Tag Archives: University of Nebraska Lincoln

EDF says K-Junction solar project would pump millions of dollars into local economy

York News-Times

McCOOL JUNCTION – EDF Renewables released information this week, saying their proposed K-Junction solar project “will add $781,000 in annual revenue to the McCool Junction School District and approximately $27 million over the life of the project.

“York County farmers and their families will earn drought-proof and flood-proof lease payments, while the tax payments will benefit everyone in McCool Junction and York County,” said Pervez Agwan, project developer at EDF Renewables. “Bolstering the economy and investing in the community with a new crop will provide substantial new resources for this area.” Read more here.

Related Reading & Resources of Potential Interest

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS


BEATRICE – Gage County officials have extended a moratorium on applications for commercial solar [and] wind energy permits indefinitely, as the county’s planning commission works toward finalizing regulations. The action taken by the county board on a 6-1 vote, Wednesday, does not apply to smaller residential solar improvements, under 25 kilowatts. County Zoning Administrator Lisa Wiegand says the commission will be meeting next Tuesday night, with one of the items on the agenda being discussion of commercial solar energy regulations.

NPPD Photo: Steele Flats Wind Farm. Part of the wind farm, completed in 2013, is located in southwest Gage County.

FEATURED 2021 NEBRASKA WIND & SOLAR CONFERENCE VIDEO & SLIDES

It All Begins With Landowners

  • Moderator, Dave Levy: Partner, Baird Holm. He is representing Ranger Power in the proposed Salt Creek Solar project. 
  • Sean Harris: Vice President of Development, Ranger Power.
  • Mike Zakrzewski: A third-generation Holt County, Nebraska farmer who is among landowners hosting Grande Prairie Wind Farm turbines in return for annual lease payments.
  • John Hansen: President of the Nebraska Farmers Union and Chair of the Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference planning committee. As he states in the video, he is “a landowner in a potential wind project.”

Click here to view the video and here for the PowerPoint slides.

Lincoln officials announce new electric vehicle infrastructure plan

By Nolan Dorn, KLKN TV

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Lincoln officials announced a new initiative on Thursday that is aimed at helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Lancaster County. The main goal of the Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan is to help the city become more electric-car friendly.  It will create the infrastructure needed for those electric vehicles. Leaders across the county hope that this plan will help people use renewable resources and move away from fossil fuels. Continue reading here.

OMAHA

Saving Planet Omaha: City Takes First Steps toward A Greener Future, But Challenges Remain, by Regan Thomas, The Reader

To date, 417 cities, including 35 of the 50 largest, have some form of plan to address adverse weather effects. Today, about one in three Americans live in a place that has a Climate Action Plan.

For Omaha to catch up to other cities like Des Moines, Lincoln and even Crete, which all have or have started a Climate Action Plan, city officials need to work effectively, said Craig Moody, managing principal at Verdis Group, a sustainability and climate planning consultancy in Omaha. Moody’s organization has long helped cities like Lincoln build their own plans, and one week after last August’s flash foods, Moody published a blog giving cities a how-to guide for “one of the most important things a community can do to accelerate climate action,” saying these documents are meant to be used, not sit on a shelf.

Additional Recommended Reading: For Earth Day, key facts about Americans’ views of climate change and renewable energy, Pew Research Center

NEW ENVIRONMENT AMERICA REPORT

Shining Cities 2022: The Top U.S. Cities for Solar Energy,
Environment America Research & Policy Center

Solar power continues to expand rapidly. The United States now has 121.4 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity, producing enough solar energy to power more than 23 million homes. Millions of Americans have invested in solar energy and millions more are ready to join them.

America’s major cities have played a key role in the clean energy revolution and stand to reap tremendous benefits from solar energy. As population centers, they are major sources of electricity demand and, with millions of solar rooftops, they can be major sources of clean energy production as well.

Additional Recommended Reading: From Earth Day 1970 to 2022: A story of progress 
The rise of solar power since the first Earth Day is just one example of how far we’ve come.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

‘There’s a red flag here’: how an ethanol plant is dangerously polluting a US village

The Guardian

For the residents of Mead, Nebraska, the first sign of something amiss was the stench, the smell of something rotting. People reported eye and throat irritation and nosebleeds. Then colonies of bees started dying, birds and butterflies appeared disoriented and pet dogs grew ill, staggering about with dilated pupils. There is no mystery as to the cause of the concerns in Mead, a farming community so small that its 500 residents refer to it as a village and not a town. Continue reading here.

Photo by Judy Wu-Smart: AltEn’s highly toxic piles of wet cake, an ethanol by-product typically dried and sold as animal feed. The piles were described in a recent Lincoln Journal Star article as “enough to spread over a football field 150 feet deep.”

Additional Recommended Reading

TRI-STATE EXIT FEE CALCULATIONS

United Power should be able to leave Tri-State for less than a tenth of a proposed $1.6B exit fee, federal report says, Colorado Sun

An energy economist for Tri-State’s federal regulator called the energy association’s exit-fee calculations flawed and unreasonable. Tri State has member cooperatives in Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. Eight member cooperatives have formally asked for exit fee calculations.

Energy efficiency guru Amory Lovins: ‘It’s the largest, cheapest, safest, cleanest way to address the crisis’

By John Vidal, The Guardian

One of the leading advocates of energy conservation explains why this
could be a turning point for climate economics

Temperatures dropped far below freezing this week in Snowmass, Colorado. But Amory Lovins, who lives high up in the mountains at 7,200ft above sea level, did not even turn on the heating. That’s because he has no heating to turn on. His home, a great adobe and glass mountainside eyrie that he designed in the 1980s, collects solar energy and is so well insulated that he grows and harvests bananas and many other tropical fruits there without burning gas, oil or wood. Nicknamed the “Einstein of energy efficiency”, Lovins, an adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, has been one of the world’s leading advocates and innovators of energy conservation for 50 years. Continue reading here.

Physicist Amory Lovins is Cofounder (1982) and Chairman Emeritus of Rocky Mountain Institute, which he served as Chief Scientist 2007–19 and now supports as a contractor and Trustee; energy advisor to major firms and governments in 70+ countries for 45+ years; author of 31 books and more than 700 papers; and an integrative designer of superefficient buildings, factories, and vehicles. Source: Rocky Mountain Institute

ENERGY EFFICIENCY RESOURCES 

  1. Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE)
    Nebraska Weatherization Assistance Program
    Dollar & Energy Savings Loans
    Nebraska Energy Quarterly 2022 – 1st Quarter Issue
  2. Nebraska Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  3. Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET)
  4. Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)-Nebraska
  5. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE)
  6. Energy Saver, Department of Energy 
  7. Heat Pump Systems, Department of Energy 
  8. Advanced Water Heating initiative Fact Sheet, New Buildings Institute
  9. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
  10. Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA)
    Nebraska Initiatives
    Policy

MEEA Webinar: The Value of Energy Efficiency in Buildings for Safety and Wellness
Tuesday, March 29, 2022 at 12 p.m.

Over the last two years the focus of building owners and operators has, rightfully so, been on health and safety concerns. Join us for a webinar to learn more about how energy efficiency can help with your health and safety goals while saving money and improving occupant comforts.

UNIQUE TINY HOUSE IN NEBRASKA

UNO Magazine: Big Future for Tiny HomesUniversity of Nebraska Omaha News Center

A living space that can be efficiently heated
by an energy output
equivalent to
16 birthday candles.

Focused on the future of tiny houses, Bing Chen, Ph.D., a UNL professor of electrical and computer engineering based out of Omaha’s Peter Kiewit Institute, envisions a future filled with tiny, environmentally friendly houses.

Students ask Nebraska lawmakers to acknowledge climate crisis

By Erin Bamer, Omaha World-Herald

Lincoln student Alex Hamric pleaded with Nebraska lawmakers to, at a minimum, recognize the impacts of climate change, but the 14-year-old was doubtful that his words would hold any weight. 

Hamric was one of five individuals who, during a hearing Wednesday, advocated for the Natural Resources Committee to advance a resolution (LR102) for the Legislature to acknowledge that the world is in a “climate and ecological crisis” that was caused by humans and that lawmakers have a “moral obligation” to take steps to mitigate the crisis. Continue reading here.

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

Referenced in the Article

Nebraskans for Solar Note
Kudos to the Prairie Hill Learning Center students who drafted LR102; to their teacher, Jordan Hope, who fostered her students’ desire to go beyond a class project to write the draft resolution; to Senator Anna Wishart of Lincoln who introduced it in 2021; to everyone who advocated for it through written testimony and / or in-person at the recent Natural Resources Committee hearing, including Lincoln students Alex Hamric and his twin, Willa Hamric; and, finally, to Senator John Cavanaugh for your thoughtful acknowledgement of the students’ work expressed through your informed questions.

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. This includes 28 states that have released plans, four states that are updating their plans, and two states that are developing a plan. 

New Biden Administration website and guidebook focus on implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

The White House 

Delivering Results from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
President Biden forged consensus and compromise between Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to demonstrate our democracy can deliver big wins for the American people. After decades of talk on rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, President Biden delivered the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – a historic investment in America that will change people’s lives for the better and get America moving again.

A Guidebook to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
Our Administration is committed to maximizing transparency so communities across America know what to apply for, who to contact, and how to get ready to rebuild. That’s why we’ve created a guidebook for state, local, tribal, and territorial leaders. This guidebook is a roadmap to the funding available under the law, as well as an explanatory document that shows, in as much detail as currently available, program-by-program information. Learn more here.

ENERGY ASSISTANCE PART OF THE BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE LAW

White House Announces Additional Actions to Help Families Afford Energy Bills, Building on Historic InvestmentsWhite House Briefing Room, February 1, 2022

The White House is joining states, localities, advocacy groups, and utilities in encouraging American families to apply for programs that can help hard-pressed families address home energy costs. These resources include the record funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provided by the Biden-Harris Administration this year and funds to reduce home energy costs in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In addition to outreach efforts across the Administration, the White House also announced information encouraging states to use all available American Rescue Plan resources for energy assistance and funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to reduce home energy costs. 

NEBRASKA AMONG STATES IN BIDEN’S METHANE REDUCTION PLAN

White House methane plan funds orphan well cleanup, rewards reduced farm emissions, Ohio Capital Journal

The White House plan listed how it would distribute $1.15 billion to 26 states eligible to receive funds to cap so-called orphan wells, which are no longer used for oil and gas extraction but can leak methane because former operators neglected to cover them. Each state is eligible for a $25 million initial grant, plus a combined $500 million in additional grants in the program’s first year. The Interior Department will provide more detailed instructions “in the coming weeks,” the department said in a news release.

Biden Administration Announces $1.15 Billion for States to Create Jobs Cleaning Up Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells, Department of the Interior News Release

UNL IN THE NEWS

WVU researchers to improve the flow of renewable energy to power plants with $7.5 million in grants, West Virginia University Today

The project team is extensive and is comprised of an entire supply chain—the research is being conducted within the Statler College, tested at Oak Ridge Laboratory, manufactured by General Electric Research and University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and is slated to be commercialized by General Electric if successful.

U.S. CLEAN ENERGY CORPS

US Clean Energy Corps To Pursue Climate Resilience, CleanTechnica

A new program launched by the Biden administration will hire 1,000 people in the US to help expand the country’s clean energy infrastructure, a step the White House says is “critical to achieving the president’s goal of 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035.” The Clean Energy Corps will draw from engineering, physical science, legislative affairs, and contract management sectors in its multi-disciplinary work. The creation of the Clean Energy Corps represents the largest expansion of the DOE’s workforce in nearly half a century. 

PEAKING PLANTS

Activists urge Massachusetts to take another look at need for peaking plants, Energy News Network

Campaigns in Boston and western Massachusetts are taking aim at existing and proposed peakers. Critics say the facilities are bad for the climate and public health, and that cleaner and more economical alternatives now exist

INTERCONNECTION CLOGS / BUILDING A BETTER GRID INITIATIVE / MICROGRIDS

Overwhelmed by Solar Projects, the Nation’s Largest Grid Operator Seeks a Two-Year Pause on Approvals, Inside Climate News

The nation’s largest electric grid operator, PJM Interconnection, is so clogged with requests from energy developers seeking connections to its regional transmission network in the eastern United States that it is proposing a two-year pause on reviewing more than 1,200 energy projects, most of them solar power.

Solutions Underway

‘NOVEL’ CROSS-SEAM TRANSMISSION STUDY

SPP, MISO identify 7 cross-seam transmission projects that could unlock 81 GW of new generation, Utility Dive

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) have identified seven possible transmission projects across their joint border that could allow 81 GW of potential generating capacity to interconnect with the grid. The transmission projects, costing about $1.8 billion, would relieve transmission constraints that are preventing wind, solar and other potential projects along the grid operators’ seam from being able to come online, according to a draft study released last week by the grid operators.

FEATURED ORGANIZATION 

The AgriSolar Clearinghouse is a nationwide hub developed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology to connect businesses, landowners, and researchers with trusted resources to support the growth of co-located solar and sustainable agriculture, also known as agrivoltaic development. 

NEW NATIONAL NETWORK

Daimler, NextEra, and BlackRock to deploy nationwide US electric trucking network, PV Magazine

An initial investment of about $650 million divided evenly among the group will launch the deployment of EV and hydrogen medium- and heavy-duty trucks and charging stations across the US.

UNO Magazine: Big Future for Tiny Homes

University of Nebraska Omaha News Center

Focused on the future of tiny houses, Bing Chen, Ph.D., a UNL professor of electrical and computer engineering based out of Omaha’s Peter Kiewit Institute, envisions a future filled with tiny, environmentally friendly houses.

Over the past two years, Chen, along with students from Metropolitan Community College, have taken the first steps to making his vision a reality. Earlier this year, this multidisciplinary team completed construction of a 400-square-foot prototype of a sustainable, ADA-compliant home that one day could be mass produced and easily transported almost anywhere in the country.

The construction students framed the home, created the floor, erected side walls, wired the home for electricity and installed heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The finished 20-foot x 20-foot home, which was built on MCC’s campus, will be moved on a flatbed trailer to a location near UNO’s Baxter Arena this coming spring. Learn more here.

Read the UNO Magazine online as a Flipbook or download a PDF.

Previously Posted

The future of ag policy debate

Contributed by Bradley D. Lubben, FarmProgress

Just as I teach students in class to understand the drivers of policy development, it is worthwhile to understand the fundamental challenges facing agriculture as a way to frame the policy issues and debate that is certain to come.

I believe the fundamental challenges or expectations of society for agriculture include four key questions: Will agriculture provide commodity food, feed and fiber production for global demand? Will it provide branded, specialized or production-process-verified products for local food systems? Will it provide bioenergy and renewable energy production to help meet U.S. energy demand? Or will it provide environmental benefits or agro-ecosystem goods and services for society? Read more here.

Lubben is the Extension policy specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

NEBRASKA’S ECONOMIC RECOVERY & RESILIENCE

THE SECOND INFRASTRUCTURE BILL

The Build Back Better Framework, The White House Briefing Room
This framework will set the United States on course to meet its climate goals, create millions of good-paying jobs, enable more Americans to join and remain in the labor force, and grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out.

The Build Back Better framework is fully paid for:
Combined with savings from repealing the Trump Administration’s rebate rule, the plan is fully paid for by asking more from the very largest corporations and the wealthiest Americans. The 2017 tax cut delivered a windfall to them, and this would help reverse that—and invest in the country’s future. No one making under $400,000 will pay a penny more in taxes.

Specifically, the framework:

  • Stops large, profitable corporations from paying zero in tax and tax corporations that buyback stock rather than invest in the company.
  • Stops rewarding corporations for shipping jobs and profits overseas.
  • Asks the highest income Americans to pay their fair share.
  • Invests in enforcing our existing tax laws, so the wealthy pay what they owe.

RELATED READING

DOE Awards Nearly $40 Million for Grid Decarbonizing Solar Technologies

Department of Energy News Release
October 19, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today awarded nearly $40 million to 40 projects that are advancing the next generation of solar, storage, and industrial technologies necessary for achieving the Biden-Harris administration’s climate goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035. Specifically, the projects will reduce the cost of solar technologies by increasing the lifespan of photovoltaic (PV) systems from 30 to 50 years, developing technologies that will enable solar to be used in fuel and chemicals production, and advancing novel storage technologies.

“We are laser focused on deploying more solar power and developing more cost-effective technologies to decarbonize our electricity system,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Research to develop stronger and longer-lasting solar panels is critical to addressing the climate crisis. The 40 projects announced today – led by universities and private industry across the country – is an investment in the next generation of innovations that will strengthen the nation’s solar capacity and enhance our grid resilience. Continue reading here.

PV PROJECTS

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Is among the 2021 Photovoltaics Funding Program selectees.

This program will help achieve the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) goal of lowering solar energy costs 50% by 2030. Some of the projects will help extend PV system life. The rest will lay the foundation for continued research that leads to new PV technologies to help achieve a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035 and a net-zero-emissions energy sector by 2050.

UNL’s Project Name: A Hot-Swappable, Fault-Tolerant, Modular Power Converter System for Solar Photovoltaic Plants
DOE Award Amount: $300,000
Cost Share: $75,000
Project Summary: This project will work to prove the concept of a fault-tolerant, modular power converter system for PV plants that does not require disconnection from the solar array to replace components. The system will contain innovations that enable 50% system cost reduction, 90% operation and maintenance (O&M) cost reduction, uninterrupted operation with 50 years of service life, improved manufacturability, and higher power density over the state of the art. The team will design, fabricate and test a 50 kilowatt (kW) prototype with over 99.5% inverter peak efficiency, less than $0.03 per watt system cost, and less than $0.5 kW-year O&M cost.

Read about the individual PV projects and the individual CSP projects.

Learn more about DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office and its research priorities in PV and CSP

Ricketts’ order on 30-by-30 conservation effort is short on actual roadblocks

By Martha Stoddard, Omaha World-Herald

LINCOLN — In his battle against the federal government, Gov. Pete Ricketts has directed state agencies to take “any necessary step” to resist a federal initiative to conserve 30% of American land and waters by 2030. He signed the executive order last month, in the leafy shade of the garden at the Governor’s Mansion, flanked by allies from rural county governments and agricultural organizations.

Ricketts said his order is aimed at stopping implementation of what he calls “the 30×30 land grab.” But a closer look at the order shows it to be long on education and information-gathering and short on steps that would block the expansion of conservation efforts. Read more here.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

Working with Individual Landowners on Conservation

The USDA provides voluntary, incentive-based conservation to landowners through local field offices in nearly every county of the nation. USDA helped landowners develop conservation plans and enrolled a record number of acres of private working lands in conservation programs, working with more than 500,000 farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that clean the air we breathe, conserve and clean the water we drink, prevent soil erosion and create and protect wildlife habitat. USDA support – leveraged with historic outside investments – helped support producer incomes and reward them for their good work.

Learn more about USDA’s conservation programs.

CENTER FOR AGRICULTURAL PROFITABILITY AT UNL

The interdisciplinary Center for Agricultural Profitability, which was approved March 11, 2021, facilitates faculty research, conducts outreach related to agricultural profitability and trains undergraduate and graduate students — all to support informed decision-making in agriculture through applied research and education.

Center for Agricultural Profitability Webinars – Archived & Upcoming

Analyzing the Proposed 30×30 Conservation Plan, July 22, 2021
With: Dave Aiken, Professor and Agricultural Law & Water Specialist, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

On Jan. 27, President Biden signed his climate action executive order, pledging, among other things, to conserve at least 30% of U.S. land and water by 2030. On May 6, an interagency report to the president provided some detail for implementing the 30×30 plan. The report pledges to honor private property rights and to honor existing voluntary stewardship efforts of private landowners as well as building on existing land and water conservation programs. Aiken describes the proposed 30×30 program and discusses how the U.S. may be closer to reaching 30% land protection than most realize.

Conservation Program Opportunities for Producers and Landowners, July 8, 2021
With Brad Lubben, Extension Associate Professor and Policy Specialist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Agricultural Economics; Doug Klein, Conservation and Price Support Programs Chief, USDA FSA Nebraska State Office; and Brad Soncksen, Assistant State Conservationist, USDA NRCS State Office.