Tag Archives: Nebraska Environmental Trust

Nebraska Environmental Trust Awards $130,000 Second-Year Grant Funding to Independent Colleges Foundation to Help Complete Sustainability Learning Lab at Bellevue University

Council of Independent Nebraska Colleges Foundation, Business Wire

The Council of Independent Nebraska Colleges Foundation (CINCF) announced today that it has received a $130,000 grant from The Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) to provide second-year funding in support of a new sustainability learning lab at Bellevue University. Construction on the Sustainability Learning Lab began in the spring of 2019 and is expected to be completed later in the fall of 2020.

The completed project will include a 7,000-square foot outdoor-indoor facility supporting a greenhouse, solar and wind generation stations, a biofuel algae pond and an outdoor classroom. The lab will support science and environmental sustainability education, research, public awareness and green workforce development. When completed, it is expected to engage and educate more than 2,500 students, educators, researchers and campus visitors a year. Read more here.

NORTHEAST COMMUNITY COLLEGE ROUNDTABLE SESSIONS

Northeast Community College will host two roundtable sessions in the coming weeks that will serve as a follow up to business and community members’ participation in workforce needs assessments of the region that have been completed on behalf of the Northeast Nebraska Growing Together Initiative. The first session will be held on Tuesday, September 29, from 4-5 p.m., with the second session on Thursday, October 1. Both sessions will be held virtually via Zoom.

To register for either of the Northeast Community College Workforce Roundtable Solutions sessions, go online to northeast.edu/workforce-solutionsRegister by September 25th.

EV program recharging for another year

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire

OPPD’s popular electric vehicle rebate program is back for a third year. Historically, the program has had a measurable impact on adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the OPPD service territory. The rebates have sold out every year. This year, the rebates for residential electric vehicles and chargers are still available. A fleet vehicle replacement rebate for businesses is new this year. EV fleet rebates are rare in the national market, but OPPD is leading the way by making these rebates available to business customers. Learn more here.

LES & NPPD EV PROGRAMS & INCENTIVES

Environment America Launches a 10-state campaign calling for all new homes to be built with solar panels

Environment America News Release

BOSTON — In January 2020, California became the first state to require all new houses to be built with solar panels. Today, Environment America is launching a first-of-its-kind campaign calling on additional states across the country to set similar standards for solar power on new homes. The coordinated national campaign will advocate for a solar homes requirement in at least ten states: Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. While each state may have slightly different goals, the campaign’s intention is to introduce bills in 10 states in the next two years. Continue reading here.

ACCELERATING ADOPTION OF COMMUNITY SOLAR

New US Solar Power Scheme Aims At Invisible Middle, by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica
A vast middle ground of opportunity for solar power development is ripe for the picking if only somebody could see where it is. Well, the US Department of Energy sees it, and is determined to pick it. The agency is moving forward with a plan to kickstart activity in the area of mid-sized arrays ranging from 50 kilowatts to 3 megawatts. That may sound like peanuts, but it includes the important community solar sector, so — wait, what is community solar anyways?

ENERGY STORAGE

The magnificent seven: US states with energy storage mandates, targets and goals, Energy Storage News. The US national Energy Storage Association’s policy director, Jason Burwen, spoke with Andy Colthorpe about the seven early adopter states and whether this is likely to be a spreading pattern across the country.

OPPD IN THE NEWS

TRADE ASSOCIATIONS’ STATEMENTS ON HOUSE $1.5 TRILLION INFRASTRUCTURE BILL 

GREEN BIZ’S “30 UNDER 30” AWARDS

The 2020 GreenBiz 30 Under 30, GreenBiz Editors
We are proud to introduce our fifth annual cohort of twentysomethings who are sustainability leaders within — and without — their companies, nonprofits and communities. The Class of 2020 hails from seven countries, including Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil and Taiwan, and they are tackling diverse challenges — from cultivating a more sustainable food system to advocating for climate justice on behalf of disadvantaged communities to testing best practices for circular cities to negotiating impactful renewable energy contracts. The list of their accomplishments is long and growing longer by the day, and they’re just getting started.

AGRIVOLTAICS

Pollinator-Saving Solar Panels: Good for Farmers, Good for Business, by Tina Casey, Triple Pundit. Conventional solar arrays typically force farmers to choose between raising crops and generating electricity in order to survive financially. However, a new body of research called agrivoltaics is demonstrating that farmers can have the best of both worlds. A recent report the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, for example, indicates that properly designed, low-impact solar arrays can be compatible with agricultural use.

MORE ON AMERICA’S RENEWABLES INVESTMENT ATTRACTIVENESS

ALSO IN THE NEWS

TRANSITION IN COAL COUNTRY: PART ONE

EV NEWS

Is this electric plane the future of flying?, GreenBiz article contributed by David Elliott, Senior Writer, World Economic Forum. The world’s largest all-electric plane has completed its maiden voyage, flying for 30 minutes in the skies above Washington state. Its safe landing in Moses Lake, about 186.5 miles southeast of Seattle, is a milestone in a dream that’s been floating about since the late 1800s — air travel powered by electricity.

EV grant will expand charger access

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire, OPPD Blog

The award for the OPPD projects was nearly $600,000, which is about one-third of the total funds awarded in Nebraska. The grants are based on matching funds. The proposed sites are in North Bend, Blair, Syracuse, Omaha and La Vista. OPPD worked with the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, the Sierra Club and the City of Omaha among others to secure the grants. Those partnerships, along with the proposed locations spread throughout the service territory, were key to securing the grants, said Karisa Vlasek, coordinator of Grants & Stakeholder Outreach at OPPD. Several local city governments and businesses also partnered with OPPD. The Electric Vehicle Charging Rebate program comes out of the Volkswagen settlement fund. Nebraska received $12.25 million in the settlement, administered by the Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy. Read more here.

A list of the electric vehicle charging projects receiving funding through this program is available here: Electric Vehicle Charging Rebate Recipients.

Also Published by The Wire

OPPD debuts new public EV charger, by Laura King-Homan
This week, OPPD debuted a new public charger for electric vehicles (EVs) just outside the utility’s headquarters. A grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) in coordination with the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA) paid for a portion of the charger. OPPD paid the remaining costs. 

NATIONAL INITIATIVE

ChargePoint and NATSO Launch Collaborative to Significantly Expand  EV Charging  Along Nation’s Highways and in Rural Communities, News Release 

ChargePoint, the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network, and NATSO, which represents America’s travel plazas and truckstops, announced a landmark partnership to create a National Highway Charging Collaborative to extend EV charging to every corner of the nation. Over the next decade, the Collaborative will leverage $1 billion in capital to deploy charging at more than 4,000 travel plazas and fuel stops that serve highway travelers and rural communities.

Nebraska Solar Schools Education & Development Program Update

In April 2019 the Nebraska Environmental Trust awarded Nebraska Solar Schools, a Nebraskans for Solar program, a grant for $31,250 to provide statewide K-12 schools with award-winning National Energy Education Development (NEED) solar energy kits. There are four NEED grade-level kits available:

The Sun and Its Energy: Grades K-2
Wonders of the Sun: Grades 3-5
Energy from the Sun: Grades 6-8
Exploring Photovoltaics: Grades 9-12

All the materials needed for each lesson plan, project and activity are included in the kits, providing teachers a time-saving and fun way to incorporate solar energy education into their STEM-based programs. Almost all the curriculum materials in the kits are reusable, and so each kit can be used by multiple teachers. Replacement kits for consumables are available from NEED.Org at a fraction of the cost of the main kit.

To date, sixty-one K-12 schools in communities all across Nebraska have been awarded NEED Solar Energy Kits.

Nebraska Solar Schools’ next steps will be to continue the education half of the program for as long as Nebraska Environmental Trust grant funds last; develop a needs-based scholarships program for graduating seniors; and create a grants fund for the development half of the program.

Project development grants will enable Nebraska high schools using the NEED “Exploring Photovoltaics” Kit to build their own ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) project under the supervision of one or more mentors, local solar technology experts.

Each high school awarded a project-development grant will be provided a PV kit with all the materials needed to complete their school project. Nebraska Solar Schools’ website provides information for all K-12 schools wishing to install a photovoltaic system at their school.

Learn more about Nebraska Solar Schools Education & Development Program at: www.nebraskasolarschools.org.

Check out the NEED Solar Energy Kits and see examples of lesson plans, projects and activities for each grade level here: NEED Solar Energy Kits Project (PDF)

Questions? Please contact Nebraska Solar Schools Facilitator Helen Deffenbacher: helendeffenbacher@nebraskasolarschools.org

Thank you to everyone who participated in last night’s Nebraskans for Solar and OPPD event

From Left: Michal Lisowyj, David Rich, Courtney Kennedy, Mayor Josh Moenning

Many thanks to event attendees, who posed numerous insightful questions during the discussion session that followed the excellent panel presentation. Nebraskans for Solar also wish to extend our appreciation to the following event moderator and speakers:

Courtney Kennedy, OPPD Alternative Energy Program Manager, moderated the panel discussion and facilitated the Q&A.

Our guest speakers and the topics they discussed are identified below, as well as links to related articles, news releases and resources: 

Michal Lisowyj, OPPD Alternative Energy Specialist
Mr. Lisowyj provided an overview of why energy storage is becoming increasingly popular, the technologies being deployed, as well as some that may be used in the future (cryogenic, pumped, flow, etc.). He also presented an overview of OPPD’s grant application for energy storage, summarized OPPD’s 5-megawatt community solar project under construction by NextEra Energy Resources, and provided information on OPPD’s Request for Proposals for 400 to 600 megawatts of solar, detailed in the document, below.

Recommended Reading

Josh Moenning, City of Norfolk Mayor and founder of New Power Nebraska
Mayor Moenning provided an overview of the City of Norfolk’s planned 8.5-MW community solar project and accompanying battery energy storage system, made possible by a grant award from the Nebraska Environmental Trust. He also briefly discussed New Power Nebraska, an alliance open to the public that he founded to promote the development of wind energy. To learn more about New Power Nebraska and sign up for the group’s newsletter, visit:
www.newpowernebraska.org 

Recommended Reading

David Rich, NPPD Sustainable Energy Manager
Mr. Rich discussed NPPD’s application to the Nebraska Environmental Trust for a 1 MW/2 MWH battery energy storage system in partnership with the City of Norfolk, NPPD’s Request for Proposals, the evaluation of the proposals and their current status and issues raised by the developers regarding potential utilization of the U.S. Investment Tax Credits.

Additionally, Mr. Rich discussed Monolith Materials’ manufacturing facility in Hallam, Nebraska, adjacent to NPPD’s Sheldon Station. Monolith Materials uses a patented process to manufacture carbon black, a common material found in a great number of products, including tires, cellphones, paints, printing inks, plastics and batteries. Hydrogen is a byproduct of the carbon black manufacturing process. Monolith uses natural gas instead of coal-tar and oil, as in the conventional process. Norris Public Power District headquartered in Beatrice is the natural gas provider.

Recommended Reading & Viewing

Image Credit: Nebraskans for Solar Board Member David Corbin
Top Photo: “Collaboration” by Jamie Burmeister, a sculptor, musician and educator living and working in Omaha. David and his wife, Josie Metal-Corbin, are among the subjects of the miniature sculptures featured in “Collaboration.”

Facebook’s Papillion data center goes live

Written by Jodi Baker, The Wire, OPPD Blog

For Nebraska, it’s meant an investment of more than $1 billion, including 1,000 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs, so far. And that’s just for the first phase. The second  phase, set for completion in 2023, will bring more construction and another 100 permanent jobs. During a grand opening event June 13, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said, “OPPD was really the linchpin in helping make this deal happen, because they were able to offer Facebook 100% renewable energy.”

The company is partnering with the Papillion-La Vista Schools Foundation to invest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education at the high-school level. The company’s skilled and technical trades program will build on the schools’ existing STEM education to benefit more than 1,000 students the first year alone. Read more here.

NEBRASKA’S LARGEST UTILITIES’ EV PROGRAMS & INCENTIVES

Nebraska Environmental Trust Awards $200,000 Grant to Independent Colleges Foundation to Support Development of Sustainability Learning Lab at Bellevue University

Business Wire

The Council of Independent Nebraska Colleges Foundation (CINCF) announced today that it has received a $200,000 grant from The Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) to help establish a sustainability learning lab at Bellevue University. The grant funding from NET will be matched by Bellevue University and its partners and donors over the next three years.

According to Dr. Dennis Joslin, Executive Director of CINCF, “The Sustainability Learning Lab has tremendous potential to benefit the State of Nebraska by raising awareness and educating future generations of students and citizens about how to conserve, enhance and restore natural environments.” Dr. Joslin added that the grant and lab project aligns well with CINCF’s mission to provide support for students attending Nebraska’s private colleges and universities. Continue reading here.

City looks to roll out electric vehicle incentive program this summer

By Colin Larson, Fremont Tribune

The City of Fremont plans to unveil a new electrical vehicle incentive program which will provide ten individuals with a $4,500 rebate toward the purchase of a new electric vehicle and charger later this summer. The incentive program is part of a pilot program to study the effect electric vehicles have on Fremont’s electric system, according to City Administrator Brian Newton. Read more here.

Photo: A Tesla electric vehicle uses one of the city’s two ChargePoint charging stations in the Fremont Mall. Credit: Colin Larson, Fremont Tribune

Lego builds its way to 100% renewables – with its own pieces

Smart Energy International

The company’s transition was originally expected to be reached by 2022, but it became possible to complete the transition sooner, thanks to the completion of a 258MW offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea. Lego has 42 offices around the world, and remains a major influence in culture across generations. Read more here.

RE100: Lego became a member in May 2017. RE100 is a global corporate leadership initiative bringing together leading companies committed to 100% renewable electricity.

Lego Wind Turbine Kit Developed in Partnership With Vestas 

In 2018 Lego “released a fully-functional Lego wind turbine playset, “which allows budding engineers a chance to see the technology in effect, rather than theory.” The Lego bricks are made from a plant-based material sourced from sugarcane. Lego’s ultimate goal is to produce all their products and packaging with sustainable materials by 2030.


Also Of Potential Interest to Teachers

Lego is now on DonorsChoose.org, a non-profit organization that connects public school classrooms with the community to help fund student learning. Find out more about posting your classroom project to DonorsChoose.org and raising funds to benefit your classroom.

Lego’s List of Popular Educational Grant Providers

Nebraska Solar Schools Grant

Nebraska Solar Schools, a Nebraskans for Solar program, is offering 100 NEED Solar Energy Kits to up to 100 Nebraska public and non-public schools. The kits provide K-12 teachers a convenient and fun way to incorporate more solar energy education into their Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) programs.

Teacher and student curriculum guides are available for free download and review at the following links, as well as descriptions of each grade-level solar kit:

The Sun and Its Energy: Grades K-2
Wonders of the Sun: Grades 3-5
Energy from the Sun: Grades 6-8
Exploring Photovoltaics: Grades 9-12

Click here to learn more.