Monthly Archives: September 2017

Village continues solar energy talk

By Amber Ningen, Star Herald

The possibility of solar energy becoming a reality in Hemingford was discussed some more during the Village of Hemingford Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday, Sept. 19. The board was given more information from GenPro Energy Solutions, a company that has been at several meetings to discuss the possibility of utilizing solar energy in Hemingford. Molly Brown, Vice President of Energy Production, gave the board members handouts to show what a one megawatt solar farm structure would look like in Hemingford. The handout showed 3,436 320-watt solar panels. Brown explained that they use northwest facing solar trackers that sit in rows from north to south and follow the sun from the east to the west.

Click here to read more,

Top Image Credit: GenPro Energy Solutions

What’s next in Suniva/Solar World Trade Petition Case?

With yesterday’s U.S. International Trade Commission’s unanimous vote that there has been significant injury to Suniva and Solar World from low-cost solar panels imported from other countries, the manufacturing companies’ trade petition case moves to the next phase: The four members of the USITC will hold a “remedy hearing” on October 3rd during which alternative recommendations will be heard.

By November 13th, the USITC will send its formal recommendation to President Trump, who will have until January 12th to make a final decision on whether to accept, reject or reform the USITC’s recommended solution.

RECOMMENDED READING

The 4-0 decision allows the imposition of tariffs or other trade remedies on cell and module imports on a global basis, however separate determinations were made for countries with specific trade agreements. USITC found injury from imports from Mexico and Korea, but not Canada or Singapore, meaning that it will not recommend trade remedies against cells or modules from Canada or Singapore.

Additionally, the agency found no significant injury caused by imports from Australia, Colombia, Jordan, Panama, Peru and Central American nations, and these are likely to be exempt from proposed trade remedies; however none of these nations possess significant cell or module manufacturing capacities.

The commission is recommending that President Donald Trump exclude from the tariffs Canada, Singapore and several other U.S. free-trade partners, which combined supply about 5 percent of solar panel imports. The commission, however, voted to recommend that tariffs or quotas be applied to the two biggest solar panel manufactures among U.S. free-trade partners: South Korea and Mexico, which combined supplied 28 percent of panels imported into the U.S. last year, according to the commission. The majority of imported panels come from Malaysia, Vietnam and other Asian nations not covered by free-trade deals.

Infographic showing how solar imports shifted after President
Obama’s tariffs on China. Click to enlarge it. 

“To minimize these job losses and prevent a significant spike in solar installation costs, we hope that any financial penalties recommended by the ITC will be small, if any, and that the President will not implement any tariffs that would stifle this American industrial success story.” – TJ Kanczuzewski, president and CEO of Indiana-based Inovateus Solar. Read more solar installers’ statements by clicking the article link, above.

“The ITC’s decision is disappointing for nearly 9,000 U.S. solar companies and the 260,000 Americans they employ. We expect to be front and center in the ITC remedy process, and in the administration’s consideration of this deeply-flawed case. As the remedy phase moves forward, I am determined to reach a conclusion that will protect the solar industry, our workers and the American public.”

If the intent of tariffs is to protect U.S. companies and employees, the practical effect would be just the opposite. We need the Trump Administration to secure America’s position as an energy innovation leader, or a global competitor will undoubtedly seize the moment.

An E&E News investigation uncovered the majority of Suniva’s products were not made in the U.S., but came from other countries. The company sold a 64% stake to Chinese firm Shunfeng in 2015. SolarWorld’s parent company is based in Germany as well, which filed for insolvency in May. Suniva declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April.

Nebraska NDEQ wants public input on how to spend $12 million from Volkswagen settlement

By Joe Duggan, Omaha World-Herald

LINCOLN — Nebraska environmental regulators want public input on how to spend more than $12 million the state will receive as part of a federal air pollution settlement with Volkswagen. Gov. Pete Ricketts has told the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality to develop a plan for using the money to reduce levels of nitrogen oxides in the air. The department, in turn, is seeking public comment on how to develop the plan and fund projects across the state, according to an agency press release. Continue reading.

Visit the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) web page for more information about the VW settlement and to download the Request for Comment on VW Mitigation Plan Development (PDF).

Associated Press Photo: Nebraska will receive $12 million of the $3 billion federal air pollution settlement with Volkswagen.

Q&A: Michigan economist discusses the market forces pushing electric vehicles, clean energy

Written by Andy Balaskovitz, Midwest Energy News

After serving 18 years as chief global economist at Ford Motor Co. and then as chief economist at the U.S. Department of Commerce under President Barack Obama ,Ellen Hughes-Cromwick brings a market-driven perspective to the way energy use and transportation could mitigate the impacts of climate change.

In late July, Hughes-Cromwick started as senior economist at the University of Michigan’s Energy Institute, where she will help lead research on this “intersection of energy, economics, policy, and human behavior.”

Click here to read Midwest Energy News’ interview with Hughes-Cromwick.

Want to attract Amazon? Try winning the wind race


 Opinion by Mike Franklin, President
Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum
Published by Minnesota Post

Last week, Minneapolis-St. Paul signaled its intention to join the race to entice Amazon to locate its new headquarters in the Twin Cities. While local officials pull together a package they hope will win the day, it’s worth considering how our friendly neighbors to the south have managed to persuade so many companies to set up shop in Iowa. Iowa, it turns out, can offer one thing more and more major corporations want: easy access to low-cost, renewable energy.

Click here to continue reading.

More Companies Commit to Wind Power

The latest Department of Energy WINDExchange Newsletter provides the following summary about several more companies that have joined many others all across the country in announcing commitments to renewable energy and sustainability.

  • Business Insider reports that international food company Mars launched a $1 billion sustainability drive that will include a global wind power campaign featuring the familiar M&Ms characters—because “renewable energy is pretty sweet.”
  • Utility Dive reports that Anheuser-Busch and Enel Green Power will partner on an electricity purchase amounting to 152.5 megawatts of output from the Thunder Ranch wind project in Oklahoma, an amount of renewable electricity that would be used to brew more than 20 billion 12-ounce servings of beer each year. Anheuser-Busch’s parent company wants to reach 100% purchased renewable energy by 2025.
  • The Kimberly-Clark Corporation, which produces products such as Kleenex and Huggies diapers, announced its first major commitment to renewable energy with agreements to annually purchase approximately 245 megawatts of electricity from two new wind power projects in Texas and Oklahoma.
  • The Climate Group announced that the Estée Lauder Companies, the Kellogg Company, DBS Bank Ltd., and Cliff Bar and Company have joined its RE100 campaign and are committed to using 100% renewable energy to power their operations (which could include wind power).

Click here to subscribe to DOE’s WINDExchange Newsletter.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Another Nebraska family installs solar panels in path of Keystone XL pipeline

By Lisa Neff, The Wisconsin Gazette

The “Solar XL” project has completed another installation of solar panels with Nebraska landowners in the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline — on the family land of Diana and Byron “Stix” Steskal that they named Prairierose Farm, near Atkinson.

The family partnered with Solar XL project sponsors Bold Nebraska, 350.org, Indigenous Environmental Network, CREDO and Oil Change International to put renewable energy directly in the pipeline’s path. Read more here.

Webinar Series: Expanding Tribal Energy Development through Partnerships

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy provides tribes and Alaska Natives with information on energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and project development through webinars and online curriculum.

The 11 webinars provide attendees with information on tools and resources available to develop and implement tribal energy plans, programs, and projects; tribal energy development case studies; and business strategies tribes can use to expand their energy options and develop sustainable local economies. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required.

North Vernon, Indiana, plans to be state’s first ‘solar city’

By Joel Schipper, WDRB

Mayor Mike Ochs said all of the city’s government buildings will soon be on the map, and off the grid, when it comes the city’s power usage. The police station, airport, fire department, sewer plant, parks and city hall will be generated during the day on solar power. The city’s 579 street lights will be switched as well.

“We’ll go down to zero usage of electricity during the day, and at night we don’t use anything anyway,” said Ochs, who believes this is the first time a city in Indiana has made such a drastic change. Click here to read more.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

News Release: MCC to host grand opening for $90 million Fort Omaha Campus expansion

OMAHA, Neb. — Metropolitan Community College will host a grand opening celebration for three new buildings on the Fort Omaha Campus on Friday, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at the outdoor amphitheater on the south end of the Fort Omaha Campus, 32nd Street and Sorensen Parkway. The event will feature remarks from College, state and local leaders, as well as tours of each of the new buildings.

The grand opening highlights a new era of investing in students and communities via the Fort Omaha Campus, which includes new, innovative approaches to learning in the Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology, the Construction Education Center and the Career and Academic Skills Center. The $90 million project is a public/private partnership designed to build a strong regional workforce, keep higher education close to home and respond to area business trends. In the new centers, students will learn the skills for today’s jobs, prepare them for tomorrow’s jobs and provide them with resources and opportunities for a lifetime of learning.

“The Fort Omaha Campus grand opening celebration represents the culmination of more than seven years of planning and preparation. That accomplishment is worth celebrating. But what we especially celebrate as we open these new buildings is the purpose behind all that planning, which is to provide a first class education to empower the potential in people, whether they are right here in the neighborhoods surrounding the Fort Omaha Campus, from greater Omaha or living throughout our four-county area. When potential is unlocked through training and education, families and businesses thrive and our whole region benefits,” said MCC president Randy Schmailzl. News Release. 

MCC asks that guests park on the south end of campus or on the north end of campus, where shuttles will provide transportation to the amphitheater. The grand opening celebration is free and open to the public. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

The Omaha area takes big steps forward this week on the workforce development front — by launching a local initiative to encourage women in technology fields and by unveiling a set of buildings at Metropolitan Community College offering cutting-edge training in the construction trades and advanced manufacturing. The kickoff today for the STEP Forward initiative salutes 60 women in technology fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Production) in Nebraska and western Iowa. Continue reading.

Photo: The new Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology, Prototype Design Lab, Innovation Central, Workforce Innovation Division, Corporate Training building at Metro Community College’s Fort Omaha Campus. Credit: Matt Dixon / The Omaha World-Herald