Monthly Archives: September 2021

Groundbreaking held for York’s new solar power generation field

By Melanie Wilkinson, York News-Times

YORK – It was quite fitting that the sun was brilliantly shining and there were near-record high temperatures as gold shovels were used to turn dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony for the new solar energy generation field at York. The location is on unused ground on the landfill property.

A number of people were on hand to mark the beginning of this project – a project that has been in the works since 2019 when the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) and the City of York began working together toward this end goal. Continue reading here.

SITING SOLAR ON LANDFILLS & OTHER BROWNFIELDS

Links to Resources

  • RE-Powering America’s Land
    RE-Powering America’s Land is an EPA initiative that encourages renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites when such development is aligned with the community’s vision for the site.
  • EPA’s Brownfields Program provides grants and technical assistance to communities, states, tribes and others to assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse contaminated properties. To learn about EPA’s broader efforts to put previously contaminated properties back into productive use, read about the Land Revitalization Program.
  • Brownfields and Land Revitalization in Region 7
    EPA Region 7 manages  Brownfields and Land Revitalization Programs in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. On this page you will find information specific to Region 7’s Brownfields and Land Revitalization activities. Visit the national Brownfields Program and Land Revitalization Program websites for more information about these programs’ competitive grants.
  • Brownfields: FAQs, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy 

USDA NEWS RELEASE


USDA Announces $3 Billion Investment in Agriculture, Animal Health, and Nutrition; Unveils New Climate Partnership Initiative, Requests Public Input

 


“The new Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative will support pilots that create new market opportunities for commodities produced using climate-smart practices and position U.S. farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners as leaders in addressing climate change. The pilots will invest in the science, monitoring and verification to measure the benefits of these climate smart practices. Today, we ask for public input to inform our decision making and enhance the design of this initiative.”
– Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

Comments may be provided on or before 11:59 p.m. EST on November 1, 2021 via the Federal Register, Docket ID: USDA-2021-0010. Feedback will be used to inform design of the new Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING 

FACA consists of 80 organizations representing farmers, ranchers, forest owners, agribusinesses, manufacturers, the food and innovation sector, state governments, sportsmen and women, and environmental advocates. More information and a full list of members can be found at www.AgClimateAlliance.com. FACA’s original 40 recommendations are outlined in a 50-page report and summarized in a one-page hand-out.

RURAL ENERGY FOR AMERICA PROGRAM

REAP provides funding for rural America’s clean energy efforts,  Standard Journal

Contributed article by Kalee Olson,  a policy associate at the Center for Rural Affairs. Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, nonprofit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action-oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues. The deadline to apply is Nov. 1.

Solar Industry Doubles Down on Solar+ Decade Goal, Targets 30% Solar by 2030

SEIA News Release

“The destructive impacts of climate change are happening now, and it’s time to reimagine our entire electricity system,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “The solar industry is leading the way in reducing electricity sector emissions, but we’ll fall far short of the 850 gigawatts we need to reach 30% of electricity generation by 2030 without policy action. It’s time for lawmakers to meet the urgency of this climate moment. If the industry reaches 30% solar by 2030, the solar and storage industry will grow to 1 million workers and add more than $800 billion in new private sector investment. Read the entire news release here.

Learn more about SEIA’s 2030 goals and solar industry’s bold vision for the Solar+ Decade

GREEN POWER LEADERSHIP 

EPA Honors SEIA with the 2021 Green Power Leadership Award for Market Development, SEIA News Release, September 28, 2021

Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the Center for Resource Solutions, unveiled the Green Power Leadership Awards (GPLA) to recognize outstanding achievements in the clean energy marketplace. This year, the GPLAs honored SEIA as a winner in their Market Development category. Watch a brief video here.

U.S. SOLAR MANUFACTURING – LEGISLATION / LEADERSHIP

U.S. SOLAR MANUFACTURERS IN THE NEWS

FORD MOTOR COMPANY

Ford To Lead America’s Shift To Electric Vehicles With New Mega Campus In Tennessee and Twin Battery Plants In Kentucky: $11.4B Investment To Create 11,000 Jobs And Power New Lineup Of Adlvanced. EVs, News Release, Ford Media Center

DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 27, 2021 – Ford Motor Company is announcing plans to bring electric vehicles at scale to American customers with two new massive, environmentally and technologically advanced campuses in Tennessee and Kentucky that will produce the next generation of electric F-Series trucks and the batteries to power future electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

Ford plans to make the largest ever U.S. investment in electric vehicles at one time by any automotive manufacturer and, together with its partner, SK Innovation, plans to invest $11.4 billion and create nearly 11,000 new jobs at the Tennessee and Kentucky mega-sites, strengthening local communities and building on Ford’s position as America’s leading employer of hourly autoworkers.

See Also: FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces Steps to Drive American Leadership Forward on Clean Cars and Trucks, White House Briefing Room

OPPD’S NEW EV GUIDE

Thinking about making the switch? Here’s your EV guide, by Julie Wasson, The Wire

With its new EV guide, OPPD has made it easier than ever to learn about making the switch to electric vehicles. EV 101 explains the basics of owning and operating an EV. The EV calculator provides a personalized estimate that lets you compare vehicle models side-by-side. That can help you understand the near- and long-term costs of switching to an EV, based on your driving habits, electricity use and savings potential.

You can also check out a map of the public charging stations available in the Omaha area and across the state. And you can learn about incentives and rebates available to EV buyers, including OPPD’s rebate program.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

WATCH NOW: Carthage students form business to promote renewable energy, Kenosha News

Commentary: Electric vehicles are finally ready for rural drivers

Contributed by Joyce Bodoh, director of energy solutions and clean energy
at Rappahannock Electric Cooperative
, Energy News Network

EVs available today can go as far as 400 miles on a single charge — welcome news to drivers with longer than average commute of 30 miles a day. New all-electric models hitting the market include pick-up trucks, EVs that seat up to seven passengers, and plug-in hybrid minivans. EVs are not just available in the new car market, either. The used car EV market that is expanding as well and available at a variety of price points.

As the director of energy solutions and clean energy at Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (“REC”), I support electric transportation efforts for the cooperative and promote the benefits of EVs to our member-owners. REC is an electric cooperative that provides electricity to 170,000 member-owners across Virginia. Read more here.

Image Credit: Inside EVs

NATIONAL DRIVE ELECTRIC WEEK 2021

September 25 – October 3

National Drive Electric Week is a nationwide celebration to raise awareness of the many benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more. Learn more here.

LINKS TO RESOURCES

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan Supercharges the Future of Transportation and Manufacturing, The White House Briefing Room

MORE ON U.S. INFRASTRUCTURE 

While far from the panacea that would be required to address increasingly critical infrastructure challenges, the [Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act] — in its latest form — allocates over $70 billion for modernizing the nation’s electricity grid so that it can carry more renewable energy, marking the single largest federal investment in power transmission in history. With grid resiliency in the spotlight after events like this year’s power crisis, the spotlight remains on utilities and energy providers to prudently invest the federal injection to ensure that an event of this caliber (or worse) never happens again.

GRAIN BELT EXPRESS

New Illinois law could move Grain Belt Express forward, Missouri Times
The project would bring $1 billion in infrastructure investment to Illinois and create 1,200 jobs across three years of construction, according to Invenergy. It would develop an overhead and direct transmission line of approximately 780 miles delivering wind energy from western Kansas to utilities and consumers in Missouri and other states, according to its website.

NPPD’S R-PROJECT 

Click “Project Status” at the link, below, then scroll down to watch a brief video.

Project Status

MINNESOTA VIRTUAL POWER PLANT PILOT PROJECT

Minneapolis battery pilot will test vision for sharing solar power with neighbors, Energy News Network. Four batteries are being installed at a North Minneapolis green jobs training center in one of the country’s first “virtual power plant” pilot projects. Each battery will simulate a household buying and selling power with neighbors.

GLOBAL ROOFTOP SOLAR MARKET

Rooftop solar remains untapped yet crucial for energy transition – BNEF

Groundbreaking ceremony to be held for York’s new solar project

The Grand Island Independent

YORK – Representatives of Nebraska Public Power District, the City of York and Solar Developer GRNE will hold an official groundbreaking event for the York Community Solar project located at 1214 Road 15 (York landfill), north of York. The groundbreaking event is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. and will kick off construction of the 3.2 megawatt facility. Continue reading here.

Photo: Kearney Solar Farm. The panels for York’s solar project will be mounted on a tracker-designed racking system similar to Kearney’s.

Links to Additional Information

Previously Posted: Solar project at landfill still moving forward, York News-Times

Additional NPPD SunWise Projects
Construction underway at NPPD Ainsworth community solar site, NPPD News Release
When complete, the 500-kilowatt (KW) Ainsworth facility will generate enough electricity to serve the equivalent of approximately 75-100 homes in the community when the sun is shining. The solar project will join current projects, including those already operational in Venango, Scottsbluff, Kearney, and future projects planned for Norfolk, York, and Ogallala. The project will be built and operated by GRNE Solar, a Lincoln, Neb., company.  Once completed, the facility will be known as Solar Bundle One, LLC. Construction is scheduled for completion this fall . . .  [All shares are reserved].

COMING THIS WEDNESDAY: DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ZOOM MEETING

NCSP Community-Based Organizations Convening: Tools for Equitable Community Solar

Description

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) is hosting a virtual meeting via Zoom for community-based organizations on Tools for Equitable Solar to introduce the National Community Solar Partnership’s new, rolling technical assistance program and other program resources to community-based organizations interested in pursuing community solar.

The convening will feature an overview of the National Community Solar Partnership resources, including the newly expanded technical assistance program, to explore opportunities to increase equitable deployment of community solar and community-owned solar. Guest speakers from the Partnership will discuss how to leverage technical assistance and other National Community Solar Partnership resources to support community solar development in your community.

When: September 29, 2021, 1 pm Central Time

Register Here.

Op-ed: Bipartisan Infrastructure bill will help working class catch up to Zoom economy

By Dr. Bill Cassidy, United States Senator for Louisiana, CNBC

If good policy is good politics, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is both. It’s good for the country, which barely has a passing grade on our infrastructure, C-, and good for the American worker. The COVID-19 pandemic and its lockdowns brought our economy to a temporary standstill. How someone fared, depended on their circumstances.

If someone could make a living through online video calls with access to high-speed internet in the comfort of their home, they often did quite well. If someone worked with their hands, things were often quite different. Employment levels and opportunities have not returned to those in the lower quintiles of our economy to the levels achieved before the pandemic. This is where the bipartisan infrastructure bill would come into play. Continue reading here.

Related Reading

STATE FACT SHEETS

CIVILIAN CLIMATE CORPS

Invest in a robust civilian climate corps to build our resiliency — our lives depend on itcontributed by Representative Joe Neguse and Mary Ellen Sprenkel, president and CEO of The Corps Network, the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, The Hill

There is also already a modern corps model. There are more than 130 corps across the country operated by non-profits, state governments, and universities. These programs — located in rural towns and big cities alike — are grounded in communities and responsive to local needs. Many programs have partnered with local, state, and federal agencies for decades to engage young people in disaster resilience, conservation, and park maintenance projects.

CLEAN ELECTRICITY PAYMENT PROGRAM (CEPP)

80% Clean Electricity Payment Program = Enormous Job Growth, Natural Resources Defense Council

A clean energy policy like the one under consideration in Congress right now could expand the workforce by nearly 8 million jobs and generate $1 trillion in economic benefits over the next 10 years. New analysis released today demonstrates that a well-designed Clean Electricity Payment Program (CEPP) will support a strong clean energy economy, and is vital to addressing the climate crisis. 

Additional Recommended Reading

NATIONAL CLEAN ELECTRICITY STANDARD (CES)

Clean electricity standard lands spot in $3.5 trillion Democratic-backed infrastructure deal, Utility Dive

The Biden administration wants Congress to pass a clean electricity standard but is also prepared to pursue efforts to push utilities to ratchet down their emissions through the federal regulatory process should a national standard fail to make the final bill, according to Gina McCarthy, the White House’s national climate adviser. McCarthy said the administration believes a national clean energy standard would be more effective in prompting action on part of the utility industry to reduce emissions.

HOW THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION PROPOSES TO PAY FOR INFRASTRUCTURE 

The Made In America Tax Plan, U.S. Department Of The Treasury

This report describes President Biden’s Made in America tax plan, the goal of which is to make American companies and workers more competitive by eliminating incentives to offshore investment, substantially reducing profit shifting, countering tax competition on corporate rates, and providing tax preferences for clean energy production. Importantly, this tax plan would generate new funding to pay for a sustained increase in investments in infrastructure, research, and support for manufacturing, fully paying for the investments in the American Jobs Plan over a 15-year period and continuing to generate revenue on a permanent basis.

To start, the plan reorients corporate tax revenue toward historical and international norms. Of late, the effective tax rate on U.S. profits of U.S. multinationals—the share of profits that they actually pay in federal income taxes—was just 7.8 percent. And although U.S companies are the most profitable in the world, the United States collects less in corporate tax revenues as a share of GDP than almost any advanced economy in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Additional Recommended Reading: FACT SHEET: The American Jobs PlanThe White House

CREATING A FAIRER TAXATION SYSTEM: ITEP ANALYSES

The Institute On Taxation And Economic Policy (ITEP) Analyses of Biden’s Proposed Corporate Tax Reform

The Institute On Taxation And Economic Policy (ITEP) is a non-profit, non-partisan tax policy organization that conducts rigorous analyses of tax and economic proposals and provides data-driven recommendations on how to shape equitable and sustainable tax systems. ITEP’s expertise and data uniquely enhance federal, state, and local policy debates by revealing how taxes affect both public revenues and people of various levels of income and wealth.

GLOBAL MINIMUM CORPORATE TAX

G20 Signs Off On 15% Global Minimum Corporate Tax—Here’s How It Will Work, Forbes
The new tax system—expected to take effect in 2023—has been agreed to by 132 countries after meetings in July held by the G20 and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. It sets an effective global minimum tax of 15% on multinationals with more than $890 million in revenue.

Celebrating National Clean Energy Week, Tri Global Energy Affirms Clean Energy Is the Future

Tri Global News Release

The company currently originates and develops utility-scale wind, solar and energy storage projects in Texas, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Tri Global Energy’s headquarters is in Dallas with regional development offices in Lubbock, Texas; El Paso and Forreston, Illinois; and Reynolds and Hartford City, Indiana. Read more here. 

Tri Global Infographic: 100 MW Sugarloaf Wind project in Garden County, Nebraska.

See Also:

  • Clean Power Nebraska Fact Sheet, American Clean Power Association
  • Inside Clean Energy: The Energy Transition Comes to Nebraskaby Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News. Lincoln Electric System is the second large utility in Nebraska to approve a net-zero emissions goal, as the state reaps the benefits of wind power. Scott Benson, manager of resource and transmission planning for Lincoln Electric, told me that his utility’s new goal is a big deal because it is a more aggressive timetable than that of many other utilities across the country. But the net-zero goal is also not a big deal, he said, because Lincoln Electric was moving in this direction regardless.

NEAPCO

Neapco celebrates 100th anniversary, 40 years in Beatrice, Beatrice Daily Sun
“We have a customer today that buys a lot of product from us, and they’re non-automotive,” [Chief Davidson, plant manager for Beatrice], said. “They’re actually in the solar power industry, and we provide the mechanisms that position their mirrors to track the sun. So that’s a little bit out of the norm for us, but it’s the same type of technology. We’re also very heavily involved with the electric vehicle manufacturers. We know that that’s an upcoming trend, and we’re working on various new products that will support that industry as it gets off the ground.”

Secretary Granholm Asks U.S. Mayors to Speed Solar Deployment with Online Permitting Tool

SEIA News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm wrote an open letter to all U.S. mayors asking them to adopt SolarAPP+, a transformative online solar permitting tool that helps to speed rooftop solar deployment.

This effort comes as Secretary Granholm caps off the Summer of Solar, her push to educate Americans on the benefits of solar energy. Secretary Granholm set a goal to get 125 communities to sign up to learn more about SolarAPP+ by September 30. Read the letter and learn more about SolarAPP+ at solarapp.nrel.gov. Read the entire news release here.

ALSO PUBLISHED BY SEIA

PV MAGAZINE

NEW SURVEY BY DATA FOR PROGRESS

Progressive poll finds support for solar energy tax credit legislation, The Hill
A new survey from progressive pollster Data for Progress found support for a Senate bill that would provide tax credits for solar energy manufacturers at all stages of the supply chain. The poll found that 67 percent of likely voters in the U.S. strongly or somewhat support the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America (SEMA) Act, compared to 23 percent who said they strongly or somewhat oppose the measure.

BLACKROCK

BlackRock losing ‘patience’ on pace of corporate ESG disclosure, CFO Dive
BlackRock, which manages $9 trillion in assets, has pressed for more disclosure in recent years, “but this was the year that we really started to take more concerted action based on what companies were providing us” before the 2021 proxy season, [Jessica McDougall, a director for investment stewardship at BlackRock] said.

Related Post: An Urgent Call To High-Emitting Sectors: It’s Time For Climate Action. Forbes article contributed by Mindy Lubber, CEO & President of Ceres, with additional resources provided by Nebraskans for Solar, including:

Proxy Preview, a collaboration between three organizations: As You Sow, Sustainable Investments Institute, and Proxy Impact. Proxy Preview provides the most comprehensive data on hundreds of shareholder resolutions – including environmental, corporate political spending, human rights, diversity, sustainable governance issues, and much more. Shareholder resolutions are a key form of engagement for U.S. investors interested in changing the environmental and social impacts of companies. Register for a free account to view Proxy Preview reports and watch a webinar at the website link above.

CCC students get hands-on experience climbing wind turbines

By KSNB, News Channel Nebraska

HASTINGS, Neb. — Central Community College students got some hands-on experience climbing up a 400-foot wind turbine Tuesday. Students involved in the energy technology program are taught about wind, solar and battery storage energy at the Hastings campus. For the wind portion of their learning, they are required to make the climb. Continue reading here.

Previously Posted
CCC introduces unique renewable energy program
, Hastings Tribune, August 28, 2019

Links to More Information About Nebraska Wind & Solar Technology Programs

Bureau of Labor Statistics

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

Additional Recommended Reading/Resources

About The IREC

For nearly 40 years, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council has made clean energy possible for millions of Americans through cutting-edge solutions that advance renewable energy, electric grid modernization, and energy efficiency. 

Today, our work continues in response to the urgent need to transition to clean energy—to mitigate climate change, improve the resiliency of our communities, and ensure all people benefit from a just transition to a clean energy future.

In 2021, IREC merged with The Solar Foundation, a national nonprofit that has led the advancement of solar energy and solar-compatible technologies since 1977. Together, we are excited to deepen our impact across all clean energy technologies.

Kayaking to Cut Coal Fired Power Plants: 2,341 Miles Down the Missouri River

By Clarence Dennis, Flatland KC

Part passion, part protest, Graham Jordison is paddling his kayak all 2,341 miles of the Missouri River, completely on his own. On Monday morning, Jordison pulled his orange boat onto the rocks at Kaw Point in Kansas City, Kansas, just a few hundred yards from the state of Missouri’s final stretch of the “Big Muddy.”

Jordison’s journey, which set off July 18 from Three Forks, Montana, is about a week away from the finish line in St. Louis, where the Missouri River pours into the Mississippi River. The long-distance paddler is moving at an average of 35 miles per day, give or take. Continue reading here.

Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal and Gas Campaign

Photo: Graham Jordison on the Missouri River near Sioux City. Credit: Emma Colman

BEYOND TAR SANDS

EDP Renewables, TC Energy Sign Power Agreement for Alberta Wind Farm, North American Wind Power

 “This agreement, which is Alberta’s largest power purchase agreement for wind, is an important step as TC Energy continues to build its renewable energy portfolio,” states Corey Hessen, TC Energy’s senior vice president and president of power and storage.

Previously Posted: Developer Abandons Keystone XL Pipeline Project, Ending Decade-Long Battle, by Jeff Brady and Neela Banerjee, NPR

FULLY ELECTRIFIED CAMPUS INITIATIVES

Columbia Pledges That All Future Campus Construction Will Be Fossil Free, Columbia News
As Climate Week NYC begins, the university explores creating a fully electrified campus. The Columbia Climate School is university partner of the weeklong climate showcase.

RESIDENTIAL RENEWABLES FOR ALL 

Advocates push for clean energy tax credits to help low-income households in budget bill, contributed by Jason Plautz, Utility Dive

A new coalition of more than 350 environmental groups, renewable energy companies and minority advocates is pushing for House Democrats to maintain tax language increasing clean energy access for low-income communities in the budget reconciliation package. 

 EVGO MILESTONE

EVgo Celebrates 300,000 Customer Account Milestone, Valdosta Daily Times
EVgo Inc. (NASDAQ: EVGO), the nation’s largest public fast charging network for electric vehicles (EVs) and first powered by 100% renewable electricity, today announced its nationwide customer accounts have crossed the 300,000 mark. The milestone arrives as EVgo continues to expand its fast-charging network footprint with convenient and reliable fast charging stations where drivers shop, work, and play.

FEATURED OPINION

Congress must commit to electric vehicles, Utility Dive
Contributed article by Ben Prochazka, Executive Director, Electrification Coalition; Dr. Shelley Francis, Co-Founder and Director, EVHybridNoire; Jeff Allen, Executive Director, Forth; and Joel Levin, Executive Director, Plug In America.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Straightening out Gov. Pete Ricketts’ comments

By Charlie Kennedy, NPPD Board Member, Star Herald

I am responding to Governor Pete Ricketts’ “Strengthening Energy Reliability and Independence” opinion article in the Aug. 24 edition of the Star Herald. In 2018 I was elected board director for Nebraska Public Power District’s subdivision 5 which encompasses most of western Nebraska and I ran as a non-partisan independent. Governor Ricketts’ comments and accounts in the article are correct at face level, however some are misleading in support of political views and platform. While I laud our governor for many of his initiatives and successes, I believe that safe, affordable and reliable energy should not be a political issue but rather based on common sense and the best use of emerging technologies.

Continue reading here.

PETE RICKETTS: Strengthening Energy Reliability and Independence, Star Herald