By Grant Schulte and Tess Williams, Associated Press, The News & Observer
LINCOLN, NEB. – Solar energy is gaining traction in Nebraska as a growing number of cities adopt the technology, and state officials are looking for ways to help the trend along. The
technology has become so popular that some cities have had to expand their recently built solar farms or build new ones to keep pace with customer demand. Continue readinghere.
Photo: Cliff Mesner at Central City’s 500-kilowatt solar array, installed by Mesner Solar Development on an abandoned parking lot.
The Breakthrough Energy Coalition announced a $1 billion investment fund to support new energy ventures on Monday. Its members include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, George Soros, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Richard Branson. Read more.
By Nick Magrisso, Expert Blog, Natural Resources Defense Council
Last week during the final day of the annual veto session, the Illinois General Assembly passed sweeping clean energy and climate legislation that will pave the way toward a bright future that moves our electric sector toward a more modern, low carbon economy. And now, the Future Energy Jobs bill is on its way to the Governor’s desk where it’s expected to be signed. NRDC is incredibly proud to have worked closely with many, including Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, the Citizens Utility Board, along with environmental justice leaders, faith groups, labor leaders, some of the state’s most influential business leaders and the nearly 200 plus members that belong to the Clean Jobs Coalition on this historic achievement. Read more.
Nick Magrisso is NRDC’s Midwest States Legislative Director, Midwest Program. He focuses mainly on environmental and energy-related policies that affect his home state of Illinois. Magrisso is also NRDC’s lead advocate in Illinois’ capital of Springfield, where he works to advance the organization’s priorities and initiatives. He has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Northeastern Illinois University.
Photo: Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING Illinois’ New & Improved RPS Means More Solar, Solar Energy Industries Blog The Environmental Law & Policy Center estimates that this new renewable portfolio standard (RPS) will require more than 2,700 MW of new solar by 2030. This is a large step forward for Illinois, which currently has only 66 MW of installed solar and ranks 27th nationally for total capacity.
“Phasing out coal-fired electricity and expanding clean power sources will create new jobs and opportunities,” [Canada’s Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna] said Monday, speaking to reporters in Ottawa. Eliminating smog caused by coal power generation will also reduce health impacts, she said. Trudeau has unveileda series of environmental measures in recent months, including a minimum price on carbon and expanded funding for marine protection. His centrist Liberal Party is trying to balance demands of environmental advocates with spurring Canada’s sluggish economic growth. Trudeau faces deadlines to decide on three pipeline projects over the next month. Read more.Photo: Catherine McKenna. Credit: Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Gina McCarthy Speaks at the National Press Club. Associated Press story written by Matthew Daly. Published by The Lexington Herald Leader
“The train to a global clean-energy future has already left the station,” she said. “We can choose to get on board — to lead — or we can choose to be left behind, to stand stubbornly still. If we stubbornly deny the science and change around us, we will fall victim to our own paralysis.”
While she is proud of the Clean Power Plan imposed by Obama to cut carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, McCarthy said those who claim the plan is the driving force behind a U.S. transition to clean-energy jobs “give us too much credit.” The plan was “designed to follow the clean-energy transition already under way,” she said, citing huge increases in wind and solar power in recent years. According to the Department of Energy, there are now more than three solar power jobs in the U.S. for every job mining coal. Read more here.
Photo of EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy by Jose Luis Magana, Associated Press
A north-central Minnesota solar nonprofit is creating a community solar garden for low income residents of a Native American reservation that it believes could become a national model. The 200 kilowatt community solar garden will be built by the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance for low income residents living in the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. It would serve from 100 to 150 families. The nonprofit plans to build the solar garden using money from a $500,000 state grant and then donate it to the tribe. Click to continue reading.
Photo of Jason Edens, Director of the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance. Credit: Tom Kelly / Creative Commons
Abundant energy permeates the very air inhaled on each breath you take. Next week a group of young minds demonstrates that reality…. After an almost 700 mile trek from Fort Worth, Texas, a convoy to the future rolls up Highway 77 Thursday, July 21, and stops off for some community interaction and an overnight interlude in the parking lot outside Walmart Supercenter before rousing early Friday morning to continue north. Destination: Minneapolis, Minn. Continue reading.
Photo: Solar cars built for the 2015 Solar Car Challenge. The cars were designed and built by young minds solving real world issues. On July 21st between 3:30 and 7:00 p.m., the 2016 Solar Car Challenge participants will roll into Fremont with several built-from-scratch solar car prototypes. Participants will display their vehicles in the Walmart parking lot that evening and encourage Fremont residents to come and visit.
1,003 community solar proposals are awaiting action from Xcel Energy, Minnesota’s largest electric utility.
Written by Daniel Cusick, Climate Wire. Republished by Midwest Energy News
“It’s bigger than anyone ever anticipated, and bigger things are coming,” said [Ellen] Anderson, who, before joining academia, spent decades working on Minnesota energy policy as a state senator, as chairwoman of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and as senior policy adviser to Gov. Mark Dayton (D).
Anderson was among the more than 80 people, both experts and neophytes, gathered here last week for the last of four regional workshops on community solar sponsored by the Department of Energy’s National Community Solar Partnership. Click to read more.
Photo: The community solar garden is just one model of solar energy project developing around the state; the electrical cooperative is another. This array of panels in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota was built by Lake Region Electric Cooperative workers. Credit: Ann Arbor Miller | MPR News file
Written by Becca Mann, The Grand Island Independent
AURORA — If it passes regulations, a commercial wind turbine project proposed by Bluestem Energy Solutions and Southern Power District will be the first of its kind in the Aurora area. The installation of four 270-foot turbines near Aurora is pending regulations to be set by the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners.
The Hamilton County Joint Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a hearing at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, at the Bremer Community Center to develop possible regulations for the proposed and future projects . . . According to the Nebraska Energy Office, Nebraska has 539 operational wind turbines at 18 sites across the state. Read more here.
Photo: Wind turbines dot the landscape near Steele City, Nebraska. Credit: Associated Press / Nati Harnik
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING GOP states benefiting from shift to wind and solar energy,Associated Press. Posted by The Grand Island Independent. [The] U.S. leads the world in wind energy with about 48,800 utility-scale turbines operating across the country, generating enough electricity to power about 20 million homes. By 2030, the Energy Department estimates wind will provide a fifth of the nation’s electricity. “Wind energy is very low-cost and not subject to the fuel price risk that both natural gas and coal face,” said Michael Goggin, senior director of research at the American Wind Energy Association, an industry trade group. “Adding wind is cheaper than new gas or new coal. It is by far the lowest-cost resource.”
Photo Illustrating Scottsbluff, Nebraska Community Solar Project
Excerpt: Renewable Energy Tax
Facilities that produce solar, biomass and landfill gas energy will face one less obstacle that could hinder the industry’s growth in Nebraska. A new state law will require facilities to pay a nameplate capacity tax, similar to one already imposed on wind energy, instead of a personal property tax. The nameplate capacity tax is on an energy facility’s potential output. County governments and project developers both generally prefer it over the personal property tax because it provides a consistent revenue stream for counties and lowers upfront costs for a facility’s owners. Read more here.