Tag Archives: Google

LES funds $1.75 mil in incentives for efficiency upgrades

By Peter Maloney, American Public Power Association

Lincoln Electric System (LES) in Nebraska is continuing its Sustainable Energy Program with $1.75 million in incentive funds for customers that want to switch to more energy efficient equipment. LES says that since it began its Sustainable Energy Program (SEP) in 2009, customers have accessed $22.5 million in incentives and spent $126.6 million on energy-efficient equipment and/or services. The incentive level for the SEP program in 2019 was $1.5 million. “It is the eleventh year of the program,” and the utility’s board is “solidly behind it,” and there is no sign of that waning, Marc Shkolnick, LES’ manager of energy services, said. “They see it as a fitting role for a public power provider.” Continue reading here.

Nebraska Also In The News Here

Demand from first-time, repeat buyers powers new era of large-scale renewables growth

By Monica JaburgDeputy Director, Communications and Media,
Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance. Published by GreenBiz.

Large-scale energy buyers are driving the energy landscape shift by collectively voicing their demand for accessible clean energy options to decrease their carbon impacts. In 2018 alone, the group accounted for 6.3 gigawatts in announced renewable energy deals — an amount equal to over 60 percent of all new renewables generation added in the United States last year.

However, the U.S. commercial and industrial sector is still the most energy-intensive, accounting for about 50 percent of all power consumption and 34 percent of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. So what’s next for this community when it comes to advance its clean energy and GHG emissions reduction mandates? Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

TRI-STATE NEWS

IN NEBRASKA

  • Excelsior to buy 109 MW of Nebraska wind capacity from Invenergy, Renewables Now
    Prairie Breeze II and Prairie Breeze III initiated operations in late 2015 and early 2016, respectively. They have 25-year power purchase agreements (PPA) in place with Lincoln Electric System and City of Grand Island. The transaction is seen to be completed next month. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the tax equity investor in the projects, the announcement says.
  • Wind costs’ decline aids rural Nebraska, Letter to the Editor, Lincoln Journal Star, by Cody Smith, Ames, Iowa Policy associate, Center for Rural Affairs

OF POTENTIAL INTEREST TO NEBRASKA SOLAR BUSINESSES

Solar Jobs Census: The Solar Foundation is again collecting data for their annual National Solar Jobs Census. This confidential survey will take fifteen minutes of your time and will provide essential feedback to ensure that your company’s contributions to our economy are well
understood by policymakers and the general public. Deadline: November 15, 2019.
Complete the survey here.

LEGISLATION

  • SEIA garners industry support and lobbies for ITC extension, Solar Power World
    Solar contractors are on a time crunch to fit as many installations into 2019 as they can, because in 2020 the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) starts to lose its effectiveness. The ITC is a federal tax subsidy that, in its current capacity, gives solar system owners a 30% return on a solar project’s total tax liability in any market segment. In 2020 the ITC is slated to drop to 26%, 22% in 2021 and in 2022 it will decrease to a 10% subsidy for commercial and utility markets, and zero for residential, indefinitely. That is, unless, the renewables subsidy receives another extension. SEIA’s Campaign: Defend the Solar ITC
  • Legislation aims to accelerate geothermal energy development, American Public Power Association

EV NEWS

GM sells shuttered Ohio plant to EV truck start-up, Reuters

INSIDE CLIMATE NEWS – EXXON TRIAL

Exxon’s Climate Fraud Trial Nears Its End: What Does the State Have to Prove to Win?
With only days left before the two sides deliver their closing arguments, here’s a look at what the attorney general needs to prove and how Exxon is fighting the claims.

See Also

Previously Posted

Yale University Survey: Yale Poll Finds Majority of Americans Think ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron and Other Fossil Fuel Companies Should Pay for Climate Change Damage, Union of Concerned Scientists Blog. new survey by Yale University’s Program on Climate Change Communications and supported by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) finds that most Americans (57 percent) think fossil fuel companies should pay for the damages caused by global warming.

Interactive Map – Click link and scroll down: This tool maps variations in Americans’ opinions about existing or potential lawsuits against fossil fuel companies.

Nebraska Data

  • A search by state shows that 50% of Nebraskans surveyed hold fossil fuel companies responsible for the local damage of global warming.
  • Several searches by county show the following results:

Cherry County: 58%
Colfax County: 56%
Dawes County: 57%
Douglas County: 56%
Lancaster County: 55%
Thurston County: 61%

For Ohio farmers, wind turbine revenue helps take the sting out of a ‘bad’ year

By Kathiann M. Kowalski, Energy News Network

Wind energy advocates say this year’s disappointing growing season in Ohio is a prime example why state lawmakers should be trying to make it easier, not harder, for farmers to put wind turbines on their properties. Unusually wet weather made it a bad year for many Ohio farmers, but those with wind turbines on their land had a welcome and predictable source of additional income to make up for some of the losses. About a sixth of Ohio’s farm acreage couldn’t be planted, according to data released this month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. Read more here. 

USDA Resource: Prevented or Delayed Planting

Photo: Wind turbines in Blue Creek Township, Ohio. Credit: Nyttend / Wikimedia Commons

Also Written By Kathiann Kowalski

ADDITIONAL. RECOMMENDED READING

TRIBAL UTILITY-SCALE SOLAR

NM Native American Tribe Plans Solar Farm to Provide Renewable Energy Source, Inside Sources
A New Mexico Native American tribe plans to build a 50-megawatt solar farm, which includes a 20-megawatt battery storage unit, making it the first tribally owned, utility-scale solar project in the nation, according to a new report. The Jicarilla Apache tribe’s solar power project would transmit a large portion of its electricity to Albuquerque through the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), according to an Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) report.

SOLAR SCHOOLS

Solar power is coming to five schools in Newport News, Williamsburg Yorktown Daily
The city’s public school system has partnered with Sun Tribe Solar to add solar power panels at five schools. Installation starts in 2020. See the full pdf presentation here.

PACE FINANCING 

A $60,000 solar project, with no money down. Program helps Colorado businesses finance renewable energy projects, Colorado Sun. The Colorado legislature passed a bill authorizing the program in 2013. More than 35 states, plus the District of Columbia, have C-PACE enabling legislation, and more than $1 billion in projects have been financed so far. The program’s administrative costs are paid via a 2.5% fee (not to exceed $50,000 per project) added to each C-PACE project, which is typically included in the total financed amount. Program and projects are solely financed through private capital.

TRANSMISSION NEWS

  • SPP Board Directs Construction of 44 Transmission Projects, Transmission & Distribution World These upgrades will facilitate reliable delivery of lower-cost generation.
  • A penny for your powerlines, PV Magazine
    Research by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggests that overall costs of transmission needed to integrate variable renewables is between 0.1-1¢/kWh, on top of the 2.9-4.6¢/kWh utility scale wind and solar power costs.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS 

8 Countries (Besides the US) With Solar Under $25 Per Megawatt-Hour, Greentech Media
Around the world, solar power price records just keep on coming.

OPINION

How utilities wield bad science to stunt clean energy, Utility Dive. Contributed article by Greer Ryan, the Renewable Energy and Research Specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity, and Emma Searson, the Go Solar Campaign Director at Environment America.

This is especially true of distributed solar — small-scale solar installations on homes and businesses. These systems help everyone, not just those with solar panels on their roofs, by delivering reliable, pollution-free energy to our communities. They also bring enormous benefits to wildlife and wild places. For example, solar panels paired with native plant restoration can provide habitat for threatened pollinators. But because of utilities’ actions, distributed solar is being held back from its full potential. To fully realize the advantages of using the sun’s energy to power our communities, we need to fundamentally change the way we value energy sources.

DOE Awards $28 Million for Wind Energy Research, Development, and Demonstration Projects

Department of Energy News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the selection of 13 projects to receive a total of $28 million to advance wind energy nationwide. While utility-scale, land-based wind energy in the United States has grown to 96 gigawatts, significant opportunities for cost reductions remain, especially in the areas of offshore wind, distributed wind, and tall wind.

The funding selections were announced by DOE’s Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Daniel R Simmons, at the American Wind Energy Association Offshore WINDPOWER Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. “These projects will be instrumental in driving down technology costs and increasing consumer options for wind across the United States as part of our comprehensive energy portfolio,” said Simmons. Read more here.

Learn more about DOE’s wind energy research on the Wind Energy Technologies Office website.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Facebook and Google: Utilities Must Take Lead on Grid Decarbonization

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Utilities, not green-minded corporations, need to lead on decarbonizing the grid, said executives at Google and Facebook. Corporate procurement now ranks among the top drivers of large-scale U.S. renewables purchases. But it’s not the long-term answer to clean energy deployment, the technology executives said Thursday, speaking at an event hosted by the American Council on Renewable Energy. They’d rather see large market shifts than an emphasis on voluntary corporate renewables goals. Google and Facebook are currently the nation’s largest corporate buyers of renewable power in 2019 and among the largest in the world. Read more here.

Google Photo: Data center operators are driving demand for renewable power around the world. 

Additional Recommended Reading

Corporate leaders: It’s time to lead on climate policy, by Mindy Lubber, CEO and president of the nonprofit Ceres. At this vital moment in the global climate crisis, corporate leadership on climate policy is a top priority. This week, I joined ten other executives of leading nonprofit organizations in an open letter calling on corporate CEOs to use their voice, their global platforms, their credibility, and their networks to support a policy agenda to get us to net-zero emissions by 2050. That is the goal that scientists say is necessary to limit global warming and avoid unprecedented damage to our planet, our economy and our communities. 

Ceres is one of the cofounders of We Are Still In, a coalition of more than 3500 investors, companies, mayors, governors, college presidents and other leaders committed to U.S. action on climate change.

RE100 Update: 204 influential businesses, including Google and Facebook, have made a commitment to 100% renewable energy. A growing number of RE100 members also are driving their global supply chains to transition to clean energy.

REBA: Google and Facebook are also members of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA). REBA’s goal is to catalyze 60 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy by 2025, and expand the number of organizations buying clean power from dozens today to tens of thousands. REBA’s Vision & Initiatives.

Recommended Viewing
What is REBA?, Two-minute video by REBA on Vimeo.

Sarpy County data centers have $522 million impact statewide, UNL report shows

By Reece Ristau, Omaha World-Herald

Business leaders in Nebraska take every available opportunity to refer to the state as the “Silicon Prairie,” a play on the term for Northern California’s cluster of big technology companies. The idea behind the term — to bring those companies, and by extension, high-paying jobs and more money, into the state — is playing out in Sarpy County, which recently landed its eighth data center with Google’s $600 million announcement. University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers recently set out to determine how big an impact the data center industry has on the local economy, and their findings revealed some whopping figures. Continue reading here.

Google confirms Papillion is a go for its data center — Sarpy County’s eighth

By Cindy Gonzalez, Omaha World-Herald

Asked about job creation in Sarpy County, Harbeke said Google is “committed to at least 30” full-time, permanent positions. They’ll be staffing a data center that delivers tools and resources that connect Internet users to search results, YouTube videos, Gmail and other apps.

In addition, Harbeke, Google’s regional head of external affairs, anticipates that thousands of construction-type jobs will be created during the 18 to 24 months he anticipates it will take to build the center. He said construction work is already underway. Read more here.

GOOGLE’S COMMITMENT TO RENEWABLE ENERGY

RE100: 203 influential businesses that have made a commitment to go ‘100% renewable’. Google is also among a growing number of RE100 members that are driving their supply chains to make the transition to clean energy.

REBA: Google is also a leading member of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA). REBA’s goal is to catalyze 60 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy by 2025, and expand the number of organizations buying clean power from dozens today to tens of thousands. REBA’s Vision & Initiatives.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Sustainability has been one of Google’s core values from our earliest days. Over the years we’ve worked hard to reduce the carbon footprint of our operations, build products with people and planet in mind, and drive change at scale through our supply chains.

A cornerstone of our sustainability efforts is our commitment to clean energy. We’ve been a carbon-neutral company since 2007. In 2017, we became the first company of our size to match our entire annual electricity consumption with renewable energy (and then we did it again in 2018). As a result, we became the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world.

NEBRASKA ENERGY EFFICIENCY DATA

Nebraska’s Energy Efficiency Scorecard
Source: The State Energy Efficiency Scorecard: Nebraska, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

Other State Rankings

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

Here’s how 6 countries are stepping up to meet the Paris climate goals

By Julia Rosen, Los Angeles Times

World leaders are gathering in New York for Monday’s Climate Action Summit. The summit’s goal, according to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, is to encourage countries to get serious about climate change. “Don’t come with a speech,” Guterres has warned. “Come with a plan.”

You can follow the latest Paris pledges at the World Resources Institute’s Climate Watch.

Read the entire article here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Minnesota wind-solar hybrid project could be new frontier for renewable energy

By Mike Hughlett, Minnesota Star Tribune

PELICAN RAPIDS, MINN. – The wind turbine and small solar array planted in a cornfield near this northwestern Minnesota town look modest. But the hybrid power plant could be a new frontier for renewable energy. By capturing both sun and wind power, it can provide a more stable supply of electricity than either energy source can provide alone. And given its small size, it is relatively easy to hook into the electricity grid. “It delivers low-cost clean energy right to where the power is being consumed, and it leads to the retention of energy dollars in the community,” said Dan Juhl, the Minnesota renewable-energy pioneer whose company developed the project. Renewable-energy analysts said it makes a lot of sense. Read more here.

Photo by Clean Energy Economy Minnesota: Dan Juhl

Additional Recommended Reading 

Corporate News

  • Jeff Bezos unveils sweeping plan to tackle climate change, CNBC
    Bezos says Amazon is committed to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement 10 years early. As part of the plan, Amazon has agreed to purchase 100,000 electric delivery vans from vehicle manufacturer Rivian. Bezos expects 80% of Amazon’s energy use to come from renewable sources by 2024, before transitioning to zero emissions by 2030. The company also announced a $100 million donation to The Nature Conservancy to form the Right Now Climate Fund, which will work to restore and protect forests, wetlands and peatlands around the world, with the goal of removing carbon from the atmosphere.
  • Google’s jaw-dropping renewable procurement proclamation, GreenBiz
    Google just declared a new record in corporate renewables by announcing the largest procurement deal ever. The tech giant Thursday revealed it would purchase a 1.6-gigawatt package of agreements, including 18 new wind and solar deals across the globe.

Solar-Powered Crop-Drying Technology

Purdue Startup Awarded $150K, Inside Indiana Business. A Purdue University-affiliated startup has received federal and state grants worth $150,000. JUA Technologies International says it will use the funding to further develop its solar-powered crop-drying devices. The company was founded by husband-wife duo Klein Ileleji, a professor in agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue and Reiko Habuto Ileleji, a Purdue alumna.

New ACEEE Report

Halfway There: Energy Efficiency Can Cut Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Half by 2050. Energy efficiency can slash US energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by about 50% by 2050, getting us halfway to our national climate goals. We can achieve almost all these savings, worth more than $700 billion in 2050, by dramatically scaling up government policies and programs. This report examines 11 packages of efficiency opportunities in every economic sector and the policies that could unlock each of them. We find the greatest savings from efficient and electric vehicles, industrial efficiency and decarbonization, transportation system efficiency, upgrades to existing buildings and homes, zero energy new buildings and homes, and appliance and equipment efficiency. (Fact sheet here.)

Featured Initiative

The U.S. Climate Alliance represents 40 percent of the U.S. population and a $9 trillion economy, greater than the third largest country in the world, and U.S. Climate Alliance states are on track to meet their share of the Paris Agreement emissions target by 2025.

Aggressive clean energy bill would push Illinois to 100% renewables by 2050

By Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

An ambitious energy bill introduced Thursday in Illinois would mandate the state shift to entirely renewable energy by mid-century with an emphasis on job creation and equity. The Clean Energy Jobs Act (HB 3624/SB 2132) grew out of listening sessions held statewide last year by environmental and energy groups that are members of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition.

The coalition says the bill will expand on and address shortcomings in the implementation of the Future Energy Jobs Act, passed with much fanfare in 2016. They say it would create four times as much wind and solar power as FEJA, enough to power 4 million homes through 40 million solar panels and 2,500 wind turbines. Continue reading here.

Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons Photo

Related: Vote Solar Announces Support for Clean Energy Jobs Act to Bring 100% Clean Energy to Illinois

MORE 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Mills sets goal to fight climate change: 100% renewable electricity by 2050, The Portland Press Herald. Gov. Janet Mills outlined an extensive climate agenda on Thursday, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, work toward 100 percent renewable electricity generation and to work with other governors on regional solutions. Mills said she joined a coalition of more than 20 governors committed to pursuing the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate. U.S. Climate Alliance Website

BOOSTING RENEWABLE ENERGY’S VALUE

Cost-Effective Solutions for Boosting Solar Farm Production, Power Magazine. According to Berkeley Lab, solar trackers accounted for 80% of installations in 2017, among projects larger than five megawatts. By following the sun, output can be boosted by 20%, increasing capacity factors and lowering the production cost of electricity. Photo: Fremont’s first of two solar farms installed by GenPro Energy Solutions, both with sun trackers.

Google’s DeepMind Artificial Intelligence Can Predict Wind Farm Energy Output 36 Hours in Advance, Fortune
According to the company, DeepMind’s predictions have boosted the value of Google’s wind energy by roughly 20%.

Google Blog Post: Machine learning can boost the value of wind energy
Based on these predictions, our model recommends how to make optimal hourly delivery commitments to the power grid a full day in advance. This is important, because energy sources that can be scheduled (i.e. can deliver a set amount of electricity at a set time) are often more valuable to the grid. About DeepMind for Google

Previously Posted Article: Google announces plans to build data center in Nebraska; signs point to Omaha area, Omaha World-Herald 

GREENTECH MEDIA PODCAST

How to Get a Job in the Clean Energy Economy
Resources listed in the accompanying article include: