Tag Archives: Rocky Mountain Institute

Hormel Foods to Be Powered by Nearly 50% Renewable Energy

By Emily Holbrook, Energy Manager Today

Hormel Foods recently announced a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) for wind energy. Through this and other initiatives, the company will be supplied by almost 50% renewable wind power. In addition, the project will result in a reduction of approximately 197,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

The new wind farm will be located near Milligan, Nebraska. Construction is expected to be completed in 2020. The farm will be capable of generating 74 MW of power and an estimated 349,000 MWh of electricity each year. Read more here.

Recommended Reading
Virtual Power Purchase Agreement: Introduction to the Virtual Power Purchase Agreement, Rocky Mountain Institute

Nebraska Also In The News Here:

  • NPPD/city relationship remains a strong one,by Melanie Wilkinson, York News-Times
    Looking to the future, NPPD is considering a solar power generation facility for York, as the organization continues to look at renewable energy options.
  • Supersized solar in the Midwest, by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine
    Long seen as a slow region for solar deployment, the U.S. Midwest has seen an explosion of project development in recent years. And while there is still a lot of speculation and uncertainty, one way or another this region is going to see major development.

Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance Expanding Membership Opportunities

Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance News Release, PR Newswire

Google, Facebook, General Motors and Walmart, along with over 300 other companies, launched the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) today—the largest group of corporate renewable energy buyers in the United States. By working to unlock the marketplace for organizations to buy renewable energy, REBA hopes to bring more than 60 gigawatts of new renewables online in the United States by 2025. Read more here.

Recommended Viewing
What is REBA?, Two-minute video by REBA on Vimeo.

MORE ABOUT REBA’S MISSION & NEW MEMBERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES 

Since 2014, the REBA community has grown to over 200 large energy buyers, and over 150 clean energy developers and service providers. Participants in the REBA community have been a part of 95% of all large-scale US corporate renewable energy deals to date.

With dedicated expertise from four successful nonprofit programs that have helped organizations break through barriers in renewable energy procurement in recent years, REBA’s goal is to catalyze 60 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy by 2025, and expand the number of organizations buying clean power from dozens today to tens of thousands.

In 2018, four leading NGOS — Rocky Mountain InstituteWorld Wildlife FundWorld Resources Institute, and Business for Social Responsibility — merged their renewable energy programs, the Business Renewables Center, the Future of Internet Power, the Buyers Principles, and Green Tariff programs. This programmatic consolidation builds upon their collective success and offers a single streamlined solution.

Today’s REBA seeks to grow the market for end-user backed renewables from dozens to thousands of organizations nationwide, while advocating for an energy system that meets the needs of all.

REBA is a national membership association open to all non-residential energy buyers, supporting the entire clean energy transaction involving buyers, developers, and service providers of renewable energy.

REBA also collaborates with nonprofits, governments, and universities. Discounted membership pricing is available, as well as partnership opportunities.

Visit the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance website to learn more: www.rebuyers.org 

Will Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska remain reliant on coal?

By Joe Smyth, Clean Cooperative

A wholesale power provider for 13 Colorado cities and towns generates most of its power from coal – but will that still be true in 2030? That’s one of the key questions raised in a report published last month by Sustainable Development Strategies Group, ​”A Renewable Energy Future for Colorado Communities Served by the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska.”

The report examines the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN), which sells wholesale power to dozens of towns and cities in Nebraska, Wyoming, Iowa, and Colorado. Sustainable Development Strategies Group (SDSG), a non-profit research group based in Gunnison, Colorado, focused on the 13 municipalities in Colorado that buy power from MEAN. The report examines MEAN’s power supply mix, policies, and contracts in the context of a transition to renewable energy. Read more here.

Image from Moody’s Investors Service March 2017 report: Utilities increasingly adding low cost wind power to rate base, leaving inefficient coal plants at risk. Nebraska is among the 15 states with the best wind energy resources, which the report found could generate electricity from new wind power projects at prices well below the average costs of operating coal fired power plants.

About MEAN
The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) is the not-for-profit wholesale electricity supply organization of NMPP Energy. Created in 1981, MEAN provides cost-based power supply, transmission and related services to 69 participating communities in four states: Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming. MEAN members/participants

Additional Recommended Reading

NRECA Resources
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s innovative SUNDA Project helps rural electric cooperatives to develop utility-scale solar projects. SUNDA stands for “Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration.”
Resources are available here: SUNDA Project
NRECA Report: A Solar Revolution in Rural America

From Kaiser To Vail Ski Resorts, Companies Doubled Their Wind And Solar In 2018

By Grace Hood, Colorado Public Radio

Corporate giants like Facebook, Walmart, Microsoft and Apple made big deals in 2018, but now smaller corporate fish have waded into the pond. “We had Etsy do a deal last year, J.M. Smucker Company that makes jellies and jams,” [Kevin Haley, a program manager at the Business Renewables Center at Rocky Mountain Institute] said. “It’s a great way for them to reduce a lot of carbon all at once.”

Colorado-based Vail Resorts has joined the ranks of small companies as well. It inked a 12-year agreement to buy new wind that will be produced from a Nebraska farm starting in 2020. When the wind farm is operational, the purchased power will offset Vail’s fossil fuel use across North America. “This is the way that a company that’s geographically diverse can make a significant impact and bring new renewable resources online,” said Kate Wilson, director of sustainability for Vail Resorts. Read more here.

About Vail Resorts Corporation

Lincoln Clean Energy photo of the partially-completed 230 MW Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County, Nebraska. Once operational, the project will create high-paying local jobs and will result in over $3 million in local community benefits annually in the Wayne County area. This includes much needed property tax revenues, with some of the largest beneficiaries being the Norfolk and Winside school districts.

Previously Posted
Vail Resorts Announces Long-Term Wind Energy Contract, Renewable Energy Magazine
The company’s multimillion-dollar wind energy virtual power purchase agreement enables the development of the Plum Creek Wind Project. It is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power up to 100,000 U.S. homes each year.

Additional Colorado News: More Colorado co-ops announce clean energy goals, Clean Cooperative

HAPPENING IN OTHER STATES

Solar seen as bright career path at Illinois community colleges, Energy News Network

Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act included funding to make solar training more accessible to lower-income residents.
 

SEIA Expands Leadership Team, Adding Vice President of Congressional Affairs and Vice President of Regulatory Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced today a restructure and expansion of its leadership team. Erin Duncan, a proven legislative strategist and advocate, has been named the organization’s new vice president of congressional affairs and Katherine Gensler has been named vice president of regulatory affairs.

Duncan has extensive experience in Washington D.C. She joins SEIA after more than 11 years as a federal lobbyist for the National Education Association. Prior to that, she spent eight years working on Capitol Hill, including six years as legislative director for Rep. Tom Osborne,
(R-Nebraska). Read more here.

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT NEWS

Corporate Customers Smash Green Procurement Marks, Commercial Property Executives. One of Facebook’s deals in 2018 was part of a new PPA signed in March with Adobe for energy produced by the 320-megawatt Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm in Nebraska owned by Enel Green Power North America Inc. (EGPNA). 

Clean Energy Deal Tracker: ExxonMobil, Facebook headline a record-breaking fourth quarter,
GreenBiz. Not only was 2018 the biggest year on record for corporate renewable energy deals, with more than 6.5 gigawatts of contracts on the books, the furious pace of deal-making — and the creativity of the arrangements — barely slowed during the waning three months of the year. According to the official figures released in mid-December by the Business Renewables Center (BRC), part of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the publicly announced capacity contracted over the past 12 months was 6.43 GW.

NEBRASKA CONSERVATION AWARD

Conservation efforts recognized at NRD banquet,
Norfolk Daily News. In the past seven years, the [Wiese family of Oakland] has planted more than 1,200 trees and shrubs and renovated a 2½ acre windbreak
system — all by hand. Besides trees, the family also put in solar panels to provide electricity to their home and outbuildings. Since putting in the solar panels, the family has noticed a decrease in their monthly electric bill and feel good about producing green energy on their acreage. They also have a large garden on which they do their own version of no-till.

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY

Nebraska clean energy plan focuses on wind, solar, efficiency, by Don Walton, Lincoln Journal Star

Clean energy plan renamed: Due to a business having a similar name, the Husker Power Plan was renamed the Husker Energy Plan. The plan was revised August 28, 2018. To read the updated Husker Energy Plan and see the 16 partners that have endorsed it, visit: www.huskerenergyplan.org.

POLLINATOR-FRIENDLY SOLAR SITES

Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies, by Jodi Helmer, Scientific American
A trend of planting wildflowers on solar sites could maintain habitat for disappearing bees and butterflies.

Photo: Kearney’s solar farm consisting of approximately 23,000 panels on 53 acres located in the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, is Nebraska’s largest ground-mounted solar project, to date. Credit: Developer, SoCore Energy
Installer: Interconnection Systems based in Central City, Nebraska

Another distinguishing feature of Kearney’s Solar Farm is that it is a nationally-recognized pollinator-friendly site, benefiting local food producers. 

Previously posted links to information of potential interest to other Nebraska communities that have developed or plan to develop a solar farm:

Rocky Mountain Institute officials agree Carbon County, Wyoming is breeding grounds for transition into renewable energy sources

By Ray K. Erku, Wyoming Business Report

RAWLINS – In many respects, Carbon County is at the forefront of a modern-day gold rush. Instead of mining for precious metal, however, fortune seekers look to harvest one of the Cowboy State’s most natural of resources: Wind . . . For the Anschutz Corporation, parent company of Power Company of Wyoming, the slated 1,000-turbine Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind farms will eclipse $5 billion in projected costs. Once completed, it’ll be considered the largest onshore wind generation facility in North America . . . PacifiCorp and Rocky Mountain Power, subsidiaries of multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, which is headed by Buffett, are beginning to stomp their footprints in the county by partnering with Invenergy Co. to spearhead production of not just the Ekola and TB Flats projects, but the Gateway West Transmission Line. Read more here.

Photo by Power Company of Wyoming: According to Business Insider, a 2017 analysis revealed that it took $102 to generate one megawatt-hour from coal, compared to wind, which took $45. 


Managing the Coal Capital Transition, Rocky Mountain Institute

 

 

MORE ENERGY TRANSITION NEWS

COSTS OF SOLAR PANELS CONTINUING TO DROP

Module prices have fallen by up to 25% so far this year, by Emiliano Bellini, PV Magazine
According to a Q3 report by EnergyTrend, monocrystalline module prices have fallen almost 20% this year, while those for polycrystalline modules have dropped by more than 25%. Increased consolidation among manufacturers and developers is expected to occur in China, and the global solar market, with more merger deals, plans for capacity reductions, and even factory closures.

PV MAGAZINE: SEIA GUIDE UPDATE 

Best practices for building residential solar power and market confidence

Steps to success for utilities moving into community solar projects – Featuring Fremont’s solar farms

By Kim Riley, Daily Energy Insider

U.S. electric utility companies plan new or additional renewable energy investments, particularly in solar, thanks to the enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which retained renewable energy development incentives, according to industry analysts . . . Among the many shared renewable energy models is the utility-sponsored model in which utilities provide customers with the option to purchase renewable energy from a shared facility at a fixed rate (which might be a bit higher than the current retail rate) for a set term (usually a number of years, say 10 or 20 years) that’s designed to provide protection and stability against rising rates for grid electricity, SEIA says. Brian Newton, city administrator and general utility manager for the City of Fremont, Neb., convinced local officials and residents with tweaks to the utility-sponsored model that the adoption of renewable energy was a smart choice for their rural town, which is located about 35 miles northwest of Omaha, population roughly 27,000. Read more here.

Photo Courtesy of Troy Schaben, Assistant City Administrator, Fremont Department of Utilities: Fremont’s First Solar Farm. The city’s second solar farm is being built by GenPro Energy Solutions.

RELATED READING
Fremont moves forward on second solar farm due to high demand, by James Farrell, Fremont Tribune

FREE RESOURCES

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

OF POTENTIAL INTEREST TO FAITH COMMUNITIES

Interfaith Power & Light’s 2018 Faith Climate Action Week starts tomorrow, April 14th. A kit accompanies this event, which includes everything faith communities need to implement Climate Action Week activities. The kit can be used any time during 2018. Everyone who participates in Faith Climate Action Week will receive an invitation to a special webinar with Happening filmmaker Jamie Redford and Climate Champion NV State Senator Pat Spearman on April 20th.

To learn more and download the free kit, click here.

New Rocky Mountain Institute Report: The Progress and Potential for Community-Scale Solar

The Rocky Mountain Institute believes the Community-Scale Solar (CSS) segment sits in an economic sweet spot in the market and represents an economic opportunity of as much as $30 billion. Read more here.

Thinkstock Photo – RMI

NEWS FROM OTHER NEIGHBORING STATES

GLOBAL NEWS
Visa Commits to 100% Renewable Electricity by End of 2019: Supports industry progress by joining RE100 Initiative and Business Renewables Center, signing Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles.

This initiative could counteract the impact of the U.S. solar tariffs

Written by Heather Clancy, GreenBiz

The initiative could have a particularly profound impact for on-site or smaller community-scale projects ranging from 1 megawatt to 10 MWs in size, according to the RMI team. “The corporate buyer will get a lower cost over time,” said Kiernan Coleman, senior associate at
RMI . . . RMI CEO Jules Kortenhorst likened the effort to the Department of Energy’s highly successful SunShot Initiative — formed back in 2011 with the aim of cutting the costs of solar energy by 75 percent. Read more here.

Photo: Kearney Community Solar

RMI Press Release Announcing The Initiative
2018 Solar Cost Reductions Will Offset Impact of New Tariffs on Panel Prices

Modular, pre-engineered and pre-assembled solar product to lower costs by additional $0.20/Wp in 2018, according to Rocky Mountain Institute and industry leaders.

Boulder, Colorado – Rocky Mountain Institute and 35 solar energy industry leaders committed to develop an ultra-low-cost solar product able to operate in a variety of environments at fully installed costs as low as $0.50/Wp. Participants at the Rocky Mountain Institute-hosted event, representing at least 15 gigawatts of solar capacity—equivalent to the capacity of 25 average-sized coal plants—identified an opportunity to reduce costs by $0.20/Wp in 2018 alone. Reducing costs at this scale would mitigate the effect of newly applied trade restrictions on solar components, keeping the solar energy industry on a maintained cost-reduction pathway. Continue reading here.

Wp (watt peak capacity) = a solar panel’s maximum power output under optimal conditions.  1,000 Wp = 1 kWp.

Deloitte says millennials are driving solar expansion

By Frank Andorka, PV Magazine 

Almost 60% of consumers said they would switch electricity providers if they could gain access to renewable-energy sources . . . And the report says the solar revolution is being driven in large part by the much-maligned “millenials.” Almost two-thirds (64%) told Deloitte they are either “extremely” or “very” interested in installing solar panels – a 611% increase over last year. More than half of them are “extremely” or “very” interested in participating in a community solar installation . . . Businesses want to get in on the action, too. According to Deloitte, 60% of businesses want to have some form of on-site generation, nearly double the percentage from last year. Read more here.

Image: Creative Commons

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING