Monthly Archives: June 2015

Nebraska leaders: Mix of small changes, broad action necessary after pope’s call on environment

Photo: Religion News Service

Photo: Religion News Service

By Michael O’Connor, Omaha World-Herald 

Excerpt
Carpooling, using public transportation and turning off the lights are a few of the small lifestyle changes people can make to help curb climate change, Pope Francis said Thursday in an encyclical on the environment.

The Rev. Kim Morrow, executive director of Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light, said those types of changes would help solve the problem but, “We have to look at the scale of the crisis.”

Read the entire article here.

Highlights: The pope’s case for environmental protection, Associated Press

Excerpts from pope’s document on climate change and the environment, Associated Press  

Climate change conference shows that Nebraskans have lessons to share

Official statements from world religions on religion and ecology, the Yale Forum
http://fore.yale.edu/climate-change/statements-from-world-religions/
http://fore.yale.edu/climate-change/statements-from-world-religions/more-statements-from-world-religions/

Small Iowa Town Embraces Energy Independence

Rocky Mountain Institute Outlet
RMI

How does a single streetscape project turn into a community-wide energy independence effort? Tiny Bloomfield, Iowa, discovered the answer with the help of RMI’s eLab Accelerator. A team from Bloomfield attended the 2015 Accelerator at Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah, and their story is a surprising one with big implications for small towns across America. Today, they are well embarked on a path to be an energy-independent community, but they started with far smaller ambitions. “We were looking at doing a streetscape project,” says Carol Ann Taylor, city clerk and treasurer of the City of Bloomfield, “and one thing kind of led to another.”

Read more.

USDA Grants Help Local Rural Development

By Jackie Kent, NBC Nebraska

The application process is open until June 30th. Eligibility information and the form are available here

Solar Array on Kleinschmidt Farm

HASTINGS, Neb. — The USDA Rural Development through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) awarded $146,000 in grants to 15 Nebraska applicants to help with energy conservation.

According to a news release, the funds will cover energy-efficient improvements and renewable energy systems installation.

The USDA has awarded $545 million to support similar projects worldwide since 2009. For local award recipients, that means helping rural development.

To continue reading and view the video, click here.

White house raises $4 billion for clean energy

by Gregory Korte, USA TODAY

Photo: Nicholas Kamm, AFP/Getty Images

Photo: Nicholas Kamm, AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The White House is touting $4 billion in commitments from the private sector to invest in clean energy technologies as it convenes a Clean Energy Investment Summit Tuesday.

And the Obama administration is announcing new executive actions it hopes will make it easier for the private sector to invest in solar, wind and fuel cell technologies. The Treasury Department is releasing new guidance allowing charitable foundations to invest in for-profit companies doing clean energy research as a “mission-related investment.”

READ MORE.

New NFS Project – Plus Summer Solar Watch Parties

We hope you are enjoying these last remaining days of spring! We’ve provided information, below, about a new project we’re developing and our Solar Watch Parties. As always, thank you for all that you are doing to advance renewable energy in Nebraska, and we hope to see you soon at one or more of our summer events!

NEW NFS PROJECT
We are currently putting together a new online resource, “Solar Examples,” for our website and Facebook page. If you’ve installed solar on your home, business, or nonprofit and would like to help us put together this resource, please send a brief description (one paragraph is sufficient), one or more photos, and any news stories or other online links about the project.

Habitat for Humanity of Omaha Home

Habitat for Humanity of Omaha Home

This will be a work-in-progress that we’ll begin posting on our website & Facebook page soon. The primary focus will be on the projects themselves rather than on the installer or developer. News stories and other links may include this information, however. Please email a brief description of your solar installation and photos to Helen Deffenbacher: nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com. We’ll have our first dozen or so examples up very soon. Thank you for your help!

SOLAR WATCH PARTIES
As announced at our last workshop on May 14th, we’re planning fun and educational watch parties this summer in collaboration with solar professionals and DIY installers in Omaha, Lincoln, Bellevue, and other communities. Our goal is to have at least one watch party at a solar-powered farm or winery.

NFSNewProject

Hyde Memorial Observatory in Lincoln

The purpose of these parties is to demonstrate that going solar is not as complicated as some may think. Everyone interested will be invited to bring lawn chairs to watch an installation, for as long as you care to stay, and to learn, firsthand, the steps involved in going solar. Children, with the suggested ages of 8 and older, are invited as well, but they must be accompanied by a parent or grandparent.

Pastries from Two Birds Bakery as well as a list of additional solar installations, with addresses and maps, from our “Solar Examples” will also be available for self-guided tours. Watch our website calendar and Facebook page for an announcement of our first Solar Watch Party.

Shift to clean energy would help rural, low-income most

By Lauren Kolojejchick-Kotch,  an Energy and Climate Program Associate with the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, Nebraska. Published in The Des Moines Register

AP Photo

AP Photo

As political candidates begin traveling across Iowa, they will no doubt be asked what action they will take on climate change. It’s important to help them remember that low-income, rural Americans are extremely vulnerable to the economic and health effects of a changing climate, and stand to benefit the most from investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Rural communities feel the direct impacts of a changing climate. Farmers and ranchers adapt to extreme weather by necessity, rural grocery stores have higher electricity bills during heat waves, and small town infrastructure is stressed. Assistance and clean up from extreme weather events is especially difficult in rural areas because emergency services are already stretched thin.

Continue reading.

HISTORIC: Hawaii enacts nation’s first 100% renewable energy requirement

Photo: PRNewswire

Photo: PRNewswire

Blue Planet Foundation led the campaign to pass the new law.

HONOLULU, PRNewswire/Hawaii enacted a law this week that requires all of the state’s electricity to be produced from renewable energy sources no later than 2045. The new policy, Act 97, makes Hawaii the first state in the nation to adopt a 100 percent renewable requirement, further solidifying Hawaii’s role as a global clean energy leader.

“Hawaii is making history, not only for the islands, but for the planet,” said Jeff Mikulina, Executive Director of the Blue Planet Foundation. “We are making a promise to future generations that their lives will be powered not by climate-changing fossil fuel, but by clean, local, and sustainable sources of energy.”

Read the entire news release here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Stanford engineers develop state-by-state plan to convert U.S. to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2050,
Mark Z. Jacobson, et al, Stanford News
Download the study.
Interactive map showing the plans for each state.

Oregon Adopts Energy Storage Mandate

Resilient Power Newsletter

ResilientPower

This week, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed the state’s first energy storage mandate into law. Assuming the law is authorized by the Oregon Public Utility Commission, electric utilities operating within the state will be required to procure at least 5 megawatt-hours of energy storage by 2020.

Supreme Court ruling helps Iowa college expand solar array

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

Solar array at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa (Photo: Nikole Hanna/The Gazette-KCRG)

Solar array at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa (Photo: Nikole Hanna/The Gazette-KCRG)

Synopsis
Thanks to an Iowa Supreme Court ruling last summer, the Eagle Point case, which permitted third-party ownership of solar installations, Luther College will have access to funding for a $1.6 million campus solar project, one of the largest in the state. As a nonprofit, the college cannot directly take advantage of federal and state tax credits; however, Oneota Solar, the third-party financier, can. Luther College will purchase the solar system once Oneota has accumulated all the depreciation benefits. Payback for the college will be reached in approximately 13 years.

Read the article here.

Iberdrola Renewables Announces Wind Power Agreement with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

Photo: Business Wire

Photo: Business Wire

PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Iberdrola Renewables today announced a 25-year contract to supply Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. (Tri-State) – a wholesale electric power supplier owned by 44 electric cooperatives and public power districts across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming – with renewable energy from the planned Twin Buttes II Wind Project.

Continue reading.

The U.S. Department of Energy designated Tri-State as 2015 Wind Cooperative of the Year.

Iberdrola USA, headquartered in Portland, Oregon is an “energy pioneer with the largest renewable asset base of any company in the world.”

MORE RECOMMENDED READING
Portland’s largest renewable energy developer inks huge 76 MW wind dealby Wendy Culverwell, Portland Business Journal