Tag Archives: EcoWatch

50 Ways 100% Clean Energy Won In 2017

By Jodie Van Horn, EcoWatch

We’d never argue that 2017 was a great year, but some really great things did happen! Here are 50 ways (yes, 50!) that clean energy kept winning in 2017. Continue here.

iStock Photo



Hear From the Bold Nebraskans Who Won’t Give Up Fighting Keystone XL Pipeline

By Nicole Greenfield, EcoWatch

When TransCanada began knocking on doors throughout Nebraska in 2008, most residents didn’t know much about its Keystone XL pipeline or the dirty tar sands oil it would be transporting. The energy company was negotiating easements with local landowners in order to secure a route for its multibillion-dollar project—which would run north to south through the state, directly through the Ogallala Aquifer and across hundreds of Nebraskan rivers and streams. TransCanada threatened landowners with eminent domain if they didn’t comply. Click here to read their stories. 

Photo: Susan and Bill Dunavan on their land. Credit: Alex Matzke/Bold Nebraska


The Nebraska Public Service Commission has scheduled the following public hearings to take formal testimony on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline across the state:

Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Location: Divots Conference Center, 4200 West Norfolk Avenue, Norfolk, Nebraska
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Doors open at 9:00 a.m.)

  • Public comments accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Commenters will have three to five minutes to speak.

The commission has also scheduled five days of public hearings August 7th through 11th beginning at 9 a.m. each day at Lincoln’s Marriott Cornhusker Hotel, 333 South 13th Street.

The commission also provides an online form for the public to submit comments.

Eminent Domain – World Premiere of an Omaha Playwright’s Work, Omaha Community Playhouse, August 25, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Description: On the surface, Eminent Domain exposes the hard-fought battle between Nebraska farmers and corporate energy. Dig deeper and the greater struggle is revealed: the fight to preserve our Heartland’s farms and the livelihood of the people who live here. Our most crucial resource is not just the land we are privileged to attend with cracked and calloused hands—it is our kin, our clan and our heritage.

Visit the Omaha Community Playhouse’s website

10 Reasons to Be Optimistic for a Low-Carbon Future

By Peyton Fleming, senior director of the nonprofit sustainability group Ceres. Posted on EcoWatch.

[There] is a movement taking hold that is far bigger than the
U.S.—I’ve seen it in the last year in Africa, in Europe and the U.S. Here are 10 shining lights for the irresistibility and inevitability of the low-carbon future. It’s here—and there is no turning back.
Continue reading.

It’s Official: Solar Energy Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels

2016 was the year that . . .

By Joel Makower, Chairman and Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group


Many of us are quite happy to keep truckin’ on to a new year. And yet 2016 had its better moments. Viewed through the lens of sustainable business, it was more of the same — “more,” in this case being a continued acceleration of activity across a steadily expanding landscape of opportunity. Lest we forget, here, in no particular order, are 10 story lines we covered during the year that showed the promise and progress of sustainable business.



Microgrid powers new suburban Minneapolis office building

Written by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

On a crowded stretch of one of the Twin Cities’ busiest freeways, a glassy new five-story building announces itself with a large sign saying, “OATI Microgrid.” Inside the building in Bloomington, workers are putting the final touches on the OATI Microgrid Technology Center, which features solar panels, wind turbines, a combined heat and power plant and energy storage. It’s part of a pilot project for Open Access Technology International, a Minneapolis-based company that provides cloud-based software applications for more than 1,600 clients, including independent service operators (ISOs), electric cooperatives, energy traders and utilities. Continue reading.

Photo by Open Access Technology International. A rendering of OATI’s new office building in Bloomington, Minnesota, equipped with a microgrid powered by renewables and CHP turbines.


New bioenergy approach could mean cleaner water, plus a big payday for farmers

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

[Shashi Menon, a managing partner at EcoEngineers] and his economic-analyst partners at Goss & Associates attempted to calculate the financial and other benefits that could result from a synergistic approach to both producing high-quality biogas from municipal, industrial and agricultural waste and using marginal land to grow an energy crop such as miscanthus. It could be processed along with other organic waste in anaerobic digesters . . . They roughly concluded that a $17.6 million investment in a digester to process municipal and industrial waste would, over 20 years, yield about $158 million in benefits. Read more.

Photo by Andrea Kirby / Creative Commons


The Heartland of America is ‘100% Clean Energy Ready’

Written by Jodie Van Horn, Sierra Club. Posted on EcoWatch

Art and Helen Tanderup are Nebraska farmers who had never intended to become environmentalists. Born and raised in America’s Heartland, the Tanderups have 160 acres in Custer Township, on which they grow corn and soybeans. Today, their farm also has a large solar array and the Tanderups drive a Chevy volt electric vehicle. But that wasn’t always the case. Continue reading. Photo: Art and Helen Tanderup. Credit: John Quigley

Why going green is growing on U.S. farmers – Nebraskans Interviewed on PBS NewsHour. Watch the broadcast here.


Beller Farm Near Lindsay

Beller FarmNews Story: Solar-powered pivots: Family’s project produces surplus energy, holds potential for rest of NebraskaPhoto by Mike Beller

Brummond Farm Near Craig

Greg BrummondProject: 10-kilowatt solar system, which powers half of Greg Brummond’s corn and soybean farm.
Source: Growing renewable energy resources to farm with fewer fossil fuels, by Grant Gerlock, Harvest Public Media. Photo: Greg Brummond of Craig, Nebraska. Credit: Brian Seifferlein, Harvest Public Media

Hammond Farm Near Benedict
Hammond Farm.1
Project: 25-kilowatt photovoltaic system powers the Hammond farm operation west of Benedict. The project estimate was $84,864; however, a USDA grant and federal tax credits reduced the cost to only $19,100, with a payback of just over 6 years, after which the farm will benefit from free energy. Solar panels typically last 25 or more years.
Source: Farms flexing solar power, by Nicholas Bergin, Lincoln Journal Star. Photo by Matt Ryerson/Lincoln Journal Star.

Jenkins Ranch Near Callaway
Jenkins Ranch
Project: 25-kilowatt system funded, in part, by a USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant. The solar array consists of one hundred 225-watt solar panels. The energy it will generate is estimated to replace 112% of the Jenkins’ yearly usage. The ranch has been in their family since 1876.
Source: Jenkins Ranch Installs Solar Panel for Energy Efficiency, Sandhills Express / Custer County Broadcasting 

Knopik Farm Near Belgrade

Knopic array

Project: 15-kilowatt PV system
News Story: Belgrade Story Tour Generates Energy And Interest, Center for Rural Affairs. Courtesy Photo. 

Kruger Farm In Minatare
IMG_2075Tony Kruger, August 1, 2015:
“I took a class in Lincoln in the mid ’70’s and have had the bug since. Tomorrow I will be the first person on Chimney Rock Public Power to have a solar generating system: Thirty-six 305-watt panels, net metering. It has taken me 4 weekends to complete the project, but tomorrow I should flip the switch. On the farm I also have a passive solar cabin with a trombe wall and an active water unit with 550 gallons on storage.”
Video: Western Nebraska Passive Solar Home, by Aaron Kruger
Resource: Build It Solar provides online plans for a simple solar wall collector for space heating
Photo: Tony Kruger

Pandorf Land & Cattle Company Ranch


Project: 600-kilowatt solar array on the Pandorf Land & Cattle Company Ranch in Custer County, northwest of Callaway. Currently, this is Nebraska’s largest solar array, estimated to generate sufficient electricity to power 60 homes or 10 to 12 center-pivot irrigation systems. The project was partially funded by a USDA Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) grant.
News Sources: 600 Kilowatt Solar Array Located on Custer County Ranch, by Dave Schroeder, Rural Radio Network / KTIC.  Photo Credit: Rural Radio Network / KTIC
Here comes the sun, by Kamie Stephen, North Platte Telegraph

If you own a farm or ranch in Nebraska and have installed solar, please share your project on our website’s “Solar Examples,” to help educate everyone across our state about solar energy and its benefits: nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com 

Solar Now Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels for Many Small Businesses

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch

Solar power is the fastest-growing source of electricity in the country, and now mom and pop shops can take part in the boom.

SolarCity has devised an an affordable solar power option for small businesses, allowing them to pay less for solar power than they pay the utility. Photo credit: Flickr

SolarCity has devised an an affordable solar power option for small businesses, allowing them to pay less for solar power than they pay the utility. Photo credit: Flickr

Solar panels are usually seen on the roofs of residential buildings, schools, large companies or government institutions, but now, SolarCity is expanding its services to small and medium-sized businesses, or SMBs, the company announced. This move essentially allows local businesses to cut ties to their utility and save money against rising electricity costs with renewable energy.

Continue reading.

Renewable Energy Accounts for 70% of New U.S. Capacity in First Half of 2015

By Ken Bossong, Sun Day Campaign. Posted on EcoWatch

In yet another clear indication of the nation’s energy future, renewable sources—biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind—accounted for nearly 70 percent (69.75 percent) of new electrical generation placed in service in the U.S. during the first six months of 2015.

New capacity from renewable energy sources during the first half of 2015 is 904 times greater than that from coal and more than double that from natural gas. Photo credit: Shutterstock

New capacity from renewable energy sources during the first half of 2015 is 904 times greater than that from coal and more than double that from natural gas. Photo credit: Shutterstock

According to the recently-released “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, 18 new “units” of wind accounted for 1,969 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity—or more than half of all new capacity year-to-date. Among renewable sources, solar followed with 549 MW (71 units), biomass 128 MW (7 units), geothermal steam 45 MW (1 unit) and hydropower 21 MW (1 unit). Twenty-one units of natural gas contributed 1,173 MW.

Continue reading.

Fueled by Growth in the Residential Segment, U.S. Installs 1.3 GW of PV in Q1 2015

Photo: Greentech Media

Photo: Greentech Media

Shattering previous records, the United States residential solar market grew 76 percent over the first quarter of 2014, installing 437 megawatts[i] (MW) of photovoltaics (PV) in the first three months of 2015. According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) Q1 U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, the U.S. installed 1.3 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV across all market segments.

“Today’s report reveals just how important establishing and maintaining effective, forward-looking public policies, like the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), are to America,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO. “Solar continues to be the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the United States. By 2016, the U.S. will be generating enough clean solar energy to power 8 million homes. That means solar will offset 45 million metric tons of damaging carbon emissions – the equivalent of removing 10 million cars off our roads and highways.”

Read more here. 

Additional Recommended Reading
12 Reasons Why Solar Is Having an Explosive Year, by Rhone Resch, EcoWatch

U.S. Rooftop Solar Capacity Jumps Record 76% in First Quarter, by Justin Doom, Bloomberg Business