Tag Archives: Nebraskans for Solar NewsBlog

New Project Would More Than Double Wisconsin’s Solar Energy Output

By Hope Kirwin, Wisconsin Public Radio

A major utility in western Wisconsin has announced plans for a new solar farm in Jefferson
County. Dairyland Power Cooperative plans to purchase 149 megawatts of solar energy from the Badger State Solar project. That’s almost six times Dairyland’s current solar investment and
would more than double the state’s solar production, The new partnership would create one of the largest solar farms in Wisconsin. The solar farm would be built by development company
Ranger Power on private land in the towns of Jefferson and Oakland. Read more here.

Ranger Power Photo

Related

MORE NEWS FROM STATES


Big cheese gets big solar+storage proposal, PV Magazine
Invenergy has proposed a solar project up to 200 MWac / 300 MWdc in capacity with a 50 MW / 200 MWh battery in Kenosha County, Wisconsin.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

State of the states: 4 reasons that red plus blue makes green economics, Utility Dive Contributor Malcolm D. Woolf, managing director of MW Energy Advisors and former chair of the National Association of State Energy Officials.

Washington, D.C. is abuzz with the Green New Deal, but my bet is that the most pivotal energy legislation enacted this year comes from red and blue state houses across the nation.

GLOBAL NEWS

Rise of bifacial lifts profits for the world’s tracker companies, PV Magazine

Soltec Image: Single-axis tracker

Rural America is ready for some sort of a New Deal, preferably green

By Art Cullen, Published by The Guardian and Republished by Yahoo! News

The Midwest would welcome a New Deal, and this is where it must start. The Great Plains from Iowa down through Kansas and Texas lead the world in wind energy production. Yet the wind energy production tax credit is set to wane and expire over the next five years. Those wind
turbine royalties are increasingly important in western Kansas where you can barely raise a corn crop even with irrigation because of soil degradation and warmer nights wrought by
climate change. Wind energy technicians who keep the blades whirring are paid good union wages and are welcome residents in tiny Iowa villages. They could ply their trade in West
Virginia as well. Read the entire article here.

Art Cullen is editor of the Storm Lake Times in Iowa and won the 2017 Pulitzer prize for editorial writing. Cullen is the author of the book, Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper (Viking 2018).

Spring Deadline for USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Applications:
Includes information on incentives for solar and small wind.

The spring deadline to apply for USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants is April 1, 2019.
Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round. REAP assists agricultural producers and rural small businesses in reducing energy costs and
consumption by purchasing and installing renewable
energy systems and making energy efficiency
improvements in their operations.

A 25-kilowatt photovoltaic system installed in 2015 powers the Hammond family farm
operations west of Benedict, Nebraska. Photo Credit: Matt Ryerson / Lincoln Journal Star

Rick Hammond’s array cost $84,864 in 2015, but a combination of a USDA grant and federal tax credits brought the cost to him down to $19,100. Source: Farms flexing solar power, Lincoln Journal Star. Installers: MarLin Wind & Solar and North Star Solar Bears

Additional Recommended Reading

 

Rick Hammond and his family are the subjects of This Blessed Earth, the One Book, One Nebraska pick for 2019. Ted Genoways’ award-winning book is
also this year’s All Iowa Reads Selection.

 

More Farm Energy Resources

Supportive energy policy shines spotlight on rural Nebraska

Written by Lu Nelson, Policy Associate at the Center for Rural Affairs,
Contributing Opinion, The Grand Island Independent

Through net metering, homeowners are able to save on
energy rates while utilities gain access to local,
renewable energy that they can use to meet the needs
of other customers. Meanwhile, the installation of
generating systems like solar panels brings jobs to communities where consumers are looking to invest in projects. In Nebraska, the solar industry already
supports more than 1,300 jobs, and there is plenty of room for the industry to grow as panels continue to get cheaper and more efficient.

Legislative Bill 509 in the Nebraska Legislature would raise the existing cap on the size of projects that qualify for net metering. Allowing consumers to send more of their excess renewable energy to the grid helps lower costs, creates new economic opportunities, and promotes energy independence. Read more here.

LB 509: Redefine the terms net metering and qualified facility and change powers and duties of a local distribution utility

Upcoming Legislative Hearing
Nebraska Legislative Bill 678: Create the Volkswagen Settlement Cash Fund and provide duties for the Department of Environmental Quality
Introduced by Senator Tony Vargas
LB 678 Appropriations Committee Hearing: March 20. 2019 at 1:30 pm in Room 1003
Appropriations Committee
Senator John Stinner, Chairperson jstinner@leg.ne.gov
Senator Kate Bolz kbolz@leg.ne.gov

Senator Robert Clements rclements@leg.ne.gov
Senator Myron Dorn mdorn@leg.ne.gov
Senator Steve Erdman serdman@leg.ne.gov
Senator Robert Hilkemann rhilkemann@leg.ne.gov
Senator Mike McDonnell mmcdonnell@leg.ne.gov
Senator Tony Vargas tvargas@leg.ne.gov
Senator Anna Wishart awishart@leg.ne.gov

Testifier Guide (PDF)
Written Position Letter
If you are not testifying in person and would like to submit a written position letter to be
included in the official hearing record as an exhibit, the letter must be delivered to the office of the committee chair (or emailed to the committee chair) of the committee conducting the
hearing on the bill by 5:00 p.m. on the last work day prior to the public hearing.

Additionally, the letter must include your name and address, state a position of for, against, or neutral on the bill in question and include a request for the letter to be included as part of the public hearing record.

Upcoming Event: Nebraska Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Conference

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is partnering with the Nebraska Power Association to host the conference on March 25, 2019 at 10 am at the Holthus Convention Center, 3130 Holen Avenue in York. On-site registration and exhibits start at 9 am.

The free conference is intended for those interested in installing public electric vehicle chargers and also for members of the public interested in the development of public electric vehicle charging in Nebraska. If you would like to participate in lunch, snacks and refreshments throughout the day, the fee will be $20 per person.

View Agenda.
To register, visit: www.evnebraska.com.

Hello, sunshine!

Written by Lynn Hartzell, Nebraska Home Sales Realtor,
Contributor, Lincoln Journal Star Lifestyle Magazine

I have to admit, there was a time in my life when I heard
someone talking about Alternative Energy and I would roll my
eyes. I had had a long career at a local public power company
working in the power plants that produce energy with coal,
diesel fuel and natural gas. They all worked pretty well, and I
saw no reason to mess with success. But in 2015, my wife and I did some investigating and found that the price of solar power
for residential use was coming down quickly and made financial sense. Continue reading here.

Links to Solar & Small Wind Energy Incentives & Nebraska Energy Office Loans

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems and small wind turbines: 30% to December 31, 2019. Small wind: 100 kilowatts or less. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Additionally, LES customers may qualify for a one-time capacity payment of up to $1,000 per kilowatt of peak demand reduced. The total amount customers can receive is determined by the system size and primary direction the system is facing, for example:

  • Southern facing fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $375.
  • Western facing or single or dualaxis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.

Source: Customer-owned Renewable Generation

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

New Mexico Passes 100% Clean Energy Bill

By Noah Long, Natural Resources Defense Council

The bill will double renewable energy use in the state by 2025, require 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent carbon free electricity generation by 2045. This means New Mexico can quickly transition from dependence on fossil fuels for electricity to joining other states to lead a new clean energy economy. Read more here.

Related

  • New Mexico will be the third US state to go 100% renewable, PV Magazine
  • Power to the people — community solar works, Santa Fe New Mexican
    Written by Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima, and Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber
  • Southwest States Make Large Strides on Renewable Energy Targets, E&E News, Reprinted by
    Scientific American. New Mexico and Nevada are poised to enact far-reaching changes to
    reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In Nevada, NV Energy was once viewed as an enemy of
    residential solar development after backing state regulators’ attempt to end the practice of net
    metering. But the utility acquiesced to efforts to restore net metering and has sought to tout its
    renewable ambitions in recent months . . . Public Service Company of New Mexico, the state’s
    largest utility, had already pledged to divest itself of all its coal assets by 2031.

MORE 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Hoboken commits to 100% renewable energy by 2030, The Stute
In a statement released on February 21, 2019, Mayor Ravi Bhalla announced that the city of Hoboken, New Jersey will begin purchasing 100% clean, nonpolluting renewable electricity for all municipal facilities starting April of 2019. This includes offices and buildings used for the Hoboken local government, such as city hall.

OPPD Focused On Continued Investment In Our Communities

Omaha Public Power District News Release
February 14, 2019

Omaha Public Power District is committed to investing in the communities it serves. Furthering that effort, today, the OPPD Board of Directors approved a labor contract for streetlight
conversion work within its service territory to replace current technology with light emitting
diode (LED) technology.

This is part of the district’s five-year plan, officially beginning next month, to replace nearly 100,000 existing high-pressure sodium fixtures within its service territory. To date, OPPD has
converted approximately 400 burned out streetlights to LED. The district is utilizing a contractor alongside OPPD employees due to the volume and time frame of work taking place.
Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading
NDEQ Co-hosting Nebraska Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Conference on March 25, NPPD News Release

NEWS FROM OTHER CITIES & STATES

The nuclear city goes 100% renewable, PV Magazine
Yesterday Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel unveiled the city’s
Resilient Chicago plan, which in action 38 is a commitment to
“transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy in buildings community-wide by 2035”. 

TRI-STATE NEWS

From Kaiser To Vail Ski Resorts, Companies Doubled Their Wind And Solar In 2018

By Grace Hood, Colorado Public Radio

Corporate giants like Facebook, Walmart, Microsoft and Apple made big deals in 2018, but now smaller corporate fish have waded into the pond. “We had Etsy do a deal last year, J.M. Smucker Company that makes jellies and jams,” [Kevin Haley, a program manager at the Business Renewables Center at Rocky Mountain Institute] said. “It’s a great way for them to reduce a lot of carbon all at once.”

Colorado-based Vail Resorts has joined the ranks of small companies as well. It inked a 12-year agreement to buy new wind that will be produced from a Nebraska farm starting in 2020. When the wind farm is operational, the purchased power will offset Vail’s fossil fuel use across North America. “This is the way that a company that’s geographically diverse can make a significant impact and bring new renewable resources online,” said Kate Wilson, director of sustainability for Vail Resorts. Read more here.

About Vail Resorts Corporation

Lincoln Clean Energy photo of the partially-completed 230 MW Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County, Nebraska. Once operational, the project will create high-paying local jobs and will result in over $3 million in local community benefits annually in the Wayne County area. This includes much needed property tax revenues, with some of the largest beneficiaries being the Norfolk and Winside school districts.

Previously Posted
Vail Resorts Announces Long-Term Wind Energy Contract, Renewable Energy Magazine
The company’s multimillion-dollar wind energy virtual power purchase agreement enables the development of the Plum Creek Wind Project. It is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power up to 100,000 U.S. homes each year.

Additional Colorado News: More Colorado co-ops announce clean energy goals, Clean Cooperative

HAPPENING IN OTHER STATES

Solar seen as bright career path at Illinois community colleges, Energy News Network

Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act included funding to make solar training more accessible to lower-income residents.
 

Catalyzing Clean Energy Innovation

By Jackie Wong and Arjun Krishnaswami, Natural Resources Defense Council

Clean energy is not a futuristic notion but rather a present reality. It already supports more than 3 million U.S. jobs for people of different skill sets and education levels. It also has become clear that clean energy can advance economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, AND energy security. Utilities’ commitments like those from Xcel Energy to eliminate carbon
emissions from its power plants and from Southern Company to be low- to no-carbon—both by 2050—are just some of the many signals that fully embracing clean energy is not only necessary and doable, but also an accelerating trend increasingly backed by businesses. Read more here.

Image: Pixabay / Public Domain

Also Published by NRDC: New Mexico Embraces Transition to 100% Clean Energy

ADDITIONAL 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS


Green energy group aims to move Illinois toward 100 percent renewable energy, DeKalb Daily Chronicle

State Rep. Davis plans to introduce ‘Path to 100’ bill
within two weeks.

MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS


UNI offers incentive for solar panels, Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier


In a push for more clean energy in Black Hawk County, experts from University of Northern Iowa are offering a smooth transition from using coal-fired power to naturally renewable solar energy . . . The “Go Solar” group-buy program gives businesses, farms and residents in Black Hawk County the opportunity to take advantage of reduced energy costs and join the increasing number of Iowans who are going solar and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

New Study: We can meet the Paris Climate targets for 1/3 the cost of CURRENT fossil fuel subsidies!

By Karel Beckman, Red, Green and Blue

The Leonardo DeCaprio Foundation has a new study out that shows it would take approximately $1.7 trillion per year globally to meet the Paris Climate goals and avoid climate change disaster. [Director of Innovation at the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation] Karl Burkart notes that this amount “pales in comparison to the vast subsidies governments currently provide to prop up the ailing fossil fuel industry, estimated at more than $5 trillion per year by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Taxpayers are unwittingly funding the climate crisis, and that needs to stop.” Read more here.

MORE CLIMATE NEWS

SEIA NEWS RELEASE


Solar is the Future of American Energy

Declaring the 2020s the Solar Energy Decade, SEIA’s President & CEO Abby Hopper made a mark at the United States Energy Association’s 15th Annual State of the Energy Industry Forum.

 

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS


Corporations’ Hunger for Clean Power Has Never Been Bigger, Bloomberg. Facebook is now the largest corporate buyer of clean power. Image: Facebook Data Center under construction in Papillion

 

ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION

America’s Energy Future: What the Government Misses in Its Long-Term Outlook and Why It Matters, Inside Climate News
The U.S. government’s new long-term energy outlook paints a picture of the future that few utilities and energy analysts actually expect to see. It underplays how rapidly coal will retreat from the market and fails to grasp the scale of growth for renewable energy compared to utilities’ plans and analysts’ expectations.

From the editor: EIA versus the future, by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine
EIA’s short-term forecasts have been generally thoughtful and informative. But when we start to look beyond a few years, EIA’s projections start to lose their credibility, and the assumptions that they make become increasingly problematic.

GREEN NEW DEAL

Economic Reasons For The Green New Deal — The Numbers Speak For Themselves, by Carolyn Fortuna, CleanTechnica. I’ve been participating in Sunrise Movement trainings to raise awareness of the Green New Deal and to motivate Congress to take significant action
toward 100% US renewable energy within the decade. Surrounded by a mass of college kids with a spattering of we older folks, I’ve been immersed in strategizing so that we can more effectively fight at the local and national levels to make the Green New Deal a reality.

A 3-part theory of change that mobilizes millions, elects a critical mass of supportive public officials, and builds a new peoples’ alignment that advances a shared agenda for society is underway here, folks. And, should you have questions about whether a bunch of kids and an idealistic vision to restructure the way energy is done in the US is practical, just look at the numbers. More than anything, there are significant economic reasons to implement a Green New Deal.

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Applications

The spring deadline to apply for USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants is April 1, 2019. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round. REAP assists agricultural producers and rural small businesses in reducing energy costs and consumption by purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements in their operations.

Who may apply? Small businesses in eligible rural areas and agricultural producers, both rural and non-rural, who have at least 50% of their gross income coming from agricultural operations, may apply.

REAP grants provide up to 25% of the total project costs, and a grant and loan combination up to 75%. Eligible projects include renewable energy systems and the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements. Additional details are posted here.

Top Image: Twenty-five kilowatt photovoltaic system installed in 2015 powers the Hammond family farm operations west of Benedict, Nebraska. Credit: Matt Ryerson / Lincoln Journal Star
Previously Posted News Story: Farms flexing solar power, Lincoln Journal Star
Installers: MarLin Wind & Solar and North Star Solar Bears
See Solar Examples for brief descriptions and photos of more Nebraska farmers & ranchers who have installed PV systems to reduce their energy costs.

RECOMMENDED READING

 

Rick Hammond and his family are the subjects of This Blessed Earth, the One Book, One Nebraska pick for 2019. Ted Genoways’ award-winning book is also this year’s All Iowa Reads Selection.

 


FEATURED RESOURCES FOR LANDOWNERS

Guides to Solar Land Leases 

GREEN NEW DEAL 

Green New Deal Needs To Include Agriculture Technology, by Austin Frerick, Contributor, Forbes
The way we eat and produce food is a significant contributor to climate change. In fact, agriculture is estimated to contribute between 13% and 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Any “Green New Deal” needs to not only enable innovation around sustainable agriculture, but also encourage farmers to adopt new, environmentally-friendly technologies.