Tag Archives: Nebraskans for Solar NewsBlog

Solar energy to power Atkinson waste water plant

By Jerry Guenther, Norfolk Daily News

On Thursday, Jan. 10, the City of Atkinson will celebrate the conversion of its waste water plant to operate entirely on solar energy. Erika Young, marketing and external affairs manager for GenPro Energy Solutions, said the City of Atkinson wanted a tracked system that could provide enough energy to offset the energy consumption of its water treatment plant. GenPro Energy Solutions of Piedmont, S.D., was the project developer. Through NPPD’s Buy-Sell Solar Rider, Atkinson will be able to create long-term cash flow for the city through the production of solar energy, Young said. Read more here.

Event Details
What: Atkinson Waste Treatment Plant Solar Array ribbon cutting.
Where: City of Atkinson Waste Water Treatment Plant, 700 S. Main St., Atkinson.
When: Thursday, January 10, 10 a.m.
Cider and cookies will follow the ceremony at the Atkinson Community Center,
206 W. Fifth Street.

Pixabay Photo

OPPD fee hikes hurt low-income, low energy users and conservationists, OWH analysis confirms

By Aaron Sanderford, Omaha World-Herald
OPPD Infographic 

Conservationist Craig Moody, who joined the OPPD board after the vote on fee and rate changes, says he is concerned that OPPD is encouraging people to use more power instead of less, which he says is wrong. He said he would like OPPD to explore a tiered fee structure, one similar to what the Lincoln Electric System uses. Lincoln charges different fixed fees for customers based on how much power they use.

[Commenting on OPPD’s monthly fixed fee, which starting this month amounts to $360 per year, newly-elected board member Eric Williams stated]: “I think that all five of the new board members were pretty open during our campaigns that the high fixed fee structure is something that’s hurting a lot of people. We would like to take another look at it.” One option, he said, may be revisiting OPPD’s Strategic Directive 2 on rates this spring, to see whether the goal of being affordable is being met. Read the entire article here.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED INFORMATION

OPPD’S  justification for the fixed fee increase is included in the following article by Aaron Sanderford: OPPD board approves $1.18 billion budget
 [Monthly fixed fees] will increase to $30 a month in 2019, up from $10.25 in 2015. Utility officials have said the shift is needed as appliances and devices become more efficient and as more people start generating power at home, including by using solar panels.

In his latest article, Aaron Sanderford states that the fixed fee harms the poor and elders as well as conservationists, including “those who generate their own power.” The annual fixed fee, now $360, does create a barrier for rooftop solar development, as the amount itself, on top of the cost of a solar system, will put the option out of range for many household budgets. As OPPD also states, it increases the payback period for a solar system:

OPPD’s Rate Restructuring FAQs posted on the utility’s website:
FAQ #9:  I am considering installing solar panels and/or wind generation at my home. How would this affect me?
Answer: Because the fixed portion of the bill is increasing, customers who wish to install solar or wind to meet part of their energy needs would see an increase in the payback period associated with recovering their investment.

Those who have installed solar know that the PV systems on their rooftops benefit not only their own households and their neighbors’, but also OPPD in a number of widely-recognized ways. Six benefits of rooftop solar are excerpted HERE from the following source: Let’s Be Clear: Solar Energy Benefits Everyone, Solar Energy Industries Association

Many utilities across the nation have no fixed monthly fees, or they have rolled them back or are in the process of doing so:

Are regulators starting to rethink fixed charges?, Utility Dive
[In 2017], regulators only approved 6 out of 84 proposals for higher customer charges, suggesting regulators might be looking for “something better,” Proudlove told Utility Dive. Autumn Proudlove is senior manager of policy research at the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC).

City ready for community solar gardens

By Jennifer Bailey, Commercial-News, Danville, Illinois

Illinois passed The Future Energy Jobs Act in December 2016. This legislation went into effect June 1, 2017. Under this legislation, the state created a new Community Solar program that will allow any customer of ComEd or Ameren to subscribe to a community solar garden, according to Solar in the Community which is a joint project of the Illinois Citizens Utility Board, The
Accelerate Group and the Environmental Defense Fund . . . Under Illinois’ community solar
program, “subscribers” can enter into an agreement to support a solar energy installation in their community — on the rooftop of a local school or community center, for example.
Read more here.

Future Energy Jobs Act

MORE COMMUNITY SOLAR NEWS

LOCATING CLOSED LANDFILLS & OTHER LOCAL BROWNFIELDS

EPA’s RE-Powering Mapper is an online interactive web application that allows users to visualize key information on renewable energy potential at specific contaminated lands, landfills and mine sites.

Using screening criteria developed in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), EPA has pre-screened more than 130,000 sites for their renewable energy potential.

Access the updated RE-Powering Mapper here. 
Learn more about EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative here.

MORE GOOD NEWS FROM STATES 

This old coal plant is now a solar farm, thanks to pressure from local activists, Fast Company. In Massachusetts, one town fought to stop
pollution–and ensured a just transition for workers at the coal plant. For more than half a century, a coal plant in the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts spewed pollution into the air. Now, the plant is closed, and 17,000 solar panels and a battery storage system–the largest in the state–send clean power to the grid. Photo by Toxics Action Center

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

INTERVIEW

Commercial Solar Outlook: A Q&A with GE Solar, Energy Manager Today
From import tariffs to corporate sustainability goals, 2018 was a big year for the commercial solar industry, with no signs of slowing down in 2019. To understand what’s on the horizon for the commercial solar market, we asked Ellen Roybal, Managing Director
of Strategy & Market Intelligence for GE Solar, for her take on the industry.

Year-End Reflections and Predictions From a Solar Veteran

Vote Solar’s Adam Browning offers up his picks for the most
important trends of 2018. Published by Greentech Media.

In 2002, when solar was $9 a watt, I co-founded an advocacy organization to bring solar into the mainstream. Solar’s made a lot of progress since then, and 2018 feels like a crucial year in many ways, with some key successes and pivotal developments.

Here’s my list of the most important stories in solar in 2018, and predictions for 2019.

Continue reading here.

Take local action on climate change

Written by Roy D. Buol, Mayor of Dubuque and a member of
Mayors for Solar Energy, Guest Columnist, The Gazette

The federal government’s Fourth National Climate Assessment should be a major wake-up call for the Midwest. The report details the serious consequences of our addiction to fossil fuels in communities such as Dubuque and throughout the Midwest. Our elected leaders not only need to acknowledge the gravity and urgency of the problem but do everything in their power to solve it . . . Dubuque is working to prevent the worst of these effects by advancing clean, carbon-free renewable energy at the local level. With the adoption of Dubuque’s plan to reduce the community’s greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent below 2003 levels by 2030, the City Council solidified our commitment to mitigating and adapting to climate impacts. Read more here.

Image: Alliant Energy’s Solar Facility in Dubuque
The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) announced April 2018 that the Dubuque Solar project earned the Envision Platinum rating for sustainable infrastructure – the highest Envision award level. This is the first solar project to receive Envision recognition, and second project in Iowa to receive an Envision Platinum rating.

 

Mayors for Solar Members in Nebraska
Mayors join call for more solar power

 

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

Wind Dominates First-Quarter Midwest Power Project Starts, Completions, an Industrial Info News Alert, PR Newswire
Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas) is tracking nearly $6 billion in Power Industry projects that are planned to start or be completed in the U.S. Midwest market region in first-quarter 2019. The Midwest includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Wind power dominates these projects in terms of project value. Iowa, with more than $1.8 billion in planned starts and completions, leads in terms of project value. 

Minnesota Regulators Approve Nobles 2 Wind PPA, North American Windpower
Minnesota Power, a utility division of ALLETE Inc., has received unanimous approval from the
Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with
[Omaha-based] Tenaska Inc. for 250 MW of wind-generated electricity.

MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Solar farm approvals on deck; B-N group-buy matches first, Bloomington Pantagraph. McLean County is on track to have 18 solar farms considered for state approval this spring, with small-scale solar development still marching along after another successful group-buy program. StraightUp Solar Photo: A solar farm at Home Nursery, a wholesale nursery in Albers, Illinois.

UTILITIES IN THE NEWS

Xcel Energy: Utility of the Year?
By Robert Rapier, 
Moneyshow.com
Historically, most of Xcel’s wind generation was produced under power-purchase agreements from third parties. But that’s about to change. Xcel has approved 4,780 MW of new wind power by 2021, of which it will own 74%. Xcel plans to invest $1 billion in Colorado over the next few years. It is targeting an increase in renewables to about 55% of its energy mix by 2026 . . . Expect more utilities to follow Xcel’s example. Global pressure to address climate change has been a factor to this point in the rapid adoption of renewables. But now that they are becoming cost-competitive with coal, renewables increasingly look like a smart decision, for both utilities and investors. Flickr Photo

Utilities are accelerating microgrid investments in innovative and strategic ways, GreenBiz
The electric utility sector is at a crossroads between centralized generation and distributed energy
resources (DERs), with 2018 DER deployments exceeding additions for centralized generation.

SOLSMART UPDATE

 

The SolSmart Application has been revised.
Click here to download and review it.

Researchers present Columbus, OH leaders with climate adaptation plan

By Katie Pyzyk, Smart Cities Dive

A task force led by researchers at Ohio State University has submitted the Columbus Climate Adaptation Plan (CCAP) to city leaders. The primary goal of the document is not to mitigate climate change, but rather to prepare the city and its residents for the projected effects of climate change and inform them of adaptations that should be made. The document contains 43 action items in eight main areas including extreme heat, water use and air quality and energy.
Read more here.
Columbus Climate Adaptation Plan (PDF), Completed December 2018

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Additional Midwest Climate Action
Evanston adopts climate action and resiliency plan, Medill Reports 

IN NEBRASKA
Resources
Nebraska State Climate Office
Previously-posted information on steps taken toward a state climate action plan:

C2ES RESOURCES

MORE CLIMATE ACTION & RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCES

NATIONAL SCIENCE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION POSITION STATEMENT:
THE TEACHING OF CLIMATE SCIENCE

The science of climate change is firmly rooted in decades of peer-reviewed scientific literature and is as sound and advanced as other established geosciences that have provided deep understandings in fields such as plate tectonics and planetary astronomy. As such, A Framework for K–12 Science Education recommends that foundational climate change science concepts be included as part of a high-quality K–12 science education. Given the solid scientific foundation on which climate change science rests, any controversies regarding climate change and human-caused contributions to climate change that are based on social, economic, or political arguments—rather than scientific
arguments—should not be part of a science curriculum.
Read the entire position statement here.
Download as a PDF here.

2018 solar power year in review (part 1)

By Christian Roselund and John Weaver, PV Magazine

There’s a reason it’s called the solar coaster. And while we’ve had a number of difficult years over the past decade, 2018 took the cake for pure drama. But against all of that, the slings and arrows that it has suffered, the solar industry has shown remarkable resilience, and is coming out of 2018 not only swinging, but stronger than ever. So today we’re taking a moment to reflect on what we’ve come through, with our list of our top stories from 2018. Continue reading here.

2018 solar power year in review (part 2)

Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement Continues to Break Records in 2018

Rocky Mountain Institute News Release

Corporate renewable energy procurement has set a new single-year record for new capacity of announced wind and solar deals in 2018, the Business Renewables Center (BRC), a membership program at Rocky Mountain Institute, reported in its updated corporate-backed renewable energy procurement deal tracker.

“The record number of companies successfully pursuing renewable energy this year sends a clear signal that environmental sustainability is a serious priority for business leaders across the economy,” said Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute. “These companies aren’t going to wait for public policy on climate issues to catch up—they are taking the initiative to
accelerate toward a prosperous, low carbon economy.” Read more here.

RMI REPORT
RMI offers playbook to support non-wires projects, American Public Power Association

IN NEBRASKA / THE MIDWEST

One for the Books: The Biggest Corporate Renewable Deals of 2018,
Energy Manager Today. Facebook: The BRC found that the social media giant signed 20 renewable contracts totaling 1,894.5 MW in 2018, which tops all the corporate deals the BRC tracked in 2016 put together. Those deals included a power purchase agreement with Enel Green Power North America in March for energy from Enel’s planned 320 MW
Rattlesnake Creek wind farm in Nebraska.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Wind and Solar Are Revitalizing Rural America, by Grant Smith, Senior Energy Policy Advisor, Environmental Working Group
The St Louis Post-Dispatch reports that solar companies are streaming into Illinois and partnering with farmers to lease some of their land for solar projects. But this is not happening only in Illinois. Across the nation, wind and solar investments are revitalizing rural economies, providing a boost to the ups and downs of farm income.

INTERVIEW

Not for lack of ideas: an interview with NREL’s Dr, Peter Green, PV Magazine
In this interview pv magazine talks with the chief research officer at the United States’ foremost clean energy laboratory about the work that NREL has been doing, and what to expect for the
future of electricity and transportation.

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN E-BOOK


Climate Change: Planet Under Pressure
, by Scientific American Editors  $5.99

From increasingly severe storms to collapsing coral reefs to the displacement of Syrian citizens, in this eBook we examine the effects of Earth’s changing climate on weather systems, ecosystems and human habitability and what this means for our future.

Solar on schools advances with open source contracting

By William Driscoll, PV Magazine

With every new solar-on-schools contract more people learn how it’s done, share what they know, and make it easier for neighboring school districts to follow the same path. U.S. schools could host up to 30 gigawatts of solar. Read the entire article here.

Image Credit: Arlington Public Schools: Rooftop solar on an Arlington, Virginia school.

ALSO IN THE NEWS
A 13-year-old won $25,000 for a solar-panel invention that can locate the sun at any time, Business Insider

Georgia Hutchinson, from Woodside, California, took the top prize at the Broadcom Masters nationwide STEM competition for middle-school students. She is working on patenting her invention.
Photo Credit: Society for Science and the Public

SOLAR SCHOOLS RESOURCES

Generation 180

  • Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools, written by The Solar Foundation, Generation 180 and Solar Energy Industries Association
  • Let’s Go Solar:
    School Toolkit
    Champion Toolkit
  • National Resources
  • State Resources Include Nebraska Solar Schools

One Hundred Cities are Leading the Way to 100 Percent Clean Energy

 Written by Mayors Steve Benjamin, Jackie Biskupski,
London Breed, and Kevin Faulconer, Next City OP-ED

Over the past few years, 100 cities and towns across the country — like those we represent: Columbia, S.C.; Salt Lake City, Utah; and San Diego and San Francisco, Calif. — have committed to power our cities on 100 percent clean, renewable energy like solar and wind. Local communities are leading a national movement toward cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable sources of energy, and at the same time demonstrating there is widespread bipartisan support for modernizing our nation’s energy supply.​

Roughly 1 in 7 people — 15 percent of the U.S. population — now lives in a place that is making the transition to 100 percent renewable energy. Big cities like Atlanta and Denver and small towns like Abita Springs, La., and Hanover, N.H. — as well as the entire state of California — share this common purpose. In fact, Republican-led Georgetown, Texas, and five other cities are already running on 100 percent clean energy. Read more here.

Sierra Club Photo: Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina is one of the national co-chairs of the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy Initiative.

MORE 100% NEWS

Belfast, Maine mayor joins U.S. officials demanding reduction of fossil fuel usage, Penobscot Bay Pilot. Mayor Samantha Paradis joined with more than 300 mayors, state representatives, and elected officials from 40 states in releasing a letter today calling for a nationwide plan to phase out the production and use of fossil fuels and to ramp up renewable energy as part of a green new deal approach to energy and efficiency.

DIVESTMENT 

 

As 1000+ Institutions Divest, New York State Comptroller DiNapoli Keeps Negotiating With ExxonMobil, 350.Org News Release, Common Dreams

 


ALSO IN THE NEWS

ELECTRIC VEHICLES & GRID STORAGE

How more EVs on the road can advance a renewable grid, PV Magazine
There’s an alternative future on the horizon, where instead of just drawing power from the grid, electric vehicles become a mobile grid storage resource, with drivers and utilities both reaping the benefits while providing clean power. The author, James Kennedy, engineering director and co-founder of Tritium, runs the company’s research and development team.