Tag Archives: renewable energy development in the Midwest

As coal economics worsen, rural renewables development propels Midwest growth: NRDC

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Approximately 5 GW of new renewables were added across nonmetropolitan areas of 12 Midwest states between 2016 and 2017, compared to about 1.7 GW of capacity added in urban areas, according to the report. NRDC’s analysis focused on Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Development in the region is not slowing down either. Last week Capital Dynamics announced an agreement with power company Tenaska to develop 2,000 MW of solar across half the states listed in the report. And Illinois has 600 MW under construction with another 1.2 GW planned, which will more than double the state’s current rural renewables capacity of 1.6 GW.
Read the entire article here.

Download NRDC Report: Clean Energy Sweeps Across Rural America

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE
Data centers, EVs and cannabis poised to boost demand, American Public Power Association
An example of a public power utility attracting a data center can be found with the Omaha Public Power District. Facebook in 2017 said that it had selected a new Nebraska wind project that will supply power to the social media company’s new data center in Papillion, Neb. OPPD played a key role in bringing the data center to Nebraska through an innovative rate plan.

For Iowa, buying local means using renewable energy

By James McCoy, Guest Column, Iowa City Press-Citizen

Promoting economic growth is a major concern across the country. Communities have organizations in place whose main function is to pursue that goal, like chambers of commerce and economic development councils. We have slogans like “buy local” to keep money in local communities where it is recycled through the community stimulating economic growth.  For Iowa, “buy local” means use renewable energy. Our state produces no fossil fuels.  Every dollar we spend on coal, oil and natural gas is a dollar sent out of state we have to work hard to get back into our local economy. Read more here.

James McCoy lives in Iowa City and volunteers with Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

Photo: 650-member Farmers Electric Cooperative Solar Farm located south of Iowa City and north of Kalona.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Solar, wind power at work: Second ‘EnergiPlant’ sprouts from Creighton energy technology program

Written by Creighton University, Omaha World-Herald

A new plant in Creighton University’s budding energy garden has taken root. On a recent Saturday afternoon, as part of the culmination of their coursework, students in Creighton’s Energy 131 course – part of the university’s Energy Technology Program within its College of Arts and Sciences, focused on installing and maintaining photovoltaic systems – erected the campus’ second EnergiPlant USB charging station between the Mike and Josie Harper Center and Davis Square. Click to continue reading.

Creighton University Photo: The EnergiPlant – the second on Creighton’s campus – resembles a roughly 12-foot tall metal flower with a bloom doubling as a wind turbine and four metal leaves embedded with solar panels, all producing about 300 watts of power.

MORE MIDWEST NEWS

St. Louis sets 100 percent renewable energy target

By Alexander Laska, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Add it to the list – another city has made a 100 percent renewable energy pledge. On Friday, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen passed a measure to power the city entirely on renewables by 2035. In doing so, St. Louis became the 47th city – and the largest in the Midwest so far – to make a 100 percent clean energy commitment. Other major cities to announce 100 percent commitments include Atlanta, San Diego, Salt Lake City, and Chicago. Some cities – such as Aspen, Colorado; Burlington, Vermont; and Georgetown, Texas – have already hit their targets.

Click here to read more.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Wind farm breaks ground

By Mark Gaschler, Seward County Independent

For nearly a decade, landowners in western Saline County have tried to bring energy developers into the county to build a wind farm. On Aug. 17, those plans finally came to fruition when Aksamit Energy Development broke ground on a 74-megawatt wind farm that will cover 21 square miles of western Saline County south of Friend.

“This project is being sold to buyers out of state at half of what Nebraskans are paying for electricity.” – Gary Aksamit, president of Aksamit Energy Development

Read more here.

Photo: Over 50 landowners, including those shown in the picture, attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Aksamit Energy Development’s Milligan 3 wind farm project. Credit: Mark Gaschler

Aksamit Resource Management’s Website
Milligan 3 will be the company’s first completed and operational project. Milligan 3 will connect to a 115 KV line at the Friend, Nebraska substation. The project will produce enough energy to power 30,000 homes. Aksamit Energy Development is a a wholly-owned Aksamit Resource Management subsidiary.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Amid Dakota Access protests, tribes continue to pursue clean energy

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News
oceti-sakowin

Seven Sioux tribes in the Dakotas are developing what would be an enormous collection of wind farms on six reservations scattered across what is generally rated as one of the windiest areas in the country . . . “We do need the jobs and revenue that this project would create, and it also coincides with our culture in taking care of the earth and climate. To us, the wind is sacred. Also, it’s giving us a chance to do our part in reducing the carbon footprint, and to help slow down climate change.” – Lyle Jack, who represents the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Oceti Sakowin Power Authority, an entity the tribes formed four years ago that is pursuing the wind projects. Read more.

Photo: Tribal flags fly at the Oceti Sakowin camp on the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota. Credit: Lucas Zhao / Creative Commons

Press Release: Local wind powering more U.S. companies

EIN PressWire

Whirlpool

American companies are increasingly making their own power — and sales — with wind turbines located near the factories and buildings that consume the power they make, concludes a report released today.

The 2015 Distributed Wind Market Report offers the fourth annual analysis of a growing field called distributed wind, which involves generating wind power near where it will be used instead of purchasing power from large, centralized wind farms. Distributed wind can range from a small, solitary turbine at a remote cabin to several large turbines powering an entire neighborhood.

“Wind plays a key role in the rising area of distributed energy,” said report co-author, Alice Orrell, an energy analyst at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

“Although distributed wind is not as widespread as distributed solar, new third-party financing options similar to the lease model that spurred growth in the residential solar market could also grow distributed wind,” added PNNL energy analyst Nik Foster, the other co-author.

The report’s key findings include:

  • 37 percent of the new distributed wind capacity added in 2015 was for industrial uses, including factories, processing plants, and operation facilities.
  • Companies using distributed wind include the Whirlpool and Ball corporations in Ohio, soap manufacturer Method in Illinois, and Stafford County Flour Mills in Kansas.
  • Exports of U.S.-made small wind turbines, which generate up to 100 kilowatts, doubled from 2014 to 2015 — adding 21.5 megawatts of capacity in 2015. Small wind exports have accounted for more than $310 million in combined sales between 2012 and 2015.
  •  Italy, the United Kingdom and Japan are among the largest importers of U.S.-made small wind turbines.
  • 28 megawatts of new U.S. distributed wind power capacity was added in 2015 by installing 1,713 turbines. This brings the U.S. to a total of 934 megawatts of distributed wind capacity and 75,000 turbines installed since 2003, or about 1 percent of all U.S. wind energy capacity installed since then.
  • Ohio, Nebraska and Connecticut led the U.S. in new distributed wind power capacity in 2015 — respectively adding 7.7, 7 and 5 megawatts, due to a large project in each of those states.
  • The estimated cost of energy made from a sample of small distributed wind turbines was 11 cents per kilowatt hour in 2015, compared to overall residential electric rates that run between about 9 and 21 cents in the Continental U.S.
  • Annual distributed wind capacity additions have declined since 2012, when federal stimulus funding spurred renewable energy’s expansion.

More information can be found in the full report and in DOE’s announcement.

EIN Press Release

Photo: Wind turbines at Whirlpool Corporation

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles
Buyers’ Principles Fact Sheet 

Construction has begun on largest solar project in the Midwest

Posted by Conor Ryan, PVTech

E. Shaw Renewable Investments announced that it has acquired the 100MW North Star PV project from Community Energy and has started construction on the installation, which is located in Chisago County, Minnesota . . . Once completed in late 2016, the North Star project is expected to be the largest solar installation in the Midwest and one of the biggest sites in the US. North Star will be constructed on private agricultural land and has a 25-year power purchase agreement with Xcel Energy. Read more.

The 100MW project (400,000 solar panels) is expected to generate enough energy for 20,000 homes. Image: Oregon Department of Transportation / Flickr

MORE MINNESOTA NEWS
Minnesota regulators have given EDF Renewable Energy a two-year extension to build the 105MW Stoneray wind farm.

Kansas City Power & Light opens its first solar farm in Missouri

Kansas City Business Journal

KCP&L

Kansas City Power & Light has opened its first solar farm, which will produce enough electricity to power nearly 440 homes. Located in Greenwood, Mo., the 12-acre-plus solar facility is nearly 100 times larger than KCP&L’s solar array at Kauffman Stadium. Click to read more.

Photo: Kansas City Power & Light’s first solar farm. Credit: John West

ALSO IN THE NEWS
Ethanol makers consider renewable energy options to stay competitive, Nebraska Radio Network
Energy Storage Would Get U.S. Tax Credits in Bipartisan Bill, Bloomberg News
Democratizing DERs: What role should utilities play in spreading clean energy to all?, Utility Dive
New Report Finds That Efficiency, Clean Energy Put Dent in Co2 Emissions, Climate Central
Link to the Report: Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers In The United States
Thinking Big: Wind Industry Is Moving to Taller Turbines: Will the Transmission System Be Ready?Union of Concerned Scientists

New solar array proposed in Dubuque would be largest in an Iowa city

By Jeff Montgomery, TH Media

TH online

 A solar energy system planned for installation next year in Dubuque would be the largest project of its kind in any Iowa city, potentially providing a blueprint for solar’s growth across the state. Alliant Energy plans to install solar panels at two sites covering 32 acres in Dubuque to form the largest solar system created by the utility, said Zachary Hill, senior manager of business development. Hill said construction likely will begin in the spring and should be completed by late summer. Continue reading.

Photo by Nicki Kohl: Zachary Hill, senior manager of business development for Alliant Energy, stands at the future solar array site on East 12th Street near Dubuque’s 16th Street Detention Basin.

ADDITIONAL MIDWEST RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS
Mankato signs up for solar power, by Mark Fischenich, Mankato Free Press
The contract with Geronimo Energy involves investing in 5 megawatts of solar power production at community solar gardens in and near Mankato. The deal costs the city nothing upfront and guarantees a 1 cent per kilowatt/hour discount on that amount of power purchased from Xcel Energy for the next quarter-century. The city’s power rate currently ranges from 9 to 10 cents per kilowatt/hour. Read more.