Category Archives: Nebraska / Midwest News

OPPD Focused On Continued Investment In Our Communities

Omaha Public Power District News Release
February 14, 2019

Omaha Public Power District is committed to investing in the communities it serves. Furthering that effort, today, the OPPD Board of Directors approved a labor contract for streetlight
conversion work within its service territory to replace current technology with light emitting
diode (LED) technology.

This is part of the district’s five-year plan, officially beginning next month, to replace nearly 100,000 existing high-pressure sodium fixtures within its service territory. To date, OPPD has
converted approximately 400 burned out streetlights to LED. The district is utilizing a contractor alongside OPPD employees due to the volume and time frame of work taking place.
Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading
NDEQ Co-hosting Nebraska Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Conference on March 25, NPPD News Release

NEWS FROM OTHER CITIES & STATES

The nuclear city goes 100% renewable, PV Magazine
Yesterday Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel unveiled the city’s
Resilient Chicago plan, which in action 38 is a commitment to
“transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy in buildings community-wide by 2035”. 

Smart community projects “a natural” for public power, says Kelly

By Paul Ciampoli, American Public Power Association

Smart community projects are “a natural for public power,” said Sue Kelly, President and CEO of the American Public Power Association on Feb. 11 in remarks made at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ 2019 Winter Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. Among the things that public power is doing when it comes to smart city activities is converting streetlights to LEDs and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. In addition, public power is working on microgrids and distributed energy installations. Read more here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

FEATURED NATIONAL INITIATIVE

Tariffs Hurt The Heartland, a bipartisan coalition launched in
September 2018, represents 150 organizations, including farms, small businesses, and consumer groups.

The coalition has hosted 15 events across the country to showcase stories of individuals, businesses, nonprofits and communities that have been hurt by tariffs.

Previously Posted

Google announces plans to build data center in Nebraska; signs point to Omaha area

By Reece Ristau, Omaha World-Herald

Omaha’s growing sector of data centers will add a major name to its ranks now that Google has announced plans to bring a data center to the state. A map on the tech giant’s website indicated the center will be in the Omaha area. The Nebraska facility was announced as part of a national expansion plan by Google, which will invest more than $13 billion in 2019 in data centers and offices across the country, according to a statement. Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Previously Posted

Google And Apple Lead The Corporate Charge Toward 100% Renewable Energy, Forbes

Google is a member of RE100, a global, collaborative initiative uniting more than 100 influential businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity. A growing number of RE100 members and other corporate buyers of renewable energy are working with their suppliers to adopt that goal, as well, exponentially increasing the deployment of wind and solar projects nationwide.

Lincoln neighborhood solar farm turns entrepreneurs into pioneers

By Mason Mauro

LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) — Capitol Beach Lake neighborhood in Lincoln is living off solar
energy. The co-founders of Beach Solar LLC began the community effort in 2015. Two entrepreneurs began the solar project from the ground up, but the community effort is what’s seeing it through.

“This is something that is better for our future and for our kids’ kids. Let’s do it,” said Jeff Burhman, co-founder of Beach Solar. Burhman and his business partner, Terry Wittler, stopped at UNO along their solar power tour, Wednesday night. The discussion is their 12th seminar, but they never set out for this. Continue reading or watch the news story here.

Click here to view a Google Earth image of the solar project.

Thank you to everyone who attended our event this evening at UNO’s Community Engagement Center!

First of all, thank you to our guest speakers for their excellent presentation on Nebraska’s first-ever community solar project developed by a neighborhood association: Terry Wittler and Jeff Buhrman, Lincoln Capitol Beach homeowners, led the association’s efforts to pioneer this
innovative model for our state.

Michael Shonka, owner of Solar Heat and Electric and Nebraskans for Solar board member,
collaborated with Terry and Jeff on the project and joined them for part of the program this evening. The challenges they encountered and the lessons learned resulted in a time-saving plan for anyone interested in proposing the same idea to other power districts.

The discussion that followed their presentation generated many insightful questions and
comments from audience members. Thank you to everyone who attended.

Michael Shonka’s contact information is listed in Nebraskans for Solar’s Directory for anyone with additional questions for one or all three of the collaborators.

Photo by David Corbin

Renewables, infrastructure: What’s ahead in 2019?

Written by Jodi Baker, The Wire, OPPD Blog

The power industry is ever-changing – whether through technology,  regulations, or market mechanisms. On a
recent visit to Omaha, Sue Kelly, President and CEO of the American Public Power Association (APPA), discussed
some of the bigger issues facing public power and its
customers. APPA is preparing for their Legislative Rally in Washington, D.C. at the end of February. Each year, nearly 600 Association members – policy-makers like city council and utility board members – gather to learn about “hot
issues,” Kelly said. Continue reading here.

From Kaiser To Vail Ski Resorts, Companies Doubled Their Wind And Solar In 2018

By Grace Hood, Colorado Public Radio

Corporate giants like Facebook, Walmart, Microsoft and Apple made big deals in 2018, but now smaller corporate fish have waded into the pond. “We had Etsy do a deal last year, J.M. Smucker Company that makes jellies and jams,” [Kevin Haley, a program manager at the Business Renewables Center at Rocky Mountain Institute] said. “It’s a great way for them to reduce a lot of carbon all at once.”

Colorado-based Vail Resorts has joined the ranks of small companies as well. It inked a 12-year agreement to buy new wind that will be produced from a Nebraska farm starting in 2020. When the wind farm is operational, the purchased power will offset Vail’s fossil fuel use across North America. “This is the way that a company that’s geographically diverse can make a significant impact and bring new renewable resources online,” said Kate Wilson, director of sustainability for Vail Resorts. Read more here.

About Vail Resorts Corporation

Lincoln Clean Energy photo of the partially-completed 230 MW Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County, Nebraska. Once operational, the project will create high-paying local jobs and will result in over $3 million in local community benefits annually in the Wayne County area. This includes much needed property tax revenues, with some of the largest beneficiaries being the Norfolk and Winside school districts.

Previously Posted
Vail Resorts Announces Long-Term Wind Energy Contract, Renewable Energy Magazine
The company’s multimillion-dollar wind energy virtual power purchase agreement enables the development of the Plum Creek Wind Project. It is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power up to 100,000 U.S. homes each year.

Additional Colorado News: More Colorado co-ops announce clean energy goals, Clean Cooperative

HAPPENING IN OTHER STATES

Solar seen as bright career path at Illinois community colleges, Energy News Network

Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act included funding to make solar training more accessible to lower-income residents.
 

Despite weather, solar farm generating quality energy

By Sam Pimper, Schuyler Sun

There has been an abundance of cold, overcast days since the Schuyler Solar Farm’s December
2018 launch, but that hasn’t prevented the 500-panel system from doing its job. “I’ve really been pleasantly surprised that it produces kilowatt hours, even on some of these cloudy and cold
days where the sun has been so low,” said Jim McGowen, superintendent of the Schuyler
Department of Utilities. “It (the hours) hasn’t been humongous, but you would think that there
might not be any on those kinds of days.” Since going live Dec. 20, 2018, the farm has produced in excess of 53,600-kilowatt hours during an approximately 40-day stretch, McGowen said.

Schuyler Mayor Jon Knutson praised McGowen and his team for working on the project, noting he believes it will benefit the community. “Jim McGowen and the board are always forward
thinking … They do a nice job,” he said. “I’m certainly a believer in green energy … We will see
how it works out. If it does like it’s supposed to do, we will probably add on to the solar field we have.” Read more here.

Photo: GenPro Energy Solutions built the solar farm on a 33-acre plot of land along east 16th Street.

Madison County establishes regulations for solar farms

Written by Jerry Guenther, Norfolk Daily News

On Tuesday, the county board conducted a public hearing and approved a set of solar
regulations that were first considered and approved by the Madison County Joint Planning Commission in recent months . . . Heather McWhorter, the planning and zoning administrator for Madison and Pierce counties, provided the county board with an update on how Madison
County researched its regulations. Read more here.

Image Credit: World Atlas

Previously Posted

 

NextEra, Nebraska farmers aim to build largest solar farm in the Midwest, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

 

Nebraska considers bill to merge state’s energy and environmental offices

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

A bill to merge the Nebraska Energy Office into the state’s Department of Environmental Quality could impede efforts to move the state toward the use of cleaner and less energy, according to some clean energy advocates in the state. The Nebraska Energy Office is charged primarily with promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy across the state. From 1990 through 2017, for example, the office provided about $340 million in low-interest loans for 29,020 energy saving projects. The Department of Environmental Quality is responsible for enforcing state laws regarding air and water quality and waste management. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts proposed the merger. At his request, Sen. Dan Hughes introduced the bill. Continue reading here.

Upcoming Legislative Hearing
On Monday, February 11 at 12 pm there will be a hearing on LB283 before the Executive Board in room 1525. LB283 would provide funding to the University of Nebraska to develop a plan for adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

You can testify at the hearing or send written testimony to Senator Mike Hilgers, Executive Board Chair, by today, February 8th. His email address is: mhilgers@leg.ne.gov.
Your letter must include your name and address, state a position for, against or neutral on the bill and include a request for the letter to be included as part of the public hearing record.
Nebraska Legislature: Testifier Tips
Nebraska Legislature News