Category Archives: Nebraska / Midwest News

Iowa pork producers stall utility efforts to upend solar net metering

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

In their push to upend the economics of rooftop solar, Iowa’s major electric utilities are up
against an opponent as politically potent as they are: the state’s pork producers. Hog farmers in the nation’s top pork-producing state have made clear that they don’t want legislators messing with their net metering arrangements. “Their voice is making a huge difference,” said Kerri
Johannsen, who directs the Iowa Environmental Council’s energy program. “The things they are doing are definitely a big part of what’s held this bill up.” Continue reading here.

Photo: IowaPolitics.com / Wikimedia Commons Via Energy News Network

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

FEATURED NPPD WEBSITE LINKS

SPP Integrated Marketplace turns five

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire, OPPD Blog

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) recently marked
the five-year anniversary of launching its wholesale
electricity market, the integrated marketplace. In noting the March 1 anniversary, SPP said market participants have saved more than $2.7 billion. Participants also have
previously unimaginable access to renewables across the
region. OPPD is a member of SPP, joining the marketplace in 2014. Read more here.
Image Credit: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Also written by Jason Kuiper

EV program recharging for another year
“This program has been wildly successful,” said Judy Sunde, senior product specialist at OPPD. “We sold out of our rebates from the pilot year.” Sunde said the new rebates will be available in mid-May. OPPD is again working with the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA) to co-fund and distribute $500 rebates to customers who purchase ChargePoint EV chargers for their home via OPPD. Additionally, a $2,500 rebate is available after the purchase of a new EV and purchase, installation and registration of a ChargePoint Home charging station. Sunde said there is also a $2,500 or $3,500 incentive towards the purchase of a new Nissan Leaf, and $1,000 purchase incentive at Audi Omaha for an Audi e-tron.

Clean Tech Jobs Lead Employment Statistics In Many US States

By Steve Hanley, CleanTechnica

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and projections from the Projections Managing Partnership, Yahoo Finance has charted which jobs are in high demand in all 50 US states. It says solar panel installer is the fastest growing job in eight different states — California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, Minnesota, and New Jersey. According to the
BLS, that job is known as a “PV installer” . . . In Colorado, Texas, Nebraska, and Iowa, wind
turbine service technicians are in high demand. Read more here.

FEATURED NEBRASKA PROGRAM

Nebraska Community College GAP Assistance Program
The program, which began July 1, 2016, receives 9% of the available Nebraska Lottery funds set aside for education each year. Gap
Program funds are distributed to the state’s six community colleges, which recruit and select eligible low-income students in eligible
programs to receive grants.

Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission For Postsecondary Education administers the program, which is under the direction of the Nebraska Community College Student Performance and
Occupational Education Grant Committee.

Student grants may be used for tuition, direct training costs, required books and equipment, and fees. Eligible programs include renewable energy. Visit the website to learn more about the program.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Central City, others honored for community development efforts, by Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald
Central City, Nebraska, was honored Monday by Gov. Pete Ricketts as the state’s 2019 “Showcase Community” for its economic development efforts, which include continuing local business growth and use of solar energy. The award was given during a press conference marking “Economic Development Week” in the state.
 

Nebraska’s wind power growth is good news

Lincoln Journal Star Editorial

Nebraska has been blessed with an abundance of water, rich soil and breeze that whips across the plains. The first two are inextricably linked and frequently cited because of their necessity to the state’s largest industry, agriculture. The third, however, has rarely been mentioned in the same breath, despite its mostly untapped potential. Long a sleeping giant in terms of its potential for wind power, Nebraska appears to finally be on the rise. The American Wind Energy Association reported that the state grew by the greatest percentage – 39% in 2018 – of megawatts of wind energy capacity of any state. Read more here.

Enel Green Power North America’s Photo of the 320-MW Rattlesnake Creek wind farm located in Dixon County, Nebraska.

State Energy Office Offers 1% Loans to All Nebraskans

Nebraska Energy Office News Release

(LINCOLN, NE) – After the historic flooding and devastation in Nebraska’s communities, the
Nebraska Energy Office, in conjunction with Nebraska lending institutions, began providing
assistance to those affected by floods, by offering Dollar and Energy Saving Loans at 1%
interest.

The Nebraska Energy Office will now offer these ultra-low interest loans to all Nebraskans to make energy efficient home and farm improvements. You do not need to be affected by
flooding to participate in this special loan offer. Subject to lender approval. A sample of eligible energy efficiency home and farm improvements are: Read the entire news release here.

 

Nebraska Energy Office Dollar and Energy Saving Loans Program

Nebraskans talk extreme weather. Just don’t call it climate change.

By Laurent Belsie, The Christian Science Monitor

The severe flooding that inundated Nebraska last month washed away fields, bridges, and roads.
But the extreme weather is also starting to sway residents’ thinking about climate.

Part of the change in thought is coming from farmers themselves, especially those involved with the small but growing regenerative farming movement. “Conversations were already happening before the flood,” says Graham Christensen, a fifth-generation farmer and president of GC
Resolve, a grassroots community-development business. “But after the flood a lot more folks are like, ‘Yeah, I have never seen that; my dad has never seen that; my grandpa has never seen that. This is a pattern that’s emerging.’” Read the entire article here.

Photo by Annette Bloom of her Nebraska farm during the recent historic floods.

Nebraska Regenerative Agriculture Resources

As Laurent Belsie states, Graham Christensen is a fifth-generation Nebraska farmer. He also is leading the growing Nebraska
Regenerative Agriculture movement, creating a website and Facebook page, as well as collaborating with many others to develop an online resource guide:
RegeNErate Nebraska Website
RegeNErate Nebraska Facebook
Guide to Regenerative Agriculture in Nebraska (PDF)

Excerpts from the guide: 

Regenerative practices draw down carbon from the atmosphere and sink or sequester it in the ground. Agriculture can be our best chance to removing rising greenhouse gas emissions that
exacerbate climate change, rather than being a catalyst of it.

Nebraska is already home to a flourishing network of regenerative farms, and many have joined together under the farmer-owned co-op model, allowing them to pool a wide variety of products and satisfy growing demand. By giving back to the land and water what they take from it, these farmers are finding drastically reduced input costs, and even achieving higher yields.

Nebraska Legislation
LB 243 to create a Healthy Soils Task Force passed April 11, 2019 by a vote of 43 to 0.

Solar project pricing should be available soon

Written by Tony Herman, Hastings Tribune

Derek Zeisler, director of marketing and energy supply for Hastings Utilities, gave an update on the power project during the Hastings Utility Board meeting Thursday. Members of the Hastings Utility Board voted recommend approval during their February meeting of a $2.38 million bid from GenPro Energy Solutions for a 1.5 megawatt AC solar project with the purchase option. The project has a completion date of Sept. 2, 2019 . . . Zeisler said Thursday this first phase of the solar project will include more than 6,000 panels within three arrays, most likely off of
Highland Road just west of the Hastings Municipal Airport. There is plenty of room there to
expand with future phases. Hastings Utilities is moving forward with three pricing options.
Read more here.

Photo: Fremont’s first of two 1.55-megawatt solar farms.
Credit: Troy Schaben, Assistant City Administrator, Fremont Department of Utilities

City of Norfolk, NPPD teaming up for solar project

Special to the Norfolk Daily News 

Approval was given Monday at the Norfolk City Council meeting regarding the state’s largest community solar project with NPPD. The project will be tied to a battery energy storage system (BESS) demonstration project expected to be in operation by mid-2020. NPPD, with support from the City of Norfolk, received a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust in the amount of $490,000 over two years for the battery energy project, which will be the first of its kind in the state . . . “As technologies have advanced and costs have decreased, rural Nebraska is now in position to produce energy as efficiently as it does food,” said Mayor Josh Moenning.

Read more here.

SoCore Energy Photo: Kearney’s 5.7-megawatt solar farm on 53 acres of the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, The panels are mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. The solar farm generates about 5% of Kearney’s peak demand.

NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar Program

Midwest Sees Surge in Clean Energy Jobs

The region is creating jobs in renewable energy and the clean energy industry
more quickly than the rest of the country.

By Casey Leins, U.S. News & World Report

THE MIDWEST ADDED MORE than 28,000 clean energy jobs in 2018, resulting in a 4 percent growth rate, according to a recent report released by national advocacy groups Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs. The 12 Midwestern states employed more than 737,000 workers in the clean energy industry last year, with 71.5 percent of those jobs falling under the category of energy efficiency.The report looks at employment in the following clean energy sectors: energy efficiency, renewable energy generation (including solar, wind, geothermal, bioenergy and low-impact hydroelectric power), advanced transportation, advanced grid and clean fuels. Read more here.

Clean Jobs Midwest

Rural Electric Co-ops Dive Into Gas-Killing Solar Panels + Farmland Fray

Written by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica

Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy legislative session over in the great state of
Michigan, where policy makers are considering the idea that putting solar panels on farmland is a good thing. If the state does relax its restrictions, look for other US states to amp up the solar power rush. Read more here.

Photo Credit: George Parker / Fresh Energy

ALSO WRITTEN BY TINA CASEY

 

New Plan To Save Coal Jobs: Teeny, Tiny Coal Power Plants, CleanTechnica

 


ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

  • Washington 100% renewable bill passes both Houses, PV Magazine
    Washington is looking to become the fourth state to make the move to 100% renewable electricity, with only a Senate review and the hand of Governor Inslee left in the way of SB 5116.
  • Homeowners play a role in Atlanta’s Clean Energy Plan, Atlanta Journal Constitution
    Developed by the Mayor’s Office of Resilience, the Clean Energy Plan was approved in March by the City Council. It offers the framework to overhaul energy usage of municipal operations and the community with short- and long-term strategies aimed at achieving 100% clean energy by 2035.
  • Green Mountain Power on 100% clean energy: hold my beer, PV Magazine
    The Vermont utility has set a plan to decarbonize more aggressively than even Washington DC, as the second utility know to pv magazine to set a 100% clean electricity target.

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE