Category Archives: NewsBlog

As crop prices fluctuate, wind turbine income becomes critical for farmers

By Sarina Weiss, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

2.1 million farms cover our country’s rural landscapes, and 99 percent of them are family-owned and operated. And now, a growing number of them host wind turbines. Increasingly, the extra income from wind projects helps keep these farms in the family and the family on the farm, even in uncertain times.

In 2017 alone, Texas landowners received more than $60 million in lease payments. Across the country, wind projects paid farmers and ranchers an estimated $267 million.

Read more here.

AWEA YouTube Video featured in Sarina Weiss’ article: Wind projects: keeping the family farm in the family

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST: RECENT USDA NEWS RELEASE
USDA Streamlines Application Process for Rural Energy for America Program and Business & Industry Program Loan Guarantees

Canadian company reboots northern Minnesota solar panel factory

By Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Ontario-based Heliene, Inc. has begun operations in a 25,000-square-foot factory in Mountain Iron, a city of nearly 3,000 people on Minnesota’s Iron Range, and it plans to hire 130 employees by September . . . Minnesota’s growing community solar garden program, the largest in the country, has been a boon for the company, and Illinois may represent the next big market for Heliene.  Read more here.

Thinkstock Photo

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS

WEC Energy bets on solar, wind and natural gas. So, what about coal?, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin Public Service, the subsidiary of WEC Energy Group that operates in northeastern Wisconsin, and Madison Gas and Electric plan to invest a total of $390 million to buy 300 megawatts of generating capacity — enough electricity for more than 70,000 residential customers — in two solar power projects . . . WEC also plans to invest $424 million in wind projects in Illinois and Nebraska that will sell power to other companies.

MORE NEWS & COMMENTARY FROM OTHER STATES

FEATURED RESOURCE: LOW-INCOME SOLAR POLICY GUIDE

The Low-Income Solar Policy Guide was originally developed and launched in 2016 by nonprofits GRID AlternativesVote Solar, and the Center for Social Inclusion, to help drive the proposal and adoption of new low-income solar policies and programs, both as stand-alone efforts and as part of broader renewable energy programs. GRID Alternatives and Vote Solar are current contributing partners to the Guide. It is meant to be a tool for policymakers, community leaders and others who are working on solar access at the federal, state and local level.
Resources Include:
Financing
Federal And State Tax Credits
Grants And Technical Assistance

NEW EV ANALYSIS

Electric vs. Diesel vs. Natural Gas: Which Bus is Best for the Climate?, by Jimmy O’Dea, Vehicles Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists

GLOBAL NEWS

Fun & Easy DIY Project: Homemade Air Conditioner – Can be Solar Powered

Great for home, RV, cabin or glamping – glamourous camping.
Click photo to watch YouTube Video.

Description: Homemade AC Air Cooling unit produces very cold air: 42F in an 80F room.
Items needed: ice chest (hard-sided or styrofoam), pvc pipe, small fan and ice. (small solar panel is optional). Great for space cooling. 3 ways to power it: a solar panel, a battery or an automobile (using 12v socket cigarette plug. Specs: fan: 12VDC 10w 0.8A and solar panel: 15 watt (1 amp). Works best in semi-dry or dry climates. Drier air cools down easier/faster than humid. To run the cooler 100% off-grid check out my solar ice making/freezer videos. – DesertSun02

Inspiring community service story: Lee’s Summit animal shelter goes green with help from teen

By Anne Marie Hunger, Kansas City Star

The community dedicated to the animals at Lee’s Summit Animal Control extends beyond the staff and volunteers who meet their needs. Advocates and activists focused on the long-term future of the shelter help ensure it can continue to care for more than 4,000 animals a year. 18-year-old Zach Burton is one of those activists.

In 2016, Burton approached city officials with a plan to promote green energy in Lee’s Summit through a solar power project. Burton has worked with the city, architects and energy professionals over the past two years to bring his project to fruition at Lee’s Summit Animal Control. Read more here.

Photo: The 96 solar panels at the shelter will reduce energy expenses by over $135,000 over the course of 25 years.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED WEEKEND READING

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

EXCELLENT ARTICLE BY KAREN UHLENHUTH
Nebraska tribe becomes a solar power leader on the Plains, Energy News Network

FEATURED NATIONAL NEWS

CORPORATE NEWS
Global Tech Giant Fujitsu Commits To 100% Renewable Electricity And Invests In Clean Energy Technologies, The Climate Group. IT giant Fujitsu has joined RE100 with a commitment to source 100% renewable electricity by 2050, with an interim target of 40% by 2030. Alongside investments in renewable energy technology, Fujitsu is also investing in its people. The company has been actively conducting seminars and events with an environmental focus for employees around the world. By educating staff on clean energy, Fujitsu aims to raise global awareness of renewable power.

RENEWABLE ENERGY LOAN PROGRAM
DOE rolls out $2B loan guarantee program for renewable energy on tribal lands, Utility Dive
Under the Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee Program, the DOE can guarantee up to 90% of the unpaid principal and interest of a loan made to a federally recognized Indian tribe for energy development.

INTERCONNECTION NEWS

RESEARCH

NET-ZERO ENERGY / COMMUNITY SOLAR NEWS

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

  • Tesla Powerwalls and PowerPacks save Vermont $500,000 during heatwaves, PV Magazine
    Green Mountain Power suggests 500 distributed Tesla Powerwalls plus two larger energy storage facilities have saved its customers $500,000 this summer during peak demand hours.
  • CPS Energy sees storage as key element of energy transition, American Public Power Association. San Antonio, Texas-based public power utility CPS Energy is pursuing a so-called “Flexible Path” approach to energy, one that incorporates new energy storage technology to guide its ongoing transition from fossil fuels to renewables. “We want to look into new technology, innovation,” says CPS spokesman John Moreno. “We want to reduce our dependence on coal.”

SMART INVERTERS

Smart residential solar inverters prepping to run the grid

No Longer a Novelty, Clean Energy Technologies Boom All Across the US

By Julia Pyper, Greentech Media

Today, renewable energy is taking off in virtually every state in the nation. A new report and interactive map released this week by Environment America takes stock of U.S. clean energy progress to date. It finds that leadership is no longer concentrated in select parts of the country, but that it is distributed across states with varying economic and democratic makeups. “You’re seeing an evolution that’s happening everywhere; and it will be interesting to see what will happen 10 years from now,” [Rob Sargent, energy program leader at Environment America] said. The “Renewables on the Rise” report highlights how much has changed in a relatively short period of time, which can be easy to forget.

Read more here.

According to the report, Nebraska is 10th in the nation in wind-energy development. 

CleanChoice Energy Offers New Renewable Energy Broker Program

Posted by Betsy Lillian, Solar Industry Magazine

CleanChoice Energy, a renewable energy company providing 100% clean electricity to customers across the country, has launched the CleanChoice Energy Broker Program . . . The new program will initially be available to partners serving Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. Read more here.

iStock Photo

MORE NATIONAL NEWS

  • Energy Storage Gets Its Day in Congress, Greentech Media
    The House Energy and Commerce Committee invited experts to testify on what federal storage policy should look like.
  • Show me the money: The business opportunity for grid-interactive buildings, GreenBiz
    Studies by NREL and Clean Energy Group estimate that demand charges above $15/kW make battery storage economic, and GTM Research claims that by 2021, $11/kW demand charges will make battery storage economic. A recent study (PDF) by NREL found that “some of the country’s highest demand charges were found to be in states not typically known for high electricity prices, such as Colorado, Nebraska, Arizona, and Georgia.” If you haven’t checked your bill recently, check again.

ADDITIONAL CLEAN ENERGY NEWS

NEW REPORT
Report details ‘bottom-up’ climate strategies for cities, states, Smart Cities Dive

OP-ED
Philadelphia finds a new way to support low-income solar, PV Magazine
In this op-ed for pv magazine, Bentham Paulos examines how Philadelphia is using Solarize to bring the benefits of solar to low-income residents.

TRANSMISSION PROJECT NEWS
Missouri Supreme Court gives new life to $2B Grain Belt Express transmission project, Utility Dive. The proposed 780-mile transmission line would move wind energy from western Kansas to utilities and customers in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and neighboring states. 

New Research Shows a Solar Revolution in Rural America

News Release, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

ARLINGTON, Va. –The rapid acceleration of solar development by America’s electric cooperatives is transforming the energy landscape in rural America. According to a new report, electric co-ops today own or purchase more than nine times as much solar energy as they did in 2013.

In 2013, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) received a grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to help electric cooperatives remove barriers to solar development. Through the ensuing Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration (SUNDA) project, NRECA worked with 17 electric cooperatives to develop models and resources for co-ops interested in developing solar energy. Continue here.

Download Report: A Solar Revolution in Rural America
SUNDA Project

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • NRECA’s Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) Award
    In May, SEPA announced their 2018 Power Players Awards. The awards “honor utilities, their partners, and individual thought leaders providing the vision, models and momentum for the electric power industry’s smart transition to a clean, modern energy future.” The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) was one of three recipients of the Innovative Partner of the Year Award in recognition of the SUNDA Project. 
  • NRECA and Industry Groups: EVs Are Viable Tool to Meet Fuel Standards, by Cathy Cash
    At least 150 NRECA member co-ops provide off-peak charging rates for EV users. Dozens of electric co-ops across the country have programs that implement charging infrastructure in their service territory.

Thinkstock Photo

Electric Power Research Institute wins $1.8 million to develop solar forecasting technology

By Kelsey Misbrener, Solar Power World

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) announced [yesterday] a $1.8 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office to develop and demonstrate new methods to operate power systems with high penetrations of solar power. The award is part of the Solar Energy Technologies Office’s Solar Forecasting 2 funding program to advance predictive modeling capabilities for solar generation for more accurate forecasts of solar generation levels. Solar Forecasting 2 projects are designed to enable electric utilities to better manage the variability and uncertainty of solar power and improve grid reliability. Continue here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST TO SOLAR PROFESSIONALS
Use personal stories to sell more solar, Solar Power World Contributor

Qwest Renewables and Nebraska-based Interconnection Systems install 54.6kW PV canopy at South Dakota Harley-Davidson

By Kelley Pickerel, Solar Power World

The 54.6-kW system features the QuadPod solar canopy from Quest Renewables. About 90% of QuadPod’s construction takes place on the ground, making construction three-times faster than traditional carport designs. After on-the-ground assembly, panel placement, inverter mounting, wiring and lighting, the canopy units are lifted by crane for final attachment, minimizing overhead work and optimizing worksite safety. Learn more here. 

Photo by Qwest Renewables: Crane moving the QuadPod into place.

From Solar Examples: Interconnection Systems Projects In Nebraska

KEARNEY SOLAR FARM

Project: Kearney’s solar farm consists of approximately 23,000 panels on 53 acres located in the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, The panels are mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. To date, the array is Nebraska’s largest solar project, generating 5.8 megawatts of electricity, or about 5% of Kearney’s peak demand.
Developer: SoCore Energy
Installer: Interconnection Systems based in Central City, Nebraska
NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar Program
Kearney Community Solar Q&A
Kearney NPPD customers can purchase shares here.

SMARTFLOWER INSTALLATIONS IN MARQUETTE AND CENTRAL CITY

The system is 40% more efficient in energy production than traditional solar. The SmartFlower generates 5.5 Mwh of energy per year. The SmartFlower shown in the photo is located at Timberlake Ranch Campus, a Christian family camp at 2709 North S Road, Marquette, Nebraska.  A second SmartFlower was installed at the Nebraska Christian School, 1847 Inskip Avenue in Central City, Nebraska.

Ireland to become first country to divest from fossil fuels

Mother Nature Network

“The [divestment] movement is highlighting the need to stop investing in the expansion of a global industry which must be brought into managed decline if catastrophic climate change is to be averted,” said Thomas Pringle, the independent member of parliament who introduced the bill. “Ireland by divesting is sending a clear message that the Irish public and the international community are ready to think and act beyond narrow short-term vested interests.”

While Ireland is the first country that plans to completely divest itself of fossil fuels assets, Norway has divested from some coal companies, and cities around the United States, including New York, Seattle and Washington, D.C., have made steps to divest their government and pension funds of fossil fuel assets. Read more here. 

Photo by Mother Nature Network: The Cliffs of Moher

HELPFUL LINKS TO DIVEST / REINVEST RESOURCES POSTED HERE:

It is vital to invest in the future of clean energy for all

MORE CLIMATE ACTION NEWS

ADDITIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Pennsylvania lays out a plan for 11 GW of solar by 2030

EV NEWS

NEBRASKA EV PROGRAMS

UPCOMING EVENT
American Wind Week 2018: Anywhere the wind blows, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog 
Events can be planned anywhere the wind blows in this 50 state industry, but big wind states like Texas, Iowa and Nebraska shouldn’t go without a Wind Week event.