Category Archives: Nebraska / Midwest News

So, You’ve Got 100% Renewable Energy — Now What?

By Tina Casey, CleanTechnica

For some insights into the ins and outs of decarbonization, last month CleanTechnica spoke with Peder Holk Nielsen, President and CEO of the leading industrial enzyme producer Novozymes.

The strategy is somewhat different here in the US, where state-level policies play a critical role. Novozymes is currently working on solutions for its operations in Nebraska and North Carolina, two states that have historically had a somewhat fraught relationship with renewable energy.
Fortunately, the winds are shifting in both of those states, figuratively and literally. The economic case for wind power is (finally) catching the eye of policy makers in Nebraska, and North Carolina is on the verge of tapping into its rich offshore wind resourcesRead more here.

Photo: Novozymes Blair, Inc

Previously Posted
The heat is on: Amongst the first in the world, Novozymes commits to 1.5 degrees, Novozymes News Release. From New York during Climate Week and the United Nations General Assembly, Novozymes’ President and CEO announces validated, science-based commitment to limit global warming increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Novozymes’ Commitments and Targets
Novozymes aims to help solve three global challenges: Climate, Water and sustainable Production & Consumption, and to help people, inside and outside the company, learn and thrive. We commit to growing the positive impact from our biological solutions and reducing the negative impact from our operations. We will monitor progress through 2030 commitments and 2022 targets.

Now Over 300 SolSmart Communities Nationwide!

SolSmart News Release

From Anchorage, Alaska, to Sarasota, Florida, more than 300 local governments have now received SolSmart designation for encouraging the growth of solar energy and removing barriers to solar market development. SolSmart has now achieved its goal to designate at least 300 local governments as SolSmart Gold, Silver, or Bronze, for a total of 328 communities and counting.

The 328 SolSmart designees include cities, counties, small towns, and regional organizations in 40 states and the District of Columbia, representing 82 million people. One in four people in America now live in a SolSmart-designated community. More information on these communities and examples of their solar achievements can be found here.

Read the entire news release here.

Lincoln is a SolSmart Gold Designee – the highest achievement!

City Receives National Recognition for Promoting Solar Energy, City of Lincoln Mayor’s Office Media Release. The national SolSmart program has awarded the City of Lincoln a Gold designation for its efforts to make it faster, easier and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar. SolSmart is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.

SolSmart Resources

Contracts for Hemingford Solar Project Signed

By Kay Bakkehaug, The Ledger, Scottsbluff Star Herald

A total of seven contracts for the Hemingford Solar Project were signed by Village of Hemingford Chairman John Annen last Thursday, October 3. GenPro first reached out to Annen and the Village Board not quite three years ago. Solar power wasn’t necessarily on their radar at the time so the initial email was passed off to Village Clerk Barb Straub. Just over a year ago plans really began taking place when GenPro held a town hall meeting in Hemingford to discuss the benefits of solar energy. Over the past year contracts were worked and reworked to ensure that the Village of Hemingford was getting the best deal and history was made on October 3, 2019 when the solar project plans were signed. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: GenPro Energy Solutions

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Southern Public Power approves wind farm, while some residents object, NTV
Southern Power leaders say their agreement with Bluestem Energy for four wind turbines south of Aurora goes back five years. The project was agreed to, but development was delayed. Southern officials said this amendment will increase the capacity, at a better rate.“So that will be to the benefit of all our customers. This will be made available to any commercial industrial customers in Hamilton County for those that want a renewable energy,” said CEO Neal Niedfeldt. The customers Niedfeldt has in mind are ethanol plants that can reduce their carbon footprint, and improve their margins.

Wind will speed Holy Cross Energy to 70% renewable goal, Mountain Town News
Customers of Aspen Electric, the city utility, can be excused for yawning. After all, the city was able to hit 100% renewable energy in 2015, one of the first few utilities in the nation able to make that claim. It did so by bulking up on wind power from the Great Plains, specifically the panhandle of Nebraska, but also hydroelectric power from the big dams of the West, a bit of local and regional hydroelectric, plus a tiny amount of landfill gas. The gas is burned to generate electricity.

USDA Invests in Rural Electric Infrastructure Improvements in 13 States

USDA News Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy today announced that USDA is investing $251 million (PDF, 120 KB) to upgrade rural electric systems in 13 states. The funding includes $38.2 million to finance smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security.

USDA is providing financing through the Electric Loan Program for 12 projects that will serve rural areas in Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The funding will help build and improve 1,971 miles of line to improve electric reliability in rural areas.

Read the entire news release here.

Selling electricity doesn’t make EV charging stations a utility, Iowa rules

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

A recent decision by Iowa utility regulators has removed a significant obstacle to the widespread development of public charging stations for electric vehicles. The Iowa Utilities Board ruled last week that providing electric vehicle charging service does not make a business a public utility. That’s significant because public utilities are subject to state oversight on all aspects of their business, including the setting of prices. The board’s finding also clarified that sellers of charging services may structure fees as they wish, and, in most cases, even sell power they generated on site such as with solar panels. Continue reading here.

Photo by J. Stephen Conn: The Iowa 80 Truck Stop was at the center of a regulatory case in Iowa over whether owners of EV charging stations can charge for electricity.

 MORE EV NEWS

  • Minnesota shuts down oil, manufacturing groups’ attempt to derail Xcel EV pilot, by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive. Minnesota regulators on Monday stamped out a group of manufacturing and petroleum groups’ attempt to reverse approval of Xcel Energy’s $25 million electric vehicle pilot program. EV and clean energy stakeholders were skeptical of the groups’ involvement, noting that it may be the beginning of a longer fight between oil and electric power interests as EV adoption grows.

NEBRASKA NEWS

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

CUSTOMER CHOICE AGGREGATION

TAX CREDITS

THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY / CLIMATE CHANGE SOLUTIONS

RE: BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE’S UPDATED MISSION STATEMENT

  • Shareholders vs. stakeholders: Fundamental changes in an old debate, contributed opinion by Terry F. Yosie, Former President and CEO, World Environment Center. Published by GreenBiz. The movement for an expanded stakeholder voice in corporate decision making is challenging and adds complexity to already crowded executive calendars, but it is not antagonistic to shareholder value. In a world driven by changing demographics, disruptive technologies, climate change, less stable financial and political systems and market volatility, integration of both approaches is necessary for business to maintain its social license to operate.

Business Roundtable’s Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation

MORE SOLAR INDUSTRY NEWS

  • Solar stocks soar in 2019, PV Magazine
    A true representation of health in any industry is said industry’s standing in the stock market. That sounds painfully simple, and it is, but sometimes we can get so lost in the weeds between policy, emerging technology, legal battles and system failures that we forget what makes the world go round: money.
  • Beyond the PPA, PV Magazine
    Contract lengths are getting shorter and hedges are replacing PPAs in the Texas solar market. Are we headed toward a future of merchant solar? These shorter PPAs are driven by a number of factors, but chief among these is that corporate off-takers are demanding them. Colin Smith, a solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie, describes a “tremendous amount of pressure” from Google, Facebook and Microsoft for shorter terms.

OFF-GRID GUIDE

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Please join us for tonight’s public forum: “Align Your Principal with Your Principles: Investing in a Clean Energy Economy”

Nebraskans for Solar Educational Series Event 
UNO’s Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, Rooms 201 and 205
6400 University Drive S (64th & Dodge) in Omaha

Our speaker will be Tyler Mainquist, CFP®, ChFC®, CAP®, CLTC
Financial Advisor, Central Financial Services, Lincoln

This presentation will provide practical methods for implementing sustainable, responsible and impact (SRI) investing — including how to avoid carbon-intensive and other polluting industries, and instead support companies that are working to reduce, mitigate, and/or adapt to our changing global climate.

Additional material will cover recent updates re: comparisons against traditional investing, as well as the use of companies’ ESG (environmental, social, governance) data to reduce financial risk by avoiding bad corporate behavior.

Co-sponsored by Green Bellevue, Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light, Conservation Nebraska, Nebraska Sierra Club, OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team

This event is free and open to the public. Please join us and bring a friend! Refreshments provided. Reserved parking is available in the lot in front of the Community Engagement Center, near the Durham Bell Tower. Enter at the kiosk and let the lot attendant, who is there until 7 pm, know you are a Nebraskans for Solar guest.

Disclaimer
Tyler Mainquist is affiliated with Central Financial Services (CFS), and Ameritas Investment Corp. (AIC).  Securities and investment advisory services are offered solely through Registered Representatives and Investment Advisor Representatives of AIC, a registered Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC, and a registered investment advisor. AIC and CFS are not affiliated.  Additional products and services may be available through Tyler Mainquist or CFS that are not offered through AIC.  Representatives of AIC do not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax advisor or attorney regarding your situation.

An introduction to the state of wind power in the U.S.

By Philip Warburg, Yale Climate Connections

As a non-carbon-emitting technology, wind power has a big environmental advantage over its leading fossil fuel competitors. Onshore and offshore wind has a life cycle carbon footprint of 20 grams or less of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour. The “cleanest” natural gas power plants – those that use combined cycle technology – produce more than 400 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour. Supercritical coal plants – the least polluting in the industry – generate close to 800 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour.

While attractive to many who see climate change as a real and immediate threat, wind power has developed much of its momentum in relatively conservative rural states [see Table 1]. In 2018, 13 states in the nation’s interior region accounted for more than 80% of new wind capacity additions. Read more here.

Philip Warburg, an environmental lawyer, is former president of the Conservation Law Foundation.

ADDITIONAL WIND ENERGY RESOURCES

Nebraska Data

American Wind Energy Association Fact Sheets

State Fact Sheets
Learn the top wind energy facts about each state by using the interactive map or downloading a state-specific PDF. Updated July 2019

Corporate Purchaser Fact Sheet
Major brands are choosing wind power as a cost-competitive source. Read quotes from the top companies buying wind.

Radar and Airspace Fact Sheet
Wind farms can and do co-exist with military facilities, while promoting our energy independence, national security and military operations.

Wind Energy and Sound Fact Sheet
Wind turbine noise may be one of the most easily misunderstood issues related to wind energy projects.

Transmission Fact Sheet
Power lines move electrons from where they are generated to where they are used. Our grid needs attention to keep reliably delivering electricity.

Wildlife Fact Sheet
Researchers routinely find that wind energy has one of the lowest impacts on wildlife and their habitats of any utility-scale power source.

Wind Energy & Tariffs
Recent tariffs levied by the Trump administration will have a harmful effect on the U.S. wind industry.

Wind Energy Tariffs & Job Impacts
Learn more about how potential tariffs from the administration could impact American jobs.

Offshore Wind Energy
U.S. offshore wind is taking shape in waters off the coast across the country. Learn more about the abundant potential of this new ocean energy resource.

Federal Tax Policy
Tax policy can be an important driver that prompts private investment, benefits the U.S. economy and creates new jobs.

UPCOMING EVENT

The Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference is a two-day event that brings together a diverse range of stakeholders from Nebraska and across the country to share the latest information and innovations in wind and solar. Shaped by volunteers from state agencies, farmer and rancher organizations, public power utilities, the renewable energy industry, and academia – the Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference aims to present accurate and objective information pertaining to all aspects of wind and solar development.

Links to More Information

OPPD, Papillion Rose To Top Of Google’s Search

OPPD News Release

Omaha Public Power District officially welcomes Google to its service territory. Today, the tech giant announced plans to build a $600 million data center in Papillion, Neb. “OPPD and its partners are experienced with large-scale, innovative and strategic solutions for major corporations,” said Tim Burke, OPPD President and Chief Executive Officer. “The pro-business climate here has made our service territory a choice destination.” Community partnerships have been crucial to efforts to attract new business and industry. Continue reading here.

The Wire 

Google unveils newest data center in Sarpy County corridor, by Jason Kuiper
Internet giant Google announced plans to build a new data center just outside of Papillion. Google made the announcement Friday at the project site, which is already under construction and located opposite of the Facebook data center near Nebraska Highway 50. Google valued their partnership with OPPD as one of the key reasons they chose to invest $600 million in the area.

“We’re thrilled to call Papillion and the Greater Omaha area one of our hometowns,” said Dan Harbeke, Google’s Regional Head of External Affairs. “At Google, our investment isn’t limited to our facilities: we are committed to being good neighbors and creating opportunities for the communities that we call home.”

What is Rate 261M?, OPPD Resource

Energy Efficiency
OPPD has launched a new energy efficiency section on their website.

Google confirms Papillion is a go for its data center — Sarpy County’s eighth

By Cindy Gonzalez, Omaha World-Herald

Asked about job creation in Sarpy County, Harbeke said Google is “committed to at least 30” full-time, permanent positions. They’ll be staffing a data center that delivers tools and resources that connect Internet users to search results, YouTube videos, Gmail and other apps.

In addition, Harbeke, Google’s regional head of external affairs, anticipates that thousands of construction-type jobs will be created during the 18 to 24 months he anticipates it will take to build the center. He said construction work is already underway. Read more here.

GOOGLE’S COMMITMENT TO RENEWABLE ENERGY

RE100: 203 influential businesses that have made a commitment to go ‘100% renewable’. Google is also among a growing number of RE100 members that are driving their supply chains to make the transition to clean energy.

REBA: Google is also a leading member of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA). REBA’s goal is to catalyze 60 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy by 2025, and expand the number of organizations buying clean power from dozens today to tens of thousands. REBA’s Vision & Initiatives.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Sustainability has been one of Google’s core values from our earliest days. Over the years we’ve worked hard to reduce the carbon footprint of our operations, build products with people and planet in mind, and drive change at scale through our supply chains.

A cornerstone of our sustainability efforts is our commitment to clean energy. We’ve been a carbon-neutral company since 2007. In 2017, we became the first company of our size to match our entire annual electricity consumption with renewable energy (and then we did it again in 2018). As a result, we became the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world.

NEBRASKA ENERGY EFFICIENCY DATA

Nebraska’s Energy Efficiency Scorecard
Source: The State Energy Efficiency Scorecard: Nebraska, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

Other State Rankings

  • Colorado: 14th
  • Iowa: 23rd
  • Kansas: 46th
  • Massachusetts: 1st
  • Minnesota: 8th
  • Missouri: 30th

Hastings’ future is bright

By Tony Herman, Hastings Tribune

The sun was shining on the city of Hastings Thursday afternoon for a ribbon cutting at the new community solar project. Hastings Utilities Manager Kevin Johnson joked about the fact the original plan was to hold the ribbon cutting with the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, which turned out to be cold and rainy, and HU employees wanted to take credit for Thursday’s favorable weather. The project’s 6,012 panels hummed softly as they converted sunlight. Continue reading here.

Hastings Community Solar Farm, City of Hastings