Tag Archives: 100% renewable energy initiatives

Learning about renewable energy: New curriculum brings solar to the classroom

By Theresa Bourke, Brainerd Dispatch

About 60 school districts in Minnesota use solar energy, and they now have access to a complementary curriculum to go along with their arrays. The Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, along with other community partners, recently developed a kindergarten through eighth grade curriculum aimed at teaching students about solar energy as a clean, renewable option for the future.

Based in Backus, the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance is a nonprofit aimed at bringing solar and other renewable energy sources to Minnesota communities. The organization’s new curriculum is a natural extension of its Solar Schools project, a partnership with the Region Five Development Commission to install solar panels with 1.5 megawatts of solar capacity at schools in Pine River-Backus and Pequot Lakes, along with both the Brainerd and Staples campuses of Central Lakes College. Continue reading here. 

For more information about the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance’s solar energy curriculum, visit rreal.org/knowledge-is-power.

ZOO IN KANSAS TEACHING BY EXAMPLE

100% green energy and 6 other changes Sedgwick County Zoo has for its 50th birthday, The Wichita Eagle

The Sedgwick County Zoo will ring in its 50th birthday on May 27 with an unveiling of its new entry building and zoo store, both of which will run on 100% renewable energy. The zoo also plans to announce six additional environmental initiatives to reduce the zoo’s carbon footprint. “I think the role of the modern zoo and aquarium is more important today than it’s ever been,” said Dr. Jeff Ettling, the zoo’s executive director. “We all need to take action now because we’re seeing the dramatic impact that climate change is having here at home. We really need to walk the talk. It’s one thing to talk about conservation, it’s another to actually put it into action.”

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

APPLE NEWS RELEASE

Apple commits $430 billion in US investments over five years
Apple today announced an acceleration of its US investments, with plans to make new contributions of more than $430 billion and add 20,000 new jobs across the country over the next five years. To date, nearly 60 of Apple’s US sites are LEED certified. Apple is carbon neutral for all of its operations in the US and around the world, and last year committed to be 100 percent carbon neutral for its entire supply chain and products by 2030. Apple’s $430 billion US investments include working with more than 9,000 suppliers and companies large and small in all 50 states, supporting American job creation across dozens of sectors, including silicon engineering, 5G, and manufacturing.

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA

Statement: Biden moves toward allowing states to return to setting stricter vehicle emission standards
Vehicle tailpipes are a major source of health-harming air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. After seven years of decline, air pollution started rising in 2016. By 2018, 108 million Americans lived in areas that experienced more than 100 days of degraded air quality. U.S. PIRG and Environment America had called on Biden to strengthen federal fuel economy and vehicle emission standards, and restore state authority, in theFirst Things to Fixreport, which outlined 20 environmental protections the president should enact when beginning his time in office.

Environment America Initiatives include: Mayors for Solar Energy
Environment America’s Mayors for Solar Energy project is helping city leaders take concrete steps toward this brighter, healthier future by building a broad, bipartisan community of mayors and giving them the tools they need to tap into the power of the sun.

Environment America Priorities

New campaign launched on 30 campuses urges colleges and universities to shift to 100 percent clean renewable power

Environment America News Release

As national campus sustainability month kicks off, Environment America Research & Policy Center is launching 30 campaigns in 11 states, pressing colleges and universities to generate 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources. The initiative aims to get 150 schools to commit by 2021 to exclusively using renewable energy.

The nationwide effort includes targeted weeks of action, petition drives and direct engagement with administration officials to reach this goal. Thousands of students and faculty from every region of the country are expected to mobilize for this cause. Read more here.

Commentary: With Energy Freedom Act, South Carolina takes steps toward resilience

By Shelley Robbins, Upstate Forever and Marriele Mango, Clean Energy Group Published by Energy News Network

The recently passed Energy Freedom Act supports a more resilient, clean energy future for South Carolina by supporting solar PV and battery storage technologies. The act promotes more economical systems for utility customers and requires utilities to explore the investments in solar-plus-storage generation assets. In both cases, recognizing the monetary value of resilience is an essential piece to further solar-plus-storage development in the state.  Signed by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster in May 2019, the Energy Freedom Act, also referred to as Act 62, is the result of years of community and clean energy industry advocacy. Read more here.

Photo by Jason A G / Flickr / Creative Commons: The South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia.

Related News Story
Future is bright for solar energy in South Carolina after Energy Freedom Act, WIS TV
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, companies have installed 18,000 solar systems in South Carolina. Over the next year five years, they predict 22,000 new systems will be installed. Solar companies said the new law removed caps on net metering and leasing, which means more customers will be incentivized to put solar on their roofs at their homes and businesses.

Local Commentary
Land produces energy, too, by Art Tanderup of Neligh, The Grand Island Independent
We live in a time when farmers are struggling. They were struggling before the trade negotiations and recent flooding. Several weren’t even able to plant this year’s crop because of weather conditions throughout the spring. Opportunities for new farm income are critical. Fortunately for Nebraska farmers, wind energy is in a boom period in the state right now.

Also In the News

New UCS Report

Your Favorite Cereals Could Help Farmers, Reduce Soil Erosion and Farm Runoff, and Take a Bite Out of Climate Change, Union of Concerned Scientists Blog. Leading cereal-makers can help curb water pollution, combat climate change, and keep farmers profitable by making modest shifts in their grain purchasing practices, according to a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). “Champions of Breakfast: How Cereal-Makers Can Help Save Our Soil, Support Farmers, And Take a Bite Out of Climate Change” shows how relatively small commitments by companies to source more sustainable ingredients could encourage farmers to build healthy soil.

As 100% renewables goals proliferate, what role for utilities?

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Utilities and state regulators take note: As of April 1, 114 U.S. cities have officially declared they want 100% renewables for their electric power needs in the next one to two decades. That will be a big change in electricity use. And it doesn’t stop there. Over 300 U.S. localities have committed to a renewables or climate change goal, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI),  which just received $70 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies to help make that change happen. And, led by local efforts, three states have committed to 100% carbon-free. Another dozen are moving that way. Continue reading here. 

City ready for community solar gardens

By Jennifer Bailey, Commercial-News, Danville, Illinois

Illinois passed The Future Energy Jobs Act in December 2016. This legislation went into effect June 1, 2017. Under this legislation, the state created a new Community Solar program that will allow any customer of ComEd or Ameren to subscribe to a community solar garden, according to Solar in the Community which is a joint project of the Illinois Citizens Utility Board, The Accelerate Group and the Environmental Defense Fund . . . Under Illinois’ community solar program, “subscribers” can enter into an agreement to support a solar energy installation in their community — on the rooftop of a local school or community center, for example.
Read more here.

Future Energy Jobs Act

MORE COMMUNITY SOLAR NEWS

LOCATING CLOSED LANDFILLS & OTHER LOCAL BROWNFIELDS

EPA’s RE-Powering Mapper is an online interactive web application that allows users to visualize key information on renewable energy potential at specific contaminated lands, landfills and mine sites.

Using screening criteria developed in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), EPA has pre-screened more than 130,000 sites for their renewable energy potential.

Access the updated RE-Powering Mapper here. 
Learn more about EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative here.

MORE GOOD NEWS FROM STATES 

This old coal plant is now a solar farm, thanks to pressure from local activists, Fast Company. In Massachusetts, one town fought to stop
pollution–and ensured a just transition for workers at the coal plant. For more than half a century, a coal plant in the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts spewed pollution into the air. Now, the plant is closed, and 17,000 solar panels and a battery storage system–the largest in the state–send clean power to the grid. Photo by Toxics Action Center

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

INTERVIEW

Commercial Solar Outlook: A Q&A with GE Solar, Energy Manager Today
From import tariffs to corporate sustainability goals, 2018 was a big year for the commercial solar industry, with no signs of slowing down in 2019. To understand what’s on the horizon for the commercial solar market, we asked Ellen Roybal, Managing Director
of Strategy & Market Intelligence for GE Solar, for her take on the industry.

New Documentary “Paris To Pittsburgh” Celebrates How Local Communities Are Implementing Solutions To Climate Change

Paris to Pittsburgh will air globally on the National Geographic Channel in 172 countries and 43 languages beginning with the broadcast premiere in the U.S. on
December 12 at 9 pm local time. Click above image to link to the documentary’s website to watch the trailer.

News Releases

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • Omaha World-Herald Editorial: Report describes climate challenges; Nebraskans should collaborate on solutions
  • Omaha World-Herald Midlands Voices: It is time for Nebraska to prepare for climate change, by Donald Wilhite, professor and director emeritus in climate science from the University of
    Nebraska-Lincoln. He is the founding director of UNL’s National Drought Mitigation Center.
  • More clean energy desired, by David E. Corbin, Nebraska Sierra Club Chair and Nebraskans for Solar board member, Omaha World-Herald, The Public Pulse
    OPPD has made environmental progress. Its unambitious goal from several years ago of 10 percent renewable energy by 2020 has been greatly surpassed, but the 50 percent renewable goal that was just passed is still a low bar. The utility will already be close to 50 percent within the next few years. More than 90 U.S. cities, more than 10 counties and two states have already adopted 100 percent clean energy goals. OPPD needs to aim higher.
  • Opinion: Here’s the good news in that alarming report on climate change, Market Watch
    The solution is at hand: The cost of ditching carbon is much less than you think. Government will have a role to play — but most of the work in the U.S. will be up to consumers like you, and buying decisions you make in the next decade.