Monthly Archives: April 2017

Trump Might Not Believe In the Risks of Climate Change – But Investors Do And They Are Taking Action

By Mike Scott, Contributor, Forbes

New research from the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) reveals that 60% of the world’s 500 biggest asset owners (AOs), representing assets under management of $27 trillion, now recognize the financial risks of climate change and the opportunities that are created by the transition to a low carbon  economy . . . There has also been a proliferation of initiatives that highlight the risks to investors, including CDP’s Carbon Disclosure questionnaire, the Principles for Responsible Investment, the Task Force on Climate-Related Disclosures and Science-based Targets. In addition, the companies in which investors might put their money are also acting on climate change, with many of the biggest corporations – such as Apple; BMW; AB Inbev, the world’s largest brewer; General Motors; and Walmart – committing to source all their electricity from renewable sources.

Read more here.

Photo: Papillion’s Facebook Data Center. Facebook is one of a growing number of large corporations committed to 100% renewable energy.


Kawamura: ‘Successful agriculture sustains civilization’

A.G. Kawamura, former California secretary of agriculture, presented
the final Heuermann Lecture of the 2016-17 season.
Watch the lecture on YouTube.

By Haley Steinkuhler, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) 

“It’s time for a global reset button,” Kawamura said. “We’re in a new age of agriculture. The pace of new knowledge and new thinking that is taking place is unbelievable. ”The current agricultural renaissance is essential to feeding a booming world population, Kawamura said. He is a supporter of the food, energy and water nexus and said he believes it is key for a resilient and sustainable future. “Food, energy and water cannot be looked at as silos,” he said. “They have to be looked at with the idea that we’re going to create resilience.” In addition to new technologies and new ways of thinking, education is a critical part of a successful future, Kawamura said. Read more here.

Click the above link or image to play the YouTube video.

Photo: A.G. Kawamura, by Brett Hampton

How Lexington, Nebraska Became Home to the Second Largest Solar Farm in the State

 Corporate Social Responsibility Wire, CSRwire

The City of Lexington, Nebraska offers an exemplary case study of good planning and willing counterparties uniting to complete a large-scale solar project. Sol Systems partnered with GenPro Energy Solutions, a developer and engineering, procurement, and construction contractor based in South Dakota, and the City of Lexington to develop, finance, and construct a 3.9MW solar
farm . . . Fortunately, each and every counterparty was driven, proactive, responsive, and, not to be understated, friendly. These factors, together with applying the Three Es of Successful Solar, will make Lexington home to the second largest solar energy system in Nebraska come May 2017. Continue reading.

Photo Credit: Melena Ward, Lexington Clipper-Herald

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Solar jobs: State of the states

In this op-ed, U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Director Dr. Charlie Gay dives into the latest job numbers for the U.S. solar industry. Cross-posted by PV Magazine from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Blog

With a variety of different careers to choose from in the solar industry, it should come as no surprise that there are now more than 260,000 people working in it. That number also represents nearly 1,000 new jobs added every week of 2016, marking a 25% increase in a single year. To calibrate this dramatic growth, The Solar Foundation (TSF) recently released data showing where the most jobs are located and which parts of the value chain are seeing the most job growth. There are a number interesting pieces to discover. Continue reading.


New developments help Nebraska take advantage of its capacity for wind power, which accounted for more than 10 percent of its energy in 2016

By Cole Epley, Omaha World-Herald  

Nebraska’s wind capacity is fourth-best in the country when it comes to the potential for producing electricity, but the state lags behind 16 others when it comes to actually tapping that resource. That could soon change, though, as more high-profile wind developments come blowing through — one, the 400-megawatt Grande Prairie project in Holt County, already is helping Nebraska catch up to its potential, industry watchers say. Continue reading.

Photo Credit: Megan Farmer / The World-Herald. Turbines at Grande Prairie, Nebraska’s largest wind energy development, helped push wind’s share of electricity generated in Nebraska to more than 10 percent.

The Top Utilities of 2016 For Solar And Energy Storage

By Joseph Bebon, Solar Industry Magazine

Every year, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) crowns the top U.S. utilities for solar, and with the release of its 10th annual utility market survey, the group has now launched additional rankings for the utilities leading on energy storage. “One of the reasons we started the utility solar top 10 lists back in 2007 was to highlight the key, but often unrecognized, role utilities were taking in putting new solar on the grid,” explains SEPA President and CEO Julia Hamm. “With utility-scale solar now well established as a mainstream power source, we wanted to similarly recognize utilities’ leadership in realizing the full potential of storage to drive critical system changes that will benefit customers and the grid.” Continue reading.

Image: Shutterstock


Nebraska Towns Charge Ahead To Support Electric Vehicles

By Arianna Brocious, NET News

Only a few hundred cars in Nebraska are fully electric, but the number is on the rise—along with the number of places those cars can charge up. Some Nebraska towns are hoping that makes it easier for electric car drivers to leave town. Click here to read more.

Don Cox, Tesla enthusiast who teaches an electric vehicle class at UNL. More than 370,000 orders have already been placed for Tesla’s next car, the more affordable Model 3, which won’t even hit the road until late this year.


Anne McCollister, co-founder of the nonprofit Nebraska Community Energy Alliance. With funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, McCollister’s group has helped 27 communities and partners around the state install electric car charging stations.

Credit for both photos: Arianna Brocious
Included with the article: Tesla map of Nebraska charging stations
Nebraska Community Energy Alliance’s Website


Why utilities are more confident than ever about renewable energy growth

Concerns about integrating high levels of wind and solar are waning,
Utility Dive’s sector survey shows. By 
Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive  

At the turn of the millennium, only wide-eyed dreamers in the power sector would have claimed renewable energy would play a major role on the U.S. grid. Wind and solar were simply too expensive and too difficult to integrate. Fast-forward to 2017, and that dream is becoming a reality, according to a survey of more than 600 utility professionals. More than 80% of North American utility employees expect renewable energy to increase moderately or significantly in their service areas over the next decade, according to Utility Dive’s fourth annual State of the Electric Utility (SEU) survey.

Continue reading.

In discussing consumer sentiment as a factor pushing utilities toward clean energy, the author mentions OPPD’s new renewable energy tariff  “to lure tech companies to its service area,” and Puget Sound Energy’s novel green tariff.

Effort to bring Facebook data center to Sarpy County took 6 years of swinging and missing

By Hailey Konnath, Omaha World-Herald

Omaha-area economic development leaders will tell you it’s been a long road to land Facebook’s newest data center. “We swung and missed and swung and missed,” said Randy Thelen, senior vice president for economic development for the Greater Omaha Chamber Economic Development Partnership. “And hit the grand slam.” A grand slam, indeed. Lured at least in part by millions in state tax incentives, Facebook will pour at least $200 million, likely much more, into building a 970,000-square-foot data center campus south of Papillion. Continue reading.

Image provided by the City of Papillion: Facebook is building its newest data center in Papillion. The facility will be nearly 1 million square feet and will be constructed on Highway 50 just north of Capehart Road.






Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, And Citizens Can Save The Planet.  By Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope



Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed To Reverse Global Warming, Edited by Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest



IREC Releases Energy Storage Guide for Policymakers

A new tool published by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), Charging Ahead: An Energy Storage Guide for State Policymakers provides regulators and other decision makers with specific guidance on key issues for policy consideration, including foundational policies for advanced energy storage—a new generation of technologies characterized by flexible operating capabilities and diverse applications. Continue reading.

IREC Webinar on April 26th explores topics in the guide.