Tag Archives: geothermal

Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants in Nebraska

What does this program do?

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. Agricultural producers may also apply for new energy efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing.

Who may apply for this program?

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

Application Deadlines

Applications for Grants of $20,000 or Less and Loan/Grant of $20,000 or Less Combo Applications due by November 1, 2021, or March 31, 2022.

Applications for Unrestricted Grants or Loan/Unrestricted Grant Combo Applications due by March 31, 2022.

See additional details here.

Who can answer questions?
Contact Nebraska’s Rural Development Energy Coordinator:
Jeff Carpenter, USDA Rural Development
100 Centennial Mall North, Suite 308
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508
Telephone: (402) 437-5554
jeff.carpenter@usda.gov
http://www.rd.usda.gov/ne

Solar Industry Outlines a Policy Agenda for the Biden Administration, 117th Congress

SEIA News Release, November 12, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is releasing a suite of policies and executive actions that it is asking President-elect Biden and the newly elected Congress to act on during their first 100 days in office.

“Our 100-day agenda aligns with President-elect Biden’s vision to build back better, and represents a critical opportunity to meet the moment of the climate era with equity and justice at the forefront,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Even as we face a likely divided government, every facet of this agenda has had bipartisan support. Now is the time to take action to generate economic opportunities for Americans in a way that promotes competition and addresses the climate crisis.” Read more here.

GREEN BIZ 350 PODCAST

Episode 245: How President-elect Joe Biden could help U.S. farmers, by Heather Clancy, Joel Makower & Jim Giles

TRANSMISSION

Transmission troubles? A solution could be lying along rail lines and next generation highways, Utility Dive. Recent studies, including the landmark and reportedly suppressed Department of Energy Seam study, show expanded transmission is critical. But two key barriers — where to put the new lines and how to pay for them — still slow development, according to a June 2020 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report to Congress. Allocation of the new lines’ costs remains unresolved, but new approaches to siting are attracting attention.

TRI-STATE

Tri-State ups the amount of greenhouse gases it will cut in Colorado by adding wind and solar generation, The Colorado Sun. Colorado’s second biggest electricity provider – Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association – upped its goal for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to an 80% cut by 2030 – putting itself in line with other utilities in the state. Tri-State is joining with North Dakota-based Basin Electric Power Cooperative, the Deseret Power Cooperative in Utah, the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska and the federal Western Area Power Administration to explore joining the Southwest Power Pool (SPP).

Tri-State is a nonprofit cooperative of 45 members, including 42 electric distribution cooperatives and public power districts in four states: Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. Together, they provide power to more than a million electricity consumers.

CROWDFUNDED TRIBAL SOLAR 

Crowdfunded solar puts Red Lake Nation on a path to energy sovereignty, by Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

“We have to prove that we can do this and we have to do this not only for ourselves but for other tribal nations,” said Red Lake member Bob Blake, the founder and owner of Solar Bear installation company. The workforce training center solar array is the second of 12 solar projects planned for the reservation. The first sits not far away atop the Red Lake Government Center, a building distinguished by incorporating a two-story face of an eagle with wings spread across the facade. The projects are the first two solar installations in Minnesota to be financed through crowdfunding, in which dozens of small investors lend to businesses to support entrepreneurs and their products. The tribe has a separate initiative to construct a utility-scale 13-megawatt solar farm in partnership with Allete, one of the region’s primary electricity providers.

GEOTHERMAL

The Earth itself could provide carbon-free heat for buildings, by David Roberts, Vox
What exactly are the technologies that can provide heat from the Earth? There are two basic categories. Let’s start by looking at the smaller side.

NEBRASKA’S FIRST ALL-GEOTHERMAL NEIGHBORHOOD

The Bridges is a unique neighborhood being developed in Lincoln, Nebraska of lakefront lots and traditional lots. Geothermal energy is featured throughout the entire development, which is landscaped with miles of trails and covered bridges. Download a brochure.

GAS BANS GROWING IN CALIFORNIA

San Francisco’s gas ban on new buildings could prompt statewide action, Utility Dive
The vote adds San Francisco to the growing list of nearly 40 California cities to pass such ordinances since Berkeley’s historic ban in July 2019.

FINANCIAL RISKS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

In first for Fed, U.S. central bank says climate poses stability risks, Reuters
The U.S. Federal Reserve for the first time called out climate change among risks enumerated in its biannual financial stability report, and warned about the potential for abrupt changes in asset values in response to a warming planet. “Acute hazards, such as storms, floods, or wildfires, may cause investors to update their perceptions of the value of real or financial assets suddenly,” Fed Governor Lael Brainard said in comments attached to the report, released Monday.

EV CHARGING STATIONS 

NREL report says EV charging stations continued strong growth in early 2020, American Public Power Association

The report’s statistics tap data from the Alternative Fueling Station Locator, which NREL said is the most widely used tool on the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center. The report is available here.

EV REBATES 

New report: Wind and solar remain the country’s most affordable sources of new electricity

By John Hensley, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

For energy wonks, Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis 14.0 is always one of the year’s most anticipated reports. It’s the gold-standard when comparing the cost of different power generation technologies on an objective, equitable basis. No surprise, Lazard finds that wind and solar continue to be the lowest-cost sources of new power generation across the country and are increasingly competitive with existing power plants. Continue reading here.

MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY DATA

Renewables Proven to Be a Smarter, More Efficient Investment Worldwide, Triple Pundit
Recent analysis of the renewables landscape by BloombergNEF has determined that solar and wind power are on the verge of a tipping point: In five years, it will be more expensive to operate existing coal or natural gas plants than to build new solar or wind farms. This comes on the heels of earlier data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which found that, in many cases, solar and wind are already the cheapest option. In fact, IRENA concluded that investment dollars go further now than they did a decade ago: More than twice the renewable power generation capacity was commissioned in 2019 than in 2010, but it only required 18 percent more investment.

GEOTHERMAL

Geothermal energy is poised for a big breakout, Vox
After many years of failure to launch, new companies and technologies have brought geothermal out of its doldrums, to the point that it may finally be ready to scale up and become a major player in clean energy. In fact, if its more enthusiastic backers are correct, geothermal may hold the key to making 100 percent clean electricity available to everyone in the world. And as a bonus, it’s an opportunity for the struggling oil and gas industry to put its capital and skills to work on something that won’t degrade the planet.

GREEN HYDROGEN

The Green Hydrogen Revolution Is Now Underway, Forbes 
While renewables are now the fastest growing energy industry, hydrogen is following closely behind in a massive gale. The 21st century will likely witness the rise of a mega-billion hydrogen fuel industry. Countries are taking first steps – and it’s breathtaking.

REWIRING AMERICA REPORT

100% Clean Energy Electrification Could Save American Households $321 Billion and Create 25 Million Jobs, AltEnergy Magazine. The Rewiring America Report, “No Place Like Home: Fighting Climate Change (and Saving Money) by Electrifying America’s Households” by Drs. Saul Griffith and Sam Calisch, finds that savings would mean up to $2,585 per year in savings to each American household’s energy bills. The report builds on an earlier analysis by Rewiring America that shows that clean energy electrification could create 25 million new jobs. Every zip code in the country would see employment gains.

About Rewiring America
Rewiring America is a coalition of engineers, entrepreneurs, and volunteers focused on rejuvenating the economy and addressing climate change by electrifying everything. The new, innovative nonprofit is dedicated to demonstrating that solving climate change is both technically possible and economically beneficial. The reports produced by Rewiring America are deeply rooted in data and provide high-level analysis of the U.S. energy economy. 

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT

AVANGRID & PNM RESOURCES ANNOUNCE MERGER

AVANGRID, PNM Resources announce $8.3B merger to create ‘one of biggest clean energy companies’ in US, Utility Dive. AVANGRID and PNM Resources on Wednesday announced plans to merge, in a move the companies say will create “one of biggest clean energy companies” in the United States. The combined entity would own 10 regulated utilities in six states, and would have renewable operations in 24 states. The companies say it will take about a year to get all necessary regulatory approvals.

TESLA

Musk promises to reinvent batteries as Tesla reports record Q3 solar and storage deployments, Utility Dive. Tesla executives expect to see rapid growth in the company’s solar and energy storage divisions in the years to come after what Musk described as the best quarter in Tesla’s history. Energy storage deployments increased 81% from the second to third quarters of 2020, according to the company’s Q3 2020 update, setting a new record for the company. The biggest barrier for the company’s solar division, company executives said, was the need to hire and train additional solar installers, and to improve the packaging of components to decrease installation times.

FROM ENERGY NEWS NETWORK 

  • Columbus aggregation initiative aims to procure clean energy for city ratepayers
    Columbus, Ohio, voters are deciding this election whether to let city government seek out and collectively bid for renewable electricity on their behalf. Ballot Issue 1 would create Ohio’s largest community aggregation program. In states where ratepayers choose their electricity supplier separate from their local utility, the programs let cities negotiate a default option for residents. The city’s goal “is to provide residents with 100% clean, renewable electricity through a community choice aggregation program by 2022,” said Erin Beck, director of special projects for the city of Columbus.
  • Minnesota groups highlight financial and environmental risks of natural gas
    [Jessica Tritsch, senior representative for the Sierra Club’s North Star chapter], pointed to recent research by the Rocky Mountain Institute that suggests building solar, wind and storage would cost less than new natural gas plants. Grid reliability would not suffer, either, the report concludes. If proposed gas plants were all built in the next five years they would “be uneconomic to continue operating in 2035, well ahead of the ends of their planned economic lifetime,” the institute’s report said. A recent report from a Minnesota researcher working with the two organizations calculated that investing in clean energy instead of the two fossil gas plants could save ratepayers $600 million over the next 30 years, Tritsch said. 

Public hearing on wind turbine regulations to be held Thursday

By Scott Koperski, News Editor, Beatrice Daily Sun

Planning and Zoning administrator Lisa Wiegand said Thursday’s meeting will be held at the Hevelone Center at Beatrice High School, with safety measures in place. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., and a public hearing on the proposed amendment to change the regulations will begin at 6:30 p.m. While the changes would apply to all future commercial turbines, the push for change has been largely driven by a proposal from NextEra Energy Resources to build a 50-turbine wind farm in northern Gage County, a roughly $225 million investment in the area. Read more here.

Related News Story
Gage County Board Reappoints County Planning Commission Chairperson, by  Doug Kennedy, News Channel Nebraska

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

Tesla Trial Through Tri-State, Midwest Electric Offers Electric Car Experience, The Grant Tribune Sentinel. Tesla has installed charging stations around the country,  in cities and along interstates, for Tesla customers. One such station is located just off the interstate in Ogallala, east of McDonalds. The station has eight charging banks and can recharge the vehicle in 30-40 minutes at a cost of around $7. Other stations in out-state Nebraska include Sidney, Gothenburg and Grand Island, plus Lincoln. Tri-State is in the midst of a major transformation as it moves to more green energy production through solar and wind. Tri-State has relied on coal-fired generation in Colorado and New Mexico. However, both states have passed legislation that bans all coal-related generation by 2030.

Nebraska Tri-State Members

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

  • Colorado’s Eastern Plains is big-time producer of renewable energy, ripe for even more, report says, The Denver Post. Along with wheat, corn and cattle, Colorado’s Eastern Plains grow another big crop: more than 95% of the state’s renewable energy capacity that produces thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in benefits each year. A report released Tuesday by The Western Way, a conservative organization that promotes environmental stewardship, in partnership with PRO 15 and Action22, policy and economic development organizations, highlights the importance of renewable energy to eastern Colorado.
  • Related: Study finds renewable energy has created 6,300 jobs in rural Colorado, The Gazette
    The renewable energy industry has created 6,334 jobs and generates $388.6 million a year in economic activity in eastern Colorado, according to a study released Tuesday by three Colorado advocacy groups.
  • Southwest Michigan poultry farm completes solar project, by Andy Balaskovitz, MiBiz
    The two-year project was supported by grant funding from the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for American Program (REAP). USDA officials said the Stutzman project is the first REAP project in Southwest Michigan and is an “excellent model for others looking to switch to solar energy,” said Jason Allen, the USDA’s rural development state director in Michigan.
  • Grant to help farmers harness biomass and manure to fuel farms, National Hog Farmer
    A new federal grant will allow a research team led by Iowa State University, Penn State University and Roeslein Alternative Energy to develop new methods of turning biomass and manure into fuel. The five-year, $10 million grant from the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture will power the Consortium for Cultivating Human and Natural reGenerative Enterprise as it works to create new value chains on U.S. farms, with emphasis on the generation of renewable natural gas, improved rural economic outcomes and protection of the environment.

100% RE VILLAGE

Local Community Becomes 100% Renewably Powered Through New GoMacro(TM) Initiative, GoMacro News Release, Barron News-Shield. GoMacro, known for its organic, plant-based nutrition bars, announced today that all residences, businesses, and schools in Viola, Wisconsin, will be powered by 100% renewable wind energy thanks to a new partnership with the Village. 

NATIONAL NEWS

Boiling Point: How far will utilities go to protect their fossil fuel investments?, by staff writer Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times. I called [Leah] Stokes to ask her about SoCalGas, the alleged corruption in Ohio and the history of utility-industry climate denial. Here are some highlights from our conversation, condensed and edited for clarity. 

Leah Cardamore Stokes is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California Santa Barbara. Her research and writing on climate change and energy policy has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, as well as numerous scholarly journals. – Amazon Author Page

 

Her book,  Short Circuiting Policy: Interest Groups and the Battle Over Clean Energy and Climate Policy in the American States, was published on April 15, 2020.

 

 

FROM UTILITY DIVE