USDA Partners to Improve Electric Infrastructure for More Than 347,000 Rural Americans Across 13 States

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $398.5 million to improve rural electric service in 13 states. “Reliable and affordable electricity is undeniably a necessity in today’s world,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in keeping our rural communities connected to this essential infrastructure.” USDA is making the investments through the Electric Infrastructure Loan Program. Read the entire news release here.

ADDITIONAL FUNDING NEWS

DOE provides $148M in funding for separate energy storage research efforts, Utility Dive
Department of Energy News Releases
Department of Energy Announces New Projects to Extend Grid Energy Storage
Department of Energy Announces $120 Million for Battery Innovation Hub

AGGREGATED RENEWABLE ENERGY PURCHASING NEWS

MORE NEWS & AN EDITORIAL


6 Charts Showing the Renewables Threat to Natural Gas, Greentech Media


Photo Credit: NextEra Energy

 

FEATURED WEBSITE

PBS provides FREE, standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans and more for teachers, parents and students. Entering the term “solar energy” into the search box provided on the website currently results in 2392 resources.

Video – OPPD Bracing For Future With Electric Cars: Power Provider Needs Data From EV Owners To Plan Ahead

By David Earl, KETV Omaha

Thousands of dollars in savings are on the table until the end of the month for Omaha Public Power District customers in Douglas County. The public power provider is trying to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles and the charging station you’d need in your home to power the car.

Funding for the OPPD incentives is made possible through the Nebraska Environmental Trust. The power provider had enough money for 50 $4,500 rebates that apply to the purchase of an electric vehicle and the specific charging station. As of Wednesday, they had just 11 rebates left to claim. Watch the video or read the transcript here.

KETV Photo

TWO MORE KETV VIDEOS OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

MORE EV NEWS
Report: EV adoption could eventually save Minnesotans billions, Energy News Network
A recent report says increasing the use of plug-in electric vehicles in Minnesota will reduce utility bills, improve air quality and create an infrastructure allowing utilities to manage increasing demand. The cost-benefit analysis shows net benefits statewide could range from $4.6 billion to more than $30 billion depending on the level of plug-in electric vehicle adoption.

Department of Energy Selects Five Organizations in American-Made Solar Prize Competition

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has selected five organizations to facilitate and grow the American-Made Solar Prize, a $3 million competition designed to revitalize U.S. solar manufacturing. These organizations, known as Power Connectors, can receive $100,000 each for supporting the American-Made Solar Prize by recruiting competitors and partners, hosting demonstration days, and developing plans and programs to ensure the longevity of the program.

The organizations span the country and have a strong track record of helping innovators succeed:

The DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has partnered with NREL to administer the American-Made Solar Prize.

ADDITIONAL LINKS TO INFORMATION

Seven communities set for meter replacement by NPPD

NPPD News Release

Columbus, Neb. – Upgrading of electric meters in seven southeast Nebraska communities by Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is scheduled to take place this month. The meter replacements are part of a program in 2018 to replace 43,000 existing electric meters in 33 communities served at retail by NPPD.

The new meters are equipped with two-way communication known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a digital metering technology used around the world for more than a decade. The current meters in communities slated for replacement are electro-mechanical devices. The new meters display the reading, but in digital LED format. The meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed that will receive and securely transmit the data back to NPPD on the total amount of kilowatt hours used by a residence, business or industry.
Read more here.

See Also: Advanced Meter Infrastructure

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

Cape Cod Military Base Runs on 100% Renewable Energy

NEW INNOVATIVE PROGRAMS / TECHNOLOGY

SEIA, HBCU Coalition Join in National Effort to Increase Diversity of Solar Industry’s Workforce, SEIA News Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With a goal of making the solar workforce and solar communities more diverse, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Development Action Coalition (HBCU-CDAC) have begun a new effort to increase recruitment of African-American students into the industry.

EV NEWS

In Colorado, two rural co-ops are leading the charge on electric vehicles

RECYCLING NEWS

Sunsetting solar panels: U.S. photovoltaic cell recycling incentives are beginning, GreenBiz

According to a publication by International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), more than 90 percent of the materials in typical photovoltaic solar panels — silicon, aluminum and glass — can be recycled and used again in the production of new solar panels. 

LEADERSHIP AWARDS

CCC center in Kearney showcases technology

Kearney Hub 

One year ago we raved when Central Community College opened its 63,000-square-foot center in southwest Kearney. The structure at 11th Street and 30th Avenue employs numerous strategies for energy efficiency. Among the strategies are innovative skylights, solar-powered lights in the parking lot, walls that seal out heat and cold, and windows that can darken like sunglasses to reduce the greenhouse effect to rein in air conditioning costs.

The CCC Kearney Center also is purchasing power from the SoCore solar array at TechoNE Crossing, Nebraska’s largest solar array. Combined with the many efficiencies, adding the solar power boosts the center’s green rating and makes it a model of modern eco-friendly engineering, construction and facility operations. Continue reading here.

Top Photo Credit: Morrissey Engineering

KEARNEY’S COMMUNITY 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.

Photo Credit: SoCore Energy, LLC

UNMC to get 1,500 solar panels, enough to equal electricity use of 60 homes

By Julie Anderson, Omaha World-Herald

There is no shortage of rooftops on the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s growing campus. Now the university is working to put some of that space to another use, partnering with the Omaha Public Power District to install nearly 1,500 solar panels on top of three campus buildings.

The installation, which will total 500 kilowatts of solar capacity, is expected to become the largest rooftop solar array in the state. At that size, the array’s energy production will equal the average annual electricity use of 60 homes in OPPD’s service territory, said Jared Friesen of Morrissey Engineering, which designed the project. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Morrissey Engineering

Telesis Inc’s net-zero energy business complex in Lincoln’s Haymarket is the next largest rooftop solar array in Nebraska.

Project: J-Tech Solar collaborated with SWT Energy on this nearly 300-kilowatt photovoltaic system on top of the former Meadow Gold Dairy House at Seventh and M Streets in Lincoln’s historic Haymarket. The business complex is now owned by Telesis, Inc. With 940 solar panels, the array is one of the largest privately-owned solar projects in Nebraska.

J-Tech’s thirteen-member installation crew worked closely with restoration contractors to integrate the system into existing and historical structures. Federal tax incentives, rebates from Lincoln Electric System and the steady rise in the cost of electricity were driving factors in the owner’s decision to complete such a large project. Also, the price of solar systems has decreased more than 70% since 2009.
News Story: Telesis going for net-zero energy use in Dairy House complex, by Nicholas Bergin, Lincoln Journal Star

Considering a career in renewable energy? Check out these maps.

Solar Career Map

The Solar Career Map was developed by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). As National Administrator of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Instructor Training Network, IREC worked with solar and workforce experts around the country — leaders from education, government, business, labor, and community — to produce this highly-acclaimed interactive tool.

About The Interstate Renewable Energy Council
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), an independent not-for-profit organization since 1982, makes clean, efficient, sustainable energy possible for more Americans through forward-thinking regulatory reform, quality workforce development and consumer education.

Wind Career Map

The Wind Career Map was developed by the Wind Energy Technologies Office in DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE). The map explores an expanding universe of wind energy occupations, describing diverse jobs across the industry, charting possible progression between them, and identifying the high-quality training necessary to do them well.

See Also: Workforce Training and Education

About The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
The mission of EERE is to create and sustain American leadership in the transition to a global clean energy economy. Its vision is a strong and prosperous America powered by clean, affordable, and secure energy.

Infographic: To date, third-party evaluations have assessed one-third of EERE’s research and development portfolio and found that an EERE taxpayer investment of $12 billion has already yielded an estimated net economic benefit to the United States of more than $230 billion, with an overall annual return on investment of more than 20%. 

See EERE’s list of strategic goals and links to more information here.

Innovative Group Purchasing Initiative: Phoenix Joins Other Cities in Program to Buy Electric Vehicles

Public News Service

PHOENIX — The city of Phoenix has four new electric vehicles in its municipal fleet, and could invest in many more. Phoenix is one of several cities around the country that has committed to combating climate change through the Climate Mayors coalition. In a new initiative called the Climate Mayors Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative, cities are saving on buying electric vehicles by joining together to purchase in large quantities. Continue reading here.

Photo: The city of Phoenix has purchased two Nissan Leafs and two Chevy Bolts through a nationwide program aimed at helping cities buy electric vehicles. Credit: Noya Fields/Flickr

MORE EV NEWS

What Changed In The Electric Vehicle Industry In August?

NEBRASKA UTILITIES’ EV PROGRAM LINKS 

Utilities have a problem: the public wants 100% renewable energy, and quick

By David Roberts, Vox Opinion

The Sierra Club notes that so far in the US, more than 80 cities, five counties, and two states have committed to 100 percent renewables. Six cities have already hit the target. The group RE100 tracks 144 private companies across the globe that have committed to 100 percent renewables, including Google, Ikea, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Nike, GM, and, uh, Lego. Read more here.

iStock photo

MORE 100% CLEAN ENERGY NEWS

 

League of Conservation Voters News Release:
Over 1,400 Candidates Nationwide Make ‘Clean Energy for All’ Commitment To 100 Percent Clean Energy By 2050

 

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Solar’s growth spreads beyond California, Southwest, American Public Power Association

According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Utility-Scale Solar Report: The solar pipeline is filling up across the nation, but the authors noted the particularly robust growth in locations that previously were not solar hot spots. The central region, for instance, accounted for 27% of the 99.2 GW of solar projects that entered development last year, followed by the Southwest with 19% of the 99 GW, the Southeast with 15% of the total, and Northeast with 12%, while California and Texas each accounted for 11% of the new solar projects.

EV NEWS 

MORE NEW REPORTS

Mayors Leading the Way on Climate
Mayors across the country are taking action to address climate change threats by committing to reduce carbon emissions. A nationwide survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions as part of their partnership, the Alliance for a Sustainable Future, demonstrates that cities are pushing ahead their efforts to implement climate programs. The survey also shows that cities are eager to partner with business and other communities to expedite carbon reduction initiatives to meet aggressive goals.

Deloitte: The case for renewables has never been stronger, PV Magazine International. Three key enablers – price and performance parity, grid integration and new technologies – are allowing solar and wind power to compete with conventional sources on price, while matching their performance, says Deloitte. In its new report Global Renewable Energy Trends, the global accounting giant says renewables, which have only recently been recognized as mainstream energy sources, are now becoming the preferred ones.

FEATURED WEBINAR

If you missed the Clean Energy States Alliance’s webinar, California’s Pioneering Policies for New Homes: Greater Efficiency with Required Solar Energy, slides and a recording of this webinar are now available here. Learn more about Clean Energy States Alliance at: www.cesa.org

OPPD partnering with UNMC on state’s largest rooftop solar array

By Jodi Baker, OPPD Blog, The Wire

Darren Dageforde, executive director of utilities and energy utilization for UNMC, said the med center has already made great strides in reducing its energy use and increasing efficiency. “Having a renewable energy source on campus demonstrates our commitment to being carbon neutral by 2030 and parallels our mission to create a healthy future for all individuals and communities.” This solar installation is expected to be the largest rooftop system in Nebraska, said Jared Friesen of Morrissey Engineering, which designed the project. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Morrissey Engineering

Jared Friesen is immediate Past President of Nebraskans for Solar. Our nonprofit has the governing structure of President, President-Elect, and Past President.

OPPD NEWS RELEASE
OPPD To Consider Updating Plant Decommissioning Method
Due to the great strides made by Omaha Public Power District employees in the decommissioning of Fort Calhoun Station (FCS), the utility will consider a timely, more economical approach. In a presentation shared with the OPPD Board of Directors during their committee meetings Tuesday, the district’s senior management team provided the option of shifting from the SAFSTOR (safe storage) decommissioning method to DECON (decontamination) . . . DECON has the potential to save the utility up to an estimated $200 million, due to reduced building maintenance and upkeep.