Category Archives: Nebraska / Midwest News

Another Nebraska family installs solar panels in path of Keystone XL pipeline

By Lisa Neff, The Wisconsin Gazette

The “Solar XL” project has completed another installation of solar panels with Nebraska landowners in the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline — on the family land of Diana and Byron “Stix” Steskal that they named Prairierose Farm, near Atkinson.

The family partnered with Solar XL project sponsors Bold Nebraska,, Indigenous Environmental Network, CREDO and Oil Change International to put renewable energy directly in the pipeline’s path. Read more here.

Webinar Series: Expanding Tribal Energy Development through Partnerships

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy provides tribes and Alaska Natives with information on energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and project development through webinars and online curriculum.

The 11 webinars provide attendees with information on tools and resources available to develop and implement tribal energy plans, programs, and projects; tribal energy development case studies; and business strategies tribes can use to expand their energy options and develop sustainable local economies. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required.

North Vernon, Indiana, plans to be state’s first ‘solar city’

By Joel Schipper, WDRB

Mayor Mike Ochs said all of the city’s government buildings will soon be on the map, and off the grid, when it comes the city’s power usage. The police station, airport, fire department, sewer plant, parks and city hall will be generated during the day on solar power. The city’s 579 street lights will be switched as well.

“We’ll go down to zero usage of electricity during the day, and at night we don’t use anything anyway,” said Ochs, who believes this is the first time a city in Indiana has made such a drastic change. Click here to read more.


News Release: MCC to host grand opening for $90 million Fort Omaha Campus expansion

OMAHA, Neb. — Metropolitan Community College will host a grand opening celebration for three new buildings on the Fort Omaha Campus on Friday, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at the outdoor amphitheater on the south end of the Fort Omaha Campus, 32nd Street and Sorensen Parkway. The event will feature remarks from College, state and local leaders, as well as tours of each of the new buildings.

The grand opening highlights a new era of investing in students and communities via the Fort Omaha Campus, which includes new, innovative approaches to learning in the Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology, the Construction Education Center and the Career and Academic Skills Center. The $90 million project is a public/private partnership designed to build a strong regional workforce, keep higher education close to home and respond to area business trends. In the new centers, students will learn the skills for today’s jobs, prepare them for tomorrow’s jobs and provide them with resources and opportunities for a lifetime of learning.

“The Fort Omaha Campus grand opening celebration represents the culmination of more than seven years of planning and preparation. That accomplishment is worth celebrating. But what we especially celebrate as we open these new buildings is the purpose behind all that planning, which is to provide a first class education to empower the potential in people, whether they are right here in the neighborhoods surrounding the Fort Omaha Campus, from greater Omaha or living throughout our four-county area. When potential is unlocked through training and education, families and businesses thrive and our whole region benefits,” said MCC president Randy Schmailzl. News Release. 

MCC asks that guests park on the south end of campus or on the north end of campus, where shuttles will provide transportation to the amphitheater. The grand opening celebration is free and open to the public. 


The Omaha area takes big steps forward this week on the workforce development front — by launching a local initiative to encourage women in technology fields and by unveiling a set of buildings at Metropolitan Community College offering cutting-edge training in the construction trades and advanced manufacturing. The kickoff today for the STEP Forward initiative salutes 60 women in technology fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Production) in Nebraska and western Iowa. Continue reading.

Photo: The new Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology, Prototype Design Lab, Innovation Central, Workforce Innovation Division, Corporate Training building at Metro Community College’s Fort Omaha Campus. Credit: Matt Dixon / The Omaha World-Herald

NPPD asks for comments on its 2018 power plans

By Nick Stevenson, Nebraska Radio Network Contributor

“The U.S. electric industry is changing rapidly. The environmental and regulatory landscape with the government has changed quite a bit. The other thing, too, we’ve signed new wholesale power contracts with our customers and many of them are putting up their own renewable energy projects.” – Mark Becker, NPPD’s corporate media supervisor


Save Our Monarchs teaming up with NPPD to continue planting seedlings to help species

NPPD News Release

Columbus, Neb. –  Nearly two years ago the Save Our Monarchs Foundation and Nebraska Public Power District teamed up on a project to enhance the declining population of the endangered Monarch butterfly. NPPD provided 50 acres of land near its Beatrice Power Station to raise milkweeds and other native flowering plants in an effort to help that population grow.

With the support from a recent financial grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, the Save Our Monarchs Foundation (SOM) is working with NPPD to utilize three new locations this year. From Sept. 16-19 SOM will be planting several hundred native milkweed and other wildflowers provided by the Prairie Plains Resource Institute on land adjoining Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville, Neb. Continue reading.

Contact for Save Our Monarchs Foundation: Randall Gilbert 402-646-9025 or via email at

Save Our Monarchs Foundation Website

Prairie Plains Resource Institute Website

Monarch butterfly population to get boost from seeding project at Beatrice Power Station

Economic reality sets in for energy company trying to build new coal plant in Kansas: Coal can’t compete with cheap clean energy

Joe Smyth, Think Progress

Windy states like Kansas are particularly well situated to benefit from the declining costs of wind energy. A March report from Moody’s Investors Service found that in the 15 states with the best wind resources, new wind generation now costs significantly less than existing coal-fired power plants. Kansas is among those windy states, along with the four states where Tri-State sells electricity: Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Nebraska. Read more here.

OTOC officially endorses the Carbon Fee and Dividend plan in response to climate change

OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team (ESAT) is committed to educating and promoting solutions to climate change. At the September 11, 2017 OTOC Steering Committee Meeting, ESAT presented the Citizens’ Climate Lobby plan for reducing CO2 emissions. It is a plan for federal legislation termed Carbon Fee and Dividend.  The Steering Committee came to a consensus to endorse the plan as a way to reduce CO2 emissions and their harmful effect on the climate.

As a method of transitioning consumers away from carbon fossil fuels and toward sustainable energy sources, the Carbon Fee and Dividend plan puts a fee on fossil fuels at their source, i.e., mine, well or port. The fees will then be passed on to the consumers of products that fossil fuels affect. 

The collected fees will be divided equally and a monthly dividend will be sent to each household in the country. Thus, households that have spent less on fossil fuel products will receive the same dividend as those households that have spent more on these fossil fuels.  Household members may spend the dividend in any manner. This is a market based approach to move our economy away from a reliance on carbon based fossil fuels and towards renewable and cleaner energies.

ESAT wants to help educate our community and has training materials prepared, so if your church or institution would like to learn more about the Carbon Fee and Dividend Plan, contact Mary Ruth Stegman at

Endorsement Statement.

Also visit the Citizens’ Climate Lobby website to learn more about their campaign.

Nebraska CCL Chapters

Representative Jeff Fortenberry receives Golden Triangle Award from Farmers Union

Nebraska Farmers Union,1011 NOW

The Golden Triangle, first presented in 1988, symbolizes the core principles of the Farmers Union: education, cooperation, and legislation.

“We appreciate Representative Fortenberry’s continued leadership on renewable energy, conservation, rural development, and a wide range family farm and ranch issues that support farm and ranch families and their rural communities,” said NeFU President John Hansen.

Read the entire press release here. 


Public Power Executives to be Featured Lunch Speakers

Top executives of Nebraska’s three largest public power utilities will be the luncheon speakers on Monday, November 13, at the Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference.

Tim Burke, CEO of Omaha Public Power District, Pat Pope, CEO of Nebraska Public Power District, and Jason Fortik, Vice President of Power Supply at Lincoln Electric System will provide insight into the state of public power in Nebraska.

“The presentation by public power executives is always one of the most well-attended sessions. The panel provides a wealth of information on the current state of renewables in the public sector and the role they will play in the future growth of Nebraska’s public energy.” – John Hansen, Conference Co-Chair

The conference is a two-day event that brings together people from across the country united by their passion for advancing wind and solar energy.

Registration is $125 until October 15. Student registration is $65.
Hotel Room Block closes October 16.

Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference Website: