Tag Archives: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)

As oil crashes, ‘America’s untapped energy giant’ could rise

By Emily Pontecorvo, Grist

Kate Young, the geothermal program manager at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, said that over the past year she’s noticed an uptick in interest from the oil and gas industry in geothermal. “That, I think, is very exciting,” Young said. “Oil and gas has the funding and capability and knowhow to quickly advance technology and deployment of geothermal.”

As international climate policy puts more pressure on fossil fuel companies to look for new business models, geothermal offers a way to repurpose what they know best: drilling, extraction, and infrastructure. “Geothermal is their way out,” said Sanjeev Kumar, head of policy at the European Geothermal Energy Council. Geothermal is an opportunity not just for oil and gas companies, but also for the oil and gas workers losing their jobs because of the price crash, or who may soon lose them due to climate policy. Many of the jobs and skill sets are transferable, from exploration geologists to drillers to power plant operators. Read more here.

Geothermal Map: Existing and planned U.S. geothermal installed capacity (MWe) by state. Source: U.S. Department of Energy

UPCOMING WEBINAR

Career Pathways in Geothermal Energy, April 15, 2020, 12 to 1 pm. Register here.

DOE GEOTHERMAL & SOLAR RESEARCH FUNDING

DOE News Release: On February 4, 2020, the Department of Energy announced up to $43.8 million to advance geothermal research and development. The following day, DOE announced up to $125.5 million in new funding for solar technology research.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED 

Web Links 

LOCAL GEOTHERMAL EXAMPLE: MAMMEL HALL

An energy source that lies right under your feet, by Laura King-Homan, OPPD The Wire
The project is an example of how commercial electricity customers utilize geothermal heating and cooling to reach their energy goals. OPPD has offered expertise in this area for decades, including testing potential building sites for suitability.

PROJECTS FOR HOMES & BUSINESSES

Previously Posted: How to Combine Solar and Geothermal Renewable Energy Sources, Blue & Green Tomorrow

Examples of Nebraska homeowners who have installed solar & geothermal projects:
Click on “Solar Examples” on the above menu bar and scroll down to:
Dageforde Net Positive Energy Home
Don Preister’s Home In Bellevue

Several businesses listed in Nebraskans for Solar’s Directory install geothermal projects alone or combined with solar.

Incentives for Homeowners & Businesses
Geothermal installations are among the clean and renewable energy projects that qualify for the Federal Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is now 26% through December 31, 2020. Resource: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

All Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency
Resource: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES

According to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), 141 cooperatives in 10 states utilize heat recovery. Nebraska is 9th, with 6 cooperatives utilizing heat recovery. Thermal capture technologies, including geothermal technologies, use heat to generate power.

Solar companies invest in acres in the Midwest

Kenosha News

More and more rural electric cooperatives and individual farmers are turning to solar power as an energy alternative. Brady Boell, director of safety and member services for the Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative, says his cooperative has built five sites in Iowa since October 2018. “The idea was to offer members a way to invest in solar energy,” he says. “Many cannot install these arrays on their own property, so this allows them to invest.” Solar energy use has rapidly grown over the past two years, says Tim Dwight, president of the Iowa Solar Trade Association and owner of Integrated Power Corporation, a solar energy installer. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading
Bill refines solar rules with input from pork producers, Kenosha Times

Photo Credit: Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY GUIDES FOR SOLAR & SMALL WIND PROJECTS

NRECA RESOURCES

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Renewable Energy Resources

Previously Posted News Release

DOE Selects NRECA for Wind Energy Research Initiative
The Department of Energy has selected the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to research small-scale, community-based wind energy solutions that can be deployed by electric cooperatives. NRECA will team with co-ops around the country to evaluate and deploy diverse types of distributed wind projects. Like NRECA’s solar deployment project, a similar DOE-funded program that accelerated utility-scale solar at co-ops across rural America, NRECA expects this project to increase the number of electric cooperatives incorporating wind applications into their resource planning. DOE has identified high technical potential for “hundreds of thousands of turbines” totaling more than 10 gigawatts of electric capacity on rural distribution grids. 

CO-LOCATION RESOURCES

Co-locating apiaries, pollinator-friendly plants, and industrial hemp with solar and wind projects can provide extra income for farmers and improve Nebraska’s honey production and retail sales, among other benefits. Click here and scroll down for a list of resources.

INCENTIVES & DEPRECIATION

Incentives for Homeowners & Businesses
Business and residential solar projects qualify for the federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is now 26% through December 31, 2020.

 

 

All Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency

Resource: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

LAND LEASES

Solar and wind farm leases create extra income for farmers and other landowners and provide valuable tax revenues for local communities.

Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Act will improve the state’s economic climate

By Christine Hicks, Environmental Defense Fund

A recent study developed by The Accelerate Group measured the economic impact of CEJA and found the answer — it’s tens of billions of dollars. The new economic impact report released by the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition shines a light on just how much CEJA would contribute to the state’s economy. Here’s the bottom line: the legislation, if enacted, would result in $39 billion in new private investment in Illinois through 2030. Read more here. 

ALSO IN THE NEWS

UPCOMING WEBINAR

Solar Plus Storage as Resiliency: Friday, December 13, 9 to 9:45 a.m. 
As part of Michigan Energy Options’ Winter Solar Webinar Series, Seth Mullendore, Vice President and Project Director for Clean Energy Group, will discuss how solar PV with battery storage can create resiliency in communities and replace traditional power plants with clean technologies. 

Register here.

NEW STUDY

Biased capacity markets accelerating gas over solar, storage, PV Magazine
Regional markets for energy capacity favor new gas generation over solar and storage, at a high cost to consumers. Eight U.S. Senators have taken notice, while a new report marshals the evidence. The Grid Strategies report, titled Too much of the wrong thing: the need for capacity market replacement or reform, was written by Rob Gramlich and Michael Goggin. The Sustainable FERC Project, which commissioned the report, is a partnership among 24 citizens’ groups.

WOMEN IN AG LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE

Generations of leadership is focus of Women in Ag Leadership Conference, LeMars Daily Sentinel
Iowa State alumnus Elizabeth Burns-Thompson is the capstone speaker. Among the nation’s first cohort of 30 Under 30 leaders in agriculture, she is passionate about Iowa’s renewable energy. She will encourage women of all generations to follow their dreams and trust their own abilities and opportunities. Online registration is available at www.aep.iastate.edu/leadership
General registration is $60 and student registration is $30.

ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES

RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE RESOURCES

NRECA’s Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration (SUNDA) Resources
NRECA Electric Cooperatives & Solar
NRECA Electric Cooperatives & Community Solar
NRECA Electric Cooperatives & Wind

FEATURED HOLIDAY WISH LIST

2019 holiday wish list: Power sector edition, Utility Dive 
With the holiday season upon us, many kids — and some adults — are making wish lists. In that spirit, Utility Dive queried a dozen industry and environmental/advocacy groups about their policy wish list.

Your electric co-op voice matters

By Joan May, Contributor, The Daily Sentinel

Tri-State’s members are required to purchase 95% of their electricity from Tri-State, mostly through 50-year contracts. This means that the co-ops can only build local energy to meet 5% of their needs, and are beholden to Tri-State and its increasingly expensive coal for the rest. Tri-State says they are working to fix that with their new community solar rules, and that’s a good start, but it surely won’t be enough to solve Tri-State’s expensive coal problem. Many co-op members still worry that Tri-State’s huge coal debt could lead to ever-increasing electricity rates for co-ops and their members. Read more here.

About Joan May
Former San Miguel County Commissioner Joan May is a co-op member of San Miguel Power Association now working on rural renewable energy transition. Tri-State provides electricity to 43 electric cooperatives in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Nebraska.

Photo: Tri-State Generation and Transmission plans to close its coal-fired power plant near Craig, Colorado by 2025.

Previously Posted

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Renewable Energy Resources

Previously Posted News Release

DOE Selects NRECA for Wind Energy Research Initiative
The Department of Energy has selected the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to research small-scale, community-based wind energy solutions that can be deployed by electric cooperatives. NRECA will team with co-ops around the country to evaluate and deploy diverse types of distributed wind projects. Like NRECA’s solar deployment project, a similar DOE-funded program that accelerated utility-scale solar at co-ops across rural America, NRECA expects this project to increase the number of electric cooperatives incorporating wind applications into their resource planning. DOE has identified high technical potential for “hundreds of thousands of turbines” totaling more than 10 gigawatts of electric capacity on rural distribution grids. 

NRECA Podcast

Along Those Lines: Dealing With the Disastrous Effects of Flooding in the Heartland, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Midwestern farmers faced devastating flooding last spring, with recovery efforts still ongoing as winter approaches. In the latest episode of Along Those Lines, we get a firsthand look at what it’s been like to cope with this situation from a couple who owns a farm in Richland, Nebraska. Kristi and Drew Wolfe, members of Cornhusker Public Power District, faced a combination of weather events back in March that changed their business forever.

Photo by Kristi Wolfe: An aerial view of Kristi and Drew Wolfe’s property in Richland, Nebraska, several days after the flooding began.

DOE Selects NRECA for Wind Energy Research Initiative

NRECA News Release

The Department of Energy has selected the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to research small-scale, community-based wind energy solutions that can be deployed by electric cooperatives. NRECA is partnering with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Hoss Consulting and Mana Group LLC on research to develop business models and technologies for wind projects that can benefit cooperative consumer-members, communities and their electric distribution cooperatives, and rural generation and transmission cooperatives. NRECA will team with co-ops around the country to evaluate and deploy diverse types of distributed wind projects. The project aims to increase understanding of the potential benefits of distributed wind and reduce market barriers for the adoption of these technologies in rural areas. Continue reading here.

DOE Resource
Small Wind Guidebook, WINDExchange, Department of Energy

Tri-State, under pressure from its member co-ops to change or fall behind, is shifting to renewable energy

Giant power provider on the verge of deal with departing utility says it will shutter coal-fired plant in Nucla two years early as it retools carbon-emissions goals.

By Mark Jaffe, The Colorado Sun

Faced with renewable energy generation that undercuts the cost of power from coal-fired plants and new laws in Colorado and New Mexico setting high clean energy goals, Tri-State is being pushed by political and market forces to change or fall behind. “Our industry is facing significant challenges and we are positioning ourselves not only meet those challenges, but to leverage those opportunities for our membership,” Tri-State spokesman Lee Boughey said.

Mark Dyson, a principal at Rocky Mountain Institute and author of the study on Tri-State’s coal-fired plants, said in an email that the association’s announcement “suggests Tri-State is beginning to acknowledge the broad utility industry consensus that taking major steps toward a low-carbon energy future can be, in fact, more affordable than continuing with business-as-usual. The implementation details, when they are available, will tell how much of this opportunity they intend to pursue,” Dyson said. Read more here.

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Renewable Energy Data

Solar Energy 

Wind Energy

563 cooperatives in 36 states utilize wind as a source of power.
Nebraska ranks 5th among these states, with 30 cooperatives utilizing wind energy, behind Minnesota (44), Missouri (41, Indiana (38), and Iowa (31).

Hydro Power

727 cooperatives in 43 states utilize hydro power.
Nebraska is 6th among these states, with 30 cooperatives utilizing hydro power, behind
Minnesota (44), Texas (43), Georgia (42), Missouri (41), and Iowa (35).

Heat Recovery

Thermal capture technologies, including geothermal technologies, use heat to generate power. Geothermal power capturing the earth’s heat is cost-effective, reliable and available 24/7. Similar technology can also be used to recover heat that otherwise would have gone to waste from industrial processes, such as exhaust from natural gas pipeline compressors.

139 cooperatives in 10 states utilize heat recovery. Nebraska is 9th, with 6 cooperatives utilizing heat recovery.

Additional Resources

A utility in coal country doubles down on renewables

By Jessica Kutz, High Country News

‘You can politicize it all you want, but in the end economics is really what drives it.’

Bill Patterson, the board president for the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA), a rural utility in a conservative pocket of Western Colorado, thinks the shift to renewable energy just makes plain economic sense. And DMEA members agree. Last week they voted in favor of giving the electric co-op the option to sell stocks in order to raise enough money to buy itself out of its contract with the wholesale provider Tri-State Generation & Transmission due to a desire to produce more renewable energy, locally. Continue reading here.

Tri-State Members’ Service Territories Include Nebraska

This story is a part of the ongoing Back 40 series, where HCN reporters look at national trends and their impacts close to home.

Thinkstock Photo

NRECA’S SOLAR DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES FOR COOPERATIVES & OTHER COMMUNITIES 

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s innovative SUNDA Project helps rural electric cooperatives and others to develop a utility-scale solar project. SUNDA stands for “Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration.”

The SUNDA team, with the help of the pilot project’s participating 17 rural electric cooperatives, utilized lessons learned from their deployment of 30 megawatts of photovoltaic (PV) solar to develop tools and resources that help other cooperatives to deploy solar in their own communities.

The tools are organized based on the solar project phase, from initial conceptualization to design and implementation. They are available online, providing valuable resources for cooperatives and other communities and organizations interested in developing a utility-scale solar project. Click the links, below, to learn more:

All the resources are available here: SUNDA Project

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
NRECA and Industry Groups: EVs Are Viable Tool to Meet Fuel Standards, by Cathy Cash
At least 150 NRECA member co-ops provide off-peak charging rates for EV users. Dozens of electric co-ops across the country have programs that implement charging infrastructure in their service territory.

UPCOMING WEBINAR
Cooperative Leadership Network Webinar:
What Co-op Leaders Need To Know About Community Solar, October 30, 2018, 2 to 3 pm

New Research Shows a Solar Revolution in Rural America

News Release, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

ARLINGTON, Va. –The rapid acceleration of solar development by America’s electric cooperatives is transforming the energy landscape in rural America. According to a new report, electric co-ops today own or purchase more than nine times as much solar energy as they did in 2013.

In 2013, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) received a grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to help electric cooperatives remove barriers to solar development. Through the ensuing Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration (SUNDA) project, NRECA worked with 17 electric cooperatives to develop models and resources for co-ops interested in developing solar energy. Continue here.

Download Report: A Solar Revolution in Rural America
SUNDA Project

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • NRECA’s Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) Award
    In May, SEPA announced their 2018 Power Players Awards. The awards “honor utilities, their partners, and individual thought leaders providing the vision, models and momentum for the electric power industry’s smart transition to a clean, modern energy future.” The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) was one of three recipients of the Innovative Partner of the Year Award in recognition of the SUNDA Project. 
  • NRECA and Industry Groups: EVs Are Viable Tool to Meet Fuel Standards, by Cathy Cash
    At least 150 NRECA member co-ops provide off-peak charging rates for EV users. Dozens of electric co-ops across the country have programs that implement charging infrastructure in their service territory.

Thinkstock Photo

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Award-Winning SUNDA Project

NRECA’s innovative SUNDA Project helps rural electric cooperatives nationwide to accelerate utility solar. SUNDA stands for “Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration.”

The SUNDA team, with the help of the pilot project’s participating 17 rural electric cooperatives, utilized lessons learned from their deployment of 30 megawatts of photovoltaic (PV) solar to develop tools and resources that help other cooperatives to deploy solar in their own communities.

The tools are organized based on the solar project phase, from initial conceptualization to design, implementation, service offering and member engagement:

  1. Just Beginning
  2. Project Scoping
  3. Learning More
  4. Detailed Planning
  5. Building Consensus

SUNDA Project

NRECA Receives Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) Award
SEPA recently announced their 2018 Power Players Awards. The awards “honor utilities, their partners, and individual thought leaders providing the vision, models and momentum for the electric power industry’s smart transition to a clean, modern energy future.”

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) was one of three recipients of the Innovative Partner of the Year Award in recognition of the SUNDA Project.

This category recognizes a non-utility partner for a unique method, project, leadership, or innovation that has aided in the expansion of or access to distributed energy resources while working with one or more utilities.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
NRECA and Industry Groups: EVs Are Viable Tool to Meet Fuel Standards, by Cathy Cash
At least 150 NRECA member co-ops provide off-peak charging rates for EV users. Dozens of electric co-ops across the country have programs that implement charging infrastructure in their service territory.

Thinkstock Photo

“Cooperatives and Renewables” – National Rural Electric Cooperative Association


The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) represents over 900 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives, public power districts, and public utility districts in the United States. NRECA’s numerous resources include national and state-level information and statistics on cooperatives and renewables, including these:

  • Currently, 95 percent of NRECA’s distribution members offer renewable options to 40 million Americans.
  • Including federal hydropower, co-ops own or purchase roughly 10 percent of U.S. renewable capacity.
  • Co-ops own more than 1.3 GW of renewable capacity and have long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) for nearly 7.4 GW — in addition to roughly 10 GW of preference power contracts with federal hydroelectric facilities.
  • Co-ops plan to add more than 1 GW of additional renewable capacity over the next few years, with more announced every day.

Nebraska Cooperatives Using Solar & Wind

  • NRECA’s Interactive Map: Cooperative Solar Across the Country, shows that 443 cooperatives in 43 states utilize solar as a source of power. Nebraska ranks 20th among those states, with 8 co-ops using solar, following: Georgia (42), Minnesota (37), North Carolina (26), Tennessee (24), Colorado (23), Indiana (23), Iowa (22), Oklahoma (21), South Carolina (21), Wisconsin (19), Arkansas (18), New Mexico (16), Mississippi (14), Illinois (13) Texas (11), Virginia (11), Alabama (10), Florida (9), and Wyoming (9). Click here and scroll down to individual states’ information to see which Nebraska cooperatives are currently utilizing solar.
  • NRECA’s Interactive Map: Cooperative Wind Across the Country, shows that.564 cooperatives in 37 states use wind as a source of power. Nebraska ranks 5th among those states, with 30 co-ops utilizing wind, following Minnesota (44), Missouri (41), Indiana (38), and Iowa (31). Source: ” Click here and scroll down to individual states’ information, including a list of all 30 Nebraska cooperatives using wind.