Monthly Archives: December 2017

Wachiska Audubon’s January Program: “Recent Developments in Solar Energy in Nebraska” with Ken Winston

Save the date! January 11, 2018 at 7 p.m.
Unitarian Church of Lincoln, 6300 A Street

Ken Winston is Director of Policy and Outreach, Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light.

Established in 1973, Wachiska Audubon Society’s vision: To share the experience and love of nature—that life may flourish in all its natural diversity. December Newsletter: The Babbling Brook

How Corporations ‘Bypassed the Politics’ to Lead on Clean Energy in 2017

By Julia Pyper, Greentech Media

Click image to watch an AWEA video showing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos smashing a bottle of champagne to launch Amazon Wind Farm Texas in October 2017.

As of December 12, when heads of state joined to commemorate the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement, 327 major corporations, worth a cumulative $6.5 trillion, had committed to matching their emission reduction plans with the Paris goals through the Science Based Targets initiative. Another 864 companies have stated their intention to adopt a science-based target within two years . . . In addition, some 1,700 U.S. businesses from every state and of varying sizes — from Walmart to Wild Joe’s Coffee Spot in Bozeman, Montana — have signed the “We Are Still In” declaration. The initiative, which also includes cities, statehouses and college campuses, was intended to demonstrate America’s enduring commitment to delivering on the promise of the Paris Agreement. Click here to learn more.

Was 2017 the Year Global Energy Giants Went All-In on the Distributed Energy Revolution?

By Jeff St. John, Greentech Media

Over the past year, we’ve seen a number of major European energy companies — and some Japanese, American and Israeli ones as well — buy into the proposition that providing distributed energy technologies and services to their customers will be a significant part of their
futures . . . Here’s our month-by-month breakdown of the major acquisitions of the year.
Read more.

U.S. renewables replace coal and gas in 2017, by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

Iowa cities can drive climate action with Paris Accord in flux

By Howard A. Learner, Opinion Contributor, Des Moines Register

Des Moines, Dubuque, Fairfield, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and other municipalities have pledged to seize opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Growing local solar energy, storage and energy efficiency creates jobs, saves money, attracts investment and avoids carbon pollution. Local energy production keeps energy dollars in our communities, instead of paying to import electricity generated by coal, gas and uranium. Clean electric vehicles and buses in municipal fleets reduce fuel and maintenance costs, and avoid pollution. Improving energy efficiency in city buildings saves taxpayer money, reduces pollution and lessens maintenance costs. Read more here.

Howard A. Learner is the Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, a leading environmental progress and economic development organization in the Midwest.

Environmental Law & Policy Center Website
ELPC Launches Climate Cities Campaign


Top Photo:  Solar panels on the roof of St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Norwalk, Iowa.
Credit: Michael Zamora / The Register

How to Get Wyoming Wind to California, and Cut 80% of U.S. Carbon Emissions, MIT Technology Review

Starting in the 1950s, some companies and countries began to deploy next-generation high-voltage DC transmission lines . . . For the past two years, James McCalley, an engineering professor at Iowa State University, has been studying the best way to tie together those massive grid systems as part of the Department of Energy’s $220 million Grid Modernization Initiative.
A national direct-current grid could also help lower emissions, by as much as 80 percent below 1990 levels within 15 years, all with commercially available technology and without increasing the costs of electricity, according to an earlier study in Nature Climate Change.

Central Community College’s $23M Kearney Center tops 2017 education news

By Mike Konz, Kearney Hub

KEARNEY — On Aug. 22, Central Community College began classes in its $23 million, 66,000-square-foot Kearney Center. The structure was completed without a bond issue using $10 million from a successful capital campaign and cash from CCC’s reserves. The new building didn’t tap taxpayers, and because of its design, the building someday won’t tap commercial power, as CCC leaders have deemed that the facility eventually will be energy self-sufficient. Click here to read the entire article, the third installment recapping top stories of 2017, as selected by Kearney Hub reporters and editors.

Photo: The skilled technology science wing of Central Community College’s new Kearney Center offers some of the most advanced manufacturing equipment to train students.
Credit: Kearney Hub


  • CCC recognized for going green, by Julie Blum, Columbus Telegram
    Visitors at the Columbus campus can see some of the efforts undertaken in recent years to reduce the carbon footprint there, such as hybrid cars, electric maintenance vehicles, a bike-sharing station, water bottle station, landscaping with native plants and recycling bins. Across other Central campuses, there are composting sites, bee colonies and solar panels, and the campus in Hastings [added] a 1.7-megawatt wind turbine.
  • Nebraska Colleges & Universities Leading on Sustainability & Climate Action

Solar farm becomes reality in 2017

By Colin Larson, Fremont Tribune

The city sold out 1 megawatt in five weeks and then decided to expand another .55 megawatts, which sold out in two weeks. 180 residential customers subscribed, along with 20 commercial customers and there are 70 more residential customers on a waiting list for a possible expansion. “We are committed to try to do another megawatt this year, we have 70 names already on the list, and we are hoping to sell it out easily in a few weeks as well,” [said Brian Newton, general manager of the Department of Utilities and interim city administrator].
Read more here.

Image: Google Maps. The location of the first solar farm in Fremont will sit to the north of the Fremont Department of Utilities warehouse (in yellow) and will go online in January. Due to the interest in the first solar farm, the FDU has developed a waiting list for a possible second solar farm which could be placed in the same location. Image: Google Maps

Growing Iowa with renewables

By James McCoy, Guest Columnist, The Gazette

Promoting economic growth is a concern across the country. Communities have organizations in place whose main function is to pursue that goal. We have slogans like “buy local” to keep money in communities where it is recycled through the community stimulating economic growth. For Iowa “buy local” means use renewable energy. Our state produces no fossil fuels. Every dollar we spend on coal, oil, and natural gas is a dollar sent out of state we have to work hard to get back into our economy. Iowans know the economic benefits of our renewable energy sector. Continue reading.

Photo Credit: EPSCoR

Last Day to Submit Your Comments on Nebraska VW Settlement Draft Plan December 31, 2017

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) has been designated by Governor Ricketts to administer funds allocated to the state from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. The initial allocation to Nebraska is approximately $12.25 million. 

  • NDEQ has released Nebraska’s draft mitigation plan, which is available for download HERE.
  • NDEQ is soliciting public input on the draft plan. Comments will be accepted through December 31, 2017. Instructions for submitting comments are available by clicking the link, above.

Congress Opens Arctic Wildlife Refuge to Drilling, But Do Companies Want In?

By Sabrina Shankman, Inside Climate News

[Those] hoping that oil companies will flock to the refuge—and that revenues raised can help offset some of the deficit created by the tax bill—might be sorely disappointed, said Bud Coote, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center. “In the current economic environment, it’ll be a tough sell,” he said . . . In late October, a poll conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Communication found that 70 percent of Americans oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and that only 18 percent of Republicans “strongly support” it. [Sen. Maria Cantwell], who is the ranking member on Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, said that those who want to protect the refuge will capitalize on the public support going forward.
Read More Here.


Nebraska Farmers Union’s Five Special Orders of Business for 2018 Include Net Metering & Renewable Fuels Standard

Nebraska Farmers Union members approved five top priorities for 2018 at their recent state convention. These Special Orders of Business are:

#1: Special Order of Business on the Farm Bill and Prolonged Farm Crisis
#2: Special Order of Business on Property Tax Relief
#3: Special Order of Business Supporting the Use of a Private Public Partnership
#4: Special Order of Business on Net Metering
The members of the Nebraska Farmers Union support an increase of the maximum guaranteed access level for net-metering from 25 kilowatts to 100 kilowatts.  Secondly, the members support  changing and updating current state law to allow single owners the option of aggregating their multiple meters for the purpose of net metering.
#5: Special Order of Business on Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS)

Click here for complete details about all five NeFU top priorities for 2018.