Monthly Archives: October 2020

Seeking input on decarbonization goal, LES to host public meetings

Lincoln Electric System News Release 

LINCOLN — Over the last decadeLincoln Electric System has made great strides in transitioning its energy production portfolio to more sustainable sources. From 2010 to 2019, the community-owned utility increased renewable energy production from the equivalent of 10% of retail sales in 2010 to 46% in 2019, simultaneously reducing CO2 emissions by 42% and the carbon intensity of its energy produced by 38%.

Along with transitioning to more renewable resources, LES has also promoted sustainability through customer-facing programs like incentivized rates for customer-owned solar, virtual net metering, allowing customers to buy “virtual” panels at the local community solar facility, and by offering multiple energy efficiency and demand reduction incentives and opportunities. Both distributed generation and load reduction are important parts of maintaining sustainability for an electric utility, and LES has been ahead of the curve on implementing many of these actions.

[Seeking input from LES customers on the utility’s decarbonization goal]: Virtual public meetings will be held Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 11:30 a.m. and the following Thursday, Nov. 5, at 6 p.m. These meetings will include a presentation by LES staff, interactive polls and time for public comment. Please refer to “How to participate in a virtual public meeting” and find more information on the upcoming meetings at LES.com/decarb. Read the entire news release here.

Photo: Lincoln Electric System’s Solar Farm

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & RESOURCES

New studies find grid modernization accelerates cost-effective renewable energy growth

By John Hensley, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Renewable energy has begun to dominate new electric generation capacity additions over the past several years for a variety of reasons – plummeting technology costs, increasing efficiency, and corresponding demand from the public and private sector, among others. However, to fully realize a 21st century clean energy economy we need to update our electric system to meet today’s needs, modernize the grid, and expand access to renewables through transmission infrastructure. Now, two new studies show how transmission investments can accelerate clean energy growth while saving money for American families and businesses. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Nebraska Public Power District

NPPD’S R-Project Newsroom
Nebraska Public Power District’s Board of Directors voted to award a construction contract to Forbes Brothers Timberline Construction, Inc., of Rapid City, S.D. for the R-Project transmission line.

SEIA Blog: Solar + EVs: Two Peas in a Pod

IOWA’S RENEWABLE ENERGY & TRANSMISSION

Experts: Iowa’s renewable energy growth depends on better transmission, Iowa Capital Dispatch
Iowa could become an even bigger leader in renewable energy, especially if renewable hydrogen is developed and transmission lines are improved, a panel of university, government and corporate leaders said Wednesday

MICHIGAN STUDY QUANTIFIES RETURN ON CLEAN ENERGY INVESTMENT

Commentary: Clean energy is good economic policy for Michigan, by Laura Sherman / Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, Energy News Network

Last month Gov. Gretchen Whitmer set a goal for Michigan to be carbon-neutral by 2050, a bold move that will bring more jobs and industry to the state. We can measure the economic growth and jobs that these energy innovations have already brought to Michigan and can continue to bring—not in 10, 20 or 30 years, but right now. A new report from the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC) does just that. It quantifies how increasing investment into advanced energy through a future federal stimulus package could energize the state’s economy, and finds that these investments would generate a return on the order of eight times the level of public spending for Michigan. 

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA’S “RENEWABLES ON THE RISE 2020” REPORT

The 2020 edition of a report by Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group
Clean energy technology has boomed in the last decade, enabling Americans to envision a future powered by 100 percent renewable energy. “Renewables on the Rise 2020” tells the story of the dramatic growth of clean energy. The data story below explains how strong state renewable energy commitments have helped to spark the clean energy revolution. The interactive charts enable you to explore how clean energy technology is growing in your state. And the six fact sheets provide a detailed look at the key technologies driving America toward clean, renewable energy — from electric vehicles to offshore wind power — and the hope they provide for the future. 

Environment America’s 100% Campaigns

CLEAN ENERGY JOBS ANALYSIS

Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), and the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) commissioned BW Research to analyze clean energy job wages and benefits.

The Clean Jobs, Better Jobs report is the first comprehensive analysis of wages and benefits across the clean energy sector. According to the report, workers in renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid modernization and storage, clean fuels and clean vehicles earned a median hourly wage of $23.89 in 2019 compared with the national median wage of $19.14. In addition, jobs in many clean energy sectors are more likely to be unionized and come with health care and retirement benefits than the rest of the private sector, the analysis shows.


REIMAGINE APPALACHIA

Clean energy, infrastructure plan could bring 489,000 jobs to Ohio, Pa., Farm and Dairy
ReImagine Appalachia’s plan, released in July, lays out how to build and modernize infrastructure, repair the land and create jobs through public investment in Appalachia’s Ohio River Valley. Reimagine Appalachia is a coalition of more than 75 grassroots organizations from Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. It calls for, among other things, encouraging regenerative agriculture practices, reviving the Civilian Conservation Corps, increasing clean energy use, expanding broadband, building a sustainable transportation system and creating “good union jobs.”

GREEN HYDROGEN CHARGING STATIONS

World’s First Green Hydrogen Universal Charging Station for Electric and Hydrogen Vehicles, H2-Greenforce, Extends Preferred Series A Funding Raising up to $12 Million to Debut Green Island™, H2 Greenforce LLC News Release, PR Newswire

About H2-Greenforce: Founded in 2019 in New Jersey, H2’s mission is to decarbonize our planet through production of green electricity. H2-Greenforce combines its own proprietary green hydrogen technology and know-how, with advanced industrial components to build self-sustainable electric infrastructure. H2-Greenforce is a trademark of H2-Greenforce LLC in the United States and other countries.

CLIMATE ACTION 100+ NEWS

Investors call on major US polluters to clean up lobbying activities, by Cecilia Keating, GreenBiz
It is just the latest intervention from Climate Action 100+, which is backed by more than 500 global investors representing $47 trillion of assets worldwide and aims to ramp up climate ambition from companies it has identified as collectively responsible for up to 80 percent of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Companies targeted by the campaign span a number of polluting sectors, including oil and gas, consumer goods, power and transportation, and have been identified as “systematically important” to the net zero transition by the campaign.

FEATURED LOCAL RESOURCES TO HELP YOU SAVE ENERGY & MONEY

Ørsted starts construction of 298 MW Nebraska wind project

Ørsted News Release

Ørsted continues to expand its footprint in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) via the acquisition and final investment decision of the 298 MW Haystack Wind project in Wayne County, Nebraska. Situated adjacent to Ørsted’s 230 MW Plum Creek wind farm, Haystack will utilize existing interconnection infrastructure in SPP North. Haystack is expected to come online in fourth quarter 2021, adding further diversity to Ørsted’s portfolio of onshore wind, solar PV, and energy storage across Texas, the Midwest, and Southeast US. Continue reading here.

Photo by Ørsted: Plum Creek Wind Farm

Previously Posted

Gering City Council Looking at Renewable Energy Options

By Ryan Murphy, KNEB

 

The Gering City Council passed an ordinance Monday evening aimed at increasing the usage of renewable energy in the future. Rich Andrysik, a professional engineer with the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, spoke to the council about Renewable Distributed Generation.

Read more here.

 

Additional Recommended Reading
MEAN Board Approves Resolution On Vision For Carbon Neutrality By 2050, MEAN News Release

PRINCETON REVIEW’S 2021 GUIDE TO GREEN COLLEGES

CCC recognized for ‘going green’, Hastings Tribune
[Central Community College] is among 416 institutions to have been included in the latest “Guide to Green Colleges,” based on a survey of administrators at 695 colleges and universities in 2019-20 concerning their institutions’ commitment to the environment and sustainability through policies, practices and programs. Editors for The Princeton Review analyzed the survey responses using more than 25 data points to make selections for the “Guide to Green Colleges,” which is available for free online and directs viewers to the colleges’ and universities’ websites. Other Nebraska institutions included in the 2021 guide are the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha, and Creighton University in Omaha.

ANNUAL LAZARD REPORT

Wind remains cheaper, but solar’s costs are falling faster, Lazard finds, Utility Dive
The levelized cost of onshore wind generation has declined 2% over the past year to an average of $26/MWh, while the cost of utility-scale solar dropped 9% to an average of $31/MWh, when accounting for government subsidies, according to an annual analysis released last week by Lazard, a financial advisory and asset management firm.

IEEFA REPORT 

Global Financial Institutions Plan For Major Oil & Gas Lending Exits, CleanTechnica
Financial institutions have begun the long overdue process of restricting oil and gas funding. According to an October, 2020 report generated by the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis (IEEFA), over 100 and counting globally significant financial institutions have announced their divestment from coal. Additionally, an IEEFA tracker indicates that 50 globally significant financial institutions have introduced policies restricting oil sands and/or oil and gas drilling in the Arctic, including 23 to date this year. They’re leaving coal, oil, LNG, fossil gas, oil sands, and Arctic drilling.

CLEAN TECHNICA ARTICLES

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

As costs rack up in Boulder’s push to split with Xcel, voters to have the final say

Written by Allen Best, Energy News Network

Fundamentally at issue is whether the business model of vertically integrated monopoly utilities can meet 21st century needs. Xcel, seen as a carbon-focused old-school utility even a decade ago, has picked up its pace, turning heads across the country with its December 2018 declaration to achieve 80% emissions reduction by 2030 and 100% emissions free electricity by 2050.

But Boulder wanted more, to be a model in Colorado and beyond. Denver and several suburban cities will have their franchises expire in the next decade. Advocates for municipalization would like to show what could be gained by more daring enterprises. The motto of municipalization advocates is “decarbonize, democratize and decentralize.” Add to that localize: the city envisions 50% locally generated power. Read more here.

Photo Credit: National Renewable Energy Lab

ALSO PUBLISHED BY THE ENERGY NEWS NETWORK

MORE NEWS & OPINION FROM VARIOUS STATES

SECURITIZATION

How Utilities Can Avoid Being Financially Swamped by the Coal Closure Wave, Greentech Media article contributed by Mike O’Boyle, director of electricity policy at Energy Innovation, a think tank, and Silvio Marcacci, the group’s communications director.

Securitization allows utilities to retire uneconomic coal plants at a faster clip, but it will require legislative change in most states.

New Power Nebraska Energy Coalition Hosts Panel on Energy Grid Modernization

By Jesse Dougherty and Josh Moenning
New Power Nebraska News Release

This year Nebraska has positioned itself as a leader in America’s growing wind energy industry, generating nearly 20% of state electricity production from wind power. Solar power is also growing in the state, with the capacity to power nearly 8,000 homes. But if these renewable energy sources are to continue growing, modernized infrastructure is essential.  
 
A panel hosted by the New Power Nebraska coalition discussed the status of the state’s electricity grid infrastructure, including projects like the R-Line, opportunities for grid improvement, and how modernization will impact industry growth in the coming years. The virtual event featured local leaders and industry leaders discussing the growth of wind and solar in Nebraska and some of the projects and initiatives that will help improve electrical grid transmission.  
 
In Nebraska, wind now supports 4,000 jobs and provides $14.7 million in annual land lease payments. It provides $12 million in tax revenue for state and local governments, leading to new community facilities such as schools and courthouses, improving roads and bridges, and upgrading emergency services. Additionally, Nebraska’s wind projects have powered the equivalent of 680,000 homes while avoiding 1.4 million metric tons of carbon emissions. 
 
“Nebraska is at the center of an emerging national energy renaissance,” said David L. Bracht, former Nebraska Director of Energy and counsel at Kutak Rock. “We as a state continue to see how wind and solar can support our local economies. Having additional natural resources that we can use, develop, and export for value strengthens Nebraska’s economy and benefits the entire state” 
 
Solar power is also having its day in the sun here in Nebraska. There have been nearly 1,500 jobs created by the solar power industry in our state, and prices for consumers have declined by 38 percent in the last five years. The solar industry has invested more than $87 million in Nebraska, including over $20 million in 2019 alone.  
 
Nebraska presents a significant opportunity for renewable energy development,” said James Williams, Vice President of Renewable Development for Invenergy. “Invenergy is proud of our existing contributions to the State’s renewable energy leadership and look forward to helping Nebraska realize a cleaner energy future.” 
 
Panelists covered topics including transmission improvement needs, initiatives launched by the Omaha Public Power District, the Nebraska Public Power District’s R-Project, and the policy environment related to energy infrastructure and renewable development.  
 
Watch the event here.
 
“Nebraska’s journey to harvest wind and solar is just beginning, and it comes at a time when the state’s agricultural sector is experiencing significant financial stress,” said Nebraska State Senator John McCollister (R-Omaha). “In the next few years, I am certain that these homegrown resources will become major economic forces in Nebraska.” 
 
Nebraska belongs to the Southwest Power Pool, which is a regional transmission organization. The organization recently conducted a study called the Integrated Transmission Plan that assesses the needs of the entire transmission network within the region over the next 10 years. The R-Project came as a result of that study.  
 
“NPPD’s over 5,000 miles of electric transmission system is a critical component of ensuring ongoing low cost and reliable service to our customers and the people of Nebraska,” stated Tom Kent, President & CEO of Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD). “The R-Project will increase the reliability of the transmission system, relieve congestion on the existing system, and provide additional opportunities for the development of clean energy projects if desired at the local level.” 
 
Modernization of Nebraska’s power grid requires investment in transmission infrastructure. This will be key to achieving renewable energy goals, followed by affordable energy prices. This enhances both reliability and the opportunity for home-grown energy.  
 
“Many companies now have renewable energy goals, and OPPD can help them reach those goals by having a long-term strategic plan for future low-carbon energy production,” said Janece Mollhoff, member of the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) board of directors. “Ultimately, if we do our job right, we can have affordable, reliable, and environmentally sensitive energy, meeting all three legs of OPPD’s mission.” 
 
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. 
 
New Power Nebraska is sharing highlights and other content on Facebook and Twitter. Follow along and join in the conversation by using #NewPowerNebraska and #WindBuildsTheFuture. 
 
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

Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy Resources

Renewable Energy Surges Even In Fossil Fuel Friendly Red States

 By Jeff McMahon, Senior Contributor, Forbes

The nation’s two largest coal-producing states, Wyoming and West Virginia, have emerged as leaders in renewable energy and energy storage, respectively, according to a new report. States that voted red in the 2016 presidential election occupy seven of the top-ten spots for wind and solar generation as a percentage of their electricity consumption, according to Environment America’s Renewables on the Rise 2020, released last week. Read more here.

FROM DOE’S WIND EXCHANGE NEWSLETTER

Wind Energy Technology Data Update: 2020 Edition, DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The United States added 9,000 MW of new land-based, utility-scale wind power capacity in 2019, bringing the national total to 105.6 gigawatts. Wind power represented the second-largest source of U.S. electric-generating capacity additions in 2019 and provides more than 10% of electricity in 14 states. Continuing the long-term trend, average turbine capacity, rotor diameter, and hub height increased in 2019, significantly boosting wind project performance to a capacity factor of 41%. The national average price of wind power purchase agreements has dropped to less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, and the levelized cost of energy has dropped 60% in the past 10 years to $36 per megawatt-hour. View a PowerPoint summary or download the 2019 Wind Technology Data.

 FEATURED NATIONAL SURVEY

Two-Thirds of Americans Think Government Should Do More on Climate, Pew Research Center
Consistent with public concerns over climate and the environment, 79% of Americans say the priority for the country’s energy supply should be developing alternative sources of energy, such as wind and solar; far fewer (20%) give priority to expanding the production of oil, coal and natural gas. To shift consumption patterns toward renewables, a majority of the public (58%) says government regulations will be necessary to encourage businesses and individuals to rely more on renewable energy; fewer (39%) think the private marketplace will ensure this change in habits.

 OHIO

Column: Solar energy investment is critical to Ohio’s economy, Columbus Dispatch. Contributor Jason Rafeld is executive director of the Utility-Scale Solar Energy Coalition.

In an effort to understand the economic value the solar industry could bring to Ohio, the Utility- Scale Solar Energy Coalition commissioned a study through Ohio University that shows compelling results. Ohio’s utility-scale solar industry can create more than $18 billion in economic activity, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and helping to attract new business to Ohio.  

COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY

Partnership to increase solar energy generated on CSU campuses, Colorado State University News
Through the agreement, Namasté Solar, an employee-owned cooperative based in Colorado, will develop, design, and construct solar arrays at up to 30 sites at CSU’s campuses and provide long-term operations and maintenance. CSU will retain ownership of Renewable Energy Credits attributed to the new systems and locally-based Solaris Energy will provide the needed financing for the project, then own and manage the systems as a part of its larger asset portfolio.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

You are invited to DOE’s National Community Solar Partnership Virtual Summit

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office invites you to join the National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) Virtual Summit on Thursday, October 29 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT. The summit will highlight partners’ innovations and progress to date in ensuring access to affordable community solar for every U.S. household by 2025. The event will feature speakers from leading community solar organizations and highlight case studies of innovative community solar projects from across the country. Register here.

This event is hosted by Nation of Makers, a Power Connector supporting the American-Made Network through the National Renewable Energy Lab.

Solar Bear helps tribes seize sovereignty, economic opportunities with renewable energy

By Chez Oxendine, Tribal Business News

MINNEAPOLIS — Robert Blake wants Indian Country to seize business opportunities in the burgeoning renewable energy market. The Red Lake Band of Ojibwe member envisions a future in which tribes could be exporting energy, contributing to a $1 trillion market through the development of renewable energy microgrids, such as the ones built by Blake’s Minneapolis-based company Solar Bear LLC.

Amid the economic downturn of COVID-19, Blake feels tribes should have more sustainable methods of making money, including by developing and selling renewable power. That economic diversification could set tribes up for long-term, stable income. Read more here.

In Nebraska: Previously Posted News Stories

Tribal Energy Webinar Series: Hosted by the DOE Office of Indian Energy 

  • Tribal Microgrids: Exploring Why and How, October 28, 2020—12 pm to 2 pm CDT
    Interest in microgrids continues to grow as the number of microgrid projects increases and the value proposition becomes more evident. This webinar will explore common applications for microgrids and the benefits they can provide to tribal communities. Tribal case studies will highlight why and how those tribes chose to develop microgrids. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required.
  • Tribal Energy Success Stories, December 9, 2020―12 pm to 2 pm CDT
    Many tribes across Indian Country have had energy successes. Each situation is unique, with differing reasons, approaches, and challenges. By sharing the successes of other tribes, we can gain valuable inspiration and insights. This webinar will share a few of these tribal energy success stories. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required.

Alternative energy continues to grow in Nebraska

Special to the Norfolk Daily News

A panel hosted by the New Power Nebraska coalition discussed the status of the state’s electricity grid infrastructure, including projects like the R-Line, opportunities for grid improvement and how modernization will affect industry growth in coming years. The virtual event featured local and industry leaders discussing the growth of wind and solar in Nebraska and some of the projects and initiatives that will help improve electrical grid transmission.

“Nebraska is at the center of an emerging national energy renaissance,” said David L. Bracht, former Nebraska director of energy and counsel at Kutak Rock. “We as a state continue to see how wind and solar can support our local economies. Having additional natural resources that we can use, develop and export for value strengthens Nebraska’s economy and benefits the entire state.” Read more here.

Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy Resources

Photo Credit: Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD)