Category Archives: Nebraska / Midwest News

In bid to help bees, Xcel to require vegetation disclosure in solar RFPs

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

[Xcel Energy Minnesota] plans to add 2,600 MW to 3,000 MW of solar generation by 2030 and all those projects will be required to disclose a completed copy scorecard for pollinator-friendly sites. Pollinator-friendly vegetation isn’t required in order for a project to be considered by the utility, but it will establish a precedent “of priorities and values,” Rob Davis, director of the center for pollinators in energy at Fresh Energy, told Utility Dive.

Pollinator friendly solar sites are a growing trend among utilities seeking to more holistically reduce their ecological footprint. Sites are designated as “pollinator friendly” based on state legislation, which was first passed in Minnesota in 2016 and has since spread to five other states. Read more here.

Photo by Rob Davis, Fresh Energy

IN NEBRASKA

Kearney’s Solar Farm, comprising 22,464 panels on 53 acres at Tech oNE Crossing, is currently Nebraska’s largest. The 5.7-megawatt solar array’s generating capacity is enough to power about 900 houses or supply 5 percent of Kearney’s energy load.

An additional distinguishing feature of Kearney’s Solar Farm is that it is a nationally-recognized pollinator-friendly site, benefiting local food producers. Related stories:

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Photo by Engie Distributed Solar

MORE RESOURCES

 LEGISLATION

WIND ENERGY & CROPS

Iowa State University Research Finds Wind Farms Positively Impact Crops
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Midlands Voices: Tariffs could slow surging Nebraska wind industry

By David Levy, Omaha World-Herald

The writer is a partner and chair of the energy practice group at Baird Holm law firm in Omaha, representing wind and solar energy developers, Nebraska municipal utilities and rural public power districts. This commentary reflects his personal views and not the views of Baird Holm.

Wind is creating new opportunities in communities across Nebraska. In the 20 years since Nebraska’s first wind farm began operations, wind energy businesses have invested more than $2.6 billion in the state. Nearly 2,000 Nebraskans now work in the wind industry, where wind technicians on average make close to $55,000 annually and work and live in rural areas. Thousands more construct wind farms across the state, infusing hundreds of millions of dollars in new wages and spending into local economies . . . Nebraska has a lot to gain if the wind industry continues its growth. And it has just as much to lose if these tariffs move forward. Concerned voters should ask their congressional representatives to urge the administration to exempt wind energy components from these harmful tariffs. Read more here.

NPPD Photo: Steele Flats Wind Farm

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

EV NEWS

New tool helps states identify EV policies that work, and those that don’t, Utility Dive

The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), which has developed, along with Cadmus, a tool for states and localities to assess their policies and develop regulations that will encourage smart growth of charging infrastructure and vehicle adoption.

GREEN POWER LEADERSHIP AWARDS

Anheuser-Busch Recognized for Excellence in Green Power Use in 2018 EPA Leadership Awards,
Renewable Energy Magazine

NEW PRODUCT FOR RESIDENTIAL HOMEBUILDERS

News Release: Solar Alliance launches “SunBox” product for residential homebuilders

“With California legislation requiring all new homes to have solar starting in 2020, and other states soon to follow, the new home segment is one of the fastest growing markets and this program provides a fantastic tool to address that demand,” said Chairman and CEO Jason Bak. “SunBox provides residential developers with all of the tools they need to provide their customers with a permit-ready solar package. Including solar in the initial home design makes long term economic sense and provides another option for developers to offer their customers. The new home market is massive, and this program allows us to target it strategically.”

Kansas City utility packages clean energy with federal tax savings

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

Kansas City Power & Light’s plan to return federal tax savings to customers also includes measures to encourage renewable energy purchases, community solar and reduce energy usage. The package includes a green tariff, demand response aggregation and new rate designs available to about 800,000 electricity customers in the Kansas City area. Missouri utility regulators are expected to approve the plan soon. The measures also provide policy certainty for the City of Kansas City to move ahead with some of the ambitious clean energy goals it articulated just over a year ago. Continue reading here.

Photo: Caleb Zahnd

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES & PUERTO RICO

We Want Sun: A 100% Renewable Puerto Rico?

AGGREGATION NEWS

 

Hawaiian Electric selects 7 solar-plus-storage projects for a combined 260 MW of renewable energy, Pacific Business News

 


ZERO-ENERGY HOMES

Zero energy homes makes cents – as Vivint builds in Rhode Island,
PV Magazine
RMI has released an economic analysis of Zero Energy homes, suggesting their economics meet industry standards and stay within homeowner appetites for larger investments, while Vivint Energy has built such a home in Rhode Island

 

The Sun Haven: Solar-Powered, Net-Zero Energy Home in Lincoln
Lincoln-based GRNE Solar teamed up with Wilderness Construction to build this net-zero energy home, with solar on the roof and outlets for electric vehicles in the garage. The home, called the Sun Haven, is located at 6077 Chartwell Lane in Lincoln. Through the use of solar power this home will produce as much energy as it consumes. YouTube Video: Drone View of The Sun Haven

FREE SEPA REPORT – CLICK IMAGE TO ACCESS IT

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  • Easy to grasp summary of every state-level storage mandate and incentive

FYI FOR SOLAR SYSTEM OWNERS

 

Is It Necessary to Clean Solar Panels?
Mr. Green shines a light on the answer, Sierra Magazine

Could solar be a better deal than demand response for Iowa customers?

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

An Iowa clean energy advocate is trying to convince the state’s largest electric utility to rethink the way it manages peak demand. Kerri Johannsen, energy program director for the Iowa Environmental Council, thinks MidAmerican Energy could deliver better value for ratepayers by investing in solar instead of its expensive demand response programs . . . Johannsen calculated the cost to MidAmerican’s ratepayers at about $60,347 per megawatt hour. About $48,000 of that was for capacity, or the guarantee of access to power when needed. Continue reading here,

iStock Photo

MORE IOWA NEWS

How Much Power is 1 Gigawatt?, U.S. Department of Energy

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

NEBRASKA’S SOLAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENT

SEIA: Nebraska Solar – Data Current Through Q2 2018
Solar Installers: Complete this survey to add your business to SEIA’s database. If you have questions or concerns about SEIA’s Nebraska stats or would like to request that additional solar projects or other information be added to our state’s data, contact SEIA research staff at data@seia.org or 202-469-3735.
SEE ALSO: Solar Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Energy Office. Updated September 28, 2018

100% RENEWABLES NEWS

RE100: Why a successful energy strategy calls for a board-level commitment, PV Magazine Contributor, Anesco
One key topic to grab the headlines during Climate Week NYC was the news that RE100 companies – a group of organizations who have all made a public commitment to go ‘100% renewable’ – are outperforming their peers.


NEW REPORT

Renewables 2018: Market analysis and forecast from 2018 to 2023, International Energy Agency
Solar PV capacity is forecast to expand by almost 600 GW – more than all other renewable power technologies combined, or as much as twice Japan’s total capacity, reaching 1 terawatt (TW) by the end of the forecast period. Despite recent policy changes, China remains the absolute solar PV leader by far, holding almost 40% of global installed PV capacity in 2023. The United States remains the second-largest growth market for solar PV, followed by India, whose capacity quadruples.

AWEA FACT CHECK

No, wind turbines do not cause global warming,
Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Two researchers, David Keith and Lee Miller, released a new paper [Thursday] and their findings are problematic for several reasons. Furthermore, certain media outlets are misreporting what the paper actually says. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the first annual Bellevue / Omaha Solar Tour!

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.

Photo Credit: KETV

NEWS STORIES

Bluestem Energy Solutions conducting renewable-energy study for Edgerton, Wisconsin

By Ashley McCallum, Gazette Xtra

A Nebraska energy company is conducting a feasibility study to find opportunities for renewable energy in Edgerton. The study will analyze energy consumption data provided by the city and determine whether city facilities qualify for renewable-energy development, said City Administrator Ramona Flanigan . . . Flanigan said she hopes the city’s investment will encourage other individuals and businesses to look into renewable-energy sources. Edgerton’s city hall has been powered by solar energy since it was built in 2010. Read more here.

Bluestem Energy Solutions partners with Boyd Jones, a construction company founded in 1924, to engineer and develop renewable energy systems to provide clean energy to their clients.

Bluestem Energy News Releases

Featured Renewable Energy / Climate Action Initiatives in Wisconsin

On-and-Off Wind and Solar Power Pushing Coal Plants to the Brink

By Chris Martin, Bloomberg

Nebraska Gentleman coal plant output slipped to 15% in April.

The Gentleman coal plant was once the linchpin of Nebraska’s electricity grid, its twin smokestacks visible for miles across the prairie. Now, the state’s biggest power source is routinely pushed aside to make room for more wind and solar energy.

Operators ramp it down and then bring it back up again, often on a daily basis. That’s not how coal-fired power plants are supposed to be used — they respond more like oil tankers than speed boats — and the stress is taking a toll on the aging equipment. Read more here.

Photo: The Gerald Gentleman Station in Nebraska. Source: Nebraska Public Power District
“These plants were designed to run at, or near, full capacity,” Mick Spencer, a plant manager for Nebraska Public Power District, which operates the Gerald Gentleman Station near Sutherland, Nebraska. “We aren’t doing that much anymore.”

Under OPPD proposal, cleaner air could come quicker — but it may cost more

By Aaron Sanderford, Omaha World-Herald

Local air could be cleaner quicker, and electricity could cost more when natural gas prices climb if the Omaha Public Power District adopts a proposed shift next week in its long-term approach to environmental stewardship. Instead of aiming its long-term goal at generating a certain percentage of local electricity from renewable sources, as it has since 2015, OPPD is considering a policy that would reduce the amount of carbon released while producing each megawatt of electricity for ratepayers. This might sound like a distinction without a difference. It’s not.
Read more here.

Photo: Lincoln Electric System’s Sunshares Solar Farm. OPPD is building its first solar farm near Ft. Calhoun.

OPPD LINKS
To share your thoughts on proposed changes to OPPD’s Strategic Directive 7: Environmental Stewardship, review the following documents and submit your comments by Monday, October 8, 2018.

Current SD-7: Environmental Stewardship
Proposed Changes to SD-7: Environmental Stewardship
What’s carbon intensity?
Comment Form

Mr Zero: Preister’s zero-carbon life draws national attention

Bellevue Leader / World-Herald News Service

[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 reading here.

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.

Click here for details.

Wind farm proposed for Gage, Lancaster counties

By Scott Koperski, Beatrice Daily Sun News Editor

Plans for a wind farm in northern Gage and southern Lancaster counties that failed to materialize may be resurrected by a different company . . . NextEra anticipates the $141 million project would create around 200 jobs during construction and generate more than $25 million in property taxes over a 30-year period. The company is planning two informational events to discuss the project with the public. The events will both be at the Hallam Auditorium at 15 Main St. in Hallam on Tuesday, Oct. 9 from 5-7 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 10 from 7:30-9:30 a.m.
Read more here.

Photo: NextEra’s first Nebraska wind project was the 75-megawatt Steele Flats Wind Farm in Gage and Jefferson counties consisting of forty-four 1.7-megawatt turbines. The wind farm began commercial operation in 2013.

Source: NPPD Wind Generation