Tag Archives: Center for Pollinators in Energy

Construction complete on largest solar farm in Nebraska

By Anne Fischer, PV Magazine USA

The City of Norfolk, Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), and members of the community are celebrating the completion of construction of what is currently the largest solar farm in the state. The 8.5 MW solar installation is paired with NPPD’s first large-scale battery storage system, capable of storing up to 2 MWh. It’s also a pollinator habitat, and it was led by an all-woman development team. In a state that in 2021 ranked 47th in the country for installed solar and was deriving only 0.22% of its electricity from solar (according to the Solar Energy Industries Association), this system gives the state a serious boost. Read more here.

NFS Note: NPPD’s contracts allow municipal customers to generate no more than 10% of their peak load from renewable energy sources. See: Nebraska solar farm highlights tension between cities, electricity wholesaler

See more community- and utility-scale projects under development here: Solar Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy 

FEATURED RESOURCES

MORE ABOUT PROPOSED CO2 PIPELINES

Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska requests impact study on proposed carbon dioxide pipelines, WOWT
The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska is asking for an environmental impact study regarding two pipelines. The Winnebago Tribal Council has unanimously approved a new resolution that requests an environmental impact study for two proposed pipelines: The Summit Carbon Pipeline and the Navigator Heartland Greenway Carbon Pipeline.

Ghost Pipelines: How Landowners Suffer, Long After a Project Gets Canceled, Natural Resources Defense Council 

In the Midwest, Bold Alliance, a network created during the KXL fight, continues a similar mission of connecting landowners, including through the Nebraska Easement Action Team, a nonprofit education and legal defense fund. And as Bold Alliance ramps up efforts to resist the construction of carbon pipelines in the region, the eminent domain lawyers from the KXL days have agreed to represent landowners once again.

Top 8 Reasons to Oppose Risky Carbon Pipelines, by Mark Hefflinger, Bold Nebraska

Cass County solar farm plans unveiled

By Ethan Hewett, KMAland.com

(Murray) — Plans have been revealed for one of the largest solar farms in the state in southeast Nebraska. That’s according to Cass County Zoning Administrator Michael Jensen, who says Boulevard Associates has revealed plans for a proposed 320-megawatt and 3,200-acre solar farm just north of Murray. Jensen says the Cass County farm would be one of the largest in the state in both land coverage and production. Read more here.

NFS Note: NextEra Energy Resources is the parent company for Boulevard Associates, LLC.

FEATURED ORGANIZATION & WEBSITE 

The AgriSolar Clearinghouse is an information-sharing, relationship-building, public communications hub for all things agrisolar. The AgriSolar community will:

  • Connect farmers, developers, researchers, and the public
  • Provide practical technical assistance
  • Develop best practices and innovative solutions to barriers
  • Evaluate innovative financing options
  • Promote sustainable agrisolar opportunities

Resources Include: Information Library / Media Hub / Events Calendar

MORE RESOURCES OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

    • Bellwood: 174.5 MW
    • Burt County: 250 MW
    • Clay County: Up-to 305 MW
    • Lincoln: 250 MW
    • McCool Junction: 310 MW
    • Murray: 320 MW
    • Pierce County: 443 MW
    • Saunders County: 81 MW

FEATURED PROJECT – PLATTEVIEW SOLAR IN SAUNDERS COUNTY NEAR YUTAN

About the Project, Community Energy

In April 2021, Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) and Community Energy (CE) announced a Power Purchase Agreement for Platteview Solar, an 81 megawatt (MW) utility-scale solar photovoltaic installation with a proposed location just south of Hwy 92 near Yutan in eastern Saunders County.

The project site consists of approximately 500 total leased acres, spanning several clusters of land with a flat, gently rolling topography. This announcement supports OPPD’s Power with Purpose initiative. The official project announcement is on OPPD’s The Wire. OPPD is the lone customer for Platteview Solar’s energy, providing long-term stability and support.

Platteview FAQs – Community Energy 

Among the questions, the following is one that often comes up in discussions about utility-scale solar projects: 

Doesn’t solar take good agricultural ground out of production?

Community Energy: Not in a meaningful way. Saunders County is 486,400 acres of ground.  The Platteview Solar project impacts approximately 500 acres. 

Farm ground used for solar projects does not necessarily mean the end of agricultural use on the land. It will be different than traditional crops, but a robust pollinator program can benefit not only the project properties, but cropland, orchards, residential gardens, trees and other landscaping within 30 miles of the project site.

Additionally, the traditional agricultural nature of the property is not permanently lost. The benefits of restorative vegetation on nitrogen and CO2 depleted land improves agricultural land for the future. Solar projects are a long term, but temporary, use of agricultural land that allows landowners to diversify their assets, creating financial stability and allowing agricultural land to remain in families for future generations.

LAND LEASE RESOURCE  

 

Considerations for Leasing Land for Solar Development,
by F. John Hay, Extension Educator for Bioenergy,
University of Nebraska Lincoln


Links to More Extension Resources

FUN HOBBY FOR ALL AGES

Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification Program

This Extension program is open to Nebraska homeowners, schools, businesses, parks, homeowner associations, farmers, acreage owners and community gardens.

The Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification application form with complete requirements and lists of pollinator-friendly plants is available here.

Perdue Farms Becomes the First Poultry Company in the United States To Create a Pollinator-Friendly Habitat Throughout its Solar Installation

Perdue Farms News Release, PR Newswire

“Given Perdue Farms’ long-standing commitment to being good stewards, having the area at our 5-acre solar field at our headquarters become a pollinator-friendly habitat was a no-brainer for us,” said Steve Levitsky, vice president of sustainability for Perdue Farms. “There is a growing body of research that shows pollinator habitat can help increase yields of a variety of fruits and vegetables, including soybeans – one of the key components of a chicken’s diet – so we wanted to do something that has the potential to benefit the environment as well as the farmers near our headquarters.” Read more here.

Resources for pollinator-friendly solar development are available from the Center for Pollinators in Energy nonprofit, a Fresh Energy program: www.BeesLoveSolar.org

Photo: Pollinator-friendly habitat at the Perdue Farms’ solar installation located at their headquarters in Salisbury, Maryland.

OCEANS AND CLIMATE 

To Save the Climate, Look to the Oceans, Scientific American
It offers major opportunities to abandon fossil fuels, sequester tons of carbon, and create a sustainable food system. I’m talking about renewable offshore energy and algae biofuel, about coastal ecosystems and regenerative ocean farming.

The writer, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D., is a marine biologist, policy expert and Brooklyn native. She is founder of the consultancy Ocean Collectiv and the think tank Urban Ocean Lab.

FITCH SOLUTIONS RESEARCH

US and Spain poised for stellar capacity growth, Wind Power Monthly
Fitch Solutions researchers forecast the US to achieve 174GW of installed wind capacity by 2029, on the back of supportive policies at state level and the rise of corporate energy procurements. 

SOLAR MEDIA PODCAST

Major movements in US solar and greener-than-ever grids, PV-Tech
June 2020 episode of the Solar Media Podcast is now available to listen to, and it’s jam packed with insight and discussion around a flurry of activity in the US and Europe.

EV CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE

House bill includes EV charging infrastructure grant program supported by APPA, American Public Power Association. Section 1303 of the bill authorizes $350 million annually for fiscal years 2022-2025 for a grant program to deploy electric and hydrogen vehicle charging infrastructure along existing Alternative Fuel Corridors, based on the Clean Corridors Act (H.R. 2616), which APPA supports. 

COMMUNITY CHOICE AGGREGATION

Community energy utilities in California investigate long duration energy storage, Energy Storage News

A group of 11 community-focused energy utility groups in California have issued a Request for Information on long duration energy storage technologies that could be connected to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) grid. Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) are permitted to supply energy to residents in several US states.

What is a Community Choice Aggregation?, EPA Resource

Additional Resources

SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC REPORT 

Report: 60% of Global Professionals Considering Renewables Purchase over Next 3 Years

Solar and pollinators: a photo essay

By Rob Davis, Director of the Center for Pollinators in Energy
at Fresh Energy, PV Magazine

A promising new trend is showing signs of incrementally helping the solar industry to increase revenue, decrease operations and management costs, open up new markets, accelerate permitting, decrease litigation risk, and attract new land lease partners. It’s not a new module, inverter, or racking — it’s an innovative approach to the vegetation design and management. Civil engineers working on LEED-certified building design have long known that the vegetation specified in a project can provide meaningful functional benefits, in addition to being a cost-effective way to gain points toward the standards. These innovations—using ecology to benefit technology—have now made their way into the solar industry in projects throughout the country.
Continue reading here.

 

Rob Davis, Director of the Center for Pollinators in Energy.
Posts by Rob Davis

 


Previously Posted

Kearney’s Solar Farm is a pollinator-friendly site.


Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Program for All Ages


Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification Program

This program is open to Nebraska homeowners, schools, businesses, parks, homeowner associations, farmers, acreage owners and community gardens.

The Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification application form with complete requirements and lists of pollinator-friendly plants is available here.

Pollinator-friendly solar energy becomes the norm in Minnesota

By Elizabeth Dunbar, MPR News

The environmental benefits of Connexus Energy’s solar-plus-storage project are obvious enough, but this time of year, you’ll notice something more: prairie grasses and flowers planted under and around the sea of solar panels. Pollinator-friendly plantings at large solar energy sites have become common in Minnesota in recent years. Not only do they provide habitat for the bee and butterfly populations people have been concerned about, but they also promote soil health and probably even boost the solar panels’ electricity output on warm days. The National Renewable Energy Lab is using the Ramsey Renewable Station and a couple dozen other sites around the country to test that. Continue reading here.

 

Rob Davis, Director, Center for Pollinators in Energy
Posts by Rob Davis

 


Previously Posted

Kearney’s Solar Farm is a nationally-recognized pollinator-friendly site, benefiting local food producers. 

 

Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification Program

This program is open to Nebraska homeowners, schools, businesses, parks, homeowner associations, farmers, acreage owners and community gardens.

The Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification application form with complete requirements and lists of pollinator-friendly plants is available here.

Pollinator habitats: The bees’ knees of rural solar development

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Adding more solar “should have been a slam dunk” for Connexus Energy, a “hometown favorite” electric cooperative in Ramsey, Minnesota, said Rob Davis, a clean energy advocate who observed the siting process. But the utility’s motion to build was almost denied. Land is valuable, and “anytime you build anything anywhere there’s a neighbor, and that neighbor is going to have an opinion for better or worse,” said Davis, who directs the Center for Pollinators in Energy and also leads the Media & Innovation Lab at Fresh Energy in St. Paul, Minnesota. The saving grace? Pollinator experts and ecologists testified this wouldn’t be just any solar development — it would be pollinator-friendly, giving work opportunities to local seeders and apiarists as well as providing ecological benefits to the surrounding area. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Rob Davis, Fresh Energy

Legislation