Craig Johnson, NPPD Education Consultant
Photos by Leo Arens, NFS Board Member
Solar and wind energy have been underestimated by analysts and politicians again and again and again. They have gotten cheaper and scaled up faster than even the most optimistic forecasts of a decade ago, or even a few years ago.
And there’s good evidence we’re still underestimating them. In fact, two new reports — one on solar, one on wind — make the point vividly. They argue that the radical trends of the last decade are going to continue, which is all that needs to happen for the energy system to tip over from disruption into revolution. Solar is going to play a much bigger role than most models predict. So far, official predictions have fallen woefully short of the rise of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy: Continue reading.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
By Jeff McMahon, Contributor, Forbes
If humans can kick fossil-fuels, they will benefit from massive efficiency increases in every sector—a net savings of 42 percent of world energy use that will both derive from and ease the transition to clean energy, a Stanford University professor says in a video released this week.
“We find that by electrifying everything in these countries and by providing that electricity with clean renewable energy, power demand goes down about 42 percent without really changing much habit,” says [Mark Z. Jacobsen], a professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of Stanford’s Atmosphere/Energy Program. For example: Continue reading.
Top Image Credit: Shutterstock. Second Photo: Professor Jacobsen
A handful of cities like Georgetown, Texas, and Greensburg, Kansas, have gone 100 percent clean energy, getting all of their electricity from sources like wind, solar or hydropower. Now, over 500 cities are following in their footsteps, committing to go big on clean energy–saving their constituents money and cutting pollution along the way.
To help the effort, AWEA has released a new brochure, Wind Works for America’s Cities, which provides information on how cities can purchase clean, affordable wind energy and offers many examples of cities that have already done so.
Click here to read the entire blog post.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES REFERENCED IN ARTICLE
Nebraska Public Power District has been working more than a year with the city to develop its third Sun Wise community solar project in the state. They will be also working to market 7,099 community solar shares. Read more or watch the newscast here.
Photo: Panelists explain how solar energy benefits Kearney at a public presentation hosted by the Nebraska Wildlife Federation. When completed, the 5.8-megawatt farm will be the largest solar project in Nebraska. Credit: NTV News
The panelists included: Dave Richardson, Kearney Clean Energy Group; Graham Christensen, GC Revolt; John Crabtree, Nebraska Sierra Club; Cliff Mesner, Mesner Solar Development.
Moderator: Melissa Freelend, Nebraska Public Power District
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
UNK will purchase more than half of the electricity from Nebraska’s largest solar farm in Kearney
What is SunWise?
SunWise is a community solar program available in participating Nebraska Public Power District retail communities. Eligible customers have the opportunity to use solar energy to partially power their homes and businesses without the need to invest in a rooftop or home-based system.
As Internet titans seek to distribute large files to support videos, gaming and virtual reality, the center of the country is proving to be the ideal place to add data center capacity. This trend is spurring a data center building boom, pumping billions of dollars into towns across America’s heartland. Five large cloud companies – Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook – are investing more than $11 billion to build massive server farms across Iowa, Ohio and Nebraska. Procuring green energy has become a priority for cloud builders, who use enormous amounts of electricity as they consolidate enormous volumes of business activity inside their walls. In 2016, data center providers signed contracts for more than 1.2 gigawatts of renewable power.
Click here to read more.
Photo: An illustration of Apple’s planned $1.3 billion data center campus in Waukee, Iowa. Credit: Apple
The U.S. Renewable Energy Map: A Guide for Corporate Buyers reveals where corporations can access the renewable energy they want at the scale they need through their utility.
The map tracks renewable energy purchasing options in different states, including green tariff programs and other utility renewable energy products. Buyers use the map to inform decisions on where to site new facilities, prioritize their renewable energy purchasing strategies, and ultimately meet their clean energy goals.
The map also compares each product to the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles. Nebraska’s available products meet all 6 principles: Choice, Cooperation, Cost-Competitiveness, Financing Tools, Long-Term Pricing, New Projects.
WINNEBAGO, Neb. — The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska is going green in a big way. The reservation plans to install 1,000 solar panels across 13 sites that will generate more than 300 kilowatts of solar power that are projected to reduce energy bills by about $40,000 a year . . . Additionally, Ho-Chunk is working with Nebraska Renewable Energy Systems to bring more green projects to the reservation, a list that includes replacing the wind turbine at Little Priest Tribal College, installing a solar panel farm near the Pony Express convenience store on the north end of the reservation, and more. Click here to read more, including the list of projects.
Shown is a rendering of a solar panel array that will be built on the north side of the Winnebago Reservation near Titan Motors and the Pony Express convenience store. Thanks to grants acquired by Ho-Chunk Inc. as well as matching funds provided by the economic development corporation, the reservation is slated to have 1,000 solar panels installed across 13 sites.
Nebraska has been known as the only all-public power state, where electricity is produced by publicly-owned utilities, not for profit. But that’s been changing, and a new proposal in Beatrice could change things a lot more. Continue reading.
Photo: Tobias Tempelmeyer points past the Beatrice airport to the site of a proposed power plant. Credit: Fred Knapp, NET News
A popular display at the Sustainability Pavilion this year is the Automotive Recycling Industry of Nebraska’s recycled car that educates the public about all the various parts of an automobile that can be recycled . . . Another positive display at the Sustainability Pavilion deals with solar energy, which is making big strides in Nebraska as an alternative energy resource for residential, commercial, farms and ranches. The Nebraska State Fair has also jumped on the solar energy bandwagon, according to [Jaime Parr, Nebraska State Fair facility director]. “The State Fair has added about 90 solar panels to the roof of the Nebraska Building to be showcased during this year’s State Fair,” she said. Read more here.
Photo: Grand Island Public Schools Success Academy 11-grader Maria Reeh (left) speaks about the migration pattern of the monarch butterfly as 10th-grader Alexis Lute listens during a presentation about protecting the monarch butterfly Monday in the J-Tech Solar Sustainability Pavilion during the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island. Credit: Barrett Stinson / Grand Island Independent
Sun-Raised Farms is a network of 17 farmers engaged in a mutually-beneficial relationship with solar developers: the shepherds get pasture for their animals to graze; the solar companies maintain the lawns beneath their panels through natural means . . . While Sun-Raised shepherds aren’t the only ones providing maintenance for solar developers, far from all of the state’s 341 large solar projects – an estimated 79 percent of which are on cropland – have the double benefit of sheep. But many still say solar is good for farmers, providing an economic boost, restoring wildlife habitat, and helping to ensure land that’s been in the family for generations doesn’t get sold to development. Read the entire article here.
Photo: Brooks Mixon is working to develop markets for Sun-Raised meats, raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. Credit: Elizabeth Ouzts / Southeast Energy News
Elizabeth Ouzts, a former director of communications for Environment America, is a freelance writer based in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The first solar farm is sold out, but local residents are encouraged to go to Fremont Department of Utilities and get their names on a waiting list for the second solar farm. So far, 22 people are on that waiting list. The size of the next farm would be determined by the participants on the list, said Lottie Mitchell, executive assistant to the Fremont City Administrator. Read more here.
Photo: Fremont’s community solar farm might look similar to the one in Central City. The farm is nearing the construction phase and is set to go online in January. Credit: Central City, Nebraska