Rural Development Saves Nebraskans Energy Dollars

U.S. Department of Agriculture News Release

LINCOLN, NEB. – Nebraska Rural Development State Director Karl Elmshaeuser announces that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $203,493 in Nebraska to reduce energy costs for agricultural producers and rural small businesses.  “The energy projects funded will help to lower energy costs which will improve the recipients’ bottom lines and create jobs,” Elmshaeuser said. “Dollars saved will be available to be reinvested into Nebraska’s economy making it even stronger.” Nebraska recipients include: Continue reading here.

Aug 23rd: National Hydropower Day Celebrates America’s First Renewable

National Hydropower Association News Release

“America needs the clean, flexible power provided by the nation’s first renewable resource” said Malcolm Woolf, NHA President & CEO. “From the Industrial Revolution to World War II to growth of the tech sector, hydropower has powered American innovation and ingenuity. With the right mix of energy, environmental and market policies, hydropower can contribute even more as the nation moves towards decarbonization of the grid and electrification of the transportation industry.”

In 2018, hydropower was the largest generator of clean, renewable electricity, representing 7% of total U.S. electricity generation and 39.5% of renewable electricity generation. The U.S. hydropower fleet is comprised of approximately 2,200 power plants with a total capacity of roughly 102 GW, which includes 95% of U.S. storage capacity (23 GW) pumped storage. Hydropower is also a major job creator, employing 66,500 workers. Read the entire news release here.

National Hydropower Association

Additional Recommended Reading 

Department of Energy Releases Annual Wind Market Reports, Finding Robust Wind Power Installations and Falling Prices

U.S. Department of Energy News Release 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released annual market reports documenting data and trends in wind installations, technologies, costs, prices, and performance through the end of 2018 for three sectors: utility-scale land-based, offshore, and distributed wind.

“Onshore wind energy installation continues to grow across the country, and this Administration has proven that we can pursue renewable energy advancements and deployment, particularly wind energy resources, which are predicted to surpass other sources of renewable power generation this year,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “And with over 25 gigawatts in the development pipeline, U.S. offshore wind is poised to be a significant part of our comprehensive energy portfolio in the coming years.” Continue reading here.

How a not-for-profit charity is helping Apple, Goldman Sachs and others to embrace renewables

By Anmar Frangoul, CNBC

The CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, is a not-for-profit charity. It operates a “global disclosure system” which allows businesses, states, regions and cities to “measure and manage” their impact on the environment. Paul Dickinson is the executive chair of the CDP. He told CNBC’s Sustainable Energy that his organization represented over 600 investors with $90 trillion of assets, as well as more than 100 purchasing organizations “with trillions of purchasing authority.”

One major project the CDP is involved with is called the RE100, a global initiative made up of some of the world’s biggest companies, all committed to 100 percent renewable electricity. Businesses that are part of the RE100 include AppleDanoneGoldman Sachs and the Lego Group. Click here to read more and to view a 2-minute video about CDP’s outstanding work. 

ADDITIONAL CLEAN ENERGY NEWS

CLEAN ENERGY JOBS

ENERGY SECTORS’ OUTLOOKS

Entrepreneur Jigar Shah reflects on clean energy finance, the importance of plain speaking

By Sarah Golden, GreenBiz

If you’ve heard Jigar Shah talk, it won’t surprise you that he has a couple opinions about a couple things. And his track record shows he might be onto something. The co-founder of Generate Capital has been following and shaping the clean energy sector for decades. His weapon of choice: financial mechanisms to open up new clean energy options.

Among Shah’s claim to fame is founding SunEdison in 2003, where he designed the first no-money-down solar contract, and heading up Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room to support entrepreneurs working on climate solutions. He’s also shot into earned podcast fame with his no-nonsense style on “The Energy Gang.” I had a chance to chat with Jigar and talk about his communication style, his inspiration and what the private sector can do to leverage clean energy more and better. Continue reading here.

Additional Viewpoints

News From Other States

Tri-State

Into the fray, The Durango Telegraph
Over the past several years, rural electric cooperatives like La Plata Electric Association, which are also members of Tri-State Generation and Transmission, have been looking for ways to increase the amount of renewable energy they can produce locally. However, under their contracts with Tri-State, that local energy production has been limited to just 5 percent of the total power they use. This has caused some rural coops to consider other options.

Tri-State Map
Tri-State’s 43 member distribution systems (18 in Colorado, 11 in New Mexico, 8 in Wyoming and 6 in western Nebraska) directly supply electricity to rural residences, farms and ranches, cities, towns and suburban communities, as well as large and small commercial businesses and industries. Combined, they serve more than 1 million consumers in nearly 200,000-square-mile area. Nebraska Members

Cooperatives are democratic organizations governed by their members who actively participate by making decisions through voting. Tri-State’s board of directors is made up of one representative from each of its 43 member distribution systems, and each of its members function under a similar structure.

Renewable energy funds available for farmers

By Cody Smith, Policy Associate at The Center for Rural Affairs, Record Herald

In July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced more than $400 million available for farmers and rural business owners under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP, a farm bill program, provides financing for energy efficiency upgrades like insulation, lighting, and HVAC systems. Renewable energy systems like solar panels, anaerobic digesters, and wind turbines are also eligible. For both farmers and rural business owners, these systems can help cut energy costs—keeping money in rural economies across the nation. Read more here.

Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action-oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.

Related Reading

Entrepreneurs launch clean energy-powered affordable housing startup in Chicago

Written by Kari Lydersen, Midwest Energy News

[Robert “A.J.” Patton and Erica Johnson] are launching a company that they hope will provide quality housing to lower-income residents in Chicago, and avoid gentrification, by harnessing the potential of energy efficiency and solar. At the same time, they plan to provide jobs for low-income and minority residents who are disproportionately left out of the clean energy economy.

Patton said 548 will purchase buildings in marginalized, mostly minority neighborhoods on the South and West sides that have been deemed Opportunity Zones under the federal program meant to stimulate investment. That means if someone invests capital gains in projects in the zone, a portion of federal taxes is deferred or forgiven. Read more here.

Photo Credit: 548 Capital

Previously Posted 

 Nebraska Opportunity Zones

Opinion: Renewable electricity is the solution to the climate crisis

By Zach Renshaw, The Doane Line

This year at Doane, the Climate Reality Project Campus Corps of Doane University are working to help Doane commit to 100% Renewable Electricity by 2030. There are a number of benefits to pursuing this: lower costs, lower environmental impact, first in the state, etc. Doane was not only the first school in Nebraska to divest from fossil fuels last spring but [also] to commit to be the first school in the state to become carbon neutral through 100% renewable electricity by 2030. Continue reading here.

Photo: Zach Renshaw, Chair of Doane University’s Climate Reality Campus Corps

Previously Posted

More About The Climate Reality Project

100% Committed
Climate Reality Project’s 100% Committed Toolkit offers a step-by-step guide to building a 100% campaign, as well as all the tips and resources needed to organize your community and work with your school, city or town, or local businesses to shift to 100-percent renewable electricity.

Climate Reality Campus Corps
With help from National Climate Reality staff, students at participating campuses receive guidance in designing campaigns and organizing fellow students to convince their schools to embrace clean energy and sustainability.

Jonathan Scott Answers Climate Reality’s Solar Energy Questions
The following conversation is excerpted from Knowledge is Power, a new collaborative e-book from solar energy advocate and Property Brothers co-host Jonathan Scott and Climate Reality. Download a free copy of the e-book.

Sizing Up the Corporate Renewables Market

Corporate wind and solar procurement is in its early innings, a new analysis from WoodMac and the American Wind Energy Association says.

By Karl-Erik Stromsta, Greentech Media

Anyone watching the recent explosion of demand for renewable power from corporations like Facebook, Walmart and even ExxonMobil will have wondered: how far can this go? Much, much further, is the short answer. For all its recent gains, the corporate renewables market is likely in its very early innings, according to a new analysis from Wood Mackenzie and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

Solar is likely to eclipse wind as the technology of choice for most corporate deals by the early 2020s. That’s due not only to a more favorable phaseout schedule of its main subsidy but also because of inherent economic advantages in its generation profile, with solar’s natural midday output more valuable to most companies. Read more here.

The report’s free 40-page executive summary is available for download here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Solar to overtake wind in corporate renewable procurement, PV Magazine
With the capacity of renewable generation by corporations rising exponentially every year and expected to continue to do so, with the exception of an expected two-year dip when the ITC runs out, the question of why corporations are moving towards renewables becomes increasingly important. To answer that question, AWEA and WoodMac identified four key factors that accelerate adoption: branding, investor pressure, peer pressure, and the utilization of Corporate Social Responsibility to mitigate future business risks.

Those first three factors are fairly self-explanatory. The opinion that humans are contributing to irreversible and damaging climate change is a popular one that grows in popularity by the day. As more people believe it, so too will more companies, as, spoiler alert, companies are comprised of people. So between pressure from customers, competitors and investors, as well as a held belief that climate change is occurring, more companies will look to tackle this threat.

Wind feels heat from solar for US corporate renewable top-spot, Recharge News
Up to 85GW of renewables demand exists within Fortune 1000 companies through 2030 as PV challenges current sector leader wind.

Save the Date! September 12, 2019 at 7 pm


Nebraskans for Solar’s September Speaker: David Bracht, Attorney With Kutak Rock and Former Nebraska Energy Office Director
UNO’s Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, Rooms 201/205. Mr. Bracht will provide an overview of Nebraska’s wind and solar development and our state’s potential for future growth.


Specific topics will include:

  • power purchase agreements
  • virtual power purchase agreements
  • commercial and industrial use of solar
  • the potential for combined solar and battery installations
  • incentives and depreciation

How to Maintain Hope in the Face of Climate Catastrophe

Written by Katie O’Reilly, Sierra Magazine

In the mid-1980s, author Barry Lopez familiarized the masses with the perils that creatures and ecosystems in the Far North are facing in his best-selling Arctic Dreams. Almost immediately after it won the National Book Award, Lopez outlined another, meatier book that would take readers back to the Canadian Arctic, and to five other far-flung places, too: the Galapagos, Kenya, Australia, the Antarctic, and the Oregon coast the author calls home. Lopez knew the project would likely require decades’ worth of gained perspective; the idea was to immerse himself in distinctive parts of the world to see what he could learn about humanity’s deepest triumphs, failures, and threats to itself. “For 25 years, the book was working on me,” Lopez, now 74, told Sierra. “For five, I worked on it.”

The answers he spent 30 years gathering fill more than 500 pages in Horizon (Knopf, 2019), a semi-autobiographical epic that hit bookshelves just as awareness of global environmental and existential crises seemed to go mainstream. In the book, Lopez artfully reconstructs his experiences, mining their accumulated wisdom, and revealing uplifting glimmers of hope. An ambitious meditation on the human condition, as well as humanity’s plight, Horizon is as beautiful as it is bleak. Continue reading here.

More on Climate

  • Global Heat Waves Point to Intensifying Global Climate Crisis, Sierra Magazine
  • Fired up about fighting climate change, The Herald-Palladium
    Laura Goos, a St. Joseph city commissioner, attended the Climate Reality Leadership Corps’ training, led by former Vice President Al Gore, earlier this month in Minneapolis. She is promoting ideas for slowing and reversing climate change, from energy efficiency to reusing and recycling materials. As part of her leadership plan, Goos will be promoting energy efficiency at Whirlpool Corp., where she is the senior human resources manager. She also plans to report on the conference to her fellow commissioners. “If everyone does 10 little things, it adds up over time,” Goos said. Learn more about the Climate Reality Project here.

Wind Energy & Wildlife Conservation

New research on curtailment solutions: Balancing conservation and carbon reduction, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Local Opinion

Community solar great for Nebraska. Letter written by Kat Woerner and Sofia Gavia, Lincoln Journal Star

Energy Storage

Electric Vehicles

6 electric aviation companies to watch, GreenBiz 

Tri-State

Fearing Tri-State could duck clean-energy goals, Colorado utilities commission files unprecedented protest, The Colorado Sun. For the first time in at least 25 years, state regulators move to stop a migration, saying the interstate power provider has too much unfinished business here.

Additional Recommended Reading