Category Archives: Financing

NextEra Energy Partners, LP announces agreement to acquire a 50% interest in an approximately 2,520-megawatt portfolio of long-term contracted renewables projects and enters into new convertible equity portfolio financing

NextEra Energy Partners LP News Release, PR Newswire

NextEra Energy Partners, LP today announced that it has entered into an agreement with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC to acquire a 50% interest in an approximately 2,520-megawatt (MW) renewables portfolio. In conjunction with the acquisition, NextEra Energy Partners has also entered into an approximately $824 million convertible equity portfolio financing with Apollo Global Management (Apollo).

“The transactions announced today support NextEra Energy Partners’ continued ability to execute on its long-term growth plan and access attractive low-cost sources of capital,” said Jim Robo, chairman and chief executive officer. Continue reading here.

Photo: NextEra Energy’s Sholes Wind Farm in Wayne County, Nebraska

Nebraska’s Little Blue Wind project is included in today’s announced agreement:

  • The project is currently under construction and is scheduled to begin operations by the end of 2021.

NextEra Job Notice, October 13, 2021
Wind Site Manager – Little Blue Wind – Campbell, NE

Nebraska Wind Energy Projects Also Include: Gage Wind

  • Up to 50 GE wind turbines capable of generating up to 124 megawatts (MW).
  • Subject to local and state approvals, the project is scheduled to begin operations by the end of 2022.

Previously Posted News Stories

Additional Recommended Reading

Large-scale solar can help protect the special places we call home

Contributed by Chelsea Chandler, Director of Climate
Solutions for Clean Wisconsin, Wisconsin Examiner

The urgency of the climate crisis means that we need all hands on deck implementing all kinds of climate solutions. There’s no silver bullet; we need silver buckshot. That means we need a shift to electric vehicles and better public transit and pedestrian and bike infrastructure. We need energy efficiency and carbon-free electricity. And we need both smaller-scale, rooftop solar and large, utility-scale solar. Every kilowatt of clean energy adds up to make a difference, but given the urgency of climate change, a 465-megawatt project like the proposed Koshkonong Solar Energy Center would be a big step in matching the scale of the crisis with the scale of solutions.
Read more here.

IN NEBRASKA

Utility-Scale Projects Under Development, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy:
Solar Energy Generation in Nebraska 

  • Bellwood: 174.5 MW
  • Burt County: 250 MW
  • Clay County: Up-to 350 MW
  • Lincoln: 230 MW
  • Pierce County: 443 MW
  • Saunders County: 81 MW

FEATURED NEBRASKA PROJECT UNDER DEVELOPMENT

OPPD’s 81 MW solar farm, named “Platteview Solar”
In May the Saunders County Board of Supervisors voted 6-0 to approve the Conditional Use Permit for the 81 MW Platteview Solar Project. See: Saunders County approves solar farm construction near YutanAssociated Press

The above photo illustrates tree-screening surrounding a pollinator-friendly solar farm.

More About Platteview Solar, by Community Energy

In April 2021, Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) and Community Energy (CE) announced a Power Purchase Agreement for Platteview Solar, an 81 megawatt (MW) utility-scale solar photovoltaic installation with a proposed location just south of Hwy 92 near Yutan in eastern Saunders County.

The project site consists of approximately 500 total leased acres, spanning several clusters of land with a flat, gently rolling topography. This announcement supports OPPD’s Power with Purpose initiative. The official project announcement is on OPPD’s The Wire. OPPD is the lone customer for Platteview Solar’s energy, providing long-term stability and support.

Platteview Solar FAQS, Community Energy

Among the questions, the following is one that often comes up in discussions about utility-scale solar projects: Doesn’t solar take good agricultural ground out of production?

Community Energy: Not in a meaningful way. Saunders County is 486,400 acres of ground.  The Platteview Solar project impacts approximately 500 acres. 

Farm ground used for solar projects does not necessarily mean the end of agricultural use on the land. It will be different than traditional crops, but a robust pollinator program can benefit not only the project properties, but cropland, orchards, residential gardens, trees and other landscaping within 30 miles of the project site.

Additionally, the traditional agricultural nature of the property is not permanently lost. The benefits of restorative vegetation on nitrogen and CO2 depleted land improves agricultural land for the future. Solar projects are a long term, but temporary, use of agricultural land that allows landowners to diversify their assets, creating financial stability and allowing agricultural land to remain in families for future generations.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED NREL RESEARCH

Beneath Solar Panels, the Seeds of Opportunity SproutNational Renewable Energy Laboratory 

“It doesn’t have to be an either-or choice. For all our agriculturally productive land, let’s help PV developers and farmers plan out these solar projects so that farmers can get under the arrays and continue to work the land for the next 20 or 30 years.” —Gerry Palano, energy program coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Agriculture

ADDITIONAL SOLAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENT IN NEBRASKA

Community Solar Projects Map as of July 2021, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy Resource

Panhandle wildfires cause long-term effects

By Grace Pagone, North Platte Bulletin

Farmers and ranchers struggle to recover financially from recent panhandle wildfires that damaged their crops and infrastructure, along with forcing a relocation of cows and calves. Two wildfires burned more than 8,200 acres of pasture and cropland near Scottsbluff and Gering in the Panhandle. Continue reading here.

FEATURED OPINION

Small businesses and family farms would benefit from boost to USDA rural energy grant programGuest Commentary for The Baltimore Sun by Lloyd Ritter, managing partner of Green Capital LLC

As legislators calculate the right balance on how much to spend on infrastructure and clean energy, they should take stock of both the environmental and the economic gains that everyday Americans earn through the transformation to an efficient, clean energy economy. And make no mistake: That the transition is underway, built up from many small projects and successes. Congress can maintain momentum by funding smart policy choices, such as USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program.

Rural Energy for America Program

RENEWABLE ENERGY ON AMERICA’S FARMS & RANCHES

  • According to the latest USDA Census of Agriculture (2017), a total of 133,176 farms and ranches had renewable energy systems, more than double the 57,299 in 2012. Those include solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and methane digesters.
  • 2017 Census by State
  • USDA’s 2022 Census of Agriculture Content Test is underway, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). NASS has been preparing for the 2022 Census of Agriculture since 2018 when they began evaluating the content and design of the previous Census questionnaire and soliciting public input into the 2022 Census.

DOE’S LOAN PROGRAMS OFFICE

There’s $44 Billion in Clean Energy Funds Up For Grabs, by Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg Green

The Energy Department has a little-known investment operation, the Loan Programs Office, with a focus on backing innovative clean technologies in early commercial development. It has more than $40 billion to lend, and during an episode of the podcast he co-hosted, the Energy Gang, [Jigar] Shah was skeptical whether the LPO could accelerate low-carbon technologies quickly. The office was “fundamentally broken,” Shah said. About four months later, the Energy Department hired Shah to run LPO.

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

Over 60 Percent of Battery Storage Coming Online Will Be Co-located, EIA Says, American Public Power Association

Of the 14.5 gigawatts (GW) of battery storage planned to begin to come online between 2021 and 2024, 9.4 GW, or 63 percent, will be co-located with solar power, the EIA said. Another 1.3 GW of battery storage will be co-located at sites with wind turbines or fossil fuel-fired generators, such as natural gas-fired plants. The remaining 4 GW of planned battery storage will be located at standalone sites.

WHAT IS A GIGAWATT?

Gigawatt: The solar energy term you need to know about, by AJ Dellinger, CNET
According to a recent study published by the United States Department of Energy, it hopes to produce 45% of all electricity via solar power. That will require generating 1,600 gigawatts of power. This raises an important question: What is a gigawatt, exactly?

Additional Recommended Reading: DOE Releases Solar Futures Study Providing the Blueprint for a Zero-Carbon Grid

REMEDIATING FOSSIL FUEL SITES

A century later, utilities still face billions in potential liabilities from obsolete manufactured gas plants, by Kavya Balaraman, Senior Reporter, Utility Dive

Thousands of manufactured gas plants dotted the American landscape in the 19th and early 20th century. Today, PG&E, ConEd and other utilities are still dealing with the contamination they left behind.

Rural Energy for America Program

What does this program do?

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers may also apply for new energy efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing.

Who may apply for this program?

  • Agricultural producers in rural or non-rural areas with at least 50 percent of their gross income coming from agricultural operations.
  • Small businesses located in rural areas with populations of 50,000 residents or less.

See additional details here.
Program Fact Sheet (PDF)

Next Application Deadline: November 1, 2021

Who can answer your questions?
Contact Nebraska’s Rural Development Energy Coordinator:
Jeff Carpenter, USDA Rural Development
100 Centennial Mall North, Suite 308
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508
Telephone: (402) 437-5554
jeff.carpenter@usda.gov
http://www.rd.usda.gov/ne

Additional Ways to Reduce A Project’s Costs

See: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency-Nebraska

Business Equipment Depreciation – IRS Resources

N Solar and Cozad Cut the Ribbon at City’s New Solar Energy Facility

Sol Systems News Release

COZAD, NE – August 17, 2021 –Today, the City of Cozad and N Solar cut the ribbon on a 2.4 MWdc solar energy system that will provide power directly to the city’s electric utility. The system is located at 2nd and Monroe Streets will provide enough electricity to power 400 homes annually.

Although the City contracts its power through Nebraska Public Power District, it can generate up to 2.4 MWdc of its power on its own, opening the possibility for the City to add solar energy to its portfolio. The City’s utility will purchase energy from the array at a fixed-price over a 30-year period providing energy savings and protection from price volatility present in a typical retail electricity contract.

“We are excited to partner with N Solar on our solar energy system and bring even more affordable and clean energy to our customers,” said Nikki Schwanz, Cozad City Administrator. “By working together, we are able to provide clean power to our community in a cost-effective way.”

Incorporating low cost, renewable power into a City’s energy portfolio represents a financially efficient and attractive strategy for Cozad to attract businesses. Cozad’s Development Corporation helped to drive this project forward for the City. According to Jen McKeone with CDC, “We are already seeing industries look at us because we have added a green energy component to our utility mix. This will be a great tool for economic development.”

The project was developed by N Solar, a three-company coalition consisting of Mesner Development, GenPro Energy Solutions, and Sol Systems, that provides energy solutions to municipal utilities and power districts throughout Nebraska.

Sol Systems, a Washington-DC based solar energy developer, financed the system through its joint venture with investment firm Capital Dynamics, who will serve as the long-term owner and operator of the system.

“Cozad will greatly benefit from 30 years of low-cost, clean energy at a price protected against inflation,” said Anna Noucas, Director of Originations at Sol Systems. “The City was a fantastic partner and are part of the growing number of forward-thinking municipalities that and leaders who value solar as a key part of their present and future energy strategy.”

GenPro Energy Solutions, a renewable energy construction firm based in South Dakota, provided construction for the array, which began in November 2020 and reached commercial operation last month. GenPro will also provide maintenance on the system throughout its life.

Molly Brown, Executive Vice President of Energy Development at GenPro Energy Solutions said “After several years of project development and finding the right solution for the City of Cozad, we’re excited to add Cozad to the growing number of municipal utilities who understand both the environmental and economic development benefits of distributed solar generation. Having a solar farm sited within the community it serves can be a source of pride for the Cozad community for years to come.” 

ABOUT N SOLAR

N Solar is a three-company partnership designed to provide every Nebraska community with the opportunity for clean energy integrated with local public power districts and municipal utilities. N Solar comprises Nebraska’s Mesner Development in partnership with GenPro Energy Solutions in site development and construction, and Sol Systems in financing, ownership, and power purchase agreements. To date, this team has developed, constructed and financed over 19 megawatts of solar in Nebraska.

ABOUT SOL SYSTEMS

Sol Systems is a leading national solar energy firm with an established reputation for integrity and reliability across its development, infrastructure, and environmental commodity businesses. To date, Sol has developed and/or financed over 1 GW of solar projects valued at more than $1 billion for Fortune 100 companies, municipalities, counties, utilities, universities, and schools and provides services to nearly 17,000 customers across the US. The company was founded in 2008, is based in Washington, D.C., and is led by its founder. Sol Systems works with its team, partners, and clients to create a more sustainable future we can all believe in. For more information, visit https://www.solsystems.com. 

ABOUT GENPRO ENERGY SOLUTIONS

GenPro Energy Solutions is an energy service organization, with a global depth of experience in solar and energy efficient technologies. GenPro partners with businesses, municipalities, utilities, state and national governments on projects that range from energy efficient lighting systems to development of utility-grade solar energy farms. Fully certified solar design team including: NABCEP, SEI and ASES. GenPro currently serves 200+ energy-related dealers in North America. They are listed among Solar Power World Magazine’s “Top 500 Solar Contractors” for the past five consecutive years.

ABOUT MESNER DEVELOPMENT CO.

Mesner Development Co. is a real estate development firm specializing in affordable and workforce housing. Its owners, Cliff and Kathy Mesner, are both attorneys practicing in Central City, Nebraska. In addition to housing, the Mesners have helped several communities develop community solar.

Media Contacts:

Sol Systems: Will Patterson, William.patterson@solsystems.com, 240-778-3530

GenPro Energy Solutions: Phelan Scherer, phelan.scherer@genproenergy.com, 605-341-9920

Mesner Development: Cliff Mesner, cliff@mesnerlaw.com

Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants in Nebraska

What does this program do?

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers may also apply for new energy efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing.

Who may apply for this program?

  • Agricultural producers with at least 50 percent of their gross income coming from agricultural operations.
  • Small businesses in eligible rural areas.

Application Deadlines

Applications for Grants of $20,000 or Less and Loan/Grant of $20,000 or Less Combo Applications due by November 1, 2021, or March 31, 2022.

Applications for Unrestricted Grants or Loan/Unrestricted Grant Combo Applications due by March 31, 2022.

See additional details here.

Who can answer questions?
Contact Nebraska’s Rural Development Energy Coordinator:
Jeff Carpenter, USDA Rural Development
100 Centennial Mall North, Suite 308
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508
Telephone: (402) 437-5554
jeff.carpenter@usda.gov
http://www.rd.usda.gov/ne

Next Up at Microgrid 2021: How Microgrids Provide Local Control of Energy While Reducing Costs

Presenters for the May 20 session, “How to Pay for Your Microgrid,” will include Scott Benson, Resource & Transmission Planning Manager, Lincoln Electric System.

Event Update By Elisa Wood, Microgrid Knowledge

Take a look at the article published this week on Microgrid Knowledge about a microgrid being built at an electric bus depot in Maryland.  These are the kind of topics being discussed by visionary panelists at Microgrid 2021, a virtual event now underway through June 3. We encourage you to join the conversation. You can register for free and watch any of the webinars, panels, tours or showcases. Join us live to ask questions of panelists or watch the replay of past sessions (the event began May 11).

Here’s what’s in store for next week when sessions will be held May 18 and May 20. The focus is on how microgrids reduce costs.

  • May 18, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.: How Microgrids Reduce Energy Costs
  • May 18, 12 to 1 p.m.: Network with Microgrid Solutions Experts
  • May 18, 1 to 2 p.m.: Crunching the Numbers on Microgrids
  • May 20, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.: How to Pay for Your Microgrid
  • May 20, 12 to 1 p.m.: Network with Microgrid Solutions Experts
  • May 20, 1 to 2 p.m.: Why Does a Microgrid Cost What It Costs?

Microgrid Knowledge invites you to register for these sessions through June 3 free of charge. Please note: They are unable to accept registrations for a session the day it’s scheduled to occur. 

Read Elisa Wood’s entire article here.

Is Solar Energy an Option for Your Farm?

By Taylor Leach, Agweb, Powered By The Farm Journal

During the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin 2021 Business Conference, Adam Wehling, Dean of Agriculture, Energy and Transportation at Chippewa Valley Technical College, spoke on how to easily incorporate a solar energy system onto your ag operation. According to Wehling, these systems can be easily integrated into your existing facilities, can improve the efficiency of the systems you currently have and can reduce your overall energy cost. Factors to Consider: Continue reading here.

Photo: Don Gasper’s Farm Near Lindsay, Nebraska. See Solar Examples for more solar projects on local farms. 

SOLAR WATER PUMPS

An equitable and reliable solar power grid for farmers, by Praveen Jain, IEEE Medal in Power Engineering recipient, Solar Power World

Born in rural India and being at the global forefront of technology over the past 40 years, I can say with certainty that farmers in many countries are not seeing the true benefits of solar power. Possibly the biggest and best benefit of solar power for farmers is solar water pumps used for irrigation. Powered by sunlight that is harvested through photovoltaic (PV) panels, solar pumps boost crop yield, promote efficient water use and reduce power consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Off-season, these solar installations can feed power to the local grid, providing extra income for farmers.

REGENERATIVE FARMING

U.S. FARMERS & RANCHERS IN ACTION REPORT

Transformative Investment in Climate-Smart Agriculture Unlocking the potential of our soils to help the U.S. achieve a net-zero economy

This report focuses on six established practices: 1) no-till/reduced tillage with retained residues, 2) cover crops, 3) crop rotation, 4) compost application 5) managed grazing, and 6) integrated crop and livestock systems—all of which improve soil health, sequester carbon and produce numerous co-benefits such as reduced erosion, increased water infiltration, and economic and environmental resiliency. With technology and financial innovation targeted at specific practice adoption barriers, these benefits will accrue on the farm, throughout rural America and the agriculture value chain, and the nation as a whole.

PACE

Spotlight on PACE: PACE Projects From Downtown Redevelopments to Dairy Farms,  National Law Review

Before taking a look at some of the ways the market has used PACE over the last few years, here’s a synopsis of just what exactly PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) is.

Links to PACE Resources

 

 

 

Nebraska passed PACE-enabling legislation in 2016.

INNOVATIVE VIRGINIA PROGRAM

In Virginia, solar ‘barn raisings’ bring power to families in need, by Elizabeth McGowan, Energy News Network

A pair of Shenandoah Valley nonprofits have launched a fund to cover the upfront cost of outfitting Habitat for Humanity homes with photovoltaic panels that help put a dent in homeowners’ utility bills.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

How infrastructure is banking on green banks

By Heather Clancy, Editorial Director, GreenBiz Group

Quick, what do Alaska, Maine and South Carolina have in common? 

All three U.S. states are seriously evaluating the creation of green banks — financing institutions created with the explicit mission of combining public and private funds to invest in climate solutions and green infrastructure. They would join roughly 20 other U.S. jurisdictions that have used this mechanism to drive more than $5 billion in clean energy investments as of the end of 2019, including Connecticut, Florida, Michigan and Washington, D.C. 

Alaska is so invested in the idea that Rep. Don Young, a Republican who championed Deb Haaland’s nomination as Interior Secretary, last week stepped across the aisle again to become a co-sponsor of the latest legislation to create a national-level green bank. The bill would make $100 billion of public funds available for a nonprofit organization that would provide financing and other support to regional, state and local green banks — an amount the sponsors say could catalyze $884 billion in green infrastructure investments over the next decade and help create 4 million clean economy jobs within the next four years. Continue reading here.

LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

What the Biggest Corporate Energy Buyers Want from Federal Clean Energy Policy

By Jeff St. John, Greentech Media

On Monday, a notable subset of the largest U.S. corporations signed on to a statement from the Renewable Energy Buyers Association (REBA), laying out their top federal policy priorities to help them meet their own aggressive decarbonization goals. Among the 34 signatories are tech giants like Amazon, AppleFacebookGoogle and Microsoft, manufacturing heavyweights including Cargill, Clorox and General Motors, and global retail and consumer brands like Disney, Johnson & Johnson, McDonalds, Target and Walmart. Many of these companies have already pledged to zero out their carbon footprints in the next decade or two, whether internally or across their supply chains. Read more here.

ESG & SUSTAINABLE FINANCE

Welcome to a new era of ESG and sustainable finance, by Joel Makower, Chairman and Executive Editor, Green Biz Group

A vast ecosystem is in play. Investors have awakened to the notion that how companies manage environmental and social issues is nearly as key to their risk profile and profitability as are financial fundamentals. Banks and insurers are factoring climate risk and social issues into their products and portfolios, accelerating a shift that’s been gearing up for years.

Companies are warming to a world of deeper transparency and disclosure demands by investors, lenders, customers and others, and are trying to keep up with the dynamic world of standards and frameworks with which they’re being asked to comply. Oh, and it’s the dawn of a new U.S. presidential administration that sees virtue in assertive action on a range of social and environmental issues.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

KELLY SPEAKES-BACKMAN

Biden-Harris Administration picks Energy Storage Association CEO to join senior DoE leadership, Energy Storage News

A former utility commissioner in her home state of Maryland, Kelly Speakes-Backman has been leader of the ESA during a period of fast growth and rapid scale-up for energy storage in the US, with more than 2GW installed during that time.

In a recent interview for Energy-Storage.news, the now former ESA CEO said that the association expected to see at least 3.6GW of storage installed during 2021, and ESA published ‘Vision 2030’ a while ago, citing that the deployment of at least 100GW of energy storage on the grid is both desirable and achievable.

EV CHARGING 

EVgo Seeks $2.6B Public Market Valuation in SPAC Reverse Merger, Greentech Media
The LS Power subsidiary is the second major EV charger company in the U.S. seeking public capital to meet rocketing demand.

HOME HYDROGEN BATTERY

World-first home hydrogen battery stores 3x the energy of a Powerwall 2, New Atlas

To get off the grid with home solar, you need to be able to generate energy when the Sun’s out, and store it for when it’s not. Normally, people do this with lithium battery systems – Tesla’s Powerwall 2 is an example. But Australian company Lavo has built a rather spunky (if chunky) cabinet that can sit on the side of your house and store your excess energy as hydrogen.

SOLAR SCHOOLS

Solar Landscape to Provide Cost-Free Electricity to Asbury Park Schools, Renewable Energy Magazine
Entering into a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Solar Landscape will provide electricity to the Asbury Park School District at no cost for the entire term of the agreement. This will result in a critical cost savings of more than $120,000 a year for Asbury Park schools.

What is a solar power purchase agreement?, Solar Energy Industries Association 

 

FEATURED WIND ENERGY RESOURCES

Wind Workforce Webinar Series Offers Insights, Information, and Solutions
To help industry recruit the best and brightest people and to provide students with the essential resources to set them on a path toward a rewarding career in the wind energy workforce, NREL, in partnership with the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), hosted a three-part Wind Workforce Webinar Series as part of American Wind Week 2020.

KidWind Launches the Power Grid Kit
The KidWind Project recently launched the Power Grid Kit—the first large-scale, functioning grid model that provides educators with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore power grid systems and solutions with students of all ages. The kit models the flow of electricity from generation sources like nuclear, coal, natural gas, wind, hydropower, and solar power through substations before being distributed to industrial, commercial, and residential consumers. It also models distributed generation in the form of solar panels and residential wind turbines to demonstrate the broad range of energy options possible in the future.

Source: Department of Energy’s WINDExchange Newsletter