Monthly Archives: September 2019

Climate Week 2019: Huge commitments, big money and collaboration

By Deonna Anderson, Associate Editor, GreenBiz Group

During 2019’s Climate Week, companies, foundations and others have made dozens of announcements of commitments, partnerships, new research and more to address the climate crisis. As GreenBiz published last week, the commitments this year are much bigger — think trillions — than those announced during previous Climate Weeks.

For example, during the U.N. General Assembly, 130 banks from 49 countries — with more than $47 trillion in assets — launched The Principles for Responsible Banking. Backed by the United Nations, the effort from one-third of the global banking sector, commits the banks to “strategically align their business with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals” in addition to “massively scale up their contribution to the achievement of both.”
Continue reading here.

About the Author
Deonna Anderson is an award-winning journalist and associate editor at GreenBiz. Previously, she was the Surdna reporting fellow at YES! Magazine. She’s an alumna of UC Davis and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

At Creighton, climatologist James Hansen warns that the Midlands’ weather extremes will get worse

By Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald

An audible murmur ran through the crowd when images of flooding in Hamburg and the Glenwood, Iowa, area flashed on the screen. They’d come to Creighton University on Sunday to hear noted climate scientist James Hansen speak about global warming, but in the back of so many minds was that climate change isn’t about polar bears and sea level rise. The consequences can be felt in the heart of a continent, too. Continue reading  here.

Also Written by Nancy Gaarder

Additional Upcoming Event


Third Annual Nebraska Youth Climate Summit at the Nebraska Innovation Campus, October 4, 2019:

How Apple is helping its suppliers move to 100% renewable power

By Adele Peters, Fast Company

Every Apple store, data center, and office now runs on renewable energy, a milestone that the company reached last year. But the tech giant is also working on the much larger goal of helping all of its suppliers make the same transition.

“If you look at our corporate carbon footprint, over 70% is in the supply chain,” says Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental, social, and policy initiatives, who previously served as head of the Obama-era EPA. “And, of course, those aren’t facilities that we own or operate. But we wanted them to have this access to the same high-quality clean energy that we did.” Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Apple

RE100: Apple is an RE100 member. In April 2018 the company achieved 100% renewable electricity powering its global facilities across 43 countries. Apple is also helping its manufacturing partners lower their carbon footprint, working with them to install more than 4 gigawatts of new clean energy worldwide by 2020. Other RE100 members are collaborating with their suppliers to help them transition to renewable energy. Read about their actions by clicking the link, above.

MORE NEWS & RESOURCES


NEW CARBON SEQUESTRATION INITIATIVE 

The Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP), a partnership between the American Forest Foundation (AFF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), is a new approach to globally significant climate mitigation that taps into the carbon storage potential of the 290-million acres of family-owned U.S. forestland. The program creates a new market for private landowners, giving them another option to offset forest management costs and generate income from their land. Learn more here.

RENEWABLE HYDROGEN

South Australia unveils plans for 100% renewable hydrogen economy, Renew Economy
Recent studies have shown that the cost of wind and solar has fallen so dramatically, and the cost of electrolysers is also expected to fall at the same rate, that renewable hydrogen will be able to compete on costs with “brown” or “grey” hydrogen, used from coal or other fossil fuel sources.

Previously Posted

  • The slow, inexorable rise of green hydrogen, PV Magazine
    The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) believes the production of hydrogen from renewables has the potential to deliver 19 exajoules of energy in 2050. Some 16 TW of solar and wind power generation capacity – 120 exajoules – may be needed to generate green hydrogen or related products from electrolysis by that point. Today the world hosts around 7 TW of total power generation capacity, around 1 TW of which comes from solar and wind, according to IRENA’s Hydrogen: A renewable energy perspective report. An International Energy Agency report on The Future of Hydrogen stated fossil-fueled production of the fuel is responsible for “annual CO2 emissions equivalent to those of Indonesia and the United Kingdom combined”.
  • Electrolysis breakthrough could solve the hydrogen conundrum, by Alexandr Simonov, Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Published by Phys.Org.
    Australia, with its abundant sun and wind, has the potential to become a renewable energy superpower. By using electrolysis, hydrogen gas could be created from excess electricity generated by large renewable electricity projects. This hydrogen could be used as a fuel within Australia and exported to countries hungry for fossil fuels alternatives.

PSC rejects conflict-of-interest assertions, authorizes $500 million Cardinal-Hickory Creek power line

By Chris Hubbuch, Wisconsin State Journal

Wisconsin utility regulators granted final approval Thursday for a controversial power line while rebuffing conflict of interest charges from opponents of the nearly $500 million project. At a meeting interrupted by protesters, the Public Service Commission voted unanimously to authorize construction of the Cardinal-Hickory Creek line between Dubuque, Iowa, and Middleton in a written order summarizing points the three commissioners agreed to during a hearing in August. Read more here.

Photo: NPPD Transmission Tower

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

PODCASTS

  • GreenBiz 350 Podcast – Episode 190: Ambition, angst and action at Climate Week, Danone CEO prioritizes biodiversity
  • The Stranded Asset Threat to Natural Gas, Greentech Media. This week on The Interchange podcast: Is natural gas the new coal? There are $70 billion worth of natural-gas-fired power plants planned in the U.S. through the mid-2020s. But a combination of wind, solar, batteries and demand-side management could threaten up to 90 percent of those investments.

ENERGY TRANSITION MARKET SECTOR 

The energy transition: A $4.3T, underfunded opportunity, contributed article by Kevin Stevens, partner at Intelis Capital, Utility Dive

For context, here are the sizes of popular, fast-growing sectors of technology that you might be familiar with:

Let that sink in, those are all exciting sectors in their own right and the energy transition is more than 14 times the largest one listed. Other than healthcare ($10.2 trillion), I can’t think of a larger sector opportunity.

ENERGY STORAGE

Oil and Gas Investor EnCap Muscles Into Energy Storage Business, Greentech Media
Former First Solar CEO Jim Hughes to help lead EnCap’s “energy transition” team, as it readies a push into the battery storage market. This could include large-scale solar-plus-storage projects of the kind that have been cropping up at increasingly competitive prices across the country’s key solar markets such as CaliforniaNevada and Arizona. It could also include pairing wind farms with batteries in key markets, although these are more challenging to finance, given the lack of a clear tax credit mechanism to include batteries with wind, as exists with the federal solar Investment Tax Credit.

Get to Know Your Unicameral: Sen. John McCollister

By Emily White, KVNO News

Before his time in the Unicameral, he was a member of the Metropolitan Utilities District board for nearly thirty years. He’s sponsored energy policy bills in the Legislature, including one in 2015 that he says “leveled the playing field” for renewable resources like wind and solar to compete with coal and natural gas. “Nebraska has had the fastest growing renewable energy situation in the entire country,” he says. “We are number three in wind resources, and we need to fully capture that source of energy to make our environment more clean and more healthy.”

The next step, McCollister says, is using net metering to incentivize individual energy contributions to the grid through solar panels and wind turbines. And moving outside of energy policy and looking  at the future of the state as a whole, he backed up what many have said is key to keeping jobs and industry within Nebraska: an expansion of trade education, training people for specialized jobs. Read more here and listen to the full interview on July 12, 2019.

Photo Credit: Nebraska Unicameral Information Office

Previously Posted

Northeast’s Applied Technology Career Day

Friday, October 4, 2019 | 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Begin your day with check-in at 9:00 am in the Cox Activities Center on the Norfolk Campus. Optional walking campus tour at 2:00 pm. Lunch will be provided.

Experience the latest technologies, tools, and techniques used in today’s high-demand, high-paying career fields.

Register Here.

For more information or if you have questions, please call (402) 844-7262 or email visit@northeast.edu

Northeast Community College
801 East Benjamin Avenue
Norfolk, Nebraska 68701
Website

Department of Energy Announces Winners of Solar Prize and Two New Innovative Solar Initiatives

Department of Energy News Release           

WASHINGTON, D.C. – [Tuesday], at Solar Power International, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Daniel R Simmons, announced the winners of the first round of the American-Made Solar Prize, a $3 million competition designed to revitalize U.S. solar manufacturing. As part of the prize, the winners each received $500,000 in cash for use at DOE National Laboratories. 

“The American-Made Solar Prize brings together private sector entrepreneurship with expertise at DOE’s national labs to foster next-level innovation in U.S. solar manufacturing,” said Assistant Secretary Simmons. “These transformative technologies will address critical needs in the U.S. solar industry, and develop impactful solutions for industry to utilize and overcome these challenges.”

More information on the Solar Prize winners can be found here. For more information on DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, click HERE.

Read the entire news release here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FEATURED SOLAR EXAMPLE

The SmartFlower is an all-in-one solar system. The petals open at morning and follow the sun on its path across the sky. They close up at night or if Nebraska winds get too gusty, reopening when the wind dies down. The system is 40% more efficient in energy production than traditional solar. The SmartFlower generates 5.5 Mwh of energy per year. The SmartFlower in the above photo is located at Timberlake Ranch Campus, a Christian family camp at 2709 North S Road, Marquette, Nebraska.  A second SmartFlower was installed at the Nebraska Christian School, 1847 Inskip Avenue in Central City, Nebraska.
SmartFlower Distributor & Installer: Interconnection Systems, Inc. based in Central City
Employment: To apply for a job with Interconnection Systems, Inc., send a cover letter with your C.V. to: info@isi.consulting

HYDROGEN

  • The slow, inexorable rise of green hydrogen, PV Magazine
    The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) believes the production of hydrogen from renewables has the potential to deliver 19 exajoules of energy in 2050. Some 16 TW of solar and wind power generation capacity – 120 exajoules – may be needed to generate green hydrogen or related products from electrolysis by that point. Today the world hosts around 7 TW of total power generation capacity, around 1 TW of which comes from solar and wind, according to IRENA’s Hydrogen: A renewable energy perspective report. An International Energy Agency report on The Future of Hydrogen stated fossil-fueled production of the fuel is responsible for “annual CO2 emissions equivalent to those of Indonesia and the United Kingdom combined”.
  • Electrolysis breakthrough could solve the hydrogen conundrumby Alexandr Simonov, Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Published by Phys.Org.
    Australia, with its abundant sun and wind, has the potential to become a renewable energy superpower. By using electrolysis, hydrogen gas could be created from excess electricity generated by large renewable electricity projects. This hydrogen could be used as a fuel within Australia and exported to countries hungry for fossil fuels alternatives.

NDEE seeks respondents for energy survey

NDEE News Release 

The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) is creating an energy plan and wants to hear from Nebraskans across the state.

This plan will cover where Nebraska is now in terms of energy resources and how the state could respond to the changing energy industry and technologies.

To properly plan ahead, NDEE has created a survey to hear from Nebraskans. It asks respondents about their views on sustainable energy, what energy issues are most important to them, energy use and more.

Some may have already received this survey request. NDEE is making every effort to maximize the responses to the survey and apologizes for any duplication. The survey is open from Sept. 12 to Oct. 11 and is available here.

An Unusual Plan for Lowering Solar’s Customer Acquisition Costs: Infomercials

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

Generac Power Systems, a Fortune 1000 company that sells residential backup power generators, is making a play for the residential solar and storage market. This spring the Wisconsin-based company, part of stock-listed Generac Holdings Inc., acquired storage manufacturer Pika Energy and home energy management system company Neurio Technology. Relying on those technologies and drawing on the 60-year-old company’s experience in fostering markets, Generac will sell home solar and storage systems, to be installed by an army of contractors. Read more here.

MORE SOLAR+STORAGE NEWS

BIFACIAL SOLAR MARKET

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY

CLEAN ENERGY WEEK 2019 NEWS

  • Wind powers National Clean Energy Week 2019, by Curtis Walter, Into The Wind,
    AWEA Blog. American Wind Week is still in the rearview mirror, but now it’s time to celebrate the full range of clean energy technologies during National Clean Energy Week. Groups across the energy sector are highlighting the ways American ingenuity is delivering clean energy to families and businesses across the country. With energy affordability and climate solutions dominating the headlines, this year’s “For Our Future” theme is fitting.

CLIMATE ACTION NEWS

  • Farmers Join On-Going Climate Change Protest, RFD TV News
    The National Farmers Union is leading a charge to expand voluntary conservation programs like CSP and EQUIP, which they say are already known, popular, and oversubscribed, evidence that farmers are looking for a seat at the climate table. Though the topic of climate change is still an inflammatory one for many in ag, Jenny Hopkinson, National Farmers Union Government Relations, says the ability to manage and adapt through changing weather patterns is becoming a question of long-term economic viability. The National Farmers Union is also pushing for more market-based approaches to compensate farmers for conservation, strong research funding, and the promotion of on-farm energy production.

The new language of climate change: Trillions

By Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group

In the ramp-up to Climate Week, unfolding in hundreds of events across New York City over the next five days or so, there’s been a raft of reports, commitments and declarations touting big, big numbers. It’s a clear sign that the money side of climate change — both costs and opportunities — is rising in lockstep with a recognition of the stakes to people and the planet.

Witness a sampling of stories from just the past week. And these don’t include trillions more of banks’ and investors’ money. And as forests burn, oceans warm, cities parch and crops wilt — exactly as was predicted some decades ago, but also faster than some expected — this influx of capital commitments is a welcome sign that higher ambition is on the near-term horizon. In a word: Priceless. Read the entire article here.

Previously Posted

Forecast: Solar Tax Credit Extension Would Boost Jobs, Economy and Climate Fight

Solar Energy Industries Association News Release

An extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) would spark $87 billion in new private sector investment and add 113,000 American jobs over baseline estimates by 2030, according to 10-year forecasts released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

The forecasts come as SEIA ramps up its efforts to secure an extension of the ITC in Congress, and as nearly 20,000 solar and storage professionals descend on Salt Lake City for Solar Power International. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading