Tag Archives: renewable energy

Energy Efficiency Still Abundant and Cheaper Than Gas

By Sheryl Carter, Director, Power Sector,
Climate & Clean Energy Program, NRDC

A new study shows that programs to increase the energy efficiency of our homes and businesses remain even cheaper than natural gas, demonstrating once again that this abundant energy “resourceis the most cost-effective path to a cleaner future.

Energy efficiency programs work by offering incentives to customers who invest in money-saving fixtures, like attic insulation and energy-smart appliances. Time and time again, these programs have proven to be the cheapest way to cut our energy waste and forestall climate change. In addition to saving money and easing the effects of climate change, energy efficiency programs also generate high-quality jobs. Read more here.

MIDWEST NEWS

  • Missouri utilities moving ahead with on-bill energy efficiency financing, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network. The on-bill repayment concept is known as Pay As You Save, or PAYS, and Ameren and Missouri’s two other investor-owned utilities are in various phases of developing or considering programs at the urging of state regulators. 
  • Michigan program — the largest of its kind — offers smart thermostat rebates, by Audrey Henderson, Energy News Network. Advocates say a Michigan utility’s plan to help thousands of customers buy smart thermostats is a significant step forward in developing a more efficient and responsive grid. Consumers Energy will provide $125 rebates for up to 100,000 smart thermostats to Michigan residents in a partnership with Google and Uplight. Customers who participate will be enrolled in a program that helps curtail demand during peak times in the summer.

NATIONAL ENERGY TRANSITION NEWS

ENERGY STORAGE

What’s It Like to Work in Business Development at an Energy Storage Company?
GTM talks to Laura Meilander, vice president of business development at Convergent Energy + Power, about expanding the energy storage market.

OF POTENTIAL INTEREST TO SOLAR BUSINESSES

GREEN HYDROGEN

Orsted Backs First Major Green Hydrogen Project Focused on Transport Sector, Greentech Media. The Copenhagen project would use offshore wind to produce green hydrogen and other decarbonized fuels for land, air and sea transport.

Solar beats gas when utilities use all-source procurements

By William Driscoll, PV Magazine

With an all-source procurement, a utility solicits bids to identify the costs of solar, wind and storage, which can be “significantly less expensive than new gas,” as an Indiana utility found. A clean energy group calls for state regulators to require all-source procurements, for the vertically integrated utilities that serve half the country. The report’s authors are offering a webinar to discuss their findings on Thursday, April 30. The report is titled “Making the most of the power plant market: Best practices for all-source electric generation procurement.” The ten case studies are presented in an appendix. The authors are John D. Wilson, Mike O’Boyle, Ron Lehr and Mark Detsky. Read more here.

MORE U.S. NEWS

GLOBAL NEWS

DISTRIBUTED WIND & MICROGRIDS

Struggling Distributed Wind Sector Eyes Role in Microgrids Market, Greentech Media
Makers of small wind turbines have been crushed by solar energy. New R&D funding and a possible role in microgrids keep the sector hopeful.

WOODEN WIND TOWERS

First Wooden Wind Power Tower Erected In Sweden, Renewable Energy Magazine
The wind towers in wood can be built at a significantly lower cost than steel, which lowers the production cost of the wind power-generated electricity. The carbon dioxide absorbed by trees as they grow is stored in the wooden towers, which means that the wind turbines are climate neutral right from the start.

EV NEWS

Midlands Voices: Let’s flatten the curve on climate change

By Chris Dethlefs, D.J. Maar, Ellen Townley, Patrick Marta,
Samantha Cox and Thomas Schroeder, Omaha World-Herald

Townley and Marta are medical students at Creighton University. Dethlefs, Maar, Cox and Schroeder are medical students at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

In our first few days of medical school, we were reminded of a simple lesson: Prevention is better than any cure. This week is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and as we look to the future, we must face the reality of climate change — the greatest threat to human health in the modern era. When it comes to the preservation of our planet, prevention is the only option.

We must begin by setting local and state standards for carbon emissions and lower those emissions by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. We must restore environmental protections and strengthen existing policies to keep the air clean for the lungs of our children and most vulnerable members of society. We must promote a transition to a green economy with jobs and investment in wind and solar energy that support a healthy, sustainable future. We must not only be conscientious of what we eat, but of the impact those choices have on our planet. We must all become lifelong learners and educate ourselves to become better stewards of planet Earth. Read more here.

USDA extends application deadline for the Rural Energy for America Program to April 15, 2020

The Rural Energy For America Program (REAP) provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.

Extension of Application Deadlines. 

Who may apply?

  • Agricultural producers with at least 50 percent of their gross income coming from agricultural operations.
  • Small businesses in eligible rural areas.

What is an eligible area?

  • Businesses must be in an area OTHER THAN a city or town with a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and the urbanized area of that city or town. Check eligible business addresses.
  • Agricultural producers may be in rural or non-rural areas.

Rural Energy For America Program (REAP) – Nebraska
Program Fact Sheet

Recommended Reading
USDA invests more than $172M in building rural Nebraska prosperity in 2019, Columbus Telegram More than $1.1 million was invested in 37 energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy development assistance projects through the Rural Energy for America Program.

As flooding anniversary nears, majority of Nebraskans concerned about climate change

Libby Seline for the Lincoln Journal Star

This story was developed as part of a UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications depth-reporting project examining the impact of climate change on Nebraska.

This semester, the 20 students are assessing the impact of climate change on, among other things, Nebraska’s agriculture, water, livestock, wildlife, health and national security. In the fall, the focus of the class will shift from examining the problems associated with climate change to evaluating the potential range of solutions — globally, nationally, locally and individually.

Read the story here.

More: go.unl.edu/climatechangene

Photo by Herschel Talley / Nebraska National Guard: Flooded Camp Ashland is seen in this aerial photo taken in Ashland, Nebraska, on March 17, 2019.

Coal plants are closing across the West. Here are the companies sticking with coal

By Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times

January 2020 began with two coal-fired generators in Montana shutting down for good. A few days later, a subsidiary of billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway committed to closing a coal unit in Arizona this year. The same week, an electric cooperative based in Colorado also pledged to shutter a New Mexico coal plant by the end of 2020. Two weeks after that, Arizona’s biggest utility promised to retire its last coal plant seven years ahead of schedule. Although some energy providers are investing in gas, western utilities are increasingly looking to solar farms, wind turbines and giant batteries to replace their coal plants.

Speaking at the VerdeXchange conference in Los Angeles last week, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s vice president for government relations, Jonathan Weisgall, said more coal plants closed in 2019 than in any year since 2015, despite President Donald Trump’s efforts to support the coal industry. Economics are part of the story, but they’re not the whole story. “I don’t recall a customer calling us recently asking for 100% coal electricity,” Weisgall said. “It tends to be 100% renewable.” Read the entire article here.

PacifiCorp is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

Previously Posted
Warren Buffett Is One of the World’s Richest Fossil-Fuel Billionaires, Bloomberg
This post includes divestment/reinvestment resources.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

USDA Seeks Applications for Rural Energy for America Program

The Rural Energy For America Program (REAP) provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.

Who may apply?

  • Agricultural producers with at least 50 percent of their gross income coming from agricultural operations.
  • Small businesses in eligible rural areas.

What is an eligible area?

  • Businesses must be in an area OTHER THAN a city or town with a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and the urbanized area of that city or town. Check eligible business addresses.
  • Agricultural producers may be in rural or non-rural areas.

Application Deadlines

  • Applications for Grants of $20,000 or Less and Loan/Grant of $20,000 or Less Combo Applications March 31, 2020.
  • Applications for Unrestricted Grants or Loan/Unrestricted Grant Combo Applications due by March 31, 2020.
  • Guaranteed Loans are accepted on a continuous application cycle.

Rural Energy For America Program (REAP) – Nebraska
Program Fact Sheet

Recommended Reading
USDA invests more than $172M in building rural Nebraska prosperity in 2019, Columbus Telegram More than $1.1 million was invested in 37 energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy development assistance projects through the Rural Energy for America Program.

At a crossroads: The connected future of EVs, solar, energy storage and software

Contributed article for Utility Dive by Wes Doane, Event Director, Intersolar North America and Lior Handelsman, VP of Marketing & Product Strategy, Founder, SolarEdge

As a new decade dawns, there’s cause for optimism that the 2020s will see the transition to clean energy accelerate. Prices of renewable energy and battery technologies are at an all-time low, and the number of electric vehicle (EV) sales are on the rise.

Analysts predict that by 2040, more than half of all vehicles on the road will be electric. With transportation contributing to nearly 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, electrifying how people get from point A to point B is a critical step in reducing our global carbon footprint. Continue reading here.

MORE EV NEWS

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Road to 100: How Western water rights and local billionaires complicated Aspen’s renewables path

By Catherine Morehouse, Associate Editor, Utility Dive

This is the last of a four part series based on Utility Dive visits to cities that produce more renewable power than they consume. All four installments can be found here.

There’s an argument to be made that Aspen is the original 100% renewable city. The town of just over 7,000 permanent residents is now famous for its ski slopes flocked every winter by celebrities and millionaires. But it started as a mining town that in 1885 became the first city west of the Mississippi to electrify its homes, businesses and streets, and two years later its underground silver mines, with hydroelectric power. “Aspen led the way in the use of electricity … For years, it was the best-lighted town in the United States,” read a 1907 article in the Electrical Review, an electrical engineering periodical. Continue reading here.

About the Author

 

Before joining Industry Dive, Catherine Morehouse was at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska where she worked as News Editor and then Editor-in-Chief of The Creightonian. She has a B.A. in Journalism and Political Science from Creighton.

 

Wind farm company to visit with NCORPE

By Todd Von Kampen, North Platte Telegraph

Board members of NCORPE, the water augmentation project in southwest Lincoln County, have invited the developer of four northeast Nebraska wind farms to make a public presentation Monday in Curtis. A representative of Invenergy will discuss the firm’s wind- and solar-energy projects during the Nebraska Cooperative Republican Platte Enhancement Project’s 10 a.m. board meeting at the Curtis Community Center. General Manager Kyle Shepherd said a public comment period will follow Invenergy’s presentation, which arises from his board’s ongoing interest in leasing part of NCORPE’s 19,500-acre pumping ground for renewable energy projects. Continue reading here.

Website: NCORPE.Org

Additional Recommended Reading
Northeast ‘one of the top’ schools for aspiring wind turbine technicians, Kearney Hub