Tag Archives: sustainability

Duchesne Academy Reaches Zero Waste Goal Ahead of Schedule

By Duchesne Academy

Duchesne Academy has reached its goal to be a zero-waste school nearly eight years ahead of schedule. A recent waste audit revealed that the school diverted 91% percent of waste away from landfills and to recycling or composting programs.  

“I was thrilled when the audit results came back because we have worked hard for years to reach this goal. Our students have embraced this program and now are leaders when it comes to modeling sustainable practices for their classmates,” said Assistant Principal Eric Krakowski, who serves as the Sustainability Program coordinator.

Duchesne’s sustainability efforts took root in the 2016-2017 school year following the May 2015 release of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment and human ecology. At Duchesne, sustainability is not just an academic concept, but rather a community-wide commitment to improving the school and larger world in which we live. We are guided by the standards detailed in our Goals and Criteria, which call us to teach respect for creation and prepare our students to be good stewards of the earth’s resources.

Duchesne is now concentrating efforts to maintain its waste diversion rate above 90% and to achieve its other sustainability goals which include net positive building emissions by 2030.

“This program is an extension of our faith. We believe that using resources responsibly, we show our gratitude to God for the gifts he has given us,” Krakowski said.

Nebraskans for Solar Note: Interconnection Systems Inc (ISI), based in Central City, installed the 10-kilowatt solar array in 2019. The energy generated by the solar 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.

Funding for study a rare bright spot in Nebraska’s statewide climate change efforts

By Erin Bamer, Omaha World-Herald

LINCOLN — Kat Woerner has learned not to use the words “climate change” when talking about climate change with some Nebraska politicians. The 22-year-old environmental advocate said the words have a stigma that causes many conservative lawmakers to shut down as soon as they hear them.

These roadblocks have been on display in the Nebraska Legislature, which has made little to no progress in approving climate change legislation in recent years, despite pleas from scientists and advocates. A rare exception came earlier this year when lawmakers appropriated up to $150,000 in federal funding for an update to a statewide climate change report. Continue reading here.

Also Of Potential Interest 

U.S. State Climate Action Plans, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
34 states have released a climate action plan or are in the process of revising or developing one.

National Climate Task Force: Take Climate Action in Your Community, The White House

Valley® Irrigation Announces Completion of Company’s First North American Ag Solar Installation in Partnership with Farmers National Company

Valley Irrigation News Release

Omaha, NE: Valley® Irrigation, a leader in advancing agricultural productivity, allowing growers to produce more with less through engineered irrigation equipment and connected crop management applications, has partnered with Farmers National Company, the nation’s leading land and mineral management firm, to complete the company’s first ag solar installation within North America. The installation, which is located in south-central Nebraska on a farm managed by Farmers National Company, will provide sustainable power to the landowner by efficiently converting the sun’s rays to clean energy.

Solar energy offers numerous benefits for agricultural irrigation, including energy savings, efficiency, reduced environmental impact and potential tax savings through incentive programs. The Ag Solar group within Valley has a large international footprint with more than 700 solar installations worldwide. Valley has now leveraged the expertise of the company’s 75 years of experience in providing growers with center pivot irrigation systems and pumping solutions to deliver clean and efficient solar energy to agriculture. Read more here.

OPPD Continues Strong Focus On Reliability & Resilience For Future Generation

OPPD News Release, January 20, 2022

During this week’s all-committees meeting for the OPPD Board of Directors, utility leaders discussed resource planning work. OPPD must submit an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) every five years as part of a long-term contract to receive hydroelectric power. The utility uses comprehensive decision-support tools to evaluate resource options for the IRP, which serves as a road map for future generation and power purchases.

This latest IRP will take into account recently released findings from OPPD’s latest portfolio modeling process to move the utility toward its goal of net-zero carbon by 2050. The plan also includes the district’s Power with Purpose project to add up to 600 megawatts (MW) of solar generation with natural gas backup to power our growing communities, as well as the retirement of North Omaha Station units 1-3 and repowering of units 4-5 to run on natural gas.

Board officer positions for 2022

During today’s monthly board meeting, directors elected officer positions for the coming year, opting to retain the positions held in 2021. They also confirmed standing committee assignments for 2022.

LES YEAR-END REPORT & ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

 

 

NPPD RESOURCES

 

 

 

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