Category Archives: Nebraska / Midwest News

Nebraska’s wind power growth is good news

Lincoln Journal Star Editorial

Nebraska has been blessed with an abundance of water, rich soil and breeze that whips across the plains. The first two are inextricably linked and frequently cited because of their necessity to the state’s largest industry, agriculture. The third, however, has rarely been mentioned in the same breath, despite its mostly untapped potential. Long a sleeping giant in terms of its potential for wind power, Nebraska appears to finally be on the rise. The American Wind Energy Association reported that the state grew by the greatest percentage – 39% in 2018 – of megawatts of wind energy capacity of any state. Read more here.

Enel Green Power North America’s Photo of the 320-MW Rattlesnake Creek wind farm located in Dixon County, Nebraska.

State Energy Office Offers 1% Loans to All Nebraskans

Nebraska Energy Office News Release

(LINCOLN, NE) – After the historic flooding and devastation in Nebraska’s communities, the
Nebraska Energy Office, in conjunction with Nebraska lending institutions, began providing
assistance to those affected by floods, by offering Dollar and Energy Saving Loans at 1%
interest.

The Nebraska Energy Office will now offer these ultra-low interest loans to all Nebraskans to make energy efficient home and farm improvements. You do not need to be affected by
flooding to participate in this special loan offer. Subject to lender approval. A sample of eligible energy efficiency home and farm improvements are: Read the entire news release here.

 

Nebraska Energy Office Dollar and Energy Saving Loans Program

Nebraskans talk extreme weather. Just don’t call it climate change.

By Laurent Belsie, The Christian Science Monitor

The severe flooding that inundated Nebraska last month washed away fields, bridges, and roads.
But the extreme weather is also starting to sway residents’ thinking about climate.

Part of the change in thought is coming from farmers themselves, especially those involved with the small but growing regenerative farming movement. “Conversations were already happening before the flood,” says Graham Christensen, a fifth-generation farmer and president of GC
Resolve, a grassroots community-development business. “But after the flood a lot more folks are like, ‘Yeah, I have never seen that; my dad has never seen that; my grandpa has never seen that. This is a pattern that’s emerging.’” Read the entire article here.

Photo by Annette Bloom of her Nebraska farm during the recent historic floods.

Nebraska Regenerative Agriculture Resources

As Laurent Belsie states, Graham Christensen is a fifth-generation Nebraska farmer. He also is leading the growing Nebraska
Regenerative Agriculture movement, creating a website and Facebook page, as well as collaborating with many others to develop an online resource guide:
RegeNErate Nebraska Website
RegeNErate Nebraska Facebook
Guide to Regenerative Agriculture in Nebraska (PDF)

Excerpts from the guide: 

Regenerative practices draw down carbon from the atmosphere and sink or sequester it in the ground. Agriculture can be our best chance to removing rising greenhouse gas emissions that
exacerbate climate change, rather than being a catalyst of it.

Nebraska is already home to a flourishing network of regenerative farms, and many have joined together under the farmer-owned co-op model, allowing them to pool a wide variety of products and satisfy growing demand. By giving back to the land and water what they take from it, these farmers are finding drastically reduced input costs, and even achieving higher yields.

Nebraska Legislation
LB 243 to create a Healthy Soils Task Force passed April 11, 2019 by a vote of 43 to 0.

Solar project pricing should be available soon

Written by Tony Herman, Hastings Tribune

Derek Zeisler, director of marketing and energy supply for Hastings Utilities, gave an update on the power project during the Hastings Utility Board meeting Thursday. Members of the Hastings Utility Board voted recommend approval during their February meeting of a $2.38 million bid from GenPro Energy Solutions for a 1.5 megawatt AC solar project with the purchase option. The project has a completion date of Sept. 2, 2019 . . . Zeisler said Thursday this first phase of the solar project will include more than 6,000 panels within three arrays, most likely off of
Highland Road just west of the Hastings Municipal Airport. There is plenty of room there to
expand with future phases. Hastings Utilities is moving forward with three pricing options.
Read more here.

Photo: Fremont’s first of two 1.55-megawatt solar farms.
Credit: Troy Schaben, Assistant City Administrator, Fremont Department of Utilities

City of Norfolk, NPPD teaming up for solar project

Special to the Norfolk Daily News 

Approval was given Monday at the Norfolk City Council meeting regarding the state’s largest community solar project with NPPD. The project will be tied to a battery energy storage system (BESS) demonstration project expected to be in operation by mid-2020. NPPD, with support from the City of Norfolk, received a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust in the amount of $490,000 over two years for the battery energy project, which will be the first of its kind in the state . . . “As technologies have advanced and costs have decreased, rural Nebraska is now in position to produce energy as efficiently as it does food,” said Mayor Josh Moenning.

Read more here.

SoCore Energy Photo: Kearney’s 5.7-megawatt solar farm on 53 acres of the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, The panels are mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. The solar farm generates about 5% of Kearney’s peak demand.

NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar Program

Midwest Sees Surge in Clean Energy Jobs

The region is creating jobs in renewable energy and the clean energy industry
more quickly than the rest of the country.

By Casey Leins, U.S. News & World Report

THE MIDWEST ADDED MORE than 28,000 clean energy jobs in 2018, resulting in a 4 percent growth rate, according to a recent report released by national advocacy groups Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs. The 12 Midwestern states employed more than 737,000 workers in the clean energy industry last year, with 71.5 percent of those jobs falling under the category of energy efficiency.The report looks at employment in the following clean energy sectors: energy efficiency, renewable energy generation (including solar, wind, geothermal, bioenergy and low-impact hydroelectric power), advanced transportation, advanced grid and clean fuels. Read more here.

Clean Jobs Midwest

Rural Electric Co-ops Dive Into Gas-Killing Solar Panels + Farmland Fray

Written by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica

Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy legislative session over in the great state of
Michigan, where policy makers are considering the idea that putting solar panels on farmland is a good thing. If the state does relax its restrictions, look for other US states to amp up the solar power rush. Read more here.

Photo Credit: George Parker / Fresh Energy

ALSO WRITTEN BY TINA CASEY

 

New Plan To Save Coal Jobs: Teeny, Tiny Coal Power Plants, CleanTechnica

 


ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

  • Washington 100% renewable bill passes both Houses, PV Magazine
    Washington is looking to become the fourth state to make the move to 100% renewable electricity, with only a Senate review and the hand of Governor Inslee left in the way of SB 5116.
  • Homeowners play a role in Atlanta’s Clean Energy Plan, Atlanta Journal Constitution
    Developed by the Mayor’s Office of Resilience, the Clean Energy Plan was approved in March by the City Council. It offers the framework to overhaul energy usage of municipal operations and the community with short- and long-term strategies aimed at achieving 100% clean energy by 2035.
  • Green Mountain Power on 100% clean energy: hold my beer, PV Magazine
    The Vermont utility has set a plan to decarbonize more aggressively than even Washington DC, as the second utility know to pv magazine to set a 100% clean electricity target.

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

‘BagMonster’ makes a point about plastic bags at Omaha’s Earth Day event

By Alli Davis, Omaha World-Herald

Elmwood Park swarmed with dogs, chickens, rabbits and humans for the 30th annual Earth Day Omaha event on Saturday. Oh, and a BagMonster. David Corbin, a retired public health and health education professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said he wore the costume to raise awareness about the upcoming Omaha City Council vote on whether to ban plastic bags from Omaha’s grocery stores, bakeries and other places that primarily sell food. Corbin is the president of the Nebraska Chapter of the Sierra Club, and he also received Earth Day Omaha’s Friend of the Environment Lifetime Achievement Award at the event. Read more here.

David is also a member of Nebraskans for Solar’s Board of Directors.

Four other people and organizations received Friend of the Environment Awards:

  • Individual: Nancy Scott
  • Business: University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Youth: Cate Kelly
  • Nonprofit: Saving Grace

Top Photo Credit: Alli Davis

Midwest co-ops test value of placing batteries in customers’ homes

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

Four Midwestern rural electric cooperatives are installing smart batteries in the homes of a few customers to test whether they can economically reduce peak demand or provide other
benefits to customers or their systems. The co-ops came together through a professional association and pooled their purchasing power to buy the batteries, which have built-in
management systems that allow them to, for example, monitor energy use.
Continue reading here.

Image Credit: SWT Energy

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Puerto Rico governor signs 100% renewable energy mandate, Utility Dive. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló on Thursday signed into law a 100% renewable energy mandate that the hurricane-battered
island must meet by 2050. The Public Energy Policy Law of Puerto Rico, passed last month by territory legislators, directs the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to source 40% of its power from
renewables by 2025 and cease burning coal in 2028 on its way to 100% renewables. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA’S SHINING CITIES 2019 REPORT 

The Top U.S. Cities for Solar Energy: Sixth Annual Environment America Survey

Solar power is expanding rapidly. The United States now has over 60 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaic (PV)
capacity installed – enough to power nearly one in every 11 homes in America. Hundreds of thousands of
Americans have invested in solar energy and millions more are ready to join them. America’s major cities have played a key role in the clean energy
revolution and stand to reap tremendous benefits from solar energy. As population centers, they are major sources of electricity demand and, with millions of rooftops suitable for solar panels, they have the potential to be major sources of clean energy production as well.

USDA News Release: 2017 Census of Agriculture Data Now Available

A total of 133,176 farms and ranches use renewable energy producing systems,
more than double the 57,299 in 2012.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture, spanning some 6.4 million new points of information about America’s farms and
ranches and those who operate them, including new data about on-farm decision making, down to the county level. Information collected by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) directly from farmers and ranchers tells us both farm numbers and land in farms have ongoing small percentage declines since the last Census in 2012. At the same time, there
continue to be more of the largest and smallest operations and fewer middle-sized farms. The average age of all farmers and ranchers continues to rise. Read the entire news release here.

Email to Nebraska clean energy advocacy / action groups from Ken Winston, Director of Policy & Outreach, Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light:

LB 243, the bill to create a Healthy Soils Task Force, passed this morning by a vote of 43 to zero. It has more than enough votes to overcome a veto (hopefully that won’t be necessary) and has the emergency clause, which means it will go into effect as soon as it is signed.