Category Archives: Energy Efficiency / Conservation

UNO Magazine: Big Future for Tiny Homes

University of Nebraska Omaha News Center

Focused on the future of tiny houses, Bing Chen, Ph.D., a UNL professor of electrical and computer engineering based out of Omaha’s Peter Kiewit Institute, envisions a future filled with tiny, environmentally friendly houses.

Over the past two years, Chen, along with students from Metropolitan Community College, have taken the first steps to making his vision a reality. Earlier this year, this multidisciplinary team completed construction of a 400-square-foot prototype of a sustainable, ADA-compliant home that one day could be mass produced and easily transported almost anywhere in the country.

The construction students framed the home, created the floor, erected side walls, wired the home for electricity and installed heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The finished 20-foot x 20-foot home, which was built on MCC’s campus, will be moved on a flatbed trailer to a location near UNO’s Baxter Arena this coming spring. Learn more here.

Read the UNO Magazine online as a Flipbook or download a PDF.

Previously Posted

What We’re Watching in Reconciliation: Regular Updates from EDF

By Danielle Arostegui, Environmental Defense Fund Blog

NFS Note: The House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better
Act on November 19.
The final vote was 220-213.

Dec. 13 EDF Update: Build Back Better Act moves through the Senate; White House releases new Executive Order building on climate investments.

[Even] as we wait for the Build Back Better Act to move through the Senate, the White House is not hesitating to act on the climate crisis. [On December 8] President Biden signed an Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs through Federal Sustainability and released a Federal Sustainability Plan detailing the government’s plan to “walk the talk” on clean energy. 

While the Build Back Better Act contains the administration’s flagship climate programs, including clean energy tax credits, clean manufacturing incentives, environmental justice investments, a civilian climate corps, and funding for low-carbon procurement, all of these investments will complement and accelerate the initiatives articulated in the Executive Order. In turn, the Executive Order provides an unprecedented demand-pull for clean technologies, amplifying the benefits of the investments in the Build Back Better Act.  Read more here.

Want a primer on the key issues EDF will be watching? Read all about them here.

The Environmental Defense Fund is a leading national nonprofit organization representing more than 2.5 million members and activists. In 2017 EDF celebrated 50 years of progress.

Photo Credit: John Williams, Flickr

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Celebrates Expansion of Locally-Led Conservation Efforts in First Year of “America the Beautiful” Initiative, December 20, 2021

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration issued its first annual progress report on the America the Beautiful initiative, highlighting steps the Administration has taken over the past year to support locally-led and voluntary efforts to conserve, connect, and restore lands and waters across the nation that sustain the health of our communities, power local economies, and help combat climate change.

USDA Invests $5.2 Billion to Build and Improve Critical Rural Infrastructure in 46 States and Puerto Rico

USDA News Release, December 16, 2021

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is investing $5.2 billion to build and improve critical rural infrastructure in 46 states and Puerto Rico. The investments reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to Building a Better America by investing in rural communities and will help expand access to high-speed internet, clean water and reliable electricity in people’s homes and businesses across rural America. Read more here.

Water & Environmental Programs
USDA investments in Nebraska by types and amounts:

Village of Mason City – Loans: $537,000 / Grants: $482,000
Village of Page – Grants: $82,000
Village of Whitney – Loans: $203,000 / Grants: $432,000

Electric Loans Total: $4,064,469,000
Just one example of USDA’s investments in this infrastructure category: $550 million to the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, a nonprofit created and owned by a network of rural electric cooperatives, with 1,000 member owners across 49 states. Headquartered in the State of Virginia.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

The roundtable focused on new private sector and philanthropic investments that have been spurred by the Administration’s efforts to support economic revitalization in energy communities. The roundtable also discussed the announcement of initial awards from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) $300 million Coal Communities Commitment to support economic revitalization, infrastructure investments, and quality jobs in coal communities with funding from the American Rescue Plan.

“Weatherization retrofits and home energy upgrades – like heat pumps, LED lighting, insulation and sealing up leaks — cuts monthly energy bills for families by up to 30%, and makes our air healthier,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Thanks to the investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, DOE will be able to help even more communities, cut more air pollution, and generate good-paying local jobs.” For more information about this effort, visit the Weather Assistance Program website.

Previously Posted

USDA Rural Development Announces more than $3 Million for Nebraska

USDA News Release, December 7, 2021

LINCOLN, Neb. – Following a nationwide announcement by United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Friday that the Department is investing more the $633 million in rural America, Acting Nebraska State Director for USDA Rural Development Kim Martini announced today more than $3 million of those funds are coming to Nebraska.

“USDA Rural Development is incredibly proud to support Nebraskans with these investments and assist with Rural Nebraska to prosper. These funds will help local communities better prepare for extreme weather, combat climate change, and give back to their communities at large,” said Martini. Continue reading here.

DOE Upgrades One Million Homes as Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Provides Massive Investment in Energy Efficiency

Department of Energy News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm traveled to Delaware today to announce that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has upgraded one million American homes with energy efficiency improvements through the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program. The trip and milestone underscore the importance of the weatherization and energy efficiency investments that are within the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. Since 2001, the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program has helped American homeowners and renters save $7.7 billion on their energy bills and cut carbon emissions equivalent to a year’s worth of 11 coal-fired power plants.  

“DOE’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program has helped one million homeowners make energy-savings improvements at an affordable price,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “With the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal’s historic investments in energy efficiency and weatherization, we will ensure more Americans can benefit from cleaner air, more resilient homes, and lower energy bills.” Read more here.

Visit the Building Technologies Office to learn more about DOE’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program.

MORE ON THE BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE BILL

The White House Briefing Room

Reuters: US Energy Dept to hire 1,000 workers in infrastructure boost, officials say

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & RESOURCES

USDA NEWS RELEASE

USDA Announces Scholars Programs for Students at Historically Black and Tribal Land-Grant Colleges and Universities

Build Back Better Framework

The White House Briefing Room, October 28, 2021

The Build Back Better Act will create millions of good-paying jobs, enable more Americans to join and remain in the labor force, spur long-term growth, reduce price pressures and set the United States on course to meet its clean energy ambitions.

Investments in Clean Energy and Combatting Climate Change

  • Clean Energy Tax Credits ($320 billion): Ten-year expanded tax credits for utility-scale and residential clean energy, transmission and storage, clean passenger and commercial vehicles, and clean energy manufacturing.
  • Resilience Investments ($105 billion): Investments and incentives to address extreme weather (wildfires, droughts, and hurricanes, including in forestry, wetlands, and agriculture), legacy pollution in communities, and a Civilian Climate Corps.
  • Investments and Incentives for Clean Energy Technology, Manufacturing, and Supply Chains ($110 billion): Targeted incentives to spur new domestic supply chains and technologies, like solar, batteries, and advanced materials, while boosting the competitiveness of existing industries, like steel, cement, and aluminum.
  • Clean Energy procurement ($20 billion): Provide incentives for government to be purchaser of next gen technologies, including long-duration storage, small modular reactors, and clean construction materials.

Click here to read about all proposed investments in the Build Back Better Framework.

Also From The White House

Additional Recommended Reading

Time-of-Use program offers NPPD customers incentive to save

Nebraska Public Power District News Release

Columbus, Neb. – A Time-of-Use (TOU) program has been on the minds of Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) for several years and is now a reality for NPPD retail customers. NPPD retail customers are those who receive an electric bill and pay NPPD directly.

The TOU program, known as RateWise Time-Of-Use, offers another option for customers who consume most of their energy during NPPD’s off-peak and super off-peak periods or who have the flexibility to shift some of their energy usage to different time periods. Depending on when a customer consumes energy, they can now choose from the following options. Continue reading here

To learn more about NPPD’s new RateWise options, visit nppd.com/ratewise.

ENERGY SAGE RESOURCES

ADDITIONAL NPPD NEWS

Tom Kent to receive RMEL’s Distinguished Leadership Award

Columbus, Neb. – Thomas J. Kent, President & Chief Executive Officer, Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), will receive RMEL’s 2021 Distinguished Leadership Award during RMEL’s 118th Annual Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention on Tuesday, October 19.

RMEL is a not-for-profit energy trade association that has served the electric utility industry with a variety of education and networking services since 1903. RMEL’s mission is: Preparing the electric energy industry for the future through education and networking. Once known as the Rocky Mountain Electrical League, the association officially became RMEL in the 1990s to better reflect a membership base that spans the entire country.

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Roadmap to Build an Economy Resilient to Climate Change Impacts

The White House, October 15, 2021

Agency Actions Will Protect Retirement Plans, Homeowners, Consumers, Businesses and Supply Chains, Workers, and the Federal Government from Financial Risks of Climate Change

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration released a comprehensive, government-wide strategy to measure, disclose, manage and mitigate the systemic risks climate change poses to American families, businesses, and the economy – building on actions already taken by the Biden-Harris Administration including just this week: a redesigned National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate.gov site to better connect Americans to climate explainers, data dashboards, and classroom-ready teaching resources; the Department of Labor’s new proposed rule to safeguard life savings and pensions from climate risk; as well as the Federal Acquisition Council’s advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to consider greenhouse gas emissions when making procurement decisions. This year alone, extreme weather has upended the U.S. economy and affected one in three Americans. Continue reading here.

NATIONAL COMMUNITY SOLAR PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM 

DOE Targets Five Million Households Powered by Community Solar By 2025, by Peter Maloney, American Public Power Association

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently set a new target for its National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) program. The program’s new goal is to have community solar systems that can power the equivalent of five million households by 2025 and create $1 billion in energy bill savings on the way to reaching the White House’s goals of achieving 100 percent clean electricity by 2035 and ensuring that all Americans can benefit from renewable energy. The new target represents more than a 700 percent increase in community solar installations, DOE said.

To achieve its new targets, the DOE is offering free, on-demand technical assistance to NCSP partnership members. NCSP has distributed $1 million for technical assistance and said it aims to provide $2 million in the next year.

About the National Community Solar Partnership, Department of Energy

CONNECTED COMMUNITIES OF GRID-INTERACTIVE EFFICIENT BUILDINGS

DOE Invests $61 Million for Smart Buildings that Accelerate Renewable Energy Adoption and Grid Resilience, Department of Energy News Release

Ten “Connected Communities” Will Equip More than 7,000 Buildings with Smart Controls, Sensors, and Analytics to Reduce Energy Use, Costs, and Emissions

 A recent DOE study estimated that by 2030, GEBs could save up to $18 billion per year in power system costs and cut 80 million tons of carbon emissions each year. That is more than the annual emissions of 50 medium-sized coal plants or 17 million cars. DOE’s first two connected communities in Alabama and Georgia have already demonstrated this potential by using approximately 42-44% less energy than today’s average all-electric home.

PacifiCorp, owned by Berkshire Hathaway Energy, is among DOE selectees:
PacifiCorp (UT) will establish a program to manage solar photovoltaic, batteries, electric vehicle charging in a diverse community of all-electric buildings and a mass transit transportation center, equipped with the latest market-leading efficient technologies to optimize their collective energy use and provide grid services at scale. (Award amount: $6.42M)

Learn more here: Connected Communities

MISSOURI’S PAY AS YOU SAVE PROGRAM

In Missouri, your utility might pay for your next big energy efficiency project, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

Missouri’s largest gas and electric utilities are all forging ahead with new programs that will finance customers’ energy efficiency upgrades and in many cases even decrease their monthly bills. Evergy is the state’s latest utility to launch a Pay As You Save (PAYS) program, in which the full upfront cost of energy efficiency projects — along with their savings — are rolled into the customer’s monthly bill.

GOOGLE’S CARBON-FREE PLAN

Google’s CEO: ‘We’re Losing Time’ in the Climate Fight, Bloomberg Green

Sundar Pichai discusses the opportunities and hurdles in Google’s plan to go carbon-free, and how sustainability is on the agenda of every CEO he meets.

Your utility: 5 facts about public power

By Laura King-Homan, The Wire

Public power utilities represent 60 percent of the electric utilities in the United States, serving 1 in 7 Americans. Nebraska has 166 public power utilities and cooperatives.

Public power is a unique part of living in Nebraska. The state is the only one in the country where all residents get electricity from public power utilities or cooperatives. This week, Oct. 3-9, is Public Power Week. In recognition, here are a few facts you may not know about your public power utilities.

Public power customers enjoy electricity rates averaging 11.6 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to investor-owned utility customers, who pay an average of 13.2 cents per kilowatt-hour. Nebraska enjoys rates that are even lower, an average of 10.6 cents per kilowatt-hour. Learn more here.

Infographic by the American Public Power Association (APPA)

Also Written by Laura King-Homan
Resolve to be more energy efficient: October tips, The Wire

Additional Recommended Reading

The [annual Energy Efficiency Jobs in America report] comes as lawmakers consider infrastructure and budget reconciliation measures that include billions in funding for efficiency, which experts say could boost the sector’s employment and reduce U.S. carbon emissions. “What I’m seeing in Congress is a growing acceptance … that we have to act,” Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., said at an event introducing the efficiency employment report.

Energy Efficiency Jobs in America  by nonpartisan business group E2 and clean energy nonprofit E4TheFuture

A bipartisan Ohio bill would be a first step to recouping savings, say advocates. But huge losses from House Bill 6 would remain. For Ohio, the MEEA report estimates that Ohioans missed out on roughly $980 million in net benefits for one program year. That figure includes savings on energy bills, as well as things like reduced capacity costs and avoided costs for transmission and distribution. When avoided health impacts and the social costs of carbon are factored in, Ohioans would have saved more than $2 billion for a single program year, according to the analysis.

Since he joined FERC four years ago, Glick has argued the agency isn’t taking a sharp enough look at how gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas facilities affect the climate as well as environmental justice communities, or whether the proposed facilities are even needed. Glick’s letter comes as FERC is considering changing how it reviews natural gas infrastructure under a policy statement set in 1999. The agency launched a review of its natural gas policy in April 2018. After Glick was elevated to chairman last January, he asked for another round of comments from stakeholders on issues like how to evaluate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Nebraska Recognizes Clean Energy Week 2021

By Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, Norfolk Daily News

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has issued a proclamation recognizing September 20-24, 2021 as Clean Energy Week in the state in conjunction with the fifth annual National Clean Energy Week (NCEW).

“Nebraska believes in reliable, affordable, and clean forms of energy,” wrote Governor Ricketts in his proclamation. “Wind is responsible for a significant portion of the state’s renewable electricity generation, with more than 1,000 wind turbines and more than 2,100 MW of installed utility-scale capacity.” Read more here.

RESOURCES FOR CLEAN ENERGY WEEK – OR ANYTIME – FROM OPPD, NPPD & LES

If you are a customer of another utility company, check the website for available resources.

 

 

 

 

Business Resources

Residential Resources

 

 

 

 


NPPD’s EnergyWise Incentives & Rebates For:

 

 

 

 

 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED RESOURCE

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency-Nebraska