Tag Archives: Climate Solutions

2021: DOE Moves At Lightning Speed Toward Clean Energy Goals

The Department of Energy (DOE) had a standout 2021. We pioneered game-changing scientific research, continued to advance our important nuclear security and cleanup missions, and made huge strides to tackle the climate crisis. As America’s “Solutions Department,” DOE is moving at lightning speed to achieve President Biden’s ambitious goals of cutting our carbon emissions in half by 2030, reaching 100% clean electricity by 2035 and getting to net zero by 2050.  Here are our top clean energy accomplishments of 2021:  Continue reading here.

DOE Blog Archive

From The White House Briefing Room

Large-scale solar can help protect the special places we call home

Contributed by Chelsea Chandler, Director of Climate
Solutions for Clean Wisconsin, Wisconsin Examiner

The urgency of the climate crisis means that we need all hands on deck implementing all kinds of climate solutions. There’s no silver bullet; we need silver buckshot. That means we need a shift to electric vehicles and better public transit and pedestrian and bike infrastructure. We need energy efficiency and carbon-free electricity. And we need both smaller-scale, rooftop solar and large, utility-scale solar. Every kilowatt of clean energy adds up to make a difference, but given the urgency of climate change, a 465-megawatt project like the proposed Koshkonong Solar Energy Center would be a big step in matching the scale of the crisis with the scale of solutions.
Read more here.

IN NEBRASKA

Utility-Scale Projects Under Development, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy:
Solar Energy Generation in Nebraska 

  • Bellwood: 174.5 MW
  • Burt County: 250 MW
  • Clay County: Up-to 350 MW
  • Lincoln: 230 MW
  • Pierce County: 443 MW
  • Saunders County: 81 MW

FEATURED NEBRASKA PROJECT UNDER DEVELOPMENT

OPPD’s 81 MW solar farm, named “Platteview Solar”
In May the Saunders County Board of Supervisors voted 6-0 to approve the Conditional Use Permit for the 81 MW Platteview Solar Project. See: Saunders County approves solar farm construction near YutanAssociated Press

The above photo illustrates tree-screening surrounding a pollinator-friendly solar farm.

More About Platteview Solar, by 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 Solar 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.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED NREL RESEARCH

Beneath Solar Panels, the Seeds of Opportunity SproutNational Renewable Energy Laboratory 

“It doesn’t have to be an either-or choice. For all our agriculturally productive land, let’s help PV developers and farmers plan out these solar projects so that farmers can get under the arrays and continue to work the land for the next 20 or 30 years.” —Gerry Palano, energy program coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Agriculture

ADDITIONAL SOLAR ENERGY DEVELOPMENT IN NEBRASKA

Community Solar Projects Map as of July 2021, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy Resource

Rural Development Saves Nebraskans Energy Dollars

U.S. Department of Agriculture News Release

LINCOLN, NEB. – Nebraska Rural Development State Director Karl Elmshaeuser announces that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $203,493 in Nebraska to reduce energy costs for agricultural producers and rural small businesses.  “The energy projects funded will help to lower energy costs which will improve the recipients’ bottom lines and create jobs,” Elmshaeuser said. “Dollars saved will be available to be reinvested into Nebraska’s economy making it even stronger.” Nebraska recipients include: Continue reading here.

Previously Posted

More Ag News

  • Tons happening with agriculture right now, Melissa Bartels, Nebraska Extension-UNL
    What’s going on in Ag? The USDA reported this month that 19.4 million acres in the nation were not able to be planted; this is the most acres reported since the USDA Farm Service Agency began releasing the report in 2007. Twelve Midwestern states account for more than 73 percent of those prevent plant acres; flooding and heavy rainfall prevented the planting of mostly corn, soybeans and wheat. Approximately a half of a million acres within Nebraska were prevent plant. In our region, Butler County had over 7,000 acres reported to the USDA as prevent plant and Polk County had a little over 1,000 acres.
  • USDA reports 19 million prevented planting acres in nation, Nebraska TV

Previously Posted Ag News

  • The climate solutions beneath our feet, by Melissa Ho, Senior Vice President, Freshwater and Food, World Wildlife Fund. Published by GreenBiz. By using a combination of climate-smart practices — rotational cattle grazing on native grasslands, planting cover crops to keep soil in place and enrich it with nutrients, innovative feed options that provide nutrition and increase the efficiency of an animal’s gut biome — a producer theoretically could achieve net negative emissions.
  • Big Food turning to regenerative agriculture to meet sustainability goals, Food Dive

Featured Documentary
CBS News Documentary: A Climate Reckoning in the Heartland. Shared by Graham Christensen, Regenerate Nebraska.

Upcoming Event
September 8, 2019, 1:30 to 3pm: Climate Change in Nebraska with Dr. Martha Shulski, Director of Nebraska State Climate Office-UNL. Hosted by Green Bellevue at Bellevue University, Hitchcock Humanities Center, Room 202. Additional details here. Dr. Shulski was among those interviewed for the above CBS documentary.

DOE Report Confirms Wind Energy Costs At All-Time Lows

Posted by Betsey Lillian, North American Windpower

Lower installed project costs, along with improvements in capacity factors, are enabling aggressive wind power pricing. After topping out at 7 cents per kWh in 2009, the average levelized long-term price from wind power sales agreements has dropped to below 2 cents per kWh. Recently signed wind energy contracts compare favorably to projections of the fuel costs of gas-fired generation. Solar prices have also declined precipitously, pressuring wind’s competitiveness in some regions. Read more here.

Download the report here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

CLIMATE NEWS

  • The climate solutions beneath our feet, by Melissa Ho, Senior Vice President, Freshwater and Food, World Wildlife Fund. Published by GreenBiz. By using a combination of climate-smart practices — rotational cattle grazing on native grasslands, planting cover crops to keep soil in place and enrich it with nutrients, innovative feed options that provide nutrition and increase the efficiency of an animal’s gut biome — a producer theoretically could achieve net negative emissions.
  • USDA reports 19 million prevented planting acres in nation, Nebraska TV
    American farmers were not able to plant crops on more than 19 million acres in 2019, including more nearly a half-million acres in Nebraska alone. This marks the most prevented plant acres reported since USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) began releasing the report in 2007, and it’s also 17.5 million acres more than last year at this time.
  • CBS News Documentary: A Climate Reckoning in the Heartland. Posted by Regenerate Nebraska. 

Nevada Leads Nation in Per Capita Solar Power, Dems and Republicans Herald Progress

By John J. Berger, Contributor, Huffington Post

Las Vegas, NV—Realizing that they are sitting on a renewable energy gold mine, public officials in Nevada—the Silver State—have begun celebrating and profiting from their renewable energy resources. Surpassing California, the state is now the nation’s number one producer of both solar and geothermal power per capita. Nevada owes much of its success to the adoption of a state tax abatement program in 2009 that has generated nearly a 1,000 percent return on the investment. Speaking at the ninth annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval said that the “$734 million in incentives has attracted a return of $7 billion in capital investments, payroll, and taxes paid.” Read more here.

Photo: Former U.S. Senator Harry Reid by Isaac Brekken / Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit.

About the Author: John J. Berger is an energy and environmental policy specialist who has produced ten books on climate, energy, and natural resources topics.
Forthcoming Book: Climate Solutions: Turning Global Peril into Jobs and Prosperity will show that a massive clean-energy investment program will produce millions of new jobs over a decade while generating trillions of dollars in savings.

Climate Solutions presents compelling evidence that we can restore economic vitality by building a new, clean energy system for America. Imagine having low unemployment, healthy economic growth, affordable energy, a clean environment, fewer entanglements with the Middle East, and secure domestic power supplies at predictable prices. Building this new renewable energy system is the most effective step we can take to protect our economy and our climate. 

Click here to read more and to sign up to receive an email when the book is available to preorder.