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over the last seven years supported nine carbon capture demonstration projects, the majority of which were canceled or withdrawn.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

Top Senate Democrat calls for permanent renewable energy, storage, EV tax credits

By Christian Roselund, PV Magazine

Last Thursday, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Democratic Leader in the Senate, sent a letter to President Trump demanding that any infrastructure package taken up in 2019 include “policies and funding to transition to a clean energy economy and mitigate the risks that the United States is already facing due to climate change.”

And in a list of policies that Schumer says should be included, the top item is “permanent tax incentives for domestic production of clean electricity and storage, energy efficient homes and commercial buildings, electric vehicles, and modernizing the electric grid.” In concrete terms, this could mean an extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar and energy storage, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind and the federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

ENERGY STORAGE ITC: AWEA NEWS RELEASE

Yesterday a coalition of more than 150 companies and energy groups issued a letter to Congressional leadership asking for a stand-alone storage Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act would ensure a level playing field for energy storage to compete with all other energy resources currently eligible for the ITC.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) signed onto the letter and issued the following statement in support:

“Energy storage technology will play an important role as we build an even more affordable and reliable electricity grid for the 21st Century,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “We’re asking Congress to reduce uncertainty for investors by creating a stand-alone energy storage ITC for which all storage technologies can qualify. A level playing field for the full range of storage technologies will ensure consumers benefit from competition and will boost job-creating investment in infrastructure projects, including new opportunities for wind farm development.”
Read the entire news release here.

Mars, Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase: Insights From Early Adopters Of Corporate Climate Policy

By Jeff McMahon, Forbes

It’s a story of stunning progress and staggering challenges. Some of the first corporations to make climate commitments have found that clean energy saves them money wherever they can find it, but often they can’t find it where they need it most.

Mars Corporation, for example, has signed power purchase agreements with wind farms in Texas, Mexico and Scotland and with a solar farm in Australia. In each case, the agreement covers 100 percent of the power demand for the direct operations of a Mars facility.
Continue reading here.

Photo by Mars Corporation: Mars candies and pet foods are powered in part by the Moy Wind Farm in Scotland.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Commitments to renewable energy are a great start — what comes next?, GreenBiz. This essay was contributed by one of the NGOs that make up the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), a consortium dedicated to growing large buyer demand for renewable power and helping utilities and others meet it. 


To date, 158 RE100 companies have made a commitment to go ‘100% renewable’. Read about the actions they are taking and why here.


COP24 NEWS


Cop24 live blog
PV Magazine’s Max Hall will be pounding the vast spaces of the COP24 venue in Katowice to bring you the latest developments in Poland and trying to shine a light on solar’s presence here.


NEW INVESTMENT ALLIANCE

  • The U.S. Alliance for Sustainable Finance (USASF), based in New York City, will work to encourage more climate-friendly and sustainable finance innovation across the U.S. capital markets. This initiative brings together private sector actors in line with the aim of meeting the United States’ targets of the Paris Agreement.
  • Wall Street staking claim for sustainable finance supremacy, by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine. The press release noted that research indicates a sevenfold increase in global clean energy investment — $2.4T annually versus the current investment levels of $333.5B as estimated by BloombergNEF — is needed to limit the most devastating effects of climate change.

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.

Decarbonizing enterprise: The path to 100 percent corporate renewable energy

Center Stage Podcast, GreenBiz

It’s clear that 100 percent renewable energy is imperative to fight climate change. And it’s already starting. Chris Clark, president at Xcel Energy; Bill Weihl, former sustainability and energy efficiency manager at Facebook; and Neha Palmer, head of energy strategy at Google talked about how to push and pull all companies, utilities and the public toward accessible 100 percent renewable energy. Listen to the Podcast
More Center Stage Podcasts

ALSO IN THE NEWS

HAPPENING IN OTHER STATES

SOLAR MODULE NEWS


Solar module lifetime predictions are getting better,
PV Magazine
NREL has proposed a new methodology for determining solar module degradation rates, taking into account measurement challenges such as sensor drift, inverter nuances, soiling and others – keeping the focus on the solar modules themselves. Image: NREL, Hit me with your SunShot


ENERGY SECURITY

100% Renewable Energy As Catalyst For Achieving Peace & Justice
By Rob van Riet, Director of the Climate Energy Program at the World Future Council and a regular contributor to The Beam
Unlike fossil fuels, which are characterized by the uneven geographical distribution of natural reserves, RE is abundant across regions and countries. Photo by Justin Holzgrove, DOE’s Hit me with your SunShot


HOW DOES THAT WORK? SERIES

Mutual Aid, by Jason Kuiper, The Wire, OPPD Blog

WHAT IS IT?
 Mutual aid is an agreement through which other utilities offer their restoration services after natural disasters strike and cause widespread power outages. OPPD has been on both sides of the aisle. Photo: OPPD trucks line up in Tampa, Florida, part of the mutual aid deployed to help restore power following a hurricane.

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