Category Archives: Nebraska / Midwest News

WinnaVegas debuting new air filtration system; casino also getting solar panels

By Mason Dockter, Sioux City Journal

WinnaVegas, [owned by the Winnebago Tribe], is in the process of installing sets of solar panels to power the casino and hotel. Panels have already been installed on the bingo hall, and work is ongoing to install solar panels in other areas on the roofs of casino buildings and on adjacent land. Read more here.

Ho-Chunk, Inc Photo: The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska previously completed more than 400 kilowatts of solar projects, including this solar farm on the reservation. The WinnaVegas Casino is part of the tribe’s additional 320 kilowatts of solar capacity development.

The Winnebago Tribe’s economic development corporation: Ho-Chunk, Inc

Previously Posted

2019 Winnebago Tribe’s Solar Development Tour: Please watch our website calendar and Facebook Page for an announcement about this year’s tour and plan to join us!

MORE GOOD NEWS

 

Wind farm under construction in Fairmont, Lincoln Journal Star
An Omaha-based energy company says construction on its wind farm in Fillmore County is “well underway.”

Community? Rooftop? What solar is right for you?

Written by Laura King-Homan, The Wire, OPPD Blog

OPPD will soon be offering a community solar program to its customers. But what is “community solar,” and how do you decide between rooftop or community solar when it comes to your energy needs? Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Rob Davis, Fresh Energy

Save the Date! Nebraskans for Solar’s March Event: “OPPD’s Community Solar Program,” March 13, 2019, 7 p.m. at UNO’s Community Engagement Center, Rooms 230/231.

Co-Sponsored by Green Bellevue, Nebraska Sierra Club,
OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team,
The Nebraska Conservation Education Fund 

Our guest speakers will be Tricia McKnight, OPPD Product Specialist, and Heather Siebken, Director of Product Development & Marketing. They will present an overview of OPPD’s community solar program and how customer-owners will be able to participate. A Q&A will follow their presentation.

Iowa lawmakers can act on climate change

By Chuck Isenhart, Guest Columnist, The Gazette

Iowa Representative Chuck Isenhart, D-Dubuque, is ranking member on the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.

As a state, we don’t need to reinvent any wheels. Here are just a few ideas that would jump-start some good conversations:

  • Set a state carbon-reduction goal and require public entities to make plans to do their parts;

  • Create a comprehensive soil health program that promotes farming practices that sequester carbon as well as improve farmland-soil resilience and productivity.

Read more here, including Representative Isenhart’s additional ideas on climate action.

MORE RECOMMENDED READING

Tri-State announces new 100-megawatt solar project in southern Colorado, The Denver Post. Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is more than doubling the power it will get from solar energy with a new 100-megawatt installation about 20 miles north of Trinidad. The energy wholesaler will buy the entire output of the project over the 15-year contract. Tri-State Generation & Transmission is owned by 43 member electric cooperatives and public power districts and supplies electricity to members in New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming.

Solar solution: Technology helps reduce energy costs on Indiana farm while protecting environment, Purdue University Research Foundation News. This project was awarded a Rural Energy for America Program grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which helped reimburse some of the farm’s initial investment. The USDA grant and federal tax incentives, along with net-metering, will produce savings that will defray the costs of the project by more than 65 percent overall.

NEW STUDY

BPA report details potential for water heaters as DR tools, American Public Power Association. A recent report from the Bonneville Power Administration identifies the potential to enhance the use of water heaters as a demand response tool. The report also found that “smart connected” water heaters could yield “significant cost savings compared to building peaking plants.” Additional information, including the report, is available here

2018 highlights: Six trends shaping the future of wind power

Written by Greg Alvarez, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Here’s a remarkable fact: There has never been more wind power under construction in the U.S. than right now, which means America’s 105,000 wind workers and 500 wind-related factories are as busy as ever. Just under 38,000 megawatts (MW) of new wind projects are under construction or advanced development. That means in just the next few years, the U.S. is poised to add as much new wind as all the wind currently installed in Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa combined, the country’s top three wind states. Much of this activity is centered in a diverse group of seven states on track to double the amount of wind within their borders: Arkansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wyoming, Maryland and Massachusetts.
Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: NextEra Energy Resources

RECOMMENDED AWEA VIDEOS
Wind Power Opens Doors for Nebraska Families
Nebraska Harvests the Wind

Community solar report delivered

By Kerri Rempp, The Chadron Record – Rapid City Journal

This map shows two possible plots of land where a community solar farm could be installed.

After a year of studying the issue, the Chadron City Council could decide soon if the city should take the next step to seriously consider a community solar project. Council members were
given an update and recommendation from the committee researching the possibility Monday.

Nebraska Public Power District alerted Chadron to the opportunity for a community solar project in October 2017, and because there seemed to be a positive response to the idea, a committee was formed to study the feasibility of such a project in January last year.
Continue reading here.

Draft Document: Questions & Answers: SunWise Community Solar Program, City of Chadron and NPPD

NPPD’s SunWise Program
If you are an NPPD customer who lives in another town or city and would like to learn more about developing a SunWise project in your community, click here to submit the SunWise Community Solar Interest Form to NPPD.

Solar Energy, Next Regulatory Project For Gage County Planning Commission

By Doug Kennedy, KWBE

BEATRICE – Solar energy is a next frontier facing the Gage County Planning and Zoning Commission, as the body starts forming regulations for use of the renewable energy method. The commission met
Tuesday night, in the early stages of discussion over how residential and commercial solar projects will be regulated. Read more here.

Solar energy to power Atkinson waste water plant

By Jerry Guenther, Norfolk Daily News

On Thursday, Jan. 10, the City of Atkinson will celebrate the conversion of its waste water plant to operate entirely on solar energy. Erika Young, marketing and external affairs manager for GenPro Energy Solutions, said the City of Atkinson wanted a tracked system that could provide enough energy to offset the energy consumption of its water treatment plant. GenPro Energy Solutions of Piedmont, S.D., was the project developer. Through NPPD’s Buy-Sell Solar Rider, Atkinson will be able to create long-term cash flow for the city through the production of solar energy, Young said. Read more here.

Event Details
What: Atkinson Waste Treatment Plant Solar Array ribbon cutting.
Where: City of Atkinson Waste Water Treatment Plant, 700 S. Main St., Atkinson.
When: Thursday, January 10, 10 a.m.
Cider and cookies will follow the ceremony at the Atkinson Community Center,
206 W. Fifth Street.

Pixabay Photo

OPPD fee hikes hurt low-income, low energy users and conservationists, OWH analysis confirms

By Aaron Sanderford, Omaha World-Herald
OPPD Infographic 

Conservationist Craig Moody, who joined the OPPD board after the vote on fee and rate changes, says he is concerned that OPPD is encouraging people to use more power instead of less, which he says is wrong. He said he would like OPPD to explore a tiered fee structure, one similar to what the Lincoln Electric System uses. Lincoln charges different fixed fees for customers based on how much power they use.

[Commenting on OPPD’s monthly fixed fee, which starting this month amounts to $360 per year, newly-elected board member Eric Williams stated]: “I think that all five of the new board members were pretty open during our campaigns that the high fixed fee structure is something that’s hurting a lot of people. We would like to take another look at it.” One option, he said, may be revisiting OPPD’s Strategic Directive 2 on rates this spring, to see whether the goal of being affordable is being met. Read the entire article here.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED INFORMATION

OPPD’S  justification for the fixed fee increase is included in the following article by Aaron Sanderford: OPPD board approves $1.18 billion budget
 [Monthly fixed fees] will increase to $30 a month in 2019, up from $10.25 in 2015. Utility officials have said the shift is needed as appliances and devices become more efficient and as more people start generating power at home, including by using solar panels.

In his latest article, Aaron Sanderford states that the fixed fee harms the poor and elders as well as conservationists, including “those who generate their own power.” The annual fixed fee, now $360, does create a barrier for rooftop solar development, as the amount itself, on top of the cost of a solar system, will put the option out of range for many household budgets. As OPPD also states, it increases the payback period for a solar system:

OPPD’s Rate Restructuring FAQs posted on the utility’s website:
FAQ #9:  I am considering installing solar panels and/or wind generation at my home. How would this affect me?
Answer: Because the fixed portion of the bill is increasing, customers who wish to install solar or wind to meet part of their energy needs would see an increase in the payback period associated with recovering their investment.

Those who have installed solar know that the PV systems on their rooftops benefit not only their own households and their neighbors’, but also OPPD in a number of widely-recognized ways. Six benefits of rooftop solar are excerpted HERE from the following source: Let’s Be Clear: Solar Energy Benefits Everyone, Solar Energy Industries Association

Many utilities across the nation have no fixed monthly fees, or they have rolled them back or are in the process of doing so:

Are regulators starting to rethink fixed charges?, Utility Dive
[In 2017], regulators only approved 6 out of 84 proposals for higher customer charges, suggesting regulators might be looking for “something better,” Proudlove told Utility Dive. Autumn Proudlove is senior manager of policy research at the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC).

Wind energy provides a breath of fresh air

The Grand Island Independent, Opinion written by Lu Nelsen,
Policy Associate, Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons

Wind energy projects have proven to be an important economic development tool for counties across rural America. In Nebraska, these projects generated nearly $3 million in tax revenue for local schools — accumulating a total of $3,065,623 in 2017. The contributions were used to fund schools, roads, and other essential services. As rural economies look to diversify their revenue streams without raising taxes, wind energy projects could provide a breath of fresh air.
Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: AWEA Public Domain Photos, “Wind Rainbow”

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

The top five wind stories of 2018, Windpower Engineering Development

The low cost and reliability of wind have continued to drive strong
industry growth that is still pushing forward. AWEA predicts that seven states (Arkansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wyoming,
Maryland and Massachusetts) will soon build enough wind turbines to more than double their wind-power capacity. Flickr Image

Enel Green Power brings online 620 MW of new wind capacity in the United States, News Release

Enel, through its US renewable company Enel Green Power North America, Inc. (EGPNA), has started operations of the 320 MW
Rattlesnake Creek wind farm in Dixon County, Nebraska.

Solar tsunami

By Christian Roselund and John Weaver, PV Magazine

Developers have applied to build 139 GWac of large-scale solar projects in the territory of six grid operators – around five times what is currently online across the country – and that figure doesn’t even cover the entire United States. By any metric, we are looking at an unprecedented boom in solar development over the next five years. Read more here.

Flickr Photo by Juwi Renewable Energies Limited


Electric Power Markets: National Overview

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

 

 

Recently Posted: Capital Dynamics Signs Agreement with Tenaska to Develop Solar Projects, News Release. The transaction includes 14 solar projects with approximately 2,000 megawatts (MW) in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) market. The portfolio represents a large share of all solar projects currently in the MISO North interconnection queue, with projects in Michigan,
Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota.

Nebraska is a member of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) wholesale market.
Based in Little Rock, Arkansas. SPP manages transmission in fourteen states: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. Its membership is comprised of investor-owned utilities, municipal
systems, generation and transmission cooperatives, state authorities, independent power producers, power marketers and independent transmission companies.

Also Published by PV Magazine:

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

INTERVIEW

What’s In Store for U.S. Solar Energy in 2019?, by the Center on Global Energy Policy, Earth Institute, Columbia University. In the latest edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, host Bill Loveless talks to Abigail Ross Hopper, the president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the U.S. trade group for solar energy.

OPPD POSTS RESIDENTIAL SERVICE CHARGE FAQs ON WEBSITE

The final adjustment to the residential service charge begins January 1. Review the Rate Restructuring FAQs for details

FAQ #9:  I am considering installing solar panels and/or wind generation at my home. How would this affect me?
Because the fixed portion of the bill is increasing, customers who wish to install solar or wind to meet part of their energy needs would see an increase in the payback period associated with recovering their investment.

Previously Posted: Are regulators starting to rethink fixed charges?, Utility Dive
[In 2017], regulators only approved 6 out of 84 proposals for higher customer charges, suggesting regulators might be looking for “something better,” Proudlove told Utility Dive. Autumn Proudlove is senior manager of policy research at the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC).