Monthly Archives: December 2020

Op-ed: How Joe Biden can tap the private sector to accelerate transition to clean energy

Contributed by Laura Tyson and Daniel Weiss, CNBC

As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, we are on the cusp of a green industrial revolution. Now is the time for President-elect Joe Biden and his formidable team of scientific, economic, and national security experts to engage with the private sector to accelerate this historic transition to a low-carbon world. With an ambitious $2 trillion plan that strives to address the threat of climate change more comprehensively than that of any other administration, the Biden presidency could mark a turning point in federal government policy and usher in a new era for clean energy. Continue reading here.

Laura Tyson, a former chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton administration, is a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and a member of the Board of Advisors at Angeleno Group, LLC, a clean energy and climate solutions investment firm. Daniel Weiss is co-founder and Managing Partner of Angeleno Group.


COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Includes Key Renewable Energy Tax Credits, The National Law Review

The Highs and Lows for Solar in 2020: Wrapping up the biggest stories of a chaotic year.

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

Joe Biden’s win presents big upside for the solar industry. The candidate campaigned on a national plan to reach 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. Solar offers a key technology to achieve that goal, with 2020 marking its second year in a row to claim the largest share of new generating capacity of any resource. Read more here.


10 Victories for Virtual Power Plants in 2020, by Julian Spector
This concept goes by various names — virtual power plants, flexible loads, behind-the-meter networks — and encompasses tools like rooftop solar, batteries, smart thermostats, smart appliances and electric vehicle chargers. Though small individually, distributed energy resources are projected to grow to 387 gigawatts in the next five years, according to research by Wood Mackenzie.

So, What Exactly Are Virtual Power Plants?

Greentech Media’s Must-Read Grid Edge Stories of 2020, by Jeff St. John
By far the biggest grid edge story of 2020 was the continued commitment of U.S. utilities to midcentury decarbonization goals — or more pertinently, those utilities that aren’t already facing state-level mandates to eliminate their carbon footprints.

The Nebraska Energy Quarterly Now Available!

 Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE)

Included in the December 2020 Edition:

NDEE’s year in review
While 2020 has been a challenging year, the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy has continued to provide its services to Nebraska.

Electricity storage and Nebraska’s future
Storing coal is easy—pile it up. Storing gas and petroleum is relatively easy—pour them into tanks. Storing electricity in bulk—now that is a challenge worthy of engineers.

Know what to do around downed power lines
Old Man Winter can create some pretty severe storms, which can interfere with power distribution or even bring down lines.

NMPP weighing interest in possible AMI service for utilities
The Nebraska Municipal Power Pool Board of Directors discussed a possible new Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) service for member utilities during their board meeting held in September.

NDEE updates solar and wind maps
Sources of energy for Nebraska are changing.

Conservation practices: windbreaks
Heating and cooling account for more than half of a household’s energy use.

Get kids interested in saving energy
Getting kids interested in saving energy can seem tough at first.

Don’t let cold wind heat up your energy bill
Fall and winter are great times to prepare your home for cold weather.

Download the newsletter as a PDF here.

Johnsons’ home solar investment will pay off in a few years

Written by Mike Konz, Kearney Hub

KEARNEY — Today, 14 months after they went online, the solar panels feeding energy to Joe and Tara Johnson’s home northeast of Kearney are producing the numbers the couple expected when they invested $20,000 in October 2019 installing them. The panels don’t always eliminate their monthly electricity bills, but they are carving off a substantial portion of the bills, just as Joe had hoped. Read more and view a series of photos here.

Photo Credit: Erika Pritchard, Kearney Hub

Featured Solar+Storage Guide

Understanding Solar+Storage: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Solar PV and Battery Storage, CleanEnergy Group

This guide addresses commonly asked questions about solar PV and battery storage technologies. It 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.

Northeast wind energy program featured in virtual panel

Special to the Norfolk Daily News

The growth of renewable energy in Nebraska has situated the state as a leader in America’s growing clean energy industry. Wind and solar energy are increasingly offering the type of economic development in which the state continues to invest. A panel hosted by the New Power Nebraska coalition recently examined the growing role renewable energy is playing in rural and urban development and growth opportunities in both the wind and solar energy industries, according to a Northeast Community College media release. The virtual event featured local and industry leaders discussing the growth of wind and solar in Nebraska and some of the policies and initiatives that will help renewables advance even further. Continue reading here.

Recommended Viewing & Reading 

Central Community College–Hastings’ Energy Technology Program


Local View: Public power must reduce coal use

Contributor Drew Havens, Lincoln Journal Star

A benefit of living in Nebraska is the accessibility and reliability of our electricity. It powers our homes and businesses and allows us to be productive, hard-working people. But public power and its addiction to coal is not the path forward. Our state’s insistence on burning coal for electricity leaves us physically dependent, economically vulnerable and financially burdened. In 2018, Nebraska received 99% of its coal imports from Wyoming, and our public utilities sent $115 million across the border to pay for it. [That] $115 million we send out of Nebraska annually could be put to better use inside our state. Instead of handing it off to Wyoming, our public utilities should be reinvesting in Nebraska. Read more here.

Drew Havens is a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln studying natural resource and environmental economics. He is originally from Omaha. This column was written as part of the class “Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies.”

Natural Resource and Environmental Economics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Effectiveness of Solar Panels During the Winter Months

Contributor Emily Folk, Renewable Energy Magazine

A widespread misconception is that solar panels are hardly effective during the winter season. Although it is true that the energy output of solar panels is at its peak when exposed to direct sunlight and UV rays, the temperature does not play a large role in the solar panel’s overall performance. Believe it or not, but the cold weather can be beneficial when it comes to the production of energy given off by solar panels. Continue reading here.

Emily Folk grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. She has a passion for ecology and conservation and sustainability. In high school, she discovered her other passion: writing. After graduating with a degree in Professional Writing, the most natural step seemed to be combining the two passions in one forum. Her goal is to help people become more informed about the world and how we fit into it.  Her website is Conservation Folks.

Congress takes aim at climate change in massive relief bill

By Matthew Daly, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The huge pandemic relief and spending bill includes billions of dollars to promote clean energy such as wind and solar power while sharply reducing over time the use of potent coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are considered a major driver of global warming. The energy and climate provisions, supported by lawmakers from both parties, were hailed as the most significant climate change law in at least a decade. “Republicans and Democrats are working together to protect the environment through innovation,” said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

American Clean Power Association statement on Renewable Energy Provisions of COVID-19 Omnibus Legislation, AWEA News Release

“This bipartisan agreement is a major win for American energy consumers, providing more opportunities for them to receive reliable, zero-carbon, and pollution-free electricity in their local communities. We appreciate that Congress has recognized clean energy’s significant contributions to our nation’s economy and role in providing jobs and investments during the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. As we enter the new year, stable policy support will help ensure that wind and solar can continue providing the backbone of our country’s electricity growth. We also applaud Congress for recognizing the enormous potential of offshore wind, America’s largest untapped electricity source, as a brand-new provider of jobs for American workers and clean power for American families.” – Heather Zichal, CEO of the American Clean Power Association (ACP)

The Solar Vision: A 100-day agenda (PDF), Solar Energy Industries Association

Energy News Network year in review: stories of hope and resilience in 2020

By Ken Paulman, Energy News Network

It hardly bears repeating that 2020 has been a challenging year. A historic pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands and devastated countless others, police killings that ignited an overdue national reckoning on systemic racism, and a divisive election that threatened to erode the very foundation of democracy continue to weigh on our hearts and minds as the year draws to the close.

But in the midst of all of this, there are still stories of hope and resilience, and throughout 2020, Energy News Network reporters have been diligently working to highlight people who are committed to meeting the challenge of building a better world. And so — while we acknowledge and hold close the pain that this year has brought — we’d like to highlight some of these stories. Continue reading here.

About Ken Paulman
Ken Paulman is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master’s degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

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Photos by Clean Energy Economy Minnesota; Jimmy Davidson, Appalachian Voices; Gotham Greens