Tag Archives: economic benefits of climate action

With new board members, Omaha utility making moves toward low-carbon future

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News / Energy News Network

The staff began looking into decarbonization options nearly two years ago, [Mary Fisher, OPPD’s vice president for energy production and nuclear decommissioning] said, but picked up the pace last fall — about the time that new board members interested in cleaner energy were elected. The change stands in contrast to the state’s largest utility, the Nebraska Public Power District, where many board members continue to downplay the urgency of climate change even after catastrophic flooding in the state earlier this year. Fisher said the board is not the only reason the utility is moving toward cleaner energy. “The factor really has been the ongoing conversation about climate change and carbon emissions nationally,” she said. “You’re seeing it on the nightly news reports, you’re seeing it in the presidential debates, you’re seeing it all over.” Read more here.

Photo by Laura King-Homan, OPPD’s The Wire: Visitors view components of the Omaha Public Power District’s Sholes Wind Farm under construction near Wayne, Nebraska in November.

Additional Recommended Reading

American farmers can’t afford this administration’s climate apathy

By Roger Johnson, Opinion Contributor, The Hill

Though the obstacles are many, farmers are actively looking for solutions. We are gathering with neighbors and friends, in church halls and community spaces across the countryside to share ideas for how to adapt to changing weather and reduce emissions. We are implementing conservation practices that sequester carbon in the soil. We are installing on-farm renewable energy producing systems. We are growing corn and other crops for ethanol and other biofuels, renewable energy sources that will power America’s future. And we are working with food companies to reduce the environmental footprint of some of America’s favorite foods.

All of these efforts depend on a strong foundation of objective, publicly funded, and widely-disseminated research. As climate change presents bigger and more complex problems, we will need more of this kind of research — not less. Without continued innovation or access to findings, farmers may not have the tools to face these challenges going forward. But by supporting climate science, this administration can help ensure that farmers are using the best practices on our land to mitigate and adapt to climate change and that policy makers are developing programs and incentives to support those practices. Read more here.

Roger Johnson is a farmer and the president of National Farmers Union, the oldest general farm organization in the United States. NFU represents 200,000 family farmers and ranchers.

According to the USDA’s latest census released April 2019, a total of 133,176 farms and ranches use renewable energy producing systems, more than double the 57,299 in 2012.

Photo: A 25-kilowatt photovoltaic system installed in 2015 powers the Hammond family farm operations west of Benedict, Nebraska. Photo Credit: Matt Ryerson / Lincoln Journal Star
News Story: Farms flexing solar power, Lincoln Journal Star
Installers: MarLin Wind & Solar and North Star Solar Bears

 

Rick Hammond and his family are the subjects of This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Farm, the One Book, One Nebraska pick for 2019. Ted Genoways’ award-winning book is also this year’s All Iowa Reads Selection.

 

Farm Energy Resources

Renewable Energy Could Save $160 Trillion In Climate Change Costs by 2050

By James Ellsmoor, Contributor, Forbes

With development and energy demands soaring worldwide, there is an opportunity for clean, renewable energy to supplant fossil fuels and take over as the main form of electricity generation. New findings published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) have emphasized the need to scale up efforts to transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy.
Continue reading here.

The Green New Deal Just Speeds Up The Current Green Wave. Case In Point: Solar-Plus-Storage

By Ken SilversteinForbes

The Green New Deal is not an “abstract” idea. Globally economies are trending toward cleaner energies — efforts initiated by public demands, improved technologies and forward-thinking policies: The sponsors are compelled to accelerate the pace — to not just help impoverished communities but to also prevent environmental catastrophe. Think this wild-eyed? Think again. Wind costs have fallen by 67% since 2009 while utility-scale solar has dropped by 86% since that time, according to the financial adviser, Lazard.

“People have opinions about the economics of green energy investments based on a set of facts that are five years old,” says Trip Miller, managing partner at Gullane Capital Partners, in an interview. “And if you extrapolate out, we will get to the point where these energy forms just need battery technologies before they become pervasive.” Read more here.

Photo by Martin Tidbury / Flickr

Previously Posted

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

The 25 cities involved in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge are projected to collectively cut 40 million metric tons of carbon emissions by 2025, according to a new analysis released by the foundation. That’s the equivalent of eliminating 10 coal plants. The $70 million challenge brings 25 cities into a two-year accelerator program, which will offer money and technical assistance for local efforts to fight climate change. The full cohort of cities was announced last month.

Iowa lawmakers can act on climate change

By Chuck Isenhart, Guest Columnist, The Gazette

Iowa Representative Chuck Isenhart, D-Dubuque, is ranking member on the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.

As a state, we don’t need to reinvent any wheels. Here are just a few ideas that would jump-start some good conversations:

  • Set a state carbon-reduction goal and require public entities to make plans to do their parts;

  • Create a comprehensive soil health program that promotes farming practices that sequester carbon as well as improve farmland-soil resilience and productivity.

Read more here, including Representative Isenhart’s additional ideas on climate action.

MORE RECOMMENDED READING

Tri-State announces new 100-megawatt solar project in southern Colorado, The Denver Post. Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is more than doubling the power it will get from solar energy with a new 100-megawatt installation about 20 miles north of Trinidad. The energy wholesaler will buy the entire output of the project over the 15-year contract. Tri-State Generation & Transmission is owned by 43 member electric cooperatives and public power districts and supplies electricity to members in New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming.

Solar solution: Technology helps reduce energy costs on Indiana farm while protecting environment, Purdue University Research Foundation News. This project was awarded a Rural Energy for America Program grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which helped reimburse some of the farm’s initial investment. The USDA grant and federal tax incentives, along with net-metering, will produce savings that will defray the costs of the project by more than 65 percent overall.

NEW STUDY

BPA report details potential for water heaters as DR tools, American Public Power Association
A recent report from the Bonneville Power Administration identifies the potential to enhance the use of water heaters as a demand response tool. The report also found that “smart connected” water heaters could yield “significant cost savings compared to building peaking plants.” 
Additional information, including the report, is available here

10 Ways Science Based Targets Can Improve Your Business

By Mike Scott, Contributor, Forbes

More than 500 of the world’s largest companies have set targets to cut emissions in line with climate science. The consultancy thinkstep has
explained why the targets are such a powerful business tool, “beyond the obvious ethical reasons for working to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

#10: Younger consumers and workers are more interested in
sustainability than their elders. In 2019, thinkstep says, millennials will overtake baby boomers as the largest generation – and climate change is their number one concern – they want to work for a company they can believe in. “Setting science-based targets is a powerful way to communicate the legitimacy of your brand to current and potential
co-workers and retain their loyalty,” thinkstep says. Read more here.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Divestment Year in Review 2018 — #CleanTechnica Report

Over 1000 institutions with managed investments worth almost $8 trillion have committed to divest from fossil fuels. Go Fossil Free.Org Report: 1000 Divestment Commitments And Counting

  • Money managers: the new warriors of climate change, Financial Times
    Following decades of campaigning by environmentalists and non-government organizations, it is now spreadsheet-analyzing money managers — responsible for the nest eggs of millions of people — who are forming a new generation of climate activists. And these activists are backed by trillions of dollars.
  • 6 times the environment won in 2018, Grist
    Folks across the country, from local city leaders to state attorneys general, are out there chipping away at the biggest existential threat of our time. And they’re actually getting somewhere. Here’s proof.
  • Power Plant Accident Casts New Light On New York’s Dirty Fuel Addiction, Huffington Post
    The bright-blue sky dazzled the city’s residents, but the source of the light — one of New York’s dirtiest power plants — could stoke an already heated debate.

Rocky Mountain Institute officials agree Carbon County, Wyoming is breeding grounds for transition into renewable energy sources

By Ray K. Erku, Wyoming Business Report

RAWLINS – In many respects, Carbon County is at the forefront of a modern-day gold rush. Instead of mining for precious metal, however, fortune seekers look to harvest one of the Cowboy State’s most natural of resources: Wind . . . For the Anschutz Corporation, parent company of Power Company of Wyoming, the slated 1,000-turbine Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind farms will eclipse $5 billion in projected costs. Once completed, it’ll be considered the largest onshore wind generation facility in North America . . . PacifiCorp and Rocky Mountain Power, subsidiaries of multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, which is headed by Buffett, are beginning to stomp their footprints in the county by partnering with Invenergy Co. to spearhead production of not just the Ekola and TB Flats projects, but the Gateway West Transmission Line. Read more here.

Photo by Power Company of Wyoming: According to Business Insider, a 2017 analysis revealed that it took $102 to generate one megawatt-hour from coal, compared to wind, which took $45. 


Managing the Coal Capital Transition, Rocky Mountain Institute

 

 

MORE ENERGY TRANSITION NEWS

COSTS OF SOLAR PANELS CONTINUING TO DROP

Module prices have fallen by up to 25% so far this year, by Emiliano Bellini, PV Magazine
According to a Q3 report by EnergyTrend, monocrystalline module prices have fallen almost 20% this year, while those for polycrystalline modules have dropped by more than 25%. Increased consolidation among manufacturers and developers is expected to occur in China, and the global solar market, with more merger deals, plans for capacity reductions, and even factory closures.

PV MAGAZINE: SEIA GUIDE UPDATE 

Best practices for building residential solar power and market confidence

Economists who changed thinking on climate change win Nobel Prize

By Quirin Schiermeier, Nature

A pair of US economists, William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, share the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for integrating climate change, and technological change, into macroeconomics, which deals with the behavior of an economy as a whole. Nordhaus, at the University of Yale in New Haven, Connecticut, is the founding father of the study of climate change economics. Economic models he has developed since the 1990s are now widely used to weigh the costs and benefits of curbing greenhouse gas emissions against those of inaction. Romer, who is at the NYU Stern School of Business in New York, was honored for his work on the role of technological change in economic growth. The economist is best-known for his studies on how market forces and economic decisions facilitate technological change. Read more here.

Photo: William Nordhaus (left) and Paul Romer

Related: Curbing global warming could save US$20 trillion

The US Is Ready For 100% Clean Energy — 10 Cities Model How To Get There

By Carolyn Fortuna, CleanTechnica

The Sierra Club’s “2018 Ready for 100 Case Study Report” outlines how 10 US cities have made ambitious commitments to be powered with 100% clean energy. These cities are embracing renewable energy options like wind and solar to show the progress and impact that cities can make to lead climate action globally and locally.

More than 80 cities in the US have now established policies to move away from dirty fuels and repower their communities with 100% clean, renewable energy sources. As a direct consequence, fossil fuels are being pushed out and expectations are rising for electric utilities, states, and energy generators to go all-in on clean and renewable power. Continue reading here.

Governor Brown Signs 100 Percent Clean Electricity Bill, Issues Order Setting New Carbon Neutrality Goal

News Release, Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

SACRAMENTO – Reaffirming California’s global climate leadership, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed Senate Bill 100, authored by Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus Kevin de León, setting a 100 percent clean electricity goal for the state, and issued an executive order establishing a new target to achieve carbon neutrality – both by 2045. “This bill and the executive order put California on a path to meet the goals of Paris and beyond. It will not be easy. It will not be immediate. But it must be done,” said Governor Brown. Read more here.

RELATED

  • SEIA News Release Excerpt: Following is a statement by Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association: 
    “California has taken a monumental step in enacting one of the world’s most ambitious clean energy policies. As the largest solar market in the U.S., California has already proven that investing in renewable energy brings jobs and massive economic and environmental benefits to the state — benefits that will grow exponentially with the enactment of SB 100.”
  • Vote Solar News Release: Statement from Adam Browning, Vote Solar’s Executive Director, celebrating SB 100’s passage:
    “Today, California made history. This is the biggest and most important climate action to date in the United States.  Big because California is big. Important because it sets a new bar for what’s possible, and because it is replicable. This year New Jersey committed to 50% renewables, and in November voters in both Arizona and Nevada will decide whether their own state should do the same. This is a revolution of evolution, and it’s happening across the country.”
  • How Do Ambitious Climate Pledges Impact Economic Growth? For Insight, Compare Texas And California, Forbes
    Compared to other places, like Texas – known for its oil and gas production – California’s economy is performing better on most measures, showing that it is entirely possible to pair steep emission reductions with vibrant growth. California has established some of the world’s most ambitious carbon emission reduction targets, and is achieving them faster and at lower cost than expected. The state hit its 2020 target four years early, while its economy grew much faster any other state and the U.S. economy as a whole – California’s economy climbed from 10th largest in the world in 2012 to 5th largest today.

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