Tag Archives: Midwest Energy News

Entrepreneurs launch clean energy-powered affordable housing startup in Chicago

Written by Kari Lydersen, Midwest Energy News

[Robert “A.J.” Patton and Erica Johnson] are launching a company that they hope will provide quality housing to lower-income residents in Chicago, and avoid gentrification, by harnessing the potential of energy efficiency and solar. At the same time, they plan to provide jobs for low-income and minority residents who are disproportionately left out of the clean energy economy.

Patton said 548 will purchase buildings in marginalized, mostly minority neighborhoods on the South and West sides that have been deemed Opportunity Zones under the federal program meant to stimulate investment. That means if someone invests capital gains in projects in the zone, a portion of federal taxes is deferred or forgiven. Read more here.

Photo Credit: 548 Capital

Previously Posted 

 Nebraska Opportunity Zones

‘Smart charging’ needed to help manage electric vehicles’ toll on power grid

Written by David Thill, Midwest Energy News

Midwest utilities’ plans for preventing electric vehicles from overwhelming the power grid are expanding beyond discounted rates for overnight charging. Time-of-use rates — still in the pilot phase for most utilities — are a big part of the strategy for keeping too many drivers from plugging in during peak hours. But with a potential electric vehicle boom on the horizon, more programs and technologies are being tested to help manage the expected load growth. Known as managed charging or smart charging, the terms broadly refer to any practices and programs to encourage responsible charging behavior. Read more here.



Free SEPA Research:
A Comprehensive Guide to Electric Vehicle Managed Charging

 

 

Photo: ChargePoint’s “NOS,” the company’s system for charging station owners and hosts to use when managing the chargers at their sites.

Upcoming Events
Learn more at the following community events about electric vehicles, including information on available incentives, and how, when and where to charge EVs:

 

 


National Drive Electric Week – Bellevue / Omaha,
September 15, 2019, 12 to 4 pm,
Bellevue University Campus, 812 Bruin Boulevard, Bellevue, Nebraska 68005.

National Drive Electric Week – Lincoln, September 22, 2019, 12 to 4 pm, HyVee Parking Lot, 5020 N 27th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska 68521

How an organic dairy’s quest for clean energy spread solar across Wisconsin

Written by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

As Wisconsin’s largest-ever solar project comes online this summer, the multi-site, multi-state partnership behind the development offers a potential model for how organizations can band together to meet clean energy goals. The Butter Solar Project consists of 32 megawatts installed at 10 locations feeding into 13 municipal utilities in three states. A who’s who of co-op grocery store shelves including Organic Valley, Dr. Bronner’s and Clif Bar have signed on to buy the renewable credits along with the city of Madison. It all started with a quest by Organic Valley to operate on 100% renewable energy before the project mushroomed into a much larger initiative, said Eric Udelhofen, project director for the developer, OneEnergy Renewables.
Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading
Organic Valley Becomes 100 Percent Renewably Powered, Company News Release

Photo by OneEnergy Renewables: The largest installation of the Butter Solar Project, in Arcadia, Wisconsin. Organic Valley “provided financial assistance to more than 200 farmer members to install solar arrays on their dairies.”

About Frank Jossi

Frank Jossi is an independent journalist and consultant based in St. Paul and a longtime contributor to Midwest Energy News. His articles have appeared in more than 50 publications, including Minnesota Monthly, Wired, the Los Angeles Times, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota Technology, Finance & Commerce and others. Frank has also been a Humphrey policy fellow at the University of Minnesota, a Fulbright journalism teacher in Pakistan and Albania, and a program director of the World Press Institute at Macalester College.

RE100: Organic Valley is one of 191 RE100 companies that have made a commitment to go ‘100% renewable’. Organic Valley is a US-based cooperative of farmers producing award-winning organic milk, cheese, butter, soy milk, and other products.

NextEra, Nebraska farmers aim to build largest solar farm in the Midwest

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

NextEra Energy Resources is seeking an interconnection agreement for a massive solar project in northeastern Nebraska that, if built, would be the largest in the Midwest and among the largest in the country. The 423 megawatt project is in the early stages of development and still hinges on how much it will cost to connect to the regional transmission grid. “We’re in a holding pattern until we get clarification from the Southwest Power Pool,” said Phil Clement, NextEra’s project director in Nebraska. “We need to know if it’s viable.” Sean Gallagher, vice president for state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, said the project could be a sign of things to come in the region, which is increasingly attractive for large solar projects.
Continue reading here.

Photo by Rob Davis, Fresh Energy

Previously Posted

Omaha utility’s carbon intensity goal obscures ongoing fossil fuel use

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

The carbon intensity goal passed on a 6-2 vote. The goal could change if the board revisits the issue after January, when newly elected board members — including three clean energy supporters — are seated. A debate about carbon intensity also surfaced recently in Iowa, where
MidAmerican Energy won regulatory approval last week for a 591-megawatt wind farm known as Wind XII. In its application, the utility’s president and CEO, Adam Wright, noted that the project would lower the utility’s carbon intensity to about 638 pounds per net megawatt-hour, compared to 1,839 pounds per megawatt 15 years ago, before it began investing in wind energy. “The carbon intensity, even if it’s calculated correctly, doesn’t mean they’ve reduced their emissions that much,” said Paul Chernick, an attorney representing the Sierra Club in the case.
Read the entire article here.

Pat Hawks / Flickr / Creative Commons Image

Related News Stories

CARBON CAPTURE RESEARCH
DOE spent more than $500M on dead projects, E&E News
Nearly half the $2.7 billion in fossil research money spent by the Department of Energy over the last seven years supported nine carbon capture demonstration projects, the majority of which were canceled or withdrawn.

Iowa, already a leader on wind, looks to take the next steps on storage

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

State officials see huge potential for batteries to help make the most of its wind and solar generation, and they hope to test it with a new grant-funded project. The Iowa Economic Development Authority has awarded a $200,000 grant to support research into the workings of two large solar-plus-storage projects by Fairfield-based Ideal Energy. Ideal will gather information about how the systems work and share it with a team of researchers at Iowa State University who will analyze it. Read more here.

Related: Iowa solar installer using storage to help customers avoid costly demand charges

Photo by Ideal Energy

ALSO WRITTEN  BY KAREN UHLENHUTH

 


Nebraska tribe to double solar capacity after landing federal grant

 

 


Nebraska tribe becomes a solar power leader on the Plains

 

 


Omaha hotel is first project financed with Nebraska’s PACE legislation

Windfall: Minnesota counties use wind tax money for roads, tax relief

Written by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Minnesota’s wind energy tax is helping rural counties hold the line on levy increases and pay for road repairs and other infrastructure projects. Revenue from the state’s wind energy tax has increased more than fivefold over the past decade to $12.7 million in 2018, according to Minnesota Department of Commerce. Wind farms larger than 12 MW pay $1.20 per MWh, while smaller farms pay just 36 cents per MWh. “Wind revenue is now a key source of income for many counties, relieving the property tax burden on homeowners and businesses,” said Commerce Commissioner Jessica Looman. Continue reading here.

Photo by Michael Janke of wind turbines on a Minnesota Farm

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

How Land Under Solar Panels Can Contribute to Food Security

By Frank Jossi, Ensia

With more land being devoted to solar energy production, the idea of making those acres pollinator friendly seems to make ecological and economic sense. “Incorporating habitat into these solar farms across the nation is a good way to promote and protect pollinator health,” says Val Dolcini, president and CEO of the San Francisco­–based Pollinator Partnership, a non-profit organization promoting pollinator environments.

Under-panel native plants benefit not just their immediate solar farm surroundings but nearby cropland. Lee Walston, an ecologist at Argonne National Laboratory, says pollinating insects roam beyond solar installations to other agricultural fields, where they help increase production. Native plantings offer refuge for declining species such as monarch butterflies and rusty patched bumblebees while serving the additional purpose of controlling stormwater and erosion, he adds. Read more here.

Ensia Editor’s Note: Frank Jossi is Minnesota correspondent for Midwest Energy News, an editorially independent publication of Fresh Energy. Rob Davis, who is quoted in the article, is the director of Fresh Energy’s Center for Pollinators in Energy.

Photo Credit: Prairie Restoration Inc.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Small as energy maker, solar farm generates big interest

Women look to close renewable energy’s employment gender gap

By Kari Lydersen, Midwest Energy News

Women make up about a third of U.S. wind and solar energy jobs,
higher than other technology fields.

Sarah Fischer’s journey into the renewable energy field began with a high school French teacher whose husband had been a child slave in Haiti. The couple opened Fischer’s eyes to human rights and international development issues and sparked a desire to make a difference in such situations.

The more she learned about the role of deforestation and natural resource exploitation in creating poverty, the more she became interested in sustainability and renewable energy as ways to address injustice.  Continue reading here.

Organization Kari Lydersen references in her article:
Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy, previously called Women in Wind Energy

More Professional Networks

Kansas City clean energy goals could get a boost from utility partnership

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

Kansas City has an important ally in its push to cut the city’s energy consumption and increase its use of renewable power. Kansas City Power & Light, the city’s electric utility, says it is on board with helping the city achieve a list of ambitious clean energy goals drafted last summer. “We found that there was an alignment between the direction the city wants to go, and… .the business model that KCP&L is pursuing,” said Dennis Murphey, the city’s chief environmental officer. Read more here.

Photo by Brian Smarker, Flickr

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