Tag Archives: energy efficiency

Nebraska’s better off without Keystone XL

Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board

Increased investment in renewable energy — wind energy, solar power, electric vehicles, etc. — proves that America’s future will involve fewer fossil fuels going forward, a fact underscored by the growing number of financial institutions and other entities that now refuse to invest in the oil and gas industry . . . The grassroots coalition of environmentalists, farmers, ranchers and property-rights advocates who fought the pipeline tooth and nail can celebrate, knowing their efforts weren’t in vain. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

When TC Energy said the pipeline would create nearly 119,000 jobs, a State Department report instead concluded the project would require fewer than 2,000 two-year construction jobs and that the number of jobs would hover around 35 after construction.

The market case, even before the COVID-19 pandemic sent oil prices plummeting, has also deteriorated. Low oil prices and increasing public concern over the climate have led Shell, Exxon, Statoil, and Total to either sell their tar sands assets or write them down. Because of this growing market recognition, major new tar sands projects haven’t moved forward with construction for years, despite investments from the government of Alberta, Canada. For example, in 2020, Teck Resources withdrew its ten-year application to build the largest tar sands mine in history—citing growing concern surrounding climate change in global markets.

Alberta’s Renewable Energy Growth

Creighton University to divest fully from fossil fuels within 10 years

By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Creighton University announced it plans to phase out all investments in fossil fuels from its $587 million endowment within the next 10 years and target new investments in sustainable energy. Under the new investment policy, Creighton will sell off public securities of fossil fuel companies within five years and end holdings in private fossil fuel investments within 10 years. At the same time, it plans to seek out new investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The decision, approved by the trustees in September and announced on New Year’s Eve, comes more than two years after students on the Jesuit campus in Omaha, Nebraska, began pressuring school leadership to divest from companies involved in the extraction and refining of coal, oil and natural gas because of their leading role in human-driven climate change. The move makes Creighton the fourth U.S. Catholic university to make public its plans to divest fully from fossil fuels. Continue reading here.

Photo by Brady Manker: Creighton University students advocate for climate action in 2019.

Additional Recommended Reading

For decades, environmentalists have warned that climate change endangers the planet. Now, more asset managers than ever are in agreement as they see a threat to the bottom line. The fossil fuel divestment campaign has captured global attention, with many high-profile institutional investors withdrawing investment from fossil fuels. The campaign has achieved particular traction among faith investors, local authorities, and education establishments such as US and European universities. The climate crisis has put high emitting industries under pressure in an already disrupted business environment due to covid-19. Pressure from shareholder activists are prompting more investors than ever to reshape their portfolios. 

NOAA Public Domain Image

Congress takes aim at climate change in massive relief bill

By Matthew Daly, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The huge pandemic relief and spending bill includes billions of dollars to promote clean energy such as wind and solar power while sharply reducing over time the use of potent coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are considered a major driver of global warming. The energy and climate provisions, supported by lawmakers from both parties, were hailed as the most significant climate change law in at least a decade. “Republicans and Democrats are working together to protect the environment through innovation,” said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

American Clean Power Association statement on Renewable Energy Provisions of COVID-19 Omnibus Legislation, AWEA News Release

“This bipartisan agreement is a major win for American energy consumers, providing more opportunities for them to receive reliable, zero-carbon, and pollution-free electricity in their local communities. We appreciate that Congress has recognized clean energy’s significant contributions to our nation’s economy and role in providing jobs and investments during the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. As we enter the new year, stable policy support will help ensure that wind and solar can continue providing the backbone of our country’s electricity growth. We also applaud Congress for recognizing the enormous potential of offshore wind, America’s largest untapped electricity source, as a brand-new provider of jobs for American workers and clean power for American families.” – Heather Zichal, CEO of the American Clean Power Association (ACP)

The Solar Vision: A 100-day agenda (PDF), Solar Energy Industries Association

Becoming A Clean Energy Activist

Guest Contributor David Lapp Jost, CleanTechnica

Taking part in the global transition to clean ways of living and clean technologies is one of the most exciting, valuable, rewarding, and ultimately significant things you can do. When you hasten the adoption of better ways of generating using energy, you help on so many levels. You clean up your local environment, reducing poisons that existing industries pump into our air, soil, water, and politics and media. You help your local economy, creating new, sustainable, quality jobs. And you help billions of people who you will never know. We humans face an uncertain future together due to climate change, but we can do our part to make it better. Continue reading here.

Also Written By David Lapp Jost

About the Author: David Lapp Jost works for a peace organization. He is conscious of ways that fossil fuels exacerbate racial and economic inequality, war, and climate change. He devotes much of his spare time to promoting solar power and sustainability initiatives.

Biden introduces his climate team, says ‘no time to waste’

By Kevin Freking, Associated Press, Omaha World-Herald

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Just as the United States has needed a unified, national response to COVID-19, it needs one for dealing with climate change, President-elect Joe Biden said Saturday as he rolled out key members of his environmental team. “We literally have no time to waste,” Biden told reporters as [he] introduced his choices.

The approach is a shift from Donald Trump’s presidency, which has been marked by efforts to boost oil and gas production while rolling back government efforts intended to safeguard the environment. The incoming Biden team will try to undo or block many of the current administration’s initiatives. There also will be an emphasis on looking out for the low-income, working class and minority communities hit hardest by fossil fuel pollution and climate change. Continue reading here.

The Biden Plan To Build A Modern, Sustainable Infrastructure And An Equitable Clean Energy Future, Joe Biden.Com

Trump Administration Invests $776,960 in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for Rural Nebraska–Investment to Help 39 Agricultural Producers or Businesses

USDA Rural Development News Release


“The investments announced today will help many rural businesses and agricultural producers to save on energy costs which will allow them to reinvest into their farm or business, helping the rural economy,” said Nebraska State Director Karl Elmshaeuser for USDA Rural Development. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA has been working tirelessly to be a strong partner to rural Nebraska in building stronger and healthier communities, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.” Listed by county are Nebraska’s recipients: Continue reading here.

For more information contact Nebraska Energy Coordinator Jeff Carpenter at
402-437-5554 or jeff.carpenter@usda.gov.

USDA Rural Development State Office
Suite 308 Federal Building
100 Centennial Mall North
Lincoln, Nebraska  68508

Rural Energy for America Program: Next applications deadline is November 2, 2020

  • Applications for Grants of $20,000 or Less and Loan/Grant of $20,000 or Less Combo Applications due by November 2, 2020, or March 31, 2021.
  • Applications for Unrestricted Grants or Loan/Unrestricted Grant Combo Applications due by March 31, 2021.
  • Guaranteed Loans are accepted on a continuous application cycle.

Program Fact Sheet
Hoja Informativa del Programa en Español

Nebraskans for Solar Resources

Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE): Nebraska Dollar and Energy Saving Loans

Department of Energy Resource: Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar

Can EDF Make Big Money in Small-Scale Renewables?

By Karl-Erik Stromsta, Greentech Media

The world’s leading nuclear power generator is betting big on a future of small-scale, distributed energy. Électricité de France operates 58 nuclear reactors in its home country and owns stakes in several U.S. nuclear plants that it’s now moving to sell. But EDF’s biggest stamp on the American power market has come in large-scale renewables: Its San Diego-based EDF Renewables North America subsidiary has developed and now operates gigawatts of wind and solar farms across the country. Now, EDF Renewables is trying to replicate that success on a much smaller scale. How it fares in the distributed space will be of great interest to other 20th-century energy giants feeling their way toward a transformed, low-carbon future. Read more here.

Photo Credit: EDF

MORE ENERGY TRANSITION ARTICLES

OPPD NEWS RELEASE

OPPD Named An Environmental Champion
The Environmental Dedication Index and other findings are from the Cogent Syndicated Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study from Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics firm. The study looked at 140 utilities, overall. OPPD is among 31 utilities that received the Environmental Champion designation, based on customer scores. Some areas ranked include a utility’s encouragement of “green” initiatives for buildings and vehicles, and support for environmental causes. OPPD President & CEO Timothy J. Burke spoke to a number of these efforts during the virtual Earth Day Omaha celebration Saturday.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Smaller Cities Like St. Louis Lead on Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Defense Council
St. Louis passed its highly ambitious Building Energy Performance Standard (BEPS) ordinance, making it the fourth jurisdiction in the United States and first in the Midwest to do so. Mayor Lyda Krewson is expected to officially sign the ordinance into law in the coming weeks. With the adoption of this policy, the city will accomplish a major goal in creating more energy-efficient buildings.

ELECTRIFICATION

Dear efficiency advocates: Don’t fear electrification, Utility Dive article contributed by Richard Oberg, an energy efficiency implementer with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

T. BOONE PICKENS & LAZARD’S LCOE ANALYSIS

Dear Oil Executive, Is There A Lack Of Imagination?, by Daryl Elliott, CleanTechnica
T. Boone Pickens, a former oil and business magnate, now deceased, built a ton of wind turbines. Most of that work was done when wind power was costly, before an adequate grid transmission line architecture had been built, and during his Midwest natural gas scheme boondoggle. The combination of these points had him claiming that he lost money, but at the time of his passing, he was still looking to build more wind turbines because if we examine Lazard’s most recent LCOE (Levelized Cost Of Energy) analysis, we see that onshore grid wind power, along with grid-scale solar, is among the least expensive new production energy sources. Wind power is best when built with battery storage so that electricity can be delivered to the grid smoothly around the clock as needed. Might you oil execs want to partner with Tesla to build some grid-level storage plants? Capitalism can make strange bedfellows. 

CLEAN AIR 

Himalayas Visible For The First Time In 30 Years In India, CleanTechnica

Michigan city plows ahead with climate plan amid pandemic

By Daniel Cusick / Climatewire. Republished by Energy News Network.

The first sentence of Ann Arbor, Michigan’s new 2030 carbon neutrality plan says little about reducing greenhouse gases. It says a lot about managing two global crises at once.

“Even during the COVID-19 global pandemic, we face no greater threat than climate change,” Mayor Christopher Taylor opened in an introductory letter to the nearly 100-page plan presented last week to the City Council. Read more here. 

Ann Arbor’s Living Carbon Neutrality Plan (PDF)

NATION’S FIRST OFFICE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY SITING CONTINUES TO BE IN THE NEWS

LIHEAP

Group calls for additional $4.3 billion in LIHEAP funding, American Public Power Association. State Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) directors are calling for Congress to provide an additional $4.3 billion of funding for the LIHEAP program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) said on April 6. In late March, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2.2 trillion spending program to help mitigate the effects of the pandemic.  The bill included $900 million for LIHEAP to help low-income households pay their utility bills during the crisis. “Due to the depth of the crisis, this funding only scratches the surface of what families will need to stay afloat,” NEADA said.

Nebraska LIHEAP Program

INVESTOR-OWNED UTILITIES’ MARKET VALUE & CLIMATE RISKS

BlackRock, Morgan Stanley to utilities: Tackle climate-related risks or lose market value, by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Financial market data shows utilities that address risks associated with the changing climate see significant benefits, and utilities that do not lose market value. Analyses from BlackRock, Morgan Stanley and others reflect what the world is learning in the COVID-19 fight: Aggressive action proactively addressing systemic risk produces better outcomes than pretending there is little risk. For utilities, the data shows that addressing climate-related risks with system hardening and emissions reductions attracts investors and shifts stock valuations, while relying on business as usual discourages investors and increases stock price volatility.

Previously Posted 

BlackRock Sends Huge Warning Shot at Companies Ignoring Climate Risk, Greentech Media
In a move that will resound across the world of energy investing, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, this week warned of a “fundamental reshaping of finance” as the impacts of climate change become better understood. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said in an open letter that his company will end support for thermal coal, screen fossil fuel investments more closely, and redesign its own investment approach to put sustainability at its core. 

BlackRock joins Climate Action 100+ to ensure largest corporate emitters act on climate crisis, Climate Action 100+ News Release. With the addition of the world’s largest asset manager, with more than $6.8 trillion USD in assets under management, Climate Action 100+ continues to grow in size and influence. BlackRock joins more than 370 global investors already participating in the initiative. The addition of funds it manages, brings total assets under management represented by investors participating in Climate Action 100+ to more than $41 trillion.

EIA’S SHORT-TERM ENERGY OUTLOOK

WOODMAC

GLOBAL ENERGY STORAGE

Global storage deployments could see hit in 2020, but ‘fundamental drivers’ still remain, analysts say,by Kavya Balaraman, Utility Dive. The COVID-19 pandemic could reduce previous forecasts for global storage deployments by 19%, according to analysts, but the sector is still set to grow 13-fold by 2025.

ROADMAP TO NET-ZERO INDUSTRIAL EMISSIONS 

How to Slash the Industrial Emissions That Are Heating the Planet, Greentech Media
Cutting pollution from heavy industry is especially difficult, but a new roadmap outlines how to achieve net-zero emissions in the decades ahead.

NEW RESOURCE BY NEW POWER NEBRASKA 

 

Nebraska Guide to Wind: A Booming Sector with Room to Grow

 

NEW NONPROFIT: ECOATHLETES

How EcoAthletes plans to go to bat for the climate, by Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor,, GreenBiz Group

A veteran sports marketing executive is launching his side hustle: a new nonprofit to engage professional athletes to become messengers and evangelists on the climate crisis. EcoAthletes aims to “identify, inspire, coach and deploy athletes to talk about climate change — where they are and in ways that they’re comfortable,” according to its founder, Lew Blaustein, who’s spent more than 30 years in brand management, sports marketing and promotion, and who writes GreenSportsBlog, which since 2014 has been syndicated on GreenBiz. (In addition, I serve on EcoAthletes’ advisory board.)

USDA extends application deadline for the Rural Energy for America Program to April 15, 2020

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.

Extension of Application Deadlines. 

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.

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.

Growth in Solar Capacity Projected to Fuel Rural Economies

By Eric Galatas, Public News Service – Nebraska

LYONS, Neb. — The growth of the solar industry has brought a wave of new projects to Nebraska, including a community solar farm in Scottsbluff that’s expected to save the city more than $2 million in energy costs over 25 years. With more projects on the horizon, Lu Nelsen, policy program associate for the advocacy group Center for Rural Affairs, says solar is poised to boost rural economies. Nelsen says advances in technology and manufacturing have made solar more affordable for homes, communities and for big utility companies.

Read more or listen to the recording here.

Pixabay Photo

Previously Posted

Wind farms can bring economic benefits, officials sayby Elizabeth A. Elliott, Blair Enterprise Publishing

MORE MIDWEST NEWS

OPPD NEWS

Lighting the way – ahead of schedule, by Jason Kuiper, The Wire
After accelerating the replacement of streetlights with new LED fixtures last year, OPPD is running ahead of schedule on the project. The utility announced the project in 2018 to update the 98,744 streetlights in the OPPD service territory over a five-year period. So far, 32,000 lights have been replaced. Lights in smaller towns are done and SIDS will be among the next wave of replacements.