Monthly Archives: November 2022

Duchesne Academy Reaches Zero Waste Goal Ahead of Schedule

By Duchesne Academy

Duchesne Academy has reached its goal to be a zero-waste school nearly eight years ahead of schedule. A recent waste audit revealed that the school diverted 91% percent of waste away from landfills and to recycling or composting programs.  

“I was thrilled when the audit results came back because we have worked hard for years to reach this goal. Our students have embraced this program and now are leaders when it comes to modeling sustainable practices for their classmates,” said Assistant Principal Eric Krakowski, who serves as the Sustainability Program coordinator.

Duchesne’s sustainability efforts took root in the 2016-2017 school year following the May 2015 release of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment and human ecology. At Duchesne, sustainability is not just an academic concept, but rather a community-wide commitment to improving the school and larger world in which we live. We are guided by the standards detailed in our Goals and Criteria, which call us to teach respect for creation and prepare our students to be good stewards of the earth’s resources.

Duchesne is now concentrating efforts to maintain its waste diversion rate above 90% and to achieve its other sustainability goals which include net positive building emissions by 2030.

“This program is an extension of our faith. We believe that using resources responsibly, we show our gratitude to God for the gifts he has given us,” Krakowski said.

Nebraskans for Solar Note: Interconnection Systems Inc (ISI), based in Central City, installed the 10-kilowatt solar array in 2019. The energy generated by the solar system powers multiple classrooms, including the school’s science, technology, engineering, arts and math lab. where students can integrate data from the solar system into coursework.

White House Releases Updated State Fact Sheets Highlighting the Impact of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law One Year into Implementation

White House Briefing Room, November 15, 2022

Since signing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law one year ago, the Biden-Harris Administration has hit the ground running to make major progress. Today, the White House released updated state and territory fact sheets that highlight the nationwide impact of the law, the largest long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. In addition to announced funding to date, the fact sheets include key project highlights. Read more here.

Nebraska Fact Sheet: President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is Delivering in Nebraska

RELATED READING & RESOURCES

A Proclamation on America Recycles Day, 2022

The White House Briefing Room

On America Recycles Day, we promote the benefits of recycling for our health, environment, and economy and we reenergize the efforts all of us can take to meet the obligations we have as a Nation to future generations. By manufacturing and packaging more recyclable products, producing less waste, and reusing precious resources, we can cut greenhouse gas emissions, create new good-paying jobs, and do our part to help address the climate crisis.

While we know its benefits, recycling is at a crossroads today in many parts of this country. Too many Americans are uncertain about what materials can or should be recycled. Municipalities have trouble finding markets for their recycled waste. Also, as we extract and process more natural resources when we could otherwise reuse materials, we emit dangerous greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. People of color and low‑income Americans, who are more likely to live near landfills and other waste processing plants, often suffer disproportionately from the damaging effects of pollution, which impact their health, their livelihoods, and the quality of their lives. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Find more news stories and resources on recycling solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries here: Nebraskans for Solar Category Archive: Recycling 

‘A unique application’: TVA takes $216M first step toward turning coal ash sites into solar farms

By Josh Keefe, The Tenneseean

 

The Tennessee Valley Authority took its first step toward turning its coal ash landfills into solar energy farms on Thursday. At its quarterly meeting, the TVA board unanimously approved $216 million in funding for a pilot project aimed at building a 100-megawatt, 309-acre solar farm on top of a coal ash landfill at the Shawnee Fossil Plant in Paducah, Kentucky. 

The project is the first step in TVA’s efforts to convert sites contaminated by the legacy of coal into productive sources of renewable energy. If TVA can make the solar installation at Shawnee work and deploy similar efforts across its system, it anticipates adding 1,000 megawatts of solar energy capacity. That is equal to nearly all of TVA’s current solar capacity and enough to power roughly 600,000 homes. Read more here.

Previously Posted

NEW REPORT

Most Power Plants Violating Federal Rules Mandating Cleanup of Toxic Coal Ash Dumps,
by
 the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and Earthjustice 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Seven years after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency imposed the first federal rules requiring the cleanup of coal ash waste dumps, only about half of the power plants that are contaminating groundwater agree that cleanup is necessary, and 96 percent of these power plants are not proposing any groundwater treatment. Only one plant out of 292 is planning a comprehensive cleanup.

The failure of the vast majority of power companies to follow the 2015 Coal Ash Rule has serious consequences for water quality and public health. Monitoring data shows that 91 percent of U.S. coal-fired plants have ash landfills or waste ponds that are leaking arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium, and other metals into groundwater at dangerous levels, often threatening streams, rivers, and drinking water aquifers.

These are among the conclusions of a new report, Poisonous Coverup: The Widespread Failure of the Power Industry to Clean Up Coal Ash Dumps, by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and Earthjustice.

IN NEBRASKA

Nebraska Data From The Report: Coal Power Plant Rank / Site, Pollutants Exceeding Safe Levels and by how much, Number of Regulated Disposal Units

79 North Omaha Station
Arsenic (x22), Boron (x2), Cobalt (x2), Lithium (x3), Molybdenum (x23), Selenium (x2), Sulfate (x2). Number of Regulated Disposal Units: 1

182 Nebraska City Generating Station
Arsenic (x5), Boron (x2), Lithium (x1), Molybdenum (x2). Number of Regulated Disposal Units: 2

230 Sheldon Station
Lithium (x3), Sulfate (x3). Number of Regulated Disposal Units: 1

245 Platte Generating Station
Cobalt (x3). Number of Regulated Disposal Units: 1

256 Whelan Energy Center
Lithium (x1), Molybdenum (x1). Number of Regulated Disposal Units: 1

263 Gerald Gentleman Station
No pollutants present at unsafe levels. Number of Regulated Disposal Units: 1

268 Lon D. Wright Power Plant
No pollutants present at unsafe levels. Number of Regulated Disposal Units: 1

ABOUT EARTHJUSTICE
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Earthjustice’s Clean Energy Program

Photo Credit: Chris Machian, Omaha World-Herald. Coal is piled outside OPPD’s North Omaha plant. Coal emissions are a major source of pollution, contributing to a variety of health problems.

Veterans bring unique skills to solar construction

By Solar Power World

While staffing shortages have impacted the construction industry for decades and worsened in recent years, large-scale solar EPC contractors like McCarthy Building Companies have found success recruiting U.S. military veterans who, in turn, are streamlining solar installation and construction processes by creating efficiencies through logistics.

Military veterans are a segment of the labor force that deserves attention and are helping to fill gaps. Vets currently make up about 7% of the construction workforce, and approximately 200,000 vets transition out of the military each year. The appeal for hiring veterans includes a unique set of hard and soft skills as well as attitudinal characteristics that make them great new hires and leaders in construction. Continue reading here.

  • Referenced in the article: The Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program, which was implemented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to assist transitioning service members in finding post-military employment.
  • See Also: Solar Ready Vets Fellowships, Interstate Renewable Energy Council  
    The Solar Ready Vets Fellowship is implemented by the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program with support from IREC and Solar Energy Industries Association. This program is offered to employers at no cost and supports a smooth transition from active duty to leadership roles in the civilian solar workforce. 

NEW ROOFTOP SOLAR INTERCONNECTIONS TOOL

Automation tool helps speed rooftop solar connection to the grid, PV Magazine
NREL and SMUD developed PRECISE, a tool that leverages smart inverter functions to help utilities make faster interconnections.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Solar and wind each added more capacity in US than natural gas in 9-mo 2022

November 8 (Renewables Now) – According to a review by the SUN DAY Campaign of data just released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), utility-scale (i.e. > 1 MW) solar and wind each added more new generating capacity than did natural gas during the first nine months of 2022. Moreover, FERC’s three-year forecast suggests that installed natural gas capacity will begin to decline by fall 2025 while that of solar and wind continues to rapidly expand. Read more here.

The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1992 to support a rapid transition to 100% reliance on sustainable energy technologies as a cost-effective alternative to nuclear power and fossil fuels and as a solution to climate change. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

New Nebraska Extension Program: Weather Ready Farms

The Weather Ready Farms designation program is an agricultural education program aimed at offering farmers new strategies and technologies to prepare for extreme weather events and climate variation.

About the Program

Farmers that participate in the two-year program learn about conservation, natural resource management, improving soil health, disaster preparedness, farm financial management, climate-smart agriculture, and more. Throughout the designation program, participants attend face-to-face and online educational events delivered by Nebraska Extension and our educational partners.

After participants learn new weather-ready agriculture techniques, participants will work with their project mentors to implement these strategies on their farm. Once participants have completed their education and finished their on-farm projects, they will go through the Weather Ready Farms verification process to gain designation status as a Weather Ready Farm. If you are interested in participating in the Weather Ready Farms program, contact Nathan Mueller at nathan.mueller@unl.edu.

Sign up for the Weather Ready Farms newsletter.

Related Reading

Also of Potential Interest

UPCOMING NEBRASKA EXTENSION WORKSHOPS

Solar Electric for Farms, Homes, and BusinessesSponsored by Nebraska Public
Power District, Omaha Public Power District, and Lincoln Electric System

This workshop is for homeowners, farmers, and business owners who are interested in exploring solar PV systems. The workshop will review the function, feasibility, and economic return of solar electric systems for farms, homes, and businesses. 

Each solar installation is unique, and individuals have their own reasons for exploring solar installations.  This workshop will help you decide if solar is right for you, by learning about how systems work, safety, the value of electricity, value of incentives, and how to evaluate quotes from installers. The workshop speaker will be Nebraska Extension Educator, F. John Hay, who has 10 years’ experience doing solar economic analysis and installed solar at his home in 2017. QuestionsJhay2@unl.edu

See Flyer for dates and more information.

Registration: https://go.unl.edu/solarworkshops2022

Cost: $10

LinkedIn putting solar power to work

By Jason Kuiper, OPPD Blog, The Wire

Anytime a customer makes the switch to solar power, OPPD officials recognize that as a great step, no matter how big or small the investment. In the case of LinkedIn, the investment in solar power is one of the largest in the state. The company’s 121,550-square-foot, 560-kilowatt canopy solar array was installed in July 2022. Morrissey Engineering designed the carport solar array system in LinkedIn’s parking lot. LinkedIn officials said they are committed to being carbon negative by 2030, meaning they are “driving energy efficiency, accessing clean energy now, and in addition, will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than we emit across our full value chain by 2050.” Read more here.

Photo by Danielle Beebe-Iske

Reducing A Project’s Cost

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency provides updated information on local, state, and federal incentives

Customer-Owned Generation

More Nebraska News

Valmont Industries and OPPD Power with Purpose Partnership Strengthens the Community by Conserving Resources,
Valmont Industries News Release, Business Wire

OPPD and Valmont Utility, a Valmont company, are working together to build transmission lines to connect the Turtle Creek Station in Sarpy County and Standing Bear Lake Station in Douglas County to the electric grid.

From The White House Briefing Room

FACT SHEET: U.S.-UAE Partnership to Accelerate Transition to Clean Energy (PACE)

The White House Briefing Room

The United States and the United Arab Emirates signed a major new clean energy framework on November 1 in Abu Dhabi.  Today President Biden again demonstrated his deep commitment to ensuring a global clean energy future and long-term energy security as the United States and United Arab Emirates announced a robust partnership to ensure the swift and smooth transition toward clean energy and away from unabated fossil fuels. The U.S.-UAE Partnership for Accelerating Clean Energy (PACE) is set to catalyze $100 billion in financing, investment, and other support and to deploy globally 100 gigawatts of clean energy by 2035 to advance the energy transition and maximize climate benefits.  

PACE’s ambitious plan is built upon four pillars: 1) Clean Energy Innovation, Deployment and Supply Chains, 2) Carbon and Methane Management, 3) Nuclear Energy, and 4) Industrial and Transport Decarbonization. Continue reading here.

Related Reading & Viewing