Category Archives: Uncategorized

EDITORIAL: Keystone XL pipeline runs afoul of the law of supply and demand

St. Louis Post-Dispatch / Columbia Missourian

TransCanada has said it wants commitments for 90 percent of the pipeline’s capacity before it continues building. In February, the falling demand for Canadian oil led ExxonMobil to write off its entire 3.5 billion barrels of estimated reserves in Alberta oil. American shale oil, plus falling prices for solar and wind energy, have caused analysts to predict that oil prices won’t recover anytime soon . . . The pipeline investment must be amortized over 50 years, by which time global warming will be impossible to ignore. Just like the law of supply and demand.

Read the entire editorial here.

Photo: Tar sands oil mining operation in Alberta. Credit: The Atlantic

Fourth Public Meeting on the Keystone XL Application: July 26th

Going green: Partners in $11M solar project break ground today

By Mike Konz, Managing Editor, Kearney Hub

KEARNEY — Construction of Nebraska’s largest solar energy array got under way today — ceremonially and physically — with groundbreaking for the $11 million project in northeast Kearney’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing. Officials with the Chicago company that is building the solar array and officials from Nebraska Public Power, the city, and state and local economic development organizations were a part of the groundbreaking. When it’s complete, the solar array in northeast Kearney will generate 5.8 megawatts of electricity — about 5 percent of Kearney’s peak demand. Click here to continue reading.

Photo: General contractor Wayne Williams of Interconnections Inc. of Central City said the solar array construction firm will complete its work on Kearney’s 53-acre facility by November 15. SoCore hopes the 22,464 solar panels are online by January. Credit: Mike Konz, Kearney Hub

U.S. Power Plant Emissions Fall to Near 1990 Levels, Decoupling from GDP Growth

By Georgina Gustin, Inside Climate News

The economy is growing as carbon dioxide emissions fall and renewable energy rises. A new report examines the carbon footprint of the top electricity generators.
Continue reading.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Students to decide themselves on climate change

By Stephen J. Berry, The Gazette

People who reject predominant scientific findings that humans are the main cause of climate change may be glad at first that new public-school science standards don’t require teachers to teach that in class. But if inquiry-based teaching guides under development in the Iowa K-12 Climate Science Education Initiative are used, students may reach that conclusion by themselves. The Climate Science Education Initiative, a project of the University of Iowa’s Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research and College of Education, will help teachers apply Next Generation Science Standards that do not take the step of telling students what to think about climate change.

Read more here.

Photo: On April 22, timed to coincide with Earth Day, people in 600 cities including Iowa City, above, marched to help show the value of science. Although a predominant scientific finding is that humans have been the primary cause of climate change in the last century, new teaching guides being developed at the University of Iowa will not say so outright. It’ll be up to students to use scientific data to reach their own conclusions. Credit: Stephen Mally/The Gazette

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.