Monthly Archives: October 2018

Keystone XL Pipeline Back In Court. Seven Questions You Should Be Asking

By Bill Kelly, Senior Producer/Reporter, NET News

What are the issues to be decided?
Four parties are appealing the decision by the Public Service Commission. Around 90 landowners make up one group. The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and South Dakota’s Yankton Sioux Tribe filed two separate objections. The environmental group Sierra Club filed a separate complaint. The landowners are seeking to throw out the PSC’s approval, in a close 3-2 vote, of the so-called “mainline alternative” route. Their attorneys make the case, in briefs filed in advance of the hearing, TransCanada didn’t formally seek approval for that route, and presented a majority of its evidence for a different “preferred” route.

Opponents argue because no substantive evidence was presented in its original application or during days of public hearings the process must start anew with fresh evidence defending the “mainline alternative.” There are also claims by the landowners that the process used by the state was flawed from the start and TransCanada did not advance its application to the PSC in an appropriate manner. Read more here.

NET Photo: Nebraska Supreme Court Chambers

MORE RECOMMENDED READING
FERC Commissioner: Time to weigh pipelines’ climate threats, E&E News (subscription)
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission needs to acknowledge the “existential threat” posed by climate change and address it in the context of the natural gas projects it reviews, said Commissioner Richard Glick yesterday.

ADDITIONAL NET NEWS REPORT
From Endless Pines To Oil Mines: The Alberta Tar Sands, by Hannah Trull

Illinois is set to become the Midwest’s solar power leader

By Karen Graham, Digital Journal

Illinois is experiencing a boom in solar energy projects stemming from the state’s Future Energy Jobs Act, a 2016 law that sets a target of getting 25 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2025 . . . At the end of the 2nd quarter of 2018, Illinois ranked 34th, up from 43rd in 2017 in solar capacity. The state has only 97.84 MW of installed solar power. Rankings and installed solar capacity are about to change for the better, so much so that Illinois could end up being the Midwest’s leader in solar energy in a matter of a few years. Read more here.

Future Energy Jobs Act

Photo: Shedd Acquarium in Chicago. The 265-kilowatt solar project is a highlight in itself—it is the largest installation at any cultural institution in Illinois—but it’s only the first step of Shedd’s plan to cut energy usage in half by 2020.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

NATIONAL NEWS

ENERGY STORAGE RESOURCES

Special coverage of energy storage markets & technology, courtesy of pv magazine, by Christian Roselund. PV Magazine brings you a special edition devoted to the fast-growing energy storage space, including a look at its thornier challenges.

Click image to download and save the PDF.

 

Clean Energy Group has redesigned their Resilient Power Toolkit to make it easier to locate the resources you need to understand resilient power system technologies, their economics, and how to approach developing a new resilient solar+storage project.

“We’re always refining our toolbox of resources and making new additions, like our recent permitting and interconnection guide and a storage guide for homeowners from Solar United Neighbors. If you know of useful resources missing from our toolkit or are looking for something you can’t find, send us an email.” – Seth Mullendore, Vice President, Project Director: seth@cleanegroup.org

Seven states to double their wind power in near term as Q3 development picks up

American Wind Energy Association News Release

WASHINGTON — Seven states, from Nebraska to Massachusetts, will soon build enough wind turbines to more than double their capacity to generate clean and reliable wind energy, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) U.S. Wind Industry Third Quarter 2018 Market Report released today. The report also reveals the first firm orders for 4-megawatt (MW) land-based wind turbines, nearly twice as powerful as the average wind turbine installed in 2017 . . . The average utility-scale wind turbine installed in 2017 was rated at 2.32 MW but more powerful wind turbines are on the horizon, according to AWEA. In the third quarter, new orders for wind turbines include land-based turbines above 4 MW for the first time, which are capable of powering 1,400 homes a year. Read more here.

Photo: “Wind Rainbow,” AWEA’s Wind Energy Image Gallery

Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Energy Office

SUN Guide: Battery Storage For Homeowners

The nonprofit Solar United Neighbors has published a
comprehensive guide to battery storage.

More homeowners than ever are looking into battery storage as an option for their homes. In the first quarter of 2018, the market for residential battery storage grew nine-fold! Our guide is designed to help you decide if adding battery storage is right for you.

This guide will inform you:

  • How battery back-up works
  • About the different types of batteries
  • What battery storage costs
  • How to best pair a solar system with battery storage
  • What to look for in a qualified installer

Click Link To Download: Battery Storage For Homeowners.

Weatherization program pays off in long-term savings

McCook Gazette Editorial

Unfortunately, people who would benefit the most from lower energy bills often cannot afford the improvements to achieve them. That’s where the Nebraska Weatherization Assistance Program comes in. Tuesday is Weatherization Day in Nebraska, spotlighting an effort that has been weatherizing homes for low-income and elderly citizens for more than 42 years.

Eight non-profit community service providers operate the program. Since the Weatherization Assistance Program began, over $204 million went to make energy efficiency improvements in more than 68,800 Nebraska homes affecting the lives of thousands of Nebraskans, many of who are elderly, disabled, and families with children. Learn more here.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

Photo: Walmart Rooftop Solar 

CLEAN ENERGY JOBS & TRAINING PROGRAMS 

RESEARCH

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University want to push solar panel lifespans to 50 years, Solar Power World. A team of solar energy researchers from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio has been awarded $1.35 million from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office to continue its work toward increasing the efficiency and lifetime of photovoltaic modules—specifically aimed at pushing their lifespan to 50 years.

FEATURED VIDEO

What Happens in the Arctic Doesn’t Stay in the Arctic is a six-minute video produced by the Aspen Global Change Institute. 

Cities collectively buying renewables: “LA led way to leveraging EV RFPs, more cities follow with renewables”

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced in June plans to partner with other cities to explore collective purchasing of renewable energy in order to bring down costs and incentivize more development. So far on board are cities including Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Portland and Orlando. The RFI aggregates the 20 cities’ combined 5,700 GWh of annual municipal loads said Adam Jacobs, Boston’s energy manager in the webinar hosted by the American Council on Renewable Energy.

Read more here.

Photo Credit: Depositphotos

Related

MORE AGGREGATION NEWS

Photo by SunEdison: San Diego Canopies

  • San Diego to form world’s largest Community Choice Aggregation, PV Magazine
    The announcement comes as a part of Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer’s ambitious 100% by 2035 renewable energy mandate for the city. CCAs happen when local governments, either municipalities or counties, form an entity to procure electricity for their communities. In the Golden State they have allowed communities to procure renewable energy even more rapidly than the statewide 60% by 2030 mandate. 
  • Businesses Unite To Drive Uptake of Renewable Energy In Australia, The Climate Group
    RE100 has gone Down Under, demonstrating the potential for corporate sourcing of renewables to help shift the energy market in Australia away from polluting coal. This week saw the first Australian meeting of RE100 – the global corporate leadership initiative on renewable electricity led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP.

MORE NATIONAL / INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Photo Credit: Google

CLEAN ENERGY JOBS

1.8 Million Clean Energy Workers Employed In Top 50 American Metro Areas

ADDITIONAL CLEAN TECHNICA INTERVIEW

Google’s Renewable Energy Leadership (#CleanTechnica Interview)

Morrissey Engineering

Inside Business, Omaha World-Herald

Morrissey Engineering announced that its headquarters, the 4940 Building, has been awarded LEED Platinum certification under the v4.1 O+M beta rating system. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.

This is the second LEED Platinum certification for the 4940 Building, which became the first Platinum certified project in the state of Nebraska in 2009 as part of original construction. The certification is also the first of its kind in the U.S. Continue reading here.

www.morrisseyengineering.com

Note: Jared Friesen, NABCEP-Certified Renewable Energy Specialist with Morrissey Engineering, is Nebraskans for Solar’s immediate Past President, having served as President in 2017. Nebraskans for Solar’s board has the governance structure of President, President-Elect and Past President.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Henry Doorly Zoo Solar Shade Canopy Utilizing Bifacial Solar Panels

  • OPPD, UNMC partner on state’s largest rooftop solar array, The Wire, OPPD Blog
    The UNMC campus will soon house 1,487 solar panels in a rooftop solar installation atop three campus buildings: the Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education, Truhlsen Eye Institute, and the Harold M. and Beverly Maurer Center for Public Health. The panels will generate up to 500 kilowatts of solar-powered electricity to help power UNMC, beginning in 2019. Morrissey Engineering also provided design services and project management for solar installations at the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium’s Skyfari station at the Africa Grasslands exhibit, Lincoln Electric System’s Service Center, the Bellevue Public Safety building, and several Baxter auto dealerships in Lincoln and Omaha.
  • Five ‘Solar-Ready’ Building Preparation Tips, written by Jared Friesen

IEEFA Analysis: 15.4 GW of coal-fired capacity will close this year

Kentucky coal plant to close, latest among accelerating shutdowns
By Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Source: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA)

Coal-fired generators continue to close down, and Henderson’s power plant is only the most recent example. According to the Sierra Club, the plant is the 277th coal generator to close since 2010. And new research finds closures are accelerating.

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) on Thursday released an analysis estimating 15.4 GW of coal-fired capacity will close this year, including 44 units at 22 plants. This year at least 11 GW have retired and the final tally is predicted to eclipse the previous record of 14.7 GW retired in 2015. IEEFA estimates another 21.4GW of coal-fired capacity will close over the next six years. Read more here.

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

Clean Energy Funds Target Growing Demand for Renewable Energy

By Amy Brown, Triple Pundit

According to the International Energy Agency’s latest market forecast, renewables will continue their expansion in the next five years, covering 40 percent of global energy consumption growth. Their use continues to increase most rapidly in the electricity sector, and will account for almost a third of total world electricity generation in 2023.

As such, large utilities like NextEra Energy and MidAmerican Energy are making huge investments in renewables. James L. Robo, CEO of NextEra Energy, one of the country’s largest power generators, predicted that solar and wind power will be cheaper than coal or nuclear generation by the beginning of the next decade. MidAmerican Energy, the majority of which is owned by billionaire investor Warren Buffet’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, has set its sights on getting 100 percent of its electricity from wind power by 2020.  Read more here.

Pixabay Photo

MORE ENERGY TRANSITION NEWS & RESOURCES

Photo by Rob Davis

HAPPENING IN OTHER STATES

EXAMPLES OF PROJECTS FUNDED BY DOE’S RECENT $53 MILLION SOLAR INVESTMENTSClick image to link to the American Solar Workforce Website.

FEATURED VIDEO

U. S. Air Force Tech Report: Solar Power

Solar energy is playing a larger role in how the Air Force is modernizing bases, making them more resilient and less dependent on fossil fuels. Using the sun is also a cost-effective way to update aging power grids.

Midlands Voices: This is what democracy looks like

By John Crabtree, Omaha World-Herald

The writer, of Lyons, Nebraska, is the Nebraska campaign representative of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.

Democracy is at the heart of public power. By listening to their customer-owners, the Omaha Public Power District board members can honor that democratic principle and gain the collective wisdom and courage of their constituents. Today, those customer-owners are calling for less coal and more clean energy, and the environmental and economic opportunities which will follow a shift to 100 percent clean energy.

Three years ago, OPPD proposed and quickly approved one of the country’s most regressive rate hikes. The proposal significantly increased the fixed amount that every OPPD customer pays each month, burdening low-income residents and dampening a growing interest in local clean energy projects. OPPD’s board approved the rate hike despite overwhelming opposition, leaving many to wonder if the “public” aspect of public power had been lost. There is, however, a chance for redemption. OPPD is currently accepting comments on a policy, known as Strategic Directive 7, that sets goals for the utility’s environmental stewardship. Continue reading here.

Related News Stories – Previously Posted
Omaha World-Herald: Despite pleas to consider the poor, OPPD board OKs revised rate plan
Utility Dive: Nebraska municipal utilities move to increase fixed charges 

Current
PV Magazine: Utilities seek greater fees on customers who go solar

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Sierra Club’s Ready for 100%
Currently 88 cities have committed to 100% renewable energy in Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 initiative. The Sierra Club, founded in 1892, has 3.5 million members and supporters nationwide. Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 recently teamed up with Climate Parents and Seventh Generation for 100% clean energy.
Recently Released: 2018 Case Studies Reports featuring 10 new cities that are ready for 100% clean energy!

More initiatives are posted here: 

That $3 Trillion-a-Year Clean Energy Transformation? It’s Already Underway.