Tag Archives: 100% renewable energy

Voices of 100% Podcast: Small Iowa Town Pushes for Energy Independence

By John Farrell, Energy Democracy Initiative Director,
Institute For Local Self-Reliance

How does a small city in southeastern Iowa plan to achieve energy independence and join the more than 100 cities across the country that are working toward ambitious goals to generate their electricity from renewable resources?

For this episode of our Voices of 100% series of the Local Energy Rules Podcast, host John Farrell spoke with Chris Ball, Community Development Director for the town of Bloomfield, Iowa. Bloomfield is a small town in southeastern Iowa with a population of about 2,600 people, aging homes, and its own municipal electric and gas utilities. At the urging of the town’s residents, Bloomfield is now pursuing ways to expand energy independence and reduce their reliance on imported energy by investing in solar, energy efficiency, and more. Listen to the full episode to learn how the town is taking action to support local, clean energy.

ADDITIONAL NEWS & RESOURCES

Environment America: Voices for 100% Renewable Energy

States of repair: governors, state legislatures find climate solutions, Environment America News Release. Six months ago, as new governors and state legislators took office, Environment America Research & Policy Center released a report, Climate Solutions from Day One: 12 Ways Governors Can Lead on Climate Now, detailing a set of 12 actions governors could take immediately to significantly reduce planet-warming carbon pollution and ensure a more stable climate for their states and the nation. In the intervening months, Republican and Democratic governors from coast to coast have listened to their constituents’ bipartisan concerns about climate change and have taken action. At last count, 14 states took at least one of the actions laid out in the report. Colorado (8), Maine (6) and New Mexico (5) took action in the most categories.

RE100 Update: 185 RE100 companies have made a commitment to go ‘100% renewable’. Read about the actions they are taking and why. A growing number of them are encouraging their suppliers to make the commitment to 100% renewable energy.

Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Update: 130 cities have made the commitment to 100% clean and renewable energy for all.

FEATURED ENERGY CONSERVATION RESOURCE

Energy Savings At Home: Energy Star

EV NEWS

Senate Bill Would Set Nation on Course for 50 Percent Renewable Energy or More by 2035

Environmental Working Group News Release

Currently, 30 states have renewables standards that require utilities to generate a set percentage of electricity that ramps up from year to year. The Renewable Electricity Standard Act, by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M), would require the remaining 20 states without renewables standards to get on board. A number of states with enormous solar and wind generation potential, like Florida, Georgia, Nebraska and Wyoming, have so far not adopted renewables policies. The proposal would more than double the pace of solar and wind development seen over the past decade, according to an analysis of Udall’s legislation by researchers with the Union of Concerned Scientists, or UCS. Read more here.

The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Facebook’s Papillion data center goes live

Written by Jodi Baker, The Wire, OPPD Blog

For Nebraska, it’s meant an investment of more than $1 billion, including 1,000 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs, so far. And that’s just for the first phase. The second  phase, set for completion in 2023, will bring more construction and another 100 permanent jobs. During a grand opening event June 13, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said, “OPPD was really the linchpin in helping make this deal happen, because they were able to offer Facebook 100% renewable energy.”

The company is partnering with the Papillion-La Vista Schools Foundation to invest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education at the high-school level. The company’s skilled and technical trades program will build on the schools’ existing STEM education to benefit more than 1,000 students the first year alone. Read more here.

NEBRASKA’S LARGEST UTILITIES’ EV PROGRAMS & INCENTIVES

Papillion’s Facebook data center, now officially online, part of company’s global infrastructure

By Reece Ristau, Omaha World-Herald

On Thursday, two years after construction began, a portion of the data center officially came online, connecting Papillion with Facebook’s network of similar centers that allow 2.38 billion monthly active users to share photos with friends, post life updates and stay connected from thousands of miles apart.

Facebook also is investing in Nebraska’s alternative energy sources. Committed to using 100% renewable energy to power its data centers, the company is buying wind power from the Omaha Public Power District, which in turn is purchasing it from the Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project in Dixon County, about two hours north of Omaha. Read more here.

Enel Green Power’s Photo of the Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm in Dixon County, Nebraska

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & VIEWING

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS & OPINION

APPA’s National Energy Innovator Award presented to NPPD, NPPD News Release
Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) was recognized with the Energy Innovator Award from the American Public Power Association at the Association’s national conference held in Austin, Texas. NPPD was one of nine public power utilities recognized for service to APPA and the public power industry during the conference.

Innovation now NPPD’s calling card, Kearney Hub Editorial
NPPD has been on an innovative trajectory for at least the past 10 years, diversifying the ways in which it generates electricity, opening doors for innovation in communities such as Norfolk and Kearney, and re-purposing resources for experimental projects, such as the Sheldon Station plant that’s being retooled to burn hydrogen in a process that produces no greenhouse gases. In recent years, NPPD has been investing more in wind energy, and it’s helping local communities to explore how to broaden the use of new clean energy — including Norfolk with a battery storage experiment and Kearney with its 53-acre solar farm. 

LES CEO receives national public power award, LES News Release
AUSTIN, TX — Kevin G. Wailes, chief executive officer of Lincoln Electric System, received the Alan Richardson Statesmanship Award at the American Public Power Association’s national conference in Austin, Texas, on June 11, 2019. This award honors public power leaders who work to achieve consensus on national issues important to public power utilities.

AWEA Fact Check: Wind power remains affordable despite flawed study

By Michael Goggin, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

The phrase “garbage in, garbage out” explains that analysis based on flawed input assumptions will result in flawed results and conclusions. A recent textbook example of that comes from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCE) and the special interest group Institute for Energy Research (IER). IER has been down this road before, and once again their analysis isn’t grounded in reality. Renewable energy increasingly saves consumers money even without the federal incentives, which are currently being phased out. The following table uses real-world performance data to calculate the unsubsidized levelized cost for newly installed generation.

Read more here.

Top Image: Interactive map created by researchers at the University of Texas Austin’s Energy Institute. “Check out all the green—that’s where wind is cheapest.” – Michael Goggin

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

RESIDENTIAL SOLAR

District 197 Becomes One of the First School Districts in State to Commit to 100% Clean, Renewable Electricity by 2020

Sierra Club News Release

Minnesota’s West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan Area School District steps out as a climate leader with broad support from students, staff, and the community.

On Monday, the District 197 School Board passed a resolution establishing the goal of transitioning the school district to 100% clean electricity by 2020. District 197 has made great strides toward 100% clean electricity and this resolution formalizes the district’s commitment.

This effort was led by district leaders, students from the LIVEGREEN club, and supported by Sierra Club’s Climate Parents program. Students presented a petition to the board with more than 1,000 signatures they collected from district students, parents, and staff.  Read more here.

Photo Credit: Black Rock Solar

About Climate Parents

Climate Parents is a diverse national movement of parents, grandparents and families mobilizing for clean energy and climate solutions. We work to influence public policy makers and energy providers to take bold steps to protect kids and communities from the health and climate impacts of burning fossil fuels—and to move toward 100% clean energy. Motivated by love for our kids, we’re striving to harness the moral and political force of millions of families for the healthy, equitable and just world all children deserve.

The $9 trillion dollar man

By John Weaver, PV Magazine

A presidential candidate is pushing $300 billion per year of U.S. government investment – with hopes to pull in a complementary $600 billion per year in private investment – to aim for $9 trillion in investment over the course of a decade. Sounds like a lot of money until we think about the United States subsidizing fossils to the tune of $649 billion a year, and estimates that the U.S. gross domestic product could fall by 10% – more than $2 trillion per year – due to costs associated with climate change. Jay Inslee has introduced his Evergreen Economy Plan as part of his presidential election campaign. The plan has five major planks that include many individual legislative actions. Read more here.

FEDERAL LEGISLATION

U.S. Green Bank Act of 2019 Would Provide $10 Billion+ of Capital to State and Local Green Banks, Coalition for Green Capital. The Green Bank Act of 2019 would inject billions of dollars into the U.S. economy to accelerate clean energy deployment, grow clean energy businesses, and deliver affordable clean energy to all Americans. The members of the global Green Bank Network and the American Green Bank Consortium have already shown that public investment in clean energy deployment drives greater total investment, job growth and lower energy costs. The bill creates a new USGB as a wholly owned corporation of the U.S. government, housed within Treasury. It would be capitalized through the issuance of federal Green Bonds.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

RESEARCH

GREEN BUILDING

Cambria Hotel Omaha Downtown: Cambria Hotels Celebrates Its First Hotel To Open In The Cornhusker State, Choice Hotels International Announcement. The LEED Silver Certified hotel incorporates a number of eco-friendly features throughout the building, including a solar array on the roof, a salt water pool that reduces chemical usage, Tesla and electric vehicle charging stations, and locally-sourced, recycled building materials.

Additional Nebraska LEED Certified Projects, US Green Building Council

America’s Top Colleges for Renewable Energy

A report by Environment America Research & Policy Center
Environment America News Release

America’s colleges and universities are leading the transition to a 100 percent renewable energy system. Small liberal arts colleges, large public universities and community colleges  alike, from every corner of the U.S., are taking the lead in reducing energy consumption,  deploying renewable energy technologies, and switching to electric vehicles.

The nation’s leading campuses for clean energy — from the University of Minnesota, Morris to  Southwestern University in Texas — are setting a strong example for other colleges and the  nation as a whole to follow. More than 40 colleges and universities now obtain 100 percent or more of their electricity from renewable energy sources.  And, of the 180 schools that  have reported their renewable energy data to The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), 91 percent are using some amount of renewable energy.

Campuses are also leading in cleaning up our transportation system. Each of the top 10 schools for electric vehicles (EVs) in this ranking have switched over 60 percent of their campus-owned vehicles to EVs. Of the 261 campuses reporting their campus fleet details to STARS, 88 percent have at least one EV. Continue reading here.

Download the full report.
Learn about Environment America’s 100% Renewable campaign.

How to Combine Solar and Geothermal Energy Sources

By Holly Welles, Blue and Green Tomorrow

In terms of energy expenses, you can expect to save as much as 80% each year on hot water, heating and cooling when you switch from an HVAC system to a geothermal heat pump. Recent trends in these heat pumps — like smaller, modular “mini-split systems” — have made them an even more appealing option. As context, mini-split systems are a newer generation of geothermal heat pump which enables a homeowner to heat and cool a few rooms at a time, selectively. A zoned approach to heating and cooling and a solar energy system is often less expensive than central air conditioning and natural gas heat. Read more here.

Photo: Don Preister’s home in Bellevue powered with solar + geothermal
Project: 8.4-kilowatt, grid-tied, OPPD net-metered system, ground mounted on south-facing slope with no battery storage (yet) and 28 optimizers. Installation was completed in December 2016, with enough capacity for all electrical needs in an all-electric residence of 2000 sq. ft. with a geothermal heat pump. There is extra capacity to charge his electric vehicle.
Photo Credit: Eugene Curtin / Bellevue Leader
Installer: Solar Heat & Electric with help from Preister brothers

See Also Under Solar Examples: Dageforde Net-Positive Energy Home

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

  • Environmental Groups Add To Pressure For Energy Storage Tax Boost, Forbes. A group of nine influential environmental groups has joined calls for energy storage to get access to the same tax credits as solar and wind. Legislation has been introduced in both houses for an investment tax credit (ITC) for energy storage. As it stands energy storage systems have to be paired with an ITC recipient such as a solar farm in order to be eligible.
  • New York Governor Cuomo Allocates $280 Million For Energy Storage, CleanTechnica
  • New York’s Energy Storage Incentive Could Spur Deployment of 1.8GWh, Greentech Media
    The Empire State has charted a path that would transform it into a top-tier global storage market by 2025.
  • New Federal Rules are Helping Energy Storage Grow in the Midwest, The National Law Review
    Last year, FERC issued Order 841, which requires wholesale grid operators to develop tariffs for market rules for energy storage that recognize the physical and operational characteristics of electric storage resources, to facilitate their participation in wholesale electricity markets.
    Industry analysts expect FERC Order 841 to lead to more growth in energy storage development, once grid operators like the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) implement the new rules. FERC Order 845, which modernized FERC’s large generator interconnection agreement, also contained provisions which may boost storage development by making it easier for storage developers to secure interconnection agreements with grid operators.

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.