Category Archives: Nebraska / Midwest News

Nebraska clean energy plan focuses on wind, solar, efficiency

By Don Walton, Lincoln Journal Star

A clean energy coalition urged Nebraska on Wednesday to focus more on development of wind and solar power sources along with energy efficiency to help build a more environmentally friendly and healthier future. The coalition’s Husker Power Plan would “ramp up Nebraska’s investment in energy-efficiency measures like weatherizing homes and businesses, replacing outdated lighting systems and motors and reducing wasteful use of energy,” said Duane Hovorka, former executive director of the Nebraska Wildlife Federation. Continue reading here.

RELATED READING
‘Husker Power Plan’ aims to cut greenhouse emissions while keeping electric costs low, creating jobs, by Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald
The Husker Power Plan calls for doubling the state’s use of wind power over the next five years and adding 129 megawatts of community solar energy projects. The plan, done by the consultant Sommer Energy, also recommends aggressive work to reduce electric consumption by 2 percent a year.

DOWNLOAD
Husker Power Plan for Electric Utilities (PDF)
Consultants Report: – The Husker Power Plan: A New Energy Plan for Nebraska (PDF)

Xcel Energy receives shockingly low bids for Colorado electricity from renewable sources

Solar and wind generation with storage now competitive with coal power.
Written by Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post

What stands out about the response Xcel received is that wind sources with storage are now cheaper than coal generation, and solar plus storage is now cheaper than about 75 percent of coal generation in the state, according to CarbonTracker. “As far as we know, these are the lowest renewables plus storage bids in the U.S. to date. Click here to read more.

Photo by Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post file

RELATED READING
In Colorado, a glimpse of renewable energy’s insanely cheap future: Even with storage, new renewables beat existing coal, Vox

MORE U.S. NEWS

GLOBAL NEWS

Ford shifts gears, invests $11 billion in future of electric car production

By Keith Naughton, Ryan Beene and Gabrielle Coppola / Bloomberg News
Published by The Omaha World-Herald

Ford Motor Co. will more than double its spending on electric vehicles, amplifying its investment in a segment that the auto industry sees growing from what’s now just a fraction of the market.
The carmaker will shell out $11 billion to bring 40 electric vehicles to market by 2022, Jim Farley, president of global markets, said during a presentation at the Detroit auto show. That’s up from the $4.5 billion that Ford said in late 2015 it would invest through the end of the decade.
Click here to continue reading.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST
NPPD’s pilot EV charging station incentive program
Nebraska Public Power District, in partnership with its wholesale utility customers, has a need to understand the future impact of electric vehicle charging on the electric distribution system. Electrification of the transportation sector is expected to grow and have a substantial impact on the electricity delivery system. By collecting data on individual charging stations, the utilities can better implement strategies to maintain and improve utility infrastructure. In order to collect this information, the utility is offering an incentive to eligible customers with qualifying equipment. A $200 EnergyWise incentive for the installation of a residential vehicle charging station is available for a limited time from Nebraska Public Power District and your local public power utility.

Interview With John Kostyack & David Gardner — A New Wind Energy Foundation Report (CleanTechnica Exclusive)

By Carolyn Fortune

The Wind Energy Foundation has just released a new report. In it, they talk about the need for US transmission planners to modify their calculations based on the number of big companies that are increasingly signing deals to buy wind and solar power. In this CleanTechnica exclusive, we interview John Kostyack, executive director of the Wind Energy Foundation, and David Gardiner, lead author representing David Gardiner and Associates, about the report and its consequences for broader wind and solar energy access.

Information from the report: “The strongest and often lowest-cost renewable energy resources are located in the central U.S. region, 15 states between the Rockies and the Mississippi River: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. This region accounts for 88% of the country’s wind technical potential and 56% of the country’s utility-scale solar photovoltaic technical potential, yet is home to only 30% of projected 2050 electricity demand. This finding suggests that future transmission is needed to export this electricity from this high-production region to the growing demand outside of this region.”
Read More Here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Center for Rural Affairs Report: Generation and Delivery: The economic impact of transmission infrastructure in rural counties, written by Timothy Collins, consultant, with support from Johnathan Hladik, Policy Program Director

Solar Power is Heating Up at Schools Nationwide

By Tish Tablan, National Organizer, Generation 180

More and more schools are taking advantage of their large roofs and open spaces to generate clean power and save money. Solar schools are creating a brighter future by spreading energy awareness to students, parents, and the community.

Generation 180 has recently launched some exciting initiatives to empower schools nationwide to take advantage of all the benefits of solar energy.

  • We’ve just launched our nationwide Solar Schools campaign, which aims to help schools go solar with greater confidence and success.
  • We’ve partnered with The Solar Foundation and the Solar Energy Industries Association  to produce the 2017 Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in US Schools.  This report provides the most comprehensive inventory of solar schools across America and shares the successful approaches of schools transitioning to solar power
  • In addition to the report, Generation 180 offers how-to resources to empower stakeholders to become solar champions who can effectively advocate for solar schools in their own communities.

You Can Help Schools Go Solar

You can help make a brighter future possible. Generation 180 is forming teams of volunteers throughout the country to rally local support from educators, district leaders and community members and providing resources to assist schools in going solar. Contact us to learn about starting a volunteer team in your community. Learn about volunteer teams.

  • Generation 180 is a non-profit committed to advancing the transition to clean energy and supporting a cultural shift in energy awareness through original, engaging content, digitally-enabled campaigns, and an empowered volunteer network.
  • Questions? Contact National Organizer Tish Tabian: tish@generation180.org
  • U.S. Solar Schools Map
  • Nebraska Solar Schools, founded by Nebraskans for Solar and statewide partners, is a program  that provides K-12 educators with resources and tools for incorporating renewable energy education into their classrooms and schools. The resources support Nebraska and national science standards. The program is offered to public and non-public schools, as well as places like schools such as children’s museums, zoos, nature preserves and science and technology centers.

NPPD launches pilot EV charging station incentive program

Nebraska Public Power District, in partnership with its wholesale utility customers, has a need to understand the future impact of electric vehicle charging on the electric distribution system. Electrification of the transportation sector is expected to grow and have a substantial impact on the electricity delivery system. By collecting data on individual charging stations, the utilities can better implement strategies to maintain and improve utility infrastructure. In order to collect this information, the utility is offering an incentive to eligible customers with qualifying equipment.

A $200 EnergyWise incentive for the installation of a residential vehicle charging station is available for a limited time from Nebraska Public Power District and your local public power utility. This incentive is for customers living in the service area of NPPD or its wholesale customers who purchase an electric vehicle and choose to install a ChargePoint 32 amp WI-FI enabled station. Other charging stations may be incented but must pass pre-approval criteria. To qualify for the pilot incentive program, the installation location of the charging station must have internet wireless connectivity.

Additional details about the program are available here.

Renewable energy made up 30 percent of OPPD’s retail sales in 2017

By Cole Epley, Omaha World-Herald

Renewable energy primarily derived from wind whistling across the Nebraska plains accounted for 30 percent of the Omaha Public Power District’s retail energy sales in 2017. That marks a significant milestone for the traditionally coal-heavy utility, especially considering that renewables accounted for just 13 percent of OPPD’s retail sales in 2016 . . . The utility has a goal of hiking that portion to 50 percent by 2020. Click here to read the complete news story.

Photo: The Grande Prairie wind farm, the largest wind project in Nebraska history.
Credit: Megan Farmer/The World-Herald

ALSO WRITTEN BY COLE EPLEY

WORLD-HERALD EDITORIAL
OPPD’s clean energy goals worthy

VIDEO
Grande Prairie Wind Project

Turning of the turbines in Webster County

By John Huthmacher, Hastings Tribune

The economic impact the Webster County wind farm has made so far has been a breath of fresh air for area businesses.

From the 100,000 cubic yards of yellow stone gravel collected from the laydown yard utilized and repurposed on nine road projects to the $100,000 to $300,000 per year in revenue generated by electricity produced by the 40 turbine, 89-megawatt wind farm annually, the project has so far lived up to expectations of Webster County board members, who continue to monitor its impact on the county and surrounding communities as a whole. Click here to read more.

Photo: Some of the Cottonwood Wind Energy Center’s 40 wind turbines that dot the landscape in Webster County are photographed southeast of Blue Hill. Credit: Laura Beahm

Related Reading
Webster County leaders get up-close look at wind farm, by Will Vraspir, Hastings Tribune

Additional NextEra Projects in Nebraska

  • Omaha utility approves wind farm in Wayne County
    By Kent Warneke, Norfolk Daily News
    OPPD has contracted with NextEra Energy Resources to build a 160-megawatt wind farm, called the Sholes Wind Energy Center, in northern Wayne County near the village of Sholes, which is south of Randolph. The project  is scheduled to begin in March 2019 and to become operational by December. OPPD will purchase all the wind farm’s electricity over a 20-year contract, its first with NextEra.
  • The 75-megawatt Steele Flats Wind Energy Center near the Kansas border in Jefferson and Gage Counties was NextEra’s first Nebraska project. NPPD entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement with NextEra in early 2013, and the facility began commercial operation on November 1, 2013. Source: Nebraska Public Power District

Thank you to everyone who attended last night’s event at UNO’s Community Engagement Center!

Many thanks to everyone who turned out for last evening’s event, Nebraskans for Solar’s Third Solar Group Buy Roundtable: to our co-sponsoring groups, Green Bellevue and Sierra Club; and to our presenters, discussion leaders, and audience participants who, together, created an excellent educational opportunity.

Wyndle Young, OPPD Projects Director, Customer Initiatives, discussed the following topics:

  1. Update of OPPD’s Distributed Generation Manual. Final revision to be announced.
  2. The ConnectDER: OPPD reviewed the innovative device, and on July 1, 2017, accepted it for use for certain Distributive Energy Resources including solar installations. See OPPD document link, below.
  3. Renovation of the Distributed Generation portion of OPPD’s website. Final revision to be announced.
  4. OPPD’S Community Solar Development. See information, below.

David Holtzclaw, owner of Transduction Technologies, summarized the step-by-step process for a business or homeowner to install a solar PV system. A Q&A followed during which he was joined by Jeff Bergrenn from GenPro Energy Solutions and Michael Shonka, owner of Solar Heat and Electric, as well as Solar Ambassadors, people who have installed a PV system and are willing to serve as resource persons to others in the group.

Attendees were provided a list of FAQ’s prepared by solar installers, which will be available at future events. Everyone was asked for their recommendations for future speakers and topics.

RESOURCES DISCUSSED AT THE MEETING 

Solar, Energy Conservation & Incentives

Community Solar
“In response to customer interest in solar-powered generation, OPPD is evaluating the potential for a community solar energy project. OPPD will continue to assess solar programs, while balancing our mission to provide affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services to our customers.” – OPPD’s Integrated Resource Plan
OPPD’s Community Solar Update, by Jeff Karloff, Division Manager, Production Engineering, Fuels and Renewables. December 14, 2017 Board of Directors Meeting.
Presentation Slides

Proposal Details

  • Locations considered
    I-80 rest area near Gretna
    City of Fort Calhoun
    Bellevue landfill
  • Ten developers over 100 proposals
  • Electrical interconnection costs will be added to RFP prices

Bipartisan approach on climate change picks up steam as four members join caucus

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – The addition of four members to the House Climate Solutions Caucus is an indication that momentum is gathering in Congress for a bipartisan approach to address climate change, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) said Tuesday.

Maintaining the caucus protocol of party balance, two Republicans joined with two Democrats this week. The new members are Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT).

“We’re approaching the critical mass needed to introduce meaningful, bipartisan legislation to bring down greenhouse gas emissions,” said CCL Executive Director Mark Reynolds. “We’re particularly excited about the addition of Mark Sanford, the first Republican on the caucus from the Deep South.” Read the entire news release here, which includes statements from the four new members.

IN NEBRASKA