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

FERC Proposes Interconnection Reforms to Address Queue Backlogs

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission News Release, June 16, 2022

FERC today issued a proposed rule focused on expediting the current process for connecting new electric generation facilities to the grid. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) aims to address significant current backlogs in the interconnection queues by improving interconnection procedures, providing greater certainty and preventing undue discrimination against new generation. 

At the end of 2021, there were more than 1,400 gigawatts of generation and storage waiting in interconnection queues throughout the country. This is more than triple the total volume just five years ago. Projects now face an average timeline of more than three years to get connected to the grid. As the resource mix rapidly changes, the Commission’s policies must keep pace. Today’s NOPR proposes reforms to ensure that interconnection customers can access the grid in a reliable, efficient, transparent and timely manner. Continue reading here.

ACP & SEIA News Releases

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

Recycling Renewables: A special series & free live event from Canary Media

As the world rolls out more solar panels, wind turbines and batteries, we’re cleaning up electricity — and generating a lot of equipment that will ultimately need to be recycled. The clean energy sector has drastically lower impacts on the environment than fossil fuels, but still needs to do its part to conserve resources and curb waste. In this week of special coverage, Canary Media reports on the technologies, policies and companies that can make clean energy even cleaner. We thank Solarcycle for its support of this series.

FREE LIVE EVENT 

 

Recycling Renewables: An editorial roundtable

Join the Canary Media editorial team as they discuss their reporting on recycling of renewable energy technologies: June 16, 2022, 2:00 to 2:45 CT. Register to attend

 

Link to these resources.

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Proposes New Standards for National Electric Vehicle Charging Network

The White House Briefing Room, June 9, 2022

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Investments to Enable Families to Plug-In,
Charge Up, and Drive Across America

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new steps to meet President Biden’s goal to build out the first-ever national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers along America’s highways and in communities, a key piece of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Department of Energy, is proposing new standards to make charging electric vehicles (EVs) a convenient, reliable, and affordable for all Americans, including when driving long distances. Without strong standards, chargers would be less reliable, may not work for all cars, or lack common payment methods. The new standards will ensure everyone can use the network –no matter what car you drive or which state you charge in. Continue reading here.

Related 

  • Department of Transportation: Network of User-Friendly, Reliable, and Accessible Electric Vehicle Chargers
  • Nebraska Department of Transportation: National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program. Over the next five years, Nebraska will have access to $30.2 million (~$6 million/year) in formula funds for EV charging infrastructure while also still being able to compete for a portion of an additional $2.5 billion in discretionary grant funding. This funding supports the Administration’s goal of expanding EV charging stations along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs) and other corridors that could be identified in the state.With guidance from U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT), NDOT will collaborate with key stakeholders such as public power districts, communities along routes, planning partners, and businesses on EV charging development. The initial statewide plan will be submitted to our federal partners before August 1, 2022. Click here to learn more and take a survey.

Additional Recommended Reading

FACT SHEET: Tackling Climate Change and Creating Clean Energy Jobs in the Americas,White House Briefing Room

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

FACT SHEET: President Biden Takes Bold Executive Action to Spur Domestic Clean Energy Manufacturing

White House Briefing Room

Historic Actions Include Authorizing Defense Production Act to Lower Energy Costs,
Strengthen Power Grid, and Create Good-Paying Jobs

Today’s clean energy technologies are a critical part of the arsenal we must harness to lower energy costs for families, reduce risks to our power grid, and tackle the urgent crisis of a changing climate. From day one, President Biden has mobilized investment in these critical technologies. Thanks to his clean energy and climate agenda, last year marked the largest deployment of solar, wind, and batteries in United States history, and our nation is now a magnet for investment in clean energy manufacturing.

Since President Biden took office, the private sector has committed over $100 billion in new private capital to make electric vehicles and batteries in the United States. We have made historic investments in clean hydrogen, nuclear, and other cutting-edge technologies. And companies are investing billions more to grow a new domestic offshore wind industry. Continue reading here.

Related: ACP Applauds President Biden’s Bold Action to Reinvigorate the Domestic Solar Industry, American Clean Power Association

AMERICAN PUBLIC POWER ASSOCIATION ANALYSIS

APPA Analysis Examines Regulated, Deregulated State Power Price Trends
Increases in retail electric prices from 1997 to 2021 were about half a cent more in states with deregulated electric markets than in regulated states, though regulated states had a slightly higher percentage increase in prices, according to an American Public Power Association (APPA) analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration. APPA’s analysis also found that rates increased significantly in all states from 2020 to 2021, largely attributable to a rise in natural gas prices. 

The full report is available here.