Monthly Archives: October 2015

Save the Date! John Farrell from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance will be Keynote Speaker at Nebraska Sierra Club’s Annual Event

John Farrell will deliver the keynote address at the Nebraska Sierra Club’s annual event at 1:00 p.m. on November 21 at the Milo Bail Student Center at UNO. The title of his presentation is: “The Coming of Energy Democracy.” The event is free and open to the public.

image001John Farrell is the Director of Democratic Energy at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and widely known as the guru of distributed energy. John is best known for his vivid illustrations of the economic, health and environmental benefits of local ownership of decentralized renewable energy.

He was recently named by Midwest Energy News as one of the top “40 Under 40” emerging leaders throughout the region for his work to accelerate America’s transition to a clean energy economy.

The event is co-sponsored by UNO’s Eta Sigma Gamma, a health education honorary organization.

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Questions? Please contact David Corbin, Nebraska Sierra Club:



The Institute for Local Self-Reliance is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year! Read testimonials from national and local leaders and add your own here.

OPPD is rethinking current rate structure and wants input from customer-owners



OPPD is considering a rate restructure that would raise the basic service charge for all residential and small commercial customers. At the same time, OPPD would lower the usage charge, which is the amount customers pay for the electricity they use.

“These changes would not bring in any additional revenue to OPPD, but would more accurately reflect the cost of providing reliable service to customers. Changing the way we price energy will allow customers to use their product in the way they most prefer.”

Click this link to view a video explaining the rate restructuring process.

How You Can Participate
OPPD requests customer-owners participation in the “Rethinking Rates” process. You can participate by attending an OPPD Open House Meeting.

Meeting Schedule

Monday, October 26, 11 am-1 pm
Ralston Baright Library
5555 S 77th Street
Ralston, NE
Monday, November 2, 11 am-1 pm
UNO Community Engagement Center
Rooms 230/231
6001 Dodge Street
Omaha, NE
Tuesday, October 27, 5-7 pm
Saddlebrook Branch Library
14850 Laurel Avenue
Omaha, NE
Monday, November 2, 5-7 pm
Charles B. Washington Branch Library
2868 Ames Avenue
Omaha, NE
Wednesday, October 28, 5-7 pm
OPPD Papillion Service Center
1210 W. 6th Street
Papillion, NE
Wednesday, November 4, 5-7 pm
Blair City Hall, City Council Room
218 S 16th Street
Blair, NE
Thursday, October 29, 5-7 pm
OPPD Syracuse Service Center
935 11th Street
Syracuse, NE
Thursday, November 5, 11 am-1 pm
Salvation Army Kroc Center
2825 Y Street
Omaha, NE

Can’t make it in person? Visit for more information. 

NPPD gets more customers to sign long-term contracts

NPPD CEO Pat Pope. Photo by Rebecca S. Gratz / Omaha World-Herald

NPPD CEO Pat Pope. Photo by Rebecca S. Gratz / Omaha World-Herald

By Henry J. Cordes, World-Herald staff writer

Unlike the Omaha Public Power District, which provides most of its electricity to residential and business customers who have no choice in who provides their electricity, NPPD is largely a power wholesaler. It contracts to sell most of its electricity to other public power entities, who then resell it to their individual retail customers. And all of those wholesale contracts — representing just over half of NPPD’s annual sales — are set to expire at the end of 2021 . . . [On] Wednesday, NPPD’s board approved proposed wholesale rates that give a significant discount in 2016 to customers that sign a new long-term contract with NPPD. It’s considered likely that the northeast Nebraska utilities leaving NPPD [which together make up about 5 percent of current NPPD sales] will challenge the plan in court.


Lincoln Journal Star
NPPD board approves 2016 wholesale rates
Omaha World-Herald
NPPD’s rate hikes called retaliation by some, fair by others
Challengers say NPPD’s proposed rate hike is unfair, discriminatory
Opening Nebraska’s energy industry to private competition could save ratepayers $250 million, consultant says

NPPD board approves 2016 wholesale rates

NPPD logo

By Algis Laukaitis, Lincoln Journal Star

The Nebraska Public Power District Board of Directors on Wednesday unanimously approved the utility’s 2016 wholesale rate schedule during a special meeting in Grand Island . . . NPPD’s new wholesale power contract contains a financial performance standard motivating NPPD to operate competitively for its wholesale customers throughout the duration of the contract, and offers wholesale customers the ability to add up to 10 percent of local renewable energy. NPPD’s wholesale customers who purchase electricity generated by NPPD and then distribute it to their local customers consist of 25 public power districts and electric cooperatives and 50 municipalities.

Read the entire article here.

Primer: The now and future impacts of energy storage

Photo: Utility Dive

Photo: Utility Dive

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Grid operators and forward-thinking utilities are already getting a glimpse of what energy storage can do – but they ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Multi-megawatt energy storage installations are now providing services and finding value propositions and use case scenarios around the world and at all levels of the grid, according to Energy Storage Association (ESA) Executive Director Matt Roberts. And there are gigawatts of projects already on planners’ horizons

Continue reading.

Wind builders bet on extension of federal tax credits in project planning
Excerpt: In addition to competitive incentives, a wind developer recently told Utility Dive the optimism over extension that informs current project planning is also based on the fact that about 70% of congressional districts have wind turbines, wind manufacturing facilities, or both.

LES board OKs budget, gets update on renewable energy projects

Photo Illustrating the Project: Lincoln Journal Star

Photo Illustrating Holdrege Solar Center by The Lincoln Journal Star

By Algis Laukaitis, Lincoln Journal Star

Construction of the Holdrege Solar Center near Northwest 75th and Holdrege streets is set to begin in February, and the 5-megawatt solar farm should be completed in June 2016 . . . Completion of the three [wind} projects should bring LES very close to meeting its goal of having 48 percent of the energy used by customers come from renewable energy sources.

Read the entire article.

Visit Lincoln Electric System’s website:

Solar Market Pathways’ New Website

Duluth, Minnesota. Photo: Market Pathways

Duluth, Minnesota. Photo: Solar Market Pathways

The Solar Market Pathways program has launched a new website aimed at disseminating key insights from 15 SunShot Initiative projects that are advancing solar deployment across the United States. These projects take a variety of approaches to develop actionable strategic plans to expand solar electricity use for residential, community, and commercial properties.

The case studies and lessons learned from the Solar Market Pathways projects provide examples that can be replicated—an important step towards making solar deployment faster, easier, and cheaper across the country

The Solar Market Pathways Program brings together 14 diverse teams from across the country under a single goal: increase solar adoption by reducing the soft costs associated with solar. Here are some of their key approaches:

Developing Regional Strategies
Enhancing Community Resilience
Reaching Lower Income Americans
Expanding Community Solar
Supporting Utility Innovation
Partnering With Higher Education

Visit the new Solar Market Pathways webpage for access to tool kits, case studies, resources, and accomplishments:

Minnesota town targets 100% renewable energy by 2031

Photo Credit: Utility Dive

Photo Credit: Utility Dive

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive

A Minnesota town joined a rapidly growing trend of cities aiming for 100% renewables in their power resource mix across the United States.  Minnesota — named by WalletHub recently as the third most energy-efficient state — appears to be experiencing a community-focused boom in clean energy interest. Cologne, with a population of about 1,500, announced over the summer that a community solar deal would allow the municipality to source all of its energy from clean sources. The city expects to save $1.1 million with its 25-year solar subscription. Now, Rochester (much larger, with a population exceeding 100,000) will move in the same direction.

Read the entire article here. 


Minnesota Public Radio: Rochester eyes 100% renewable energy by 2031

With Help From Nebraska’s Wind Power – Aspen Now Running On 100% Renewable Energy

“Resilience for Free” – New Clean Energy Group Report

Resilience for Free

The first-of-its-kind analysis of how solar+storage could benefit low-income communities, Resilience for Free: How Solar+Storage Could Protect Multifamily Affordable Housing from Power Outages at Little or No Net Cost, stresses the need to make vulnerable populations – including seniors, disabled people, and low-income families – more power resilient in the face of natural disasters.

Clean Energy Group will be hosting a webinar on this report on October 29th. Details on this free webinar are available here.

Resilience for Free is part of a multi-year effort for the Resilient Power Project, a joint project of Clean Energy Group and Meridian Institute.

About Clean Energy Group

Clean Energy Group is a leading national, nonprofit advocacy organization working on innovative technology, finance, and policy programs in the areas of clean energy and climate change. Clean Energy Group also manages the Clean Energy States Alliance, a coalition of state and municipal clean energy funds. Clean Energy Group’s Resilient Power Project is designed to help states and municipalities with program and policy information, analysis, financial tools, technical assistance, and best practices to speed the deployment of clean, resilient power systems in their communities. For more information, visit and


We are pleased to announce that Barbara Johnson recently joined our Board of Directors. Barbara, now retired, holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Oregon State University. Her work experience includes: Home Solutions Director of Community Building with NeighborWorks in the Greater Omaha and Council Bluffs Areas; Agency Development Officer and Fundraising Director with the Eastern Nebraska Community Action Partnership. She also served as an Ambassador in the Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce, representing Global Eco Services as a community ambassador to new businesses and various community events in Council Bluffs.

Barbara is a talented, results-oriented professional with a proven track record of obtaining funding from donors, private foundations, corporations, and government. She believes in leading through actions and words. Volunteer activities include Heartland Latino Leadership Council, Neighborhoods USA, ThanksGiving Lutheran Church and other neighborhood development projects. She volunteers with Nebraskans for Solar as Co-Grants Administrator.