventually reduce – the energy used in buildings throughout the state. Last month, the federal Department of Energy preliminarily awarded the Nebraska Energy Office $300,000 to begin benchmarking energy use in all 3,762 state-owned buildings. The work is expected to get underway by early 2017. While the project will begin with state-owned buildings, David Bracht doesn’t necessarily see it stopping there. He directs the Nebraska Energy Office, which will manage the use of the federal funds. As a second step, he anticipates “developing an energy performance benchmarking policy that we can offer to local governments to encourage their improvement in energy efficiency as well.” Click to continue reading.
Photo by joevare / Creative Commons. Interior of the state capitol building in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“As an industry, a lot of us missed this dramatic drop in demand growth,” LES Vice President of Power Supply Jason Fortik said during a recent interview. “It wasn’t just an LES thing. As the utility industry, we’re out incenting people to be more efficient and place less demand on our system. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised when it actually starts to occur . . . ” A typical Lincoln household’s average monthly electric use peaked in 2010 at 906 kilowatt hours. By last year, it had declined to 829 kwh. Meanwhile, more customers are making their own electricity by installing solar panels. It’s a trend LES closely monitors and has encouraged. Read the entire articlehere.
Photo by Eric Gregory, Lincoln Journal Star. Maintenance Supervisor Tyson Chambers describes equipment at the Lincoln Electric System’s Terry Bundy Generating Station.