Monthly Archives: August 2018

Facebook gets specific about its 100 percent renewables target

By Heather Clancy, GreenBiz

Facebook has procured more than 3 gigawatts of electricity from solar and wind plants since 2013, including more than 2,500 megawatts within the past year. It is second only to Google in the sheer scale of its purchases, based on data collected by the Rocky Mountain Institute Business Renewables Center. What’s more, the social media giant is behind the biggest single set of corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) announced so far in 2018, a series of six solar projects that will generate 437 MW of electricity from two projects near its data center in Prineville, Oregon, and four installations planned by PacifiCorp in Utah . . . The company has invested considerable energy, so to speak, in negotiating with utilities. For example, the company was involved in shaping a tariff adopted by the Omaha Public Power District in Nebraska last year. Read more here.

iStock Photo

Power Purchase Agreements, by Jason Kuiper, The Wire
Currently, OPPD utilizes PPAs for the output of five wind farms: Grande Prairie, Prairie Breeze, Flatware, Petersburg, as well as Sholes, which is under construction. Also, OPPD has signed power sales agreements with NPPD for the partial output of five other wind farms. Those farms are Ainsworth, Broken Bow 1, Broken Bow 2, Crofton Bluffs and Elkhorn Ridge. The normal term of OPPD’s PPAs is 20 years. The new community solar project near Fort Calhoun is under a PPA, with NextEra Energy Resources.



DOE reports Distributed Wind has surpassed 1 GW; Industry poised for further growth


Data towers put wind farm one step closer

By Hope Moural, The Seward Independent

Dylan Ikkala

The Cornhusker Harvest wind farm project is one step closer to being built with three meteorological towers being put up near Tobias earlier this month. The farm, to be built on land in both Fillmore and Saline counties, is being headed by APEX Clean Energy based in Charlottesville, Virginia, and has been in the pre-construction stages since 2016. According to APEX project developer Dylan Ikkala, a total of eight towers are included in the project. Ground has yet to be broken on the project as the meteorological towers were needed to gather data. Continue reading here.

Colorado approves Xcel plan to retire coal, shift to renewables and storage

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Colorado’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) voted unanimously on Monday to give preliminary approval to Xcel Energy’s Clean Energy Plan, which would see the utility close 660 MW of coal-fired generation a decade earlier than scheduled and shift to renewable resources. Under the plan, Xcel will close units 1 and 2 at the Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo and invest $2.5 billion in renewable energy and battery storage. The utility expects the plan to save ratepayers $213 million. In January, the utility solicited notably low bid prices for wind-plus-storage, $21/MWh, as well as $36/MWh for solar-plus-storage, some of the lowest bids for renewable energy plus storage on record. Read more here.

Image credit: Flickr;



Minnesota community solar reaches 400 MW milestone

Solar Industry Experience Shines When Mentoring A Diverse Workforce

By Caroline Fortuna, CleanTechnica

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) determined that the US installed 2.5 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV capacity in Q1 2018 to reach 55.9 gigawatts (GW) of total installed capacity, enough to power 10.7 million American homes. This represents a 13% increase year-over-year. Total installed US PV capacity is expected to more than double over the next 5 years, and, by 2023, over 14 GW of PV capacity will be installed annually.

Alongside this pattern of solar industry growth comes the major challenge to educating future renewable energy professionals. There is an essential need to build a conduit from the classroom to solar installation worksite. Since solar is an emerging field, many students have a limited understanding of how to translate engineering theory into actual solar practice. Professional role models who offer their personal insights and solar industry experience narratives can offset those gaps and create a robust and diverse solar energy workforce.
Continue reading here.

Top Photo Credit: Grid Alternatives

About Carolyn Fortuna
Carolyn Fortuna, Ph.D. is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to eco justice. She’s won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavy Foundation.


#Solar100’s Anne Hoskins: The Adam Smith of Solar Policy, PV Magazine

#Solar100’s Anne Hoskins: The Adam Smith of Solar Policy

USTDA backs feasibility study for 100-MW PV project in Mozambique, Renewables Now
The grant has been awarded to WHN Solar SA, which has picked Nebraska-based consulting firm HDR International Inc to conduct the study.

Community Solar Program Design and Implementation for Low-and Moderate-Income Customers, Thursday, August 30, 12 to 1 pm CT
Guest speakers from NREL will discuss their new report, which reviews existing and emerging Low-and Moderate-Income (LMI) community solar programs, discusses key questions related to program design, outlines how states can leverage incentives and finance structures to lower the cost of LMI community solar, and examines marketing and outreach considerations.

Pollinator habitats: The bees’ knees of rural solar development

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Adding more solar “should have been a slam dunk” for Connexus Energy, a “hometown favorite” electric cooperative in Ramsey, Minnesota, said Rob Davis, a clean energy advocate who observed the siting process. But the utility’s motion to build was almost denied. Land is valuable, and “anytime you build anything anywhere there’s a neighbor, and that neighbor is going to have an opinion for better or worse,” said Davis, who directs the Center for Pollinators in Energy and also leads the Media & Innovation Lab at Fresh Energy in St. Paul, Minnesota. The saving grace? Pollinator experts and ecologists testified this wouldn’t be just any solar development — it would be pollinator-friendly, giving work opportunities to local seeders and apiarists as well as providing ecological benefits to the surrounding area. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Rob Davis, Fresh Energy


Ohio No. 2 on federal list of new distributed wind power capacity

By Megan Henry, The Columbus Dispatch

Unlike wind power from wholesale generation where power is sent through transmission lines and substations, distributed wind power is used at or near where it is generated, according to DOE. Iowa had the most new distributed wind capacity installed in 2017 with 63.47 megawatts, according to the report.

Distributed wind systems are connected on the customer side of the meter to meet the onsite load or directly to distribution or micro grids to help grid operation or offset large loads close by, and are possible for approximately 49.5 million residential, commercial or industrial sites, according to an analysis by the DOE. The U.S. wind industry installed more than seven gigawatts of capacity in 2017, according to the report. Read more here.



Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems and small wind turbines: 30% through 2018 and 2019. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

USDA Seeks Applications for Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants
The deadlines to apply for grants are October 31, 2018, and April 1, 2019. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round. REAP helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption by purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements in their operations.

Growth ‘windustry’: Big wind projects coming together in Dixon, Wayne counties

By Mason Dockter, Sioux City Journal

WAKEFIELD, Neb. — A massive wind project is taking shape in Dixon County, Nebraska, and plans are underway for another large wind project in neighboring Wayne County.  In Dixon County, northeast of Wakefield, Enel Green Power North America Inc. is constructing $430 million Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project . . . Meanwhile, in Wayne County, Chicago-based Lincoln Clean Energy is drafting plans for its 20,000-acre Plum Creek Wind Project near Winside. Philip Moore, vice president of development with Lincoln Clean Energy, said that construction on the project may commence sometime in the summer 2019. The turbines should be up and running by 2020. Read the entire article here.

Pixabay Photo


Exxon Seeks Wind, Solar Power Delivery in Texas, Bloomberg
Exxon, based in Irving, Texas, is seeking at least 100 megawatts and would consider proposals for more than 250 megawatts. “I have never seen an oil and gas company doing a corporate PPA anywhere near that size,” said Kyle Harrison, a New York-based analyst at Bloomberg NEF, referring to the power-purchase agreements used to buy electricity. “If you’re seeing the biggest oil and gas companies going out and making investments in clean energy, it shows that renewables are cost-competitive. This can be a way for them to show a commitment to sustainability without suffering economically.”

U.S. Wind Power Is ‘Going All Out’ with Bigger Tech, Falling Prices, Reports Show

By Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News

Wind power capacity has tripled across the United States in just the last decade as prices have plunged and the technology has become more muscular, the federal government’s energy labs report. Three new reports released Thursday on the state of U.S. wind power show how the industry is expanding onshore with bigger, more powerful turbines that make wind energy possible even in areas with lower wind speeds. Offshore, the reports describe a wind industry poised for a market breakthrough. Continue reading here.

New report: Wind continues growing while costs continue falling, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog




2018 National Solar Tour of Homes largest in event’s history

Lineworkers Rodeo set for Saturday at fair

News Release, The Grand Island Independent

Hosted by the Nebraska Power Association. The opening ceremony begins at 9:30 am.

Electric line technicians from across Nebraska will take center stage as they compete in the seventh annual Nebraska Lineworkers Rodeo Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Nebraska State Fair’s Motor Sports Track in Grand Island . . . The public can also visit the Nebraska Power Association’s public power station, just outside the Heartland Events Center. Hands-on activities and safety demonstrations will help fair attendees learn more about the electric industry. The all-electric Chevy Bolt will be on display, in addition to the Little Lineworkers Rodeo, Public Power 360 Virtual Reality demo, STEM Robotics Challenge and much more . . . Other activities taking place at the NPA booth include designing a light switch, a solar panel display, the pedal power energy activity, public power plinko trivia game, electrical safety displays and public power information. Read the entire release here.

About The Nebraska Power Association
Now in its fourth decade, NPA is comprised of the 166 utilities that produce and deliver electricity to Nebraskans. NPA is a voluntary organization representing all segments of Nebraska’s power industry: municipalities, public power districts, public power and irrigation districts and cooperatives engaged in generation, transmission, or distribution of electricity within our state. The 166 members of NPA are listed here.

As announced in our latest newsletter, the J-Tech Solar Sustainability Pavilion will also provide exhibits and hands-on activities for all ages at the fair. Click link for details:

J-Tech Solar Sustainability Pavilion – Nebraska State Fair

Solar Power Legislation In Illinois Could Generate $250-350 Million In Tax Revenue

By Jake Richardson, CleanTechnica

Illinois Governor Rauner recently signed two bills to support solar development conditions for Illinois farmers and rural areas.  They are SB 486 and SB 2591. The first creates a standard tax assessment value for local solar farms in Illinois. The second sets standards for the construction and deconstruction of solar farms on agricultural land. Lesley McCain, the Executive Director of the Illinois Solar Energy Association, answered some questions for CleanTechnica about the legislation. Continue reading here.

Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act Website

Pixabay Photo