Monthly Archives: August 2019

Solar farm proposal great for Lancaster County

Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board

As demand for renewable energy increases and the cost of generating it decreases, the playing field in Nebraska is evolving. Omaha Public Power District shut down its nuclear plant, the nation’s smallest, near Fort Calhoun in October 2016, citing its operating costs. Just a few months later, LES formally ended its agreement to purchase 30% of the power generated by a coal-fired Nebraska Public Power District plant near Hallam. Meanwhile, more companies than ever pledge to use 100% of their power from renewable sources, as Facebook has done with wind energy at its new Papillion data center, and energy providers increasingly diversify for more environmentally friendly offerings. Continue reading here.

Image: A rendering shows a series of solar panels planned as part of a proposed 230-megawatt solar farm east of Lincoln.

Previously Posted

Green Mountain Power partners with Sunrun to expand BYOD storage program

By HJ Mai, Utility Dive

Green Mountain Power (GMP), Vermont’s only investor-owned utility, is continuing to expand its bring-your-own-device (BYOD) battery storage program with the addition of Sunrun’s Brightbox home solar battery system. Customers can choose from six battery providers. With the introduction of Brightbox in Vermont, Sunrun is offering its battery system in nine states and Puerto Rico. Read more here.

Sunrun Brings Brightbox Home Solar Batteries, Virtual Power Plant To Vermont, Sunrun News Release, Globe Newswire

States March toward 100% Clean Energy–Who’s Next?

By Jeff Deyette, Director of State Policy & Analysis, Clean Energy,
Union of Concerned Scientists Blog

Eight states plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico (not pictured here) have committed to 100% Renewable or Clean Energy Standards. Another 13 states are actively considering similar measures.

One year ago this week, the California legislature passed landmark legislation committing the state’s power providers to supplying 60% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and setting a target of 100% clean, or carbon-free, power by mid century. It was a bold action that significantly raised the bar for other states considering policy action. And over the last 12 months, another six states (bringing the total to eight states) plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have answered the call with various obligations toward 100% clean energy over the next few decades. What’s driving this surge in state-level clean energy leadership? And which states will be the next to step up? Read more here. 




Solar Industry Calls on FERC to Enforce PURPA, Increase Competition
The proposal provides utilities with a new framework for offering competitive solicitations based on their integrated resource plans, while also complying with PURPA’s requirement to purchase energy and capacity from small renewable and cogeneration facilities. SEIA’s competitive bidding solution is designed to prevent utility self-dealing while opening the market for new capacity to independent developers.


  • Green builders lean on a juggernaut loan program, The Philadelphia Tribune
    Developers grappling with the cost of new laws enacted to combat climate change are taking advantage of a little-known finance tool to help pay for green-building requirements. In Omaha, Nebraska, for instance, the Capitol District, a $205 million mixed-use entertainment development, has become the latest milestone in a long-running effort to revitalize the downtown area. The project’s developer, Shamrock Development, tapped a PACE program to pay for LED lighting, heat pumps, low-flow water fixtures, and other building materials and equipment to enhance energy and water efficiency.
  • In Chicago, a new financing tool for clean energy and efficiency upgrades, Energy News Network
    Advocates see strong potential in Chicago and surrounding areas for property assessed clean energy financing to boost investments.



Rocky Mountain Power prepares to operate largest US residential battery demand response project, Utility Dive. “In my opinion, this is the most transformative project we’ve worked on in the United States,” Sonnen CEO Blake Richetta told Utility Dive. That’s coming from a company that has installed more than 40,000 batteries globally and already developed multiple Virtual Power Plants that combine residential energy systems into grid resources. But Richetta, who took the helm at Sonnen earlier this year, said the Utah project stands out for multiple reasons.

Rocky Mountain Power is a division of PacifiCorp, a fully-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

Previously Posted

DOE: U.S. Installed More Than 50 MW Of Distributed Wind In 2018

Posted by Betsy Lillian, North American Windpower

Texas, Iowa and Minnesota are the top three states for overall distributed wind capacity, and Iowa, Nevada and Alaska are the top three states for small wind capacity, although there were no new documented projects in Iowa or Nevada in 2018. Rhode Island, Ohio and Nebraska led the U.S. in new distributed wind power capacity in 2018 with large-scale turbine projects. Now in its seventh year, the Distributed Wind Market Report was funded by the DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office. More on the report can be found here. Read the entire post here.

Among the Report’s Key Findings:

  • U.S. distributed wind installed capacity now stands at 1,127 megawatts (MW) from over 83,000 turbines across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.
  • In 2018, 12 states added 50.5 MW of distributed wind capacity from 2,684 turbines, representing $226 million in investment.

Photo by Dixon Power Systems, based in Lincoln, Nebraska: One of two 5-kilowatt wind turbines installed at the University of Nebraska’s Haskell Ag Lab. Click here to view a timeline video of the construction of one of the turbines and a photo of a 10-kilowatt project installed at the Prairie Hill Learning Center.

Distributed Wind Energy Association
The Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA) is a collaborative group comprised of manufacturers, distributors, project developers, dealers, installers, and advocates, whose primary mission is to promote and foster all aspects of the American distributed wind energy industry. Distributed wind, commonly referred to as small and community wind, is the use of typically smaller wind turbines at homes, farms, businesses, and public facilities to off-set all or a portion of on-site energy consumption.

DWEA Resources

DWEA Projects

Links to Incentives 

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

USDA Resource

Additional Resources on Nebraska’s Wind Energy 

A Cutting Edge Virtual Power Project In Utah, With Batteries Managed By The Utility

By Peter Kelly-Detwiler, Contributor, Forbes

Today, energy storage company sonnen, Inc. (a subsidiary of Shell), real estate developer Wasatch Group, and utility Rocky Mountain Power (a subsidiary of Pacificorp) announced a unique and ground-breaking virtual power plant (VPP) in Herriman, Utah, just outside of Salt Lake City.  The project, Soleil Lofts, is an apartment community that will feature solar arrays as well as 600 sonnen lithium iron phosphate ecoLinx batteries, totaling 5 megawatts (MW) of capacity and 12.6 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy.  Residents will begin moving into the apartments in September 2019 and the final building will be complete by December of 2020. Sonnen Inc’s CEO Blake Richetta recently characterized Soleil Lofts as “the world’s first all-electric, carbon neutral residential apartment community VPP, managed by the local utility, Rocky Mountain Power.” Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Colorado cooperative to hit clean energy goal a decade early

Written by Allen Best, Energy News Network

Holy Cross Energy is now looking toward complete decarbonization after striking a major new wind energy deal. The announcement last week illustrates just how rapidly the energy transition has been accelerating as prices of wind and solar have plummeted and engineers have figured out how to integrate them to the grid. Prices of the wind power were not disclosed, but Holy Cross described them as comparable to the bids received by Xcel Energy in its 2017 solicitation. Those jaw-dropping prices, $11 to $18 per megawatt-hour for wind generation, substantially below the cost of electricity from the two coal-fired power plants Xcel plans to close by 2025, drew national attention. But can Holy Cross get to 100% emission-free energy? Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Paul D. Cocker / Creative Commons


Building Electrification Could Add Hundreds Of Millions Of Batteries To The Grid

By Sonia Aggarwal, Forbes

To confront rising electricity demand from buildings, places as far apart as Singapore and California have set net-zero energy building targets. The goal is to build a fleet of super-efficient individual structures, topped with solar panels, generating at least as much energy as they consume, avoiding the need for more expensive power plants that could lock in decades of GHGs from coal or natural gas. Read more here.


  • Residential Energy Storage VPPs Are Gaining Traction, Transmission & Distribution World
    Aggregated residential energy storage systems are increasingly deployed by utilities to provide a variety of services including replacing fossil fuel power plants, supporting increased renewable generation, and improving grid-resilience and reliability.
  • How to have an all-renewable electric grid, by David Timmons, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Boston, The Conversation. Many studies demonstrate that fully renewable electric grids are feasible in the United StatesEuropeAustralia and elsewhere.
  • Energy Storage Developer Buys Texas Windfarms With Major Battery Retrofit Planned, Forbes
    A U.S.-based energy storage developer this week bought itself a portfolio of eight North Texas wind farms. The move is a sign of the growing status and confidence of the storage sector as well.
  • Form Energy Raises $40M Series B for Super-Long-Duration Grid Storage, Greentech Media
    Long-duration storage startup Form Energy thought that solving the problem of months-long grid storage would take a decade. But its last year of work advanced faster than expected. Long-duration storage startups have struggled for years, but the market has heated up in recent weeks. That’s in large part due to the growth of renewables pushing a need for more grid storage in the near term.
  • Pacific Northwest Facility to Study Grid Security, Resilience, Government Technology Magazine
    The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has been tapped by the U.S. Department of Energy as the new site for a national research effort around grid stability, energy storage and system security.
  • The ten-year, 73 gigawatt renewable energy business plan, PV Magazine
    Renewable portfolio standards across 29 US states represent significant, legally required additions of wind and solar – including 15 states whose requirements will drive more than 11 GWac of solar power. An interesting nugget – 9 GW of RPS requirement meeting renewables have been built in non-RPS states, and wheeled into the state via power lines.
  • Renewable Energy Standards, Solar Energy Industries Association
  • Coming Soon to Your Home: Cleaner Air and Climate Action, Earthjustice
    The city of Berkeley, California, has opted to take one giant leap into a clean energy future – and is being closely watched by cities across the world. The city council voted unanimously in July to ban natural gas in new buildings, making it the first city in the United States to do so. The ban will apply first to all new low-rise buildings in 2020, and will then expand to other building types.  


Has the Corporate Mission Just Been Disrupted?

By Sean Silverthorne, Harvard Business School

In a recent statement from the Business Roundtable, 200 powerful CEOs said corporations should widen their missions beyond just maximizing profits for shareholders. Here is research and writing from Harvard Business School that discusses both the concept in theory and examples of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in practice.

Silverthorne’s Examples Include:

Read more here.

Business Roundtable’s Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation

About Business Roundtable.Org
Business Roundtable exclusively represents chief executive officers (CEOs) of America’s leading companies. These CEO members lead companies with more than 15 million employees and more than $7 trillion in annual revenues. As major employers in every state, Business Roundtable CEOs take seriously the responsibility of creating quality jobs with good wages. These leaders join with communities, workers and policymakers to build a better future for the nation and its people. For more than 45 years, the membership of Business Roundtable has applied CEO expertise to the major issues facing the nation. Through research and advocacy, Business Roundtable advocates policies to spur job creation, improve U.S. competitiveness and strengthen the economy.

Rural Development Saves Nebraskans Energy Dollars

U.S. Department of Agriculture News Release

LINCOLN, NEB. – Nebraska Rural Development State Director Karl Elmshaeuser announces that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $203,493 in Nebraska to reduce energy costs for agricultural producers and rural small businesses.  “The energy projects funded will help to lower energy costs which will improve the recipients’ bottom lines and create jobs,” Elmshaeuser said. “Dollars saved will be available to be reinvested into Nebraska’s economy making it even stronger.” Nebraska recipients include: Continue reading here.

Previously Posted

More Ag News

  • Tons happening with agriculture right now, Melissa Bartels, Nebraska Extension-UNL
    What’s going on in Ag? The USDA reported this month that 19.4 million acres in the nation were not able to be planted; this is the most acres reported since the USDA Farm Service Agency began releasing the report in 2007. Twelve Midwestern states account for more than 73 percent of those prevent plant acres; flooding and heavy rainfall prevented the planting of mostly corn, soybeans and wheat. Approximately a half of a million acres within Nebraska were prevent plant. In our region, Butler County had over 7,000 acres reported to the USDA as prevent plant and Polk County had a little over 1,000 acres.
  • USDA reports 19 million prevented planting acres in nation, Nebraska TV

Previously Posted Ag News

  • The climate solutions beneath our feet, by Melissa Ho, Senior Vice President, Freshwater and Food, World Wildlife Fund. Published by GreenBiz. By using a combination of climate-smart practices — rotational cattle grazing on native grasslands, planting cover crops to keep soil in place and enrich it with nutrients, innovative feed options that provide nutrition and increase the efficiency of an animal’s gut biome — a producer theoretically could achieve net negative emissions.
  • Big Food turning to regenerative agriculture to meet sustainability goals, Food Dive

Featured Documentary
CBS News Documentary: A Climate Reckoning in the Heartland. Shared by Graham Christensen, Regenerate Nebraska.

Upcoming Event
September 8, 2019, 1:30 to 3pm: Climate Change in Nebraska with Dr. Martha Shulski, Director of Nebraska State Climate Office-UNL. Hosted by Green Bellevue at Bellevue University, Hitchcock Humanities Center, Room 202. Additional details here. Dr. Shulski was among those interviewed for the above CBS documentary.

National Hydropower Day Celebrates America’s First Renewable

National Hydropower Association News Release

“America needs the clean, flexible power provided by the nation’s first renewable resource” said Malcolm Woolf, NHA President & CEO. “From the Industrial Revolution to World War II to growth of the tech sector, hydropower has powered American innovation and ingenuity. With the right mix of energy, environmental and market policies, hydropower can contribute even more as the nation moves towards decarbonization of the grid and electrification of the transportation industry.”

In 2018, hydropower was the largest generator of clean, renewable electricity, representing 7% of total U.S. electricity generation and 39.5% of renewable electricity generation. The U.S. hydropower fleet is comprised of approximately 2,200 power plants with a total capacity of roughly 102 GW, which includes 95% of U.S. storage capacity (23 GW) pumped storage. Hydropower is also a major job creator, employing 66,500 workers. Read the entire news release here.

National Hydropower Association

Additional Recommended Reading