Tag Archives: Nebraska’s wind energy development

Q1 2021: Amazon goes big, Ørsted is a fan of corporate procurement

By Sarah Golden, GreenBiz

Corporate renewable deals got off to a sleepy but respectable start in 2021, with the largest contracts from U.S. companies reaching just shy of 2 gigawatts of capacity. This represents a cooling from the fourth quarter’s blockbuster 7.3 GW but a steady climb from the first quarter of previous years — Q1 2019 saw 757 megawatts (MW) of deals; Q1 2020 included 1.6 GW. 

Ørsted, the Danish multinational energy company best known for offshore wind, made a strong showing as a developer for U.S. corporate procurements this quarter, participating in deals with Pepsi, steelmaker Nucor, Target and Hormel Foods. The contracts include portions of two massive onshore wind projects: the 298 MW Haystack project in Nebraska and the 367 MW Western Trail project in Texas. Target, Hormel and Pepsi have procured portions of the Nebraska project; Pepsi and Nucor are offtakers of the Texas project. Read more here.

Photo: Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County, Nebraska. The Haystack project is under construction nearby.

Previously Posted

FACEBOOK’S RENEWABLES & ENERGY STORAGE

Facebook meets 100% renewable energy goal with over 6 GW of wind, solar, Utility Dive
Facebook said Thursday it had procured enough new renewable projects to meet 100% of energy needs for its global operations through clean resources, as of last year. The company has contracts in place for more than 6.1 GW of wind and solar across 18 states and five countries, within the same electric grids that power its data centers and operations. Of the energy contracted, Facebook said it currently has 2 GW of solar and 1.3 GW of wind online, along with 720 MW of energy storage.
Image Credit: Facebook

RE100 REACHES NEW MILESTONE 

  • RE100 reaches 300-member milestone, RE100 News Release
    As companies’ awareness of the impacts of climate change has grown, and with the opportunity to save money from wind and solar increasingly evident, buying renewables has moved from the fringe of corporate social responsibility practice to become a core element for business in securing their energy needs whilst driving down emissions and building positive relationships with employees, customers, investors and governments.
  • RE100 initiative hits 300 member milestone, Business Green
    The new cohort of members means nearly 320TW/h of corporate electricity around the world is set to switch to renewable sources in the coming years – equivalent to the electricity consumption of Australia and Italy, a spokesperson confirmed to BusinessGreen.

FROM THE AMERICAN PUBLIC POWER ASSOCIATION 

About APPA
The American Public Power Association is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. We represent public power before the federal government to protect the interests of the more than 49 million people that public power utilities serve, and the 93,000 people they employ. We advocate and advise on electricity policy, technology, trends, training, and operations.

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Solar Industry Unveils Environmental Justice Priorities, April 15, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is announcing its environmental justice priorities through a new policy platform that will support the organization’s advocacy efforts. The platform outlines principles for engagement, as well as environmental justice outcomes and policies that the organization will support to expand equitable access to solar energy and its benefits. The document lays out policies that expand access to clean energy and create industry jobs and workforce development training. It includes possible tax, climate, energy access and labor policies that build on SEIA’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice throughout the solar value chain.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 

FREE APP FOR TESLA OWNERS

Tesla owners can now see how much solar or coal is powering their EVs, by Kirsten Korosec, TechCrunch

TezLab, a free app that’s like a Fitbit for a Tesla vehicle, pushed out a new feature this week that shows the energy mix — breaking down the exact types and percentages of fossil fuels and renewable energy — coming from charging locations, including Superchargers and third-party networks throughout the United States.

Photo Credit: Tesla

New National Lab study: Wind projects bring substantial revenue to schools

By John Hensley, Vice President, Research & Analytics, American Clean Power Association. Jesse Broehl contributed to this post.

Wind energy has grown substantially in the United States over the past decades, contributing ever-greater revenue to states and local jurisdictions, including school districts. Within two years of completion, a wind project helps deliver approximately $1,000 per child in new revenue to the local school district. This increase in revenue grows to between $1,500 and $1,800 per child several years after installation.

These are among the key findings from a new Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) report released that examines the impacts of wind energy on school district revenues, expenditures, resource allocations, and student achievement. The study uses data on the timing, location, and capacity of wind energy installations in the U.S. from 1995 through 2017 and correlated school district data. In 1995 wind energy was just getting started in the U.S. and only 16 school districts had wind projects installed within their boundaries at that time. By 2016, wind energy production had spread across 38 states, affecting 900 school districts. Continue reading here.

Resource Links

  • Download the study: School District Revenue Shocks, Resource Allocations, and Student Achievement: Evidence from the Universe of U.S. Wind Energy Installations
  • A webinar covering the results of the study recorded on March 26, 2021, can be viewed here.
  • Nebraska: In 2010, the Nebraska Legislature passed a bill which exempted wind energy generation systems from property taxes, although the law allows a county assessor to evaluate real property and land used by wind generation facilities. The property tax is replaced by a nameplate capacity tax of $3,518 per megawatt. In 2017, this tax generated $3,056,623 for Nebraska counties, with $1,862,959 going to local schools. Page 46 of the study.
  • YouTube Video, American Clean Power Association:

Top photo by Ørsted: Nebraska’s 230MW Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County.

Target, Hormel Foods to source wind power from Ørsted in Nebraska

Renewables Now 

The two US firms have signed long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the Danish energy company that will see them receive supplies from its 298-MW Haystack wind project in Nebraska. The power plant is currently under construction and is planned to become operational later this year, Ørsted said on Thursday. Read more here.

Photo: Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County, Nebraska. The Haystack Wind project is being built adjacent to Plum Creek Energy and will utilize interconnection infrastructure in Southwest Power Pool North.

Additional Recommended Reading

About Ørsted

Ørsted develops, constructs, and operates offshore and onshore wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities, and bioenergy plants, and provides energy products to its customers. Ørsted ranks as the world’s most sustainable energy company in Corporate Knights’ 2021 index of the Global 100 most sustainable corporations in the world and is recognized on the CDP Climate Change A List as a global leader on climate action. Headquartered in Denmark, Ørsted employs 6,179 people. For more information on Ørsted, visit orsted.com

Jason Kuiper Article

All about the Southwest Power Pool, The Wire

Wind energy had a ‘banner year’ in 2020. Here’s what that means for Joe Biden’s climate plan.

By Elinor Aspegren, USA Today

A study from the American Clean Power Association released this month reports that 2020 was a record year for the industry, with developers adding enough megawatts of capacity to provide power for millions of homes and inching the U.S. closer to the Biden administration’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2035.

In all, 16,913 megawatts of new wind power capacity was installed in the U.S. last year – an 85% increase over 2019. That’s the equivalent of the power generated from 11 large coal plants, and enough to serve nearly 6 million homes, Jonathan Naughton, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Wind Energy Research Center at the University of Wyoming, told USA TODAY. Read more here.

Nebraska Clean Energy Fact Sheet, American Clean Power Association

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Onward and Upward: How Recent Trends Will Power Breakthroughs in 2021 and Beyond,
Greentech Media article contributed by John Carrington, CEO and Director of Stem.

Not even 100 days into his administration, President Biden’s sense of urgency in tackling climate issues and driving a clean energy revolution is clear. Here is a look at how key recent trends in energy and climate — including remarkable clean energy progress under dire circumstances — will lead to real and sustainable breakthroughs in 2021 and beyond.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Takes Executive Actions to Tackle the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, Create Jobs, and Restore Scientific Integrity Across Federal Government, The White House Briefing Room

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Solar Industry Statement on Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act

“The Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) will make the American solar industry stronger, better trained and more diverse. Our industry will need tens of thousands of workers as it continues to expand and we are deeply committed to efforts to diversify our workforce, bring the benefits of the energy transition to all, and create economic opportunity for Americans in every community, including those who worked in traditional energy industries.” – Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association

ZERO ENERGY READY HOMES

DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home Program helps homebuyers quickly identify high performance homes that are so energy efficient, all or most annual energy use can be offset with renewable energy. Now a trilogy of videos is available to tell that powerful story to American homebuyers.


DOE’s Video Trilogy

Live Better
Live Healthy
Live Future Ready

The Sun Haven: Net-Zero Energy Home in Lincoln (GRNE Solar).

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Why energy efficiency is key to net-zero, GreenBiz Group

 

 

 

 

 

Despite the rise of net-zero commitments and new financial models proliferating, we’re slowing on our efficiency gains. Global efficiency improvements have been on the decline since 2015, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Energy intensity in 2020 is expected to improve by only 0.8 percent — nearly half of the improvements for 2019 (1.6 percent) and 2018 (1.5 percent). 

ENERGY STORAGE

NREL outlines four-phase framework for energy storage development, American Public Power Association


The report released late last month is the first publication to come out of NREL’s multi-yea
Storage Futures Study, which will explore energy storage technologies across a range of potential future cost and performance scenarios through 2050.


KEYSTONE XL

Cancellation of Keystone XL Pipeline Shapes Energy Investment, Environment + Energy Leader article contributed by Anthony Shaw, Founder, Progeneration Energy

The fate of Keystone XL and similar projects are fueling reinvention in the oil sector. Companies like Shell and BP are no longer defining themselves as oil companies, building new brand identities as integrated energy companies. 

Previously Posted: Nebraska’s better off without Keystone XL, Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board 

Ørsted starts construction of 298 MW Nebraska wind project

Ørsted News Release

Ørsted continues to expand its footprint in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) via the acquisition and final investment decision of the 298 MW Haystack Wind project in Wayne County, Nebraska. Situated adjacent to Ørsted’s 230 MW Plum Creek wind farm, Haystack will utilize existing interconnection infrastructure in SPP North. Haystack is expected to come online in fourth quarter 2021, adding further diversity to Ørsted’s portfolio of onshore wind, solar PV, and energy storage across Texas, the Midwest, and Southeast US. Continue reading here.

Photo by Ørsted: Plum Creek Wind Farm

Previously Posted

Midlands Voices: Renewable energy proves a sound investment for Nebraska

By Tim Gay, Omaha World-Herald

Wind energy is crucial to Nebraska’s economic growth. We are fortunate to live in a state that has demonstrated real leadership in the expansion of wind power through pro-growth tax policies and removing regulatory barriers to wind development. Nebraska is on the right path, and given our resources we have tremendous potential for continued growth. New business investment centered on affordable, clean energy generation is a model that is producing results and providing hope for the future. Read more here.

Tim Gay, a Papillion resident, is a member of the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors.

New study: Highlights from the Wind Powers American Business report

By Celeste Wanner, American Wind Energy Association

Many of the businesses across the country that power our everyday lives are increasingly choosing wind energy to power their operations. Once a niche market, corporate customers now routinely represent 40 percent or more of announced wind power contracts in a given year and are some of the most sought-after customers by wind project developers. A new AWEA report released todayWind Powers American Business, focuses on this growing segment and highlights the top corporate buyers of wind energy in the U.S. The bottom line: Companies powering up with wind is no longer just a trend, it’s the new normal. Let’s dig into some of the top trends: Continue reading.

Image: Plum Creek Wind Farm

WIND ENERGY INVESTMENT IN NEBRASKA

Report says Nebraska in the top five states for wind energy investment, by Caitlyn Lorr, Siouxland Proud. Nebraska is among the top five states in the country for attracting direct business purchases of its wind energy resources, according to a report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

DOE’S BETTER BUILDINGS INITIATIVE

DOE Announces $11 Billion in Energy Cost-Savings from Better Buildings Initiative Partners, Department of Energy News Release 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced nearly $11 billion in energy-cost savings by more than 950 public and private sector organizations in DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative. To date, partners have saved nearly 1.8 quadrillion British thermal units of energy, which is equivalent to the electricity consumption of 27 million homes in America over one year. Learn more about DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative HERE.

ZERO ENERGY COMMUNITIES

Here’s how to design communities that give back as much energy as they take
GreenBiz contributor Charles F. Kutscher is a fellow and senior research associate of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, a joint institute between the University of Colorado-Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

My colleagues and I study the best ways to rapidly reduce carbon emissions from the building sector. In recent years, construction designs have advanced dramatically. Net zero energy buildings, which produce the energy they need on site from renewable sources, increasingly are the default choice. But to speed the transition to zero carbon emissions, I believe the United States must think bigger and focus on designing or redeveloping entire communities that are zero energy.

MORE ON THE 2035 REPORT

  • A Clean Electricity Future is Affordable and Attainable—It’s Time to Act, Rocky Mountain Institute. GridLab and UC-Berkeley show that a 90 percent carbon-free US electricity grid is both reliable and lower cost. The Berkeley/GridLab report represents a distinctive new chapter in the evolving discourse playing out around the country regarding the future of the US electricity system. The study will likely be an important benchmark against which individual utilities’ investments are evaluated for compatibility with least-cost and feasible decarbonization outcomes. Investors, utilities, regulators, and policymakers should take advantage of the wealth of insight and information contained within this body of work, and plan accordingly for their own role in accelerating the decarbonization of the US power grid. Website: www.2035report.com 
  • 90% clean power by 2035 is ‘challenging but feasible’, PV Magazine
    “90% by 2035 is the sweet spot” for a pathway that uses existing technology, allows “judicious use” of existing generation assets, and “achieves near-complete decarbonization in a realistic timeframe,” said study co-author Nikit Abhyankar of UC Berkeley. The resulting lower wholesale cost of electricity by 2035 “was a surprise for us.”
  • Falling renewable, storage costs make 90% carbon-free US grid feasible by 2035, UC Berkeley finds, Utility Dive

NEW GTM POLITICAL CLIMATE EPISODE

Racial Justice Protests Put a Spotlight on Pollution and Clean Energy Solutions, by Julia Pyper, Senior Editor, Greentech Media

On this episode of Political Climate, National Wildlife Federation’s Mustafa Santiago Ali connects the dots between the clean air, affordable energy and the racial justice movement. Ali has been on the front lines of the fight for environmental justice since he was a teenager and throughout his 24 years at the EPA. Now, as vice president of environmental justice, climate and community revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation, Ali says he’s hopeful this historic moment will accelerate equitable energy solutions.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

The time for electric trucks and buses is now, by Katie Fehrenbacher, GreenBiz
Despite the pandemic, sales of electric trucks and buses are expected to surge in the United States and Canada over the next couple of years. And perhaps, surprising to many, they’ll soar even within this year (the year that can best be described as WTF). That’s according to new data released recently by the clean-transportation-focused nonprofit CALSTART. The organization expects there to be 169 zero-emission commercial vehicles available for purchase, or soon to be available, in North America by the end of 2020; that’s a 78 percent increase from the number of zero-emission commercial vehicles available at the end of 2019. What’s more, between 2019 and 2023, the number of zero-emission commercial vehicle models is expected to double, to 195. 

SECOND-LIFE EV BATTERY STORAGE

Used EV Batteries Could Power Tomorrow’s Solar Farms, IEEE Spectrum
An MIT study finds promise in repurposing swapped-out EV battery packs for solar grid storage.

Nebraska has high growth possibilities with wind

Norfolk Daily News

Wind power today is America’s top choice for new power installations and its top renewable energy provider, and Nebraska continues to be one of the fastest growing wind states in the country with some of the greatest potential for further growth. The Wind Powers America annual report for 2019, which was released Thursday, indicates the percentage of electricity share Nebraska receives from wind energy grew to nearly 20 percent, up from 14 percent in 2018. The state also registered the highest average wind energy capacity factors in the nation at 43 percent, and Nebraska ranks as the second fastest growing state for wind energy generation, according to the report. Continue reading here.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

IN NEBRASKA – PREVIOUSLY POSTED IEA ANNOUNCEMENTS

Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives, Inc. Announces $98 Million Wind Construction Project in Nebraska, Globe Newswire. The award is for construction of the Milligan 1 Wind Farm in Saline County in southeast Nebraska. This is a 300-megawatt project that is expected to provide enough energy to power up to 115,000 homes. The power generated by the project’s planned 99 turbines will be delivered into the Southwest Power Pool electrical grid. Work on the Milligan 1 project [began[ in September with full operation by November 2020. 

Aksamit Resource Management, located in Plano, Texas and Lincoln, Nebraska, is developing the project. Source: Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy

Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives, Inc. Announces Wind Construction Project Award in Nebraska
The award is for construction of the Thunderhead Wind Project in Antelope and Wheeler counties in Nebraska. The project will consist of 108 GE turbines with 300 megawatts of capacity. The power will be delivered into the Nebraska electrical grid. Work on the project began in November with completion scheduled for September 2020.

Thunderhead Wind Energy LLC in Lincoln, Nebraska is building the wind farm. Source: Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy

CLEAN ENERGY JOBS

Repowering The US Economy With Clean Jobs, CleanTechnica
A call-to-action within a new report, “E2: Clean Jobs America,” shows why it’s imperative for lawmakers to focus on clean energy in economic stimulus packages and other policies aimed at restarting the US economy. Clean energy has been one of the US economy’s biggest and fastest-growing employment sectors over the past decade.

PLUG IN AMERICA’S UPDATED EV GUIDE

Plug In America’s popular Electric Vehicle Guide, which includes all major EVs available for consumers in the United States, has just been updated.  

GLOBAL NEWS

The world’s energy order is changing — and China is set to reap the strategic benefits, by business reporter Gareth Hutchens, ABC News/Australia

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, countries that have the ability to take advantage of new renewable energy technologies can expect to enhance their global influence and reach in the future. And it has singled out Australia as a potential new energy leader. “Australia’s economically-demonstrated solar and wind energy resources are estimated to be 75 per cent greater than its combined coal, gas, oil and uranium resources.” But it says one country in particular has positioned itself well to dominate strategically in the future. “No country has put itself in a better position to become the world’s renewable energy superpower than China,” it said. “In aggregate, it is now the world’s largest producer, exporter and installer of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and electric vehicles, placing it at the forefront of the global energy transition.”

Photo Credit: Siemens

New report: Top six wind power trends of 2019

By John Hensley, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is causing great uncertainty throughout our economy, American wind power rests on a strong foundation as we seek to overcome these challenging times. And AWEA’s just-released Wind Powers America Annual Report 2019 shows just how strong that foundation is. Wind energy is powering more U.S. families and businesses than ever before while providing well-paying jobs, investments in rural America, and a cleaner environment. Let’s dig into some of the report’s top trends. Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING 

Wind Energy In Nebraska, Nebraska Fact Sheet, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
Nebraska is a national leader in wind resource potential.
Nebraska is one of the top states in the country for potential wind energy generation, with a technical potential of approximately 465,000 megawatts (MW) according to NREL. Nebraska now has 2,132 MW of installed wind power and ranks 14th in the nation for installed capacity, with a total capital investment of $3.8 billion. In 2019, wind power generated 19.9 percent of Nebraska’s electricity, ranking 7th in the nation for wind energy as a share of total electricity generation. Harnessing more of Nebraska’s wind potential could make the state a powerhouse for the wind industry while providing savings for electricity customers.

Wind Projects as of 4Q 2019:
Installed wind capacity: 2,132 MW » State rank for installed wind capacity: 14th
Number of wind turbines: 1,045 » State rank for number of wind turbines: 16th
Wind projects online: 26 (Projects larger than 10 MW: 19)

Wind capacity under construction: 1,011 MW
Wind capacity in advanced development: 200 MW

Wind and solar farm leases create extra income for farmers and other landowners and provide valuable tax revenues for our local communities.

Previously Posted

NEBRASKA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES

NRECA Electric Cooperatives & Wind, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Nebraska is 5th among the 36 states that utilize wind as a source of power.

SMALL WIND RESOURCES

Incentives for Homeowners & Businesses
Small wind 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. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Small Wind Installers: Most businesses listed in Nebraskans for Solar’s Directory install small wind systems.

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

Net Metering

Net Metering – Nebraska
System Capacity Limit: 25 kW

Net Metering – Iowa
System Capacity Limit: 1 MW

More information on utility net metering policies can be found at the following websites:

ALL INCENTIVES FOR RENEWABLES & EFFICIENCY
Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY GUIDES FOR SMALL WIND & SOLAR PROJECTS

Beatrice City Officials Hear About Proposed Wind Farm

By Doug Kennedy, Nebraska News Channel

BEATRICE – Even though it won’t have any decision-making authority over it, the Beatrice City Council and Mayor heard about a wind farm proposal Monday night that could have a significant financial impact for the Beatrice area. An attorney representing NextEra Energy Resources, told city officials the company is considering a 50-turbine wind farm in northern Gage County on land mostly owned by one entity and leased for farming.

David Levy, of Omaha said at this point, no formal permit application for the project has been filed with the Gage County Planning Commission. The development would cover roughly a five-by-seven-mile area, made up of about 35 sections of property from south of Nebraska Highway 41, to near Pickrell. NextEra Energy Resources, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light, is looking at a 124-megawatt wind farm that could power about 40,000 homes, producing an estimated $850,000 to $900,000 in property tax revenue annually, mostly in the Beatrice School District. Continue reading here.

Photo: “Wind Rainbow” – Free Use American Wind Energy Association Image Gallery

Additional Recommended Reading

  • UNK looks into sustainable future with carbon-neutral goal by 2050, by Brandon Cortes, NTV One of the biggest shareholders of the Kearney solar farm is the University of Nebraska-Kearney (UNK). They say they plan on going carbon-neutral by 2050. “As administrators, I think we have a duty and responsibility to evaluate any chance we can to help us move more towards climate neutral,” said Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance Jon Watts.
  • Major FPL solar plan gets state approval, The News Service of Florida
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Pointing to issues such as expanding renewable energy, state regulators Tuesday approved a $1.8 billion plan by Florida Power & Light to add 20 solar-power plants by the middle of next year. Under SolarTogether, customers will be able to voluntarily pay more on their electric bills to finance the solar projects and receive credits that are expected to result in them getting a “payback” in about seven years.
  • How an Iowa utility and solar advocates found a compromise on net metering, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News NetworkA proposal, which still needs to pass in the legislature, would preserve net metering and let utilities recoup costs faster.