Tag Archives: climate action

Solar Jobs Support 231,000 Families, Must Grow 4X to Reach Biden’s Clean Energy Target

SEIA News Release, May 6, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. solar industry employed 231,474 workers in 2020, a 6.7% drop from 2019 due to pandemic restrictions and increased labor productivity, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2020 released today by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), The Solar Foundation, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), and BW Research.

The solar industry continues to support hundreds of thousands of jobs across all 50 states, and even during a pandemic, our companies largely were able to keep workers on the job,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA. “We now have an opportunity to quadruple our workforce, adding diversity and supporting underserved communities by taking policy steps that incentivize solar and storage deployment and provide long-term certainty for solar businesses.” Read more here.

Download the report, view the interactive charts and explore the state map.
Nebraska
Solar Jobs: 1,246 (ranks #32)
Solar Jobs Per Capita: 1:1,576 (ranks #16)
Installed Solar Capacity: 62.96 MW (ranks #46)

ACP News Release

New study: Transmission policy would unlock clean energy growth, by Jesse Broehl,  American Clean  Power Association

Building just 22 high-voltage transmission lines that are currently on hold in the U.S. could increase national wind and solar generation by 50 percent and create approximately 1.2 million jobs, according to a new study from Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG).

The report, titled Transmission Projects Ready to Go: Plugging into America’s Untapped Renewable Resources, identifies 22 projects currently stalled because the nation lacks the right policies to recover costs of the large-scale interregional transmission needed at the national scale. These shovel-ready projects would unlock roughly 60,000 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy capacity, but policies relating to how long-range transmission is planned, paid for, and permitted are needed for these to move ahead. Click on this link to access the full report.

 ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

A New Program Like FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps Could Help the Nation Fight Climate Change and Transition to Renewable Energy

By Judy Fahys, Inside Climate News

President Joe Biden has been talking about the idea since before he took office. A week into his presidency, he directed the secretary of the interior to lead development of a strategy to mobilize a Civilian Climate Corps—“the next generation of conservation and resilience workers”—to help address the climate crisis. Then he called for spending $10 billion on the updated CCC in the $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan he proposed earlier this month.

“It’s reached a level of seriousness and intention that I have never seen before,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, president and CEO of the Corps Network, a national association representing the nation’s 135 existing conservation corps, mostly private-public partnerships that have adopted the corps model for job training and community service. Read more here.

Civilian Climate Corps Act

Image Credit: The Corps Network

Additional Recommended Reading

Student Conservation Association News Release

Young Americans Believe Climate Change is Real – and Want to Do More to Stop It
Eighty-six percent of young Americans believe the world’s climate is changing and 71% conclude human activities are the cause, but youth are struggling to identify individual practices they can take to improve global sustainability, according to a new nationwide poll.

Released by the Student Conservation Association (SCA)The SCA Climate Survey reveals the perspectives of 15-25 year olds on climate change, environmental justice, and related public policy initiatives. The poll shows that although nearly 40% of respondents view climate change as a “crisis,” 83% believe there is still time to prevent its worst effects. Youth are split, however, on whether that goal is achievable.

About the Student Conservation Association
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is America’s oldest and largest youth conservation organization. SCA conserves lands and transforms lives by empowering young people of all backgrounds to plan, act, and lead while they protect and restore our natural and cultural resources. Founded in 1957, SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders, and seven in 10 of alumni worldwide are employed or studying in conservation-related fields. For more, visit www.thesca.org.

Additional Climate Resource

Climate Science 101, Covering Climate Now 
Climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe explains the basics of climate change for beginners and those in need of a refresher.

About Covering Climate Now

Mindful of the media’s responsibility to inform the public and hold power to account, we advise newsrooms, share best practices, and provide reporting resources that help journalists ground their coverage in science while producing stories that resonate with audiences. Co-founded by the Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation in association with The Guardian and WNYC in 2019, CCNow’s 460-plus partners include some of the biggest names in news, and some of the smallest, because this story needs everyone.

OPPD Board of Directors Seeking Public Input On Utility’s Environmental Stewardship Goals

OPPD News Release

The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors is seeking public input on a proposed amendment to its strategic directive (SD) on environmental stewardship, recognizing the threats posed by climate change. Environmental Stewardship (SD-7) is among 15 strategic directives the board has provided the utility to give it clear and transparent direction, on behalf of its customer-owners. These policies guide OPPD’s strategic and operational planning efforts to address current and future trends, mitigate risks, pursue strategic opportunities, and prioritize resources. OPPD is aligned, across the district, to be accountable to performance expectations related to the various directives.

A proposed amendment to SD-7 would add the following verbiage: 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. The last time the directive was revised was in November of 2019.

The full context to the proposed change to SD-7, as well as a comment form, are viewable on OPPDCommunityConnect.com. The public may offer comment on the proposed change until May 14, 2021. Read the entire news release here.

OPPD’S “PATHWAYS TO DECARBONIZATION” WORKSHOPS

OPPD’s first Pathways to Decarbonization Energy Portfolio workshop “Decarbonization Pathways Planning 101” was held virtually on Wednesday, April 7. The recording of the meeting, as well as registration for the next three workshops, are now available here: OPPDCommunityConnect.com.

  • Workshop #2: Multi-Sectoral Modeling, April 28, 4–6 p.m.
  • Workshop #3: Developing Key Assumptions and Scenarios, May 12, 4–6 p.m.
  • Workshop #4: Developing Modeling Approach, May 26, 4–6 p.m.

THE WIRE POSTS

Program making a difference one home at a time

Initial solar contract inked for OPPD’s Power with Purpose

OPPD offering Energy Star certification

Wind and solar energy are job creators. Which states are taking advantage?

By Karin Kirk, Yale Climate Connections

This analysis presents one way to look at renewable energy jobs in all 50 states. Every state already employs people in wind and solar energy. Each state also has a given amount of wind and solar potential. Some states are translating their natural potential into jobs, while others lag far behind.

Following are seven maps, stepping through three questions: How many jobs does each U.S. state have in wind and solar? How much wind and solar potential is there in each state? And how well has each state created jobs in wind and solar, given the size of their potential? Read more here.

Photo Credit: Walmart / Flickr

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan

The White House Briefing Room

The President’s American Jobs Plan is a historic public investment – consisting principally of one-time capital investments in our nation’s productivity and long-term growth. It will invest about 1 percent of GDP per year over eight years to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure, revitalize manufacturing, invest in basic research and science, shore up supply chains, and solidify our care infrastructure. These are investments that leading economists agree will give Americans good jobs now and will pay off for future generations by leaving the country more competitive and our communities stronger. In total, the plan will invest about $2 trillion this decade. If passed alongside President Biden’s Made in America corporate tax plan, it will be fully paid for within the next 15 years and reduce deficits in the years after. Read more here. 

Additional Recommended Reading & Viewing

Vilsack Brings To-Do List As He Starts New Stint As Agriculture Secretary

By Chuck Abbott, Successful Farming


Boosted by a landslide confirmation vote in the Senate, Tom Vilsack will begin his second stint as agriculture secretary on Wednesday facing problems from the pandemic and climate change to rising hunger rates in America. His own list of goals is much longer and each item on it is a blockbuster.

“We’re going to be a USDA that represents and serves all Americans,” said Vilsack soon after the Senate confirmed his nomination, 92-7, on Tuesday.

 Continue reading here.

Opening Statement of Thomas J. Vilsack Before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry – Remarks as Prepared

Also written by Chuck Abbot: Agriculture may be ‘first and best’ place for climate gains, says Vilsack

Additional Recommended Reading

Ag Leaders Unite Around Racial Equity and Climate Progress

By David Wallinga, MD and Allison Johnson,
Natural Resources Defense Council

Leaders in the Senate and House Agriculture Committees sent a clear message last week: they are committed to righting racist policies that have denied farmers of color their lands and a farming livelihood, and to ensuring as well that small, diversified farms have the tools they need to survive, now and into the future. Continue reading here.

Previously Posted: Biden to Engage Farmers & Build Climate Resilience, by Allison Johnson and Claire O’Connor, NRDC

NRDC’s Regenerative Agriculture Series

Regenerative Agriculture Part 4: The Benefits, by Arohi Sharma, Lara Bryant, Ellen Lee, Claire O’Connor

This is the last installment of our regenerative agriculture blog series. The first blog introduced the philosophy of regenerative agriculture, the second blog covered its principles, the third blog delved into regenerative practices, and this one describes the benefits of regenerative agriculture.

Additional Recommended Reading 

What Biden’s Climate Plan Means For Regenerative Ag, Rodale Institute

Buyer’s Guides

Books 

Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land, by Leah Penniman

In 1920, 14 percent of all land-owning US farmers were black. Today less than 2 percent of farms are controlled by black people—a loss of over 14 million acres and the result of discrimination and dispossession. While farm management is among the whitest of professions, farm labor is predominantly brown and exploited, and people of color disproportionately live in “food apartheid” neighborhoods and suffer from diet-related illness. The system is built on stolen land and stolen labor and needs a redesign.

Farming While Black is the first comprehensive “how to” guide for aspiring African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity as agriculturists and for all farmers to understand the distinct, technical contributions of African-heritage people to sustainable agriculture. At Soul Fire Farm, author Leah Penniman co-created the Black and Latinx Farmers Immersion (BLFI) program as a container for new farmers to share growing skills in a culturally relevant and supportive environment led by people of color. Farming While Black organizes and expands upon the curriculum of the BLFI to provide readers with a concise guide to all aspects of small-scale farming, from business planning to preserving the harvest. – Chelsea Green Publishing

Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Farming, by Gabe Brown

Gabe Brown didn’t set out to change the world when he first started working alongside his father-in-law on the family farm in North Dakota. But as a series of weather-related crop disasters put Brown and his wife, Shelly, in desperate financial straits, they started making bold changes to their farm. Brown—in an effort to simply survive—began experimenting with new practices he’d learned about from reading and talking with innovative researchers and ranchers. As he and his family struggled to keep the farm viable, they found themselves on an amazing journey into a new type of farming: regenerative agriculture. – Chelsea Green Publishing.

See Gabe Brown in the documentary, Kiss the Ground. 

The Truth About Texas: Thermal Power Plant Failures are the Blackout Culprits

By Heather Zichal, Chief Executive Officer,
American Clean Power Association

Texas has suffered this week, but crisis reveals character. Record cold weather brought this state to the brink, but never brought Texas to its knees. Neighbors have come together to help neighbors, and everyone from front line responders to the engineers and experts who manage electricity production have worked around the clock to restore power. That’s the real Texas.

But even amid an all-hands-on-deck crisis, some seized the political opportunity to deceive and distort. The critics of clean power – those who attack it in rain, snow, or sun – started spinning a dangerous fiction to promote an agenda that has nothing to do with restoring power to Texas communities. The facts of how Texas got here are not in dispute. Continue reading here.

Wind energy had a ‘banner year’ in 2020. Here’s what that means for Joe Biden’s climate plan.

By Elinor Aspegren, USA Today

A study from the American Clean Power Association released this month reports that 2020 was a record year for the industry, with developers adding enough megawatts of capacity to provide power for millions of homes and inching the U.S. closer to the Biden administration’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2035.

In all, 16,913 megawatts of new wind power capacity was installed in the U.S. last year – an 85% increase over 2019. That’s the equivalent of the power generated from 11 large coal plants, and enough to serve nearly 6 million homes, Jonathan Naughton, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Wind Energy Research Center at the University of Wyoming, told USA TODAY. Read more here.

Nebraska Clean Energy Fact Sheet, American Clean Power Association

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Onward and Upward: How Recent Trends Will Power Breakthroughs in 2021 and Beyond,
Greentech Media article contributed by John Carrington, CEO and Director of Stem.

Not even 100 days into his administration, President Biden’s sense of urgency in tackling climate issues and driving a clean energy revolution is clear. Here is a look at how key recent trends in energy and climate — including remarkable clean energy progress under dire circumstances — will lead to real and sustainable breakthroughs in 2021 and beyond.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Takes Executive Actions to Tackle the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, Create Jobs, and Restore Scientific Integrity Across Federal Government, The White House Briefing Room

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Solar Industry Statement on Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act

“The Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) will make the American solar industry stronger, better trained and more diverse. Our industry will need tens of thousands of workers as it continues to expand and we are deeply committed to efforts to diversify our workforce, bring the benefits of the energy transition to all, and create economic opportunity for Americans in every community, including those who worked in traditional energy industries.” – Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association

ZERO ENERGY READY HOMES

DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home Program helps homebuyers quickly identify high performance homes that are so energy efficient, all or most annual energy use can be offset with renewable energy. Now a trilogy of videos is available to tell that powerful story to American homebuyers.


DOE’s Video Trilogy

Live Better
Live Healthy
Live Future Ready

The Sun Haven: Net-Zero Energy Home in Lincoln (GRNE Solar).

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Why energy efficiency is key to net-zero, GreenBiz Group

 

 

 

 

 

Despite the rise of net-zero commitments and new financial models proliferating, we’re slowing on our efficiency gains. Global efficiency improvements have been on the decline since 2015, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Energy intensity in 2020 is expected to improve by only 0.8 percent — nearly half of the improvements for 2019 (1.6 percent) and 2018 (1.5 percent). 

ENERGY STORAGE

NREL outlines four-phase framework for energy storage development, American Public Power Association


The report released late last month is the first publication to come out of NREL’s multi-yea
Storage Futures Study, which will explore energy storage technologies across a range of potential future cost and performance scenarios through 2050.


KEYSTONE XL

Cancellation of Keystone XL Pipeline Shapes Energy Investment, Environment + Energy Leader article contributed by Anthony Shaw, Founder, Progeneration Energy

The fate of Keystone XL and similar projects are fueling reinvention in the oil sector. Companies like Shell and BP are no longer defining themselves as oil companies, building new brand identities as integrated energy companies. 

Previously Posted: Nebraska’s better off without Keystone XL, Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board 

Incentives for Energy and Transportation Are Climate Action

By Grant Carlisle, Natural Resources Defense Council

The newly minted Biden administration has made clear that climate change is a top priority. A vital arrow in the administration’s quiver should be tax policies including predictable and long-term extensions and upgrades to clean energy and clean transportation incentives. See here for a letter from 45 environmental, faith and business groups sent to President Biden today supporting robust clean economy tax policies. These policies will help clean energy and clean transportation play a critical role in building an ascendant 21st century American economy, putting people back to work, and laying the foundation for a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous future. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NATIONAL GREEN BANK BILL

National Green Bank Bill Targets $100B for Business Sectors Key to Biden’s Climate Agenda, Greentech Media. A report this week from the National Academies of Science highlighted the need for federal funding to bolster private capital sources that are “unlikely to be sufficient to finance the low-carbon economic transition, especially during the 2020s when the effort is new.” 

CORPORATE NEWS

LIHEAP

APPA, other groups call for a $10 billion emergency supplemental appropriation for LIHEAP, American Public Power Association

A group of national gas and electric utility associations, including the American Public Power Association, on Feb. 4 sent a letter to Congress calling for a $10 billion emergency supplemental appropriation for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).The letter was sent to House and Senate Appropriations committee chairmen and ranking members.

“LIHEAP is the bedrock of America’s energy safety net, providing heating and cooling assistance to our most vulnerable, including the elderly, those with disabilities, and families with young children,” the letter noted.

Nebraska LIHEAP Program