Category Archives: Energy Conservation

OPPD, Papillion Rose To Top Of Google’s Search

OPPD News Release

Omaha Public Power District officially welcomes Google to its service territory. Today, the tech giant announced plans to build a $600 million data center in Papillion, Neb. “OPPD and its partners are experienced with large-scale, innovative and strategic solutions for major corporations,” said Tim Burke, OPPD President and Chief Executive Officer. “The pro-business climate here has made our service territory a choice destination.” Community partnerships have been crucial to efforts to attract new business and industry. Continue reading here.

The Wire 

Google unveils newest data center in Sarpy County corridor, by Jason Kuiper
Internet giant Google announced plans to build a new data center just outside of Papillion. Google made the announcement Friday at the project site, which is already under construction and located opposite of the Facebook data center near Nebraska Highway 50. Google valued their partnership with OPPD as one of the key reasons they chose to invest $600 million in the area.

“We’re thrilled to call Papillion and the Greater Omaha area one of our hometowns,” said Dan Harbeke, Google’s Regional Head of External Affairs. “At Google, our investment isn’t limited to our facilities: we are committed to being good neighbors and creating opportunities for the communities that we call home.”

What is Rate 261M?, OPPD Resource

Energy Efficiency
OPPD has launched a new energy efficiency section on their website.

Pilot eases costs for income-qualified customers

By Jodi Baker, The Wire

Financial difficulties come in many forms for many people. They could be the result of a long-term illness, an unexpected car repair, low wages, unemployment or other issues. OPPD is working to reach and help customers struggling with these issues through the Income-Qualified Energy Efficiency Program Pilot. It’s open to households with an income of up to double the federal poverty level.

Customers taking part in the pilot would receive an energy efficiency kit from OPPD, as well as a home energy audit. If the audit shows a need for improvements, OPPD will provide up to $1,000 in upgrades. For more information on this or other OPPD programs, email OPPD’s Customer Care team at customerservice@oppd.com, or call them at (402) 536-4131. Read more here.

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Energy Flickr File

Minnesota wind-solar hybrid project could be new frontier for renewable energy

By Mike Hughlett, Minnesota Star Tribune

PELICAN RAPIDS, MINN. – The wind turbine and small solar array planted in a cornfield near this northwestern Minnesota town look modest. But the hybrid power plant could be a new frontier for renewable energy. By capturing both sun and wind power, it can provide a more stable supply of electricity than either energy source can provide alone. And given its small size, it is relatively easy to hook into the electricity grid. “It delivers low-cost clean energy right to where the power is being consumed, and it leads to the retention of energy dollars in the community,” said Dan Juhl, the Minnesota renewable-energy pioneer whose company developed the project. Renewable-energy analysts said it makes a lot of sense. Read more here.

Photo by Clean Energy Economy Minnesota: Dan Juhl

Additional Recommended Reading 

Corporate News

  • Jeff Bezos unveils sweeping plan to tackle climate change, CNBC
    Bezos says Amazon is committed to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement 10 years early. As part of the plan, Amazon has agreed to purchase 100,000 electric delivery vans from vehicle manufacturer Rivian. Bezos expects 80% of Amazon’s energy use to come from renewable sources by 2024, before transitioning to zero emissions by 2030. The company also announced a $100 million donation to The Nature Conservancy to form the Right Now Climate Fund, which will work to restore and protect forests, wetlands and peatlands around the world, with the goal of removing carbon from the atmosphere.
  • Google’s jaw-dropping renewable procurement proclamation, GreenBiz
    Google just declared a new record in corporate renewables by announcing the largest procurement deal ever. The tech giant Thursday revealed it would purchase a 1.6-gigawatt package of agreements, including 18 new wind and solar deals across the globe.

Solar-Powered Crop-Drying Technology

Purdue Startup Awarded $150K, Inside Indiana Business. A Purdue University-affiliated startup has received federal and state grants worth $150,000. JUA Technologies International says it will use the funding to further develop its solar-powered crop-drying devices. The company was founded by husband-wife duo Klein Ileleji, a professor in agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue and Reiko Habuto Ileleji, a Purdue alumna.

New ACEEE Report

Halfway There: Energy Efficiency Can Cut Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Half by 2050. Energy efficiency can slash US energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by about 50% by 2050, getting us halfway to our national climate goals. We can achieve almost all these savings, worth more than $700 billion in 2050, by dramatically scaling up government policies and programs. This report examines 11 packages of efficiency opportunities in every economic sector and the policies that could unlock each of them. We find the greatest savings from efficient and electric vehicles, industrial efficiency and decarbonization, transportation system efficiency, upgrades to existing buildings and homes, zero energy new buildings and homes, and appliance and equipment efficiency. (Fact sheet here.)

Featured Initiative

The U.S. Climate Alliance represents 40 percent of the U.S. population and a $9 trillion economy, greater than the third largest country in the world, and U.S. Climate Alliance states are on track to meet their share of the Paris Agreement emissions target by 2025.

How to save on your energy bill during this week’s heat wave

By Roseann Moring, Omaha World-Herald

Want to beat the heat without breaking your budget? The Omaha Public Power District’s energy consultant, Eric BenSalah, and media relations specialist, Jodi Baker, offered these tips for efficient cooling of your home during this week’s predicted heat wave.

Continue reading here.

Additional Resources

Voices of 100% Podcast: Small Iowa Town Pushes for Energy Independence

By John Farrell, Energy Democracy Initiative Director,
Institute For Local Self-Reliance

How does a small city in southeastern Iowa plan to achieve energy independence and join the more than 100 cities across the country that are working toward ambitious goals to generate their electricity from renewable resources?

For this episode of our Voices of 100% series of the Local Energy Rules Podcast, host John Farrell spoke with Chris Ball, Community Development Director for the town of Bloomfield, Iowa. Bloomfield is a small town in southeastern Iowa with a population of about 2,600 people, aging homes, and its own municipal electric and gas utilities. At the urging of the town’s residents, Bloomfield is now pursuing ways to expand energy independence and reduce their reliance on imported energy by investing in solar, energy efficiency, and more. Listen to the full episode to learn how the town is taking action to support local, clean energy.

ADDITIONAL NEWS & RESOURCES

Environment America: Voices for 100% Renewable Energy

States of repair: governors, state legislatures find climate solutions, Environment America News Release. Six months ago, as new governors and state legislators took office, Environment America Research & Policy Center released a report, Climate Solutions from Day One: 12 Ways Governors Can Lead on Climate Now, detailing a set of 12 actions governors could take immediately to significantly reduce planet-warming carbon pollution and ensure a more stable climate for their states and the nation. In the intervening months, Republican and Democratic governors from coast to coast have listened to their constituents’ bipartisan concerns about climate change and have taken action. At last count, 14 states took at least one of the actions laid out in the report. Colorado (8), Maine (6) and New Mexico (5) took action in the most categories.

RE100 Update: 185 RE100 companies have made a commitment to go ‘100% renewable’. Read about the actions they are taking and why. A growing number of them are encouraging their suppliers to make the commitment to 100% renewable energy.

Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Update: 130 cities have made the commitment to 100% clean and renewable energy for all.

FEATURED ENERGY CONSERVATION RESOURCE

Energy Savings At Home: Energy Star

EV NEWS

Video: How you can earn money with OPPD’s Cool Smart program

By Laura King-Homan, The Wire, OPPD Blog


Cool Smart
, an OPPD Power Forward program, is a demand-side management program that helps OPPD work toward its goal of shedding 300 megawatts (MW) of peak demand by 2023. To date, approximately 43,000 customers are enrolled in the program, and they’re getting paid to do so – $50 during the first year. Their participation is reducing OPPD’s peak energy usage by 62 MW. Learn more here.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Nebraska to Become the Midwest’s Leader in Building Efficiency

By Tara Lukasik, Building Safety Journal. Republished in the Nebraska
Energy Office’s June 2019 Newsletter, Nebraska Energy Quarterly

The state of Nebraska is ready to update the state’s energy codes for residential and commercial buildings — from the 2009 to the 2018 edition — which will make the state a regional leader on building efficiency. Nebraska lawmakers presented LB 405 to Governor Pete Ricketts on May 2, 2019, which he signed into law (effective Sept. 7, 2019).

Shortly before, Governor Ricketts signed LB 348 into law (also effective Sept. 7, 2019) which updates the International Building Code, International Residential Code and International Existing Building Code from the 2012 to the 2018 edition. Read the entire article here.

Additional articles and resources in the electronic newsletter are posted here.

Click here to subscribe to the Nebraska Energy Quarterly.

OPPD Customers Embracing Programs, Pilots To Help Manage Their Energy Usage

OPPD News Release

Omaha Public Power District is leading the way the future is powered. The district has a number of customer program offerings to support that vision and provided an update to the OPPD Board of Directors at their monthly meeting.

Community Solar Program

OPPD launched its first community solar program this spring with an agreement to purchase all 5 megawatts (MW) of energy from an array that’s under construction in the City of Fort Calhoun. The facility will be owned and operated by NextEra Energy. Construction was delayed due to the recent floods, but it is expected to be completed and generating electricity by mid-August at the latest.

Continue reading here to learn more about this and the following three additional OPPD customer program offerings:

Electric Vehicle (EV) Rebate Pilot
Income-Qualified Energy Efficiency Pilot
LED streetlight conversion

Previously Posted
Local artist paints Nebraska’s story into mural at Facebook’s data center in Papillion, Omaha World-Herald. When employees of the Facebook data center in Papillion go to work each day, they’ll be greeted by a colorful 76-foot mural made by a Nebraskan, for Nebraskans. Created by Omaha native Justin Queal, the mural incorporates themes and images familiar to locals. Facebook officials say the mural, located in an administrative building at the 144-acre site on the northwest corner of Highway 50 and Capehart Road, helps connect Papillion’s roots with those of one of the biggest tech companies in the world. The first Facebook data center in Papillion is expected to go online in 2020. An expansion to the project is meant to launch in 2023.

Job growth foreseen in Madison County and Northeast Nebraska

By Nick Gebhart, Norfolk Daily News

In terms of specific occupations, among the fastest growing is in wind energy. The number of wind turbine technicians who will be employed in the region is expected to climb by more than 100, up 84 percent from 2016. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Bluestem Energy Solutions

Additional Recommended Reading

  • Helping your home stay cool: Contributed article written by Pat Feist, Beatrice Electric Superintendent, Beatrice Daily Sun
  • Nebraska Solar Schools Awarded $31,250, Rapid City Journal
    Nebraska Solar Schools has announced that it has been awarded $31,250 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for a pilot project within its Solar Energy Education and Development Program: 100 Solar Energy Kits for 100 Nebraska Schools. Nebraska Solar Schools is a program of the nonprofit Nebraskans for Solar.  To request a NEED Solar Energy Kit, visit: www.nebraskasolarschools.org.

Nebraska surprise: State poised to become Midwest building efficiency leader

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Nebraska lawmakers on Thursday passed LB 405 to update the state’s energy codes for residential and commercial buildings, potentially the first substantial changes to the regulations in a decade. The state is currently utilizing the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for its building energy codes, but if Gov. Pete Ricketts, R, signs the bill, Nebraska will switch to the 2018 version, yielding the strongest efficiency codes in the Midwest, advocates  say . . . The bill was presented to Ricketts on May 2, and state law gives the Nebraska governor five days to act, not including Sundays. Absent a veto, the new codes will be adopted at the end of Wednesday. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Wind farm sites guided by data, science, relationships, The Wire, OPPD Blog
OPPD does not build its own wind energy facilities. Instead, they contract with developers such as NextEra Energy Resources on projects and enter into purchase agreements for the energy produced. OPPD and other public power utilities use PPAs for renewable projects to be eligible for federal production tax credits. They then pass these savings on to their customers. These partnerships occur after OPPD issues a request for proposal (RFP) and evaluates bids from companies competing for OPPD’s business. Wind facilities are often sited before OPPD enters into a purchase agreement. To date, all of the wind farms contracted with OPPD are located in Nebraska. And that is not a coincidence.