Category Archives: Nebraska / Midwest News

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 

DOE Partners With Carnegie Mellon University to Launch The 2022 Global Clean Energy Action Forum

U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of International Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced its partnership with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to launch and host the 2022 Global Clean Energy Action Forum (Global Energy Forum) in Pittsburgh, PA, September 21–23. This landmark convening brings together energy leaders from around the world to turn clean energy ambition into action and accelerate the transition toward a more secure energy future. 

“By convening the Global Clean Energy Action Forum, the United States is continuing its leadership on the world stage to foster greater international cooperation to achieve our shared climate ambitions, drive innovation, and accelerate the deployment of clean energy solutions, while creating millions of good paying jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. Continue reading here.

MORE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS RELEASES

SOLAR+STORAGE

Solar-plus-storage potential everywhere in the US’: Recurrent Energy interview, by Andy Colthorpe, Energy Storage News

Around 60% of new solar PV projects planned for deployment in US utility service areas over the next two years are hybrid resources paired with storage. That’s equivalent to about 6GW and growing all the time. Although a clear majority of this new capacity will be clustered in the leading regional markets for solar, like California or Arizona, it’s increasingly becoming a national phenomenon. For context, Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables said in recent research that a total 3GW of utility-scale energy storage came online during 2021 in the US, so it’s clear batteries paired with solar will be a significant complement to standalone battery storage in terms of new additions.

Also written by Andy Colthorpe: Biden’s executive action to support solar likely to run in tandem with support for energy storage

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

Over 16 GW of planned wind capacity in SPP supported by robust financial outlook, S&P Global 
Developers are taking notice of the impressive performance of wind projects in the Cornhusker state as the pipeline for wind has swelled to 4,947 MW, ranking fourth in the country in planned onshore wind capacity. Over 40% of this capacity, however, is tied up in a single wind project still in early planning: the 2,000 MW Wildcat Ridge Wind Farm-Geronimo, which will be owned and operated by National Grid PLC subsidiary National Grid Renewables LLC.

IOWA’S PROPOSED ‘WIND PRIME’ PROJECT

Google, Facebook Stoke Wind-Farm Debate, Data Center Knowledge
(Bloomberg) — Google, Facebook and Microsoft Corp. — three of the world’s biggest corporate buyers of clean power — are sounding the alarm that a nearly $4 billion, Warren Buffett-backed renewable-energy project proposed in Iowa isn’t necessarily in the best interest of customers, including them. The fight is an important one to watch because it demonstrates the increasing influence technology giants have on the energy transition. Tech companies have pushed utilities in other parts of the US to offer more clean energy options as they seek to clean up the sources of power for their energy-intensive operations. And since they buy so much power, the utilities often listen to them.

Previously Posted Berkshire Hathaway Energy News Release: MidAmerican Energy Company Announces Wind PRIME Project

FEATURED ORGANIZATION

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities. NSAC’s vision of agriculture is one where a safe, nutritious, ample, and affordable food supply is produced by a legion of family farmers who make a decent living pursuing their trade, while protecting the environment, and contributing to the strength and stability of their communities.

NSAC member groups advance common positions to support small and mid-size family farms, protect natural resources, promote healthy rural communities, and ensure access to healthy, nutritious foods by everyone. By bringing grassroots perspectives to the table normally dominated by big business, NSAC levels the playing field and gives voice to sustainable and organic farmers.  

Nebraska Groups

Recent NSAC Blog Post: Climate And Agriculture Legislation Roundup
NSAC Publications

St. Paul school is latest to conclude geothermal is ‘the way to go’

By Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

A St. Paul, Minnesota, high school expects to reduce its natural gas use by more than half with the installation of a ground-source geothermal heat pump system. When completed this summer, the $18.8 million project at Johnson High School will join just a handful of similar systems at Minnesota K-12 schools.

COVID-19 and climate change are both adding pressure on schools to update aging heating, cooling and ventilation systems, and the availability of federal pandemic relief funds has helped more projects move forward in recent years. Continue reading here.

Photo: Facilities project manager Henry Jerome at Johnson High School, where a an $18.8 million geothermal project expects to cut natural gas consumption by more than half. Credit: Frank Jossi

IN NEBRASKA

An energy source that lies right under your feet, OPPD The Wire

Nebraska is in a “sweet spot” for using geothermal technology, said Tim Rauscher, a senior field engineer at OPPD. The state’s location lets geothermal be its most effective and efficient thanks to the underground temperature.

Schools are frequent customers of geothermal, Rauscher said. In the early years of the program, they were the primary users. Long-term building occupants like schools are great candidates for geothermal, he said, because they easily recoup the cost over the life of the building.

One example is the work OPPD has done with Omaha Public Schools since 1998. The utility has done more than 20 projects to bring geothermal systems to their facilities. Other school districts in the Omaha metro area have also taken advantage of geothermal systems. OPPD has completed geothermal projects with Bellevue and Papillion-LaVista Public Schools.

In 2006, two Millard elementary schools were the first schools in Nebraska to receive the Energy Star designation. The designation is national recognition for superior energy-efficiency performance. Those schools utilize geothermal systems.

Photo by the University of Nebraska Omaha: Mammel Hall 

 

 

 

Sustainability at LPS: Energy
For thirty years, Lincoln Public Schools has been taking great strides in moving towards energy conservation and efficiency. With the support of bond issue projects, energy efficient upgrades being implemented throughout the district include LED lighting, high efficiency windows, occupancy sensors, building envelope upgrades, and high efficiency geothermal heat pump systems for heating and cooling our buildings.

This site provides links to resources on geothermal and other forms of renewable energy as well as energy conservation.

More Resources

States Are Tackling Climate, Using Federal Cash as Congress Lags

By Zach Bright, Bloomberg Law

Some Republican-led states such as Nebraska and South Carolina, despite resistance to sweeping plans framed as climate action, are nonetheless lowering greenhouse gas emissions as they move to clean energy because of its long-term economic benefits over fossil fuels.

Read more here.


LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY STUDY

Solar-plus-storage vs. wind-plus-storage, by Emiliano Bellini, PV Magazine
Scientists from the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have compared the costs of several of solar-plus-storage configurations with those of other wind-plus-battery plants across seven US wholesale electricity markets. They described their findings in Keep it short: Exploring the impacts of configuration choices on the recent economics of solar-plus-battery and wind-plus-battery hybrid energy plants,” which was recently published in the Journal of Energy Storage.

MODEL ‘SOLAR-AS-A-SERVICE’ PROGRAM

IPS plans largest solar energy project in state history by a school systemFox 59
Indianapolis Public Schools has announced plans to move forward with the largest solar energy project by an educational institution in the state of Indiana. According to IPS, the solar energy project would significantly reduce cost, cut carbon emissions and boost sustainability efforts for 20 schools. Sun FundED has worked in bringing solar energy to other educational institutions including Indiana Wesleyan University and Taylor University. They’ve also signed up, or are soon to sign up, schools in Michigan, Florida, South Carolina, Minnesota and Virginia, according to the company.

See Also: IPS Partners with Indiana Firm to Plan Largest K-12 Solar Project Ever in Indiana, Indianapolis Public Schools

Featured Resources

CARBON DIOXIDE PIPELINES

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.

Collaborating on zero energy homes could help meet utility climate goals and grow affordable housing

Contributed Utility Dive article by Rebecca Foster,
Vermont Energy Investment Corporation CEO

Additional factories will need to be built in more regions for ZEM [Zero Energy Modular] to expand its impact. In response to this gap, VEIC created the ZEM Factory Initiative to propose a new business model to create ZEM factories to manufacture energy-efficient, affordable units, and sell them directly to affordable housing developers in areas of high housing demand. VEIC continues to refine the model with a project called A New State-of-the-Art Zero-Energy Modular Factory and Multifamily Housing Construction System with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.

After five years promoting ZEM homes, we have glimpsed their potential significance. The world needs decarbonized homes and buildings, and onsite generation of electricity — boosted by residential batteries — could offset growing demand faced by utility companies. Factory installation and process simulation models could enable better integration of resilience, energy efficiency, and low-carbon design strategies as documented in our work funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Moreover, we need these resilient homes to prepare for the next stage of climate change, as extreme weather events cause more disruptions. Read more here.

Google Search: Zero Energy Modular Homes in Nebraska

Photo: Clayton’s first net-zero electricity home as displayed to the public at the 2022 Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha.

Already Own or Live in a Manufactured Home?
If you’re interested in making your current manufactured home more efficient, visit the Department of Energy’s Energy Saver website (see link below) for helpful tips and resources, or contact your utility service provider to learn about programs and incentives that may be available to you.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY RESOURCES 

  1. Department of Energy
    Energy Saver
    Energy Efficiency 
  2. Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE)
    Nebraska Weatherization Assistance Program
    Dollar & Energy Saving Loans
  3. Nebraska Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  4. Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET)
  5. Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)-Nebraska
  6. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE)
  7. Heat Pump Systems, Department of Energy 
  8. Advanced Water Heating initiative Fact Sheet, New Buildings Institute
  9. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
  10. Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance

For anyone interested in a heat pump: What are upfront and lifetime costs of heat pumps?, PV Magazine. The “all electric” movement is shining new light on heat pumps. A recent survey looks at their costs in terms of replacements for heating and air conditioning systems.

STATES’ INFRASTRUCTURE & ECONOMIES

Invest federal funds in energy efficiency, dozens of groups, companies urge state officials,
by Robert Walton, Utility Dive

There is more than $1 trillion in estimated maintenance and repair for public buildings, including hospitals, airports, universities, and schools, that has been deferred over time, according to the letter. The groups called for federal funds to be “leveraged alongside private investments, tax credit programs, loans, leases, and/or existing demand-side management programs to maximize impact.”

“From manufacturing floors to downtown office towers to our own living rooms, buildings of all sorts are critical infrastructure that power states’ economies,” said Ceres’ Gold Roberts. “Programs that modernize buildings and equipment … are good for business and good for the economy.”

Nebraskans for Solar Note: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s State Scorecard ranks Nebraska 41: https://database.aceee.org/state/nebraska

Top Ten

FACT SHEET: U.S.- Japan Climate Partnership

The White House Briefing Room

Recognizing that the path to energy security runs through clean energy, the United States and Japan intend to build on their cooperation to increase climate ambition, including through decarbonization and clean energy, and continue to lead on their respective domestic climate efforts and on accelerating international climate action. The two sides intend to reinforce bilateral cooperation in the priority areas below to achieve their 2050 net zero goals and their aligned 2030 nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, alongside promoting a global trajectory consistent with keeping global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach. The two sides intend to further cooperate and accelerate respective action by: Click here to learn more.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION NEWS

Renewable energy and storage advocate, Glick, nominated for another FERC term, PV Magazine

President Biden’s nomination of the chairman, popular among renewable energy advocates, comes as the commission looks to finalize major reforms to its electric regional transmission planning and cost allocation requirements.

FEATURED SOLAR ENERGY NEWS STORY

Former US Ambassador Andrew Young pushes for more solar energy in Georgia, 11Alive.com

He said Sunday at a press event, that this is all in an effort to have reliable power during storms, save money on his energy bill, and help reduce climate change.


SOLAR POWER WORLD RESOURCE

U.S. solar panel manufacturers – Updated May 2022
This is a current list of U.S. solar panel manufacturers/assemblers that produce solar panels for the traditional residential, commercial and utility-scale markets. This data was collected by Solar Power World editors and will be continually updated as facilities are started and/or expanded. If there is a facility update not included on this list, please contact editor Kelly Pickerel: kpickerel@wtwhmedia.com.