Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network
The new clean-energy majority running Omaha, Nebraska’s electric utility knows it wants to steer the company toward a mostly carbon-free future. What’s less clear is how the company will get there. The board of directors of the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) voted unanimously last month to achieve “net-zero carbon” emissions by 2050. The company, like many others that have set similar goals, is placing its bets on technological advances yet to come. Some customers pressed for an earlier deadline, such as 2040 instead of 2050. Senior management discouraged that, at least in part because the utility has a contract through 2049 to sell 345 megawatts of power from its coal-fired Nebraska City plant to several other utilities.
Read more here.
Also written by Karen Uhlenhuth: Kansas, Missouri among latest states to debate refinancing for aging coal plants
- How Securitization Can Help Achieve a Just Transition for Coal Communities, by Jeremy Richardson, Senior Energy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists
- How Utilities Can Swap Coal Debt For Clean Energy Equity, guest post written by Ron Lehr, a former Chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities commission and an Expert at America’s Power Plan. Published by Forbes. By swapping coal debt for clean energy equity, utilities can address unrecovered investment balances and retire coal plants early, cutting consumer costs while benefiting impacted communities and utility shareholders. For smaller, less-diverse utilities, or public entities like municipal or cooperative utilities, the financial calculus and tools available will differ. Either way, low-cost financing can help utilities retire coal generation early to save consumers money and reduce emissions without undue burdens on investors.
- Trump to toss lifeline to coal plants. Will it work?, E&E News
Just 99 of the American Public Power Association’s roughly 2,000 member utilities have an ownership stake in a coal plant. Ten years ago, that number was 121.
Rural Electrification 2.0: The Transition To A Clean Energy Economy
This report was produced by an action team made up of members of the RE-AMP Network. The RE-AMP Network consists of more than 130 nonprofits and foundations working across eight Midwestern states on climate change and energy policy with the goal to equitably eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in the Midwest by 2050.
With the closure of old, expensive coal plants and the expansion of rural electric cooperatives’ wind and solar capacity, significant economic development would be accomplished across rural America. Already, new wind and solar installations are bringing new sources of property tax revenue into rural counties and school districts. Along with increased property taxes are lease payments to farmers and landowners where the wind and solar installations are sited. Especially in a time with mounting economic pressures in the current farm economy, new revenue streams for farmers are vital.
Collaborative resource planning by utilities and customers benefits both, by Heidi Bishop Ratz, Manager, U.S. Utilities Markets, World Resources Institute. Published by GreenBiz.
A prominent example of this is the recent thought leadership demonstrated by six major utilities and their large corporate customers as part of the World Resources Institute’s Special Clean Power Council, a two-year initiative focused on simplifying access to low-cost, clean energy options that maximize benefits to the grid. The initiative recently released a new paper, “Pathways to Integrating Customer Clean Energy Demand in Utility Planning” (PDF) describing the benefits of and strategies for joint planning.