Monthly Archives: November 2017

Top energy storage projects driving the sector in 2017

From transmission deferral to hybrid generation, 2017 has seen a
number of notable projects done by or for regulated utilities.

By Peter Maloney, Contributor, Utility Dive

High on the list of notable projects of the year is Tucson Electric Power’s (TEP) solar plus storage facility. The project is being built by NextEra Energy and features a 100 MW solar array and a 30 MW, 120 MWh energy storage system. Its most notable feature, however, is its power purchase agreement.

TEP reported that the all-in cost for the solar-plus-storage project was “significantly less than $0.045/kWh over 20 years.” TEP said the solar portion of the project, at under 3¢/kWh, was “the lowest price recorded in the U.S.” That puts the remaining storage portion of the project at about 1.5¢/kWh. Click here to learn about other projects.


Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools

Report Release: Solar Energy Industries Association,
The Solar Foundation and Generation 180

There are approximately 5,500 schools across the country with solar installations that are saving money on electric bills, educating students about clean energy, and ensuring a brighter future for the next generation. A dramatic decline in the cost of solar panels combined with new financing options has now made solar widely accessible, creating tremendous untapped potential among the majority of our schools still without solar.

SEIA, along with partners at The Solar Foundation and Generation 180, have developed Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools, a comprehensive report that explores the current state of solar deployment on K-12 schools nationwide. The report, available via the link below, includes analysis and case studies, but if you would like to view a full database of the U.S. schools with solar systems, download the spreadsheet here.

Download the Infographic & Full Report Here.

Nebraska Solar Schools Website

Nebraska Solar Schools Announcements

Nuclear waste, with nowhere else to go, languishes at NPPD’s Cooper plant

By Cole Epley, Omaha World-Herald

Even after 10 years left cooling in a pool outside of a reactor core, a single spent nuclear fuel assembly still emits 20 times the lethal dose of radiation, according to the NRC, the federal agency tasked with oversight of such facilities.

There are more than 1,800 such assemblies in so-called “dry storage” at Cooper; the Calhoun plant north of Omaha has about 300, with nearly 950 more due to be moved out of the pool there in about three years, if things go according to plan. Read the entire news story here.

Photo: Workers move spent fuel from NPPD’s Cooper nuclear plant’s cooling pool into dry cask storage in November 2017. Credit: Ryan Soderlin / The World-Herald

Local Solar Champions Presenting Nebraskans for Solar’s December Forum on Community Solar

Co-Sponsored by Green Bellevue & Sierra Club

December 14, 2017 – 7 to 8:30 pm

UNO Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center

Combined Rooms 201 & 205

6401 Dodge Street

Nebraskans for Solar Board Member Leo Arens will moderate a presentation and discussion on “Community Solar” by a panel of local Solar Champions:

  • Clifford Mesner, Mesner Development, Central City
  • Brian Newton, Utility General Manager, Fremont
  • Jeff Buhrman and Terry Wittler, Capitol Beach Neighborhood Solar LLC,  Lincoln
  • Jeff Berggren, GenPro Energy Solutions, Lexington
  • Michael Shonka, Solar Heat & Electric, Omaha
  • Nebraska Public Power District Spokesperson, Columbus

All our events are open to the public. Please join us and contribute to the discussion! Refreshments provided.

Photo: A pollinator-friendly solar farm in Minnesota by Rob Davis, Fresh Energy

US Energy Dept. Sees Microgrids, Renewables In Puerto Rico Future

By Tina Casey, CleanTechnica

The Energy Department’s new point person for power restoration in Puerto Rico is
Bruce J. Walker. He won confirmation as the Energy Department’s Assistant Secretary of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE for short) just last month, shortly after Hurricane Maria tore through the island. Walker has a long (long, long) list of credits on the side of grid reliability and modernization. That experience is on display in an article under Walker’s byline that appeared on the Energy Department’s website last week, under the title “How the Energy Department is Helping to Restore Power in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

According to Walker, the Energy Department has already identified 200 locations for microgrids at hospitals, water treatment plants, and other critical facilities in Puerto Rico. That adds up to 11 megawatts, and that’s just the beginning. Four hundred more locations in Puerto Rico are also being scouted for microgrid potential. Read more here.

Top Photo: Crews from the Energy Department’s Western Area Power Authority work on a transmission line in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Credit: Western Area Power Administration.

Tina Casey is a freelance writer specializing in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. She is a regular contributor to CleanTechnica and TriplePundit. She is also currently Deputy Director of Public Information for the County of Union, New Jersey. Many of Tina’s articles have been reposted on ReutersScientific American, and other mainstream media sites. 

For clean-energy jobs, sky’s the limit

Written by Mike Hughlett, Minneapolis Star Tribune,
Published by Wisconsin State Journal

Wind service technician is by far the fastest-growing occupation in the country, with an expected growth rate of 108 percent between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The agency says the median annual pay for a wind service technician in 2016 was $52,260.

[Will] Osborn, a 43-year-old Nebraska native, served 12 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, and afterward got a wind turbine technical degree from a community college. He’s been working for Vestas since 2011 and is the company’s lead technician at the Black Oak wind farm near Sauk Centre. Click here to read more.

Photo: Nebraska native Will Osborn, left, and Shane Keck work on a wind sensor that was out of alignment while Chris Berg works inside near Sauk Centre, Minnesota. Credit: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune


“Converting to Solar Energy” Among Presentations Planned for the Annual Western Sustainable Ag Crops and Livestock Conference

December 16, 2017 – 8:45a.m. to 4:00p.m.
Western Nebraska Community College
371 College Drive, Sidney, Nebraska
Pre-registration due by December 8.

Solar Array on Martin Kleinschmit’s Farm

“Ideas to Grow With” is the theme for the Annual Western Sustainable Ag Crops and Livestock Conference.

The conference will cover a diverse set of topics, including good and bad bugs; making the transition to organic farming; planting annual forage mixtures for cattle; gardening for profit; the business of new ag enterprises; and solar panels.

Converting to Solar Energy: Presenter Martin Kleinschmit, who has worked in the renewable energy field since 1980, built his own 9,000-watt PV system in 2009. Once satisfied with its output, he started his own solar business, MarLin Wind & Solar LLC, which works with residential, commercial and ag settings. He will talk about how solar Photo Voltaic (PV) panels work, what you need to know about net-metering, cost breakdown on a PV system, examples of solar systems, sizing your system to fit your needs, and more information sources.

To learn more about each of the topics that will be covered and the presenters, download the brochure here.

For more information about the conference or exhibitor booths, contact Extension Educator Karen DeBoer at the Extension Office in Sidney, telephone 308-254-4455 or email

Sponsors include Nebraska Extension, Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society (NSAS) and Organic Crop Improvement Association Nebraska Chapter No. 2.

Press Release: UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nebraska Extension in Cheyenne, Kimball & Banner Counties

The disruptors: Paul Simpson, the atypical activist who woke C-suites to climate risk

Paul Simpson, a former financial analyst, founded the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) seventeen years ago at age 25. The nonprofit “has helped transform corporate and investor attitudes to climate change” and “is trying to persuade businesses to commit to going 100% renewable.” 

By Oliver Balch, Ethical Corporation Magazine

Under Simpson’s leadership, CDP teamed up with the Climate Group to found RE100, a business-focused campaign designed to realize precisely such a zero-carbon energy future. So far, 114 corporations have made such a pledge, including Apple, Google, Starbucks, IKEA and, the initiative’s latest recruit, HSBC. Read more here.

Photo: Paul Simpson was featured on numerous panels at this month’s UN Climate talks in Bonn. Credit: The Climate Group


“We focus investors, companies and cities on taking urgent action to build a truly sustainable economy by measuring and understanding their environmental impact.”

Solar, wind power at work: Second ‘EnergiPlant’ sprouts from Creighton energy technology program

Written by Creighton University, Omaha World-Herald

A new plant in Creighton University’s budding energy garden has taken root. On a recent Saturday afternoon, as part of the culmination of their coursework, students in Creighton’s Energy 131 course – part of the university’s Energy Technology Program within its College of Arts and Sciences, focused on installing and maintaining photovoltaic systems – erected the campus’ second EnergiPlant USB charging station between the Mike and Josie Harper Center and Davis Square. Click to continue reading.

Creighton University Photo: The EnergiPlant – the second on Creighton’s campus – resembles a roughly 12-foot tall metal flower with a bloom doubling as a wind turbine and four metal leaves embedded with solar panels, all producing about 300 watts of power.


Turning the promise of solar landfills into reality

Waste Dive guest opinion written by Jesse Grossman, CEO of
New Jersey-based solar energy company Soltage

The promise of utilizing the thousands of closed landfills across the country to produce clean, solar energy has been tantalizingly close to reality for years. In 2013, the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) published their best practices for installing solar on municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills, which was a watershed moment in the recognition of landfills as viable solar platforms. With 10,000 closed landfills and other brownfield sites covering 15 million acres across the country, both solar developers and landfill owners have been understandably eager to take advantage of the opportunity. To put that land area into perspective, it’s large enough that if all of the landfills in the US were covered with solar panels we could power the entire country. Read more here.

Image: Landfill Solar Farm. U.S. Department of Energy


Digital Magazine
Renewable Energy World’s November / December 2017 Issue

Articles / Posts