Monthly Archives: October 2020

How wind turbines are providing a safety net for rural farmers

Written by Molly Bergen, World Resources Institute
Republished by Red, Green and Blue

On a farm in O’Neill, Nebraska, Mike Zakrzewski wakes up every morning to tend his cattle and grow corn and soybeans on the farm he’s known since childhood. The youngest of nine children, he began farming  with his dad in 1982, eventually buying the land from his parents and raising two children there with his wife. But due to climate change, this corner of Nebraska is not the same land he farmed with his father almost four decades ago. Continue reading here.

Photo by Mike Zakrzewski: Nebraska’s Grande Prairie Wind Farm

Previously Posted: Nebraska’s wind energy continues to grow, Norfolk Daily News

American Wind Energy Association Resources

New Clean Energy Group Guide Released!

The guide, Understanding Solar+Storage: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Solar PV and Battery Storage, is based on the results of a survey identifying the most common knowledge gaps around solar and energy storage.

The information presented in the guide focuses primarily on customer-sited, behind-the-meter solar+storage installations, though much of the information is relevant to other types of projects as well, including storage-only projects and front-of-the-meter solar+storage projects.

It is meant to serve as a starting point to establish a foundation of knowledge and understanding for individuals and organizations beginning to explore solar+storage options for their homes, businesses, or community facilities.

Topics addressed include the following:

  • What factors do I need to consider when designing a solar+storage system?
  • What different types of batteries are available (and which one is right for me)?
  • What size battery do I need?
  • Is solar+storage an effective backup power solution?
  • Can storage be added to an existing solar system?
  • How long does a solar+storage system last?
  • How much do batteries cost?
  • How do I determine the value of solar+storage (savings, revenue, resilience)?
  • How can I pay for a solar+storage system (incentives, grants, financing)?
  • Can solar+storage be developed to benefit low-income communities?
  • Is battery storage safe?
  • What are the environmental impacts of battery storage?

The guide is informed by more than six years of experience through Clean Energy Group’s work with property owners, developers, nonprofits, and communities to advance solar+storage in underserved communities. The questions and topic areas addressed in the guide are based on feedback from nearly one hundred stakeholders who submitted questions about solar+storage.

Clean Energy Group Website

The High-Performance All-Electric Home

By Joe Wachunas, CleanTechnica

A short 15 months ago, Berkeley, California launched the city-led electrification movement by (essentially) banning gas in all new construction. Then, in a blink of an eye, over 35 cities across California and the United States followed Berkeley’s lead.  Thus, we find ourselves at an inflection point where the all-electric home seems poised to become the default clean energy abode of the future. And there are many additional benefits to all-electric homes for both consumers and builders that make reasons for fuel switching even more compelling. Read more here.

Related Reading

Also written by Joe Wachunas: On the Cutting Edge of Vehicle to Grid. CleanTechnica

TESLA SOLAR ROOF INSTALLATION

Tesla Solar Roof Install Time Lapse – 40 Squares in 4 days, YouTube Video 
Weddle and Sons Roofing just completed a 15kW Tesla Solar Roof installation near Topeka, Kansas. 

Tesla Solar Roof Website
Weddle & Sons Roofing offices in Lincoln and Omaha
Installing A Tesla Solar Roof, by Weddle & Sons Roofing

SOLAR & ENERGY STORAGE FINANCING

Service Finance Company to deliver competitive and convenient financing packages for Panasonic brand solar modules and EverVolt™ energy storage systems, Panasonic News Release

Panasonic and Service Finance Company today announced PowerOn, a new home energy storage financing program exclusively for Panasonic EverVolt™ Certified Installers that enables them to offer 100% financing to homeowners who buy a complete energy storage system including EverVolt™ battery storage and Panasonic brand solar modules, or EverVolt™ battery storage.

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT

Corporate renewable energy procurement jumps 45% in 2020, Solar Power World
More than any other country, the United States has a growing portion of new renewable energy projects being built to meet demand coming directly from corporations.

EDF RENEWABLES  & GEENEX SOLAR

EDF Renewables North America and Geenex Solar Transact on a 4.5 gigawatt (GWac) Solar Development Portfolio, EDF Renewables News Release. The portfolio of project assets in the transaction exceed 20 solar projects in various stages of development.

Previously Posted News Release: EDF Renewables acquires Nebraska wind project

Milligan 1 Wind Project Website
Milligan 1 Wind is a $350 million investment in Saline County. The 300 MW wind farm project will generate clean energy for more than 100,000 homes, boost the local economy with millions in new spending, produce $45 million in total tax revenue, and create more than 200 jobs while sustaining 150 small family farmers and landowners with stable lease payments of more than $50 million over the life of the project. The project is planned to begin operation in late 2020.

CARBON OFFSETS

Michigan officials look to state forests as an offset for carbon emissions, by Tom Perkins, Energy News Network. Skeptics worry the plan will give polluters an inexpensive and imprecise option to meet future emission targets.

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA: SOLAR GROWN™ HONEY

Clif Family Introduces Solar Grown™ Honey and Honey Spreads Adding to Its Line of Artisan Foods: Harvested From Honey Bee Hives on Pollinator-friendly Solar Farms, The New Products Demonstrate a Productive Use of the Land Around Ground-Mounted Solar Panels.

Solar Grown™ Honey & Honey Spreads. Free shipping on orders of $40 or more.

New Power Nebraska Educational Forum: “Modernization of Electricity Transmission Infrastructure and Renewable Energy Development in Nebraska”

October 21, 2020 at 1:30 pm 

New Power Nebraska will host an educational forum tomorrow featuring energy leaders and policymakers to discuss the need for modernized electricity transmission infrastructure and the growth of clean energy. The virtual event will be moderated by David Bracht, counsel at Kutak Rock and former Nebraska Energy Office Director.

Nebraska has seen substantial wind energy development in recent years, bringing jobs, economic opportunity, and interest from residents. Wind power provides nearly 20 percent of the electricity generated in the state, with untapped resources standing ready to provide much more. But continued job creation and other economic benefits will require an expanded and upgraded transmission grid.

The event will cover topics including the current state policy environment, the status of the R-Project, grid resiliency, and transmission improvement needs in Nebraska. 
  
Register for the live broadcast via Zoom.

Participants:

  • Nebraska State Senator John McCollister (District 20)
  • Tom Kent, President & CEO of Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) 
  • Janece Mollhoff, Member of Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) Board of Directors
  • James Williams, Vice President, Renewable Development, Invenergy

 Moderator: David Bracht, Kutak Rock and former Nebraska Energy Office Director
 
To set up an interview with a panelist or speak with a New Power Nebraska representative, please contact Jesse Dougherty at jdougherty@strategicelements.com or (608) 807-8619.
 
About New Power Nebraska
New Power Nebraska, an initiative of the American Wind Energy Association, shines a light on the benefits wind energy generation brings to Nebraska’s communities and rural places – clean power, farm income, and new jobs. Learn more at www.newpowernebraska.org.

About the American Council on Renewable Energy
Founded in 2001, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is the nation’s premier pan-renewable organization uniting finance, policy and technology to accelerate the transition to a renewable energy economy. For more information, please visit www.acore.org.

About the Solar Energy Industries Association
The Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA) is leading the transformation to a clean energy economy, creating the framework for solar to achieve 20% of U.S. electricity generation by 2030. SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies and other strategic partners to fight for policies that create jobs in every community and shape fair market rules that promote competition and the growth of reliable, low-cost solar power. Founded in 1974, SEIA is a national trade association building a comprehensive vision for the Solar+ Decade through research, education and advocacy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.

About the American Wind Energy Association
AWEA is the national trade association for the U.S. wind industry, the largest source of renewable energy in the country. We represent 1,000 member companies, 120,000 jobs in the U.S. economy, and a nationwide workforce located across all 50 states. AWEA serves as a powerful voice for how wind works for America. Members include global leaders in wind power and energy development, turbine manufacturing, and component and service suppliers. They gather each year at the Western Hemisphere’s most efficient and targeted event for utility-scale renewable companies, the AWEA CLEANPOWER Conference & Exhibition, next in Indianapolis, June 7-10, 2021. An outgrowth of the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, CLEANPOWER is the first trade show focused exclusively on the utility-scale renewable power sector, bringing together all the major developers, utilities, OEMs, suppliers, and buyers under one roof. Visit AWEA’s website to learn more about the enormous economic benefits wind power brings to America and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Northeast Community College & Norfolk Area Chamber To Host NE Chamber Fall Forum: “Straight Talk With State Leaders”

NORFOLK, Neb. – The Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce and Northeast Community College invite business and manufacturing leaders across the college’s 20-county service area to participate in the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Fall Forum.

The event will be held on Fri., Oct. 23, at 8 a.m., through a Zoom webinar. There is no cost to attend. Featured speakers include Nebraska Chamber President Bryan Slone, Blueprint Nebraska President Jim Smith, Northeast Community College President Leah Barrett, and state legislators and legislative candidates in 2020.

Named “Straight Talk with State Leaders,” this year’s fall forums are designed to inspire community dialogue on economic development and workforce needs unique to each region. They also provide a forum for state and local chamber members to engage directly with local state legislators and legislative candidates as the 2020 General Election approaches.

“Northeast Community College serves an important role in training future employees for our employers across the region,” Barrett said. “I look forward to our discussions during the Fall Forum to continue to explore ideas that will ensure that our skilled workforce development needs of business and industry are met for generations to come.”

“The Nebraska Chamber Fall Forums have been a time-honored tradition among state and local chamber members for years. In addition to offering valuable time with state leaders and candidates in an election year, they offer a chance for frank, two-way communication between Chamber members and leadership on the issues affecting business,” Slone said. “We just could not forego the Fall Forums due to the pandemic, so we reworked them into a model that is arguably even more compelling as we march toward economic recovery.”

Register to view the ZOOM forum here.

The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the largest business association in the state and has served as the voice of Nebraska’s business community to state leaders since 1912.

What Is Happening With Solar Energy?

By Enrique Dans, Forbes

Anyone who follows developments in the energy sector will know that solar energy is no longer just the future but the presentAccording to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2020, photovoltaic solar energy is already the cheapest source of electricity in history. We are not talking about the future, but about the present, about current installations.

Under these conditions, the fact that solar energy was able to cover the entire demand in South Australia for the first time on October 12 should not surprise us: you can bet we will see this repeated in many more places, on many more occasions and for increasingly longer periods. Read more here.

“Solar Lease Considerations for Landowners” Webinar Recording & Slides Now Available!

Presented By Nebraska & Ohio Extension Specialists

For those who missed the October 9th webinar and those who want to watch again, click here to view the recording and slides.  

Speakers

  • F. John Hay – Department of Biosystems Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Eric Romich – Extension Field Specialist Energy Development, Ohio State University Extension
  • Peggy Kirk Hill – Director Ag and Resource Law Program, Ohio State University Extension

The webinar gives an overview of solar development and addresses major issues for farmers, landowners, and their families to consider when negotiating a long term, utility-scale solar lease agreement.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz Announces His MGA Chair’s Agenda – Empowering Midwestern Communities

By Jeff Ewart, Midwest Governors Association

Washington, D.C. – The Midwestern Governors Association (MGA) is excited to welcome Minnesota Governor Tim Walz as its new Chair. Governor Walz announces his MGA Chair’s Agenda “Empowering Midwestern Communities,” which focuses on bringing Midwestern policy leaders together to create economic opportunities in the energy sector. The first area of concentration is collaboration with states to strengthen and grow the communities that have been or will be impacted by power plant closures throughout the region. The other main emphasis of Gov. Walz’ agenda is the continuation of the MID-GRID 2035 Initiative. MID-GRID 2035 is a regional transmission education and planning effort to position the Midwest as a modern energy producer and low-cost energy provider, with the goal to establish a long-term transmission grid vision for the region. Read more here.

For more information, visit www.midwesterngovernors.org/Chairs-Agenda

The Midwestern Governors Association (MGA) is a non-profit, bipartisan organization that brings together governors, their staff, and state agencies to address significant public policy issues and provide a vehicle to advocate for them. It focuses its efforts in four primary policy areas: agriculture, economic development, energy, and Midwest branding. Current members of the MGA include Gov. JB Pritzker (IL), Gov. Eric Holcomb (IN), Gov. Kim Reynolds (IA), Gov. Laura Kelly (KS), Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (MI), Gov. Tim Walz (MN), Gov. Michael Parson (MO), Gov. Pete Ricketts (NE.), Doug Burgum (ND), Gov. Mike DeWine (OH), Gov. Kristi Noem (SD), and Gov. Evers (WI).

National Grid Underscores its Commitment to the Clean Energy Transition with Launch of National Grid Renewables

National Grid Renewables News Release, PR Newswire

National Grid, through its competitive, non-regulated National Grid Ventures unit, today announced the launch of National Grid Renewables, the new brand name for its US renewable energy business which includes solar, onshore wind and battery storage. National Grid Renewables is focused on accelerating the clean energy transition through developing, owning and operating large-scale renewable energy assets across the United States.

This rollout builds on National Grid’s acquisition of Geronimo Energy, a leading wind and solar developer in North America, in July 2019, further underscoring the company’s commitment to decarbonizing the energy system. Since last year’s acquisition, National Grid’s onshore renewables development team (formerly known as Geronimo Energy) has signed over 500 megawatts (MW) of announced contracts with customers and has expanded its robust pipeline of wind, solar and battery storage projects throughout the U.S. As part of today’s launch, Geronimo Energy will transition to the new National Grid Renewables branding. Read more here.

Photo: Grande Prairie Wind Farm. BHE Renewables, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy,  purchased the 400-MW Grande Prairie Wind project from Geronimo Energy, the original project builder, in 2015. Omaha Public Power District contracted to purchase the farm’s entire generation capacity.

Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy

Panel discusses benefits of wind development in southwest Iowa

By Ryan Matheny, KMAland

Organized by the group Power Up Iowa — which advocates for local, state and federal policies that bring wind energy investment into Iowa — the forum was held in conjunction with the Page County Board of Supervisors and was moderated by board chair Chuck Morris. Bob Ramaekers is Vice President of Tenaska, a private, independent energy company based in Omaha. He says the industry’s goal is to work with landowners, not infringe on property rights when it comes to wind development. Read more here.

Power Up Iowa is a statewide coalition of renewable energy supporters advocating for local, state and federal policies and initiatives that enhance Iowa’s wind energy investment. By educating, raising awareness, and participating in conversations with our state’s leaders, Power Up Iowa will help make the case for renewable energy investment to revive and drive our local economies. Iowa ranks 2nd in the nation for wind power capacity. Up to 10 thousand jobs in Iowa are directly supported by wind energy.

LOCAL FOODS / LOCAL ENERGY MOVEMENTS

The distance local energy goes to bring power to the people, ScienceDaily
A University of California – Davis study published in the journal Frontiers in Sustainability, comparing energy providers, finds parallels to the local foods movement.

RURAL ELECTRIC INFRASTRUCTURE

Trump Administration Invests nearly $42 Million to Improve Rural Electric Infrastructure in Rural Missouri, Iowa, & Nebraska, USDA News Release. The funding, made possible through the Electric Loan Program, will benefit more than 77,000 rural residents and commercial customers in Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska.

CLEAN-ENERGY EXPERTS & ADVOCATES SHARE VIEWS OF BIDEN’S FIRST 100 DAYS

Biden’s First 100 Days: What Would They Look Like for Clean Energy?, Greentech Media
We asked clean-energy experts and advocates what’s most likely to get done in the first 100 days of a Biden presidency.

COMMUNITY SOLAR STUDY

Penn State study finds opening community solar market could generate $1.8 billion in economic impact for Pennsylvania, Solar Power World

new study conducted by Penn State found that construction of new community solar facilities would generate an estimated $1.8 billion in economic impact, create over $793 million in labor income, and support over 11,000 jobs in various sectors across Pennsylvania. The study, conducted by the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences’ Center for Economic and Community Development, analyzed 235 planned community solar projects across 48 counties which can move ahead if community solar legislation passes the General Assembly.

RENEWABLES FORWARD INITIATIVE

It’s Time for the Solar Industry to Act on Diversity and Inclusion, Greentech Media
As a first step, leaders from Capital Dynamics, Cypress Creek Renewables, EDF Renewables, Generate Capital, Mosaic, Nautilus Solar Energy, New Columbia Solar, Nextracker, Volt Energy, Sol Systems, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Foundation have come together to share experiences, evaluate best practices and make changes. Our goal is to identify concrete ways to work together to create the change we all recognize is needed, commit to this change and drive a larger industrywide partnership between CEOs and organizations: thRenewables Forward Initiative.

AWEA NEWS RELEASE

AWEA Statement on Collaboration between Hydropower Industry and Environmental Community
Washington, D.C. – The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) today issued the following statement after the U.S. hydropower industry and environmental and conservation organizations agreed to increase collaboration on decarbonizing the nation’s electric grid, while protecting America’s waterways. AWEA this year partnered with America’s hydropower, solar, and energy storage industries as part of a shared vision of renewables reaching a majority of U.S. electricity generation by 2030.

ENERGY STORAGE

Wartsilla’s 9 MW battery storage system reduces a city’s demand peaks, saves transmission costs, PV Magazine USA. An independent power producer, AEP OnSite Partners, will be the first to deploy Wärtsilä’s new storage product. The 9 MW/15.6 MWh battery system will respond to PJM market signals and reduce the city’s peak demand by about 9 MW, while saving $1 million per year in transmission and capacity costs

GREEN HYDROGEN

GE, partners shifting Ohio gas-fired plant to hydrogen beginning 2021, Renewable Energy World
In one of the most striking signs that the hydrogen-powered generation revolution may be upon the industry sooner than later, a group will transition its combined cycle gas turbine power plant to run partially on hydrogen by a late 2021 start-up and go 100 percent H2 by 2030.

ADVANCED NUCLEAR PLANTS

U.S. Department of Energy Announces $160 Million in First Awards Under Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, DOE News Release

DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program will provide $80 million to each award winner, DOE Secretary Dan Brouillette said Tuesday. DOE intends to invest about $3.2 billion over the next seven years into advanced nuclear, subject to future congressional appropriations, he said. The remainder of the $230 million appropriated for the program in the fiscal 2020 budget is meant to support additional nuclear demonstration projects. But Tuesday’s grant winners “stand out for advancing the technology,” as well as for the financial wherewithal to match DOE’s grants and complete their work within seven years, Brouillette said.

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY’S PACIFICORP / ROCKY MOUNTAIN POWER

Wyo criticizes utility’s plans to replace coal with renewables, Wyo File
PacifiCorp/Rocky Mountain Power’s IRP, released in the fall of 2019, is a rolling analysis for how to provide reliable, lowest-cost electricity for the next 20 years. Preferred alternatives called for retiring several Wyoming coal-fired units early and developing renewable generation and storage. Shortly after release of the plan, the PSC announced it would investigate the IRP — an unusual measure for the commission to take.

SOLAR CELL EFFICIENCY

Forget silicon. This material could be a game-changer for solar power, CNN Business
Solar energy is poised for what could be its biggest transformation in over half a century. A group of materials called perovskites are being used to create the next generation of solar panels, which could eventually be twice as efficient as current models, and flexible enough to wrap around entire buildings. Researchers at Oxford PV, a company spun out of the University of Oxford, made a major breakthrough in 2018. By coating silicon with perovskite they achieved 28% efficiency. The company believes it can eventually reach 40%, or higher. Improved solar cell efficiency will enable installations to pump out more power with fewer panels, reducing costs, and the amount of land, labor and equipment needed to operate them.

EU’S CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY

EU to tackle methane gases, boost energy efficiency, Associated Press, Minneapolis Star Tribune
The EU sees itself as a world leader in climate and environmental policy. It wants to slash greenhouse gas emissions to at least 55% of what they were in 1990 over the next decade. That goal is a stepping-stone toward the broader aim of producing zero net polluting emissions across Europe by 2050.

SOLAR MAPPER

Total and Google Cloud Develop Solar Mapper, a Tool for Estimating the Solar Energy Potential of Houses’ Roofs, Business Wire

Total and Google Cloud have pooled their expertise to jointly develop an innovative tool, Solar Mapper, which aims to accelerate the deployment of solar panels for individuals (B2C) by providing an accurate and rapid estimate of the solar energy potential of their homes, first in Europe and then worldwide.