Category Archives: Energy Conservation

New Offshore Wind Turbine Can Power a Home for a Day in Just 7 Seconds

By John Rogers, Senior Energy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists

The first large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States may use the largest wind turbine in the world. Here are a few ways to think about what all that might mean. The developers of the Vineyard Wind project off Massachusetts have just announced that they’ll be using GE wind turbines—specifically, the GE Haliade-X. That turbine recently got a capacity upgrade, from a world-leading 12 megawatts (MW) to a world-leading-by-even-more 13 MW. Those developments got me thinking about both the turbine and the project. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

President-Elect Biden Must Prioritize Coal Communities—and Here’s How, by Jeremy Richardson, Senior Energy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists

CIVILIAN CLIMATE CORPS

The Energy 202: Young people want to do something about climate change. Biden may have an answer, by Dino Grandoni, with Alexandra Ellerbeck, Washington Post

During the campaign, Biden called for mobilizing “the next generation of conservation and resilience workers through a Civilian Climate Corps.” Now Biden’s allies are beginning to think about what exactly such a program will look like as he prepares to take office next month.

GTM’S POLITICAL CLIMATE PODCAST

‘The Landscape Has Shifted’: Neil Chatterjee on FERC’s Role in the Energy Transition, by Julia Pyper, Greentech Media


In this episode of Political Climate, we speak to FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee about several of the agency’s recent rulemakings, past controversies and his outlook for the future of U.S. energy policy in today’s shifting political landscape.

 

GREEN BANKS

Green bank advocates hope Biden win can help reinvigorate idea in Minnesota, by Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

The coalition suggested that a bank with $100 million in capital could create as many as 15,000 jobs in Minnesota. Fifteen green banks operate in 12 states and have financed $5 billion in energy investments, returning more than $3.60 for every $1 spent, the report says. Most green banks operate on the coasts, with Michigan Saves being the only one in the Midwest. Ohio and Missouri have begun exploring the concept.

Coalition for Green Capital Report:  A Green Recovery For Minnesota: Job Creation, Environmental Justice, and Clean Energy

GOOGLE

Google calls for more RTOs, designs ‘intelligent platform’ to meet 24/7 clean energy goal, by Emma Penrod, Utility Dive

Achieving Google’s new 24/7 clean energy goal will require both the adoption of new technologies, and new purchasing options, the company’s head of global energy markets and policy said Thursday on a National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) panel. Eighty percent of offsite corporate procurement takes place in regions with access to competitive wholesale markets, according to Bryn Baker, director of policy innovation at the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance.

Previously Posted

SELLING ENERGY EFFICIENCY + SOLAR AS A PACKAGE

POWERHOME SOLAR Named Silver Honoree In Inc.’s Best In Business Awards, PR Newswire
POWERHOME SOLAR is an energy efficiency company that provides high-quality American-made solar panels as part of a complete energy-savings package for residential customers. The company launched in 2014 in Mooresville, N.C., and today has nearly 1,700 employees, including a commercial division. Operating in 10 states, it is ranked No. 255 on the 2020 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America — the third time in four years that the company has made the top 300 on this prestigious list. 

ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers rely on to make well-informed decisions. Click here to find ways to save at home.

PV RECYCLING – AN ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

Solar panel recycling in the US — a looming issue that could harm industry growth and reputation, PV Magazine

According to a 2016 report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the economic benefits of a U.S. circular economy could be around $135.3 million in 2020, $1.4 billion by 2030, and $10.1 billion by 2050. “Economic multipliers would significantly increase these amounts,” said Vanderhoof.

LETTER TO EV BUYERS

Letter to a Friend Buying an Electric Car, by Joe Wachunas, CleanTechnica
Two friends recently bought electric cars for their families after thinking about it for a long time. Beyond wanting to congratulate them, and click my heels together like Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain, I felt the need to describe, in detail, just how big a deal this EV purchase is, beyond platitudes like “EVs are so amazing for the world.” So I wrote them a letter.

About Joe Wachunas
Joe Wachunas lives in Portland, Oregon, and works for the nonprofit Forth, which promotes electric transportation. He is also involved with Electrify Now because he believes that electrifying everything, from transportation to homes, is the quickest path to an equitable, clean energy future. And of course, Joe and his family live in an all-electric home and drive an EV.

Cash pours into Nebraska Public Power District board of directors campaigns

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News. Network

Candidates in this month’s board of directors election for Nebraska’s largest utility drew record-breaking campaign contributions, making it the most expensive contest in history even before the final receipts are counted. The seven candidates for four board seats on the November general election ballot had collectively taken in more than $175,000 through Oct. 19. That’s more than twice the total raised in 2018 and quadruple the 2016 haul. Money poured in from environmental groups, large industrial customers, and others hoping to steer the agenda for the Nebraska Public Power District board, which has emerged as a frontline for clean energy policy in the state. Continue reading here.

More articles written by Karen Uhlenhuth:

OPPD NEWS

LED streetlight replacements top 50,000 fixtures

New studies find grid modernization accelerates cost-effective renewable energy growth

By John Hensley, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Renewable energy has begun to dominate new electric generation capacity additions over the past several years for a variety of reasons – plummeting technology costs, increasing efficiency, and corresponding demand from the public and private sector, among others. However, to fully realize a 21st century clean energy economy we need to update our electric system to meet today’s needs, modernize the grid, and expand access to renewables through transmission infrastructure. Now, two new studies show how transmission investments can accelerate clean energy growth while saving money for American families and businesses. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Nebraska Public Power District

NPPD’S R-Project Newsroom
Nebraska Public Power District’s Board of Directors voted to award a construction contract to Forbes Brothers Timberline Construction, Inc., of Rapid City, S.D. for the R-Project transmission line.

SEIA Blog: Solar + EVs: Two Peas in a Pod

IOWA’S RENEWABLE ENERGY & TRANSMISSION

Experts: Iowa’s renewable energy growth depends on better transmission, Iowa Capital Dispatch
Iowa could become an even bigger leader in renewable energy, especially if renewable hydrogen is developed and transmission lines are improved, a panel of university, government and corporate leaders said Wednesday

MICHIGAN STUDY QUANTIFIES RETURN ON CLEAN ENERGY INVESTMENT

Commentary: Clean energy is good economic policy for Michigan, by Laura Sherman / Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, Energy News Network

Last month Gov. Gretchen Whitmer set a goal for Michigan to be carbon-neutral by 2050, a bold move that will bring more jobs and industry to the state. We can measure the economic growth and jobs that these energy innovations have already brought to Michigan and can continue to bring—not in 10, 20 or 30 years, but right now. A new report from the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC) does just that. It quantifies how increasing investment into advanced energy through a future federal stimulus package could energize the state’s economy, and finds that these investments would generate a return on the order of eight times the level of public spending for Michigan. 

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA’S “RENEWABLES ON THE RISE 2020” REPORT

The 2020 edition of a report by Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group
Clean energy technology has boomed in the last decade, enabling Americans to envision a future powered by 100 percent renewable energy. “Renewables on the Rise 2020” tells the story of the dramatic growth of clean energy. The data story below explains how strong state renewable energy commitments have helped to spark the clean energy revolution. The interactive charts enable you to explore how clean energy technology is growing in your state. And the six fact sheets provide a detailed look at the key technologies driving America toward clean, renewable energy — from electric vehicles to offshore wind power — and the hope they provide for the future. 

Environment America’s 100% Campaigns

CLEAN ENERGY JOBS ANALYSIS

Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), and the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) commissioned BW Research to analyze clean energy job wages and benefits.

The Clean Jobs, Better Jobs report is the first comprehensive analysis of wages and benefits across the clean energy sector. According to the report, workers in renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid modernization and storage, clean fuels and clean vehicles earned a median hourly wage of $23.89 in 2019 compared with the national median wage of $19.14. In addition, jobs in many clean energy sectors are more likely to be unionized and come with health care and retirement benefits than the rest of the private sector, the analysis shows.


REIMAGINE APPALACHIA

Clean energy, infrastructure plan could bring 489,000 jobs to Ohio, Pa., Farm and Dairy
ReImagine Appalachia’s plan, released in July, lays out how to build and modernize infrastructure, repair the land and create jobs through public investment in Appalachia’s Ohio River Valley. Reimagine Appalachia is a coalition of more than 75 grassroots organizations from Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. It calls for, among other things, encouraging regenerative agriculture practices, reviving the Civilian Conservation Corps, increasing clean energy use, expanding broadband, building a sustainable transportation system and creating “good union jobs.”

GREEN HYDROGEN CHARGING STATIONS

World’s First Green Hydrogen Universal Charging Station for Electric and Hydrogen Vehicles, H2-Greenforce, Extends Preferred Series A Funding Raising up to $12 Million to Debut Green Island™, H2 Greenforce LLC News Release, PR Newswire

About H2-Greenforce: Founded in 2019 in New Jersey, H2’s mission is to decarbonize our planet through production of green electricity. H2-Greenforce combines its own proprietary green hydrogen technology and know-how, with advanced industrial components to build self-sustainable electric infrastructure. H2-Greenforce is a trademark of H2-Greenforce LLC in the United States and other countries.

CLIMATE ACTION 100+ NEWS

Investors call on major US polluters to clean up lobbying activities, by Cecilia Keating, GreenBiz
It is just the latest intervention from Climate Action 100+, which is backed by more than 500 global investors representing $47 trillion of assets worldwide and aims to ramp up climate ambition from companies it has identified as collectively responsible for up to 80 percent of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Companies targeted by the campaign span a number of polluting sectors, including oil and gas, consumer goods, power and transportation, and have been identified as “systematically important” to the net zero transition by the campaign.

FEATURED LOCAL RESOURCES TO HELP YOU SAVE ENERGY & MONEY

Solar-storage project would be ‘game-changer’ for Kansas City region

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

The world’s largest renewable energy developer is acquiring property in Kansas for a mega-project that would combine hundreds of megawatts of solar and storage capacity. A spokesperson for NextEra Energy confirmed the company is seeking land near Kansas City for a project that could include up to 500 MW each of solar and storage capacity, making it among the largest such projects in the country . . . NextEra is also pursuing a 423-megawatt solar project in Nebraska. It has acquired land rights and now is waiting to find a buyer and to hear what the Southwest Power Pool would charge for a connection to the grid. That figure is critical in developing renewable projects. Read more here.

Previously Posted  
NextEra, Nebraska farmers aim to build largest solar farm in the Midwest

Photo by Stuart Seeger / Flickr / Creative Commons

GAGE COUNTY WIND ENERGY RULE

County board approves wind turbine setback, by Monica Brich, Beatrice Daily Sun
The amendment increases setback requirements from nonparticipating residences from 3/8 to one mile. Nonparticipating residents are those who do not have contracts in place with a wind company. The Gage County Planning and Zoning committee previously approved the resolution in a 6-1 vote in August, after a six hour meeting.

U.S. RENEWABLE ENERGY MANUFACTURING

100 Gigawatts of Domestic Manufacturing Capacity by 2030, Solar Energy Industries Association
Today, SEIA is setting a target of 100 GW of domestic renewable energy manufacturing capacity by 2030, with a particular focus on solar, wind, and energy storage technologies. Right now, we are about a quarter of the way there. This goal is consistent with our aspirations of having solar energy account for 20% of all electricity generation by 2030. And it fits with a collective goal by the renewable energy industries—wind, solar and hydropower with storage, to hit 50% of all electricity by the end of the decade. The 100 GW target is designed to increase the United States’ ability to supply not only domestic renewable energy projects but also export markets. 

Download SEIA White Paper: The Solar+ Decade & American Renewable Energy Manufacturing

ENERGY EFFICIENCY 

Efficiency is smart for public power, American Public Power Association
To explore how central efficiency is for public power, we spoke with a few of the utilities that received the American Public Power Association’s Smart Energy Provider designation in 2019, the first year it was awarded, about what energy efficiency means to them. Utilities with this designation show a dedication to best practices and programs in energy efficiency, among other areas.

DECARBONIZING INDUSTRY

There Is No Business as Usual: Decarbonizing Industry Must Start Now, Rocky Mountain Institute
We know that a higher-than-1.5°C pathway will result in severe natural disasters, including flooding, rising sea levels, hurricanes, drought, and lethal temperature exposures. The increasing regularity of these extreme climate events will create drastic stresses on food and water supply, with ripple effects including hunger, market disruption, increased migration, and social unrest. In addition to threatening our environment and physical well-being, these events threaten our economy. In the United States alone the estimated total cost of weather and climate-based disasters between 1980 and 2019 is estimated at $1.75 trillion.

Trump Administration Invests $776,960 in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for Rural Nebraska–Investment to Help 39 Agricultural Producers or Businesses

USDA Rural Development News Release


“The investments announced today will help many rural businesses and agricultural producers to save on energy costs which will allow them to reinvest into their farm or business, helping the rural economy,” said Nebraska State Director Karl Elmshaeuser for USDA Rural Development. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA has been working tirelessly to be a strong partner to rural Nebraska in building stronger and healthier communities, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.” Listed by county are Nebraska’s recipients: Continue reading here.

For more information contact Nebraska Energy Coordinator Jeff Carpenter at
402-437-5554 or jeff.carpenter@usda.gov.

USDA Rural Development State Office
Suite 308 Federal Building
100 Centennial Mall North
Lincoln, Nebraska  68508

Rural Energy for America Program: Next applications deadline is November 2, 2020

  • Applications for Grants of $20,000 or Less and Loan/Grant of $20,000 or Less Combo Applications due by November 2, 2020, or March 31, 2021.
  • Applications for Unrestricted Grants or Loan/Unrestricted Grant Combo Applications due by March 31, 2021.
  • Guaranteed Loans are accepted on a continuous application cycle.

Program Fact Sheet
Hoja Informativa del Programa en Español

Nebraskans for Solar Resources

Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE): Nebraska Dollar and Energy Saving Loans

Department of Energy Resource: Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar

Rural Energy for America Program Applications Now Open


The USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) seeks applications for loan guarantees and grants for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement projects.

Deadlines

  • Applications for Grants of $20,000 or Less and Loan/Grant of $20,000 or Less Combo Applications due by November 2, 2020, or March 31, 2021.
  • Applications for Unrestricted Grants or Loan/Unrestricted Grant Combo Applications due by March 31, 2021.
  • Guaranteed Loans are accepted on a continuous application cycle.

Additional Information
Program Fact Sheet
Hoja Informativa del Programa en Español

Nebraska Contact Person
Jeff Carpenter, Business Program Specialist, State Energy Coordinator, 402-437-5554

ENERGY RESOURCES FOR NEW FARMERS & RANCHERS

The USDA sponsors the development of a new series of extension materials designed specifically with new farmers in mind. Called “Energy Answers for the Beginning Farmer & Rancher,” it utilizes farm energy experts from university extension programs across the country to answer hot-topic energy questions. The main product of the project is a series of short, engaging videos and resources that give useful tips and information on farm energy. Contributing extension programs include Illinois, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin.

Links to additional resources for solar-powering farm operations & farmhouses: 

The federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is 26% to the end of 2020, dropping to 22% in 2021 and 10% for commercial and utility-scale projects and 0 for residential projects in 2022.
Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) 

Obtaining a REAP grant, which provides 25% of the cost of a renewable energy system or energy efficiency improvement project, plus the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) of 26% would reduce the price a little more than half. Equipment depreciation is an additional benefit available for businesses to cut the cost even more.

Nebraskans for Solar Resources

Department of Energy Resource: Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar

Retired utility engineer works to help Omaha charities cut peak power fees

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

A retired utility engineer is using his expertise to help Nebraska charities shave their peak electricity use — and their monthly energy bills. Louis Lester, who formerly managed distribution planning for the Omaha Public Power District, has been volunteering since January with a Nebraskans for Solar program aimed at helping nonprofits lower their energy bills. Green Watts for Good had been focused on opportunities around solar panels, but Lester has expanded that scope to include energy management strategies to prevent energy-hogging appliances from all running at once. Continue reading here.

Photo by Pat Hawks / Flickr / Creative Commons

ALSO WRITTEN BY KAREN UHLENHUTH

A vacant lot in Gary, Indiana, will soon be home to a climate-friendly community

Written by Audrey Henderson, Energy News Network

An area in downtown Gary, Indiana, that still bears scars from a 1997 arson fire will soon boast an affordable housing complex with an eye toward energy efficiency and neighborhood revitalization. The $11 million Broadway Lofts project, scheduled to break ground September 1 for completion in 2021, is part of Indiana’s Moving Forward incentive that targets net-zero, transit-oriented affordable housing. Chicago-based Farr Associates designed the project. Broadway Lofts aims to achieve Passive House certification and net-zero energy demand through super insulation, high-performance windows, elimination of thermal bridging, air-tight construction, heat recovery within the mechanical systems and on-site renewables, according to the project website. Continue reading here.

Photo: The Broadway Lofts project will occupy this vacant lot, as seen on Google Streetview, in Gary, Indiana.

About 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.

ACEEE’S “FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND” STUDY

Mandated energy efficiency scores would influence home buying: ACEEE, Smart Cities Dive
The inclusion of home energy efficiency scores in online real estate listings would influence buyers to purchase more efficient homes, according to research from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). 

VIRTUAL HOME ENERGY ASSESSMENTS

SRP offers free virtual energy efficiency assessments for low-income customers, American Public Power Association

Arizona public power utility Salt River Project is offering its low-income customers free virtual home energy assessments. Up to 2,000 qualified customers can receive the Home Energy Assessment. n addition to SRP, the Tennessee Valley Authority,  Energy New England, and Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company have launched virtual home assessments.

MASSACHUSETTS’ CLEAN PEAK ENERGY STANDARD

First-in-nation Clean Peak Energy Standard launched in Massachusetts, American Public Power Association

Massachusetts this week launched the first incentive program in the nation designed to promote the use of clean energy during times of peak electricity demand. The so-called Clean Peak Energy Standard (CPS), which goes into effect on Aug. 7, builds on Massachusetts’ existing clean energy policies, such as the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), and requires all electricity suppliers to purchase a certain amount of Clean Peak Energy Certificates (CPECs) each year based on a specified percentage of the amount of electricity that they supply. Eligible CPS resources include renewable energy sources that meet the state’s RPS criteria, as well as demand response resources.

ENERGY STORAGE

Battery Storage Is Delivering Value For Solar Developers And Energy Consumers. But What About Cost?, Forbes. The twin goals are to increase renewable power usage and to provide electricity during peak demand. But the main obstacle is the high price of storage. The options?

GREEN CAMPUSES

Mid-State Technical College students install a large solar array at Stevens Point Campus, WAOW
Mid-State’s Renewable Energy Technician students recently got hands-on experience delivering solar energy to the College’s Stevens Point Campus. The students installed 135 solar panels on the roof of the downtown Stevens Point campus, an array that will produce almost 50,000 watts of power on a sunny day and supply approximately 15 percent of the campus’s energy usage.

SOO GREEN CLEAN POWER LINE

Plan to lay long-haul clean power line along railroads through US Midwest gets on track, Recharge
Giant 2.1GW Soo Green HVDC Link would run from Iowa to Illinois to transport wind power to eastern states.

LES’ Sustainable Living Festival Videos Now Available

The following videos from LES’ Virtual Sustainable Living Festival last month are available for replay:

LES EV Charging Study Results
Scott Benson, LES | Eric Wood, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Coffee with Kevin & Joy
Kevin Wailes, CEO of LES | Joy Ditto, President and CEO of the American Public Power Association

Power (or lack thereof) in a zombie apocalypse
Scott Benson, LES | Marc Shkolnick, LES

Home energy-efficiency with EdITH
Jay Stoa, LES | Jennifer Bangert, LES

What to consider when buying a plug-in vehicle
Rob Schurhoff, Electric Power Research Institute | Marc Shkolnick, LES | Jennifer Bangert, LES (moderator)

Website: Lincoln Electric System

PV Magazine Video: The pressing need for sustainability in solar

By Jonathan Gifford, Founding Editor of PV Magazine Australia

If solar really is [to] scale to the terawatt level required to achieve a zero-emission global economy, it is incumbent on the industry to provide for product end-of-life reuse and to meet looming material challenges. That was a key message from the presentation by Pierre Verlinden which kicked off pv magazine’s first Sustainability Roundtable event.

Veteran PV researcher Verlinden, who has worked for industry pioneers SunPower and Trina Solar, joined the virtual roundtable from Australia and set out the raw material challenge PV is facing. Read more and watch the video here.

Referenced in the article: Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT). The EPEAT tag for solar will be rolled out this year.

EPEAT was developed using a grant from EPA and is managed by the Green Electronics Council (GEC). GEC maintains EPEAT’s website and product registry and has also developed some environmental benefits calculators to document the results from purchasing EPEAT-registered products.

EPEAT registered products must meet environmental performance criteria that address: materials selection, design for product longevity, reuse and recycling, energy conservation, end-of-life management and corporate performance.

The Green Electronics Council has planned updates to the functionality of the EPEAT Registry through the remainder of 2020. If you are interested in being part of the global EPEAT Registry beta testing group, please email your name, organization, and contact information to support@greenelectronicscouncil.org. Planned functionality upgrades include increased search capability, ability to save product searches, and identification of how EPEAT registered products help meet organizational sustainability goals.