The Department of Agriculture’s renewable energy grant and loan programs are pulled together under an initiative called REAP for Rural Energy for America Program. REAP got its start in 2008 as an iteration of the agency’s Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program. That program was established in 2002 with an initial $23 million in funding for grants, loan guarantees, and combination packages. As for why renewable energy programs are bundled into supporting legislation for the agriculture industry, the connection between food and energy is no mystery: it takes energy to run farm equipment. Read more here.
Photo: Harmony Nursery in Bradshaw, Nebraska. The 25-kilowatt solar system was a USDA
Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant award-winner. Installed by Graham Christensen, owner of GC ReVOLT, LLC.
Sunlight, smarts, a house, and some money means solar power, PV Magazine Stanford researchers, using machine learning applied to satellite imagery, have found
1.4 million solar power installations in the United States. The researchers also extracted significant socioeconomic patterns from the data which they say can help to predict future installations.
By Jimmy O’Dea, Vehicles Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists
Battery electric buses range from 1.4 to 7.7 times better than a diesel bus, as shown in miles per gallon emissions-equivalency. Another way of saying this is that a diesel bus has nearly 1½ to 8 times the global warming emissions as an electric bus, depending on the region.
And the grid is getting cleaner every year. Emission rates from electricity have steadily declined the last sixteen years. Transit agencies can also choose cleaner power than what’s provided on their grids by installing solar panels and batteries on site or through renewable electricity contracts. Read more here.
Dave Cooke is a senior vehicles analyst in the Clean Vehicles Program, specializing in both light- and heavy-duty fuel economy. He conducts research on fuel efficiency technologies and the implications for oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions across the transportation sector. Dr. Cooke received his Ph.D. in condensed matter physics in 2010 from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to this, he received his BS in physics from Harvey Mudd College in 2002 and his MS in physics from the University of California, San Diego in 2004.
National Grid’s ($114 million) future is rising in West Seneca, The Buffalo News National Grid launched the upgrade just over a year ago, with O’Connell Electric as the prime contractor. The work has stayed on schedule despite a wet spring, said John Burke, National Grid’s operations director. “I’ve been at National Grid for 30 years, and this is the biggest project I’ve seen,” Burke said. Materials for the facility came from a variety of sources, including steel from Nebraska and locally supplied stone and concrete.
Fort Collins mayor speaks at University Cities Conference, North Forty News He described the Fort ZED project as an example of collaboration between the university, the municipally-owned electric utility and 13 private sector partners to reduce peak-load energy demand by up to 30 percent in two parts of the city. The partners were able to showcase their technology for customers all over the world.
The city of Beatrice is taking the first step in planning a local wind power generation facility. The City Council approved an application at its Monday meeting for Nebraska Public Power District to do a review of electrical capacity and transmission, in order to assess the feasibility of a wind generation facility. The application was originally recommended by the Board of Public Works at a prior meeting and is the first step in what will be an ongoing process. Click to read more.
Photo: Wind-farm turbine near the small, centrally-located city of Broken Bow. Credit: Caroline Jezierski
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
By John Rogers, Senior Energy Analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Posted on EcoWatch.
One graphic says so much about how far solar has come and how bright its future looks. A friend and former colleague—my business partner from when I worked in solar—recently shared a graph [above] showing the drop in the prices of solar panels and the growth in worldwide installations of solar . . . Solar is now an important contributor not just to the power grid in leading states, but also to economic development and job creation. And, thanks to cost reductions, state policies and the extension of the important federal tax credits for it and other renewables, solar is set to have another record-breaking year in the U.S. in 2016.
Read more here. Photo Credit: Treehugger
By Sam Gomberg, Energy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists
By smartly using public funds to leverage private capital, a Michigan green bank program could drive significant investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Green banks are state-funded financial institutions that use a pool of public funds and a suite of financial tools to attract a larger pool of private investments in clean energy projects. UCS analyzed the potential outcome of creating a green bank in Michigan, based on the state-specific data and experiences of existing green banks and clean energy lending programs in other states and countries.