Tag Archives: sustainability

Fact Sheet: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

The White House Briefing Room, November 6, 2021

Today, Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness. For far too long, Washington policymakers have celebrated “infrastructure week” without ever agreeing to build infrastructure. The President promised to work across the aisle to deliver results and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. After the President put forward his plan to do exactly that and then negotiated a deal with Members of Congress from both parties, this historic legislation is moving to his desk for signature.

This Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind. The legislation will help ease inflationary pressures and strengthen supply chains by making long overdue improvements for our nation’s ports, airports, rail, and roads. It will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come. Combined with the President’s Build Back Framework, it will add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years. Continue reading here.

RELATED READING

Fact Sheet: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Boosts Clean Energy Jobs, Strengthens Resilience, and Advances Environmental Justice, The White House

GREEN SCHOOLS / CAMPUSES

How schools are combatting climate change, from green schoolyards to solar power, by Meredith Deliso, ABC News

Overall, the education sector has an untapped opportunity to help mitigate climate change, from renewable energy practices to teachings, according to the Aspen Institute’s K12 Climate Action initiative, which points to school districts like Arlington’s as a success story in demonstrating climate solutions.

“We envision a future where America’s over 100,000 schools are models for climate action, climate solutions, and sustainability, and the 50 million children and youth in these schools are prepared to succeed in the clean economy and lead a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable society,” the organization wrote in a recent policy report.

In Omaha: Photo of Duchesne Academy’s 10-kilowatt solar array, installed by Interconnection Systems Inc (ISI), which is based in Central City, Nebraska. The energy generated by the system powers multiple classrooms, including the school’s science, technology, engineering, arts and math lab. where students can integrate data from the solar system into coursework.

The solar array is part of the school’s overall sustainability initiative. Duchesne Academy has the inspiring goal to be a net-positive-energy school by 2030. The school’s other sustainability program goals include zero waste by 2030, having a sustainable food system, and sustainability curriculum integration.

Iowa State and Alliant Energy collaborate on solar farm, Iowa State University 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Omaha metro area will draft climate action plan

By Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald

When the plan is in place, Omaha will join several hundred other cities in the U.S. with strategies for confronting climate change. Lincoln, the Kansas City metropolitan area and the Twin Cities already have plans. Des Moines is developing one. The Nebraska Legislature has rejected calls for a statewide plan. Asked “why now?” Mayor Jean Stothert said in an email to The World-Herald that the time is right to take advantage of local efforts. “Omaha has been implementing sustainability measures for some time now without the need for a formal plan,” she wrote. Read more here.

Wayne State Green Team writes letters in support of carbon neutrality

By Collin Hain, Wayne Stater

On Nov. 10 Nebraska politicians will vote on moving towards carbon neutrality and why clean energy is important for Nebraska, which the Wayne State Green Team encouraged by writing letters in support. Laura Dendinger, the faculty sponsor, said it is an all-campus group that is available for anyone to join.

“We are committed to environmental issues and sustainability, we have some social activities as well as plant related activities,” Dendinger said. “We also cover and address different issues in the news.” The actual event that took place last Thursday was put on by Lauren White, a junior, that has been the event planner for the Green Team for the past three years. Continue reading here.

NEBRASKA CONSERVATION VOTERS PETITION

 NPPD Board Meeting: November 10, 2021 at 8 a.m.

The Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is considering setting a net zero carbon goal, but they won’t do it unless they hear from you! If you haven’t already, sign the petition today to ask Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) to commit to a clean energy future. 

We are the only 100% public power state in the country, so your voice makes a big difference. If you have already signed the petition and would like to know how else you can help, please fill out our volunteer form. – Chelsea Johnson, Deputy Director, Nebraska Conservation Voters

SUSTAIN UNL EVENT

Nebraska Climate Strike, November 19, 2021
Beginning at 3pm, Nebraska Union, 1400 R Street

About Sustain UNL
We are an aggregate of students from diverse backgrounds who have come together to create a sustainable world through activism, education, and service-engagement. Our core values of Integrity, Community, Growth, Diligence, and Empathy guide us in our Sustain initiatives and in our daily lives. We work to promote social, economic, and environmental sustainability on campus and in the Lincoln community through hosting events, running campaigns, and collaborations. Most importantly, we stand with open arms to anyone who is looking for a place on campus where they can be surrounded by wonderful, passionate people that have a dream to ensure a livable future for everyone on Earth. Contact: sustainunl@gmail.com

LOCAL MODEL OF COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING 

LB357 funds continue to enhance school, city infrastructure and recreation, York News-Times
In November of 2014, residents of York approved a ½ cent sales tax for community infrastructure and recreation. Prior to the election, the City of York and the York Public School District entered an interlocal agreement to form the York Community Infrastructure and Recreation Committee, commonly referred to as the LB 357 committee.

LB357: Passed over Governor Dave Heineman’s veto on April 18, 2012.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

TRI GLOBAL NEWS

Tri Global Energy CEO Named Renewable Energy Executive Of The Year, Tri Global News Release, PR Newswire

John B. Billingsley, Chairman and CEO of Dallas-based Tri Global Energy, has been named Renewable Energy Executive of the Year by D CEO magazine as part of their annual Energy Awards. The awards honor excellence and innovation in oil and gas from North Texas to the Permian Basin, and for the first time, the 2021 awards included the category of renewable energy. 

About Tri Global Energy
We are developers of sustainable energy. Tri Global Energy’s mission is to improve communities through local economic development generated by originating and commercializing renewable energy and storage projects. The company currently originates and develops utility-scale wind, solar and energy storage projects in Texas, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Tri Global Energy’s headquarters is in Dallas with regional development offices in Lubbock, Texas; El Paso and Forreston, Illinois; and Reynolds and Hartford City, Indiana.  For more information, visit www.triglobalenergy.com

Under Development in Nebraska: 100 MW Sugarloaf Wind Project in Garden County

SALT CREEK SOLAR

Big Solar Farm Proposal Near Lincoln Advancing, Nebraska Public Media
This week, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission held an eight-hour hearing on whether to approve permits for the proposal. The Planning Commission is expected to revote on the county portion of the permit Nov. 17. Its decisions can be appealed to the county board and city council.

Previously Posted: Nebraska’s largest solar farm planned east of Lincoln is looking to clear final zoning hurdles, Lincoln Journal Star

West Virginia’s reliance on coal is getting more expensive, and Joe Manchin’s constituents are footing the bill

By Ella Nilsen, CNN

[A report] from West Virginia University’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development [shows] that investing in renewables would cost the state $855 million less through 2040 than continuing to invest in coal.

During the winter months in West Virginia, Felisha Chase pays more for her electricity than she does for her home. “It does feel wrong when your electric bill is more than your mortgage,” Chase told CNN. “Around here the old adage is ‘coal keeps the lights on.’ Anyone struggling to keep their electric on knows it’s more than the lights

Her electricity bill spikes every January, when Chase estimates her electricity usage increases five- or six-fold. In September, she was still paying down a remaining balance of $600 from the winter before — twice the cost of her monthly mortgage payment. Her cumulative bill has gone as high as $1,400. Continue reading here.

Image Credit: Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Roadmap to Build an Economy Resilient to Climate Change Impacts

The White House, October 15, 2021

Agency Actions Will Protect Retirement Plans, Homeowners, Consumers, Businesses and Supply Chains, Workers, and the Federal Government from Financial Risks of Climate Change

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration released a comprehensive, government-wide strategy to measure, disclose, manage and mitigate the systemic risks climate change poses to American families, businesses, and the economy – building on actions already taken by the Biden-Harris Administration including just this week: a redesigned National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate.gov site to better connect Americans to climate explainers, data dashboards, and classroom-ready teaching resources; the Department of Labor’s new proposed rule to safeguard life savings and pensions from climate risk; as well as the Federal Acquisition Council’s advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to consider greenhouse gas emissions when making procurement decisions. This year alone, extreme weather has upended the U.S. economy and affected one in three Americans. Continue reading here.

NATIONAL COMMUNITY SOLAR PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM 

DOE Targets Five Million Households Powered by Community Solar By 2025, by Peter Maloney, American Public Power Association

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently set a new target for its National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) program. The program’s new goal is to have community solar systems that can power the equivalent of five million households by 2025 and create $1 billion in energy bill savings on the way to reaching the White House’s goals of achieving 100 percent clean electricity by 2035 and ensuring that all Americans can benefit from renewable energy. The new target represents more than a 700 percent increase in community solar installations, DOE said.

To achieve its new targets, the DOE is offering free, on-demand technical assistance to NCSP partnership members. NCSP has distributed $1 million for technical assistance and said it aims to provide $2 million in the next year.

About the National Community Solar Partnership, Department of Energy

CONNECTED COMMUNITIES OF GRID-INTERACTIVE EFFICIENT BUILDINGS

DOE Invests $61 Million for Smart Buildings that Accelerate Renewable Energy Adoption and Grid Resilience, Department of Energy News Release

Ten “Connected Communities” Will Equip More than 7,000 Buildings with Smart Controls, Sensors, and Analytics to Reduce Energy Use, Costs, and Emissions

 A recent DOE study estimated that by 2030, GEBs could save up to $18 billion per year in power system costs and cut 80 million tons of carbon emissions each year. That is more than the annual emissions of 50 medium-sized coal plants or 17 million cars. DOE’s first two connected communities in Alabama and Georgia have already demonstrated this potential by using approximately 42-44% less energy than today’s average all-electric home.

PacifiCorp, owned by Berkshire Hathaway Energy, is among DOE selectees:
PacifiCorp (UT) will establish a program to manage solar photovoltaic, batteries, electric vehicle charging in a diverse community of all-electric buildings and a mass transit transportation center, equipped with the latest market-leading efficient technologies to optimize their collective energy use and provide grid services at scale. (Award amount: $6.42M)

Learn more here: Connected Communities

MISSOURI’S PAY AS YOU SAVE PROGRAM

In Missouri, your utility might pay for your next big energy efficiency project, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

Missouri’s largest gas and electric utilities are all forging ahead with new programs that will finance customers’ energy efficiency upgrades and in many cases even decrease their monthly bills. Evergy is the state’s latest utility to launch a Pay As You Save (PAYS) program, in which the full upfront cost of energy efficiency projects — along with their savings — are rolled into the customer’s monthly bill.

GOOGLE’S CARBON-FREE PLAN

Google’s CEO: ‘We’re Losing Time’ in the Climate Fight, Bloomberg Green

Sundar Pichai discusses the opportunities and hurdles in Google’s plan to go carbon-free, and how sustainability is on the agenda of every CEO he meets.

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Releases Agency Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plans from Across Federal Government

October 7, 2021 – Today, the Biden-Harris Administration released plans developed by more than 20 federal agencies that outline the steps each agency will take to ensure their facilities and operations adapt to and are increasingly resilient to climate change impacts. The plans reflect President Biden’s whole-of-government approach to confronting the climate crisis as agencies integrate climate-readiness across their missions and programs and strengthen the resilience of federal assets from the accelerating impacts of climate change. The climate adaptation and resilience plans were previously submitted to and reviewed by the National Climate Task Force, White House Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.

Agencies face a multitude of risks caused by climate change, including rising costs to maintain and repair damaged infrastructure from more frequent and extreme weather events, challenges to program effectiveness and readiness, and health and safety risks to federal employees who work outside. By taking action now to better manage and mitigate climate risks, we will minimize disruptions to federal operations, assets and programs while creating safer working conditions for employees. Continue reading here.

All 20 Federal Agency Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plans are available here:
www.sustainability.gov/adaptation

SELECT AGENCIES’ NEWS RELEASES 

Happy New (Fiscal) Year! Recapping a Year of Accomplishments at the Wind Energy Technologies Office

DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office 

As Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 comes to a close, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) is celebrating a range of research and funding achievements—from an offshore wind supply chain roadmap to new resources to help communities plan wind energy developments.

Learn more about how WETO’s FY21 accomplishments have helped set the stage for U.S. wind energy to continue to grow.

Visit the Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) for the latest news, events, and updates.

 ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

GREEN CAMPUSES

 Six Months of Solar: DU Pushes Toward Carbon Neutrality Goals, University of Denver News
The project aims to reduce DU’s carbon footprint in line with its 25 sustainability goals to achieve by 2025, and to further carbon neutrality efforts.

OF POTENTIAL INTEREST TO K-12 TEACHERS

NEED Curriculum Samplers

Available for FREE PDF download, these curriculum samplers recombine NEED favorites into a smaller and simpler format, allowing the NEED Project to showcase new curriculum activities before they go into full format. Click here to check them out and share with your colleagues.

Climate Crisis Catches Power Companies Unprepared

By Brad Plumer and Ivan Penn, New York Times

The phone call to the Eugene Water & Electric Board was startling. A group of homeowners, fearing a storm could knock down nearby power lines and ignite wildfires, was asking the Oregon utility to turn off their electricity. “I about fell out of my chair,” said Rodney Price, the utility’s assistant general manager, of the people who were voluntarily asking to live in the dark in September, during one of the worst fire seasons Oregon had ever seen. It was a sign of growing angst, he said. “We’re seeing more and more widespread impacts of climate change. It’s clear it’s impacting how we do our business.” Across the United States, power companies are scrambling to keep up with a barrage of extreme weather from a rapidly warming climate. Continue reading here.

Photo: Smoke from the Dixie Fire near a Pacific Gas & Electric power station in California this month. Credit: John G. Mabanglo/EPA

Previously Posted

CLIMATE RISK 

INDIANA

As Indiana coal plants close, advocates say gas power should not replace them, by Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

As it retires a coal-fired power plant, CenterPoint Energy is pushing to build a smaller gas plant than one that was rejected two years ago by Indiana regulators. Consumer and environmental groups still say it’s unnecessary. “After the proposed gas combustion turbines are built, they propose to run them 2% to 10% of the time,” said Sameer Doshi, senior attorney in Earthjustice’s coal program, which is representing Citizens Action Coalition in state and federal proceedings around CenterPoint’s proposal. “Whereas customers would be billed for the entire construction cost of the plant as well as the capital cost of the new pipeline. We intend to show a combination of market purchases, demand response, and increased renewables deployment with storage would be able to fill in the gaps” left by the retiring coal plants. 

COLORADO

Social cost of methane changes the equation for Colorado utility policy, by Allen Best, Energy News Network

Colorado is believed to be the first state in the nation to apply the social cost of methane to a broad range of regulatory decisions. A batch of new laws are expected to dramatically improve the case for building energy conservation. The social cost of methane emissions was set most recently at $1,756 per short ton by the U.S. Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, compared to $68 for carbon dioxide. Both metrics estimate the economic damages of releasing emissions into the atmosphere.

Methane Leaks

COLORADO SOLAR GROUP PURCHASE CAMPAIGN

Local ‘Solarize’ campaign boosts Garfield County solar energy investment, Post Independent
The recent Solarize Garfield County campaign generated $2.8 million in rooftop solar and battery investment, added nearly a megawatt of renewable energy to the grid and helped county residents bank $270,000 in rebates, according to recent figures released by Carbondale-based Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER).

FEATURED AGRIVOLTAICS RESEARCH

Beneath Solar Panels, the Seeds of Opportunity Sprout, National Renewable Energy Laboratory 

To better understand the benefits of—and barriers to—low-impact solar development, the Innovative Site Preparation and Impact Reductions on the Environment (InSPIRE) project brings together researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Argonne National Laboratory, universities, local governments, environmental and clean energy groups, and industry partners. The project is funded by DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.

“It doesn’t have to be an either-or choice. For all our agriculturally productive land, let’s help PV developers and farmers plan out these solar projects so that farmers can get under the arrays and continue to work the land for the next 20 or 30 years.” —Gerry Palano, energy program coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Agriculture

USDA: Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants in Nebraska

PV RECYCLING

Emerging solar panel recycling market ripe with opportunity, but barriers remain, Waste Dive
The U.S. is likely to see significant volumes of end-of-life panels, creating opportunities for safe, sustainable recycling or reuse. Some states are looking at product stewardship to avoid disposal.

SEIA National PV Recycling Program

TESLA NEWS

Tesla Installed 85 Megawatts Of Rooftop Solar Power In 2nd Quarter, But That Doesn’t Actually Show Demand, by Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica

In some places in the US, the permitting process can take just a few days less than forever. In many other places in the US, it can take weeks or months (as in, several months). There are not many places where it happens in the course of a week. Europe and Australia don’t seem to have a permitting problem anything like this. Permits are quick and easy. The US, for some reason, is slow to adapt. One promising initiative is the new SolarAPP+ initiative. It is helping to streamline the solar permitting process in places around the country. As simple as it sounds, this is one of the most exciting developments in the US solar industry in years.

Additional Recommended ReadingTesla will open its charging network to all EV brands

Second Catholic climate conference looks to build more momentum among US church

By Brian Roewe, Earth Beat:
Stories of climate crisis, faith and action

The Public Is Invited 

Have Catholics in the United States made any progress in responding to environmental challenges? Have new pathways of cooperation opened up between the church and the White House under President Joe Biden? And how much enthusiasm is there across the country to join the Vatican’s ambitious push toward total sustainability this decade?

All these questions will be topics of discussion at the “Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church” conference being held virtually July 13-15.

The conference is the second of three biennial gatherings organized and co-hosted by Catholic Climate Covenant and Creighton University. The series aims to raise ambition and action within the U.S. Catholic Church in responding to Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.” Read more here.

Links to More Information

Also Written by Brian Roewe: Review of US bishops’ investment guidelines is underway

More proof the clean energy transition is well underway: An oil and gas major embraces renewables

By Greg Alvarez, American Clean Power Association

While some observers might claim we’re on the cusp of a clean energy transition, the reality is a widespread shift to renewables began years ago. The U.S. already has enough clean energy capacity to power 50 million homes, and over 300,000 Americans already have direct clean energy jobs. Economics are one of the biggest drivers. Because wind and solar costs have fallen by 90 and 70 percent, respectively, over the last decade, they’re now the most affordable sources of new electricity in much of the country. Nor are wind and solar niche technologies—many of the world’s biggest names in energy are rapidly adding renewables to their portfolios. The latest news comes from bp, which just announced a deal to acquire 9 gigawatts (GW) of solar projects currently under development. Continue reading here.

NEBRASKA NEWS

More Nebraskans to be eligible for heating assistance

MORE NEWS & RESOURCES

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

NEW REPORT OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

America has the capacity to build an energy system around clean, renewable resources, according to a new report by Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group: We Have the Power: Reaching America’s potential for clean, renewable energy. The report found that U.S. solar energy resources have the technical potential to meet America’s 2020 electricity demand more than 77 times over, and U.S. onshore and offshore wind resources could meet America’s 2020 demand 11 times over. In addition, all 50 states have sufficient solar or wind potential to meet current electricity needs, and 49 have enough to do so under a 2050 scenario in which energy uses like transportation and buildings run on electricity.

Website Links

Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group are part of The Public Interest Network. The Public Interest Network runs organizations committed to our vision of a better world, a set of core values, and a strategic approach to getting things done.