WinnaVegas debuting new air filtration system; casino also getting solar panels

By Mason Dockter, Sioux City Journal

WinnaVegas, [owned by the Winnebago Tribe], is in the process of installing sets of solar panels to power the casino and hotel. Panels have already been installed on the bingo hall, and work is ongoing to install solar panels in other areas on the roofs of casino buildings and on adjacent land. Read more here.

Ho-Chunk, Inc Photo: The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska previously completed more than 400 kilowatts of solar projects, including this solar farm on the reservation. The WinnaVegas Casino is part of the tribe’s additional 320 kilowatts of solar capacity development.

The Winnebago Tribe’s economic development corporation: Ho-Chunk, Inc

Previously Posted

2019 Winnebago Tribe’s Solar Development Tour: Please watch our website calendar and Facebook Page for an announcement about this year’s tour and plan to join us!

MORE GOOD NEWS

 

Wind farm under construction in Fairmont, Lincoln Journal Star
An Omaha-based energy company says construction on its wind farm in Fillmore County is “well underway.”

Austin, San Antonio, Orlando are Bloomberg climate challenge winners

By Paul Ciampoli, American Public Power Association 

Public power cities Austin, Texas, Orlando, Fla. and San Antonio, Texas, on Jan. 11 were included among the list of final winners in the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge. Launched in June 2018, the American Cities Climate Challenge is a $70 million program designed to catalyze efforts in 25 cities “to tackle climate change, promote a sustainable future for residents and help deliver on the America’s Pledge initiative to keep the United States in the Paris Agreement,” according to a Bloomberg news release. The other two cities named as winners in the challenge on Jan. 11 were Albuquerque, N.M., and Denver, Colo. Read more here.

Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Community? Rooftop? What solar is right for you?

Written by Laura King-Homan, The Wire, OPPD Blog

OPPD will soon be offering a community solar program to its customers. But what is “community solar,” and how do you decide between rooftop or community solar when it comes to your energy needs? Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Rob Davis, Fresh Energy

Save the Date! Nebraskans for Solar’s March Event: “OPPD’s Community Solar Program,” March 13, 2019, 7 p.m. at UNO’s Community Engagement Center, Rooms 230/231.

Co-Sponsored by Green Bellevue, Nebraska Sierra Club,
OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team,
The Nebraska Conservation Education Fund 

Our guest speakers will be Tricia McKnight, OPPD Product Specialist, and Heather Siebken, Director of Product Development & Marketing. They will present an overview of OPPD’s community solar program and how customer-owners will be able to participate. A Q&A will follow their presentation.

Iowa lawmakers can act on climate change

By Chuck Isenhart, Guest Columnist, The Gazette

Iowa Representative Chuck Isenhart, D-Dubuque, is ranking member on the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.

As a state, we don’t need to reinvent any wheels. Here are just a few ideas that would jump-start some good conversations:

  • Set a state carbon-reduction goal and require public entities to make plans to do their parts;

  • Create a comprehensive soil health program that promotes farming practices that sequester carbon as well as improve farmland-soil resilience and productivity.

Read more here, including Representative Isenhart’s additional ideas on climate action.

MORE RECOMMENDED READING

Tri-State announces new 100-megawatt solar project in southern Colorado, The Denver Post. Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is more than doubling the power it will get from solar energy with a new 100-megawatt installation about 20 miles north of Trinidad. The energy wholesaler will buy the entire output of the project over the 15-year contract. Tri-State Generation & Transmission is owned by 43 member electric cooperatives and public power districts and supplies electricity to members in New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming.

Solar solution: Technology helps reduce energy costs on Indiana farm while protecting environment, Purdue University Research Foundation News. This project was awarded a Rural Energy for America Program grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which helped reimburse some of the farm’s initial investment. The USDA grant and federal tax incentives, along with net-metering, will produce savings that will defray the costs of the project by more than 65 percent overall.

NEW STUDY

BPA report details potential for water heaters as DR tools, American Public Power Association. A recent report from the Bonneville Power Administration identifies the potential to enhance the use of water heaters as a demand response tool. The report also found that “smart connected” water heaters could yield “significant cost savings compared to building peaking plants.” Additional information, including the report, is available here

2018 highlights: Six trends shaping the future of wind power

Written by Greg Alvarez, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Here’s a remarkable fact: There has never been more wind power under construction in the U.S. than right now, which means America’s 105,000 wind workers and 500 wind-related factories are as busy as ever. Just under 38,000 megawatts (MW) of new wind projects are under construction or advanced development. That means in just the next few years, the U.S. is poised to add as much new wind as all the wind currently installed in Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa combined, the country’s top three wind states. Much of this activity is centered in a diverse group of seven states on track to double the amount of wind within their borders: Arkansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wyoming, Maryland and Massachusetts.
Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: NextEra Energy Resources

RECOMMENDED AWEA VIDEOS
Wind Power Opens Doors for Nebraska Families
Nebraska Harvests the Wind

California set a goal of 100% clean energy, and now other states may follow its lead

By Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times

It’s been less than four months since California committed to getting all of its electricity from
climate-friendly sources by 2045. But the idea is already catching on in other states. At least nine governors taking their oaths of office this month, from Nevada to Michigan to New York, campaigned on 100% clean energy, or have endorsed the target since it was enshrined in
California law. The District of Columbia also set a 100% clean energy goal last month. So did Xcel Energy, a Minneapolis-based utility that serves 3.6 million electricity customers across eight Western and Midwestern states. Read more here.

Pixabay Photo

MORE 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS & INITIATIVES

NEW ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION REPORT

New electric generating capacity in 2019 will come from renewables and natural gas

According to EIA’s latest inventory of electric generators, 23.7 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity additions and 8.3 GW of capacity retirements are expected for the U.S. electric power sector in 2019. The utility-scale
capacity additions consist primarily of wind (46%), natural gas (34%), and solar photovoltaics (18%), with the remaining 2% consisting primarily of other renewables and battery storage capacity.


NEW STUDY

Who benefits from the solar energy revolution?, by Kara Manke, UC Berkeley News

Not everyone is benefiting equally from the availability of new solar energy technologies, a new study by researchers at UC Berkeley and Tufts University shows. By combining remote sensing data from Google’s Project Sunroof with census tract information, the
researchers discovered significant racial disparities in the adoption of rooftop solar photovoltaics. The findings were published Jan. 10 in the journal Nature Sustainability. 

Read more on the Tufts University website.

Thank you to everyone who attended our event last evening at UNO’s Community Engagement Center!

First of all, thank you to our speakers: Anna Noucas, Project Development Manager at
Sol Systems, based in Washington DC, and Jeff Berggren, Nebraska Program Manager for
GenPro Energy Solutions, headquartered in Piedmont, South Dakota.

They provided excellent presentations on a large number of solar projects completed
throughout our state and others in the development or planning stage. As their slides
demonstrated, solar energy projects have increased exponentially throughout Nebraska
over the past several years. Each of these projects contributes tax revenues to our local
communities, benefiting our state’s overall economy, while growing jobs.

The discussion that followed their presentations generated numerous insightful questions from audience members. Thank you to all our attendees, who were mainly from Omaha and Bellevue but also included people from Lincoln, Central City, Elkhorn, Bennington and Council Bluffs.

We also wish to thank two special guests, who contributed their professional expertise to the discussion:

  • David Bracht, former Director of the Nebraska Energy Office, who in August 2018
    rejoined the law firm Kutack Rock and whose practices include renewable energy and agribusiness.
  • Cliff Mesner, from Mesner Solar Development in Central City, who has completed utility-scale projects in Nebraska, starting with Nebraska’s first-ever community solar project in Central City.

NFS invites all four of them back for a future panel presentation and update on our state’s growing renewable energy development.

FEBRUARY EVENT

Please mark your calendars and plan to join us again in February when our speakers will
discuss a Lincoln neighborhood association’s community solar project, a first for Nebraska!

Lincoln’s Capitol Beach Community Solar Project – A Showcase Model for Nebraska
UNO’s Community Engagement Center, Rooms 230/231. February 13, 2019 – 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Presenters
Terry Wittler & Jeff Buhrman, Capitol Beach LLC
Michael Shonka, Solar Heat & Electric
Click here to view a Google Earth image of the solar project.
A Q&A will follow their presentation. All our events are open to the public. If you
belong to a neighborhood association, please share the event with other members.

FEBRUARY BOOK DRAWING

We will hold another book drawing at our February event. for ten copies of the Solar Electricity Handbook – 2019 Edition, by Michael Boxwell

The Solar Electricity Handbook is a simple, practical guide to using electric solar panels and designing and installing photovoltaic PV systems. Now in its thirteenth edition, the 2019 Edition assumes no previous knowledge of solar electric systems. The book explains how photovoltaic panels work and how they can be used. It provides a step by step guide to successfully design and install a photovoltaic solar system from scratch.

Community solar report delivered

By Kerri Rempp, The Chadron Record – Rapid City Journal

This map shows two possible plots of land where a community solar farm could be installed.

After a year of studying the issue, the Chadron City Council could decide soon if the city should take the next step to seriously consider a community solar project. Council members were
given an update and recommendation from the committee researching the possibility Monday.

Nebraska Public Power District alerted Chadron to the opportunity for a community solar project in October 2017, and because there seemed to be a positive response to the idea, a committee was formed to study the feasibility of such a project in January last year.
Continue reading here.

Draft Document: Questions & Answers: SunWise Community Solar Program, City of Chadron and NPPD

NPPD’s SunWise Program
If you are an NPPD customer who lives in another town or city and would like to learn more about developing a SunWise project in your community, click here to submit the SunWise Community Solar Interest Form to NPPD.

Solar Energy, Next Regulatory Project For Gage County Planning Commission

By Doug Kennedy, KWBE

BEATRICE – Solar energy is a next frontier facing the Gage County Planning and Zoning Commission, as the body starts forming regulations for use of the renewable energy method. The commission met
Tuesday night, in the early stages of discussion over how residential and commercial solar projects will be regulated. Read more here.

Vestas reaches 100-gigawatt wind turbine installation landmark

By Anmar Frangoul, CNBC News

Vestas Photo

Danish wind energy business Vestas says it has become the first company to install 100
gigawatts (GW) of wind turbines. In an announcement Wednesday, the firm said it reached the milestone in late 2018, when it installed a V110-2.0 MW turbine at MidAmerican Energy’s Wind XI project in Iowa. The Wind XI facility is set to have a capacity of 2,000 MW and will be made up of “multiple sites in Iowa.”  Read more here.

Previously Posted

MORE GOOD NEWS FROM CITIES & STATES

RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES

Holy Cross Energy inks deal to develop 100-megawatt wind farm, offload coal plant, Real Vail

Guzman Energy Group, which helped New Mexico’s Kit Carson Electric Association begin to reach its renewable goals in 2016, is also working with the Delta-Montrose Electric Association to break away from wholesaler Tri-State Generation and Transmission, which DMEA feels isn’t moving away from fossil fuels quickly enough.

Holy Cross, meanwhile, has been held up by Xcel Energy as an example of a progressive rural coop whose members want a quicker shift to renewables and away from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Minnesota-based Xcel, Colorado’s largest supplier of electricity, recently announced its goal of being totally carbon-free by 2050.

INVESTMENT NEWS

The (Western) money is all going downstream, by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine USA

The numbers given by Mercom support what we at pv magazine USA have been reporting: that solar projects are becoming accepted even by more conservative investors such as pension funds and insurance companies as a good buy, and that the money chasing these projects exceeds the available projects for sale. In fact 2018 was a record year for solar projects changing hands, with 82 projects totaling 29 GW being bought and sold.

INSPIRING VIDEO

Greta Thunberg’s speech at UN Climate Change COP24 Conference

In the words of Greta Thunberg, the 15-year-old Swede who addressed UN leaders at the December climate conference in Poland, “Once we start to act, hope is everywhere. So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come.”