Monthly Archives: June 2021

Building a US clean manufacturing strategy to counter China and tackle climate change

Utility Dive article contributed by David Hart, director of the Clean Energy Innovation Policy Program at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), and Stefan Koester, ITIF senior policy analyst.

A recent report to which we contributed, published by the Information Technology and Innovation FoundationBoston University Institute for Sustainable Energy, and Fraunhofer USA’s Center for Manufacturing Innovation, details how the United States can rebuild a robust domestic manufacturing sector and tackle climate change by leveraging its considerable strengths in science, technology and innovation. Read more here.

Flickr Photo

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH

“We found that we can get to 80+% renewable energy at the same cost as keeping the system at today’s level of renewables,” said [Wesley] Cole, NREL senior energy analyst and lead author of the paper. “Increased renewable energy contribution also reduces emissions, so going beyond today’s levels of renewable energy is a no-brainer.”

Researchers at the Wharton School said the additional $579 billion in new infrastructure spending would increase domestic output by 0.1% and decrease the U.S. debt by 0.9% by 2050.

Location, location, location — when it comes to the placement of wind turbines, the old real estate adage applies, according to new research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Carnegie’s Enrico Antonini and Ken Caldeira.

AMERICAN PUBLIC POWER ASSOCIATION 

THE REAP IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2021

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger Push to Improve Popular & Effective Rural Energy for America Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. [6/24/21]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA 7)—along with U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Representative David G. Valadao (R-CA 21)—introduced legislation in both the Senate and House aimed at improving the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural business owners to install renewable energy systems and adopt energy efficiency measures

MGM’S RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT

MGM unveils solar project it says will power 13 Vegas hotels, Las Vegas Sun
The array of solar panels sits in the desert northeast of Las Vegas and will be managed by Invenergy, which owns and operates renewable energy developments throughout the world. The largest resorts and casinos on the Las Vegas Strip have gradually left Nevada’s public utility, NV Energy, and begun producing their own power.

Previously Posted: MGM Resorts Recognized for Making Significant Investments in Clean Energy by the Solar Energy Industries Association, MGM Resorts International News Release

Photo: MGM’s first solar array in Las Vegas on the roof at the Mandalay Bay Resort

CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY

The sustainability imperative imperative, by Joel Makower,
Chairman & Co-founder, GreenBiz Group

At long last, this stuff is being taken seriously — very seriously. And while there remain those who view the whole shebang — net-zero carbon emissions, ESG metrics, climate tech, the circular economy and all the rest — as “woke capitalism” (another mean moniker), those critics are finding themselves shunted off to the side, marginalized, a voice in the wilderness.

RE100 ArticleBusiness demand for renewables greater than total energy demand of major G7 economies

CESA ANNOUNCEMENT

Clean Energy States Alliance has issued an expression of interest for new, innovative energy storage pilot projects, with an emphasis on projects advancing social equity and community resilience. Potential projects must be at least 500 kilowatts in size with a minimum duration of two hours to be considered, and incorporation of other advanced energy technologies, like renewable generation and electric vehicle charging, is preferred. Projects determined to be of interest may be eligible for technical and financial support after submitting a full proposal. Responses are due by July 15. More details about the opportunity can be found here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

OPPD, schools partner on electric vehicle education

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire

Students from seven area schools learned about the benefits of electric vehicles recently thanks to a partnership between OPPD and the National Energy Foundation (NEF). The program aimed to give teachers the resources for students to learn how electric vehicles (EVs) work and how they impact the environment. While EVs are becoming more common, many people still don’t understand how the vehicles work and what their benefits are compared to typical vehicles that consume gas. “This was a one-day event where the schools that participated were given supplemental curriculum to learn more about EVs,” said Tricia McKnight, a product specialist at OPPD. “These students will be buying vehicles of their own one day and hopefully talking to their parents about the benefits of EVs.” Continue reading here.

OPPD’s Electric Vehicle (EV) Rebate Program

About Jason Kuiper
Jason Kuiper joined OPPD as a communications specialist in 2015. He is a former staff writer and reporter at the Omaha World-Herald, where he covered a wide range of topics but spent the majority of his career covering crime. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has also appeared in several true crime documentary shows. In his free time he enjoys cooking, spending time with his wife and three children, and reading crime novels.

EV ACCESSIBILITY INDEX

United States Electric Vehicle Accessibility Index, by David Clement, Elizabeth Hicks, Joshua Ippolitov and Brandon Bouchard, Consumer Choice Center

The US Electric Vehicle Accessibility Index is a national ranking evaluating states on how accessible their electric vehicles are to consumers. The index evaluates each state’s regulations for direct-to-consumer sales and the licensing fees for electric vehicles.

Can Solar Farms Help Save Bees?

By Brianna Barbu, Discover Magazine

Minnesota was the first state to adopt voluntary pollinator-friendly solar farm standards in 2016, with a scorecard laying out benchmarks for biodiversity, native plants and blooming seasons. States across the country followed suit, from Vermont to South Carolina to California. The standards are typically aimed at solar projects that are larger than one acre and tied to the electrical grid. Projects that earn enough points on their state’s scorecard can market themselves as pollinator-friendly.

More and more cities, universities and even companies like Clif Bar and Bank of America want to buy their solar energy from verified pollinator-friendly sources, says Rob Davis, the Director of the Center for Pollinators in Energy at Fresh Energy, a Minnesota-based clean energy think tank. “it’s increasingly helpful for developers to be able to describe their projects as pollinator friendly, and then base those claims on standards.” Continue Reading Here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Landmark Growing Climate Solutions Act clears Senate

By Jacqui Fatka, Farm Progress

The Growing Climate Solutions Act passed by a vote of 92-8 on the full Senate floor on Thursday. The act has 55 cosponsors, which makes it the first major piece of bipartisan legislation that would help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilience through voluntary, market-driven programs.

“Addressing the climate crisis is one of the most urgent challenges we face, and our farmers and foresters are an important part of the solution,” says Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. “The bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act is a win-win for farmers, our economy and for our environment. Our bill is a perfect example of how we can work across the aisle and find common ground to address a critical issue affecting all of us and our future.” Continue reading here. (Scroll down).

Additional Recommended Reading

  • AgLines: Sen. Fischer cosponsors bill to help ag producers be part of climate solution, by Robert Pore, The Grand Island Independent. “Nebraska ag producers are good stewards of our land and resources,” [Senator] Fischer said. “They also want to be a part of the climate solution. I am a cosponsor of the bill the Senate passed today. It would enable farmers and ranchers to voluntarily participate in carbon markets so they can build on the great work they are already doing.” 
  • Farm Bureau Applauds Senate Passage of Growing Climate Solutions Act
    The American Farm Bureau Federation applauds the U.S. Senate for passing the Growing Climate Solutions Act.  The act has 55 cosponsors, which makes it the first major piece of bipartisan legislation that would help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilience through voluntary, market-driven programs. The House is currently working on its version of the Growing Climate Solutions Act.
  • Rural Affairs applauds Senate for passing Growing Climate Solutions Act, Center for Rural Affairs News Release. “Carbon payment programs offer a financial opportunity for farmers voluntarily implementing important conservation on their farms,” said Kayla Bergman, senior policy associate for the Center. “While there has been growing excitement for these programs, we are now at a point where setting standard protocols is necessary.”
  • Senate OKs bill to certify farm practices limiting emissions, by John Flesher, AP Environmental Writer, Phys.Org. Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federatioin, said lack of access to reliable information about carbon markets and a shortage of technical assistance have deterred some landowners. The bill “acknowledges the potential of climate-smart farming while ensuring farmers would be respected as partners who can build on our strong foundation of environmental stewardship,” Duvall said.
  • Carbon market faces new questions, Iowa Farmer Today
    “The market is rejuvenating,” says Shelby Myers, an economist with the American Farm Bureau. Iowa State University economist Chad Hart says the idea of carbon markets — paying farmers for their conservation practices that keep carbon in the soil — appears to be more economically sustainable now. “I think we will see something now that will stick around for a while,” he says.

Hay helps rural Nebraskans explore clean energy options

By Russell Shaffer | Rural Prosperity Nebraska, Nebraska Today

Making the switch to clean energy is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. John Hay, a Nebraska Extension educator who conducts workshops on solar energy, helps individuals make the decision that best suits their home, farm, ranch or business.

“Success isn’t always choosing to install solar,” he said. “Success is doing a good analysis of the resources to make the best decision.” Since 2007, Hay has conducted workshops through Nebraska Extension to educate farmers, homeowners and rural business owners on the process of installing clean energy technology. Continue reading here.

Links to Extension Resources
Utility Scale Wind 
Small Wind 
Wind Measuring Towers
Solar Electric Systems 
Solar Economic Analysis 
Utility Scale Solar
Solar Water Pumping
Solar Electric on the Farm

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS

  • DOE Announces $22 Million for Energy Research Projects in Underserved Regions WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $22 million in funding for nine projects covering a range of energy research topics from grid integration, solar energy, wind energy, and advanced manufacturing. These projects are located in communities traditionally underserved by federal research and development (R&D) funding so that all parts of the country are central to efforts to solve the climate crisis and meet President Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Projects Include University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE ($2,940,000): Developing and applying new experimental and computational tools to understand dynamics of chemical reactions in organic materials.
  • Lincoln to receive $2.7 million grant, StarTran plans to buy new electric buses, KOLN
    The U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding Lincoln with an almost $2.7 million federal transit grant, and all of that money is heading to the city’s bussing system. With this grant, Lincoln’s StarTran will get 3 brand new electric buses and two new charging stations. These new electric buses will replace three 2006 diesal buses. The company says this grant will ultimately help the environment and the thousands of people who use Lincoln’s bus system every day.
  • OPPD moving to diversify prairie program, The Wire
    Changes are underway for OPPD’s “Prairie in Progress” pollinator program. The plan largely involves replanting some areas that did not take off as well as OPPD officials had hopedThe program, which began in 2018, is a joint effort between Environmental Affairs and Building Services & Operations personnel, the Save Our Monarchs Foundation, and grants from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.
  • Aurora hosts ribbon cutting for new electric vehicle charging station, NPPD News Release
    Nebraska Public Power District will partner with the city of Aurora for a ribbon cutting event on Friday, June 25 at 3 p.m. The ribbon cutting kicks off the availability of Aurora’s first ChargePoint DC fast charger charging station, located downtown on the corner of 12th and N Street.
  • Unicameral Update – Session Review: Natural Resources, Senator Bruce Bostelman
    Included in the review:: LB507, introduced by Brainard Sen. Bruce Bostelman, prohibits the use of treated seed in the production of ethanol if its use results in the generation of a byproduct that is deemed unsafe for livestock consumption or land application. Under LB650,, introduced by Sen. Michael Flood of Norfolk and passed on a vote of 48-1, the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will regulate facilities that inject carbon dioxide through wells into underground geologic formations for permanent or short-term storage.
  • Nebraska Embarks on Major Carbon Capture Initiatives, Environment + Energy Leader
    Chief Industries, Inc. and Catahoula Resources have entered into an agreement to jointly develop carbon capture and permanent sequestration (CCS) within 
    Nebraska.
  • Most U.S. wind capacity built since 2011 is located in the center of the country, EIA
    Wind capacity in the United States has increased significantly over the past decade, from 40.1 gigawatts (GW) in January 2011 to 118.3 GW at the end of 2020. This wind capacity growth was mostly concentrated in the middle of the country.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces Support for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework

The White House Briefing Room

Today, President Biden and Vice President Harris announced their support for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, the largest long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century – an investment that will make our economy more sustainable, resilient, and just. The President came into office promising to find common ground to get things done – and he’s delivering on that promise.

The $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework is a critical step in implementing President Biden’s Build Back Better vision. The Plan makes transformational and historic investments in clean transportation infrastructure, clean water infrastructure, universal broadband infrastructure, clean power infrastructure, remediation of legacy pollution, and resilience to the changing climate. Cumulatively across these areas, the Framework invests two-thirds of the resources that the President proposed in his American Jobs Plan. Read more here.

Remarks by President Biden on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, White House Briefing Room

NATIONAL CLIMATE TASK FORCE

Readout of the Fourth National Climate Task Force Meeting, White House Briefing Room
Today, National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy convened the fourth National Climate Task Force meeting where she was joined by Cabinet members and senior leadership from 17 federal agencies. During the meeting, Biden Administration officials discussed the whole-of-government effort taking place to address historic and severe climate impacts currently facing communities across the United States, including record breaking heat waves, unprecedented drought and water scarcity, and devastating wildfires. Task Force members discussed a sobering summer outlook, identified near-term readiness plans in the face of extreme weather risks, and laid out long-term resilience measures that will help the nation fend off the worst impacts of climate change. Additionally, agency leadership shared the climate-related challenges they are working to address:

NORTH AMERICAN RENEWABLE INTEGRATION STUDY

U.S. Secretary of Energy Granholm, Canadian Minister of Natural Resources O’Regan Launch Cooperative Agreement on Clean Energy, Innovation, and Energy Justice, Department of Energy News Release

Washington, D.C. — United States Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm and Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan today held a bilateral meeting to launch a new updated and revised Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that reinvigorates and expands energy cooperation between their departments, accelerates the clean energy transition to net-zero emissions by 2050, and provides reliable, efficient and resilient grid operations. At the bilateral meeting, the United States and Canada also released the North American Renewable Integration Study (NARIS), a first-of-its-kind analysis detailing the benefits of integrating renewable energy across the continent and helping to accelerate the countries’ respective goals to achieve a clean power system. 

READ the NARIS U.S. Perspective Executive Summary and Full Report
READ the NARIS Canadian Perspective Executive Summary and Full Report

Illinois solar training program aims to build path for diverse workforce

By Audrey Henderson, Energy News Network

Members of environmental justice communities have borne the brunt of adverse health effects from carbon-based industries, while enjoying few of the financial rewards. Likewise, individuals within or aging out of the foster care system, formerly incarcerated people, women and people of color have been disproportionately disadvantaged in the clean energy job sector.

To help close that gap, work is underway in Illinois to implement a solar training program established by a 2016 clean energy law. The Illinois Solar Training Pipeline Program is one of three workforce development programs administered by ComEd to provide opportunities for members of these demographics to obtain entry into the clean energy sector.  Continue reading here.

AUDREY HENDERSON

Audrey Henderson is an independent writer and researcher based in the greater Chicago area with advanced degrees in sociology and law from Northwestern University. She specializes in sustainability in the built environment, culture and arts related to policy and related topics. Her work has been featured in Wallpaper magazine, the Chicago Reader, Chicago Architect magazine, Next City, Transitions Abroad, Belt Magazine and other consumer and trade publications. More by Audrey Henderson

PREVIOUSLY POSTED

WIND & SOLAR EDUCATION & TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES IN NEBRASKA

Central Community College at Hastings

Programs

Northeast Community College in Norfolk

BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS

U.S. Bureau of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook

The Infrastructure Bill & Pension Funds – A $3 Trillion Action Item

Contributed by Norman Anderson, Forbes

As the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure initiative moves forward, the talk is of spending rather than of long-term, strategic, 30-40 year investment. It’s a question of focus. The political discussion is also leaving an important tool on the sidelines — at least half of the spend under discussion lies in the traditional domain of private investment — renewable energy, high voltage electricity transmission, broadband, 5G and even social infrastructure are solid private investment opportunities. Pension funds link these two issues. By my conservative calculation, we could easily add $1 trillion – or more – of disciplined capital to long-term infrastructure investment by bringing institutional investors into high priority projects. Read more here.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

SEIA NEWS RELEASES

NEBRASKA NEWS

  • Nelnet Renewable Energy and Six Co-Investors Complete $11.9 Million Solar Tax Equity Investment in the Northeast, Nelnet Renewable Energy News Release, PR Newswire
    According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), “The solar investment tax credit is one of the most important federal policy mechanisms to support the growth of solar energy in the United States. Since the tax credit was enacted in 2006, the U.S. solar industry has grown by more than 10,000% – creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and investing billions of dollars in the U.S. economy in the process.” 
  • Aurora hosts ribbon cutting for new electric vehicle charging station, NPPD News Release
    Aurora, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District will partner with the city of Aurora for a ribbon cutting event on Friday, June 25 at 3 p.m. The ribbon cutting kicks off the availability of Aurora’s first ChargePoint DC fast charger charging station, located downtown on the corner of 12th and N Street.

ENERGY SAVING TIPS FROM OUR LARGEST UTILITIES

OPPD focused on reliability, affordability as utility plans for a changing climate

By David Earl, KETV

OMAHA, Neb. — Energy industry veteran Tim Burke knows the utility business is changing at light speed, and he knows it because he sees it in his grandkids. “They’re reading and learning about the environment differently than I learned about the environment,” Burke said. “And they’re our future customers. Clearly, customers are driving this change.” Burke is retiring July 1 from his job at the top of the Omaha Public Power District. He’s served 24 years at OPPD, the last six as chief executive. Continue reading or watch the video here.

Books for Kids on Father’s Day – Or Any Day of the Year!

There are surveys that show the vast majority of Dads (and other grownups) believe climate change is real. Other surveys have found that most children worry about climate change and the impacts it will have on them when they are older.

Encouraging your kids to talk about their concerns or fears reassures them that you value their feelings. Giving them the gift of a book this Father’s Day (or any day. of the year) on caring for the Earth and taking action on climate change empowers them. A book also can provide a structure for your conversations on climate change. Finally, choosing actions you can work on together builds lasting memories for them and you. Here are twenty-two books for your consideration: