Monthly Archives: September 2019

Solar power farms gain momentum in Fremont

By Roger Hamer, WOWT

More than 300 households and counting have made the switch to the solar power system in Fremont, Nebraska. Two years ago, Tom Christensen of Christensen Lumber was among the first to sign up for the city’s solar panel system. “It stirred my interest so it seemed like a real progressive thing for the city to do,” said Christensen. Since the summer of 2017, hundreds have joined the movement and Lottie Mitchell, the City of Fremont Executive Assistant of Communications and Grants was not expecting such a large turnout.

Read more or watch the video here.

More News Stories & Photos: Community-Scale / Utility-Scale Solar

Representative Jeff Fortenberry Receives Golden Triangle Award From Farmers Union

Nebraska Farmers Union News Release

Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) presented Representative Jeff Fortenberry with the Golden Triangle Award, National Farmers Union’s (NFU) highest legislative honor.  The award was presented recently as part of the annual NFU fall Fly-In that brought 380 Farmers Union members from across the country to Washington, DC to share their views and concerns with their elected officials.  Fortenberry was one of 26 House and Senate members honored this year. The Golden Triangle is an annual award presented to members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership and support policies that benefit America’s family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading
NFU Honors 26 Congressional Champions of Family Agriculture with Golden Triangle Award, Nebraska Farmers Union News Release

Early Bird Registration Open for the 12th Annual Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference

The Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference is a two-day event that brings together a diverse range of stakeholders from Nebraska and across the country to share the latest information and innovations in wind and solar. Shaped by volunteers from state agencies, farmer and rancher organizations, public power utilities, the renewable energy industry, and academia – the Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference aims to present accurate and objective information pertaining to all aspects of wind and solar development.

Links to More Information

Additional Resources

News Release: Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Slated. Published by Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan

LINCOLN, Neb. — The 12th annual Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference will be held Tuesday, Oct. 29, to Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska and will feature experts from across the country and the state.

“Nebraska wind and solar energy development is going through a remarkable period of growth and expansion,” Conference Chairman John Hansen said. “We have a lot of progress to report, as well as issues and opportunities to consider.”

Black Hills Energy program offers customers a renewable energy option

By Sunday Miller, KEVN, Black Hills Fox News

Black Hills Energy’s new “Renewable Ready” program allows certain customers to decide what percentage of their energy they want to come from a renewable resource. Solar, hydro, wind are all forms of renewable energy, and the company is ready to harness that power in its subscription-based program. “Instead of building your own facility, instead of placing either a wind or solar facility on your property, this allows you to buy into a larger scale renewable facility, in this case wind, and basically decide for yourself as a customer, do I want 10 percent, 20 percent, 50 percent or 100 percent of my energy to come from a renewable resource,” said Bret Jones, regional manager of Black Hills Energy. This new program offers larger customers, like the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, an alternative electricity option to power their facilities.
Read more here.

Image: Renewable Ready – Black Hills Energy is building a wind farm in Wyoming to provide a renewable energy source for customers.

About Black Hills Corporation
Based in Rapid City, South Dakota, Black Hills Corporation serves over 1.27 million customers in more than 800 communities in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Related
Civic center commits to green energy, Rapid City Journal
The venue is among the first major entities in Rapid City that has been announced as a customer of the wind farm that Black Hills Energy aims to build outside Cheyenne, Wyoming. Civic center directors have said that the complex will be powered solely with energy generated by the $57 million plant.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

POTENTIAL ON-BILL FINANCING MODEL

Holland leads with energy financing program, but work remains, by Andy Balaskovitz, MiBiz
A financing program in Holland that helps residents pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades remains one of the only such programs in Michigan, and could be a model for more to come. Known as on-bill financing, the program allows Holland Board of Public Works customers to obtain a loan through the utility’s nonprofit arm to pay the upfront cost of projects.

NEW CLIMATE ACTION RESOURCE

VERGE VANGUARD 2019 AWARDS

GreenBiz names 2019 VERGE Vanguard award winners
GreenBiz Group today named the 2019 VERGE Vanguard, honoring 20 dreamers, pioneers, entrepreneurs, designers, engineers, business leaders, policymakers and investors on the cutting edge of sustainability and technology.

GREEN BIZ WEBCAST

5 Steps for Embedding ESG Into Your Corporate Culture: September 17, 2019 at 12 PM
If you can’t tune in live, please register and we will email you a link to access the archived webcast footage and slides, available to you on-demand after the webcast.

Nebraskans for Solar and Seventy Five North Partner on Solar Installation in Highlander Neighborhood

OMAHA, Sept. 15, 2019 — Nebraskans for Solar, Seventy Five North Revitalization Corp., and Omaha Public Power District have completed the installation of a 4-kilowatt solar system on a home in the Highlander neighborhood, a mixed-income community in North Omaha.

The solar panels and components were funded by Nebraskans for Solar’s Green Watts for Good program through individual contributions to the fund as well as donations to the nonprofit’s Omaha Gives campaign sponsored by the Omaha Community Foundation.

Labor to install the project was donated by Michael Shonka, owner of Solar Heat and Electric, and Great Plains Renewables. Read the entire news release here.

Additional Recommended Reading
‘That’s the way it should be’: Visiting HUD Secretary Ben Carson praises north Omaha’s Highlander development, Omaha World-Herald

Latest OPPD Initiative Targets Technology With Customers In Mind

OPPD News Release

Omaha Public Power District is mapping out its 10-year strategic plan. Five new strategic initiatives will lead the way, while maintaining a strong focus on OPPD’s mission of providing affordable, reliable, environmentally sensitive energy services. These initiatives take into account dynamic trends and issues that continue to shape the future of the electricity industry, including carbon emissions and climate change, emerging sources of competition, the future role of electricity markets, smart technology, evolving customer desires, and more.

At [Thursday’s] OPPD Board of Directors meeting, Kate Brown, vice president and chief information officer – Business Technology & Building Services, shared information on one of those key initiatives – technology platform. This involves developing a scalable and secure digital ecosystem that will enable OPPD to extend technology to our customers and employees in a way that we cannot do today. Continue reading here.

Photo: UNMC Solar Array. Credit: Morrissey Engineering

Funds available for public, workplace EV charging stations in Lincoln area

LES News Release

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy recently announced the availability of approximately $1.2 million in funds allocated to Nebraska under the Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Environmental Mitigation Trust for State Beneficiaries, which is part of the court settlement of Volkswagen emissions violations from 2009-15. The purpose of this funding is to encourage adoption of electric vehicles as a means of reducing air pollution.

Applications are being accepted by NDEE until 5 p.m., Nov. 15, 2019, on rebates for publicly available electric vehicle charging stations in Nebraska, and Lincoln Electric System is offering additional matching funds for LES business and organizational customers. Noting a deficiency in the number of EV charging stations serving the Lincoln area, LES is offering additional funds to further incentivize local organizations to accommodate and encourage more EV adoption among their employees, customers and friends. Continue reading here.

NDEE Links

LES Links

  • For more information about qualifying for additional funds through the LES matching fund, visit: www.les.com/ev
  • Details also will be provided at the following event: 2019 LES Electric Vehicle Breakfast and Panel Discussion, September 22, 2019, 9:30 am to 12 pm, Walter Canney Service Center,
    2620 Fairfield Street, Lincoln. Space is limited and advanced reservations are required.
  • Questions? Contact EV@LES.com

Information provided by Marc J. Shkolnick | LES Manager/Energy Services

Consulting firm sees U.S. wind market adding 14.6 GW in 2020

By Paul Ciampoli, American Public Power Association

The U.S. wind market will add 14.6 gigawatts of capacity in 2020, according to Wood Mackenzie’s latest North America wind power outlook. The record-setting mark underlines the strength of the 23 GW pipeline Wood Mackenzie has identified as currently under construction or contracted for commercial operation in 2020, the consulting firm said on Sept. 12. The phase out of the Production Tax Credit beginning in 2021 has developers rushing to complete projects in 2020, driving major bottlenecks in both logistics and interconnection queues, Wood Mackenzie said. Continue reading here.

How Much Power is 1 Gigawatt?,
 U.S. Department of Energy

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NEW RMI REPORT

A New Economic Reality: Renewable Energy Is Now Cost-Competitive With New Gas, Solar Industry
The economics guiding U.S. investments in electricity generation have reached a historic tipping point: Combinations of solar, wind, storage, efficiency and demand response are now less expensive than most proposed gas power plant projects, claims new research from independent nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). According to an RMI report, The Growing Market for Clean Energy Portfolios, portfolios of these clean energy resources can provide the same energy and reliability services as traditional gas power plants; the difference is they cost less.

EV NEWS

Why building owners should take charge of EV adoption, GreenBiz
The electric vehicle revolution is well underway. According to Bloomberg NEF’s “Electric Vehicle Outlook 2019” report, United States-based EV sales will grow from 2 percent in 2019 to nearly 60 percent in 2040. And more electric cars were sold in the first half of 2018 than all of 2016. Unlike conventional vehicles that refuel only at gasoline stations, EVs charge at many locations, such as at home, at work or in public spaces. But what does EV growth mean for commercial building owners?

INSPIRING EXAMPLE: MIDWEST NET-ZERO ENERGY SCHOOL

Local school becomes only net zero school building in Midwest, WLWT

ENERGY GANG PODCAST

How America Thwarted a Giant ‘Extension Cord’ for Renewables, Greentech Media
Our guest this week is Russell Gold, author of a new book, “Superpower,” about wind energy pioneer Michael Skelly’s attempt to build one of the most ambitious energy infrastructure projects in recent history — and how he faced nearly every obstacle imaginable. What does Skelly’s journey tell us about America’s diminishing ability to do great things?

JOBS ANNOUNCEMENT

QuickBOLT is hiring salespeople in Midwest and East Coast markets, Solar Power World

Thank you to everyone who attended last evening’s Nebraskans for Solar event

First of all, thank you to our distinguished guest speaker, David Bracht, who provided an excellent overview of Nebraska’s wind and solar development and our state’s potential for future growth. If you missed his presentation last night at UNO’s Community Engagement Center, his PowerPoint slides will be posted on our website Home Page and our Facebook Page soon.

Thank you, as well, to our attendees, who contributed many insightful questions and comments to the discussion that followed Mr. Bracht’s presentation, and to our co-sponsoring groups: Conservation Nebraska, Nebraska Sierra Club, Green Bellevue, and OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team.

About Our Speaker

David Bracht, Attorney with the U.S. law firm Kutak Rock, advises clients involved in renewable energy development including biofuels, biomass, solar and wind energy, as well as lenders, power companies and government agencies supporting renewable energy development.

Mr. Bracht works with companies, service providers and other public agencies focused on improving energy efficiency to reduce energy use and cost. He counsels producers, agribusinesses and other businesses involved in production and processing of agriculture products, along with lenders, insurers and other firms supporting the production of food, fiber and fuel from agriculture processes. He has more than 35 years’ experience in business, government and law, including private legal practice and senior executive experience in private industry and federal and state government agencies.

Most recently, Mr. Bracht served as Director of the Nebraska Energy Office and a member of the cabinet of Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts from January 2015 to August 2018.  During his service as Nebraska Energy Director, total solar facilities statewide expanded from an estimated 1-2 megawatts to more than 30-40 megawatts and total wind facilities in Nebraska nearly doubled and the current 1.97 gigawatts is nearly triple those operating in 2014.

Recommended Reading
Nebraska gains as wind power grows, by David Bracht, The Grand Island Independent
Bolstered by more than $3.5 billion in private investment, close to 2,000 Nebraskans work in wind today. In fact, Yahoo Finance recently reported that “wind turbine service technician” is the fastest growing job in our state. Those jobs, and the option for young people to return home, bring new life to communities that have been suffering population decline for decades. Wind farms adding 10, 15 and sometimes 25 new good-paying jobs has had a dramatic impact, especially in Nebraska’s small towns. Look to towns like Petersburg, Elgin, Allen, and Neligh for just a few examples.

Banks Are Finally Starting to Account for Climate Change Risk

By Saijel Kishan, Bloomberg/Quint

Behind the scenes at some of the world’s biggest banks, small teams of employees are busy trying to calculate what might prove to be one of the most important numbers any financial institution will ever disclose: how much the assets on their balance sheet are contributing to global warming. Read more here.

Flickr Photo

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

GLOBAL NEWS