Nebraska Fire Marshal, Energy Office Director Stepping Down

US News & World Report

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has announced the retirement of State Fire Marshal Jim Heine and plans by state Energy Office Director David Bracht to leave that post next month . . . Bracht will end his service on Aug. 1 to return to his private law practice, Kutak Rock, in Omaha.

Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Director Jim Macy will serve as interim director of the energy office.

Read the entire news release here,

David Bracht: Nebraska Energy Office Programs

David Bracht was appointed as the Director of the Nebraska Energy Office (NEO) by Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts in January 2015.  Bracht serves on the Governor’s Cabinet as the principle advisor on energy policy.

As Director, Bracht is responsible for leadership of agency operations including administration of Nebraska’s Weatherization Assistance Program, management of the state’s $48 million Revolving Energy Loan Program and implementation of the State Energy Program.

Since Bracht’s appointment, NEO has initiated several programs to encourage energy efficiency and save cost for local and state government facilities.

NEO also leads the Access Ethanol Nebraska program, which is focused on doubling the number of fuel dispensers in Nebraska offering E-85, E-15 and other high-ethanol blends utilizing a $2.4 million grant under the USDA Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership.

Prior to his appointment, Bracht co-founded and co-led the renewable energy and biofuels practice groups at two Midwestern-based law firms, advising clients involved in renewable energy development including biofuels, biomass, wind and solar energy, as well as agribusinesses and businesses involved in production and processing of agriculture products.

Bracht has more than 30 years experience in business, government and law, including positions in Washington, DC as Associate Manager of USDA’s Federal Crop Insurance Corporation and Director of Finance for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

A Nebraska native, Bracht lives in Omaha and continues to be involved in his family’s farming operation in northeast Nebraska.

Source: Nebraska Department of Administrative Services: State Personnel

Additional Recommended Reading

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In 2017 alone, Texas landowners received more than $60 million in lease payments. Across the country, wind projects paid farmers and ranchers an estimated $267 million.

Read more here.

AWEA YouTube Video featured in Sarina Weiss’ article: Wind projects: keeping the family farm in the family

Canadian company reboots northern Minnesota solar panel factory

By Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Ontario-based Heliene, Inc. has begun operations in a 25,000-square-foot factory in Mountain Iron, a city of nearly 3,000 people on Minnesota’s Iron Range, and it plans to hire 130 employees by September . . . Minnesota’s growing community solar garden program, the largest in the country, has been a boon for the company, and Illinois may represent the next big market for Heliene.  Read more here.

Thinkstock Photo


WEC Energy bets on solar, wind and natural gas. So, what about coal?, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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The Low-Income Solar Policy Guide was originally developed and launched in 2016 by nonprofits GRID AlternativesVote Solar, and the Center for Social Inclusion, to help drive the proposal and adoption of new low-income solar policies and programs, both as stand-alone efforts and as part of broader renewable energy programs. GRID Alternatives and Vote Solar are current contributing partners to the Guide. It is meant to be a tool for policymakers, community leaders and others who are working on solar access at the federal, state and local level.
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Federal And State Tax Credits
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Electric vs. Diesel vs. Natural Gas: Which Bus is Best for the Climate?, by Jimmy O’Dea, Vehicles Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists


Fun & Easy DIY Project: Homemade Air Conditioner – Can be Solar Powered

Great for home, RV, cabin or glamping – glamourous camping.
Click photo to watch YouTube Video.

Description: Homemade AC Air Cooling unit produces very cold air: 42F in an 80F room.
Items needed: ice chest (hard-sided or styrofoam), pvc pipe, small fan and ice. (small solar panel is optional). Great for space cooling. 3 ways to power it: a solar panel, a battery or an automobile (using 12v socket cigarette plug. Specs: fan: 12VDC 10w 0.8A and solar panel: 15 watt (1 amp). Works best in semi-dry or dry climates. Drier air cools down easier/faster than humid. To run the cooler 100% off-grid check out my solar ice making/freezer videos. – DesertSun02

Omaha Sustainability Town Hall Hosted By The Nebraska Conservation Education Fund

July 23, 2018, 5 pm at UNO’s Community Engagement Center, Room 201

The Nebraska Conservation Education Fund is hosting a Town Hall Event tomorrow with several local leaders to discuss the directions Omaha is taking in the next few years.

The first speaker will be OPPD Board Member and Verdis Sustainability Group Director Craig Moody, who will discuss the direction OPPD is taking in regards to being more sustainable. He will also be open to questions regarding his company, Verdis Group, and how he works alongside local businesses to help them be as sustainable as possible.

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This event will be moderated by NCEF’s Northeast Directors, and will follow an interview-style format: asking questions gathered from the community via door-to-door canvassing and sit-down meetings, and then allowing for questions from our event attendees following their discussions.

Please sign in, as parking is limited for this event: Ticket Page
Facebook Event Page 

Organizers / Contact Persons: NCEF Directors Jamison Willis and
Nic Nealy

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American Wind Energy Association News Release

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National business groups: Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), American Petroleum Institute (API), American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Electricity Consumers Resource Council (ELCON), Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA) and Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA), which funded the Brattle Group report, issued the following statements on the findings: Click here to read more.

Download the Report: The Cost of Preventing Baseload Retirements

Pixabay Photo

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According to the report, Nebraska is 10th in the nation in wind-energy development. 

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