Tag Archives: energy efficiency

40 Newly Selected Ventures Reimagine the “ABCs” of Building Construction to Enhance the Affordability and Effectiveness of Energy-Saving Measures

Department of Energy News Release

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Building Technologies Office (BTO) awarded $26.3 million to 40 competitively selected projects, led by 29 organizations, to pursue innovations that can advance the goals of BTO’s Advanced Building Construction with Energy-Efficient Technologies & Practices (ABC) Funding Opportunity. The funding opportunity underpins the Advanced Building Construction Initiative, one of BTO’s principal efforts to unlock deeper energy savings in the U.S. building sector, which still consumes 40% of the nation’s energy and 75% of its electricity.

Through this funding opportunity, BTO is investing in new technologies that can enable superior building energy performance, without disrupting occupant comfort, and can be deployed quickly, affordably, with minimal onsite construction in the existing building stock as well as new construction.

19 projects were selected under the topic: Advanced Technology Integration, including the following:

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Lincoln, Nebraska) will conduct a field assessment of commercial and multifamily modular buildings compared to traditional construction methods.
  • Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (Chicago, Illinois) will develop an advanced training for Nebraska, supporting trends in building energy efficiency and building science, including grid-integrated efficient building practices.

Read more here.

USDA Seeks Applications for Rural Energy for America Program

The Rural Energy For America Program (REAP) provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.

Who may apply?

  • Agricultural producers with at least 50 percent of their gross income coming from agricultural operations.
  • Small businesses in eligible rural areas.

What is an eligible area?

  • Businesses must be in an area OTHER THAN a city or town with a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and the urbanized area of that city or town. Check eligible business addresses.
  • Agricultural producers may be in rural or non-rural areas.

Application Deadlines

  • Applications for Grants of $20,000 or Less and Loan/Grant of $20,000 or Less Combo Applications March 31, 2020.
  • Applications for Unrestricted Grants or Loan/Unrestricted Grant Combo Applications due by March 31, 2020.
  • Guaranteed Loans are accepted on a continuous application cycle.

Rural Energy For America Program (REAP) – Nebraska
Program Fact Sheet

Recommended Reading
USDA invests more than $172M in building rural Nebraska prosperity in 2019, Columbus Telegram More than $1.1 million was invested in 37 energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy development assistance projects through the Rural Energy for America Program.

The Expert Take: Katherine Hamilton on our energy transition

Generation 180 Interview

At Generation180, we’re working to inspire and equip individuals to get involved in the energy transition. It’s complex and it’s big. So to provide a better sense of where we’re headed, we’re providing a deeper dive into what’s happening with this transition—where are we right now, how far we’ve come, and, most importantly, where we need to go.

As part of our online Boot Camp project, we recently spoke with Katherine Hamilton, an energy expert with over 30 years of industry experience. Katherine has worked with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and is currently the chair of 38 North Solutions and former co-chair of a World Economic Forum council on advanced energy technology. Here [is] what’s on Katherine’s mind and what she sees as the role of “everyday energy leaders.” Read more here.

LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION ABOUT GENERATION 180

SUSTAINABILITY JOBS

Jobs You Can Do With a Sustainability Degree, Earth911

GREEN SCHOOLS

Iowa City schools anticipate cutting carbon emissions in half in five years, Iowa City Press-Citizen
Iowa City schools appear on track to reduce carbon emissions by more than 45% by 2030, the goalpost student climate activists have pushed for in Iowa City, according to a consultant’s report.  But the report indicated that reducing carbon emissions to a net-zero by 2050, another goal pushed for by climate activists, will require the district to take action. 

REGENERATIVE FARMING & CLIMATE RESILIENCY

Black farmers embrace and implement solutions for climate resiliency, by Leah Penniman, Co-Director Soul Fire Farm, GreenBiz

Leah Penniman is a farmer, educator, soil steward and food justice activist. She is co-director and program manager of Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York, and the author of Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land.

 

RURAL ENERGY FOR AMERICA PROGRAM (REAP)

The Rural Energy for America Program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements.

Program Status: Open
Program Information
Program Fact Sheet
Hoja Informativa del Programa en Español

NEW REPORT

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA

Environment America releases 2020 state legislative agenda priorities, News Release
State affiliates of Environment America, a national nonpartisan advocacy group, delivered meaningful progress on several environmental and public health issues in 2019. But given the obstacles that still exist at the federal level on those issues and more, states will have to continue to lead in 2020. Here is a roundup of the top issues and bills that Environment America’s 29 state affiliates will be working on across the country this coming year:

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

2020 will be a key year (and decade) for electric vehicles, GreenBiz
This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Nebraska’s largest solar power project comes into clearer focus with OPPD bid request

By Aaron Sanderford, Omaha World-Herald

The most solar power in state history should flow into the electrical outlets of eastern Nebraska homes and businesses by 2024. That’s when the Omaha Public Power District aims to finish Nebraska’s largest solar power project, building it in or near the 13 counties OPPD serves. The new solar farms could be located in more than one site. OPPD management is soliciting bids through mid-January to add OPPD’s first utility-scale solar power, producing 400 megawatts to 600 megawatts of electricity. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: American Public Power Association

More Nebraska News

Senior management promotions announced by NPPD, News Release

Previously Posted

Also In The News

USDA funds business improvements for energy efficiency

By KHGI, Nebraska TV

Businesses from Ogallala to Columbus are taking steps to run more energy-efficient facilities, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is giving them a boost. The USDA announced investments of $237 million nationwide to help farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses, with several Nebraska businesses selected to receive funding. The following businesses in Nebraska were selected to receive funding to boost their energy efficiency: Read more here.

REAP Overview & Application Information

Midlands Voices: OPPD moving too fast with power plan

By John Crabtree, Omaha World-Herald. The writer, of Fremont, Nebraska,
is the campaign representative for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.

After stating a desire to engage the public in its on-going decarbonization planning, OPPD has presented a plan of its own without engaging stakeholders in a meaningful way. “Power with Purpose” was first introduced at the Oct. 17 board meeting. A timeline was established for consideration of the proposal at the Nov. 14 meeting and specifying that OPPD would receive public input on the proposal through Nov. 8. Having touted the intention to get feedback about the plans, OPPD is now pushing through a plan to spend what would amount to half billion dollars of ratepayer funds while only offering a few weeks for the public to process. Read more here.

Related

More power needed: OPPD plans to build Nebraska’s largest solar farm, plus natural gas plants, Omaha World-Herald. Construction on the new solar farm and natural gas plants is expected to begin in 2020. The solar farm could be completed in 2022 or 2023. The natural gas plants could be built by 2023 or 2024.

Previously Posted Reports & News Stories

Energy Efficiency

Nebraska’s growth potential for developing our communities’ energy-efficient economies is enormous, which would reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and keep more of our energy dollars in our state. Nebraska ranks 43rd on the 2019 American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy State Scorecard. The Scorecard demonstrates that energy efficiency is “a key resource nationwide, with utilities spending approximately $8 billion in 2018 for efficiency programs and saving 27.1 million MWh of electricity:” Resource Link: 2019 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard – 13th Edition

Nebraska’s Energy Efficiency Scorecard

Other State Rankings

  • Colorado: 14th
  • Iowa: 23rd
  • Kansas: 46th
  • Massachusetts: 1st
  • Minnesota: 8th
  • Missouri: 30th

Carbon Footprints / Environmental Impacts Of Solar & Wind Energy Versus “Cleanest” Natural Gas Power Plants

  • An introduction to the state of wind power in the U.S., by Philip Warburg, environmental lawyer and former president of the Conservation Law Foundation. Published by Yale Climate Connections. As a non-carbon-emitting technology, wind power has a big environmental advantage over its leading fossil fuel competitors. Onshore and offshore wind has a life cycle carbon footprint of 20 grams or less of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour. The “cleanest” natural gas power plants – those that use combined cycle technology – produce more than 400 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour. Supercritical coal plants – the least polluting in the industry – generate close to 800 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour.
  • Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Solar Photovoltaics, National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Photovoltaic (PV) solar has a life cycle carbon footprint of 40 grams or less of COequivalent per kilowatt-hour.

A banner year for advancing non-battery storage

By William Driscoll, PV Magazine International

This has been a breakthrough year for non-battery storage, with key advances in pumped hydro, power-to-gas, and thermal storage technologies. Many industry players are moving beyond pilot projects to contracted projects, which could lead to increased scale and lower costs. Last July, for example, Highview Power announced a contract with Nebraska-based Tenaska Power Services to help develop up to 4 GWh of cryogenic energy storage plants in the U.S. over a two-year period. Read more here.

Previously Posted

Highview Power Contracts with Tenaska Power Services for US Cryogenic Energy Storage Projects, Highview Power News Release. Highview Power, a global leader in long-duration energy storage solutions, has contracted Tenaska Power Services Co., the leading provider of energy management services to generation and demand-side customers in the U.S., to identify, model, optimize and provide energy management services for up to four giga-scale cryogenic energy storage plants in the United States over two years. The initial project is expected to be developed in the ERCOT market.

GWh-scale liquid-air battery offers storage at half cost of lithium, Recharge News
A UK technology company has unveiled a “cryogenic” energy storage system that it says can store gigawatt-hours (GWh) of renewable energy at half the cost of lithium-ion batteries. Highview Power says its scaleable zero-emissions CRYOBattery technology, which uses liquid air as its storage medium, could potentially replace natural-gas peaker plants that help to balance the grid. A 10-hour, 200MW/1.2GWh system offers a levelized cost of storage of $140/MWh, the company says. By comparison, analyst Lazard puts the price of a similar lithium-ion gas-peaker replacement facility at $285-$581 per MWh.

More Highview Power News Releases

About Highview Power

Highview Power is a designer and developer of the CRYOBattery™, a proprietary cryogenic energy storage system that delivers reliable and cost-effective long-duration energy storage to enable a 100 percent renewable energy future. Its proprietary technology uses liquid air as the storage medium and can deliver anywhere from 25 MW/100 MWh to more than 200 MW/1.2 GWh of energy and has a lifespan of 30 to 40 years. 

Watch a brief video here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Fossil fuel plant in England will get 250MWh liquid air energy storage makeover from Highview Power, Energy Storage News. The project is planned as the first of five of the same size to be developed in the UK by Highview, and [company CEO Javier] Cavada said the choice to replace a fossil fuel plant site on the grid was instrumental. “We will be using the same connection and the same electrical infrastructure [as the thermal plant], so there is no need to make [new] transmission lines. So where we are they are decommissioning a fossil fuel plant, we will use the same point of [grid] connection for the cryobattery.”

New RMI Report

Massive Investment is Accelerating the Era of Clean Electrification, Rocky Mountain Institute Blog
RMI’s latest report, Breakthrough Batteries: Powering the Era of Clean Electrification, shows that cost and performance improvements are quickly outpacing forecasts, as increased demand for EVs, grid-tied storage, and other emerging applications creates positive feedback loops for further investment and research, setting the stage for mass adoption. Now, analysts expect the capital cost for new battery manufacturing capacity to drop by more than half from 2018 to 2023.

This momentum is opening new markets, pushing both lithium-ion (Li-ion) and other battery technologies across competitive thresholds for legacy technologies faster than anticipated. That’s important because, although Li-ion remains the leading battery technology, alternative battery technologies nearing commercial readiness will be key to accelerating and scaling climate-critical solutions. For example, alternatives to Li-ion are likely better suited for applications such as long-duration energy storage, heavy trucking, aviation, and EV fast-charging infrastructure.

Related Article

Huge Battery Investments Drop Energy-Storage Costs Faster Than Expected, Threatening Natural Gas, Forbes

‘Electrification of Everything’ Would Spike US Electricity Use, but Lower Final Energy Consumption

By Justin Gerdes, Greentech Media

Widespread deployment of EVs, heat pumps, and other electric technologies could increase U.S. electricity consumption by nearly 40 percent by mid-century, according to a new government report. The report, the second in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Electrification Futures Study series, analyzes the demand-side impacts of a transition to electricity in transportation, residential and commercial buildings, and industry through 2050.
Read more here.

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

NEW OPPD VIDEO
Shovels turn to start construction of Sholes facility

ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Indiana cost consumers $140M by nixing efficiency program, AEC says, Utility Dive
A new report from the Applied Economics Clinic (AEC) estimates Indiana’s 2014 decision to do away with its energy efficiency requirements cost consumers more than $140 million, slashed electricity savings and reduced job growth in the state.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Nebraska renewable energy company looks to expand to Aledo, Illinois

By Katrina Lamansky, WQAD

ALEDO, Illinois — A Nebraska company is looking to expand its renewable energy capabilities into the Quad Cities area. The company, Bluestem Energy Solutions reached out to city leaders in Aledo, Illinois to explore the possibility of installing a wind or solar farm in the area. According to Chicago Tribune, new state requirements and incentives have peaked the interest in renewable energy developers. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Bluestem Energy Solutions

The Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act, now in effect, is an outstanding, innovative clean energy initiative that will likely attract the attention of more and more renewable energy developers in the months and years ahead. 

The Act Will:

  • Substantially expand energy efficiency programs to drive customer savings and also expand options for commercial, industrial, and low-income customers.
  • Commit up to $750 million for low-income communities to save money and help them benefit from clean energy.
  • Protect 4,200 jobs and preserve $1.2 billion in economic activity annually.
  • Strengthen and expand the Renewable Portfolio Standard to ensure stable, predictable funding for renewable development, providing $180M per year – growing to $220M per
    year – in funding for renewable resources
    , including new wind power, large-scale solar power, and rooftop and community solar.
  • Position Illinois as a leader in zero-carbon electricity.
  • Provide job training and create thousands of clean energy jobs in energy efficiency, energy innovation, and renewable power industries.
  • Protect consumers through a 25-cent monthly cost impact cap for residential customers through 2030 and a 1.3% cap for business customers.

To learn more, visit: FutureEnergyJobsAct.com

March 2018 Issue of The Nebraska Energy Quarterly Now Available

The Nebraska Energy Quarterly is a newsletter produced by the Nebraska Energy Office devoted to energy efficiency and renewable energy issues.

Articles and news items in this issue:

Nebraska Energy Quarterly
Nebraska Energy Quarterly Archives