Tag Archives: sustainability

AFBF President Zippy Duvall Testimony for House Agriculture Committee

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, my name is Zippy Duvall. I am a third-generation farmer and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and I am pleased to offer this testimony, on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation and Farm Bureau members across this country.  America’s farmers and ranchers play a leading role in promoting soil health, conserving water, enhancing wildlife, efficiently using nutrients, and caring for their animals. For decades they have embraced innovation thanks to investments in agricultural research and adopted climate-smart practices to improve productivity, enhance sustainability, and provide clean and renewable energy. Continue reading here. 

Additional Recommended Reading

Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance Expands Membership, Drills Down on Policy Recommendations, National Farmers Union News Release

WASHINGTON – The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) today announced expanding membership and new policy working groups focused on developing a set of more specific policy proposals that drill down on the 40+ recommendations released by FACA in November 2020.

FACA’s eight founding members — American Farm Bureau Federation (co-chair), Environmental Defense Fund (co-chair), FMI – The Food Industry Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (co-chair), National Farmers Union (co-chair) and The Nature Conservancy — welcomed 14 new groups to the Steering Committee.

FACA’s original 40+ recommendations cover six areas of focus: soil health, livestock and dairy, forests and wood products, energy, research, and food loss and waste. They are outlined in a 50-page report [PDF] and summarized in a one-page hand-out [PDF].

Photo Credit: Thomas Lin on Pexels / CC0

As costs rack up in Boulder’s push to split with Xcel, voters to have the final say

Written by Allen Best, Energy News Network

Fundamentally at issue is whether the business model of vertically integrated monopoly utilities can meet 21st century needs. Xcel, seen as a carbon-focused old-school utility even a decade ago, has picked up its pace, turning heads across the country with its December 2018 declaration to achieve 80% emissions reduction by 2030 and 100% emissions free electricity by 2050.

But Boulder wanted more, to be a model in Colorado and beyond. Denver and several suburban cities will have their franchises expire in the next decade. Advocates for municipalization would like to show what could be gained by more daring enterprises. The motto of municipalization advocates is “decarbonize, democratize and decentralize.” Add to that localize: the city envisions 50% locally generated power. Read more here.

Photo Credit: National Renewable Energy Lab




How Utilities Can Avoid Being Financially Swamped by the Coal Closure Wave, Greentech Media article contributed by Mike O’Boyle, director of electricity policy at Energy Innovation, a think tank, and Silvio Marcacci, the group’s communications director.

Securitization allows utilities to retire uneconomic coal plants at a faster clip, but it will require legislative change in most states.

Commentary: Virginia Clean Economy Act models a just clean energy transformation

Contributed by Maggie Clark and Rachel Smucker / Solar Energy
Industries Association, Energy News Network 

The Virginia Statehouse in Richmond.

Legislation just passed by the General Assembly, the Virginia Clean Economy Act, represents our best chance this year to ensure reliable and affordable electricity, create jobs and grow our economy, turn back the tide of climate change and put Virginia on a path toward an equitable transition to a clean energy economy.

This legislation would turn Gov. Ralph Northam’s clean energy goals into law, and chart the course for Virginia to get there. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), only about 1% of Virginia’s electricity comes from solar. This ambitious plan would require Virginia to become zero carbon by the middle of this century. The Clean Economy Act takes a major step forward on equity by directly empowering consumers with access to rooftop. It is a bold step, and it is needed now. Read more here.

Photo by Ron Cogswell / Flickr / Creative Commons



  • Virginia passes historic commitment to 100 percent clean energy by 2045, Environment America News Release. Susan Rakov, Environment America’s Clean Energy Program chair, released the following statement: “In state after state and city after city, people are demanding a new approach to America’s energy future, and today Virginia’s General Assembly said, ‘We hear you!’ As a result of campaigns across the country, one out of three Americans now live in a city or state that has made a commitment to 100 percent clean and renewable energy. Environment America is proud to have played a part in those campaigns, and we look forward to the next wave. Congratulations to Virginia — it’s a great day to take a big step toward a better world.”
  • Virginia Mandates 100% Clean Power by 2045Greentech Media
    The Clean Economy Act will drive utility Dominion to procure gigawatts of solar, offshore wind and energy storage.



SolSmart program helps turn around solar permits in one day, Solar Power World
“SolSmart is mainly a solar soft cost reduction program, and it’s important, because about 64% of all solar costs come from soft costs. And these are costs associated with all the non-hardware parts of going solar. So, permitting fees, labor, zoning issues, things like that,” said Zach Greene, program director and SolSmart leader at The Solar Foundation. “By working with these local governments, by educating them, by providing them with consulting-type resources, we’re really able to help them reduce those costs at the local level and to really try to expand a local solar market.”

Previously Posted


Goodyear develops self-regenerating ‘spider-silk’ tires for electric cars, BusinessGreen
Goodyear has unveiled designs for new ultra-durable tires made from biodegradable materials, which it claims can both “self-regenerate” and adapt to changing road conditions, in a move aimed at helping electric car drivers cut down on maintenance costs and waste.

The Top Sustainability Stories of 2019

By Andrew Winston, Harvard Business Review

In my annual review of big themes in sustainability and business — in other words, how companies manage environmental and social issues and opportunities — I’ve always included a changing climate as a big story. But it’s now not an annual story; it’s permanent. The list of extreme, tragic, and very costly weather events this year — record heat in Europe, hail in June in Mexico, record floods in Nebraska, endless Australian bush fires, and epic destruction from storms in Mozambique and the Bahamas – was shocking. But sadly, it’s now the norm.

A changing climate is and will always be the top story, the context behind everything (at least in the near future). But that said, there was a shift this year in how seriously the world took the issue, which does merit highlighting. With that broad context, let’s look at 8 fascinating developments in sustainability from 2019. Continue reading here.

Nebraska National Guard Photo: Aerial view of the flooding at Camp Ashland, Nebraska on March 17, 2019.


More articles by Andrew Winston.
Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinston.


Omaha-Based Tenaska In The News – Plus Job Opportunities

Acciona puts 145-MW wind farm in operation in Texas, Renewables Now
With the latest addition, its ninth in the country, Acciona increases its US wind portfolio to 866 MW. This is in addition to the 3 GW of solar projects and the 1-GW battery storage development portfolio which it recently agreed to acquire from Nebraska-based energy company Tenaska.

Additional Recommended Reading

New Documentary: The Power of Minnesota

Clean energy in Minnesota now employs more workers than
the coal industry in the United States.

Click image to watch the trailer.
View the full 18-minute documentary

About the Documentary

The Power of Minnesota is simple – it’s our people. We build things, invent things and care for our families and our neighbors.

The Power of Minnesota supports community conversations by sharing stories – stories of people who are building a clean energy economy that is powering our communities, our state and our nation.

Did you know that Minnesota is home to more than 59,000 clean energy jobs? These jobs sustain families – they pay well and they help children live in the communities where they grew up. Clean energy also keeps farmers on their land, generating income for families and property tax revenue that supports local schools, parks and police.

At the end of the day, this is about stewardship. We’re stewarding a way of life that supports our families and our communities, while protecting our land, our water and the air we breathe. We’re stewards of the places we call home.

The Power of Minnesota Website

Omaha Sustainability Town Hall Hosted By The Nebraska Conservation Education Fund

July 23, 2018, 5 pm at UNO’s Community Engagement Center, Room 201

The Nebraska Conservation Education Fund is hosting a Town Hall Event tomorrow with several local leaders to discuss the directions Omaha is taking in the next few years.

The first speaker will be OPPD Board Member and Verdis Sustainability Group Director Craig Moody, who will discuss the direction OPPD is taking in regards to being more sustainable. He will also be open to questions regarding his company, Verdis Group, and how he works alongside local businesses to help them be as sustainable as possible.

Additional guest speakers will be two representatives of First Star Recycling, the main collector of recycling materials in Douglas and Sarpy Counties. They will discuss what First Star is currently working on to make recycling easier and faster for the Omaha Metro, as well as their current programs that expand into smaller, more rural communities in Northeast Nebraska.

This event will be moderated by NCEF’s Northeast Directors, and will follow an interview-style format: asking questions gathered from the community via door-to-door canvassing and sit-down meetings, and then allowing for questions from our event attendees following their discussions.

Please sign in, as parking is limited for this event: Ticket Page
Facebook Event Page 

Organizers / Contact Persons: NCEF Directors Jamison Willis jamisonwillis@nlcvef.org and
Nic Nealy 

Do Solar Panels Work on a Cloudy Day?

Written by Interconnection Systems, Inc., Central City, Nebraska

Solar panels require sunlight to generate electricity for your home so they do not work in darkness. Thus they will not produce at night, but what about on a cloudy day? The purpose of a solar panel system is to absorb sunlight, also known as photovoltaic (PV) energy, and convert it to direct current (DC) power. This DC power is then sent through the solar array’s inverter to be converted to alternating current (AC) power, which is the type of power households run on. At that point, your solar array can feed electricity into your home and out onto the electric grid.

If the homeowner has a solar array equipped with a battery system, they may use power directly from their solar array. Otherwise, all energy is sent to the grid and measured by a bidirectional meter. This allows the power utility to credit the customer’s account, reducing their energy bill. Click here to download the article.

Photo by SoCore Energy: Kearney Solar Farm (See Solar Examples)

For a small Colorado utility, 100% renewable energy is old news, Energy News Network
Nebraska wind farm near Kimball has helped the municipal utility, Aspen Electric, offset 100% of its electricity with renewable energy.




“Measuring Sustainability in Buildings” Webcast

Message from Dr. Andrew Baruth on the Opening Talk of Creighton University’s Spirit of St. Francis Celebration:

andrew-baruthI want to thank those who were able to attend last night’s eye-opening lecture at Creighton University with Dr. Joshua Kneifel, Applied Economist from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Engineering Laboratory. He addressed the role of measurement science in motivating change in building design, as well as changes to codes/laws/mindsets concerning improvements in sustainability within new builds and the application of lessons learned to retrofits.

In addition, we caught a glimpse of the powerful tools being developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to quantify important metrics, including life cycle analysis and energy inflows/outflows, and their incorporation into the National Renewable Energy Lab’s energy modeling software, OpenStudio.

I’ve prepared a webcast of the talk: PowerPoint slides with microphone voice-over for those who couldn’t attend or who would like to review the material: http://bit.ly/2cqSeyt

Another public lecture in this series, “Sustainability Initiatives at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo,” will be presented on September 30th at 1 p.m, with a reception at noon, in the Harper Ballroom: http://calendar.creighton.edu/event?id=57570

Stephanie Huettner, along with a panel of Zoo staff and Creighton faculty and students, will share their successes in the implementation of their 2011 Energy and Sustainability Master Plan that resulted in their 2016 “Friends of the Environment” award from the Earth Day Omaha Coalition.

We hope you can join us.

Andrew Baruth, Assistant Professor in Creighton University’s College of Arts and Sciences Department of Physics / Energy Technology Program