Monthly Archives: May 2019

Nebraska needs more clean energy, NPPD board member Melissa Freelend says

By Mike Konz, The Grand Island Independent

Melissa Freelend wants Nebraskans to have more clean, renewable energy, and she’s working toward that goal as a member of the board of directors at Nebraska Public Power District. Elected in 2016, Freelend, 32, is the NPPD Board’s youngest member. She’s a Grand Island native and is employed in media and broadcasting. Her District 3 encompasses Buffalo and Hall counties. Continue reading here.

Futuristic lawn care: UNK using technology to tackle yardwork

UNK Communications, The Kearney Hub

“Snips” and “Chopper,” a pair of appropriately nicknamed robotic mowers, were introduced to campus last week as part of a pilot project launched by UNK Facilities Management and Planning. The goal, according to assistant director Michael Cremers, is to increase efficiency and flexibility within the department while trimming the university’s annual landscaping expenses. Down the line, Cremers added, the charging stations [for the robotic mowers] could be set up to run entirely on solar power. UNK currently receives 25 percent of its electricity from a solar park in northeast Kearney. Read more here.

Kearney’s Solar Farm, which consists of approximately 23,000 panels, is located on 53 acres in the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, The panels are mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. To date, the array is Nebraska’s largest solar project, generating 5.8 megawatts of electricity, or about 5% of Kearney’s peak demand. Image Credit: SoCore Energy
Solar Farm Developer: SoCore Energy
Installer: Interconnection Systems based in Central City, Nebraska
NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar Program

Senators launch bipartisan initiative on long term solutions to expiring energy tax credits

By Iulia Gheorghiu, Editor, Utility Dive


Tax credits have proven effective in jump-starting energy industries and driving adoption of new technology and infrastructure. However, as credits wind down, the renewable energy industry has been gripped by uncertainty in recent years, with federal legislators approving short-term extensions. Both the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee announced a bipartisan initiative on Thursday to craft long-term solutions for the expiring tax breaks, with task forces focused on energy tax credits and disaster tax relief among others. Read more here.

Image Credit: Sen. Chuck Grassley, via YouTube

Nebraska Solar Schools Update

 

Nebraska Solar Schools, a Nebraskans for Solar program, has launched a new pilot project made possible by a Nebraska Environmental Trust grant: 100 NEED Solar Energy Kits for 100 Nebraska Schools. So far, schools in the following communities have requested the free NEED (National Energy Education Development) Solar Energy Kits: Ainsworth, Ashland-Greenwood, Bellevue, Gothenburg, Lincoln, Omaha, and Sargent. These kits have been sent via UPS. Nebraska school administrators, teachers, and after-school program directors are invited to apply for a kit.

To learn more and download the one-page form, Request A Solar Kit, please visit: www.nebraskasolarschools.org.

Recommended Reading
Nebraska Solar Schools Awarded $31,250, Rapid City Journal
What happens when schools go solar? Stanford Earth Matters Magazine

Green Watts for Good – Our Omaha Gives! Fundraiser

About Omaha Gives!
Omaha Gives! is an online celebration of charitable giving in Omaha-Council Bluffs. This year-round platform connects those who want to keep the giving going and area organizations working to create change in a big way! It only takes a $10 donation to join the community giving. Be sure to save the date for Omaha’s 7th annual 24-hour charitable challenge set for May 22.
Organizer: The Omaha Community Foundation

About Green Watts for Good
Our Green Watts for Good Program supports solar initiatives in our communities. Our goal is to install photovoltaic (PV) systems in partnership with other local nonprofits, to not only protect our environment, but also to enable people to save money through solar systems.

To date, we have enough money in our Green Watts for Good Fund to install two 4-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) systems, and we have presented project ideas to the leaders of two local nonprofits. When installation dates are set, we will immediately announce them and extend an invitation to the community for a post-installation open house.

Every 2019 Omaha Gives! contribution will go toward a third Green Watts for Good solar installation. An alternative or additional way you can help is to share information about our Omaha Gives! campaign with your family and friends.

Nebraskans for Solar’s Omaha Gives! Fundraising Page.

Thank you from all of us at Nebraskans for Solar!

Arena development, budget battle part of Beutler’s legacy

By Riley Johnson, Lincoln Journal Star

In the years ahead, people will ask why Lincoln has a dedicated bike corridor through downtown, a fleet of electric buses and a popular P Street business district, said Milo Mumgaard, a former mayoral aide and general counsel to Beutler. “That’s because somebody somewhere had to start the ball rolling to make these things happen,” Mumgaard said. “(Beutler) brought the city along with him, and we’re all going to benefit from that for many generations.” Read more here.

Middle America’s Low-Hanging Carbon: The Search for Greenhouse Gas Cuts from the Grid, Agriculture and Transportation

Reporters in 14 newsrooms across the Midwest teamed up with InsideClimate News to explore local solutions to climate change.

By John H. Cushman Jr., InsideClimate News

The American Midwest is at a turning point as it confronts the global climate crisis. It’s a landscape of opportunity, where investment is starting to pour into renewable energy, farmers are turning to climate-friendly practices, and automakers are introducing new electric vehicles. But its path forward is still cluttered with obstacles.

The region is already feeling the environmental and economic tremors of climate change. It’s still a rare day when Chicago’s thermometers hit 100—hot enough to be deadly. But the latest science predicts that by mid-century heat waves will routinely strike the region with temperatures much hotter than was common just a few decades ago. Summers will warm faster in the Midwest than in any other American region, according to the National Climate Assessment. Continue reading here.

To read the stories in this series, click here.

 ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Commentary: Now is the time to pass the next Illinois clean energy bill, by Andrew Barbeau and Christie Hicks, Environmental Defense Fund. It has been just over two years since Illinois enacted the groundbreaking Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), which set bold new goals for solar, wind and energy efficiency. Already, substantial gains from FEJA are being seen across the state. But, a just-completed lottery for renewable energy credits demonstrates that there is a voracious demand for solar and wind energy in Illinois that far exceeds current capacity. 

Missouri solar installer making strides recruiting and hiring military veterans, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network. Missouri Sun Solar far exceeds the industry average for veteran employment — and its founder isn’t done hiring.

Indiana utilities are in midst of identity crisis as customers take power into own hands, Indianapolis Star. Until recently, virtually all residents in Indiana, and many states across the country, had little say in where their electricity came from or how it was produced. Bills arrived in the mail — whether from one of the big, investor-owned utilities or a smaller municipal or rural cooperative — and customers paid them. But Indiana utilities no longer hold a monopoly on energy generation in the state.

Ohio regulator approves two solar-powered facilities, Kallinish Energy
The Ohio Power Siting Board has approved construction on two solar-powered electric-generating facilities: one in Hardin County and one in Highland County, Kallansh Energy reports. Hardin Solar Energy Center II in northwest Ohio will be capable of generating up to 170 megawatts. It will include a lithium-ion battery storage system with a capacity of up to 60 MW. It would be one of the first such storage systems in the Midwest.

Big Food turning to regenerative agriculture to meet sustainability goals

By Lillianna Byington, Food Dive

recent white paper from the Rodale Institute found developing tests to measure carbon sequestration is the best chance for quantitatively showing the amount of regenerative agriculture needed to actually help the climate. The trials will find the best ideas and offer support networks for farmers who are already working on regenerative models.

“With the use of cover crops, compost, crop rotation and reduced tillage, we can actually sequester more carbon than is currently emitted, tipping the needle past 100% to reverse climate change,” Mark Smallwood, executive director of Rodale Institute, said in the report.
Read more here.

Previously Posted
Nebraskans talk extreme weather. Just don’t call it climate change, Christian Science Monitor

Nebraska Regenerative Agriculture Resources

RegeNErate Nebraska Website
RegeNErate Nebraska Facebook
Guide to Regenerative Agriculture in Nebraska (PDF)

 

Nebraska Legislation
LB 243, to create a Healthy Soils Task Force, was passed by the Nebraska Legislature on April 11, 2019 by a vote of 43 to 0 and signed by Governor Ricketts on April 18th.

Solar Industry Lays Claim to the 2020s; Kicks Off the Solar+ Decade

SEIA News Release

As this decade nears a close, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has designated the next decade The Solar+ Decade. Constituting 2.5 percent of the nation’s electricity generation today, solar will account for 20 percent of all electricity generation by 2030, under SEIA’s aggressive target. To chart the industry’s course, SEIA is producing a roadmap to the Solar+ Decade that will lay out the policy, social, environmental and economic elements that will need to be in place to make solar a leading source of new power generation in the 2020s. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • AWEA’s Amy Farrell gives remarks at Politico’s Reinventing American Energy event, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog. Amy Farrell is AWEA’s Senior Vice President for Government & Public Affairs. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently ranked America’s power grid infrastructure an unacceptable “D+.” This neglect doesn’t position the U.S. to succeed in the competitive global economy. And we are asking more than ever from our outdated system.
  • Iowa Governor To Lead Midwestern Governors Association With Focus On Transmission, North American Windpower
  • A Regional Perspective: A unified voice for Midwestern GovernorsGovernor Kim Reynolds
    As Chair of the MGA for 2019, I look forward to working with my fellow Midwestern governors to create a more secure and modern electric grid in the Midwest by convening a diverse group of regional stakeholders to establish a long-term transmission grid vision for the Midwest.
  • Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds: 2019 Chair’s Agenda
    Governor Reynold’s agenda will focus on creating a more secure and modern electric grid in the Midwest. The effort was initiated because of the promise, and the related problems, in delivering more energy from source to load (i.e., energy consumers) in the region. Under Governor Reynolds, the association will bring together the energy policy and utility regulatory staffs, as well as, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and stakeholders, to establish a long-term transmission grid vision for the region.
  • Wind Solar Alliance’s Grid Campaign
    A main focus of A Renewable America is the Grid Campaign, which works on accelerating deployment of renewable energy by shaping market rules, utility procurements, and transmission planning. In PJM and MISO, we are working with industry leaders and other experts to develop an advocacy agenda on market rules that will increase the pace of wind and solar deployment by properly valuing the many benefits that wind, solar, and storage provide to the grid.

SPP’S INTEGRATED TRANSMISSION PLAN & NEBRASKA’S R-PROJECT

Nebraska’s R-Project Overview, Nebraska Public Power District
NPPD plans to construct a 345,000-volt transmission line from NPPD’s Gerald Gentleman Station near Sutherland to NPPD’s existing substation east of Thedford. The new line will then proceed east and connect to a second substation to be sited in Holt County. NPPD is a member of the Southwest Power Pool, a regional transmission organization. The SPP conducted a study, also known as the Integrated Transmission Plan, to assess the needs of the entire transmission network with the SPP region over the next 10 years. The R-Project is one of numerous projects to come out of that study. If NPPD did not build the R-Project, the SPP would find another entity to do so.

Nebraska’s wind power growth is good news

Lincoln Journal Star Editorial

Nebraska has been blessed with an abundance of water, rich soil and breeze that whips across the plains. The first two are inextricably linked and frequently cited because of their necessity to the state’s largest industry, agriculture. The third, however, has rarely been mentioned in the same breath, despite its mostly untapped potential. Long a sleeping giant in terms of its potential for wind power, Nebraska appears to finally be on the rise. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: AWEA Free Use Wind Energy Image Gallery: “Wind Rainbow”