Category Archives: Nebraska / Midwest News

Madison navigates partnership with utility as it pursues 100 percent clean energy goal

By Kari Lydersen, Midwest Energy News

On March 21, Madison’s city council signed a resolution committing the city to power 100 percent of its operations with clean energy. The resolution was especially notable since the utility serving Madison gets almost half of its power from coal, and several years ago was among Wisconsin utilities making national headlines for policies seen as hostile to distributed solar energy. But now the utility, Madison Gas & Electric (MGE), city officials and clean energy leaders are negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding that lays out plans for the expansion of solar, the spread of electric vehicles and other clean energy improvements. And the utility has pledged its support for the city’s clean energy goal. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Jordan Richmond / Creative Commons 

Council approves solar energy system for Capitol Beach site

By Nancy Hicks, Lincoln Journal Star

The group of homeowners interested in developing the 100-kilowatt solar energy system on land owned by the Capitol Beach Neighborhood Association had a letter from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission recommending it put the solar panels farther to the north to avoid affecting saltwort growing in the wetland area. The group has agreed to do that, said Terry Wittler, a Lincoln attorney and one of three Capitol Beach homeowners, who created Beach Solar LLC, which is developing the solar energy system. Read the entire story here.

Photo Credit: Lincoln Journal Star

Capitol Beach would have first community solar energy project
The group, which has incorporated as Beach Solar LLC, hopes to have up to 20 Capitol Beach homeowners invest in the solar system, according to Terry Wittler, one of the homeowners involved in the development.

Despite Climate Change Setbacks, Al Gore ‘Comes Down On The Side Of Hope’

 By Steve Inskeep, NET Nebraska

Former Vice President Al Gore helped shape the conversation about climate change with An Inconvenient Truth. Now he’s back with a sequel — called An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Powerdue out next month — and it follows Gore as he continues the crusade he made famous with that first film. The movie shows Gore standing in Miami floodwater, flying over imploding boulders of ice in Greenland and in Paris — trying to push the climate agreement over the finish line. Continue reading.

Photo: When it comes to convincing climate change deniers, Al Gore says, “Mother Nature is more persuasive than the scientific community.” Credit: Claire Harbage/NPR 

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Paramount  Pictures

Uncertainty Ahead For Farmers Depending On Government Climate Research

Final pieces moving into place for Stegall transmission line project

By Scott Miller, KNOP News

NPPD says the 115,000 volt line from Stegall to Scottsbluff is complete, but it will likely be August before the system can be energized . . . The project, which also includes a short 345,000 volt line to the Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s existing Stegall substation, is expected to enhance system reliability in the Panhandle. Click here to read more.

NPPD: Stegall to Scottsbluff

Featured Solar Example: Kearney Solar Project Underway With November Completion Date

Project update provided by Interconnection Systems, Inc., Central City

The Kearney Solar Farm

The 7.2-megawatt solar project is under construction, with a November 2017 completion date. The farm is located in Kearney’s Northeast Technology Park, otherwise known as Tech One Crossing, at 56th Street and Antelope Avenue. Approximately 23,000 solar panels will be mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. The Kearney Solar Farm will provide about 5% of the electrical energy for the City of Kearney through NPPD. When completed the Kearney Solar Farm will be the largest utility-scale solar project in Nebraska.
Installers: Interconnection Systems, Inc, Central City, Nebraska

Thank you note to everyone who took part in last night’s community event

Thank you to our speakers: Frank Uhlarik, Manager of Cleaner Greener Lincoln and Marc Shkolnick, Manager of Energy Services at Lincoln Electric System, for their excellent and well-received presentations on “Renewable and Sustainable Initiatives in Lincoln.”  Many thanks, too, to everyone who attended. A dynamic discussion followed the presentations, with the audience contributing many thoughtful questions.

If you missed the event and would like to learn more, check out these links:

Please plan to attend the following events, where Nebraskans for Solar will join many other groups, agencies and businesses that are working hard to create a more sustainable Nebraska:

Déjà Vu as Co-ops Lead in Satisfaction

By Michael W. Kahn
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Strong showings from electric cooperatives, as well as greater satisfaction among all electric consumers, are among the highlights of a new J.D. Power report. The firm’s 2017 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study shows several co-ops with top-of-the-chart scores besting many investor-owned and municipal utilities. Read more here.

Facts from NRECA’s Website on Cooperatives and Renewable Energy

  • Electric cooperatives across the country are actively expanding their future portfolios to include an array of renewable energy
  • Currently, 95% of NRECA’s distribution members offer renewable options to 40 million Americans
  • Co-ops own nearly 1.3 GW of renewable capacity and have long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) for more than 7.3 GW – in addition to roughly 10 GW of preference power contracts with federal hydroelectric facilities.

Solar Deployment and Co-Op Solar

  • By the end of 2017, the total solar energy capacity of America’s electric cooperatives will be five times what it was two years ago.
  • This year, co-ops are on pace to add 480 MW of solar, which would bring their total capacity to 872 MW. This more than quadruples the 180 MW reached in 2015 and represents a 20-fold increase over the 37 MW capacity in 2010.
  • In addition, over the last two years, cooperatives have expanded their solar footprint from 34 states to 44 states.
  • 133 cooperatives in 30 states offer community solar programs

City approves wind power contract

By Sam Craig, Beatrice Daily Sun

The Beatrice City Council approved a power purchase agreement with Cottonwood Wind Project, LLC during its meeting Monday. The contract is for 25 years and the wind project would be constructed by NextEra Energy, of Webster County. Under the agreement, Beatrice will acquire 16.1 megawatts of wind energy at a fixed price of $15.85 per megawatt hour.
Continue reading.

Photo: Wind turbines near Odell, Nebraska. Credit: Lee Enterprises


News Release: Former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns Joins Alliant Group As New Chairman of Agriculture

By Alliant Group, Nebraska Rural Radio Association

“My new role with alliantgroup has given me the chance to bring real economic opportunity back to rural America,” said Johanns. “During my years of public service, I was committed to supporting small and mid-sized businesses and alliantgroup’s mission falls perfectly in line with that commitment. Having grown up on a farm in Iowa, agriculture is a personal passion of mine, and I am eager to help this industry grow and stay competitive in the global market. I look forward to helping alliantgroup educate companies on the powerful business incentives available for their benefit.” Read more here.

About Alliant Group
Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Alliant Group, since 2001, has helped more than 20,000 businesses claim over $5 billion in federal and state tax credits and incentives such as the Research and Development Tax Credit and the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Deduction (179D). Over the years, Alliant Group experts have been involved in major tax legislation, working directly with members of Congress to represent the needs and interests of small and middle-market businesses.

DSIRE: Resource that provides information on all current state incentives programs:

Joining alliance should give Grand Island a jump start

By Jeff Bahr, The Grand Island Independent

The likelihood of a charging station coming to Grand Island increased in March, when the city joined the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance . . .  The alliance uses grant funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, which receives 44.5 percent of the profits of the Nebraska Lottery. The Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA) was founded in 2014 as an inter-local cooperative agency. The alliance’s mission is to “build and promote advanced technologies for housing and transportation that save energy,” reduce carbon dioxide pollution and cut costs. One way Grand Island might get a charging station is through Volkswagen’s settlement with the federal government over the car manufacturer’s misleading use of diesel engines. Read the complete story here.

Photo by Jeff Bahr: Eldon Gunderson shows what’s under the hood of his Tesla Model S during a stop Friday at the Tesla charging station near Bosselman Travel Center. He and his wife, Barbara, were traveling from South Dakota to their home  in Goodyear, Arizona.

Nebraska Community Energy Alliance’s Website