Iowa pork producers stall utility efforts to upend solar net metering

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

In their push to upend the economics of rooftop solar, Iowa’s major electric utilities are up
against an opponent as politically potent as they are: the state’s pork producers. Hog farmers in the nation’s top pork-producing state have made clear that they don’t want legislators messing with their net metering arrangements. “Their voice is making a huge difference,” said Kerri
Johannsen, who directs the Iowa Environmental Council’s energy program. “The things they are doing are definitely a big part of what’s held this bill up.” Continue reading here.

Photo: IowaPolitics.com / Wikimedia Commons Via Energy News Network

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

FEATURED NPPD WEBSITE LINKS

Renewable Energy Job Boom Creates Economic Opportunity As Coal Industry Slumps

By Silvio Marcacci, Forbes

Renewable energy jobs are booming across America,
creating stable and high-wage employment for blue-collar workers in some of the country’s most fossil fuel-heavy states, just as the coal industry is poised for another
downturn.

Economics are driving both sides of this equation:
Building new renewable energy is cheaper than running existing coal plants and prices get
cheaper every year. By 2025, almost every existing coal plant in the United States will cost more to operate than building replacement wind and solar within 35 miles of each plant. Multiple states and utilities are setting 100% clean energy goals, creating new demand for workers to build solar panels and wind turbines. Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

GREEN CAMPUSES

Johns Hopkins Announces Major Solar Power Commitment, Hub

Marking the largest commitment to solar energy in Maryland and one of the most significant pledges to greenhouse gas reduction in higher education, Johns Hopkins University has entered into a long-term agreement to supply its campuses with more than 250,000 megawatt hours of solar power per year.

GLOBAL NEWS

  • Earth Matters: Climate change challenges from every corner of the globe, CBS News
    On April 22, 1970, CBS News marked the first ever Earth Day with a special report anchored by Walter Cronkite. “The gravity of the message of Earth Day still came through: act or die,” Cronkite said at the time. CBS News correspondents reported on protests, clean-up efforts, and calls to action from all over the country. It was the start of the modern environmental movement. Now 49 years later, we are covering the environmental issues of the day — this time from every corner of the globe.
  • Solar Energy 2019: Will This Be A Record Year For The Industry?, International Business Times

SOLAR PRODUCT REVIEW

Renogy’s Solar Panels Bring Low Cost, Portable Solar To The Masses, Clean Technica. Renogy has built some impressive portable solar panels that allow consumers to recharge their devices and their portable USB batteries using the power of the sun. It’s a beautiful combination that had me excited when the company reached out to me about a review of its 5 watt and 10 watt portable solar panels.

SPP Integrated Marketplace turns five

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire, OPPD Blog

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) recently marked
the five-year anniversary of launching its wholesale
electricity market, the integrated marketplace. In noting the March 1 anniversary, SPP said market participants have saved more than $2.7 billion. Participants also have
previously unimaginable access to renewables across the
region. OPPD is a member of SPP, joining the marketplace in 2014. Read more here.
Image Credit: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Also written by Jason Kuiper

EV program recharging for another year
“This program has been wildly successful,” said Judy Sunde, senior product specialist at OPPD. “We sold out of our rebates from the pilot year.” Sunde said the new rebates will be available in mid-May. OPPD is again working with the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA) to co-fund and distribute $500 rebates to customers who purchase ChargePoint EV chargers for their home via OPPD. Additionally, a $2,500 rebate is available after the purchase of a new EV and purchase, installation and registration of a ChargePoint Home charging station. Sunde said there is also a $2,500 or $3,500 incentive towards the purchase of a new Nissan Leaf, and $1,000 purchase incentive at Audi Omaha for an Audi e-tron.

Clean Tech Jobs Lead Employment Statistics In Many US States

By Steve Hanley, CleanTechnica

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and projections from the Projections Managing Partnership, Yahoo Finance has charted which jobs are in high demand in all 50 US states. It says solar panel installer is the fastest growing job in eight different states — California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, Minnesota, and New Jersey. According to the
BLS, that job is known as a “PV installer” . . . In Colorado, Texas, Nebraska, and Iowa, wind
turbine service technicians are in high demand. Read more here.

FEATURED NEBRASKA PROGRAM

Nebraska Community College GAP Assistance Program
The program, which began July 1, 2016, receives 9% of the available Nebraska Lottery funds set aside for education each year. Gap
Program funds are distributed to the state’s six community colleges, which recruit and select eligible low-income students in eligible
programs to receive grants.

Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission For Postsecondary Education administers the program, which is under the direction of the Nebraska Community College Student Performance and
Occupational Education Grant Committee.

Student grants may be used for tuition, direct training costs, required books and equipment, and fees. Eligible programs include renewable energy. Visit the website to learn more about the program.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Central City, others honored for community development efforts, by Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald
Central City, Nebraska, was honored Monday by Gov. Pete Ricketts as the state’s 2019 “Showcase Community” for its economic development efforts, which include continuing local business growth and use of solar energy. The award was given during a press conference marking “Economic Development Week” in the state.
 

2/3 of U.S. voters say 100% renewable electricity by 2030 is important

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine USA 

In a new poll conducted on April 12-14, Morning Consult asked 1,998 registered voters across age, eduction and political spectrum not only broad questions, but about the specifics of
renewable energy policies currently proposed, among other matters. And it revealed a
number of details about what the nation’s voters want. You can see the entire poll here, and following are our top conclusions reached from the data. 1) Voters say 100% renewable
electricity by 2030 more important than other steps to fight climate change.
Continue reading here.

Image Credit: Sunrise Movement

Also Published by PV Magazine
2 GW of pumped hydro storage proposed for Arizona
Earth has an estimated 500,000 suitable sites for closed-loop pumped hydro storage, which can pair well with solar power. In the United States, 24 pumped hydro storage units are in operation, totaling 18.4 GW of capacity. Most were authorized more than 30 years ago—attesting to the longevity of the technology—as reported by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

MORE 100% CLEAN ENERGY NEWS & LINKS

NEW GUIDE FROM THE ADVANCED ENERGY BUYERS GROUP

Renewable Energy Offerings That Work For Companies
The guide walks through six practical steps that states and utilities can take to meet large customer demand for renewable energy, and also outlines replicable best practices from states across the country, based on the experience of Advanced Energy Buyers Group members.

These examples span utility renewable energy programs (often called “green tariffs”), direct access opportunities, and retail choice. For states that want to unlock the economic benefits of renewable energy options for corporate customers but don’t know where to start, and for states or utilities that have begun exploring opportunities and want to hone in on the best approach, the Advanced Energy Buyers Group’s practical guide offers a roadmap for action.

Nebraska’s wind power growth is good news

Lincoln Journal Star Editorial

Nebraska has been blessed with an abundance of water, rich soil and breeze that whips across the plains. The first two are inextricably linked and frequently cited because of their necessity to the state’s largest industry, agriculture. The third, however, has rarely been mentioned in the same breath, despite its mostly untapped potential. Long a sleeping giant in terms of its potential for wind power, Nebraska appears to finally be on the rise. The American Wind Energy Association reported that the state grew by the greatest percentage – 39% in 2018 – of megawatts of wind energy capacity of any state. Read more here.

Enel Green Power North America’s Photo of the 320-MW Rattlesnake Creek wind farm located in Dixon County, Nebraska.

‘This is how to build it’: Book aims to provide a legal guide to decarbonization

By Marie Cusack, Energy News Network

Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States is co-edited by John Dernbach,
director of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center at Widener University in
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.

Dernbach and Gerrard have partnered with Richard Horsch, a retired partner from the
international law firm White & Case LLP, to assemble a network of attorneys around the country to donate their time and turn the book’s recommendations into model climate laws and
regulation. Dernbach and Gerrard also plan to launch a website in May that will be a platform to provide resources and information to policymakers, lawyers and advocates. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Roland Balik / U.S. Air Force

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Want To Limit Global Warming? Electrify Everything, Finds Study, CleanTechnica
Researchers at the Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT) in Finland and Energy Watch Group (EWG) have completed a 4½ year study that examined how to meet the goals of the Paris climate accords without such measures as carbon capture and geo-engineering. Their conclusion? Run everything on electricity and generate all of that electricity using renewables, primarily solar.

State Energy Office Offers 1% Loans to All Nebraskans

Nebraska Energy Office News Release

(LINCOLN, NE) – After the historic flooding and devastation in Nebraska’s communities, the
Nebraska Energy Office, in conjunction with Nebraska lending institutions, began providing
assistance to those affected by floods, by offering Dollar and Energy Saving Loans at 1%
interest.

The Nebraska Energy Office will now offer these ultra-low interest loans to all Nebraskans to make energy efficient home and farm improvements. You do not need to be affected by
flooding to participate in this special loan offer. Subject to lender approval. A sample of eligible energy efficiency home and farm improvements are: Read the entire news release here.

 

Nebraska Energy Office Dollar and Energy Saving Loans Program

Nebraskans talk extreme weather. Just don’t call it climate change.

By Laurent Belsie, The Christian Science Monitor

The severe flooding that inundated Nebraska last month washed away fields, bridges, and roads.
But the extreme weather is also starting to sway residents’ thinking about climate.

Part of the change in thought is coming from farmers themselves, especially those involved with the small but growing regenerative farming movement. “Conversations were already happening before the flood,” says Graham Christensen, a fifth-generation farmer and president of GC
Resolve, a grassroots community-development business. “But after the flood a lot more folks are like, ‘Yeah, I have never seen that; my dad has never seen that; my grandpa has never seen that. This is a pattern that’s emerging.’” Read the entire article here.

Photo by Annette Bloom of her Nebraska farm during the recent historic floods.

Nebraska Regenerative Agriculture Resources

As Laurent Belsie states, Graham Christensen is a fifth-generation Nebraska farmer. He also is leading the growing Nebraska
Regenerative Agriculture movement, creating a website and Facebook page, as well as collaborating with many others to develop an online resource guide:
RegeNErate Nebraska Website
RegeNErate Nebraska Facebook
Guide to Regenerative Agriculture in Nebraska (PDF)

Excerpts from the guide: 

Regenerative practices draw down carbon from the atmosphere and sink or sequester it in the ground. Agriculture can be our best chance to removing rising greenhouse gas emissions that
exacerbate climate change, rather than being a catalyst of it.

Nebraska is already home to a flourishing network of regenerative farms, and many have joined together under the farmer-owned co-op model, allowing them to pool a wide variety of products and satisfy growing demand. By giving back to the land and water what they take from it, these farmers are finding drastically reduced input costs, and even achieving higher yields.

Nebraska Legislation
LB 243 to create a Healthy Soils Task Force passed April 11, 2019 by a vote of 43 to 0.

Solar project pricing should be available soon

Written by Tony Herman, Hastings Tribune

Derek Zeisler, director of marketing and energy supply for Hastings Utilities, gave an update on the power project during the Hastings Utility Board meeting Thursday. Members of the Hastings Utility Board voted recommend approval during their February meeting of a $2.38 million bid from GenPro Energy Solutions for a 1.5 megawatt AC solar project with the purchase option. The project has a completion date of Sept. 2, 2019 . . . Zeisler said Thursday this first phase of the solar project will include more than 6,000 panels within three arrays, most likely off of
Highland Road just west of the Hastings Municipal Airport. There is plenty of room there to
expand with future phases. Hastings Utilities is moving forward with three pricing options.
Read more here.

Photo: Fremont’s first of two 1.55-megawatt solar farms.
Credit: Troy Schaben, Assistant City Administrator, Fremont Department of Utilities