Category Archives: Community-Scale / Utility-Scale Solar

Construction complete on largest solar farm in Nebraska

By Anne Fischer, PV Magazine USA

The City of Norfolk, Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), and members of the community are celebrating the completion of construction of what is currently the largest solar farm in the state. The 8.5 MW solar installation is paired with NPPD’s first large-scale battery storage system, capable of storing up to 2 MWh. It’s also a pollinator habitat, and it was led by an all-woman development team. In a state that in 2021 ranked 47th in the country for installed solar and was deriving only .22% of its electricity from solar (according to the Solar Energy Industries Association), this system gives the state a serious boost. Read more here.

NFS Note: NPPD’s contracts allow municipal customers to generate no more than 10% of their peak load from renewable energy sources. See: Nebraska solar farm highlights tension between cities, electricity wholesaler

See more community- and utility-scale projects under development here: Solar Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy 

FEATURED RESOURCES

MORE ABOUT PROPOSED CO2 PIPELINES

Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska requests impact study on proposed carbon dioxide pipelines, WOWT
The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska is asking for an environmental impact study regarding two pipelines. The Winnebago Tribal Council has unanimously approved a new resolution that requests an environmental impact study for two proposed pipelines: The Summit Carbon Pipeline and the Navigator Heartland Greenway Carbon Pipeline.

Ghost Pipelines: How Landowners Suffer, Long After a Project Gets Canceled, Natural Resources Defense Council 

In the Midwest, Bold Alliance, a network created during the KXL fight, continues a similar mission of connecting landowners, including through the Nebraska Easement Action Team, a nonprofit education and legal defense fund. And as Bold Alliance ramps up efforts to resist the construction of carbon pipelines in the region, the eminent domain lawyers from the KXL days have agreed to represent landowners once again.

Top 8 Reasons to Oppose Risky Carbon Pipelines, by Mark Hefflinger, Bold Nebraska

Grid and supply issues to delay closing of OPPD’s North Omaha coal plant

By Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald

In a setback for air quality, OPPD would continue to burn coal at its North Omaha power plant for possibly another three years, until 2026, under a proposal before the board. The proposed delay in ceasing coal use is related to various problems besetting the nation’s electrical system — backlogs involving the grid, supply chain issues and controversies over siting renewable energy facilities. The Omaha Public Power District board is taking public comment on the proposed delay and expects to vote on it in August. Continue reading here.

OPPD RESOURCES


Nebraskans for Solar Note:
Nancy Gaarder states in the above article that OPPD’s Administration provides three reasons for their proposed long delay in closing the North Omaha coal-plant facility: “backlogs involving the grid, supply chain issues and controversies over siting renewable energy facilities.”

As OPPD administrators undoubtedly already know, numerous agencies, organizations and individuals are working on all three issues locally and nationally. These efforts appear to be accelerating, with news and reports issued frequently. Given OPPD’s inspiring 100% renewable energy goal, which has received considerable national attention, it would be sad to see one of our own utilities lag behind others in the energy transition rapidly taking place all across the country.

On our NewsBlog and Facebook Page, we have posted numerous news stories and releases, reports, and other resources related to the issues OPPD administrators highlight in their new proposal. Please take some time to read these and OPPD’s information. If you have an interest in doing so, consider sharing one or more links to additional information on these issues.

EPA RESOURCES

Ribbon cutting scheduled for Norfolk Community Solar

Nebraska Public Power District News Release

Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) and the City of Norfolk will be celebrating the completion of the state’s largest solar facility with a ribbon cutting, June 22. The public is welcome to attend the ribbon cutting for the Norfolk Community Solar facility, which is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. The ribbon cutting will take place at the solar facility on South 49th Street on the west side of Norfolk, and will include representatives from NPPD, the City of Norfolk, N Solar, the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE), and the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET). Continue reading here.

More Nebraska News

SEIA News Release: Interconnection Whitepaper Details Near Term Reforms Needed to Extricate Hundreds of Gigawatts of Solar Power

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) released a whitepaper detailing the extensive interconnection reforms needed to rapidly decarbonize the electricity grid. Across the country state and federal leaders are doubling down on their clean energy goals, but distribution utilities and regional transmission organizations (RTOs) are struggling to keep up with overflowing interconnection queues.

The new whitepaper, Lessons from the Front Line: Principles and Recommendations for Large-scale and Distributed Energy Interconnection Reforms, discusses the various opportunities utilities and regulators have to standardize, automate, and clarify interconnection procedures and policies. On June 16 FERC is expected to publish a proposed rule that will cover many of the same topics raised in this whitepaper. Read the entire news release.

 Additional Recommended Reading 

FACT SHEET: President Biden Takes Bold Executive Action to Spur Domestic Clean Energy Manufacturing

White House Briefing Room

Historic Actions Include Authorizing Defense Production Act to Lower Energy Costs,
Strengthen Power Grid, and Create Good-Paying Jobs

Today’s clean energy technologies are a critical part of the arsenal we must harness to lower energy costs for families, reduce risks to our power grid, and tackle the urgent crisis of a changing climate. From day one, President Biden has mobilized investment in these critical technologies. Thanks to his clean energy and climate agenda, last year marked the largest deployment of solar, wind, and batteries in United States history, and our nation is now a magnet for investment in clean energy manufacturing.

Since President Biden took office, the private sector has committed over $100 billion in new private capital to make electric vehicles and batteries in the United States. We have made historic investments in clean hydrogen, nuclear, and other cutting-edge technologies. And companies are investing billions more to grow a new domestic offshore wind industry. Continue reading here.

Related: ACP Applauds President Biden’s Bold Action to Reinvigorate the Domestic Solar Industry, American Clean Power Association

AMERICAN PUBLIC POWER ASSOCIATION ANALYSIS

APPA Analysis Examines Regulated, Deregulated State Power Price Trends
Increases in retail electric prices from 1997 to 2021 were about half a cent more in states with deregulated electric markets than in regulated states, though regulated states had a slightly higher percentage increase in prices, according to an American Public Power Association (APPA) analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration. APPA’s analysis also found that rates increased significantly in all states from 2020 to 2021, largely attributable to a rise in natural gas prices. 

The full report is available here.

EDF says K-Junction solar project would pump millions of dollars into local economy

York News-Times

McCOOL JUNCTION – EDF Renewables released information this week, saying their proposed K-Junction solar project “will add $781,000 in annual revenue to the McCool Junction School District and approximately $27 million over the life of the project.

“York County farmers and their families will earn drought-proof and flood-proof lease payments, while the tax payments will benefit everyone in McCool Junction and York County,” said Pervez Agwan, project developer at EDF Renewables. “Bolstering the economy and investing in the community with a new crop will provide substantial new resources for this area.” Read more here.

Related Reading & Resources of Potential Interest

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS


BEATRICE – Gage County officials have extended a moratorium on applications for commercial solar [and] wind energy permits indefinitely, as the county’s planning commission works toward finalizing regulations. The action taken by the county board on a 6-1 vote, Wednesday, does not apply to smaller residential solar improvements, under 25 kilowatts. County Zoning Administrator Lisa Wiegand says the commission will be meeting next Tuesday night, with one of the items on the agenda being discussion of commercial solar energy regulations.

NPPD Photo: Steele Flats Wind Farm. Part of the wind farm, completed in 2013, is located in southwest Gage County.

FEATURED 2021 NEBRASKA WIND & SOLAR CONFERENCE VIDEO & SLIDES

It All Begins With Landowners

  • Moderator, Dave Levy: Partner, Baird Holm. He is representing Ranger Power in the proposed Salt Creek Solar project. 
  • Sean Harris: Vice President of Development, Ranger Power.
  • Mike Zakrzewski: A third-generation Holt County, Nebraska farmer who is among landowners hosting Grande Prairie Wind Farm turbines in return for annual lease payments.
  • John Hansen: President of the Nebraska Farmers Union and Chair of the Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference planning committee. As he states in the video, he is “a landowner in a potential wind project.”

Click here to view the video and here for the PowerPoint slides.

Initiatives Shaping Workforce To Better Serve Customers As We ‘Power The Future’

OPPD News Release, May 19, 2022

Omaha Public Power District is working to develop our strategic vision of Powering the Future to 2050, with a number of strategic initiatives helping to lay the path forward. During their monthly board meeting this evening, the OPPD Board of Directors received an update on two of them – Workplace Transformation and Technology Platform.

These and other initiatives underway take into account dynamic trends and issues that continue to shape the future of the electricity industry, including carbon emissions and climate change, emerging sources of competition, the future role of electricity markets, smart technology, evolving customer desires and more.

This week, OPPD management provided directors with an update on the utility’s Power with Purpose project to add up to 600 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale solar and natural gas generation. The increased generation capacity will help maintain long-term reliability and resiliency of the system.

Board members are considering making revisions to Strategic Directive 11: Economic Development. A redlined document is available for public viewing at OPPDCommunityConnect.com. We welcome feedback on the proposed changes. Comments will be accepted through June 12. The board will consider all input received prior to voting on any amendments, which they expect to do at their next regular monthly meeting on June 16.

Read the entire news release here.

ATTENTION: LES & NPPD CUSTOMERS

 

Lincoln Electric System Webinar, May 26, 12-1 pm:  Shedding the light on solar

 

 

NPPD surveying residential customers: The 2022 Residential Appliance Survey will be sent out May 24

 

Cass County officials seek outside counsel on solar project

By Ethan Hewett, KMA News

During its latest regular meeting, the county’s board of commissioners approved seeking outside counsel on a proposed solar farm through Boulevard Associates–which would be one of the largest in the state. While saying the board has not selected specific counsel yet, County Zoning Administrator Mike Jensen tells KMA News the outside perspective was sought to assist with reviewing a large amount of information soon to be placed in front of the county. In August 2021, the commissioners approved an updated set of solar regulations. While saying he and the board are confident in their regulations, Jensen says a big focus has been on the decommissioning process. Read more here.

NextEra Energy Resources is the parent company for Boulevard Associates, LLC.

Previously Posted: Cass County solar farm plans unveiled, by Ethan Hewett, KMA News

Nebraskans for Solar Note: We commend Cass County officials for their plan to thoroughly study Boulevard Associates’ proposal for a 350MW solar project near Murray and for consulting with other jurisdictions. This sets an excellent example for all Nebraska communities that are considering or are in the process of planning community- or utility-scale solar projects.

One large (81MW) project under development by Community Energy is “Platteview Solar” in eastern Saunders County, near Yutan:

Resources On Decommissioning / PV Recycling

NextEra Energy Resources

New Department of Energy Partnership Will Boost Low-Income Community Solar Subscriptions

Department of Energy News Release

Yesterday, the White House announced a new partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that will develop and pilot a digital platform to enable more low-income households to access community solar by connecting project developers with Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) recipients.

The LIHEAP program, run by HHS, assists eligible low-income households with home energy costs. Connecting NCSP with this existing program will reduce the cost of customer acquisition, lower low-income household electricity bills, and speed the deployment of community solar projects.

Community solar programs make solar more accessible to all Americans, particularly to those with low-to-moderate incomes because it allowed energy users to subscribe to a shared system of solar panels, often located within their community. At least 21 states and the District of Columbia have developed community solar-related programs that have direct carve-outs for low-and-moderate income customers.

A persistent problem identified by community solar developers is identifying subscribers that meet income eligibility requirements. Access to pre-qualified applicants through LIHEAP could fill a portion of subscriptions for community solar systems while delivering energy assistance and providing long-term energy burden reductions.

A collaborative team from NCSP, HHS, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will develop the platform. The team will coordinate with utilities, state and local governments, and industry, and plans to pilot the platform in 3-5 states as part of the NCSP States Collaborative. This partnership will support NCSP’s target to enable community solar systems to power the equivalent of 5 million households and create $1 billion in energy bill savings by 2025.

About National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP)
National Community Solar Partnership is an active group of community members, developers, utilities, financial institutions, and governments dedicated to increasing access to community solar for all U.S. households. Partners receive access to technical assistance, resources, training, events, and a platform for connecting with other collaborative partners. Join NCSP to receive program updates and announcements about future opportunities and how you can participate.

Helpful Links

Additional $25 Million DOE Solar Funding Opportunity 

EERE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office has announced a $25 million funding opportunity for projects that will enable communities to use solar energy and solar-plus storage to prevent power disruptions caused by extreme weather events. Learn more about this $25M Solar Energy Funding Opportunity.

Attend a webinar: Renewables Advancing Community Energy Resilience Funding Opportunity Announcement, April 27, 12 pm CT

More Department of Energy News & Resources

MEAN to hold Power Supply Planning Meeting and Integrated Resource Plan Review April 21

NFS Note: MEAN proposed increasing their reliance on coal in the 2017 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The public will soon have the opportunity to learn about MEAN’s currently proposed power mix with the release of the draft 2022 IRP next week and at the following meeting, posted on MEAN’s website: 

The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) will hold a Power Supply  Committee/Integrated Resource Plan Meeting that will review its 2022 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) April 21 in Lincoln, Neb., at 10 a.m. A virtual option to participate will be available. The meeting is open to the public.

MEAN’s Integrated Resource Plan is filed every five years as required by the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA).

Integrated resource planning is a process for future new energy resources that evaluates the full range of alternatives, including new generating capacity, power purchases, energy conservation and efficiency, cogeneration and heating and cooling applications, and renewable energy resources to provide adequate and reliable service to a utility’s electric customers.

MEAN welcomes member and public input to its IRP. A draft IRP plan will be available on or about April 19, 2022 on MEAN’s IRP pageOnce the draft IRP is publicly available, comments may be submitted by mail to the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, Attn. IRP, 8377 Glynoaks Drive, Lincoln, NE 68516 or by email to the address that will be posted on the MEAN IRP webpage.

Comments will be accepted if received during the 25 day comment period beginning on the date of posting of the draft IRP.

Action to adopt the 2022 IRP will be taken at MEAN’s Board of Directors meeting on May 19, which is also open to the public.

Power Supply Committee/Integrated Resource Plan virtual meeting link: https://meet.goto.com/735821061 or telephone at 1-877-309-2073, access code 735-821-061

ABOUT MEAN

The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska is the not-for-profit wholesale electricity supply organization of NMPP Energy. Created in 1981, MEAN provides cost-based power supply, transmission and related services to 69 participating communities in four states: Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming.

MEAN Members/Participants

In Nebraska
Alliance, Ansley, Arnold, Bayard, Beaver City, Benkelman, Blue Hill, Bridgeport, Broken Bow, Burwell, Callaway, Chappell, Crete, Curtis, Fairbury, Falls City, Gering, Grand Island, Grant, Hastings, Imperial, Kimball, Lyman, Mitchell, Morrill, Nebraska City, Neligh, Oxford, Paxton, Pender, Pierce, Plainview, Red Cloud, Scribner, Shickley, Sidney, Snyder, Spencer, Stuart, Trenton, West Point, Wisner

MEAN’s 2050 Carbon Neutral Vision

The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) Board of Directors in 2020 approved a resolution laying out a vision to a carbon neutral power resource portfolio by 2050. The resolution authorizes MEAN’s staff to collaboratively work with the MEAN Power Supply Committee to construct policies around resource planning, portfolio optimization and emissions reduction to support future actions to achieve the 2050 carbon neutral goal.

Click here to download a pdf version of MEAN’s Carbon Neutral 2050 Vision booklet published September 15, 2021.

Previously Posted: Council Debates Future Of Imperial Light Dam, The Imperial Republican
[Imperial’s Public Works Superintendent Pat Davison] presented information on a program through the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) to partner with a private firm, Sandhills Energy, to install a solar farm in Imperial for electricity production . . . Twenty-two Nebraska communities have expressed interest in the program with the hope of eventual lower electrical costs. 

MEAN’S 2021 COMMUNITY SOLAR REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS & ADDENDUM