Category Archives: Nebraska / Midwest News

Video – OPPD Bracing For Future With Electric Cars: Power Provider Needs Data From EV Owners To Plan Ahead

By David Earl, KETV Omaha

Thousands of dollars in savings are on the table until the end of the month for Omaha Public Power District customers in Douglas County. The public power provider is trying to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles and the charging station you’d need in your home to power the car.

Funding for the OPPD incentives is made possible through the Nebraska Environmental Trust. The power provider had enough money for 50 $4,500 rebates that apply to the purchase of an electric vehicle and the specific charging station. As of Wednesday, they had just 11 rebates left to claim. Watch the video or read the transcript here.

KETV Photo

TWO MORE KETV VIDEOS OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

MORE EV NEWS
Report: EV adoption could eventually save Minnesotans billions, Energy News Network
A recent report says increasing the use of plug-in electric vehicles in Minnesota will reduce utility bills, improve air quality and create an infrastructure allowing utilities to manage increasing demand. The cost-benefit analysis shows net benefits statewide could range from $4.6 billion to more than $30 billion depending on the level of plug-in electric vehicle adoption.

Seven communities set for meter replacement by NPPD

NPPD News Release

Columbus, Neb. – Upgrading of electric meters in seven southeast Nebraska communities by Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is scheduled to take place this month. The meter replacements are part of a program in 2018 to replace 43,000 existing electric meters in 33 communities served at retail by NPPD.

The new meters are equipped with two-way communication known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a digital metering technology used around the world for more than a decade. The current meters in communities slated for replacement are electro-mechanical devices. The new meters display the reading, but in digital LED format. The meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed that will receive and securely transmit the data back to NPPD on the total amount of kilowatt hours used by a residence, business or industry.
Read more here.

See Also: Advanced Meter Infrastructure

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

Cape Cod Military Base Runs on 100% Renewable Energy

NEW INNOVATIVE PROGRAMS / TECHNOLOGY

SEIA, HBCU Coalition Join in National Effort to Increase Diversity of Solar Industry’s Workforce, SEIA News Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With a goal of making the solar workforce and solar communities more diverse, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Development Action Coalition (HBCU-CDAC) have begun a new effort to increase recruitment of African-American students into the industry.

EV NEWS

In Colorado, two rural co-ops are leading the charge on electric vehicles

RECYCLING NEWS

Sunsetting solar panels: U.S. photovoltaic cell recycling incentives are beginning, GreenBiz

According to a publication by International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), more than 90 percent of the materials in typical photovoltaic solar panels — silicon, aluminum and glass — can be recycled and used again in the production of new solar panels. 

LEADERSHIP AWARDS

CCC center in Kearney showcases technology

Kearney Hub 

One year ago we raved when Central Community College opened its 63,000-square-foot center in southwest Kearney. The structure at 11th Street and 30th Avenue employs numerous strategies for energy efficiency. Among the strategies are innovative skylights, solar-powered lights in the parking lot, walls that seal out heat and cold, and windows that can darken like sunglasses to reduce the greenhouse effect to rein in air conditioning costs.

The CCC Kearney Center also is purchasing power from the SoCore solar array at TechoNE Crossing, Nebraska’s largest solar array. Combined with the many efficiencies, adding the solar power boosts the center’s green rating and makes it a model of modern eco-friendly engineering, construction and facility operations. Continue reading here.

Top Photo Credit: Morrissey Engineering

KEARNEY’S COMMUNITY SOLAR FARM

Project: Kearney’s solar farm consists of approximately 23,000 panels on 53 acres located in the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, The panels are mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. To date, the array is Nebraska’s largest solar project, generating 5.8 megawatts of electricity, or about 5% of Kearney’s peak demand.
Developer: SoCore Energy
Installer: Interconnection Systems based in Central City, Nebraska
NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar Program
Kearney Community Solar Q&A
Kearney NPPD customers can purchase shares here.

Photo Credit: SoCore Energy, LLC

UNMC to get 1,500 solar panels, enough to equal electricity use of 60 homes

By Julie Anderson, Omaha World-Herald

There is no shortage of rooftops on the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s growing campus. Now the university is working to put some of that space to another use, partnering with the Omaha Public Power District to install nearly 1,500 solar panels on top of three campus buildings.

The installation, which will total 500 kilowatts of solar capacity, is expected to become the largest rooftop solar array in the state. At that size, the array’s energy production will equal the average annual electricity use of 60 homes in OPPD’s service territory, said Jared Friesen of Morrissey Engineering, which designed the project. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Morrissey Engineering

Telesis Inc’s net-zero energy business complex in Lincoln’s Haymarket is the next largest rooftop solar array in Nebraska.

Project: J-Tech Solar collaborated with SWT Energy on this nearly 300-kilowatt photovoltaic system on top of the former Meadow Gold Dairy House at Seventh and M Streets in Lincoln’s historic Haymarket. The business complex is now owned by Telesis, Inc. With 940 solar panels, the array is one of the largest privately-owned solar projects in Nebraska.

J-Tech’s thirteen-member installation crew worked closely with restoration contractors to integrate the system into existing and historical structures. Federal tax incentives, rebates from Lincoln Electric System and the steady rise in the cost of electricity were driving factors in the owner’s decision to complete such a large project. Also, the price of solar systems has decreased more than 70% since 2009.
News Story: Telesis going for net-zero energy use in Dairy House complex, by Nicholas Bergin, Lincoln Journal Star

Innovative Group Purchasing Initiative: Phoenix Joins Other Cities in Program to Buy Electric Vehicles

Public News Service

PHOENIX — The city of Phoenix has four new electric vehicles in its municipal fleet, and could invest in many more. Phoenix is one of several cities around the country that has committed to combating climate change through the Climate Mayors coalition. In a new initiative called the Climate Mayors Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative, cities are saving on buying electric vehicles by joining together to purchase in large quantities. Continue reading here.

Photo: The city of Phoenix has purchased two Nissan Leafs and two Chevy Bolts through a nationwide program aimed at helping cities buy electric vehicles. Credit: Noya Fields/Flickr

MORE EV NEWS

What Changed In The Electric Vehicle Industry In August?

NEBRASKA UTILITIES’ EV PROGRAM LINKS 

OPPD partnering with UNMC on state’s largest rooftop solar array

By Jodi Baker, OPPD Blog, The Wire

Darren Dageforde, executive director of utilities and energy utilization for UNMC, said the med center has already made great strides in reducing its energy use and increasing efficiency. “Having a renewable energy source on campus demonstrates our commitment to being carbon neutral by 2030 and parallels our mission to create a healthy future for all individuals and communities.” This solar installation is expected to be the largest rooftop system in Nebraska, said Jared Friesen of Morrissey Engineering, which designed the project. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Morrissey Engineering

Jared Friesen is immediate Past President of Nebraskans for Solar. Our nonprofit has the governing structure of President, President-Elect, and Past President.

OPPD NEWS RELEASE
OPPD To Consider Updating Plant Decommissioning Method
Due to the great strides made by Omaha Public Power District employees in the decommissioning of Fort Calhoun Station (FCS), the utility will consider a timely, more economical approach. In a presentation shared with the OPPD Board of Directors during their committee meetings Tuesday, the district’s senior management team provided the option of shifting from the SAFSTOR (safe storage) decommissioning method to DECON (decontamination) . . . DECON has the potential to save the utility up to an estimated $200 million, due to reduced building maintenance and upkeep.

OPPD named top utility for economic development

By Paula Lukowski, OPPD Blog, The Wire 

For the second year in a row, Site Selection named OPPD one of 2018’s “Top Utilities in Economic Development”. . . Significant projects that OPPD landed include Facebook (100-plus jobs, $1.2 billion-plus investment), Veramaris (20 jobs, $200 million-plus investment) and Novozymes (10 jobs, $215 million-plus investment). Other efforts highlighted by Site Selection include the creation of OPPD’s rate 261M, the Rattlesnake Creek Wind project and the Integrate Energy Marketplace strategic initiative, which includes an enhanced economic development strategy.
Read more
here.

Image Credit: Facebook

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • OPPD’s The Wire Series: How Does That Work?
    Data Centers,
     by Jason Kuiper
    The Omaha metro area has a number of data centers, including Yahoo, Travelers, Cabela’s, Verizon and First Data, and the newest, a Facebook data center in Sarpy County. There are now more than 20 data centers that call the Omaha metro area home.
    Read the entire blog post and others in the series here.
  • Muth making a difference at OPPD and for environmentThe Wire
    A self-professed biologist in an engineer’s world, Emily Muth is pursuing her passions while serving in the energy industry. Muth, Environmental Affairs administrator, is the lead environmental auditor for OPPD. In her role, she travels around the district to power plants and work sites to ensure environmental compliance with air and water quality and waste management. She focuses on ensuring requirements are met and looking for ways to improve processes. Muth is most proud of her involvement with the Prairie in Progress program at OPPD, a recent effort where some OPPD grounds are being restored to prairie land to help pollinators thrive, particularly the monarch butterfly.

Nebraska’s huge role in climate change

By Karla James, Nebraska Radio Network

State and local governments, businesses and citizens from around the world are gathering this week for the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. Lou Leonard is the Senior Vice President for the Climate & Energy Program through the World Wildlife Federation and says Nebraska and other parts of the Midwest are game changers when it comes to global warming, energy conservation and generation. Leonard says, “The role of wind in Nebraska and Iowa is a huge part of the local economy and you will see a lot of the wind industry represented here.”
Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • Wind, solar gaining ground as energy sources, Midland Reporter-Telegram
    A decade ago Texas was just one of seven states that relied on wind power as the biggest source for renewable energy. Today, Texas isn’t such an outlier. Sixteen states report that wind energy is now their biggest source of renewable energy, according to the Energy Department. Additional states with wind power as their dominant source of renewable energy include Colorado, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota and Pennsylvania. Solar power has also taken hold across the nation.
  • Sierra Club Profiles 10 Cities Switching To 100% Renewables, North American Windpower
    The Sierra Club has released a new report showcasing 10 U.S. cities that have made ambitious commitments to be powered with 100% clean, renewable energy. The cities profiled in this year’s report are Columbia, S.C.; Concord, N.H.; Denton, Texas; Denver; Fayetteville, Ark.; Minneapolis; Norman, Okla.; Orlando, Fla.; Santa Barbara, Calif.; and St. Louis. Download the full report here.
  • Xcel Resource Planning Executive: We Can Buy New Renewables Cheaper Than Existing Fossil Fuels, Greentech Media. Jonathan Adelman discusses how the utility is setting an example in decarbonization ahead of his participation at the Power & Renewables Summit 2018.
  • Sunrun commits to 100 MW of solar power on affordable housing, PV Magazine
    California’s Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) program has a 2030 goal of installing 300 MW of solar power, and Sunrun’s 100 MW commitment aims to satisfy one-third of that by 2028.

DATA CENTERS
How to stop data centres from gobbling up the world’s electricity: The energy-efficiency drive at the information factories that serve us: Facebook, Google and Bitcoin, by Nicola Jones, Nature
As demand for Internet and mobile-phone traffic skyrockets, the information industry could lead to an explosion in energy use. See infographic, below: 

City’s electric vehicle charging stations up-and-running

By Colin Larson, Fremont Tribune

The City of Fremont recently completed installation of two ChargePoint electric vehicle (EV) charging stations — located in downtown Fremont, and along the 23rd Street corridor . . . The city purchased the two ChargePoint stations with help from a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust through the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance. The city received a $300,000 grant toward Solar Farm No. 2, 50 percent of the cost of two ChargePoint public electric vehicle charging stations, and 50 percent of the cost of five plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) Kia Niro crossover vehicles. Read more here.

ChargePoint Photo

Electric car and bicycle show draws admirers

Written by Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald

The license plates were the first sign that this car show was a bit different. “4GET OIL” “GAS LOL” and “LOVE EV2”. An electric car — and bicycle — show on the campus of Creighton University on Sunday drew a steady flow of viewers. For the most part, it seemed like any other car show: Proud owners chatting with admiring, even envious spectators. Continue reading here.

RELATED READING AND VIEWING

Electric cars make stop at Creighton University, by Steve Saunders, Fox 42 KPTM

OMAHA, Neb. (FOX42KPTM — Dead silence almost makes it hard to believe Ken Deffenbacher’s car is even on. “The maintenance is very low,” he said, “virtually non-existent.” That’s just one of the many reasons why Deffenbacher says he got the all-electric Chevy Bolt. He had his $37,000 car on display at Creighton Sunday. It was all part of the fifth annual National Drive Electric week. Read more here.

Fox 42 KPTM Photo: Nebraskans for Solar board member Ken Deffenbacher and KPTM reporter Steve Saunders

Top Photo: Nebraskans for Solar Board member Jared Friesen shown charging his new Nissan LEAF with the solar generators NFS was able to purchase and lend to schools and other nonprofit groups for public events–thanks to a grant from the Omaha Venture Group.
Credit: David Corbin, Nebraskans for Solar Board member and Nebraska Sierra Club Executive Committee Chair

Click here to view all of David’s photos of the event.
The National Drive Electric Week-Omaha event at Creighton University was sponsored by Nebraska Sierra Club and co-sponsored by Nebraskans for Solar and OPPD. National sponsors – Plug In America, Sierra Club, Electric Auto Association and Nissan LEAF. 

OPPD LINKS  

Myth or fact? Electric vehicles