Monthly Archives: December 2018

Omaha World-Herald Editorial: Blueprint Nebraska has potential to address important needs across the state

The Nebraska Blueprint initiative is a worthy project that aims big. It’s drawing input from
Nebraskans across the state for a long-term strategy to maximize economic development and improvements in Nebraskans’ quality of life.

The project has significant pluses. It has strong support from a wide range of state
organizations, businesses and community leaders. Jim Smith, a capable former state senator from Papillion, is the initiative’s executive director . . . Blueprint Nebraska has 16 “industry
councils” to gather information on specific issues and develop strategies. Read more here.

The program is similar to Blueprint Mississippi, of which University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds was part before he came to Nebraska. Bounds has said the program in Mississippi
generated thousands of high-paying, long-lasting jobs. Source: 
Papillion Sen. Jim Smith resigns from Legislature early to take on new role with economic group, Omaha World-Herald,
July 10, 2018

Related
North Platte Telegraph Editorial: Nebraska isn’t for everyone, but we could be

Links to More Information

Blueprint Nebraska Survey & Report
In Spring 2019, the Steering Committee will issue a comprehensive report that will recommend five or six areas that it believes Nebraskans must focus on in order to achieve the ultimate goal of
long-lasting economic prosperity for everyone.
Click here to learn more and to link to the Blueprint Nebraska Survey.

10 Ways Science Based Targets Can Improve Your Business

By Mike Scott, Contributor, Forbes

More than 500 of the world’s largest companies have set targets to cut emissions in line with climate science. The consultancy thinkstep has
explained why the targets are such a powerful business tool, “beyond the obvious ethical reasons for working to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

#10: Younger consumers and workers are more interested in
sustainability than their elders. In 2019, thinkstep says, millennials will overtake baby boomers as the largest generation – and climate change is their number one concern – they want to work for a company they can believe in. “Setting science-based targets is a powerful way to communicate the legitimacy of your brand to current and potential
co-workers and retain their loyalty,” thinkstep says. Read more here.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Divestment Year in Review 2018 — #CleanTechnica Report

Over 1000 institutions with managed investments worth almost $8 trillion have committed to divest from fossil fuels. Go Fossil Free.Org Report: 1000 Divestment Commitments And Counting

  • Money managers: the new warriors of climate change, Financial Times
    Following decades of campaigning by environmentalists and non-government organizations, it is now spreadsheet-analyzing money managers — responsible for the nest eggs of millions of people — who are forming a new generation of climate activists. And these activists are backed by trillions of dollars.
  • 6 times the environment won in 2018, Grist
    Folks across the country, from local city leaders to state attorneys general, are out there chipping away at the biggest existential threat of our time. And they’re actually getting somewhere. Here’s proof.
  • Power Plant Accident Casts New Light On New York’s Dirty Fuel Addiction, Huffington Post
    The bright-blue sky dazzled the city’s residents, but the source of the light — one of New York’s dirtiest power plants — could stoke an already heated debate.

Year-End Reflections and Predictions From a Solar Veteran

Vote Solar’s Adam Browning offers up his picks for the most
important trends of 2018. Published by Greentech Media.

In 2002, when solar was $9 a watt, I co-founded an advocacy organization to bring solar into the mainstream. Solar’s made a lot of progress since then, and 2018 feels like a crucial year in many ways, with some key successes and pivotal developments.

Here’s my list of the most important stories in solar in 2018, and predictions for 2019.

Continue reading here.

Congress should consider nationwide, voluntary reporting

Written by Charles Hernick and Benjamin Backer, Guest Opinion, The Hill

voluntary federal framework for carbon reporting and offset exchange would increase transparency and accountability in the carbon space and is an actionable solution to the growing concerns over carbon emissions.

In short, it will help make sense of what states and businesses are already doing. To date, over 383 cities and municipalities have joined together as The Climate Mayors to reduce their own emissions. Additionally, more than 2,500 mayors, governors, CEOs, college presidents, faith organizations, and tribal leaders have moved to similarly track and reduce emissions.
Read more here.

About the Authors
Charles Hernick is the director of policy and advocacy at Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) Forum, a nonpartisan, nonprofit  organization committed to educating the public and influencing the national conversation about clean energy. Benjamin Backer is the President & Founder of The American Conservation Coalition (ACC) nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering conservatives to re-engage on environmental conversations.

Referenced Initiatives: Click logos to link to websites.  

 

 

Previously Posted

MORE AGGREGATION INFORMATION & NEWS

Community Choice Aggregation, also called Municipal Aggregation:

2018 Farm Bill Includes Key Renewable Energy Program

By Tina Casey, CleanTechnica

The Department of Agriculture’s renewable energy grant and loan programs are pulled together under an initiative called REAP for Rural Energy for America Program. REAP got its start in 2008 as an iteration of the agency’s Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program. That program was established in 2002 with an initial $23 million in funding for grants, loan guarantees, and combination packages. As for why renewable energy programs are bundled into supporting legislation for the agriculture industry, the connection between food and energy is no mystery: it takes energy to run farm equipment. Read more here.

Photo: Harmony Nursery in Bradshaw, Nebraska. The 25-kilowatt solar system was a USDA
Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant award-winner. Installed by Graham Christensen, owner of GC ReVOLT, LLC.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Enel Green Power brings online 620 MW of new wind capacity in the United States

Enel Green Power News Release

Enel, through its US renewable company Enel Green Power North America, Inc. (EGPNA), has started operations of the 320 MW Rattlesnake Creek wind farm, its first wind facility in the US state of Nebraska, and the Diamond Vista wind farm of around 300 MW in Kansas. Combined, the two new wind farms will generate around 2,600 GWh annually. With these two wind farms, the total renewable capacity that Enel Green Power has connected to grids around the world this year amounts to approximately 2.6 GW, of which over 830 MW in North America. Read more here.

Image Credit: OPPD

Previously Posted News Release
Enel sells energy from new US wind farm to Facebook and Adobe

Take local action on climate change

Written by Roy D. Buol, Mayor of Dubuque and a member of
Mayors for Solar Energy, Guest Columnist, The Gazette

The federal government’s Fourth National Climate Assessment should be a major wake-up call for the Midwest. The report details the serious consequences of our addiction to fossil fuels in communities such as Dubuque and throughout the Midwest. Our elected leaders not only need to acknowledge the gravity and urgency of the problem but do everything in their power to solve it . . . Dubuque is working to prevent the worst of these effects by advancing clean, carbon-free renewable energy at the local level. With the adoption of Dubuque’s plan to reduce the community’s greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent below 2003 levels by 2030, the City Council solidified our commitment to mitigating and adapting to climate impacts. Read more here.

Image: Alliant Energy’s Solar Facility in Dubuque
The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) announced April 2018 that the Dubuque Solar project earned the Envision Platinum rating for sustainable infrastructure – the highest Envision award level. This is the first solar project to receive Envision recognition, and second project in Iowa to receive an Envision Platinum rating.

 

Mayors for Solar Members in Nebraska
Mayors join call for more solar power

 

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

Wind Dominates First-Quarter Midwest Power Project Starts, Completions, an Industrial Info News Alert, PR Newswire
Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas) is tracking nearly $6 billion in Power Industry projects that are planned to start or be completed in the U.S. Midwest market region in first-quarter 2019. The Midwest includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Wind power dominates these projects in terms of project value. Iowa, with more than $1.8 billion in planned starts and completions, leads in terms of project value. 

Minnesota Regulators Approve Nobles 2 Wind PPA, North American Windpower
Minnesota Power, a utility division of ALLETE Inc., has received unanimous approval from the
Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with
[Omaha-based] Tenaska Inc. for 250 MW of wind-generated electricity.

MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Solar farm approvals on deck; B-N group-buy matches first, Bloomington Pantagraph. McLean County is on track to have 18 solar farms considered for state approval this spring, with small-scale solar development still marching along after another successful group-buy program. StraightUp Solar Photo: A solar farm at Home Nursery, a wholesale nursery in Albers, Illinois.

UTILITIES IN THE NEWS

Xcel Energy: Utility of the Year?
By Robert Rapier, 
Moneyshow.com
Historically, most of Xcel’s wind generation was produced under power-purchase agreements from third parties. But that’s about to change. Xcel has approved 4,780 MW of new wind power by 2021, of which it will own 74%. Xcel plans to invest $1 billion in Colorado over the next few years. It is targeting an increase in renewables to about 55% of its energy mix by 2026 . . . Expect more utilities to follow Xcel’s example. Global pressure to address climate change has been a factor to this point in the rapid adoption of renewables. But now that they are becoming cost-competitive with coal, renewables increasingly look like a smart decision, for both utilities and investors. Flickr Photo

Utilities are accelerating microgrid investments in innovative and strategic ways, GreenBiz
The electric utility sector is at a crossroads between centralized generation and distributed energy
resources (DERs), with 2018 DER deployments exceeding additions for centralized generation.

SOLSMART UPDATE

 

The SolSmart Application has been revised.
Click here to download and review it.

Researchers present Columbus, OH leaders with climate adaptation plan

By Katie Pyzyk, Smart Cities Dive

A task force led by researchers at Ohio State University has submitted the Columbus Climate Adaptation Plan (CCAP) to city leaders. The primary goal of the document is not to mitigate climate change, but rather to prepare the city and its residents for the projected effects of climate change and inform them of adaptations that should be made. The document contains 43 action items in eight main areas including extreme heat, water use and air quality and energy.
Read more here.
Columbus Climate Adaptation Plan (PDF), Completed December 2018

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Additional Midwest Climate Action
Evanston adopts climate action and resiliency plan, Medill Reports 

IN NEBRASKA
Resources
Nebraska State Climate Office
Previously-posted information on steps taken toward a state climate action plan:

C2ES RESOURCES

MORE CLIMATE ACTION & RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCES

NATIONAL SCIENCE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION POSITION STATEMENT:
THE TEACHING OF CLIMATE SCIENCE

The science of climate change is firmly rooted in decades of peer-reviewed scientific literature and is as sound and advanced as other established geosciences that have provided deep understandings in fields such as plate tectonics and planetary astronomy. As such, A Framework for K–12 Science Education recommends that foundational climate change science concepts be included as part of a high-quality K–12 science education. Given the solid scientific foundation on which climate change science rests, any controversies regarding climate change and human-caused contributions to climate change that are based on social, economic, or political arguments—rather than scientific
arguments—should not be part of a science curriculum.
Read the entire position statement here.
Download as a PDF here.

Solar training and certification is a journey, not a destination

By Solar Energy International, Solar Power World Contributor

“How long will it take me to get NABCEP-certified?” If we had a dollar for every time we heard that question from potential students here at Solar Energy International (SEI), we would never have to have another giving-campaign for our non-profit school’s operations. As solar
educators, we love talking with training program candidates about their career goals and
helping them choose a program track that fits their expectations. However, we often first have to address the common misconceptions for what it takes to get into the solar industry and be
successful in a rewarding career. Continue reading here.

Solar Energy International will be contributing training columns to Solar Power World throughout the next year.

LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION

FREE SEI ONLINE COURSE
RE100 Introduction to Renewable Energy is a free course that covers the basics of renewable energy, and is a great introduction for those new to the field, those who are looking to make a career change, or those who just want to learn more about energy from the sun, wind, and water, energy efficiency, and the basics of electricity. Upon completion of the course – with good quiz grades – you will receive a printable SEI Record of Completion. RE100 is made up of ten lessons, each containing a lecture-capture video presentation by an SEI instructor, readings, a quiz, and discussion forums. Your work will be saved as you go and you can return to it later for up to six weeks after you register.

Plugging in for an electric road trip

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire, OPPD Blog

OPPD customer Syed Ali decided to document his trip from Omaha to Princeton, N.J. The
reason was simple. His friends, especially those in the electric car community, liked the photos he took of his Chevrolet Bolt.

So Ali, a data scientist who serves as chief statistician for Analytics Led Intelligence, took photos in Des Moines, Chicago, Pittsburgh and every single charging station along the way. From car dealerships to Walmarts and hotels, Ali documented it all. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: OPPD

Note: Syed Ali is President-Elect of Nebraskans for Solar and will become President on
January 1, 2019. Our nonprofit organization has the board governance structure of President, President-Elect and Past President. Our current President is Michael Shonka, owner of Solar Heat & Electric, and Past President, Jared Friesen, Renewable Energy Specialist at Morrissey Engineering, Inc. Ali and his wife, Shama, are currently installing a 6-kilowatt PV system to charge their electric vehicles and to provide renewable energy for their home. They plan to add a Tesla Powerwall to their system.

About Jason Kuiper
Jason Kuiper joined OPPD as a communications specialist in 2015. He formerly worked as a staff writer and reporter at the Omaha World-Herald.
View all posts by Jason Kuiper.

OPPD’S ELECTRIC VEHICLE REBATE PILOT PROGRAM

OPPD is offering rebates in order to build an electric grid for the future and an infrastructure that will handle increases in EV charging. By participating, you’ll be helping OPPD gauge where people are charging their EVs and how much energy is being used to do it.

  • $500 Rebate On ChargePoint Home Charging Station
  • Dealership Discounts
    Incentive Requirements
    $3,000 incentive towards a 2018 Nissan Leaf purchased between June 4, 2018 &
    January 2, 2019
    $1,000 incentive towards a 2019 Audi e-tron
    Available to all OPPD customers
  • (Up To) $7,500 Federal Tax Incentive
    Federal tax incentives
     currently remain available. OPPD recommends that you speak to your tax advisor for specific details.

Click here for more information on how to take advantage of these incentives while they last.