Category Archives: Energy Conservation

Is Your Home Solar-Ready?

By Mike Watkins, Omaha World-Herald

That’s the main question David Holtzclaw of Transduction Technologies will be asking visitors October 28 at his exhibit during the Smart Energy Talk Conference at the UNO Milo Bail Student Activity Center.

“It’s important to walk them through the steps before they get serious about buying solar panels for their homes,” he said. “They need to make sure their houses are ready before taking this expensive but valuable step toward total home energy efficiency.”

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Photo Credit: Consumer Reports Magazine

FREE Smart Energy Talks & Green Home Tour Coming Up Soon!

Green Omaha Coalition (GOC) and Omaha World-Herald have collaborated over the past several weeks to put together an outstanding educational opportunity you won’t want to miss! The Smart Energy Talks and the Green Home Tour are annual events geared toward promoting energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly practices for homeowners. New this year: Attendees can take a virtual Green Home Tour of local solar installations.

Panel discussions will focus on the importance of renewable energy in our communities and the challenges and benefits of electric vehicles on the grid. Exhibitors will be available from 10am to 2pm. These experts will explain the basics of solar technology and answer questions about preparing your home for solar, costs and savings involved, battery storage, types of solar energy systems, and how to get started.

The event is free and open to the public!
For more information, visit “Events” at Green Omaha Coalition and Omaha World-Herald.

Reenergizing state’s oldest campus

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire, OPPD News

“We wanted to highlight our partnership with OPPD and show how we can work together.” – Kathy Carroll, vice president of Administration and Finance

The college has updated its electrical system over the last three years . . . Buildings on campus are making the switch to LED lighting, and geothermal cooling and heating was installed in the Jindra Fine Arts building in 2003 and the T.J. Majors building in 2016. Delzell Hall and the Theatre are under renovation and geothermal installations are part of that process. The college recently installed energy metering on their electricity, gas, steam and chilled water services to benchmark usage and determine how to maximize efficiency. So far, these efficiency efforts have resulted in more than $25,000 in rebates from OPPD. Read more here.

Nebraska bills would allow more community solar, tap lottery for funding

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

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.

Read more
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ALSO WRITTEN BY KAREN UHLENHUTH
Nebraska making efficiency push for state-owned buildings

NEBRASKA ENERGY OFFICE PRESS RELEASE
State Government Buildings To Be Benchmarked By 2020

MORE MIDWEST NEWS 

Shareholders supporting Ameren, KCPL energy efficiency goals

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.

Department of Energy awards UNL nearly $1.5 million to set up and operate a regional Industrial Assessment Center

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: rwilliams2@unl.edu

States that Fail to Invest in Clean Energy Pay in Higher Electricity Costs

By Elisa Wood, Microgrid Knowledge

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.

Ralph Cavanagh

Ralph Cavanagh

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 


ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Ten New U.S. Cities Join the City Energy Project to Cut Climate Pollution from Buildings

City Energy: A Joint Project of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT)

cityengergy-logo

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.

UNL starts construction on new energy storage facility

By Zoe De Grande, The Daily Nebraskan

unl-thermal-storage

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.

Presentations, demonstrations to highlight Smart Energy Talks

 Written by Mike Whye, World-Herald Correspondent

smart-energy-talks

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.