Monthly Archives: March 2021

Is Solar Energy an Option for Your Farm?

By Taylor Leach, Agweb, Powered By The Farm Journal

During the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin 2021 Business Conference, Adam Wehling, Dean of Agriculture, Energy and Transportation at Chippewa Valley Technical College, spoke on how to easily incorporate a solar energy system onto your ag operation. According to Wehling, these systems can be easily integrated into your existing facilities, can improve the efficiency of the systems you currently have and can reduce your overall energy cost. Factors to Consider: Continue reading here.

Photo: Don Gasper’s Farm Near Lindsay, Nebraska. See Solar Examples for more solar projects on local farms. 

SOLAR WATER PUMPS

An equitable and reliable solar power grid for farmers, by Praveen Jain, IEEE Medal in Power Engineering recipient, Solar Power World

Born in rural India and being at the global forefront of technology over the past 40 years, I can say with certainty that farmers in many countries are not seeing the true benefits of solar power. Possibly the biggest and best benefit of solar power for farmers is solar water pumps used for irrigation. Powered by sunlight that is harvested through photovoltaic (PV) panels, solar pumps boost crop yield, promote efficient water use and reduce power consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Off-season, these solar installations can feed power to the local grid, providing extra income for farmers.

REGENERATIVE FARMING

U.S. FARMERS & RANCHERS IN ACTION REPORT

Transformative Investment in Climate-Smart Agriculture Unlocking the potential of our soils to help the U.S. achieve a net-zero economy

This report focuses on six established practices: 1) no-till/reduced tillage with retained residues, 2) cover crops, 3) crop rotation, 4) compost application 5) managed grazing, and 6) integrated crop and livestock systems—all of which improve soil health, sequester carbon and produce numerous co-benefits such as reduced erosion, increased water infiltration, and economic and environmental resiliency. With technology and financial innovation targeted at specific practice adoption barriers, these benefits will accrue on the farm, throughout rural America and the agriculture value chain, and the nation as a whole.

PACE

Spotlight on PACE: PACE Projects From Downtown Redevelopments to Dairy Farms,  National Law Review

Before taking a look at some of the ways the market has used PACE over the last few years, here’s a synopsis of just what exactly PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) is.

Links to PACE Resources

 

 

 

Nebraska passed PACE-enabling legislation in 2016.

INNOVATIVE VIRGINIA PROGRAM

In Virginia, solar ‘barn raisings’ bring power to families in need, by Elizabeth McGowan, Energy News Network

A pair of Shenandoah Valley nonprofits have launched a fund to cover the upfront cost of outfitting Habitat for Humanity homes with photovoltaic panels that help put a dent in homeowners’ utility bills.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Here’s how Biden’s infrastructure package will likely tackle climate change

By Emma Newburger, CNBC


The president is expected to introduce up to $3 trillion in spending on efforts to boost the economy, including rebuilding aging infrastructure like highways, bridges and rail lines, and investing in technologies to reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.


Some of the policies on the table include:

  • Installing thousands of new electric vehicle charging stations
  • Funds to build energy-efficient homes
  • Constructing new electric power lines

Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Build America Bonds may be key to financing Biden’s infrastructure, by Thomas Frank, CNBC 
The bonds allow states and counties, which manage the majority of U.S. infrastructure, to float debt with interest costs subsidized by the federal government. Build America Bonds entered U.S. markets more than a decade ago as the Obama administration sought ways to finance capital projects across the country and jumpstart the economy in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

President Biden Invites 40 World Leaders to Leaders Summit on Climate, The White House Briefing Room, March 26, 2021. Today, President Biden invited 40 world leaders to the Leaders Summit on Climate he will host on April 22 and 23.  The virtual Leaders Summit will be live streamed for public viewing.

Nebraska utility could slash emissions at little or no added cost, studies show

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

Nebraska’s largest electric utility could dramatically reduce carbon emissions over the next three decades at little or no cost to ratepayers, according to a pair of recent reports prepared for the utility’s board of directors. The path — and cost — of completely eliminating emissions by midcentury, though, becomes far less certain.

The Nebraska Public Power District, which serves most of the state’s population outside the cities of Omaha and Lincoln, last year hired two firms to forecast the potential impact of federal carbon regulations. The results, by Ascend Analytics and Siemens, both conclude that the utility could significantly reduce its exposure to such policies without burdening customers with severe rate hikes. Continue reading here.

NPPD Photo: Gerald Gentleman 1,365MW coal-fired power plant in Sutherland

Also Written by Karen Uhlenhuth

Nebraska Legislation: LB483: Provide for a climate change study and action plan

New National Lab study: Wind projects bring substantial revenue to schools

By John Hensley, Vice President, Research & Analytics, American Clean Power Association. Jesse Broehl contributed to this post.

Wind energy has grown substantially in the United States over the past decades, contributing ever-greater revenue to states and local jurisdictions, including school districts. Within two years of completion, a wind project helps deliver approximately $1,000 per child in new revenue to the local school district. This increase in revenue grows to between $1,500 and $1,800 per child several years after installation.

These are among the key findings from a new Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) report released that examines the impacts of wind energy on school district revenues, expenditures, resource allocations, and student achievement. The study uses data on the timing, location, and capacity of wind energy installations in the U.S. from 1995 through 2017 and correlated school district data. In 1995 wind energy was just getting started in the U.S. and only 16 school districts had wind projects installed within their boundaries at that time. By 2016, wind energy production had spread across 38 states, affecting 900 school districts. Continue reading here.

Resource Links

  • Download the study: School District Revenue Shocks, Resource Allocations, and Student Achievement: Evidence from the Universe of U.S. Wind Energy Installations
  • A webinar covering the results of the study recorded on March 26, 2021, can be viewed here.
  • Nebraska: In 2010, the Nebraska Legislature passed a bill which exempted wind energy generation systems from property taxes, although the law allows a county assessor to evaluate real property and land used by wind generation facilities. The property tax is replaced by a nameplate capacity tax of $3,518 per megawatt. In 2017, this tax generated $3,056,623 for Nebraska counties, with $1,862,959 going to local schools. Page 46 of the study.
  • YouTube Video, American Clean Power Association:

Top photo by Ørsted: Nebraska’s 230MW Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County.

Creating opportunity for fossil fuel workers and communities: Lessons for a fair energy transition

 By Derek Walker, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

In this culminating report, EDF and Resources for the Future condense lessons across four previous reports that can inform federal policy for supporting U.S. fossil fuel workers and communities in the shift to a clean economy. 

The White House is making much-needed moves to take on the climate crisis and shift our economy toward a cleaner future. The majority of Americans are eager for this change and the clean energy and manufacturing jobs that go with it, but there are important questions about how to help fossil fuel workers and communities through this transition. “The insights and guidance offered in our joint research, as well as policy platforms built by the BlueGreen Alliance and the Just Transition Fund, can help lawmakers give these communities the tools and support they need to thrive in a clean energy future.” Read more here.

Website Links: Click on each logo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the full report: Enabling Fairness for Energy Workers and Communities in Transition.

Related EDF Posts

ALSO IN THE NEWS

U.S. Pledges to Slash Solar Energy Costs by 60% in a Decade, Reuters / U.S. News & World Report
The U.S. Department of Energy said the goal accelerates its previous utility-scale solar cost target by five years. For the U.S. power grid to run entirely on clean energy within 15 years, a key pillar of President Joe Biden’s climate change agenda, solar energy will need to be installed as much as five times faster than it is today, DOE said.

How infrastructure is banking on green banks

By Heather Clancy, Editorial Director, GreenBiz Group

Quick, what do Alaska, Maine and South Carolina have in common? 

All three U.S. states are seriously evaluating the creation of green banks — financing institutions created with the explicit mission of combining public and private funds to invest in climate solutions and green infrastructure. They would join roughly 20 other U.S. jurisdictions that have used this mechanism to drive more than $5 billion in clean energy investments as of the end of 2019, including Connecticut, Florida, Michigan and Washington, D.C. 

Alaska is so invested in the idea that Rep. Don Young, a Republican who championed Deb Haaland’s nomination as Interior Secretary, last week stepped across the aisle again to become a co-sponsor of the latest legislation to create a national-level green bank. The bill would make $100 billion of public funds available for a nonprofit organization that would provide financing and other support to regional, state and local green banks — an amount the sponsors say could catalyze $884 billion in green infrastructure investments over the next decade and help create 4 million clean economy jobs within the next four years. Continue reading here.

LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Facebook Data Center to expand over 500 acres in Springfield

 By Austin Plourde, Omaha World-Herald, March 24, 2021

Facebook announced today that it is further investing in the Sarpy County community by expanding its Papillion Data Center by an additional one million-square-feet. According to a press release from Facebook, this expansion will bring an additional $400 million in capital investment to Sarpy County, as well as 100 new operational jobs.

Matt Sexton, community development regional manager at Facebook’s Papillion Data Center, said Facebook is no stranger to the Springfield area as the data center has worked with the Springfield Platteview Community School District through several grants and initiatives to enhance STEM education. “Expanding into Springfield was a no brainer for us,” he said. “They’re an incredible community that’s growing and it’s really exciting to be there.” Read more here.

The Papillion Data Center Facebook has changed its name to Sarpy Data Center to reflect the expansion.

Tri-State’s clean energy, cost reduction efforts have not quelled member exit interest

By Robert Watson, Utility Dive

There are now at least seven rural electric cooperatives considering what it would cost to leave the service of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a sign that the utility’s efforts to reduce costs and carbon emissions have not appeased its membership. The cooperatives include Wheat Belt Public Power and Northwest Rural Public Power in Nebraska. Read more here.

Previously Posted: Co-ops trying to leave Tri-State say the electric utility is “stonewalling” by refusing to calculate the price to exit, The Colorado Sun

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

TAX INCENTIVES

Ditto says public power access to clean energy tax incentives is ‘low hanging fruit’, American Public Power Association
Allowing public power utilities to have access to clean energy tax incentives is “low hanging fruit” in terms of policy-related action that can be taken in the short term in order to incentivize not-for-profit utilities to build their own clean energy generation, said Joy Ditto, President and CEO of the American Public Power Association (APPA) on March 22.

OFFSHORE WIND

Report: Offshore Wind Has the Potential to Meet 90% of 2050 US Electricity Demand, Environment  + Energy Leader

This finding comes from Offshore Wind for America, a new report released by Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group which examines US offshore wind potential by coastal region and by state. Offshore Wind for America also documents the status of existing projects and technological advances.

EPRI’S SOLAR RESEARCH  

EPRI Receives DOE Funding to Research the Transmission of Solar Information, Solar Industry
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), an institution that conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity, says it will receive a $2 million contract from the U.S. Energy Department (DOE) to explore how information about solar energy spreads among consumers. To learn more about EPRI’s solar research, click here.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES & INFRASTRUCTURE

THE WIRE: HOW DOES THAT WORK?


Infographic: Anatomy of a power pole, by Jason Kuiper

OPPD has a lot of power lines. How many? 15,567 miles worth of power lines. Or enough to stretch from Omaha, Neb., around the earth and back at our higher latitude.

DOE Secretary to Discuss Solar’s Role in a Clean Energy Future

Join DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Kelly Speakes-Backman, and SETO Director Dr. Becca Jones-Albertus for a webinar, 100% Clean: How DOE’s Solar Investments Will Help Achieve Ambitious Decarbonization Goals,” on Thursday, March 25, at 1:30 pm Central Time. The presenters will take you on a virtual technology tour and discuss solar’s role in creating a reliable, resilient, and carbon-free electricity grid and then answer some questions at the end. Register for the webinar here.

Department of Energy’s Photovoltaics Research

Through the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), the Department of Energy has funded hundreds of photovoltaics (PV) research and development projects to bring low-cost solar energy to rooftops across the country, support the U.S. electric grid, and combat climate change.

Now you can learn more about the areas of research SETO focuses on, whether it’s cell, module, or system design; energy yield; industry standards; or lengthening the lifespan of PV systemsVisit SETO’s PV research area webpage to find all PV-related resources and subscribe to the newsletter.

Haaland: Era where tribes on backburner over

By Cindy Yurth, Navajo Times

In her first press conference as secretary of the Interior Wednesday, Deb Haaland promised to repair the nation-to-nation relationship between tribes and the federal government and to enact real consultation with tribes on important issues — not just within Interior but across the federal government.

Appropriately enough, the first Native American Interior secretary chose members of the Native American Journalists Association for the Zoom conference, which she scheduled for her very first day on the job. Continue reading here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST