Monthly Archives: March 2019

New Project Would More Than Double Wisconsin’s Solar Energy Output

By Hope Kirwin, Wisconsin Public Radio

A major utility in western Wisconsin has announced plans for a new solar farm in Jefferson
County. Dairyland Power Cooperative plans to purchase 149 megawatts of solar energy from the Badger State Solar project. That’s almost six times Dairyland’s current solar investment and
would more than double the state’s solar production, The new partnership would create one of the largest solar farms in Wisconsin. The solar farm would be built by development company
Ranger Power on private land in the towns of Jefferson and Oakland. Read more here.

Ranger Power Photo

Related

MORE NEWS FROM STATES


Big cheese gets big solar+storage proposal, PV Magazine
Invenergy has proposed a solar project up to 200 MWac / 300 MWdc in capacity with a 50 MW / 200 MWh battery in Kenosha County, Wisconsin.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

State of the states: 4 reasons that red plus blue makes green economics, Utility Dive Contributor Malcolm D. Woolf, managing director of MW Energy Advisors and former chair of the National Association of State Energy Officials.

Washington, D.C. is abuzz with the Green New Deal, but my bet is that the most pivotal energy legislation enacted this year comes from red and blue state houses across the nation.

GLOBAL NEWS

Rise of bifacial lifts profits for the world’s tracker companies, PV Magazine

Soltec Image: Single-axis tracker

Rural America is ready for some sort of a New Deal, preferably green

By Art Cullen, Published by The Guardian and Republished by Yahoo! News

The Midwest would welcome a New Deal, and this is where it must start. The Great Plains from Iowa down through Kansas and Texas lead the world in wind energy production. Yet the wind energy production tax credit is set to wane and expire over the next five years. Those wind
turbine royalties are increasingly important in western Kansas where you can barely raise a corn crop even with irrigation because of soil degradation and warmer nights wrought by
climate change. Wind energy technicians who keep the blades whirring are paid good union wages and are welcome residents in tiny Iowa villages. They could ply their trade in West
Virginia as well. Read the entire article here.

Art Cullen is editor of the Storm Lake Times in Iowa and won the 2017 Pulitzer prize for editorial writing. Cullen is the author of the book, Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper (Viking 2018).

Spring Deadline for USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Applications:
Includes information on incentives for solar and small wind.

The spring deadline to apply for USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants is April 1, 2019.
Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round. REAP assists agricultural producers and rural small businesses in reducing energy costs and
consumption by purchasing and installing renewable
energy systems and making energy efficiency
improvements in their operations.

A 25-kilowatt photovoltaic system installed in 2015 powers the Hammond family farm
operations west of Benedict, Nebraska. Photo Credit: Matt Ryerson / Lincoln Journal Star

Rick Hammond’s array cost $84,864 in 2015, but a combination of a USDA grant and federal tax credits brought the cost to him down to $19,100. Source: Farms flexing solar power, Lincoln Journal Star. Installers: MarLin Wind & Solar and North Star Solar Bears

Additional Recommended Reading

 

Rick Hammond and his family are the subjects of This Blessed Earth, the One Book, One Nebraska pick for 2019. Ted Genoways’ award-winning book is
also this year’s All Iowa Reads Selection.

 

More Farm Energy Resources

Supportive energy policy shines spotlight on rural Nebraska

Written by Lu Nelson, Policy Associate at the Center for Rural Affairs,
Contributing Opinion, The Grand Island Independent

Through net metering, homeowners are able to save on
energy rates while utilities gain access to local,
renewable energy that they can use to meet the needs
of other customers. Meanwhile, the installation of
generating systems like solar panels brings jobs to communities where consumers are looking to invest in projects. In Nebraska, the solar industry already
supports more than 1,300 jobs, and there is plenty of room for the industry to grow as panels continue to get cheaper and more efficient.

Legislative Bill 509 in the Nebraska Legislature would raise the existing cap on the size of projects that qualify for net metering. Allowing consumers to send more of their excess renewable energy to the grid helps lower costs, creates new economic opportunities, and promotes energy independence. Read more here.

LB 509: Redefine the terms net metering and qualified facility and change powers and duties of a local distribution utility

Upcoming Legislative Hearing
Nebraska Legislative Bill 678: Create the Volkswagen Settlement Cash Fund and provide duties for the Department of Environmental Quality
Introduced by Senator Tony Vargas
LB 678 Appropriations Committee Hearing: March 20. 2019 at 1:30 pm in Room 1003
Appropriations Committee
Senator John Stinner, Chairperson jstinner@leg.ne.gov
Senator Kate Bolz kbolz@leg.ne.gov

Senator Robert Clements rclements@leg.ne.gov
Senator Myron Dorn mdorn@leg.ne.gov
Senator Steve Erdman serdman@leg.ne.gov
Senator Robert Hilkemann rhilkemann@leg.ne.gov
Senator Mike McDonnell mmcdonnell@leg.ne.gov
Senator Tony Vargas tvargas@leg.ne.gov
Senator Anna Wishart awishart@leg.ne.gov

Testifier Guide (PDF)
Written Position Letter
If you are not testifying in person and would like to submit a written position letter to be
included in the official hearing record as an exhibit, the letter must be delivered to the office of the committee chair (or emailed to the committee chair) of the committee conducting the
hearing on the bill by 5:00 p.m. on the last work day prior to the public hearing.

Additionally, the letter must include your name and address, state a position of for, against, or neutral on the bill in question and include a request for the letter to be included as part of the public hearing record.

Upcoming Event: Nebraska Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Conference

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is partnering with the Nebraska Power Association to host the conference on March 25, 2019 at 10 am at the Holthus Convention Center, 3130 Holen Avenue in York. On-site registration and exhibits start at 9 am.

The free conference is intended for those interested in installing public electric vehicle chargers and also for members of the public interested in the development of public electric vehicle charging in Nebraska. If you would like to participate in lunch, snacks and refreshments throughout the day, the fee will be $20 per person.

View Agenda.
To register, visit: www.evnebraska.com.

Hello, sunshine!

Written by Lynn Hartzell, Nebraska Home Sales Realtor,
Contributor, Lincoln Journal Star Lifestyle Magazine

I have to admit, there was a time in my life when I heard
someone talking about Alternative Energy and I would roll my
eyes. I had had a long career at a local public power company
working in the power plants that produce energy with coal,
diesel fuel and natural gas. They all worked pretty well, and I
saw no reason to mess with success. But in 2015, my wife and I did some investigating and found that the price of solar power
for residential use was coming down quickly and made financial sense. Continue reading here.

Links to Solar & Small Wind Energy Incentives & Nebraska Energy Office Loans

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems and small wind turbines: 30% to December 31, 2019. Small wind: 100 kilowatts or less. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Additionally, LES customers may qualify for 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 system size and 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 dualaxis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.

Source: Customer-owned Renewable Generation

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

New Mexico Passes 100% Clean Energy Bill

By Noah Long, Natural Resources Defense Council

The bill will double renewable energy use in the state by 2025, require 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent carbon free electricity generation by 2045. This means New Mexico can quickly transition from dependence on fossil fuels for electricity to joining other states to lead a new clean energy economy. Read more here.

Related

  • New Mexico will be the third US state to go 100% renewable, PV Magazine
  • Power to the people — community solar works, Santa Fe New Mexican
    Written by Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima, and Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber
  • Southwest States Make Large Strides on Renewable Energy Targets, E&E News, Reprinted by
    Scientific American. New Mexico and Nevada are poised to enact far-reaching changes to
    reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In Nevada, NV Energy was once viewed as an enemy of
    residential solar development after backing state regulators’ attempt to end the practice of net
    metering. But the utility acquiesced to efforts to restore net metering and has sought to tout its
    renewable ambitions in recent months . . . Public Service Company of New Mexico, the state’s
    largest utility, had already pledged to divest itself of all its coal assets by 2031.

MORE 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Hoboken commits to 100% renewable energy by 2030, The Stute
In a statement released on February 21, 2019, Mayor Ravi Bhalla announced that the city of Hoboken, New Jersey will begin purchasing 100% clean, nonpolluting renewable electricity for all municipal facilities starting April of 2019. This includes offices and buildings used for the Hoboken local government, such as city hall.

FPL announces plans for the largest community solar program in the U.S.

Florida Power & Light Company News Release, PR Newswire
FPL is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy.

FPL SolarTogether will significantly expand solar energy in Florida. Pending PSC approval, FPL plans to install 1,490 MW of new universal solar at 20 new solar power plants across its service territory to meet anticipated customer enrollment in the program.  “This program will more
than double the amount of community solar currently in the U.S.” – Eric Silagy, President and CEO of FPL. Read more here.

MORE ENERGY TRANSITION NEWS

Toyota Driving Demand For Solar Power In Ohio Valley,
WKU Public Radio

Automaker Toyota is planning to announce a major
investment in solar and other renewable energy in
Appalachia and the Southeastern U.S. The plan includes a
massive new solar facility on an old surface coal mine
property in Kentucky. Photo by Sydney Boles: Part of the
700-acre surface mine still remains to be reclaimed.

GREEN CAMPUSES

Cornell’s Renewable Energy Initiatives: From 115-Year-Old Hydroelectric Plant to Rooftop Solar Farms, Cornell Sun
University of Michigan renewable energy deal could help cut campus emissions 25 percent, Michigan Live
Campbell school district leases land for solar power savings, Youngstown Vindicator

RV SOLAR

 

Consider These 7 Key Benefits Of Solar Power For RVing,
Blue and Green Tomorrow

Norfolk Daily News Editorial: Interest strong in solar and wind

 

An associate editor working for Yahoo Finance decided recently to dig through data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to figure out some of the fastest-growing jobs in each state in the country, with a focus on the ones at the top of the list. What was discovered? Read more here.

SolarCity Photo: South Sioux City’s Solar Park

RENEWABLE ENERGY JOBS 

Renewable Energy Jobs in Nebraska, Indeed
Renewable Energy Jobs in Iowa, Indeed
Jobs in the Community Sola Industry,
Coalition for Community Solar Access
Another strategy is to search local and national solar
and wind energy companies’ websites for renewable
energy jobs postings, or those of major clean-energy
organizations if your focus is on advocacy work.

Thank you to everyone who attended our event last evening at UNO’s Community Engagement Center

 

Many thanks to everyone who turned out last night for Nebraskans for Solar’s March
presentation on “OPPD’s Community Solar Program.”

Our guest speakers, Tricia McKnight, OPPD Product Specialist, and Heather Siebken,
Director of Product Development & Marketing,
provided a concise overview of OPPD’s
community solar program and how customer-owners will be able to participate. Their
presentation generated a great number of thoughtful audience questions. 

Thank you, too, to our co-sponsoring groups: Green Bellevue, Nebraska Sierra Club, OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team, and Nebraska Conservation Education Fund. 

Starting April 1st OPPD residential customers will be able to purchase “solar shares” in the program. Each 100-kilowatt share will cost 79 cents, which will be added to your monthly bill. Eight-thousand shares will be available. A five-year contract commitment and a one-time, refundable $100 fee will also be required to participate in the program. Commercial enrollment will start in June 2019.

OPPD “solar shares” will not offset a customer’s energy use. Each share will contribute to the building of a utility-scale solar project. The program is similar to OPPD’s original Green Power Program in that it supports renewable energy. OPPD has stated that the Green Power Program, which is voluntary and doesn’t require a participation fee or a contract, supports wind energy development.

This new community program provides the opportunity for OPPD customer-owners to
contribute to a specific renewable energy project, the 5-MW solar farm in Ft. Calhoun, which Heather said during the presentation NextEra Energy Resources has started to construct.

To learn more about the program, visit: www.OPPD.com/CommunitySolarProgram

Photo by OPPD Board Member Eric Williams

US adds 1.15 GW of large wind, solar capacity in Jan 2019

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Update,
Post Written by Renewables Now

The 202.5-MW Upstream Wind Energy Project in Nebraska and the 161.3-MW Pine River Wind Park in Michigan were among the biggest newly completed installations in the US in January.
Most of the new solar power capacity for the month is located in Florida. Read more here.

Invenergy Photo: Upstream Wind Energy Center Turbine

About Nebraska’s Upstream Wind Energy Center
Invenergy has constructed several other wind projects in Nebraska in addition to the  81 turbines for the Upstream Wind Energy Center on the north and east side of Neligh in Antelope County. The wind project became operational in January, 2019. Maximum capacity is 200,000 kilowatts (or 200 megawatts). The wind project is expected to supply enough annual energy to power approximately 68,000 homes.

Invenergy also built the 118–turbine Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Farm located in Antelope, Boone, and Madison counties, which began commercial operation in March 2014. Maximum capacity is 200 megawatts. The average annual output could power 60,000 homes.

Source: Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Energy Office

Previously Posted News Release
In January Florida Power & Light (FPL) announced in a news release a groundbreaking “30-by-30” plan to install more than 30 million solar panels by 2030. “FPL and its sister company,
NextEra Energy Resources, are already the world’s largest producer of renewable energy from the wind and sun and, when this plan is completed, FPL expects to be the largest utility owner and operator of solar in America.” Read the news release here.

Additional Recommended Reading

After a tough 2018, solar is getting ready for a major boom, by Tim Sylvia and Christian Roselund, PV Magazine USA

The United States finished 2018 with nearly 24 GWdc of utility-scale projects under power
contracts, a volume only ever exceeded three months ago. Furthermore, 2.6 GWdc of those
contracted projects are already under construction. When looking beyond projects which have contracts secured, Wood Mackenzie identified more than 42 GWdc of projects that have been
announced and are in their respective interconnection queues nationally.

Xcel Energy Rolls Out New Renewable Energy Option for Customers

Wisconsin Proud

Xcel Energy customers in Wisconsin now have a new option to power their homes and
businesses with clean wind and solar energy. Monday, they announced its Renewable Connect
Program. Xcel says customers who subscribe will be able to secure up to 100 percent of their
electricity from a blend of wind and solar resources. Officials say the program will allow
customers to subscribe to the full renewable energy benefits of low-cost wind and solar energy,
giving them the flexibility to choose how much and for how long. Read more here.

Image by Xcel Energy

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

Nevada joins league of states fighting climate change,
Las Vegas Review-Journal 

Gov. Steve Sisolak has signed Nevada onto the U.S. Climate Alliance, joining 22 other states in a commitment to reduce greenhouse emissions and the effects of climate change.
U.S. Climate Alliance

INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIP

SunPower rolls out solar program to support the Sierra Club, Solar Power World 

Grassroots environmental organization Sierra Club, one of the most enduring and influential in the United States, is providing an opportunity for its more than 3.5 million members and
supporters to go solar with SunPower. As part of the new
program
, participating Sierra Club members or supporters who purchase or lease a SunPower home solar system can receive a $1,000 mail-in rebate and SunPower will give Sierra Club $1,000 to support the organization’s mission.

Sierra Club’s Ready for 100: To date, 111 cities have committed to 100% renewable energy.