Monthly Archives: March 2015

Powerful Outreach: Creighton’s energy technology students get real-world experience while helping nonprofits with alternative energy solutions

By Eugene Curtin, Creighton Magazine

Room 119 in Creighton’s Eugene C. Eppley Building is an unassuming space, its bare walls and utilitarian furniture bearing little testimony to the challenges faced by students enrolled in Creighton’s Energy Technology Program.

A hospital in Nigeria and the Siena/Francis homeless shelter in Omaha currently form the focus of their attempts to harness the power of the sun in the form of solar cell technology. In this room, and upon the efforts of these students, rests the humanitarian dream of a Nigerian priest, and the hope of a young, up-and-coming physics professor to prove the efficacy of solar power.

Click here to continue reading.  

To learn more about Creighton’s Sustainable Energy Science Program, visit:

See also:
Siena-Francis Solar Photovoltaic Installation: A Collaboration of the Omaha Public Power District, Nebraskans for Solar and Creighton University’s Energy Technology Program, By Anton G. Yanchillin; edited by Dr. Andrew C. Baruth

Wind, solar power could supply 75 percent of Nebraska’s needs, advocates say, by Russell Hubbard, World-Herald staff writer

Solar shines at the Iowa State Capitol

An article posted by the Iowa Environmental Council on March 16, 2015, reports that Iowa Governor Branstad and the President of the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association (ISETA), Tim Dwight, recently gathered at the State Capitol with solar energy installers and manufacturers, renewable energy advocates and customers to celebrate Iowa’s fourth annual Solar Day, hosted by ISETA.

“Solar started with a small base and has taken off,” said Governor Branstad during remarks to the crowd. “Solar is another area that Iowa can be an innovator and a leader . . . ”

” . . . A few years ago, solar in the U.S. was being installed every four minutes. Today, solar is being installed every 90 seconds,” Dwight said. “Solar has seen huge growth, and Iowa is getting on the map.”

Read more.
Iowa Energy Trade Association

New OPPD chief Tim Burke says restarted search lays stage for district’s ‘future transparency efforts’

By Cody Winchester / World-Herald staff writer

Tim Burke

Omaha Public Power District executive Tim Burke is ready to lead.

Thursday, the OPPD board voted unanimously to promote Burke, the district’s vice president of customer service and public affairs, to president and CEO.

“We are confident that Tim Burke is the right choice to lead OPPD into the future,” said longtime board member Mike Cavanaugh, chairman of the governance committee.

Read more

More Than Scientists – Climate Researchers Share Their Personal Stories About Climate Change and the Future

More Than Scientists, a video campaign from the Climate Change Education Project, was recently launched, with the initial release of over 200 video clips in which climate researchers from a diversity of disciplines share their personal stories, their fears, hopes, and dreams about the future.

Who are the scientists?

“We span the fields of scientific inquiry, span the political spectrum, and the nation. We are dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, understanding. We represent the more than 97% of scientists who believe climate change is happening, that it is due to our actions and that it is within our power to keep it from being devastating . . . But we aren’t just scientists inside labs and academia. We are people like you, with hopes and dreams and loved ones.”
– from the More Than Scientists website

Watch the introductory video.

Secretary Jewell Offers Vision for Balanced, Prosperous Energy Future

Today, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Sally Jewell, released a brief public statement and a 5-minute recap of highlights from a speech she presented yesterday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that was, in her words, “ . . . about a vision for a bright, balanced energy future for the United States. The U.S. needs to lead the world on energy, climate change and conservation, which is why I laid out a plan for smart energy reforms at the Interior Department over the next two years. This plan will help provide businesses with certainty, spur technical innovation and lead to cleaner, safer energy development — all while ensuring that we protect America’s public lands and waters for future generations.”

Click here to watch the video.

Truth: Rooftop Solar Capacity Benefits All Ratepayers

by Karl Cates and David Schlissel, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

“Rooftop solar provides substantial benefits for everyone, regardless of who installs it. It helps power the homes and shops that adopt it, to be sure, but it has far-reaching benefits for other customers as well. If Jane Doe in Anywhere, USA, puts a solar panel on her roof, every other electricity ratepayer within the footprint of whatever regional grid Jane Doe is tied into will benefit as well . . . Rooftop solar, aka photovoltaic solar, means lower peak-hour energy prices for all.”

Read the entire article here.

Climate Change in the American Mind – Heuermann Lecture Video Now Available

“Americans are beginning to connect the dots between climate change and extreme weather, jobs, national security, faith and values, making it here and now,” Anthony Leiserowitz stated in the recent Heuermann Lecture at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Leiserowitz is Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and research scientist in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale Unviersity.

Click here to watch the video.

Wind and solar projects will power half of U.S. utilities’ new output for 2015

by Ron Meador, veteran journalist, Star Tribune / Posted on MinnPost.Com

The U.S. Energy Information Administration “ . . . just closed out its data gathering for calendar 2014, a process that includes asking utility-scale electric power generators about the new capacity they are adding in the year ahead.

For 2015, these companies told the EIA they plan to boost their combined output by about 20 gigawatts. More than half of that will come from new wind and solar installations.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Renewable Energy Grants for Agricultural Producers and Rural Small Businesses

USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grant Applications: Due April 30, 2015

The USDA has announced funding to assist agricultural producers and small business owners in applying for resources to purchase and install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. Eligible renewable energy systems include wind, solar, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydroelectric, and geothermal.

For more information, contact:
Nebraska Rural Development Energy Coordinator
Kelley Messenger, USDA Rural Development
4009 6th Avenue, Suite 1
Kearney, NE 68845
Telephonw: (308) 237-3118 Extension 1120

USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

A USDA REAP grant, if awarded, covers 25% of the project. Additional funding sources include:
* Federal Tax Credit of 30% for qualified installations
* Accelerated depreciation for businesses
* Self-Employment Tax Credit

Transforming How Communities Use Energy: Learning from Fort Collins

Rocky Mountain Institute.Org

The City of Fort Collins has adopted climate action goals that are among the most ambitious climate commitments in the nation. Under new goals adopted in March 2015, the city aims to reduce its community greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2030 (relative to a 2005 baseline) and 100% (reaching carbon neutrality) by 2050. In adopting these goals, the Fort Collins City Council accelerated by 20 years the previous target of 80% emissions reduction by 2050.

Fort Collins’ remarkable achievement in adopting an ambitious goal is the fruition of a multi-year process led by stakeholders including city government, local businesses, Colorado State University, the local municipal utility, and community and environmental advocates. Along the way, Rocky Mountain Institute and eLab have played key roles in facilitations, analytical support, expert convening, and communications. This page provides an overview of our approach and offers links to resources for other communities who are considering forward-looking climate action.

Log onto the web page here.