Category Archives: Nebraska / Midwest News

The fixed cost on your OPPD bill will now be $30 a month, up from $10.25 in 2015

By Aaron Sanderford, Omaha World-Herald

Outgoing board member Tom Barrett, who represents northeast Omaha, asked OPPD management whether they had done the research to verify their prediction that most customers would pay the same or less under the new rate structure. Management officials said they had not yet done so. Read the entire article here

OPPD December 2015 Marketing Graphic: “Rethinking Rates”

Previously Posted

ALSO IN THE NEWS
OPPD set to replace old-fashioned streetlights with LEDs starting in January, Omaha World-Herald
OPPD management updated the utility’s board Tuesday about a five-year replacement plan for the roughly 100,000 streetlights the district maintains in 13 counties. The new lights are expected to save as much as 25 percent in costs to power them over traditional high-pressure sodium streetlights.

Previously Posted

EDITORIAL
Turbine plan would strike fair balance, Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board

Omaha utility’s carbon intensity goal obscures ongoing fossil fuel use

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

The carbon intensity goal passed on a 6-2 vote. The goal could change if the board revisits the issue after January, when newly elected board members — including three clean energy supporters — are seated. A debate about carbon intensity also surfaced recently in Iowa, where
MidAmerican Energy won regulatory approval last week for a 591-megawatt wind farm known as Wind XII. In its application, the utility’s president and CEO, Adam Wright, noted that the project would lower the utility’s carbon intensity to about 638 pounds per net megawatt-hour, compared to 1,839 pounds per megawatt 15 years ago, before it began investing in wind energy. “The carbon intensity, even if it’s calculated correctly, doesn’t mean they’ve reduced their emissions that much,” said Paul Chernick, an attorney representing the Sierra Club in the case.
Read the entire article here.

Pat Hawks / Flickr / Creative Commons Image

Related News Stories

CARBON CAPTURE RESEARCH
DOE spent more than $500M on dead projects, E&E News
Nearly half the $2.7 billion in fossil research money spent by the Department of Energy over the last seven years supported nine carbon capture demonstration projects, the majority of which were canceled or withdrawn.

SEIA Statement on the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following is a statement from Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), on today’s release of the 2018 Farm Bill conference report:

“We’re pleased to see continued bipartisan support for the Rural Energy for America Program, which enables the spread of renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements throughout America’s heartland. This USDA program finances projects in every state, helping entrepreneurs in rural communities reduce their energy costs.

Solar power is an affordable, clean, job-producing solution that America’s farmers and small businesses can greatly benefit from. We urge Congress to pass this important legislation before the end of the year.”  – SEIA News Release

USDA Rural Energy for America Program
Nebraska USDA Rural Development

As coal economics worsen, rural renewables development propels Midwest growth: NRDC

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Approximately 5 GW of new renewables were added across nonmetropolitan areas of 12 Midwest states between 2016 and 2017, compared to about 1.7 GW of capacity added in urban areas, according to the report. NRDC’s analysis focused on Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Development in the region is not slowing down either. Last week Capital Dynamics announced an agreement with power company Tenaska to develop 2,000 MW of solar across half the states listed in the report. And Illinois has 600 MW under construction with another 1.2 GW planned, which will more than double the state’s current rural renewables capacity of 1.6 GW.
Read the entire article here.

Download NRDC Report: Clean Energy Sweeps Across Rural America

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE
Data centers, EVs and cannabis poised to boost demand, American Public Power Association
An example of a public power utility attracting a data center can be found with the Omaha Public Power District. Facebook in 2017 said that it had selected a new Nebraska wind project that will supply power to the social media company’s new data center in Papillion, Neb. OPPD played a key role in bringing the data center to Nebraska through an innovative rate plan.

Hastings, Adams County gear up for solar future

By Tony Herman, Hastings Tribune

After John Carllson put up a 40-foot by 80-foot shop last year at his home in Ayr, it just made sense to cover the south side of the roof with solar panels. His brother had erected solar panels at his home in Hordville. Carllson and his wife, Linda, were inspired. “I’d been kicking it around, and after I put the building up we talked it over,” said Carllson, who retired from working in the Hastings Utilities gas department. “I think it’s the coming thing. It’s free power from the sun.” Continue reading here.

Photo by Amy Roh: Heath Jennings (left) and Johnny Moser, of Interconnection Systems Incorporated out of Central City, install solar panels Tuesday in Ayr.

ALSO WRITTEN BY TONY HERMAN
Renewable energy now key component of development, Hastings Tribune
As officials from the city of Hastings have discussed a community solar project to diversify the local energy generation profile, one of the considerations most often talked about is how renewables may enhance economic development prospects. That has certainly been the case in Omaha.

RENEWABLE ENERGY EDUCATION 

OPPD’s board set to take an environmental tilt. What will it mean for electricity costs?

By Aaron Sanderford, Omaha World-Herald

The costs of OPPD going further, faster on renewables and carbon are not yet clear. OPPD officials have said they had not yet determined how much more, if any, customers are paying for electricity because of the renewable energy the utility has already added to the mix . . . People should not draw a direct correlation between renewables and rising rates, said Javier Fernandez, the district’s chief financial officer . . . If the next OPPD board aims the utility at 100 percent renewables or zero carbon, [Russ Baker, director of OPPD’s environmental and regulatory affairs] said OPPD management will work with them to mull what that would look like, what it might cost and how technology would need to change. Read more here.

Image Credit: Facebook, one of a growing number of corporations committed to sourcing 100% of their energy from renewables and encouraging their suppliers to do so, as well. Facebook’s goal is to reach that level by 2020. RE100

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

REPORTS OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

  • Lazard’s recently-released Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) analysis reports that solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind costs have dropped an astounding 88% and 69% since 2009, respectively.
  • Sierra Club’s 2018 Case Study Report: Ten cities that have made commitments to be powered entirely with clean energy. Download the Case Studies 2018 Report (PDF} in English or Spanish.
  • Free SEPA Research: Non-Wires Alternatives: Case Studies from Leading U.S. Projects
    In today’s electricity market, non-wires alternatives are capturing public attention and inspiring decision makers to explore the grid benefits and potential cost savings resulting from integrating new distributed technologies in place of new infrastructure upgrades.

Colorado co-op seeks exit from coal-heavy Tri-State to pursue renewables

By Gavin Bade, Utility Dive

[Delta Montrose Electric Association’s] decision to leave Tri-State demonstrates how the increasing competitiveness of renewable energy is upending the economics of power production in the American West.

Tri-State is a generation and transmission provider that supplies power to more than 40 rural cooperatives across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. While it has increased renewable energy in recent years, coal is still its largest source of electricity — around half its capacity — and member co-ops are required to purchase all but 5% of their power from the company. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Flickr: Jimmy Thomas

Diverse City-wide Coalition Launched to Lead 100 Percent Clean Energy Future for Chicago

Sierra Club News Release

CHICAGO, IL — On Tuesday, the Ready For 100 Chicago Collective announced their formation as a new community coalition working to move Chicago to a 100 percent clean, renewable energy future. The coalition is made up of dozens of community- and state-based organizations, including Illinois Sierra Club, IBEW Local 134, People for Community Recovery, The Climate Reality Project Chicago Chapter, SEIU Local 1, Citizens Utility Board, and other environmental, education, youth, labor, and justice groups across Chicago. Read more here.

Rural Jobs: A Big Reason Midwest Should Love Clean Energy

By Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News

Wind turbines have become a familiar part of the landscape in the rural Midwest, and with them have come jobs, income for farmers and tax revenue for communities. They’re one sign of how the clean energy transition is helping to transform areas that sometimes struggle to attract jobs and investment.

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council shows the extent to which clean energy is contributing jobs to the rural economies of 12 Midwestern states. It also reflects what the rural Midwest stands to lose from Trump administration actions that harm clean energy, such as its recent call to eliminate subsidies for renewable energy, its tariffs on solar energy equipment, and its plan to weaken the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. The authors say the numbers underscore the need in the Midwest for government policies that are supportive of clean energy instead. Read more here.

Dan Gearino covers the U.S. Midwest, part of Inside Climate News’ National Environment Reporting Network. His coverage deals with the business side of the clean-energy transition, and he writes Inside Climate News’ Clean Economy Weekly Newsletter.

Image: Pixabay / Public Domain

RESOURCES: SOLAR & WIND ENERGY JOBS

From bedroom community to business hotspot

By Tony Dreibus, Freelance Writer, The Wire, OPPD Blog

Sarpy County for years was known as a bedroom community, an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Recently, it’s become a destination for companies seeking available land, access to major roadways and a steady supply of potential employees. Facebook is one such company. The social network in April 2017 announced it was going to build a facility near Highway 50 and Capehart Road. Less than a year later, the company said the project would consist of six buildings instead of two. Read more here.

Facebook Photo

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS

NEW REPORT

Solar Homes: The Next Step for Clean Energy, Environment America and Frontier Group

Installing solar panels on all new homes is a common-sense step that would create a wave of clean, renewable energy, reduce dangerous greenhouse gas emissions, cut air pollution, save consumers money and help to create a more resilient electric grid. Download the Report.

HAPPENING IN OTHER STATES

Milwaukee eyes its own rooftop solar mandate with a California clone,
PV Magazine

The proposed legislation would require all new residential units in the city to include solar arrays, starting in 2019. A July poll by Morning Consult found that nearly 2/3 of Americans would support a solar mandate for new homes.

NATIONAL LEADERSHIP AWARDS

The Utility Dive Awards for 2018
The awards recognize the utility industry’s top disruptors and innovators. These executives and companies are key leaders in the sector’s pivotal transition.
Utility of the Year: Xcel
CEO of the Year: Jim Robo, NextEra Energy
Green Initiative of the Year: Washington, DC’s Green Bank

EV NEWS

1M EVs in the US ‘a step in our journey’ to combat climate change,
Smart Cities Dive
Image: License plate belonging to Don Cox, Stanford University Emeritus Professor and adjunct professor in UNL’s College of Engineering. His avocation is electric vehicles; he has taught EV classes at UNL and UNO. Owner of four Teslas, Don is known to generously offer demo rides to other EV enthusiasts, including students and colleagues.