Category Archives: Nebraska / Midwest News

Hormel Foods to Be Powered by Nearly 50% Renewable Energy

By Emily Holbrook, Energy Manager Today

Hormel Foods recently announced a virtual power
purchase agreement (VPPA) for wind energy. Through this and other initiatives, the company will be supplied by almost 50% renewable wind power. In addition, the
project will result in a reduction of approximately 197,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

The new wind farm will be located near Milligan,
Nebraska. Construction is expected to be completed in 2020. The farm will be capable of generating 74 MW of power and an estimated 349,000 MWh of electricity each year. Read more here.

Recommended Reading
Virtual Power Purchase Agreement: Introduction to the Virtual Power Purchase Agreement, Rocky Mountain Institute

Nebraska Also In The News Here:

  • NPPD/city relationship remains a strong one,by Melanie Wilkinson, York News-Times
    Looking to the future, NPPD is considering a solar power generation facility for York, as the organization continues to look at renewable energy options.
  • Supersized solar in the Midwest, by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine
    Long seen as a slow region for solar deployment, the U.S. Midwest has seen an explosion of project development in recent years. And while there is still a lot of speculation and uncertainty, one way or another this region is going to see major development.

NPPD will seek proposals on community solar

By Record Editor Kerri Rempp, Rapid City Journal  

Chadron qualifies for a 1.15 megawatt community solar project, and all Nebraska Public Power District customers within city limits would be eligible to purchase shares to have up to 100 percent of their electrical usage generated by solar power. The city would be required to purchase any unsold shares. Read more here.

Photo: First  Fremont Solar Farm, 1.55-megawatts. The city completed a second solar farm of the same size in September 2018 to accommodate strong customer demand.
Credit: Troy Schaben, Assistant City Administrator, Fremont Department of Utilities


NPPD’s SunWise Program

NPPD customers can request community solar for their town or city by submitting the SunWise Community Interest Form here,

Report: Nebraska led nation in wind energy growth

Matt Olberding, Lincoln Journal Star

There’s been a lot of debate over wind energy projects in Nebraska over the past year, but there’s no debate over the fact that the sector is growing rapidly in the state. In fact, according to a report released Tuesday, no other state saw more growth in wind power than
Nebraska . . . The AWEA said Nebraska wind energy capacity grew 39% last year compared with 2017. By contrast, the nation as a whole averaged 8% growth. Read more here.

“Wind Rainbow” – AWEA’s Free Use Wind Energy Image Gallery

Additional Recommended Reading

AWEA Annual Market Report: Top 11 wind power trends in 2018by John Hensley, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

Today, AWEA released its U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, Year Ending 2018. It’s a historic time for American Wind power—our industry has never been busier. Robust demand, record low costs, innovative turbine technology, and consumer preferences are propelling wind to new heights. Strong wind project construction, a maturing manufacturing sector, and the increasing need for wind turbine technicians and operators mean wind jobs grew 8 percent in 2018—a record 114,000 men and women now work in wind.

Nebraska Fact Sheet – AWEA

Nebraska is a national leader in wind resource potential. Nebraska is one of the top states in the country for potential wind energy generation, with a technical potential of approximately 465,000 megawatts (MW) according to NREL. Nebraska now has 1,972 MW of installed wind power and ranks 14th in the nation for installed capacity. Harnessing more of Nebraska’s wind potential could make the state a powerhouse for the wind industry while providing savings for electricity customers.

Wind Projects as of 4Q 2018

  • Installed wind capacity: 1,972 MW
    » State rank for installed wind capacity: 14th
  • Number of wind turbines: 974
    » State rank for number of wind turbines: 17th
  • Wind projects online: 25 (Projects larger than 10 MW: 18)
  • Wind capacity under construction: 334 MW
  • Wind capacity in advanced development: 796 MW

Wind Energy In Nebraska Fact Sheet

‘Common Ground’ event encourages conservation of natural resources

By Connie Joe Discoe, Regional Editor, McCook Gazette

NCEF Photo: The Common Ground Team 

Macey Schroeder tells fellow Nebraskans, “We need your help to save the world.” And she wants them to adopt a new philosophy as they work for the conservation of the state’s natural resources, “Reduce and refuse.”

Starting on a local level, Macey and fellow AmeriCorps “Common Ground” program members will concentrate on clean energy/solar power, water quality, soil health, pollinator population and green spaces in activities and events they plan through the summer in North Platte, Lexington, Ogallala and McCook.

Continue reading here to learn more about NCEF’s AmeriCorps Common Ground program and their upcoming events. Also, see our calendar for several more NCEF / Common Ground-sponsored events during Earth Month.

NCEF Website

OPPD Launches Community Solar Program

By subscribing to one or more shares, OPPD customers will get to share, among the other
participants, in the opportunity to help produce clean energy today in support of a cleaner
energy future! Read about other benefits and watch a brief video featuring Green Bellevue
President Don Preister presenting his views on this new program here.

OPPD Community Solar: Frequently Asked Questions

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Highly compatible: pollinator-friendly solar projects and farming

By Katie Siegner, Scott Wentzell and Whitney Mann, Minnesota Post

Installed solar capacity in Minnesota crossed the 1-gigawatt threshold last fall, and is set to grow sixfold by 2030 to meet the state’s 10 percent solar energy goal. The management of the land below the panels — most commonly seeded with turf grass — offers an important
opportunity to provide multiple environmental and agricultural benefits in addition to carbon-free energy generation. Last fall, our team of graduate students at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies conducted a cost-benefit analysis of solar development on farmland in
Minnesota, and the results were illuminating. By developing projects as pollinator-friendly — the practice of planting deep-rooted grasses and wildflowers throughout a project site — solar
developers have the potential to provide habitat for threatened pollinator species, restore
important prairie ecosystems, and boost the crop yields of nearby fields. Read more here.

Photo by SoCore Energy: Kearney Solar Farm

Previously posted article with information about Kearney’s Pollinator-Friendly Solar Farm and links to additional resources:
In bid to help bees, Xcel to require vegetation disclosure in solar RFPs

Note about OPPD’s Community-Scale Solar Farm now under construction by NextEra:
Courtney Kennedy, OPPD Alternative Energy Program Manager, announced at Nebraskans for Solar’s March 13th public forum on OPPD’s Solar Farm, located on an acreage in Fort Calhoun, that it will be pollinator-friendly, with native plants, as well.

WIND ENERGY AND CROPS

Iowa State University Research Finds Wind Farms Positively Impact Crops
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Customers can now enroll in community solar

By Laura King-Homan, The Wire, OPPD Blog

OPPD customers can now buy a piece of solar energy. Beginning April 1, customers can enroll in the utility’s community solar program on oppd.com. The program allows participants to use clean, locally generated energy without the expense of installation and maintenance costs of solar panels on their roof. Customers who currently rent their homes are also eligible. In June, 2018, OPPD awarded a 20-year power purchase agreement to a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. The agreement is to build a 5-megawatt solar facility in Fort Calhoun, Neb. Learn more here.

Image Credit: George Parker

Midlands Voices: Don’t just rebuild after the flooding. Rethink.

The writer, Josh Moenning, is the mayor of Norfolk, Nebraska.
Midlands Voices, Omaha World-Herald

 

Rural Nebraska is staring into the face of a herculean rebuilding effort. But what if we looked at this huge lift, this daunting work toward
recovery, as a chance for reinvestment in our future? What if we used this opportunity not just to rebuild, but to rethink and revitalize rural
Nebraska? Read more here.

Enel Green Power acquires US renewable developer Tradewind Energy

News Release, Enel Green Power

Enel Green Power has closed an agreement today to purchase Kansas-based renewable
developer Tradewind Energy, Inc. Under the agreement, EGP purchased all of Tradewind’s
development platform comprising of 13 GW of wind, solar and storage projects located
throughout the US. Read more here.

Tradewind Energy Photo: Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm in Dixon County, Nebraska

Additional Recommended Reading

Enel acquires US developer Tradewind, by David Weston, Wind Power Monthly
The Kansas-based developer Tradewind has worked with Enel in the US since 2006, on a number of major wind projects across the US. Roughly 3.9GW of Enel’s North American operating wind portfolio was developed by Tradewind. This included the 400MW Cimarron Bend project in Kansas, and the
200MW Rattlesnake Creek site in Nebraska, which is providing power to social media giant Facebook

More About the Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm
The 101–turbine Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm was constructed by Enel Green Power and is located between the towns of Allen, Emerson, and Wakefield in Dixon County. The wind farm became
operational December 18, 2018. Maximum capacity is 318,150 kilowatts (or 318.15 megawatts),
enough power for approximately 90,000 homes. Facebook is planning to purchase 200 megawatts.
Source: Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Energy Office

Analysis: New wind, solar cheaper than operating most existing coal plants

By Kathiann M. Kowalski, Energy News Network

Locally generated solar and wind energy could already replace almost three-fourths of
electricity made by U.S. coal plants for less than the cost of continuing to operate those plants, according to an analysis released today by two clean energy research groups.

By 2025, the share of “at risk” coal generation will jump from 74 percent to 86 percent, adds the report by Energy Innovation Policy & Technology in San Francisco and Boulder-based Vibrant Clean Energy. “We’re not talking about replacing every coal plant overnight,” said report
co-author Eric Gimon at Energy Innovation. “What we’re saying is every coal plant should be looked at.” How do coal plants compare to solar or wind energy in the analysis?
Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading 

Photo by SoCore Energy: Kearney Solar Farm

Kathiann M. Kowalski is the author of 25 books and more than 600 articles, and writes often on science and policy issues. In addition to her journalism career, Kathi is an alumna of Harvard Law School and has spent 15 years practicing law. She is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Science Writers.

ALSO PUBLISHED BY ENERGY NEWS NETWORK

Small Iowa town hopes benchmarking makes big impact on energy efficiency, by Karen Uhlenhuth

As state lawmakers and investor-owned utilities in Iowa retreat from energy efficiency investments, Bloomfield stands in stark contrast. The building benchmarking program is part of an aggressive plan to tap
efficiency and renewables to meet a goal of total energy independence by 2030 for the small town of about 2,700 people in far southeastern
Iowa. 
Photo by Jo Naylor, Flickr, Creative Commons: Bloomfield, Iowa

Microgrid boosters hope Michigan ‘energy district’ will spur more interest, by Andy Balaskovitz

Microgrid advocates hope a Michigan utility’s proposed “energy district” can help demonstrate the technology and spur more interest in similar projects. Consumers Energy announced plans last month for a smart energy district on a 4-square-block area near the utility’s headquarters in Jackson. Though not formally a microgrid, the plan calls for developing a “smart energy community” around renewables, battery storage and electric vehicles, mirroring concepts of interconnected “smart cities.” Photo Credit: Consumers Energy