Monthly Archives: February 2020

Honoring the Contributions of Black Americans in the Solar Industry

By Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO,
Solar Energy Industries Association

As I think about the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts of my organization and the solar industry, Black History Month offers a great opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and where we need to go. When I first walked in the door of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) a little over three years ago, the lack of people of color struck me. On day one, I set out to do something about it.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are now core principles of SEIA and we’ve taken several steps to change our own practices. And I’m proud of the progress we’ve made. I think it’s important that we publicly share this progress to remain accountable for the statements we make about prioritizing diversity and inclusion: in 2019, 57% of our new hires were women and 43% were people of color. Four out of five directors hired in 2019 were people of color. While the latest Solar Jobs Census shows us that the solar industry has a long way to go, I can say that SEIA is practicing what we preach. Continue Reading Here.

Conservation Nebraska event to focus on regenerative agriculture

By Collin Spilinek, Fremont Tribune

Conservation Nebraska will hold a public event at Keene Memorial Library this Saturday afternoon that will discuss water quality and regenerative agriculture. The free event will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Guest speakers include Martín Darío Hernández Ramírez, Michaela Mast and Graham Christensen. The event will discuss issues with water quality in areas such as West Point and regenerative agriculture, a form of farming that focuses on soil as the number-one resource and using practices with the end goal to build soil organic matter. “I really like these speakers because their presentations not only give a lot of facts, but it’s really widely based on the solutions and what we can do to solve these problems,” said Dakota Stock, northeast conservation director for Conservation Nebraska. Continue reading here.

Amazon’s Bezos pledges $10 billion to climate change fight

Reporting by Laila Kearney and Rama Venkat, Reuters

Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos will commit $10 billion to fund scientists, activists, nonprofits and other groups fighting to protect the environment and counter the effects of climate change, he said on Monday. Bezos, the world’s richest man, is among a growing list of billionaires to dedicate substantial funds to battling the impact of global warming. “Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” Bezos said in an Instagram post. “I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share.” The Bezos Earth Fund will begin issuing grants this summer as part of the initiative. Read more here.

Previously Posted: Jeff Bezos unveils sweeping plan to tackle climate change, CNBC

Additional Recommended Reading

Nebraska Legislative Hearings Scheduled for LB1132 & LR294

Natural Resources Committee Members
Senator Dan Hughes, Chairperson dhughes@leg.ne.gov
Senator Joni Albrecht jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov
Senator Bruce Bostelman bbostelman@leg.ne.gov
Senator Suzanne Geist sgeist@leg.ne.gov
Senator Tim Gragert tgragert@leg.ne.gov
Senator Steve Halloran shalloran@leg.ne.gov
Senator Mike Moser mmoser@leg.ne.gov
Senator Dan Quick dquick@leg.ne.gov

Nebraska Legislature’s Resources for Testifiers

The Nebraska Legislature’s Written Position Letter Policy for Public Hearings

If you are not testifying in person on a bill and would like to submit a written position letter to be included in the official hearing record as an exhibit, the letter must be delivered to the office of the committee chair (or emailed to the committee chair) of the committee conducting the hearing on the bill by 5:00 p.m. on the last work day prior to the public hearing.

Additionally, the letter must include your name and address, state a position of for, against, or neutral on the bill in question and include a request for the letter to be included as part of the public hearing record. 

Senator Dan Hughes
Room #1117
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509

Inspiring story from Illinois: How fourth-graders provided the spark for solar panels at Big Hollow campus

By Mick Zawislak, Daily Herald

The installation of solar panels on the Big Hollow Elementary District 38 campus in Ingleside is a lesson in persistence prompted by fourth-graders. Spread along the rolling terrain in two sections — the smaller near the school bus parking lot and the larger on the west side of Wilson Road — the panels will produce enough energy to cover about 85% of the district’s power needs and save about $90,000 a year. Continue reading here.

SEIA Resource: Solar Power Purchase Agreements
More Illinois NewsMaking Galesburg model city for solar, Review Atlas 

IN NEBRASKA

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

MULTI-STATE SOLAR AGGREGATION

Standard Solar gets creative to finance this 18-rooftop, multi-state solar portfolio for Iron Mountain Inc, Solar Builder Magazine

“Through our partnership with Standard Solar, we have been able to build a holistic program that allows Iron Mountain to seamlessly install on-site solar in multiple states. This program is helping Iron Mountain progress towards meeting their environmental goals of RE100 and the Science Based Target Initiative in a cost effective and simple to implement method,” said Lauren Fitch CBRE Energy Manager for Iron Mountain. Standard Solar also partnered with OnSwitch, whose patented AI-powered SkyQuotes platform makes it simpler for solar developers and building owners to evaluate, buy/finance and install commercial solar energy solutions at a guaranteed lowest price, to help maximize cost savings for the projects.

 CLIMATE RISKS & RESILIENCE

Trend: Corporate climate reporting gets physical, contributed GreenBiz article by Lauren Smart, Managing Director, Global Head of ESG Commercial at Trucost, part of S&P Global.

What will companies gain from reporting physical risks? Risk mitigation, for starters. Research by Trucost highlights the scale of corporate exposure: almost 60 percent of companies in the S&P 500 (market capitalization of $18 trillion) and more than 40 percent in the S&P Global 1200 ($27.3 trillion) hold assets at high risk of physical climate change impacts. Identifying these exposures and building business continuity and resilience plans is critical. It’s not just companies in the obvious sectors, such as agricultural value chains or resource-intensive ones, that are vulnerable. For many U.S. financial companies, which may have thought their exposure to climate risks was minimal, 2012’s Superstorm Sandy was a wake-up call.

GLOBAL ENERGY TRANSITION

 Previously Posted

U.S. carbon price group boosts lobbying in Congress, releases plan

By Timothy Gardner, Reuters

WASHINGTON – A group aiming to spur climate change legislation that would tax carbon emissions stepped up efforts by issuing a blueprint on Thursday after previewing it with a group of bipartisan U.S. senators earlier this week.

The Climate Leadership Council’s plan aims to halve carbon emissions by 2035 from 2005 levels with a tax starting at $40 per ton. While that would make products like gasoline more expensive, the plan would return dividends to families of about $2,000 in the first year. Continue reading here.

Click image to read the Roadmap.
Read the Press Release
Climate Leadership Council

‘Ablaze’: A haunting new song about Australia’s wildfires

Binnie Klein, a licensed clinical social worker and a psychotherapist and author in New Haven, Connecticut interviews Melbourne singer-songwriter “Tartie” about her country’s historic bushfires, Yale Climate Connections.

Art as a form of protest and consciousness-raising long has been a potent contribution to society’s challenge of grappling with injustice, calamity, inhumanity … and now climate change. The visceral and emotional impact of the arts as a vital change-maker is also a powerful companion to scientific research and discovery.

The 1960s stand out for many as a period of socially-engaged art – through film, cartoons, poster art, performance pieces, literature, and perhaps most profoundly – music. And over the past decade, artists increasingly are turning their attention to climate change. The news of extreme weather events, while always distressing, can sometimes remain remote, but the singing and storytelling of an Australian artist known only as “Tartie” brought it all home when I played it on my radio show. We discussed the fires and her song “Ablaze” via Skype: Continue reading here.

Listen to the song on YouTube.

Additional Recommended Reading

Previously Posted 

Yale University Survey: Yale Poll Finds Majority of Americans Think ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron and Other Fossil Fuel Companies Should Pay for Climate Change Damage, Union of Concerned Scientists Blog. A  survey by Yale University’s Program on Climate Change Communications and supported by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) finds that most Americans (57 percent) think fossil fuel companies should pay for the damages caused by global warming.

Interactive Map – Click link and scroll down: This tool maps variations in Americans’ opinions about existing or potential lawsuits against fossil fuel companies.

Nebraska Data

  • A search by state shows that 50% of Nebraskans surveyed hold fossil fuel companies responsible for the local damage of global warming.
  • Several searches by county show the following results:

Cherry County: 58%
Colfax County: 56%
Dawes County: 57%
Douglas County: 56%
Lancaster County: 55%
Thurston County: 61%

Inside Clean Energy: The Case for Optimism

By Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News

You might say I’m the climate change therapist in my neighborhood. When people find out that I write about climate change and clean energy, they often react with some version of a despair story. And that’s when I launch into my case for optimism. It goes like this: I spend just about every day talking to the researchers, entrepreneurs and advocates behind the transition to clean energy. Their enthusiasm, plus the evidence of their progress, makes me feel like I’m covering the story of our lifetimes.
Continue reading here.

Click here to read more articles by Dan Gearino.

Additional Recommended Reading

New report: Renewable energy generation jumped 77 percent during 2010’s, by Greg Alvarez, AWEA Blog. The Business Council for Sustainable Energy has released its annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook:

Today, the U.S. has three times the amount of wind that it did when the 2010’s began. As noted when we announced the U.S. wind industry’s 100 gigawatt (GW) milestone, it took 28 years to build the country’s first 25 GW of wind. But it only took 11 to build the next 75. That’s an explosive growth rate, and with another 44 GW of wind under development and a burgeoning offshore wind resource, more wind is on the way. Looking pan renewable, the Factbook finds almost 150 GW of wind and solar were built over the past decade.

Previously Posted

How community solar supports rural communities and farmers

By David Gahl, Senior Director of State Affairs, Northeast,
Solar Energy Industries Association

There are nearly 2 gigawatts of community solar installed across the United States, supporting our rural communities by generating local revenue and helping states make progress toward their clean energy and climate goals. These projects are authorized in 19 states and the District of Columbia and allow residents, farmers, small businesses, and municipalities to receive credit on their electricity bills for the power produced from their section of a solar array, lowering overall electricity costs. A new paper released by SEIA details the various project models and arrangements farmers make to build or host community solar projects, and offers resources to help landowners and solar firms navigate this growing market. Continue reading here.

Read more news stories saved under the category: Community Scale / Utility Scale Solar 

Pat Pope stepping down as NPPD President, CEO

NPPD News Release

With a career of more than 40 years with Nebraska Public Power District, including the past nine as President and Chief Executive Officer, Pat Pope announced during Thursday’s Board of Directors meeting he plans to step down as President and CEO. He expects to remain available to assist with transition and continue working on the District’s generation options for the future and rural e-connectivity initiatives.

In making the announcement to the Board Pope said, “I didn’t know how long I would stay with NPPD when I began working here.  As the years went by. the opportunities kept coming. I stayed with the District and learned to appreciate what public power really means to our customers and the state.” Continue reading here.