Monthly Archives: March 2016

If a Power Plant Is Built in U.S., It’s Likely to be Renewable

By Bobby Magill, Climate Central  

If a new electric power plant is built in the U.S. these days, chances are it’s renewable — either wind or solar.

That’s the gist of a report the U.S. Department of Energy released this week showing that, together, wind and solar accounted for nearly two-thirds of all new electric power plants built in 2015. It’s a trend expected to continue through 2016, even with low natural gas prices likely to keep utilities building plenty of gas-fired power plants, too. Click graphic to enlarge it.

This graph shows how much wind, solar and natural gas electric power generating capacity was built in 2015 compared to the previous year. Credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration

This graph shows how much wind, solar and natural gas electric power generating capacity was built in 2015 compared to the previous year. Credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Read the entire article here.

Renewable Energy Investments Set a Record in 2015

Coal still Nebraska’s top electric fuel despite national trend toward natural gas

Holdrege Solar Center. Photo: Lincoln Journal Star, illustrating the proposed 5-megawatt Lincoln Electric System Solar Farm to be completed in June 2016 at 7501 W. Holdrege.

Holdrege Solar Center. Lincoln Journal Star photo illustrating the proposed 5-megawatt Lincoln Electric System Solar Farm to be completed in June 2016 at 7501 W. Holdrege.

By Nicholas Bergin / Lincoln Journal Star

As electric generators age and get replaced the trend will likely be away from coal simply because it will be “next to impossible to get a coal plant permitted for construction,” Lincoln Electric System Vice President of Power Supply Jason Fortik said.

Natural gas releases fewer greenhouse gases than coal when burned. But it remains controversial because of the fracking methods used to mine it from the ground and because if it leaks into the air without being burned it can contribute more in the short term to global warming than carbon dioxide.

Read more.

As revenue falls with natural gas prices, Tenaska builds renewable energy profile

By Cole Epley, Omaha World-Herald

Making money in the energy business isn’t nearly as easy as it was in 2008, when natural gas was fetching more than five times the price it’s bringing today.

But Omaha-based Tenaska didn’t have any investments in wind energy at that time, nor did it have any holdings in solar power, which these days are helping offset margins that have cratered with natural gas prices, the company said.

Continue reading.

Doug Perry, Asset Manager for Tenaska, serves as an advisor to Nebraskans for Solar’s Board of Directors.

Increasing Home Value Through Home Energy Upgrades

RMI blogBy Rachel Gold, Senior Associate, Rocky Mountain Institute

It turns out that one of the most valuable remodeling options is one you can’t see. That’s the conclusion of the recent Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling magazine, which compares the average cost for popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale value in 100 different U.S. markets. For the first time, Remodeling included an energy efficiency measure—fiberglass attic insulation—and the results were a great indicator of the value provided by energy upgrades.

Continue reading here.

Efficiency, Solar and Storage Offer a Unique Opportunity to Bring Clean Energy to Affordable Housing

Subtitle: Will policymakers, regulators and utilities help low-income customers take advantage of the opportunity? 

By Wayne Waite and Lewis Milford / Published by Greentech Media

Photo: Greentech Media

Photo: Greentech Media

In the last five years, solar PV costs have declined to the point that standalone solar PV systems can be financially feasible for affordable housing owners and at times more feasible than deeper energy-efficiency retrofits. As a result, solar PV is increasingly credible as a way to offset electricity consumption after a first level of energy efficiency retrofitting. At a policy level, providing incentives to finance solar access for low-income communities has emerged as a second significant step for reducing energy costs for low-income renters in affordable housing.

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About the Writers
Wayne Waite is the policy director for the California Housing Partnership, a private nonprofit organization that assists nonprofit and government housing agencies to create and preserve affordable housing benefiting lower-income households.

Lewis Milford, an attorney, is president and founder of Clean Energy Group, a national nonprofit organization that works with state, federal and international organizations to promote clean energy policy, finance and innovation.

Commentary: Clean energy unites conservatives, young and old

Written by Michele Combs, founder and chairperson of Young Conservatives for Energy Reform. Published by Midwest Energy News.

Michele Combs & Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley

Michele Combs & Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley

Across the country, young conservatives are working to advance clean, efficient energy. They believe it’s in the best interests of the Republican Party, and, more importantly, of the nation.

In the Midwest, young conservatives are finding common ground with some old political hands.

As we at Young Conservatives for Energy Reform (YC4ER) found out when we co-hosted a Conservative Clean Energy Reception honoring Congressional leaders, energy reform is a great way for the Republican Party to grow by reaching across the generational divide.

Continue reading.

Do smart meters cut CO2 emissions? Ask Chicago’s ComEd

Photo: U.S. Department of Energy

Photo: U.S. Department of Energy

By Peter Behr, E&E reporter, EnergyWire

Chicago’s Commonwealth Edison has agreed to test whether customers with smart electric meters use less power and cause less damage to the environment than consumers with conventional meters.

“The ability to calculate the environmental benefits of clean energy investments, like smart meters, is critical to accelerating the new energy economy,” said the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which negotiated the agreement with ComEd, along with the Illinois Citizens Utility Board.

Continue reading.

2016 Clean Jobs Midwest Survey: Nebraska has 16,422 Clean Energy Jobs

Photo Credit: Clean Technica

Photo Credit: Clean Technica

Clean Jobs Midwest is a survey of clean energy employment in 12 Midwestern states. The region currently employs over half a million workers in sectors including renewable energy generation, clean transmission, energy efficiency, clean fuels, and advanced transportation. The clean energy economy is growing in every Midwestern state – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

The survey provides detailed demographic and technology information on clean energy sector employment in each of these states. It also includes overall clean energy employment information at the state, metropolitan statistical area, county, and state legislative district levels.

Nebraska has 16,422 clean energy jobs. For additional details, click here: Clean Jobs Nebraska

Lincoln Journal Star: Report details Nebraska clean energy industry

Midwest Energy News: Report forecasts continued clean energy job growth in Minnesota 

The Gazette: Iowa wind, solar interests tout economic benefits: State is ‘pretty big force’ in clean energy

Chicago Tribune: Illinois leads the Midwest in clean energy jobs, report says

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio “clean energy manufacturing jobs” number more than 100,000, highest in Midwest

Milwaukee – Wisconsin Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin lags Midwest in clean energy sector jobs

Topeka Capital-Journal: Kansas has 27,000 jobs in clean energy sector: Sunflower State lags behind other Midwestern states for projected growth 

North American Windpower: America’s Midwest A ‘Central Hub’ For Renewables Job Market

Utilities See Growing Opportunity in Community Solar Market

By Julia Pyper, Greentech Media

Community solar has become an increasingly popular way for electric utilities to bring solar to customers. In 2010, there were only two shared solar projects in existence. Today, 77 utilities administer more than 110 projects across 26 states, accounting for a total capacity of about 106 megawatts, according to a new Deloitte report . . . But while opportunities exist, the growth trends vary depending on utility type.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

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Download Deloitte Report

Midwest leads reshaping of American energy

By Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, and Beth Scholt, Executive Director of Wind on the Wires. Des Moines Register / Opinion

Tom-KiernanAmerica’s heartland is leading the way toward a homegrown, affordable, clean energy future. It provides a clear example for the rest of the country that expanding our share of wind power can create jobs while saving money, strengthening America’s energy independence and improving lives along the way.
Read more here.