Monthly Archives: December 2019

Interested in solar energy? Nebraska Public Power District can help make that interest a reality

NPPD News Release

Residents of Scottsbluff who are interested in having solar energy as part of their electricity options, now have the opportunity! The City of Scottsbluff, in cooperation and partnership with Nebraska Public Power District, will again offer community solar shares to their customers in Scottsbluff. A second community solar project is under construction in Scottsbluff, located near Landers Soccer Complex. The 4.375-megawatt solar farm, scheduled to go live this spring, will begin taking registration for shares from Scottsbluff residents and businesses on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020. The initial solar farm, located at NPPD’s Scottsbluff office, was well received and sold out immediately. Continue reading here.

More Nebraska News

Wayne State partners with UNL to offer dual-degree program, Kearney Hub
The goals of the partnership are to provide education platforms in resilient food, energy, water and societal systems in alignment with career opportunities, as well as prepare teachers and curriculum to respond to the increased need for agricultural science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educators.

The Top Sustainability Stories of 2019

By Andrew Winston, Harvard Business Review

In my annual review of big themes in sustainability and business — in other words, how companies manage environmental and social issues and opportunities — I’ve always included a changing climate as a big story. But it’s now not an annual story; it’s permanent. The list of extreme, tragic, and very costly weather events this year — record heat in Europe, hail in June in Mexico, record floods in Nebraska, endless Australian bush fires, and epic destruction from storms in Mozambique and the Bahamas – was shocking. But sadly, it’s now the norm.

A changing climate is and will always be the top story, the context behind everything (at least in the near future). But that said, there was a shift this year in how seriously the world took the issue, which does merit highlighting. With that broad context, let’s look at 8 fascinating developments in sustainability from 2019. Continue reading here.

Nebraska National Guard Photo: Aerial view of the flooding at Camp Ashland, Nebraska on March 17, 2019.

 

More articles by Andrew Winston.
Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinston.

 

Omaha-Based Tenaska In The News – Plus Job Opportunities

Acciona puts 145-MW wind farm in operation in Texas, Renewables Now
With the latest addition, its ninth in the country, Acciona increases its US wind portfolio to 866 MW. This is in addition to the 3 GW of solar projects and the 1-GW battery storage development portfolio which it recently agreed to acquire from Nebraska-based energy company Tenaska.

Additional Recommended Reading

Poor returns on fossil fuel investments helping students convince colleges to divest

By Chris Dunker, Lincoln Journal Star
Reprinted by The Hastings Tribune

At the urging of a petition signed by more than 500 students earlier this year, Doane University became the first college or university in Nebraska to announce it would divest from fossil fuels. By 2030, Doane will abandon investments in oil and gas companies that make up about 1.6% of its total endowment, the Board of Trustees decided in May, and will avoid future investments in that sector.

Students who backed the petition at the private university in Crete chalked the announcement as a victory in the long campaign to combat climate change. But, they said, while the effort to create a more sustainable environment may be the overarching goal, it was a different pitch that won the day. Continue reading here.

Photo: More than 200 students from student organizations on Creighton University’s campus demonstrated April 25 to advocate for climate change and demand the university take actions against climate change. Credit: Brady Manker

Previously Posted

Nebraska’s largest solar power project comes into clearer focus with OPPD bid request

By Aaron Sanderford, Omaha World-Herald

The most solar power in state history should flow into the electrical outlets of eastern Nebraska homes and businesses by 2024. That’s when the Omaha Public Power District aims to finish Nebraska’s largest solar power project, building it in or near the 13 counties OPPD serves. The new solar farms could be located in more than one site. OPPD management is soliciting bids through mid-January to add OPPD’s first utility-scale solar power, producing 400 megawatts to 600 megawatts of electricity. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: American Public Power Association

More Nebraska News

Senior management promotions announced by NPPD, News Release

Previously Posted

Also In The News

Farm State Voters See Agriculture at Risk from Climate Change, New Poll Shows

Union of Concerned Scientists News Release

Voters across the political spectrum in five heavily agricultural states—including three states that may determine who wins the 2020 presidential election—see extreme weather, such as droughts and floods, as a significant threat to farming. Moreover, majorities in each state say they would be more likely to back a 2020 presidential candidate who proposes ways to help farmers and communities cope by building healthy, living soil. That’s according to a new poll conducted by Iowa-based RABA Research on behalf of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Read more here.

Infographic: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Previously Posted

Nebraska Resources

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.

National / International Resources

Court OKs controversial power line despite Missouri landowners’ objections

By Kurt Erickson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

In a ruling issued Tuesday, the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District rejected claims that the Public Service Commission had erred in giving a green light in March to the construction of the Grain Belt Express Transmission line. The 19-page ruling is the latest victory for backers of the project, which aims to bring Kansas wind energy east to Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.
Read more here.

Website: Grain Belt Express Transmission Line

ADDITIONAL MIDWEST NEWS & OPINION

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

NATIONAL NEWS

ENERGY STORAGE

WORKFORCE DIVERSITY

The business case for gender equality in solarPV Magazine
The writer, Lara Anton, is responsible for the client management of Samuel Knight International’s renewable energy portfolio.

SOLAR SCHOOLS

8 schools that went solar in 2019, by Kelsey Misbrenner, Solar Power World
Solar installations powering K-12 schools are on the rise. Creative financing through PPAs and grants help make these nonprofit installations a possibility, and the benefits are vast: Schools save money on electricity, and students get firsthand experience with solar energy.

Bluestem Energy Solutions to open new office in Columbus

By David Becker, The Columbus Telegram

Bluestem Energy Solutions, an Omaha-based company that is known for operating low carbon electric generation projects and enables consumers and businesses to have renewable energy, will soon be opening up its first office in Columbus. “The new office was chosen due to Columbus’ proximity to our operating assets, a strong workforce and our relationship with Loup Public Power. Loup Public Power District has a great team focused on growing their community and serving their customers with the highest of standards,” said Adam Herink, vice president of Bluestem Energy Solutions.

“Bluestem is focused on all low carbon energy generation technologies in the market, along with battery storage. The economics are competitive today and every area of the country will experience growth in renewable technologies like solar and wind coupled with battery storage. The advent of battery storage on our industry is driving more decisions faster because it minimizes the variability of renewable energy,” Herink said. Read more here.

Bluestem Energy Solutions

Loup Power District

Loup Power District celebrated 85 years in 2018. It was the first public power district in Nebraska. Loup Power serves 21 Nebraska communities with a total current population of approximately 62,300 people. The total service area covers 2,219 square miles and consists of 794 miles of transmission and distribution lines. In addition, the District sells electric power to one wholesale customer.

Loup Power has distribution system lease and franchise agreements with all the municipalities that provide for the continued operation of their distribution systems until the expiration of the agreements. Under these agreements, the District retains the responsibilities of ownership and/or operation, including the obligation to meet the costs of property additions and maintenance. The Board sets sufficient electric rates to pay the cost of operating, maintaining and repairing the transmission and distribution systems.

YouTube Video: Loup Power Canal Chronicles – January 2019
Bluestem’s Creston Ridge Wind Farm: Phases I and II, Boyd Jones

A holiday talk about the climate crisis? Yes, please.

Contributed article for GreenBiz by Phil Berry,
Founder & Chief Executive of Sustainable Supply Chains

For some of us, holiday gatherings are difficult. Connecting with family and friends who don’t always share our values or views can be stressful. Many of us steer clear of talking politics and religion with family members to avoid contentious discussions or outright conflict. Regardless whether we are conscious of it, climate change has been added to that list of taboo subjects.

I want to provide you with scientific evidence why a holiday discussion about climate change has a better chance of success, and less chance of conflict, than you might think. Then I’d like to equip you with some of what I’ve learned in 20 years communicating with skeptics of climate science. There are two scientifically valid reasons why this conversation isn’t a crazy idea. Continue reading here,

MORE ON CLIMATE LEADERSHIP

 GREEN CAMPUSES

Engie, University of Iowa say ‘I do’ to 50-year, $1 billion+ partnership, by Sarah Golden, Senior Energy Analyst GreenBiz & VERGE Energy Chair

Per the agreement, Engie will help the university phase out coal from its on-site power plant in five years. The company has stated its intention to work with the university to transition towards a zero-carbon footprint. How will it achieve zero-carbon operations for the university’s two campuses, which span 1,700 acres and includes an internal hospital? Engie doesn’t know — yet. Although the service provider has yet to create an action plan for the UI campuses, it plans on including onsite renewable generation, energy storage, lighting upgrades, microgrids and a digital dashboard to manage its energy resources. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

EV NEWS

Dominion chooses 50 electric Thomas Built Buses powered by Proterra, PV Magazine
The vehicle to grid enabled EVs are part of a pilot program whose goal is to integrate 13,000 Virginia school buses into the state’s power grid as an energy storage resource to be tapped.

Previously Posted: All The Energy Storage The Grid Needs Will Soon Be Under Our Noses

FEATURED NATIONAL INITIATIVE

Environment America’s Mayors for Solar Energy is a bipartisan community of mayors committed to making solar energy a key element of their communities’ energy plans. Environment America’s resources provide the tools they need to take concrete steps to achieve their communities’ goals:

Resources Include:

EUROPE’S GREEN DEAL

Your guide to Europe’s ‘Green New Deal,’ the continent’s new plan to get to net zero
Contributed article for GreenBiz by Madeleine Cuff, senior reporter for the U.K. sustainable business publication BusinessGreen.

Europe soon could become the first continent in the world to be aiming for net zero emissions by 2050, if EU leaders adopt a ground-breaking plan (PDF) released by the European Commission. The long-awaited European Green Deal promises a radical transformation of the trading bloc’s economy over the next 30 years, which would see the EU fully decarbonize while creating green jobs in new low-carbon industries.

Industry Vows to Continue Fight for Pro-Solar Policies, Despite Missed Opportunity This Year

SEIA News Release 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today Congress and the White House were unable to agree on including an extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in an end of year tax package, meaning the credit will decrease at the end of this year. The measure also failed to include energy storage in the ITC. This represents a missed opportunity to take an achievable step to boost the economy, add jobs and reduce carbon emissions.

Following is a statement from Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association on this development: 

“While I’m disappointed by this missed opportunity to boost the U.S. economy and jobs, and tackle climate change, I’m heartened that voter support for clean energy policies is at an all-time high. The solar ITC is a proven way to generate tens of billions of dollars in private investment each year, while substantially reducing carbon emissions. We will look for opportunities next year to again engage our incredibly supportive solar community and work with Congress on clean energy policies that work for all Americans.” Read the entire news release here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Burping Cows Get the Green Light to Join Carbon-Offset Market

By Agnieszka de Sousa and Mathew Carr, Bloomberg
Reprinted In Today’s Omaha World-Herald

A garlic and citrus feed supplement that lowers the greenhouse gases burped out by cows is giving farmers the chance to become global carbon traders. Verra, the largest program for voluntary carbon-offset credits, has approved a method to reduce livestock emissions that was developed by Swiss agritech company Mootral. That means farmers using such feed supplements will be able to sell greenhouse-gas credits in the carbon-offset market. The global voluntary offset market was worth $296 million last year, 50% more than two years, according to researcher Ecosystem Marketplace. Continue reading here.

Mootral Website

Among NASA Resources: A Less Frequently Asked Question About Climate Change:
Which is a bigger methane source: cow belching or cow flatulence?

Additional Recommended Reading
Farmers eye opportunities for commercial solar farms, KMA Land
Economic return two or three times that of corn or beans. Guaranteed income for decades. No work required. That may sound too good to be true. But for some landowners in the Corn Belt, it’s reality. A growing number of them are converting parts of their grain farms into solar farms. 
Commercial solar fields could someday be as common a sight as grain bins. And while most incorporate only a few acres, some are massive. A site under construction in Wisconsin will cover 3,000 acres, the largest in the Midwest, according to Brian Ross, senior program director at the Minnesota-based Great Plains Institute, a non-profit organization that promotes renewable energy.