Tag Archives: economic development

USDA Invests $5.2 Billion to Build and Improve Critical Rural Infrastructure in 46 States and Puerto Rico

USDA News Release, December 16, 2021

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is investing $5.2 billion to build and improve critical rural infrastructure in 46 states and Puerto Rico. The investments reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to Building a Better America by investing in rural communities and will help expand access to high-speed internet, clean water and reliable electricity in people’s homes and businesses across rural America. Read more here.

Water & Environmental Programs
USDA investments in Nebraska by types and amounts:

Village of Mason City – Loans: $537,000 / Grants: $482,000
Village of Page – Grants: $82,000
Village of Whitney – Loans: $203,000 / Grants: $432,000

Electric Loans Total: $4,064,469,000
Just one example of USDA’s investments in this infrastructure category: $550 million to the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, a nonprofit created and owned by a network of rural electric cooperatives, with 1,000 member owners across 49 states. Headquartered in the State of Virginia.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

The roundtable focused on new private sector and philanthropic investments that have been spurred by the Administration’s efforts to support economic revitalization in energy communities. The roundtable also discussed the announcement of initial awards from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) $300 million Coal Communities Commitment to support economic revitalization, infrastructure investments, and quality jobs in coal communities with funding from the American Rescue Plan.

“Weatherization retrofits and home energy upgrades – like heat pumps, LED lighting, insulation and sealing up leaks — cuts monthly energy bills for families by up to 30%, and makes our air healthier,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Thanks to the investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, DOE will be able to help even more communities, cut more air pollution, and generate good-paying local jobs.” For more information about this effort, visit the Weather Assistance Program website.

Previously Posted

New Report Identifies 22 Shovel Ready Regional and Interregional Transmission Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new report released today identifies 22 shovel ready, high-voltage transmission projects across the country that, if constructed, would create approximately 1,240,000 American jobs and lead to 60,000 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy capacity, increasing America’s wind and solar generation by nearly 50 percent. The report, Transmission Projects Ready to Go: Plugging into America’s Untapped Renewable Resources, produced by Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG) as part of the Macro Grid Initiative, outlines how these projects could begin construction soon if more workable transmission policies are enacted. These regional and interregional transmission lines would not only bring quality wind and solar resources to areas with high demand but also increase economic development and grid resilience as well as provide cost-savings for consumers. Read more here.

About Macro Grid Initiative:
The Macro Grid Initiative is a joint effort of the American Council on Renewable Energy and Americans for a Clean Energy Grid to promote investment in a 21st century transmission infrastructure that enhances reliability, improves efficiency and delivers more low-cost clean energy. The Initiative works closely with the American Wind Energy Association, the Solar Energy Industries Association, the Advanced Power Alliance and the Clean Grid Alliance to advance our shared goals. To learn more, visit https://acore.org/macro-grid-initiative

About Americans for a Clean Energy Grid:
Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG) is the only non-profit broad-based public interest advocacy coalition focused on the need to expand, integrate, and modernize the North American high-voltage grid. ACEG brings together the diverse support for an expanded and modernized grid from business, labor, consumer and environmental groups, and other transmission supporters to support policy which recognizes the benefits of a robust transmission grid. 

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Advances Expansion & Modernization of the Electric Grid, The White House Briefing Room

An Open Letter on COVID-19: The Resilience of the Solar Industry

By Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA Blog Post

Alongside our members and allies, we have conducted hundreds of phone calls and video meetings with legislators at the state and federal level to talk about how COVID-19 is affecting solar companies, what policymakers can do to #SaveSolarJobs, and how this industry is poised to help rebuild the U.S. economy. There is much more work to be done — and I strongly encourage you to join us in this campaign.

We also are taking care of the day-to-day business of ensuring development and implementation of smart state policiesfighting for trade policies that do no further harm to solar and advocating fiercely for competitive markets and open access for clean energy at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Trade Representative and other agencies to get the best possible outcomes for our industry. Read more here.

IN NEBRASKA

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

AMERICAN WIND WEEK 2020

#AmericanWindWeek 2020: Wind Builds the Future, Into The Wind, AWEA Blog
August is fast approaching, and that means it’s time to start planning for #AmericanWindWeek 2020, happening August 9-15. And to get your creative juices flowing, we’re happy to announce this year’s theme: Wind Builds the Future.

JOURNALISM NETWORK

$4.7 Million Grant From Eric & Wendy Schmidt to NPR Collaborative Journalism Network, NPR News Release

All 25 public radio stations in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska serving some 63 cities will have access to content produced by the Midwest regional newsroom, which will be led by the largest public media stations in the region–KCUR in Kansas City, St. Louis Public RadioIowa Public Radio and NET in Nebraska–with NPR as the national partner.

The grant will add investigative units in California and the Midwest, enabling the regional newsrooms to provide deeper coverage of topics like government accountability, criminal justice, the environment, healthcare and rural economic development. The regional hubs will also leverage existing reporting resources by coordinating coverage of breaking news and elections across statewide news teams.

As Nebraska Public Power celebrates 50 years, Scottsbluff solar project goes online

By Jerry Purvis, Scottsbluff Star-Herald

It was Nathan Johnson’s last official day as Scottsbluff city manager as he joined city officials and representatives from Nebraska Public Power District to cut the ribbon on the community’s new solar energy facility. NPPD Account Manager Terry Rajewich welcomed the public to the ceremony at the Landers Soccer Complex north of Scottsbluff.

“Partnerships are what we’re about,” Rajewich said. “NPPD is turning 50 this year and Scottsbluff has been with us for the past 46 years. They were the first to express an interest in purchasing more of its power from solar generation.” Continue reading here.

Blueprint Nebraska aims to build a vibrant, growing state

By Laura King-Homan, The Wire

The aim of Blueprint Nebraska, a statewide strategic plan for economic growth, is to bring the state together to address its challenges and capitalize on its strengths. It is an ambitious project, but one that former State Sen. Jim Smith said will position Nebraska for a strong future. Beginning this fall, Blueprint Nebraska and its partners will begin to tackle 15 initiatives. These initiatives include promoting internships and apprenticeships, revamping education at all levels, promoting diversity, and improving transportation, among others. All 15 initiatives will surround one of four themes: people, places, government and sectors. Blueprint Nebraska will roll out the 15 initiatives over the next nine months, launch them and build teams around each. Smith’s next step is to go back out into the communities and find people willing, capable and able to be on the teams executing the initiatives. Read more here.

#AmericanWindWeek: Offshore wind powers the opportunity for a new ocean energy resource

By Celeste Wanner, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Day 5 of #AmericanWindWeek is here, and today we’re celebrating a new ocean energy resource: offshore wind. Interest in offshore wind has exploded in the three years since the Block Island Wind Farm became the first U.S. offshore wind project. States up and down the East Coast have made big commitments to offshore wind, and there are intriguing projects in the works off California’s coast and the Great Lakes. And just in time for #AmericanWindWeek, the Department of Energy (DOE) has a new report that explores the state of offshore wind.
Continue reading here.

Clean Tech Jobs Lead Employment Statistics In Many US States

By Steve Hanley, CleanTechnica

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and projections from the Projections Managing Partnership, Yahoo Finance has charted which jobs are in high demand in all 50 US states. It says solar panel installer is the fastest growing job in eight different states — California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, Minnesota, and New Jersey. According to the BLS, that job is known as a “PV installer” . . . In Colorado, Texas, Nebraska, and Iowa, wind turbine service technicians are in high demand. Read more here.

FEATURED NEBRASKA PROGRAM

Nebraska Community College GAP Assistance Program
The program, which began July 1, 2016, receives 9% of the available Nebraska Lottery funds set aside for education each year. Gap Program funds are distributed to the state’s six community colleges, which recruit and select eligible low-income students in eligible programs to receive grants.

Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission For Postsecondary Education administers the program, which is under the direction of the Nebraska Community College Student Performance and Occupational Education Grant Committee.

Student grants may be used for tuition, direct training costs, required books and equipment, and fees. Eligible programs include renewable energy. Visit the website to learn more about the program.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Central City, others honored for community development efforts, by Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald
Central City, Nebraska, was honored Monday by Gov. Pete Ricketts as the state’s 2019 “Showcase Community” for its economic development efforts, which include continuing local business growth and use of solar energy. The award was given during a press conference marking “Economic Development Week” in the state.
 

OPPD named top utility for economic development

By Paula Lukowski, OPPD Blog, The Wire 

For the second year in a row, Site Selection named OPPD one of 2018’s “Top Utilities in Economic Development”. . . Significant projects that OPPD landed include Facebook (100-plus jobs, $1.2 billion-plus investment), Veramaris (20 jobs, $200 million-plus investment) and Novozymes (10 jobs, $215 million-plus investment). Other efforts highlighted by Site Selection include the creation of OPPD’s rate 261M, the Rattlesnake Creek Wind project and the Integrate Energy Marketplace strategic initiative, which includes an enhanced economic development strategy.
Read more
here.

Image Credit: Facebook

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • OPPD’s The Wire Series: How Does That Work?
    Data Centers,
     by Jason Kuiper
    The Omaha metro area has a number of data centers, including Yahoo, Travelers, Cabela’s, Verizon and First Data, and the newest, a Facebook data center in Sarpy County. There are now more than 20 data centers that call the Omaha metro area home.
    Read the entire blog post and others in the series here.
  • Muth making a difference at OPPD and for environmentThe Wire
    A self-professed biologist in an engineer’s world, Emily Muth is pursuing her passions while serving in the energy industry. Muth, Environmental Affairs administrator, is the lead environmental auditor for OPPD. In her role, she travels around the district to power plants and work sites to ensure environmental compliance with air and water quality and waste management. She focuses on ensuring requirements are met and looking for ways to improve processes. Muth is most proud of her involvement with the Prairie in Progress program at OPPD, a recent effort where some OPPD grounds are being restored to prairie land to help pollinators thrive, particularly the monarch butterfly.