In addition to Bellevue and Omaha, solar enthusiasts came from Bennington, Elkhorn, Grand Island, Hastings, Lincoln, York, Council Bluffs and Iowa City to attend the first-ever nationally-sponsored solar tour in our region. The event was part of the 2018 National Solar Tour organized by the American Solar Energy Society and Solar United Neighbors.
Thank you to local tour hosts Don Preister, shown in the above photo with his backyard solar array, and Eric Williams, the Wetherby family, City Sprouts, Exist Green and OPPD. The tour was sponsored by Nebraska Sierra Club, Green Bellevue and Nebraskans for Solar.
[Don Preister’s] zero-carbon-footprint achievement has caught the attention of the American Solar Energy Society, which has included Preister’s home on a national list of homes that on Oct. 6 will hold an Open Solar House. Organized locally by Green Bellevue, which Preister chairs, Nebraskans for Solar, and the Sierra Club, Preister will welcome people to his home at 4522 Borman St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Continue readinghere.
Photo by Eugene Curtin: Bellevue City Councilman Don Preister stands with his backyard solar array. Preister has achieved a zero-carbon-footprint lifestyle and will be part of a national Open House program October 6 where people who have successfully generated their own power explain how it’s done.
Related News Story
Solar panel usage trends in metro By Shawnte Passmore, KMTV
Don Preister is what you call energy independent. “Being energy independent means I’m generating at least as much or at times more electricity than what I’m using,” said the Bellevue city councilman. Preister relies on the sun and his 28-panel solar collector to power his home, placed behind his garden. Power bill? Gone. View the video or read the entire transcript here.
Please join Green Bellevue, Nebraska Sierra Club and Nebraskans for Solar on Saturday!
Omaha/Bellevue Solar Tour October 6th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
By Laurie Brickman, Contributor, U.S. News & World Report
PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION, S.D. — Henry Red Cloud built Lakota Solar Enterprises and the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center on his family’s land, a plot of some 30 acres near a remote stretch of highway here. On an isolated expanse of the Northern Plains, it’s one of the harshest environments in the U.S., where temperatures in the winter can drop below zero, the frigidity punctuated by fierce storms able to drop power lines in furies of ice and wind.
But Red Cloud doesn’t see the extreme conditions as a handicap. For the last two decades, he has thrown himself into establishing a renewable energy program that can serve as an anchor for heating, electricity and job growth on Pine Ridge, home to the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe. Read morehere.
Photo: Henry Red Cloud has led 1,500 trainings for representatives of dozens of tribes in the Northern Plains region.
Many thanks to everyone who joined us for the tour, including representatives from Ho-Chunk, Inc. and other solar enthusiasts from Ho-Chunk Village, Lyons, Sioux City, South Sioux City, Blair, Tekamah, Lincoln, Omaha, and Boston, among other places.
Special thanks to our tour host, Robert Byrnes, owner of Nebraska Renewable Energy Systems and The Winnebago Tribe’s Sustainability Director. For many years Robert has been on the front lines of policy development within Nebraska. He lives on a small off-grid farm in Lyons, where he raises beef, poultry and pork. Robert is an organic chemist by education and an industrial chemist by trade. His work in that field resulted in the first and largest commercial biodiesel plant in eastern Nebraska. His current focus is on opportunities in solar and wind energy development in our state.
Top Photo Credit: David Corbin, Nebraskans for Solar Board Member. (Some attendees not in the photo were still visiting with one another and others had left to start the tour).
Photo of Robert at his farm: NET
Stats from a handout that Sam Burrish, Ho-Chunk Inc’s
Communications Manager, provided at the tour
Winnebago Renewable Energy Projects
Our significant progress in 2017 works toward larger goals of Tribal self-sufficiency and good stewardship of the environment. In 2017 Ho-Chunk, Inc. and the Winnebago Tribe made an investment of over $700,000 in renewable energy with the support of U.S. Department of Energy grants. The tribe received one of only 13 national awards from DOE.
The total project funding breakdown:
$374,653 in Grants from the Office of Indian Energy at the Department of Energy
$374,654 in matching grants from Tribal sources, including Ho-Chunk, Inc.
Ho-Chunk, Inc. has worked with Nebraska Renewable Energy Systems for these multiple projects in 2017.
1,000 solar panels installed at 14 sites across the Winnebago Community. These include: Pony Express, Veterans Park, Ho-Chunk, Inc. Headquarters, and the Senior Center.
These projects will offset 25% to 75% of total energy usage at these sites.
Continue clean energy projects in Ho-Chunk Village
Develop clean energy strategies in the development of Ho-Chunk Village 2.0
If you missed the event and would like to enjoy a self-guided tour of the beautiful Winnebago Reservation and see, firsthand, why their community’s renewable energy development is a model for 100+ other tribes nationwide, here are the directions, below. (The drive is also picturesque):
From Omaha, 77N or 75N through Winnebago and turn left into parking lot for Pony Express/Titan Motors on the north side of town. Solar Farm is on north side of commercial spaces.
“We’ve had 100 tribes visit our community,” [Ann Marie Bledsoe-Downes, vice president for community impact and engagement of Ho-Chunk Inc] said. “We talk about many subjects with these leaders. We spend substantial time on our renewable-energy effort. Other tribes say, ‘Let’s do what Winnebago is doing.’ It resonates with people that we are taking control over our own resources.”
Strategies for Solar Workforce Development: A Toolkit for the Solar Industry was published by the Solar Training Network, a program The Solar Foundation leads that is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.
The toolkit is designed to help meet the high demand for qualified employees and build a skilled and diverse solar workforce. Written for both large employers and small solar businesses, the toolkit includes a detailed guide for setting up work-based learning programs to invest in current and future workers.
This new toolkit includes a Workforce Development Action Plan showing how solar companies can partner with local workforce development boards and American Job Centers to support the hiring, recruitment, and training process.
The toolkit also includes a step-by-step implementation guide for building a work-based learning program, including internships, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training.
In this op-ed for pv magazine, The Solar Foundation’s Chris Walker explores issues of aligning solar training programs with workforce needs. Walker is Senior Program Manager for the Solar Training Network at The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the use of solar and solar-compatible technologies worldwide.
A field of 21 collegiate clubs from around the globe are spending a week in Hastings to catch rays at the Formula Sun Grand Prix 2018 at Motorsport Park Hastings through July 12. Universities representing the U.S., Russia, Canada, Australia, Italy and Saudi Arabia will compete in eight-hour qualifying heats Tuesday through Thursday at the track in hopes of earning a trip to the bi-yearly American Solar Challenge Road Event from Omaha to Oregon July 13-22.
The three-day race runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at MPH, 427 S. Showboat Blvd. Admission is free but visitors must sign a standard waiver and wear a wrist band while on the grounds. Team members will visit with the public as their schedules allow. Parking is available by the security station. Read the entire articlehere.
DISPLAY DAY & START LINE
Following the track race, teams will move to the starting point of the American Solar Challenge in Omaha, Nebraska at Lewis & Clark Landing. This is where the display day and multi-occupant judging will take place.
Display: July 13, 3:00-7:00pm Start Line: July 14 at 8:00am
Nebraskans for Solar will be among organizations hosting booths at the American Solar Challenge Display Day at Lewis & Clark Landing on July 13. Please join us for a solar activity for all ages as you visit representatives from local nonprofits.
For the road portion of the event, teams can expect a journey covering more than 1,700 miles. The route will cover portions of the Oregon Trail from Nebraska to Oregon. Stops include Grand Island on July 14 and Gering on July 15 – 16.
The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska already boasts 400 kilowatts of installed solar panels, more than nearly any other Midwestern Indian tribe. It doesn’t plan to stop there. The American Indian tribe expects to learn later this summer whether it will receive a federal grant to pay half the cost of an additional 300 kilowatts. Tribal leaders in this community of about 850 people in northeastern Nebraska say the solar push, which started a decade ago, advances commitments to sustainability and self-sufficiency, and is cutting electric bills.
“We’ve had 100 tribes visit our community,” [Ann Marie Bledsoe-Downes, vice president for community impact and engagement of Ho-Chunk Inc] said. “We talk about many subjects with these leaders. We spend substantial time on our renewable-energy effort. Other tribes say, ‘Let’s do what Winnebago is doing.’ It resonates with people that we are taking control over our own resources.” Read the entire articlehere. Photo by The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska showing solar systems on senior housing.
UPCOMING EVENT – SAVE THE DATE & JOIN US!
Tour The Winnebago Tribe’s Solar Farm And More Renewable Energy Sites
Sponsored by Nebraskans for Solar Hosted by Robert Byrnes, Owner of Nebraska Renewable Energy Systems and The Winnebago Community’s Sustainability Coordinator
When: August 11, 2018 from 11am to 3pm, or for as long as you want to stay. Where: We’ll meet at the Winnebago Solar Farm at 11am for a tour, discussion,
Q&A and lunch–and then visit more sites. See our calendar for directions.
Nebraska Renewable Energy Systems, the Winnebago Community, and Ho-Chunk Inc, the tribe’s award-winning economic corporation, are developing one of the largest renewable energy infrastructures in the state. They’ve installed solar arrays at 14 sites.
Please bring your lunch and lawn chairs. Nebraskans for Solar will provide
a variety of cold drinks and desserts. Carpoolers may have an extra dessert.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING A delegation of Winnebago tribal and business leaders, including Ho-Chunk Inc. CEO Lance Morgan, spoke at a luncheon on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, for state senators at the Nebraska State Capitol.
By Jennie Ray, University of Minnesota Morris News
What: Minnesota Solar Congress Who: Solar United Neighbors, University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center, Minnesota Farmers Union, Renewing the Countryside, University of Minnesota Morris, Clean Energy Resource Teams, Sustainable Farming Association – Western Chapter When: Saturday, July 21, 11 am to 4 pm Where: University of Minnesota West Central Research & Outreach Center, 46352 State Highway 329, Morris, Minnesota 56267
The University of Minnesota Morris will take part in the first annual Minnesota Solar Congress on Saturday, July 21. Hosted by Solar United Neighbors, the Congress is a free daylong event filled with educational and social opportunities for solar enthusiasts. Open to the public. Click herefor additional details.
SMUD details home electrification rebate offerings, American Public Power Association SMUD is offering electrification rebates worth up to $5,000 for new homes and up to $13,750 for existing homes that convert from gas to electricity in a program likely to run for years. Scott Blunk, strategic planner for electrification and energy efficiency for the district, estimates all of SMUD’s electrification programs together would cost about $10 million to $20 million over the next five to 10 years.
Wind and solar are called clean for a reason, by Michael Goggin, Opinion Contributor, The Hill. A national laboratory review of all studies on the topic found that the lifecycle carbon pollution of wind energy is one fiftieth that of natural gas and one hundredth that of coal. Studies also show that a typical wind turbine pays back its lifecycle carbon footprint in a matter of months, and it generates carbon-free electricity for the remainder of its 20- to 30-year lifespan. Michael Goggin is vice president at Grid Strategies LLC, a strategic consulting and advocacy firm that helps clients with the integration of clean energy into the electric grid. Goggin has nearly 15 years of experience in the clean energy field, including the last 10 at the American Wind Energy Association.
What pig farmers in Iowa taught me about green energy, Representative Liz Bennett, Des Moines Register Contributor. Climate scientists and pig farmers in Iowa have two things in common. They both know that renewable energy sources like wind and solar power are the future, and they’re both taking steps today to make that future a reality.
Pattern Energy harnesses NM’s blustery gusts, Albuquerque Journal Pattern Energy Group bought the rights in late May to a planned 1,000 megawatt wind farm just north of Corona. “Mesa Canyons will be one of the biggest wind farms in the U.S.,” [Pattern CEO Mike Garland] said.
Xcel Energy ready to build 478 MW Texas wind farm, Kallinish Energy Minnesota-based Xcel Energy has completed its purchase of a 478-megawatt wind farm in Texas as part of a $1.6 billion wind project in Texas and New Mexico, Kallanish Energy reports.
Q&A: Midwest partnership pushing to expand EV infrastructure in region, Energy News Network Charge Up is pressing utilities to expand charging infrastructure and advocating for money from the $2.8 billion Volkswagen emissions cheating settlement to be spent on electric school buses and public transit, which can play a key role in kickstarting electric vehicle deployment. The group includes the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Clean Fuels Ohio, Great Plains Institute, the Ecology Center, and Fresh Energy. Charge Up Midwest