Category Archives: Nebraska / Midwest News

Nebraskans for Solar & Nebraska Solar Schools Volunteers Meeting

January 14, 2020 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
UNO’s Community Engagement Center, Meeting Room 127
6400 University Drive S (64th & Dodge)

We are hosting a roundtable discussion / work party for everyone interested in volunteering to help with and provide your input on our events, programs and projects. We will discuss volunteer opportunities and assemble materials for Earth Day celebrations, Nature Nights and other large events, presentations and hands-on workshops.

At this work party we will put together 1,000 Mini Solar Cooker Kits made from pizza boxes and other materials, which kids of all ages can decorate at Earth Day events and take home to make S’Mores with their families and friends.

This event also provides an opportunity for teachers and after-school program directors to learn more about our Nebraska Solar Schools’ NEED Solar Energy Kits project and, for those who are interested, to fill out an order form for a free kit.

Click here for more information. Please join us if you can. Reserved parking is available in the lot in front of the Community Engagement Center. Just let the lot attendant at the kiosk know you are there for a Nebraskans for Solar event.

Pair of wind energy projects moving forward in Banner County

By Mark McCarthy, Scottsbluff Star-Herald

HARRISBURG — Two companies are showing renewed interest in wind farms in Banner County, and hope to have systems up and running in the next couple of years. Orion Energy and Invenergy LLC are both working on securing leases, conducting environmental assessments and conducting public surveys in the hopes of getting projects up and running. Representatives for both companies projected that there would likely be systems up and running over the next two years. Ben Turner, manager of renewable development for Invenergy LLC, said they are looking at a project of up to or over 500 megawatts, likely utilizing between 150 and 200 turbines. The company has just over 100,000 acres leased. Continue reading here.

Map Credit: World Atlas

IOWA NEWS

In Iowa, clean energy advocates hope solar will complement wind farms, written by Karen Uhlenhith, Energy News Network

Iowa has long been one of the nation’s leading producers of electricity from wind. Now, the state appears ready to take a great leap forward with utility-scale solar. Invenergy, a major developer of large renewable generation projects nationwide, began construction in December on three solar arrays with a total capacity of 750 megawatts. It may at some point add three batteries with a capacity of 190 MW. The Iowa Utilities Board about a month ago issued generation certificates for the projects, which are in three adjacent counties on the Iowa-Minnesota border. 

LES funds $1.75 mil in incentives for efficiency upgrades

By Peter Maloney, American Public Power Association

Lincoln Electric System (LES) in Nebraska is continuing its Sustainable Energy Program with $1.75 million in incentive funds for customers that want to switch to more energy efficient equipment. LES says that since it began its Sustainable Energy Program (SEP) in 2009, customers have accessed $22.5 million in incentives and spent $126.6 million on energy-efficient equipment and/or services. The incentive level for the SEP program in 2019 was $1.5 million. “It is the eleventh year of the program,” and the utility’s board is “solidly behind it,” and there is no sign of that waning, Marc Shkolnick, LES’ manager of energy services, said. “They see it as a fitting role for a public power provider.” Continue reading here.

Nebraska Also In The News Here

Community solar facility up and running for OPPD customers

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire

The 5-megawatt (MW) solar energy facility sits in a scenic area of Washington County tucked among rolling hills and trees. OPPD and NextEra Energy Resources have a 20-year power purchase agreement for the energy generated at the facility, which has more than 17,500 panels. Customers can view the facility’s activity in real time on its generation dashboard on oppd.com The solar facility is the latest generation source for OPPD as the utility moves towards 40% of retail sales supplied by renewable energy. Sholes Wind Energy Center near Wayne, Neb., came online in November 2019. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading
Omaha Public Power District Commits To Net Zero Carbon By 2050, NET 

Amazon employees say they won’t stop pushing the company on climate change, despite fears of being fired

By Julie Bort, Business Insider

The group, which calls itself Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, issued a press release on Thursday and took to Twitter, shortly after a Washington Post report that human resources at Amazon had emailed warnings to two leaders in the group. The Washington Post is owned by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. Read more here.

Previously Posted: Jeff Bezos unveils sweeping plan to tackle climate change, CNBC

FEATURED OPINION

MGM Resorts CEO: What Happens in Vegas No Longer Stays in Vegas, contributed opinion by Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, Fortune. Large, successful companies have a significant impact on the lives of their employees, communities, and the world—and they have a duty to do right by each. 

MORE ON CLIMATE CHANGE RISKS & CLIMATE ACTION

NATIONAL CLIMATE BANK 

About The CGC
The Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) is a non-profit organization focused on accelerating the growth of clean energy markets through the creation of Green Banks, and offers a unique and proven capacity as a leading creator, advocate, and expert on Green Banks since 2009. CGC works directly to support the formation of Green Banks with governmental and civil society partners, and provides on-going consulting and guidance to operating Green Banks. 

FEATURED CLIMATE ACTION INITIATIVES

U.S. Climate Alliance
The U.S. Climate Alliance represents 55 percent of the U.S. population and an $11.7 trillion economy – an economy larger than all countries but the United States and China. The climate and clean energy policies in Alliance states have attracted billions of dollars of new investment and helped create more than 1.7 million clean energy jobs, over half the U.S. total. The Alliance is demonstrating that climate leadership and economic growth go hand-in-hand.

We Are Still In
Mayors, governors, and business leaders first began signing the We Are Still In declaration in June 2017 as a promise to world leaders that Americans would not retreat from the global pact to reduce emissions and stem the causes of climate change. The bipartisan coalition has since doubled in size, expanding to include over 3,500 representatives from all 50 states, spanning large and small businesses, mayors and governors, university presidents, faith leaders, tribal leaders, and cultural institutions. We Are Still In signatories represent a constituency of more than half of all Americans, and taken together, they represent $6.2 trillion, a bigger economy than any nation other than the U.S. or China.

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA

Year in review: Environmental victories in states highlight 2019, Environment America News Release
Environment America and affiliates think global, act local to protect and improve the environment.

COAL ASH CLEANUP NEWS

Nebraska Energy Quarterly – December 2019 Edition

Published by the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy

Inside this issue of the Nebraska Energy Quarterly:

Clean Diesel Rebate Applications Accepted Through Jan. 17
The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy’s 2019 Clean Diesel Rebate Program is now accepting applications for two types of rebates—local diesel truck replacements and agricultural irrigation pump diesel engine replacements.

NDEE Announces Survey Results
Inherent to the duties of the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) is the preparation of the Nebraska State Energy Plan (NSEP).

Winter Forecast Projects Possible Lower Energy Bills
On Oct. 11, the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) convened their annual call with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to discuss the winter forecast.

Nebraska’s Renewable Status
Renewable resources fuel almost one-fifth of Nebraska’s net electricity generation.

Poultry Operation to Install Solar Array
NDEE, along with Dundee Bank of Omaha, has awarded a low-interest rate loan for solar facilities associated with a poultry operation.

NIBB and Educational Outreach
In 2016, the then-Nebraska Energy Office submitted a state competitive application to the U.S. Department of Energy.

How Does Your Home Handle the Cold?
When the thermometer dips below 20oF, you can find out a lot about how well your home seals out the cold.

Read the articles here.

Editorial: Nebraska has positive options to address its brain drain challenge

Omaha World-Herald

To meet this challenge, Nebraska can employ a variety of sensible strategies. The new Blueprint Nebraska initiative, developed through public sessions across the state, can provide a central vehicle for building consensus and momentum for progress. This initiative can bring together business, education, government, nonprofits and communities for concerted, focused action. Read more here.

Links to several programs featured in the editorial:

LES NEWS RELEASE

LES announces 2020 Sustainable Energy Program incentives
Lincoln Electric System’s Sustainable Energy Program is returning in 2020 with $1.75 million in incentive funds. These incentives are offered to LES customers to encourage upgrading to the most energy efficient equipment. By participating in the program, customers help reduce the need for LES to purchase more expensive power during the summer months and delays the need for new power generation to be built,” said Marc Shkolnick, LES manager of energy services. “This is good for all of LES’ customer-owners, regardless of whether they participate in the program.” Since the program’s launch in 2009, LES customers have accessed $22.5 million in incentives and spent $126.6 million on energy-efficient equipment and/or services.

MORE NEWS FROM VARIOUS STATES

NATIONAL NEWS & ENEL JOB OPPORTUNITIES

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

5 Corporate Social Responsibility Trends To Follow In 2020. Forbes article contributed by Timothy J. McClimon, President of the American Express Foundation.

ENERGY STORAGE

GREEN HYDROGEN

OF POTENTIAL INTEREST TO FARMERS

Hemp Boot Camps Scheduled for Cities Throughout the US, by Jeffrey Friedland, CEO, FC Global Strategies LLC

The first two Hemp Boot Camps of 2020 will be held in Lincoln, Nebraska on February 1st and Des Moines, Iowa on February 29th. Hemp Boot Camps are sponsored by FC Global Events, a subsidiary of FC Global Strategies. US-based FC Global Strategies provides services and programs to early-stage, and entrepreneurial growth-oriented companies in the US and globally. The firm’s primary focus is on the cannabis, hemp, CBD, renewable energy, and technology sectors.

Links to More Information

Additional Recommended Reading

Interested in solar energy? Nebraska Public Power District can help make that interest a reality

NPPD News Release

Residents of Scottsbluff who are interested in having solar energy as part of their electricity options, now have the opportunity! The City of Scottsbluff, in cooperation and partnership with Nebraska Public Power District, will again offer community solar shares to their customers in Scottsbluff. A second community solar project is under construction in Scottsbluff, located near Landers Soccer Complex. The 4.375-megawatt solar farm, scheduled to go live this spring, will begin taking registration for shares from Scottsbluff residents and businesses on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020. The initial solar farm, located at NPPD’s Scottsbluff office, was well received and sold out immediately. Continue reading here.

More Nebraska News

Wayne State partners with UNL to offer dual-degree program, Kearney Hub
The goals of the partnership are to provide education platforms in resilient food, energy, water and societal systems in alignment with career opportunities, as well as prepare teachers and curriculum to respond to the increased need for agricultural science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educators.

The Top Sustainability Stories of 2019

By Andrew Winston, Harvard Business Review

In my annual review of big themes in sustainability and business — in other words, how companies manage environmental and social issues and opportunities — I’ve always included a changing climate as a big story. But it’s now not an annual story; it’s permanent. The list of extreme, tragic, and very costly weather events this year — record heat in Europe, hail in June in Mexico, record floods in Nebraska, endless Australian bush fires, and epic destruction from storms in Mozambique and the Bahamas – was shocking. But sadly, it’s now the norm.

A changing climate is and will always be the top story, the context behind everything (at least in the near future). But that said, there was a shift this year in how seriously the world took the issue, which does merit highlighting. With that broad context, let’s look at 8 fascinating developments in sustainability from 2019. Continue reading here.

Nebraska National Guard Photo: Aerial view of the flooding at Camp Ashland, Nebraska on March 17, 2019.

 

More articles by Andrew Winston.
Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinston.

 

Omaha-Based Tenaska In The News – Plus Job Opportunities

Acciona puts 145-MW wind farm in operation in Texas, Renewables Now
With the latest addition, its ninth in the country, Acciona increases its US wind portfolio to 866 MW. This is in addition to the 3 GW of solar projects and the 1-GW battery storage development portfolio which it recently agreed to acquire from Nebraska-based energy company Tenaska.

Additional Recommended Reading

Poor returns on fossil fuel investments helping students convince colleges to divest

By Chris Dunker, Lincoln Journal Star
Reprinted by The Hastings Tribune

At the urging of a petition signed by more than 500 students earlier this year, Doane University became the first college or university in Nebraska to announce it would divest from fossil fuels. By 2030, Doane will abandon investments in oil and gas companies that make up about 1.6% of its total endowment, the Board of Trustees decided in May, and will avoid future investments in that sector.

Students who backed the petition at the private university in Crete chalked the announcement as a victory in the long campaign to combat climate change. But, they said, while the effort to create a more sustainable environment may be the overarching goal, it was a different pitch that won the day. Continue reading here.

Photo: More than 200 students from student organizations on Creighton University’s campus demonstrated April 25 to advocate for climate change and demand the university take actions against climate change. Credit: Brady Manker

Previously Posted