Tag Archives: Illinois

Illinois Poised for Nation-Leading, Equitable Climate Bill

By J.C. Kibbey, Natural Resources Defense Council

After years of work, an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the Illinois House has voted (83 yes to 33 no) to pass the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (SB2408), a nation-leading bill to fight climate change, create good-paying jobs, improve the health of Illinoisans, and support disadvantaged communities. The bill now goes to the Senate, where legislative leaders say they intend to pass it swiftly. Governor Pritzker has championed the bill and has said he will sign it. Read more here.

More about the writer: With Family Roots in the Mines, He’s Championing Illinois’s Clean Energy Future, NRDC

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

USDA accepts more grassland CRP signup, North Platte Telegraph
[Lands] enrolled in CRP — including grasslands — play an important role in addressing climate change. For example, this enrollment of more than 2.5 million acres of grazing land into Grassland CRP will mitigate an additional estimated 22,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

By the numbers: Nebraska ranked third in acres enrolled, behind only Colorado and South Dakota. Montana and New Mexico round out the top five enrollment states.

About the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

The Future of Agriculture Combined With Renewable Energy Finds Success at Jack’s Solar Garden, NREL News Story. Jack’s Solar Garden is the largest commercially active agrivoltaics system researching crop and vegetation growth under photovoltaic solar panels in the United States. For more information, visit Jack’s Solar Garden, stay tuned for updates on more agrivoltaics projects, and read more about the InSPIRE project’s research at sites around the country.

Making the right buy: LCOE of monofacial vs bifacial modules, PV Magazine
When does increased energy production outweigh increased cost? Clean Energy Associates looks to answer one of its most-asked questions in a new case study.

Wisconsin farmers to receive record-breaking support this year from USDA, NBC26

BIDEN’S INFRASTRUCTURE PLANS & AMERICA’S WORKFORCE

Biden Has Ambitious Infrastructure Plans. But A Worker Shortage Could Hinder Them, NPR
“We were having trouble finding skilled workers for construction jobs, water and energy utilities, telecom and broadband expansions – all the areas where we think this infrastructure bill was going to be investing even before the pandemic. – Andy Van Kleunen, CEO of the National Skills Coalition

GRID INFRASTRUCTURE – NEW ACORE REPORT 

Transmission Makes the Grid Resilient to Extreme Weather, T&D World
New report released by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). ‘Transmission Makes the Power System Resilient to Extreme Weather’, details the value additional transmission would have provided during five severe weather events in Texas, the Northeast and the Midwest between 2014 and 2021. 

PREVIOUSLY POSTED ON INFRASTRUCTURE

Report Card for America’s Infrastructure
Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for America’s Infrastructure depicts the condition and performance of American infrastructure in the familiar form of a school report  card—assigning letter grades based on the physical condition and needed investments for improvement.

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan, The White House Briefing Room
Statement about America’s manufacturing infrastructure:
The U.S. manufacturing sector accounts for 70 percent of business R&D expenditure, 30 percent of productivity growth, and 60 percent of exports. Manufacturing is a critical node that helps convert research and innovation into sustained economic growth . . . While manufacturing jobs have been a ladder to middle-class life, we have let our industrial heartland be hollowed out, with quality jobs moving abroad or to regions with lower wages and fewer protections for workers.

New Environment America Report – Blocking Rooftop Solar: The Companies, Lobbyists And Front Groups Undermining Local Clean Energy

Released by the Environment Florida Research & Policy Center

Recent corruption scandals in Ohio and Illinois, in which utilities and other special interests allegedly used their clout to twist public policy in their favor, highlight how far anti-solar efforts have gone. Policymakers must resist pressure from utilities and the fossil fuel industry and implement pro-solar policies that will continue America’s momentum toward clean energy

In 2021, a national network of utility interest groups and fossil fuel-linked think tanks continues to offer funding, advice and support to utilities across the country seeking to undermine rooftop solar power. These include . . .  Continue reading here.

Download Report (PDF)

IN NEBRASKA

Our State’s Overall Solar Development & Potential

Net Metering Legislative Bills

Net metering changes considered – Legislative Update, Senator John Cavanaugh
The Natural Resources Committee heard testimony Feb. 10, 2021 on two bills that would modify Nebraska’s net metering laws.

Approved Legislation: In 2016 the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 824, which removed some regulatory barriers connected to renewable energy development in our state.

NEBRASKA LACKS UPDATED ENERGY PLAN / CLIMATE ACTION PLAN 

State energy plans show how process can match final product in impact, Energy News Network, February 10, 2021

More Previous Efforts

    • Nebraska needs overall plan for energy policies, Lincoln Journal Star, November 4, 2015 Nebraska’s Energy Office director says the state needs a comprehensive approach to its energy policies as it faces what could be a “seismic” change in federal regulations governing emissions. David Bracht, Gov. Pete Ricketts’ chief adviser on energy issues, talked about state energy policies Wednesday at the eighth annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference in Omaha. . . . [The] Nebraska Legislature has instructed the state Energy Office to create a comprehensive energy plan and budgeted more than $630,000 to see it done.
    • LB469: Provide procedures and reporting requirements relating to a state plan on carbon dioxide emissions, require a strategic state energy plan, and provide requirements for meteorological evaluation towers.
    • 2011 Nebraska Energy Plan, National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO)

SOUTH SIOUX CITY

Nebraska solar farm highlights tension between cities, electricity wholesaler, Energy News Network, August 19, 2020

South Sioux City’s City Council decided four years ago not to renew its contract with NPPD. It has gradually reduced its purchases from the utility down to 10% of its load this year, and will stop buying power from the wholesaler altogether on Jan. 1, 2022. “We’ve been very happy with the decision the [city] council made to get more into renewables,” said Lance Hedquist, the city administrator of the community of about 13,000 also located in northeast Nebraska. The city has added solar and wind energy to its portfolio, and now obtains about half of its power from renewables, he said.

  • NPPD’s Wholesale Power Contracts
    Wholesale energy sales are made to 60 entities under wholesale power contracts that terminate on Jan. 1, 2036 and to 10 other entities with wholesale power contracts that terminate on Dec. 31, 2021. The 10 wholesale customers that did not sign the 2016 contract provided the notice required under their existing 2002 contracts, and began in 2017 to reduce their purchases to 0% over a five-year period.  Source: Fitch Rates Nebraska Public Power District’s General Revs ‘A+’; Outlook Stable

MODEL AGGREGATED SOLAR PROJECT – A WAY FOR COMMUNITIES TO REDUCE COSTS

MEAN Issues RFP For Participant Community Solar PV Installation Project, July 15, 2021
The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) is issuing a Request for Proposals on behalf of 11 MEAN participant communities interested in obtaining energy from solar PV installations to be built in their respective communities. The project is an effort by MEAN to bring economically priced solar energy to interested MEAN participant communities. Participating communities hope to obtain lower solar costs through economies of scale through this joint effort. RFP proposals are due Aug. 31, 2021 with a bid award date set for Oct. 27, 2021.

Click here to download the RFP.
Additional MEAN News

Previously Posted

About MEAN
The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) is the not-for-profit wholesale electricity supply organization of NMPP Energy. Created in 1981, MEAN provides cost-based power supply, transmission and related services to 69 participating communities in four states: Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming. MEAN Members/Participants

About NMPP Energy
NMPP Energy is a member-driven coalition of four organizations based in Lincoln, Neb., serving nearly 200 member communities in six Midwest and Rocky Mountain states. NMPP Energy’s organizations fulfill separate needs to their respective member communities. Collectively, they subscribe to the core philosophies of local control and working together to provide reliable, cost-based energy and energy-related services. NMPP Energy Members 

RECOMMENDED RESOURCE ON LEASING LAND FOR UTILITY-SCALE SOLAR

Considerations for Leasing Land for Solar Development, by F. John Hay – Extension Educator for Bioenergy

Utility scale solar development is here — in the eight months since the solar leasing article was published in August 2020, Nebraskans have seen continued land lease activity, county zoning rule adoption, an extension of the federal tax credit, and projects approved by county commissioners/supervisors. Additionally, one project (Saunders County [OPPD electrical purchase]) has reached the important step of electricity sales, which is the most common tipping point between a proposed project and a project that will get built. Many smaller solar projects have been built in the years prior to 2021, with the largest at about 8 MW, or about 50 acres. The utility scale projects being proposed and approved are many times larger, with 500 or more acres.

WEC Energy Group to acquire 90% ownership of Sapphire Sky Wind Energy Center

WEC Energy Group News Release, PRNewswire

MILWAUKEE, July 27, 2021 – WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC) today announced that the company has agreed to acquire a 90% ownership interest in the Sapphire Sky Wind Energy Center. Located in McLean County, Illinois, the project is being developed by Invenergy — a leading global developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions. The Sapphire Sky site will consist of 64 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 250 megawatts. Commercial operation is expected by the end of 2022. Continue reading here.

Photo: Upstream Wind Energy Center in Antelope County, Nebraska

IN NEBRASKA

WEC Infrastructure Includes:

Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy Resources

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NextEra adds 1,840 MW renewables and storage to more than 15 GW backlog in Q2, Utility Dive

NextEra Energy “remains well-positioned to meet our 2021 and longer-term growth expectations,” NextEra President and CEO Jim Robo said in a statement. Meanwhile, NextEra Energy is also looking at significant opportunities in the years ahead in the transmission sector as well, [Rebecca Kujawa, executive vice president of finance and chief financial officer] said.

Photo: NextEra Energy’s Sholes Wind Farm in Wayne County, Nebraska

Previously Posted

Wind energy company studying Jefferson County for possible wind farm, News Channel Nebraska, April 27, 2021

FAIRBURY, NE — A major renewable energy company is studying to see if Jefferson County would be a good spot for a new wind farm. The Jefferson County Commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve a special use permit for Big Blue Nebraska Wind LLC to build a meteorological tower. The tower will be built about two miles northwest of Harbine. Big Blue Nebraska Wind LLC is owned by NextEra Energy. 

NextEra’s Nebraska Projects Also Include: 

Little Blue Wind

  • Up to 100 GE wind turbines capable of generating up to 250 megawatts (MW).
  • The project is currently under construction and is scheduled to begin operations by the end of 2021.

Gage Wind

  • Up to 50 GE wind turbines capable of generating up to 124 megawatts (MW).
  • Subject to local and state approvals, the project is scheduled to begin operations by the end of 2022.

American Clean Power’s State Fact Sheet: Clean Power Nebraska, May 2021

Clean Energy Careers

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

A Proclamation on Made In America Week, 2021President Joseph R. Biden, The White House Briefing Room

My Administration is making “Buy American” a policy, not just a promise. We are closing loopholes and strengthening standards to ensure that the future is made in all of America — by all of America’s workers — in every region, of every background, in services, manufacturing, and agriculture.

U.S. solar panel manufacturers, Solar Power World

Yellen: US regulators to assess risk posed by climate change

By Martin Krutsinger, AP Economic Writer, NTV

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says she will lead an effort by top U.S. regulators to assess the potential risk that climate change poses to America’s financial system, part of a wide-ranging initiative launched by the Biden administration.

Yellen says the regulatory review, which will be done by the Financial Stability Oversight Council, will examine whether banks and other lending institutions are properly assessing the risks to financial stability. She chairs the committee, which includes Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other financial regulators. Read more here.

MIDWEST ENERGY NEWS SERIES

Faulty equipment, poor training are main factors in Illinois coal mining death
When people die in Illinois coal mines, faulty equipment and lack of safety protocols are most often cited by federal investigators, and experts say economic challenges will create pressure to cut corners.

A small price to pay: Illinois mines routinely appeal safety penalties
Federal mine safety inspections are the main safeguard to prevent accidents and deaths in an inherently dangerous industry, but critics say the fines for safety violations are low, and companies regularly get them reduced. 

For generations of Illinois coal mining families, risk is part of everyday life
In parts of downstate Illinois, coal mining is deeply ingrained in families and communities. But it has taken a deep toll on some.

About the Author
Kari Lydersen has written for Midwest Energy News since January 2011. She is an author and journalist who worked for the Washington Post’s Midwest bureau from 1997 through 2009. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, Chicago News Cooperative, Chicago Reader and other publications. Kari covers Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana as well as environmental justice topics.

NEBRASKA NEWS

Nebraska Public Power Utilities Make Progress In Restoring Power In Wake Of Storms, by Paul Ciampoli, American Public Power Association

Public power utilities in Nebraska continued to make progress over the weekend in restoring power to customers in the wake of outages caused by severe storms that hit the state. A storm that hit on the night of Friday, July 9, damaged transmission structures as well as local distribution structures in several communities and crews from across the state were called to help restore power as quickly and safely as possible, Nebraska Public Power District (NPDD) reported. 

Mine workers union endorses Biden energy policies in exchange for job training

By Julie Tsirkin, NBC News

WASHINGTON — The United Mine Workers of America leadership announced Monday they support President Joe Biden’s green energy policies in exchange for a robust transition strategy, a move the union hopes its membership will support as a way to transition toward new jobs.

In his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, Biden proposed a sweeping investment in green energy such as wind, solar and other renewable energy projects. In an effort to help fossil fuel workers transition to new jobs, the plan also includes billions of dollars to employ dislocated utility workers in the coal, oil and gas industries. Read more here.

Remarks by Vice President Harris on the American Jobs Plan, The White House Briefing Room

OFFSHORE WIND INDUSTRY WORKFORCE

Emerging offshore wind industry provides careers of the future, by Jen Scungio, American Clean Power Association. Putting steel in the water to deliver clean energy from offshore wind to communities will require a workforce with a diverse skillset to plan, construct, and operate offshore wind farms. In fact, ACP research shows reaching 30 GW of U.S. offshore wind by 2030 will create 83,000 new American jobs. Since 74 different occupations are needed to build, operate, and maintain an offshore wind farm, the possible opportunities for those interested in offshore wind careers are endless.

Fact Sheet: Biden Administration Jumpstarts Offshore Wind Energy Projects to Create Jobs, The White House, March 29, 2021

INTERESTING ENGINEERING VIDEO

TRANSMISSION

Glick discloses that FERC is in discussions with state regulators on transmission issues, American Public Power Association

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is in discussions with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) to develop a formal approach between the states and FERC “that will allow us to jointly tackle” transmission issues head on, FERC Chairman Richard Glick said on April 15.

Previously Posted

NAVAJO NATION’S RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT

Navajo Nation solar project will cement San Juan County’s position as exporter of renewable energy, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Our communities were once heavily dependent on fossil fuel energy, but now we are seeing change happen,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. “[The Red Mesa solar farm] is another milestone for the Navajo Nation as we continue to transition to clean, emissions-free renewable energy for our communities and in the open market.” A far more massive proposed project, the $3.6 billion Navajo Energy Storage Station, is slowly advancing through the regulatory process.
Image Credit: Navajo Tribal Utility Authority

CARBON NATION DOCUMENTARY & NEW RESEARCH 

Carbon Nation at 10: The future’s not what it used to be, GreenBiz article contributed by Peter Byck
Much has changed in these past 10 years: Coal was 42 percent of our energy mix in the United States; it’s now 23 percent. Large-scale solar electricity was about 38 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2011, it’s now less than 7 cents. Onshore wind was between 8.2 cents and 11.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, it is now between 2.6 cents and 5.7 cents.

Peter Byck is a professor of practice at Arizona State University, in both the School of Sustainability and the Cronkite School of Journalism. He is director, producer and writer of “Carbon Nation.” He is helping to lead a $5.3 million research project on Adaptive Multi-Paddock (AMP) grazing; collaborating with 20 scientists and 10 ranchers, focused on soil health and soil carbon storage, microbial/bug/bird biodiversity, water cycling and much more.

FOOD & ENVIRONMENT REPORTING NETWORK

How farmers can be at the forefront of the climate solutionFERN’s Ag Insider
Robert Leonard is the author of “Deep Midwest: Midwestern Explorations.” Matt Russell is a co-owner of Coyote Run Farm and the executive director of Iowa Interfaith Power and Light.

The Food & Environment Reporting Network is the first independent, non-profit news organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism in the critically under-reported areas of food, agriculture, and environmental health. Through partnerships with local and national mainstream media outlets, we seek to tell stories that will inspire, inform, and have lasting impact.

OSU RESEARCH

Oregon State University study finds flowers flourish underneath solar panels, Solar Power World

A new study by Oregon State University researchers found that shade provided by solar panels increased the abundance of flowers under the panels and delayed the timing of their bloom, both findings that could aid the agricultural community.

SOLAR DEPLOYMENT IN ILLINOIS & BEYOND

HOME SOLAR WARRANTIES

How To Decipher Home Solar Warranties, by Sarah Lozanova, Earth911
Buying a solar energy system is a significant purchase . It is also one of the few home upgrades that will pay for itself in savings. However, the savings from a solar system relies on long-term energy production. If a solar panel or inverter fails, it will decrease the output of the array. Solar warranties protect homeowners from costly repairs and help ensure the system is producing clean energy for decades.

Often, homeowners get two or three proposals for a solar system and then have trouble comparing them without extensive research. Examining the product and labor warranties is one way to differentiate between different bids. Broadly speaking, there are two general types of warranties: for the equipment itself and the labor. 

Illinois energy bill proposes ‘green bank’ as national movement builds

By Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

Illinois would get a “green bank” to finance equity-focused clean energy investments under the latest version of the Clean Energy Jobs Act pending in the state legislature. If the proposal passes, Illinois would join more than a dozen states including Florida, New York and Connecticut that use publicly funded green banks to leverage private investment for renewables, energy efficiency and other projects, especially in communities that have been underrepresented in the clean energy economy.  The state-level proposal comes as a federal bill with bipartisan support would create a national green bank — dubbed the Clean Energy Accelerator —  that would work in tandem with state banks. Continue reading here.

Photo by Jim Bowen / Creative Commons

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FEATURED STUDY

Recognition of and response to energy poverty in the United States, Nature Energy

Abstract
A household is energy poor when they cannot meet energy needs. Despite its prevalence, the US has not formally recognized energy poverty as a problem distinct from general poverty at the federal level, which limits effective responses. In this review, the authors examine the measurement and evaluative metrics used by the two federally-funded energy programs focused on reducing high energy bills to understand how program eligibility requirements and congressional funding appropriations have shaped the national understanding and implementation of energy poverty assistance. We find that current measurement and evaluative metrics hinge on the distribution of government resources and the number of vulnerable households assisted, rather than improving household well-being and reducing overall energy poverty.

SOLAR+STORAGE GUIDE

Understanding Solar+Storage: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Solar PV and Battery Storage, Clean Energy Group Publication

The guide is informed by more than six years of experience through Clean Energy Group’s work with property owners, developers, nonprofits, and communities to advance solar+storage in underserved communities. The questions and topic areas addressed in the guide are based on feedback from nearly one hundred stakeholders who submitted questions about solar+storage.

The information presented in the guide focuses primarily on customer-sited, behind-the-meter solar+storage installations, though much of the information is relevant to other types of projects as well, including storage-only projects and front-of-the-meter solar+storage projects. It is meant to serve as a starting point to establish a foundation of knowledge and understanding for individuals and organizations beginning to explore solar+storage options for their homes, businesses, or community facilities.

A Spanish-language version of this guide is available here.

SOLAR SCHOOLS

NYC installing solar at nearly 50 public schools, other facilities, PV Magazine
The 22 MW of solar projects are expected to include some energy storage systems and help New York City and the state meet sustainability goals.

ELECTRIC MACHINES & VEHICLES

AFFORDABLE ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES 

Report: Accelerating The Transition To Electric School Buses: How schools, lawmakers, and utilities can work together to speed the transition to zero emission buses. Released by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

The vast majority of school buses in the United States run on diesel, a fossil fuel that has been shown to cause numerous health problems, including asthma, bronchitis, and cancer. Diesel exhaust is also a greenhouse gas, which contributes to climate change.

However, there is an alternative: zero-emission battery electric school buses. The technology is here, and electric school buses are ready to roll, but the question remains: how do schools pay for them? While electric buses can save schools money over the lifespan of the bus, the initial price tag of a new electric bus can turn many schools off to the idea of electrification.

Particularly promising options are vehicle-to-grid technology and Pay-As-You-Save (PAYS) programs. By pairing them, “each electric bus could save school districts up to $130,000 per electric bus.”

Download the Report.

FEATURED LEGAL ACTION

Midwest Renewable Energy Association Files Lawsuit to Open Solar and Other Clean Energy Opportunities for Wisconsinites, Earthjustice News Release

STEVENS POINT, WI — The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) filed a lawsuit in Wisconsin Circuit Court to remove barriers preventing Wisconsinites from accessing the benefits of local clean energy development. MREA’s filing asks the court to ensure that the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) sticks to regulating monopoly utility companies and does not illegally interfere with competitive clean energy alternatives for Wisconsin families and businesses.

MREA’s lawsuit specifically challenges two unlawful policies that stifle Wisconsin’s clean energy economy. First, MREA challenges guidance documents from the PSCW that preclude financing options available in most other states where solar energy is more affordable. MREA also challenges a PSCW order that unlawfully prohibits Wisconsin homes and businesses from utilizing market incentives to reduce their power consumption during peak hours and thereby reduce power costs for everyone.

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit public interest environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change.

About The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA)

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration.Together with partners around the Midwest, we work to expand renewable energy adoption through innovative programs, renewable energy training, and educational events. MREA is a nonprofit organization.

Sunpro Solar to Expand Rooftop Solar in the Midwest Region

Sunpro Solar News Release, Send2Press Newswire

Sunpro Solar, a leading residential solar energy company in the U.S., announced today that they are expanding to bring affordable solar to homeowners in the states of Nebraska and Illinois. The company’s expansion to new markets in the Midwest will help satisfy the demand for lower electricity bills and to create more renewable energy jobs. Sunpro Solar will offer residents of Nebraska and Illinois affordable solar energy systems, battery backup and energy efficiency upgrades. “There is a strong interest and growing demand for clean energy in the Midwest,” says Sunpro Solar Founder and CEO, Marc Jones. Read the entire news release.

About Sunpro Solar
Sunpro Solar is a top solar company in the U.S. that provides affordable solar energy and battery storage solutions to homeowners nationwide. Sunpro Solar was named 5th largest residential solar installer in the U.S. by Solar Power World Magazine in July 2020. An Inc. 500 company, Sunpro Solar continues to expand as the demand for home solar in the United States rapidly increases. Sunpro Solar has headquarters in Louisiana and currently operates in 17 states.

Additional Recommended Reading
Sunpro Solar Named to Inc. Magazine’s Vet100 List, Sunpro Solar News Release, Send2Press Newswire
Sunpro Solar has been named to the annual Vet100 list, which acknowledges the nation’s fastest growing veteran-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. The ranking is composed of honorees who have also landed on the iconic Inc. Magazine 500/5000 lists of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S and created in partnership with Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF).

For more information on the Inc. Vet100 list, visit: https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/Vet100/

Power from the Prairie aims to link West Coast sun with Midwest wind

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

The missing link between California solar power and Midwest wind energy may be a 600-mile stretch from southwestern Wyoming to northwestern Iowa. A pair of energy consultants with Upper Midwest roots are promoting a $9.5 billion vision for an interstate transmission-plus-storage project aimed at connecting two long-separated regional electricity grids.

Rob Schulte and Fred Fletcher believe their Power from the Prairie concept would produce massive benefits for utilities, customers and the country’s clean energy transition, enabling variable wind and solar resources from multiple regions to backfill and balance each other out on the grid. Continue reading here.

About the Interconnection Seams Study Karen Uhlenhuth references: How a Plan to Save the Power System Disappeared, The Atlantic and Investigate West

Photo Credit: Dori / Wikimedia Commons

Also published today by Energy News Network:
‘Dark money’ group raises fears in Illinois energy negotiations, by Kari Lydersen
A mysterious group has spent more than a quarter million dollars promoting a vague agenda that’s critical of Illinois utilities’ clean energy transitions.

Report recap: Four highlights from AWEA’s Wind Powers America Third Quarter Market Report

By Greg Alvarez, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

We’re three quarters of the way through an eventful 2020 (quite the understatement), but the good news is U.S. wind power just posted the best third quarter on record. That means more affordable, reliable, clean power for millions of American families and businesses. This finding and more are contained in AWEA’s Wind Powers America Third Quarter Market Report. Here’s a roundup of four notable highlights to keep an eye on: Continue reading here.

Photo by Mike Zakrzewski, Nebraska farmer in O’Neill: The Grande Prairie Wind Farm

AWEA FACT SHEETS

Wind Energy In Nebraska
Installed Wind Capacity: 2,364 MW
State Ranking for Installed Capacity: 12th

  • Iowa
    Installed Wind Capacity: 10,664 MW
    State Ranking for Installed Capacity: 2nd
  • Kansas
    Installed Wind Capacity: 6,524 MW
    State Ranking for Installed Capacity: 4th
  • Illinois
    Installed Wind Capacity: 5,659 MW
    State Ranking for Installed Capacity: 6th

MICROGRIDS & VIRTUAL POWER PLANTS

Tesla Expanding Into Solar Microgrids And Virtual Power Plants, CleanTechnica
The renewable energy revolution is in full swing. It will involve decentralized power generation as well as enhanced long distance transmission lines. Nothing is off the table. Tesla is creating an enormous virtual power plant in Australia that will incorporate rooftop solar and battery storage at 50,000 homes. Green Mountain Power is conducting a similar program in Vermont. Just as one day soon electric vehicle sales will surpass sales of conventional vehicles, our grandkids will likely grow up in homes that have residential storage batteries in the garage or in the basement next to the electrical panel.

GREEN HYDROGEN

It’s Time For Elon Musk To Admit The Significance Of Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Forbes
Contributed article by Alex Ivanenko, “co-founder and CEO of HyPoint, the company developing zero-carbon emission hydrogen fuel cell systems for aviation and urban air mobility.”

The technology for zero-emission hydrogen fuel cells for use in transportation and other industries isn’t a pipe dream — it already exists. Though you might not know it, hydrogen-powered trainstruckscarsairplanes and ships are already out in the wild. CNBC noted that “there are dozens of fuel cell buses in use or planned in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Massachusetts, as well as California” and that “more than 23,000 fuel cell-powered forklifts in operation at warehouses and distribution centers across the U.S. in more than 40 states, including at Amazon and Walmart facilities.” That’s just the beginning.

MORE CLEAN TECHNICA ARTICLES

COMMUNITY SOLAR 

FEATURED DOE INITIATIVE: EQUITY IN ENERGY 

News Release by DOE’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity

On August 20th 2020, the Department of Energy’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED) launched its trademark Equity in Energy Initiative at the 43rd Annual National Conference of the American Association of Blacks in Energy’s (AABE). Equity in Energy, under the direction of the Secretary of Energy, Dan Brouillette [leads] the charge in fostering an inclusive energy economy at the DOE and the energy sector. 

Equity In Energy Booklet

UCS RECYCLING SERIES

About the Writer
James Gignac, is lead Midwest energy analyst for the Climate & Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Prior to joining UCS, Mr. Gignac served as environmental and energy counsel and as assistant attorney general to the Illinois Attorney General. Mr. Gignac earned a JD from Harvard Law School, and a BA in history and political science from Albion College.

Included in the series:

FEATURED NEBRASKA SOLAR INSTALLATION

Lomneth Farm’s 12-kilowatt solar system in North Omaha. Installed by GC ReVOLT, which is owned by Graham Christensen. View more GC ReVOLT projects here.

See Solar Examples for more photos and descriptions of solar-powered farms in Nebraska.

 

SOLAR INCENTIVES

 

Links to Incentives, Depreciation & Net Metering Information

 

Tri Global Energy Strikes a Blow for Wind Leadership in Illinois, Indiana

Tri Global Energy News Release, Business Wire

Tri Global Energy (TGE), a leading U.S. originator and developer of utility-scale wind energy projects, has achieved the status of the number one developer of wind projects in Texas for the second quarter of this year, based on the newly released Wind Powers America Second Quarter 2020 Report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), which analyzes wind power capacity by state, including projects under construction and in advanced development. The report shows Texas remains the country’s leader in development of wind energy, with nearly 20% of the U.S. total. The AWEA report credits Texas with 6,587 megawatts (MW) of wind projects in construction or advanced development, with TGE contributing nearly 1,500 MW toward that total.

John Billingsley, TGE’s Chairman and CEO, also anticipates the company will become a major developer in two additional wind states – Illinois and Indiana – during the upcoming quarters. “Both Illinois and Indiana have realized significant increases in wind power during the last year and a half,” he said. “TGE is on track to develop several renewable projects in both states.” Billingsley adds that TGE also is developing renewable projects in Virginia. Read more here.

TRI GLOBAL ENERGY PROJECT IN NEBRASKA

Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy
Scroll down to see all our state’s wind energy projects in development, including:
Tri Global Energy is planning to develop a 100–megawatt wind farm which will be named the Sugar Loaf Wind Farm in Garden County.

AWEA State Wind Energy Fact Sheets

Nebraska
Nebraska is one of the top states in the country for potential wind energy generation, with a technical potential of approximately 465,000 megawatts (MW) according to NREL.

  • Installed wind capacity: 2,132 MW
  • State rank for installed wind capacity: 14th
  • Direct wind industry jobs in 2019: 2,001 to 3,000
  • Capital investment in wind projects through 2019: $3.8 billion
  • Annual state and local tax payments by wind projects: $12 million
  • Annual land lease payments: $14.7 million

Illinois

  • Installed wind capacity: 5,659 MW
  • State rank for installed wind capacity: 6th
  • Direct wind industry jobs in 2019: 8,001 to 9,000
  • Capital investment in wind projects through 2019: $10.9 billion
  • Annual state and local tax payments by wind projects: $49 million
  • Annual land lease payments: $37 million

Indiana

  • Installed wind capacity: 2,317 MW
  • State rank for installed wind capacity: 13th
  • Direct wind industry jobs in 2019: 6,001 to 7,000
  • Capital investment in wind projects through 2019: $5.0 billion
  • Annual state and local tax payments by wind projects: $12 million
  • Annual land lease payments: $20 million

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Gage County Planning Commission Recommends Increase in Wind Turbine Setback Distance, News Channel Nebraska

“I can tell you a one-mile setback would be among the most stringent…and so that would set Gage County and this part of the state apart from what we’re seeing all across the Midwest….which would inhibit us from a very significant natural resource. As you’re considering this amendment, I hope that you think about not only the facts you hear, recognizing that you’re going to hear a lot of contradictory facts…..but look what real people have experienced who are around us…and how that’s impacted them and benefitted them and how it could also benefit our community and our state”. – David Bracht, an Omaha attorney and former Nebraska Energy Director

The issue now goes to the Gage County Board of Supervisors, which will also conduct a public hearing and make a final decision.