Category Archives: Uncategorized

Vestas scores massive order for Warren Buffett-backed wind farm

Vestas Wind TurbinesThe buyer is MidAmerican Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy based in Des Moines and serving over 750,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota and Nebraska.

By Cathy Proctor, Denver Business Journal

Vestas Wind Systems, with four manufacturing plants in Colorado, has reached a conditional agreement to supply up to 1,000 wind turbines to a massive wind farm in Iowa.

It’s the largest order ever for a U.S. wind farm and believed to be one of the largest orders in the world, according to industry experts. Continue reading.

University of Dayton putting $1M to green venture

By Tristan Navera, Dayton Business Journal.

The University of Dayton is putting $1 million to a new revolving fund that will help the school invest in more green energy upgrades. The school is creating its Green Revolving Fund, designed to help it invest in green energy ideas, and then use the money saved from those to promote education around sustainability and green energy practices, said Beth Keyes, vice president for facilities and campus operations. Read more here

Report: Installed solar costs dropped 5% as consumers search for best value

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Utility Dive logo

EnergySage’s second Solar Marketplace Intel Report showed a drop in average solar prices across the United States, showing a nearly 5% drop in the second half of 2015 from $3.86/watt during the same period in 2014 to $3.69/watt, PV Magazine reports. Read more here.

The average price of installing a PV system in Nebraska is slightly less than the 2015 national average.

Senators Letter to OPPD, “Table the Current Proposal”

Three Senators from the Nebraska Legislature have written a letter to OPPD President Tim Burke, and the Board of Directors. You can read the entire letter here, Senators Letter to OPPD.

Specific concerns with the increased fee and decreased cost for consuming energy are;

  • this approach would penalize lower income customers
  • there are serious questions about whether this proposal violates public policies
  • disincentive for customers to invest in energy efficiency
  • discourage investment by customers in renewable energy
  • difficult to meet compliance under EPA’s Clean Power Plan

OTOC (Omaha Together One Community) is hosting a meeting with OPPD staff on Thursday December 10, 7:00pm (link to the Facebook event).

Stay tuned for additional updates leading up to the OPPD Board meeting and expected vote on this rate restructuring plan on December 17th, 10:00am.

 

SOLAR INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT (ITC)

SEIA logo

Renewable energy advocates are gearing up to provide support for the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), currently set to expire December 31, 2016. The Solar Energy Industries Association has created an online form for solar advocates to send letters of support to their senators for the federal tax credit and to let Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-ORE) know of its importance to homeowners and businesses.

– from the SEIA
“Momentum is building in the U.S. Senate for legislation that would extend a long list of important, but expiring tax credits. We need your help to make sure the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is included. The solar ITC is a critically important public policy that has helped to create 150,000 American jobs and pump nearly $70 billion into our economy. Please email your two Senators today and urge them to contact Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) to make certain that solar energy is included in any tax extenders legislation this year.”

SEIA Online Form

Information on the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

Fact Sheet

Renewable backers prep for Senate extenders markup

U.S. Senate Committee on Finance: The Business Income Tax Bipartisan Tax Working Group Report

Congress approved funding for Farm Bill clean energy programs in fiscal year 2015

– email from Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate, Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC)

The 2015 appropriations bill (“Cromnibus”) contained some good news amid some cuts. We are happy to report that farm energy progress will continue in 2015 – with some near-term project funding opportunities:

  • Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) mandatory funding was not cut, and REAP received minor discretionary funding of $1.35 million.
  • Biorefinery Assistance Program mandatory funding was reduced from $50 million to $30 million.
  • Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) mandatory funding was reduced from $25 million to $23 million.

Grants and loan guarantees for energy efficiency and renewable energy of all sorts include $250 million in mandatory funding and $100 million in discretionary funding over the five year period from 2014 to 2018. Click here for a summary of additional Energy Title Programs.

More details on the Farm Bill are available on ELPC’s Farm Energy.Org 

People and small businesses interested in seeking project funding from REAP should start gearing up. The FY2014 mandatory funding of $50 million and FY2015 funding will be released together, making for one of the largest funding solicitations in program history. The USDA is accepting applications now, and ELPC will soon release the next funding notice.

REAP Application Resources and Templates

REAP Nebraska USDA Contact
Debra Yocum, USDA Rural Development
100 Centennial Mall North, Room 152
Federal Building
Lincoln, NE 68508
402-437-5554
debra.yocum@ne.usda.gov

Farm Energy Success Stories, 2014 Edition
A new report from the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) highlights clean energy projects made possible with grants and loan guarantees from the Farm Bill’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). You can read these stories here.

A Nebraska Farm’s Renewable Energy Enterprise Is Reaping Profits While Protecting Soil & Water

Danny and Josie Kluthe own the first on-farm electrical generator in Nebraska powered by manure methane. The methane is harvested from an anaerobic manure digester on their swine farm in Dodge, Nebraska to produce electricity and compressed natural gas (CNG).

Some of their homegrown, renewable energy is used for the farm. The excess, enough to power approximately 50 homes, is sold to the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) through the Kluthe’s alternative energy business, called OLean Energy. NPPD distributes the energy to neighboring Cuming County Public Power District.

It all started with the Kluthe’s desire to be good neighbors, to control the odor from their farm, particularly with a church nearby.  At a symposium  presented by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the Nebraska Public Power District, Danny discovered that the manure from an anaerobic digester essentially comes out odorless. “So it seemed like a perfect fit.”

The USDA and the Nebraska Environmental Trust provided grants to help fund the construction of the farm’s electrical generator. The manure methane produced by the digester is piped to the generator to power it.

“We are displacing $4-per-gallon diesel with the methane we produce here on the farm, so the payback is phenomenal. We now can make our own electricity, our own vehicle fuel and our own fuel to heat the barns. It’s nice to be energy-independent and not be at the mercy of energy costs.”

To read more about the Kluthe family and additional ways they are protecting the soil and water resources at Bacon Hill, share their story and connect with others, click on this link: http://globegazette.com/article_c46cafba-2e1a-50bc9716db629ab74df1.html#.Umktng5a4OQ.twitter

The Midwest Rural Energy Council’s website provides resources on Anaerobic Digesters and Biogas, including: Anaerobic Digester Basics, Financial Assistance & Economics of Using Anaerobic Digesters, Farmers’ Digester Experience, Organizations that Support Anaerobic Digestion Endeavors, and more: www.mrec.org/anaerobicdigestion.html

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s AgStar Program provides an online Anaerobic Digester (AD) 101 guide, answers to Frequent Questions, Fact Sheets, and additional resources at this link: www.epa.gov/agstar/anaerobic/index.html