Monthly Archives: September 2018

The US Is Ready For 100% Clean Energy — 10 Cities Model How To Get There

By Carolyn Fortuna, CleanTechnica

The Sierra Club’s “2018 Ready for 100 Case Study Report” outlines how 10 US cities have made ambitious commitments to be powered with 100% clean energy. These cities are embracing renewable energy options like wind and solar to show the progress and impact that cities can make to lead climate action globally and locally.

More than 80 cities in the US have now established policies to move away from dirty fuels and repower their communities with 100% clean, renewable energy sources. As a direct consequence, fossil fuels are being pushed out and expectations are rising for electric utilities, states, and energy generators to go all-in on clean and renewable power. Continue reading here.

Kearney Hub Opinion: Storage new frontier in race for clean energy

The city of Norfolk is fixing to one-up Kearney on the solar energy front, and we wish Norfolkans the best of luck. Earlier this week, the northeast Nebraska city entered an agreement with Nebraska Public Power District on a venture to build a sizable solar array and link it to an energy storage system. It doesn’t appear as if Norfolk’s array will rival Kearney’s in size, but the size of the system isn’t nearly as important as its ability to successfully plow new ground in the development of green energy. Continue reading here.

Photo: Kearney’s $11 million, 53-acre solar farm, currently the largest in the state.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST: NEBRASKA / MIDWEST NEWS

The Solar Warrior of Pine Ridge

By Laurie Brickman, Contributor, U.S. News & World Report

PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION, S.D. — Henry Red Cloud built Lakota Solar Enterprises and the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center on his family’s land, a plot of some 30 acres near a remote stretch of highway here. On an isolated expanse of the Northern Plains, it’s one of the harshest environments in the U.S., where temperatures in the winter can drop below zero, the frigidity punctuated by fierce storms able to drop power lines in furies of ice and wind.

But Red Cloud doesn’t see the extreme conditions as a handicap. For the last two decades, he has thrown himself into establishing a renewable energy program that can serve as an anchor for heating, electricity and job growth on Pine Ridge, home to the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe. Read more here.

Photo: Henry Red Cloud has led 1,500 trainings for representatives of dozens of tribes in the Northern Plains region.

Nebraska Energy Quarterly

By The Nebraska Energy Office

In this issue:

Nebraska Energy Quarterly

SEIA CEO Abigail Hopper On The Future Of Solar

CleanTechnica Interview by Charles W. Thurston

CleanTechnica: What is your outlook for the U.S. solar industry?

Hopper: The future of solar is bright, I have to say. Our company members knew about the step-down of the federal tax credit, have planned for it, and are still building their businesses. In the next five years, solar installation will double. Some 8 gigawatts were announced during the first half of this year. Corporate and industrial projects are now about 10% to 12% of demand, so there are opportunities along the value chain.
Continue reading here.

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Dane County working to become a national leader in renewable energy, Madison Magazine

In 2017, Madison became the first Wisconsin city (and the 25th in the nation) to formally commit to 100 percent renewable energy, and now groups such as the city’s Sustainable Madison Committee and Dane County’s Council on Climate Change are working with consultants, utilities, businesses, nonprofits and citizens to go completely green. According to those involved, this is not some utopian liberal Madison goal — it makes the most fiscal sense for taxpayers and the timing has never been better.

MORE U.S. RENEWABLE ENERGY & STORAGE NEWS

Utility Solar + Storage Accelerates Ahead Of Expectations — #CleanTechnica at #SPI2018

The current demand timetable is “a profound shift and one that is faster than we anticipated,” says Hugh McDermott, the senior vice president of development and sales for iron flow battery maker ESS, based in Portland. This acceleration in demand in the market — estimated at close to 2 GW of energy storage capacity for a 4 hour period — was echoed by other industry execs during the opening day of the Third International Battery & Energy Storage meeting here in Anaheim, California.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

World Bank bets big on batteries for solar energy boost, Phys.Org

Solar energy could be a huge source of power in Africa, but its potential has been stymied by storage batteries that are too expensive and inadequate for use in poor countries. The World Bank aims to break through that bottleneck, announcing plans Wednesday to invest $1 billion—and leverage it by another $4 billion—to boost developing countries‘ energy storage capacity from 4.5 to 17.5 Gigawatt hours by 2025. Photo: Solar array at George Airport, South Africa’s first solar-powered airport. 

China and India lead the surge to solar energy, Financial Times
Emerging markets leave developed nations behind in race for renewable power.

Netherlands to test viability of solar roads

Fortenberry: Small Farm, Big Tech

By Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
Fremont Tribune 

[Kelsey and Bob Larson] are the next generation of young farmers. Their dairy farm is small, but it is powered by big
tech . . . Beyond new milking and monitoring models, the farm is pushing the envelope in other compelling ways. Solar energy provides about 20% of the farm’s electricity.

Read more here.

 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & VIEWING

Winnebago to double its solar power systems: Ho-Chunk announces the installation of new solar arrays in nine locations, Siouxland Proud

Links to more stories are posted here and here.
Ho-Chunk Inc’s Website

  • Tribal Energy Webinar: Facility- and Community-Scale Project Development, September 26, 2018, 12 to 2 pm. If you are unable to attend today’s webinar, click here to access recordings and slides of past webinars and announcements of future ones.
  • Moving renewables across the U.S. is a challenge, The Wire, OPPD Blog
    [According to Joe Lang, director of Compliance and RTO Policy at OPPD, an NREL analysis] determined the cost to construct high-voltage transmission facilities to make full use of renewables nationally could cost about $1 trillion, which is about twice that of the U.S. interstate highway system.” But Aaron Bloom, the NREL official, said the undertaking would pay for itself in 15 years and then keep paying dividends. That’s because the transmission capacity would allow for the development of the highest quality and lowest cost renewable resources, with few geographic limitations.
  • OPPD’S Electric Vehicle (EV) Rebate Pilot Program: The fifty $4,500 rebates are gone. $500 charging station rebates are still available. More information is posted here.
  • NPPD, Norfolk seeking grant for battery energy storage project, NPPD News Release
    Columbus, Neb. Funding for battery energy storage system (BESS) demonstration project is being sought by the Nebraska Public Power District and the City of Norfolk that would be tied to a proposed community solar project planned for that community in 2019. That project is contingent on approval of a grant application submitted by NPPD to receive $490,000 in funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) for the two-year project.
  • Lincoln Electric System Public Meeting On The 2019 Budget, October 4, 2018, 6 pm at the Walter A. Canney Service Center: We’re proposing no rate increase and continuing to restructure rates as part of next year’s budget, keeping LES among the nation’s leaders in delivering highly reliable, low-cost electricity.

New Poll Shows Solar Is the Favored Form of Electricity Nationwide

SEIA News Release

76 percent of voters and 87 percent of opinion leaders think
their utility should deploy more solar power

The Global Strategy Group poll released today at Solar Power International, illustrates solar energy’s widespread appeal among voters and national support for pro-solar policies, such as net metering and renewable portfolio standards.

“Democrats, Republicans and Independents all said, everything being equal, they would vote against a politician who opposed solar power,” said Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) president and CEO, Abigail Ross Hopper. “Politicians can take this to the bank – Americans will not stand for government or company policies that prevent them from accessing clean, renewable, job-producing, affordable power.” Read the entire news release here.

To read the Global Strategy Group poll findings, go to www.seia.org/thisiswhy.

About SEIA
Celebrating its 44th anniversary in 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry, which now employs more than 250,000 Americans. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to build jobs and diversity, champion the use of cost-competitive solar in America, remove market barriers and educate the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.

Solar industry unveils campaign to streamline solar permitting

SEIA News Release Posted On PV Magazine USA

As Solar Power International kicks off in California, the U.S. solar industry is taking a major step toward alleviating one of the biggest hurdles to installing solar on homes and businesses – cumbersome and inconsistent permitting and inspection processes.

With the support of industry leaders, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and The Solar Foundation today are unveiling the Solar Automated Permit Processing (SolarAPP) initiative, which will streamline permitting and slash the cost of solar installations.
Read more here.

Photo: Bob and Gina’s solar-powered home in Lincoln. Installed by SWT Energy.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

Plans move ahead for solar-powered, mixed-income Ann Arbor community, Michigan Live

“It would be the most innovative project probably easily within the state,” said County Commission Chairman Andy LaBarre. “It’s something I look at not just as good policy but as a great thing to do.”

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

TetraPak Adds Solar Array to Headquarters in Texas, Energy Manager Today: Tetra Pak plans to install a new solar array at the company’s US and Canada headquarters in Denton, Texas. Once up and running, the array will produce 1,027,638 kWh annually, according to the global food processing and packaging solutions company. As a member of RE100, Tetra Pak aims to use only renewable electricity across all global operations by 2030. Currently global company gets half its electricity supply from renewables. Tetra Pak has more than 23,000 employees based in over 80 countries working on food processing and packaging.

Local solar at the heart of Cleveland’s 100% renewable energy goal, PV Magazine
The Midwestern city is looking to put community solar on vacant and contaminated land and making it easier for residents and business to go solar, as well as employing community choice aggregation.

ADDITIONAL NEWS ON SMART LAND USE FOR SOLAR DEVELOPMENT
Unprecedented landfill solar project completed in Maryland, PV Magazine
An 18 MW project developed by BQ Energy has turned otherwise unusable land into enough generation to power 12% of the city of Annapolis.

INTERVIEWS
The Wright Way, Windpower Monthly
Having joined the company as an intern, MidAmerican CEO Adam Wright combines in-depth experience of the business with the competitiveness of a former professional NFL player as the utility works to deliver on its 100% renewable energy promise. The 100% renewables benchmark will be met — even exceeded — when the company’s $922-million 591MW Wind XII project is completed in late 2020 or 2021. It is subject to approval by the Iowa Utilities Board. Photo: Adam Wright, left, interviewed by AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan at Windpower 2018, YouTube.

The Death Of The Gasmobile: EV Charging As A Service 
CleanTechnica sat down for a phone interview with Enel’s Alberto Piglia. For those of you new to Enel, the company’s ventures as a sustainable energy provider are on high profile display in the US, with its massive 320-megawatt Rattlesnake wind farm in Nebraska.
Mr. Piglia is head of e-mobility services for Enel X, the wing of Enel tasked with marrying digital solutions to zero emission driving. Think cloud-based services and you’re on the right track . . . The EV charging market has been heating up in the US, too, so brace yourself. Enel X is casting its eye on the US and other EV charging markets beyond Italy (if all this is beginning to sound familiar, keep your eye on the company 
eMotorWerks, which was acquired by Enel just last fall).

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING


Con Ed Buying $1.54B Renewable Energy Portfolio From Sempra Energy, North American Windpower
The assets in the sale include the Broken Bow II wind farm in Nebraska.

Photo: NPPD Wind Generation

 

  • Despite Tariffs, Utility Solar Is Picking Up Steam, Greentech Media 
    New data from Wood Mackenzie shows a surge in project procurement in 2018.
  • URI ocean engineer: Sound from wind farm operations having no effect on environment,
    University of Rhode Island News. The researcher is James H. Miller, University of Rhode Island professor of ocean engineering. Miller’s acoustic monitoring of the wind farm is part of an effort by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to understand the impact of wind turbine construction and operations on the environment so future wind farms can be planned appropriately. The Bureau has funded Miller  — through Nebraska-based engineering consultants HDR Inc. — to evaluate the sound from wind farm construction and operations at other locations along the East Coast. 
  • If you build it, they will buy it: sPower refinances $499 million of wind and solar, PV Magazine. The independent power producer has closed on a $499 million, investment grade, private placement financing representing approximately 650 MW of utility-scale wind and solar power projects.

CLIMATE ACTION NEWS

Exclusive: Exxon, Chevron join global industry climate group, Axios. Some of America’s most powerful U.S.-based oil companies — ExxonMobil, Chevron and Occidental Petroleum — are joining a global consortium of oil and gas producers seeking to address climate change, Axios has learned. Why it matters: The companies are the first U.S.-based members of the group, called the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative. This is one of the strongest signs yet of how America’s biggest oil companies, under pressure from investors and lawsuits, are joining most other U.S. corporations in working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions despite President Trump reversing America’s course on the matter.

Solar Solutions: Iowa hog farmer cuts power bill by double digits

Fort Dodge Messenger
Editor: Darcy Dougherty-Maulsby

The drop in [Dwight] Dial’s power bill has been dramatic since his solar equipment started powering his home and farm in mid-July. While his May-June 2018 electrical bill was $762 and the June-July bill was $580, the bill dropped to $263 after the solar system had run for 17 days in mid- to late-July. His August-September bill plunged to $77.

While the cost of Dial’s solar project totaled $85,000, he paid only a fraction of this, thanks to current tax incentives, grants and other resources. He received a 30 percent federal tax credit, along with a 15 percent state tax credit, for installing his solar energy system. He also worked with a local grant writer to apply for a federal grant, which he received. “That helped pick up another 13 percent of the system’s total cost,” Dial said. “With all the incentives, it was like paying $27 for something that normally costs $100.” Read more here.

Photo: Family Farm in Minden
Project: 21-kilowatt solar system in Minden, Nebraska installed by GC Resolve. This array provides most of the farm’s energy needs. The project was partly funded by a USDA Rural Energy for America (REAP) grant, which covered 25% of its cost. Additional financing was obtained through the Nebraska Energy Office’s low-interest loan program for solar installations.
Installer: Graham Christensen, GC Resolve
See Solar Examples to view more solar-powered Nebraska farms.

Ways Nebraska Food Producers, Rural & Urban, Can Significantly Cut the
Costs of Solar & Small Wind Projects

FEDERAL INCENTIVES

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems and small wind turbines: 30% through 2018 and 2019. Small wind: 100 kilowatts or less. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants
NOTE: Qualified applicants include urban as well as rural food producers.
REAP grants provide up to 25% of the total project costs, and a grant and loan combination up to 75%. Eligible projects include renewable energy systems and the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements.

See Also

LINCOLN ELECTRIC SYSTEM’S SOLAR INCENTIVE
LES offers customers a one-time capacity payment of up to $1,000 per kilowatt of peak demand reduced. The total amount customers can receive is determined by the primary direction the system is facing, for example:

  • Southern facing fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $375.
  • Western facing or single or dual axis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.
    Source: Customer-owned Renewable Generation

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

City plans dedication for Oct. 1

The Fremont Tribune

The City of Fremont will be hosting a dedication for Solar Farm No. 2, the electric vehicle charging stations and the plug-in hybrid vehicles at 10 a.m. Oct. 1 at Solar Farm No. 2, located at 3851 East Hills Farm Road (near the intersection of Old Highway 275 and Hills Farm Road). The public is invited. Read more here.

Photo Courtesy of Troy Schaben, Assistant Fremont City Administrator of Utilities: Fremont’s First Solar Farm

RELATED NEWS STORY
City’s electric vehicle charging stations up-and-running, by Colin Larson, Fremont Tribune