Lenexa, Kansas – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selected the city of Lincoln, Nebraska, to receive $800,000 in EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Program. During the press event at the former Nature’s Variety Cold Storage Facility, Acting EPA Region 7 Administrator Edward H. Chu presented a novelty big check to Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird.
“Thank you to the EPA for this boost in resources that will help our city overcome remaining environmental challenges and grow the vibrancy of our West and South Haymarket neighborhoods,” said Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird. “Brownfield grants like this one align with our local Climate Action Plan goals and do more than clean up polluted ground. They also create opportunities to build more housing, provide additional park land, address local food security, and improve our community’s health and well-being.” Read the entire release here.
For More Information
Click here to learn more about EPA’s Brownfields Grants.
The Omaha Public Power District board is proposing to explicitly acknowledge climate change and the role of humans in contributing to it, a position that stands in contrast to the Nebraska Legislature. The board is considering the following proposed strategic directive: “The OPPD Board of Directors recognizes the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and that greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, from human activity contribute to climate change impacts.” To comment, go tooppdcommunityconnect.comand click on the “SD 7 Environmental Stewardship” discussion box. Continue reading here.
Written by Dr. Shelley Francis and Johana Vicente, Energy News Network
If you are Black, Latinx, or a member of an Indigenous community, you are far more likely than a white person toknow someone firsthandwho has died of COVID-19. This mirrors what is happening incities, suburbs, rural areas and tribal lands across the U.S. — our communities are being ravaged by the virus. As of mid-January, more than 375,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, with people of color between 2.2 to 2.5 times more likely to have died from the virus than whites of the same age. There are a number of longstanding racial inequities rooted in our current economic and social systems that contribute to this disparity . . . Continue reading here.
Dr. Shelley Francisis co-founder of EVHybridNoire, the nation’s largest network of Black people and people of color who are enthusiastic about shifting away from fossil fuels. Francis co-wrote this op-ed with Chispa National Director Johana Vicente.
In Nebraska: The City of Lincoln’s Exemplary Climate Action Leadership
About We Are Still In We Are Still In is a joint declaration of support for climate action, signed by more than 3,900 CEOs, mayors, governors, tribal leaders, college presidents, faith leaders, health care executives, and others. The organizations they represent comprise the largest and most diverse coalition of actors ever established in pursuit of climate action in the United States.
At Presidio Graduate School, we see affordability of EVs as being both an equity and a diversity factor. Some of our professors reserve an empty seat in their classroom representing those who are not able to join the discussion. Although most new product and service adoptions are at first expensive before becoming more affordable, it’s time to buck the old way of targeting markets that inherently exclude those not usually in the room.
Data is king, and when it comes to information on the frequency of repairs on automobiles, Consumer Reports has more data than anyone. For its latest report, it did a deep dive into the data from its 2019 and 2020 reliability surveys of electric and gasoline powered vehicles. After crunching all the numbers, Consumer Reports says “drivers of electric vehicles are saving an average of 50% on maintenance and repair over the life of a vehicle compared to owners of gas-powered vehicles.”
In 2019, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) released a study finding that utilities and ratepayers can derive substantial value from large-scale deployment of EVs equipped to transmit power to the grid.
FEDERAL LEADERSHIP THAT WILL ALSO BENEFIT OUR COMMUNITIES
The production and use of renewable natural gas made from organic waste is growing rapidly in the United States. In the last five years, the number of production facilities has grown approximately threefold, with about115 facilitiesnow making the fuel — which is interchangeable with fossil natural gas — out of landfill waste, animal manure, wastewater, food waste and other organic feedstocks.
Due to the potential benefits of renewable natural gas as an alternative to fossil fuels, a handful of states including California, Washington and Oregon have integrated it into climate goals. Bothstateandnationalassessments find that sufficient amounts of the waste-derived fuel could be produced to displace as much as 4-7% of current fossil gas consumption, while delivering other co-benefits related to waste management.
However, policymakers across the country still face questions on the extent to which renewable natural gas can help states meet ambitious climate change targets. A newresearch paperby WRI examines the potential of renewable natural gas as a climate strategy.
Lancaster County commissioners want to ease the restrictions they adopted just last year governing wind turbines in a move they see as recalibrating rules that have proven prohibitive. “It has become apparent the (county’s rules) failed to strike an appropriate balance that would allow a viable path toward wind energy development,” the five commissioners wrote in a joint letter to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Department. Continue reading here.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Top six wind trends of 2020 (so far), by Nora Zacharski, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog This has been a year like no other, complete with a tremendous amount of uncertainty for our country and the entire world. Despite the many challenges, the wind industry continued to provide reliable, clean, and affordable energy for the American people. And there’s no sign that it will be slowing down any time soon. Here is a look at 2020’s top industry trends (at least through November).
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
Wind and Solar Jobs: U.S. Bureau of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook
In the midst of a Coronavirus-dominated Thanksgiving season, the climate-concerned find themselves scurrying for ways the incoming Biden/Harris administration can best move forward on climate action, whatever the political obstacles. Real action on climate change will require difficult, long-term efforts to organize and maintain a broad and diverse coalition of interests – and do so in the face of concerted and well-funded opposition. Several individuals and organizations have been thinking through various approaches, and the results of their efforts are now available in new books and reports highlighted below. Continue reading here.
A Sustainable Harvest, American Farm Bureau
Just last week we announced a historic alliance with organizations representing farmers, ranchers, forest owners, the food sector, state governments and environmental advocates, called the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance. The founding members are diverse, but we are united around the goal of developing and promoting voluntary, market- and incentive-based climate solutions. At the American Farm Bureau, we are proud of agriculture’s sustainability story, and we believe that we can continue to build on that success together. This new alliance was formed in February and has been working diligently to develop 40 recommendations built around three key principles:
Virtual Conversation Hosted By The Union of Concerned Scientists
Connecting Faith, Climate, and Justice, December 8, 2020, 6 pm CT Join the Union of Concerned Scientists and faith leaders for a virtual discussion about how traditions can inform advocacy and action in response to climate change and racial justice.
By Lincoln Electric System | November 22, 2020, KRVN
LINCOLN – The Lincoln Electric System Board Friday passed a resolution setting a goal for the utility to achieve net-zero carbon by 2040. With the passage of the goal, LES joins dozens of other utilities and cities that have passed similar measures, including the Omaha Public Power District.
“As LES Board Members, our fiduciary responsibility is to ratepayers. Across the country, clean energy like wind and solar is becoming cheaper while coal is becoming more costly,” said Lucas Sabalka, an LES Board Member. Continue reading here.
Additional Recommended Reading
Net zero by 2040, LES Board approves decarbonization goal,LES News Release After participating in a year-long educational series on establishing a new carbon reduction goal and soliciting public opinion at the beginning of the month, the LES Administrative Board adopted a 100% net decarbonization goal by 2040 during its Nov. 20 meeting. LES acknowledges that the emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel-fired power generating plants contribute to increased concentration levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which in turn contributes to climate change. The Board adopted this goal in response to the risks associated with climate change.
LINCOLN — Over the last decade, Lincoln Electric System has made great stridesin transitioning its energy production portfolio to more sustainable sources. From 2010 to 2019, the community-owned utility increased renewable energy production from the equivalent of 10% of retail sales in 2010 to 46% in 2019, simultaneously reducing CO2 emissions by 42% and the carbon intensity of its energy produced by 38%.
Along with transitioning to more renewable resources, LES has also promoted sustainability through customer-facing programs like incentivized rates for customer-owned solar, virtual net metering, allowing customers tobuy “virtual” panelsat the local community solar facility, and by offering multiple energy efficiency and demand reduction incentives and opportunities. Both distributed generation and load reduction are important parts of maintaining sustainability for an electric utility, and LES has been ahead of the curve on implementing many of these actions.
OPPD’S Decarbonization Study:Pathways to Decarbonization, OPPD Community Connect What is decarbonization? Simply, it’s the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, commonly referred to as our carbon footprint. Although carbon dioxide (CO2) occurs naturally in the Earth’s atmosphere, human activities over the last century have significantly increased levels of greenhouse gases. These include burning fossil fuels for energy and transportation, and removing trees (deforestation) to enable other land uses, such as clearing rainforests for agricultural purposes.
Check out utilities’ carbon reduction commitments on this interactive map: SEPA’S Utility Carbon Reduction Tracker: Omaha Public Power District’s Emission Reduction Goal: Net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
News Release, City of Lincoln Mayor’s Office, July 23, 2020
Lincoln Transportation and Utilities (LTU) today announced StarTran has been awarded a $387,569 grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) for the Lincoln Electric Bus Fleet Replacement Project. The grant will be used to replace six aging diesel buses with six electric buses, bringing StarTran’s total number of electric vehicles to 10. The grant also includes the purchase of three electric charging stations with two fueling ports each and staff training. The charging stations and buses are expected to begin service in December.
“StarTran continues to reduce the environmental impacts of public transit by its continued commitment to increase the number of zero-emission buses in its fleet,” said LTU Director Liz Elliott. “Electric buses produce zero emissions, are quieter, save on fuel costs, have lower maintenance costs, and offer a positive effect on urban air quality.”
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, electric buses are four times more fuel-efficient than diesel buses. With the addition of these electric buses, 57 percent of the fleet will run on electricity or an alternative fuel.
The Trust Board announced the StarTran grant at its June meeting. The project is one of 118 projects receiving $20 million in grant awards from NET this year. Lincoln Electric System also made an in-kind donation of $4,000 for the electric bus program.
The Nebraska Legislature created NET in 1992 using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery. The Trust has provided more than $328 million in grants to more than 2,300 projects across the state. Individuals and groups can apply for funding to protect habitat, improve water quality and establish recycling programs in Nebraska. NET works to preserve, protect, and restore the state’s natural resources for future generations.
Previously Posted Lincoln gets $2.6M grant to add six electric StarTran buses, Lincoln Journal Star The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration’s Low- or No-Emission Vehicle Program and is the second such grant the city’s received in the last few years aimed at acquiring electric buses, according to a news release.
LES News Release: Recent grant enables LES to offer first EV rebate
Lincoln Electric System has received a grant of $120,000 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for its “Electric Vehicle Public Engagement and Rebate Program.” The Trust Board announced funding for the project at its June 11 meeting, and LES made the official announcement during its own administrative board meeting July 17. Funds will be used to offer LES customers purchase or lease rebates for new, all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
The City of Lincoln and Lincoln Electric System have taken steps towards a sustainable future through multiple efforts. The Lincoln Environmental Action Plan (2017-2018) calls for a 25% reduction in carbon emissions by 2025 while increasing the use of renewable energy 50%.
LES offers several incentives for renewable energy generation and energy efficiency improvements. The utility obtains approximately 40% of its distributed power from renewable sources. But are these goals and incentives enough? Continue reading here.
Photo: Telesis Inc’s solar array on top of the former Meadow Gold Dairy House at Seventh and M Streets in Lincoln’s historic Haymarket.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Ohio solar project will benefit low-income communities, Energy News Network An innovative solar project in Toledo will do triple duty when it’s completed this spring. It will provide renewable power to a nearby axle factory. It will use otherwise unproductive land. And hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale of the project’s electricity will benefit nearby low-income communities.
Wind, solar, natural gas dominate capacity in development, American Public Power Association Wind, solar, and natural gas are the three dominant sources in the development pipeline for electricity generation in the US, according to a report from the American Public Power Association. America’s Electricity Generating Capacity, 2020 Update is the Association’s 14th annual look at the country’s current and future capacity. Wind, natural gas, and solar projects account for 94% of all capacity under construction, which is consistent with additions over the past five years, of which 97% came from these three resources.
US Storage Industry Achieved Biggest-Ever Quarter and Year in 2019, Greentech Media “Storage is being deployed all across the country now, at megawatt-scale, in more than half of U.S. states,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of the Energy Storage Association. Eight states now contain utility-scale storage facilities adding up to more than 50 megawatts. Another 11 states operate more than 10 megawatts each. Only 15 states have yet to adopt any advanced storage in front of the meter, according to WoodMac’s data. Overall, U.S. storage installations are expected to nearly triple in 2020 and more than double in 2021. Residential numbers, in particular, will triple this year compared to last year.
NEW 500-WATT SOLAR PANELS
How the new generation of 500 watt panels will shape the solar industry, PV Magazine There are two solar module manufacturers, Risen Energy and Trina Solar, that have unveiled first-of-their kind 500W, 50-cell, PV modules. “For applications where you have a lot of area, particularly commercial and especially utility-scale, it’s really significant,” CEO of Cinnamon Energy Systems Barry Cinnamon told pv magazine. “You could just use fewer modules, it reduces handling costs and overall balance-of-system costs go down.” If there are less modules needed to reach the capacity specifications of a project, that means overall project costs will go down as these modules become economically viable. A significant area that will see cost reduction will come from the racking and trackers.
NREL’S FREE DATABASE
WattBuy to automate and expand NREL’s utility rate database, PV Magazine With this new, free database, WattBuy can help residential homeowners more accurately calculate the return on investment (ROI) on a solar and/or solar-plus-storage system and make a more informed decision, Hood said. For solar financiers and energy efficiency companies, the new data will be useful for targeting new markets and for tracking projects’ ROI, he added.
Project developers can secure cash from new IRENA funding pot,PV Magazine The Climate Investment Platform launched by three multilateral bodies in September is now open for business and renewables companies in developing nations could qualify for help with clean energy facilities, renewables-related grid improvements and energy efficiency schemes.