Tag Archives: American Public Power Association

Local governments set record for new renewable energy procurement in 2020, groups report

By Chris Teale, Smart Cities Dive

Ninety-five local governments across 33 states procured 3,683 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy generation capacity in 2020 through 143 deals, the largest amount of capacity ever added in one year, according to the latest update from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and World Resources Institute (WRI) in their Local Government Renewables Action Tracker.

The 143 transactions, a 23% increase over 2019’s levels, could generate enough electricity to power approximately 812,000 households annually, the organizations reported. Solar was the most popular renewable energy to be procured, at 79% of all deals, followed by wind at 17% and geothermal at 4%. Read more here.

Photo Credit: First Solar

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

SOLAR INSTALLER SURVEY

2020 EnergySage installer survey finds one in five solar installations nationwide included a battery, Solar Power World

EnergySage and NABCEP released the results of the sixth annual Solar Installer Survey, the largest and most comprehensive business survey of solar companies nationwide. Over 650 residential and commercial installers across the country participated in this year’s survey, which was fielded and authored by EnergySage in partnership with the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

NELNET SOLAR TAX EQUITY INVESTMENT

Nelnet Renewable Energy Partners with Three Co-Investors to Complete $9.9 Million Solar Tax Equity Investment in the Northeast, Nelnet Renewable Energy, PR Newswire. Nelnet’s co-investors include Adams Bank & Trust and West Gate Bank, both of Nebraska.

OMAHA RANKS #7 AMONG GREENEST U.S. CITIES FOR RENTERS

The Greenest Cities in the U.S. for Renters, Apartment Guide

In the heart of the Great Plains, many view Omaha as a far-flung place known for quality steak, college baseball, 311 and Warren Buffett. But the diverse Nebraska city of half a million residents is a heartland oasis filled with culture, education, upscale shopping and trendy dining. And with nearly 22 percent of properties reporting green amenities, it’s the greenest city in the Midwest for renters.

LIBRARIES’ CLIMATE LITERACY PROGRAMS


How libraries are improving climate literacy in their communities,
Yale Climate Connections


The Racine Public Library is one of 25 libraries with funding from the American Library Association to offer programming about climate change.

CESA Directory of State Low- and Moderate-Income Clean Energy Programs Now Available Online


Since 2015, the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) has maintained a directory of state low- and moderate-income (LMI) clean energy programs. This directory, previously published as a pdf, is now available as an interactive online database.
The online format will allow for frequent updates. Users can now more easily access information and quickly compare different LMI clean energy programs.

Because many states have launched additional LMI clean energy programs over the past two years, there are now many more entries in the directory. The directory lists and describes state programs for LMI residents and communities. It focuses primarily on clean energy generation, but also covers some energy-efficiency initiatives. It does not include low-income weatherization programs. Browse the directory here.

CESA’s Commitment to 100% Clean Energy 

  • CESA Promotes Federal-State Partnership to Achieve 100% Clean Energy
    In an article in Utility Dive, CESA Executive Director Warren Leon and Board Member Bentham Paulos argued that “cleaning up the power grid requires a federal-state partnership.” They described elements and policies that could be part of such a partnership.
  • CESA Resource: Publications About 100% Clean Energy

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

The National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) is a coalition of community solar stakeholders working to expand access to affordable community solar to every American household by 2025. Partners leverage peer networks and technical assistance resources to set goals and work to overcome persistent barriers to expanding community solar access to underserved communities. DOE announced the program on Wednesday, September 25, 2019.

The three goals of the partnership are:

  • Make community solar accessible to every U.S. household
  • Ensure community solar is affordable for every U.S. household
  • Enable communities to realize supplementary benefits and other value streams from community solar installation

To join the partnershipregister by visiting the community platform.
If you have questions, please send an email to Community.Solar@ee.doe.gov.

American Public Power Association Blog: Public power representatives invited to apply for community solar working group

ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE REPORT & WEBINAR

Seeds of Opportunity: Released last month, the report provides an economic analysis and set of case studies to highlight the once-in-a-generation economic opportunity that onshore wind and utility-scale solar projects present to rural communities. Download the full report, read RMI’s blog post, or view a recording of their live discussion with the report’s authors and community leaders from its three case studies.

About the Webinar
Learn more about the benefits of renewable energy projects for the rural communities studied in the report. The “Seeds of Opportunity” webinar featured Judge Dusty Kilgore of Upton County, Texas, and Troy McCue of Lincoln County, Colorado, speaking with RMI’s Katie Siegner about their experiences with the wind and solar projects in their communities. The webinar presentation slides are available here.

GUEST COLUMN: Renewable energy is a good bet

Contributed by David Fredrick, The Courier

Waverly has a long-term agreement with the Municipal Electricity Association of Nebraska. It is my understanding that we must guarantee the purchase of amounts of power managed by MEAN, most of which is generated by fossil fuels. Because of this guarantee, we have not increased our generation of renewable energy. Also, MEAN has not significantly increased its supply of renewable energy. Are there better means to increase our use and generation of renewable energy? Here are some considerations: Continue reading here.

David Fredrick of Waverly is a retired diplomat and college employee. A Waverly City Council member in the 1960s, his master’s thesis included a history of the Waverly electric utility.

Fredrick references a “first-of-its-kind” analysis conducted by Iowa Auditor Rob Sand, which is described in the following article: Auditor: Local governments could save combined $375M with average solar installations, Iowa Capital Dispatch

Previously Posted

Will Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska remain reliant on coal?, Clean Cooperative
One striking finding in the SDSG [Sustainable Development Strategies Group] report: coal accounted for 61% of MEAN’s resource mix in 2017, according to its 2017 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). And in contrast to major power suppliers for other Colorado towns and cities like Platte River Power Authority and Xcel Energy, MEAN expects that coal will remain a large portion of its energy mix, and even increase slightly to 64% by 2030.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEAN Board Approves Resolution On Vision For Carbon Neutrality By 2050, NMPP News Release

The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) Board of Directors at its board meeting on Jan. 23,  [2020] in Kearney, Neb., approved a resolution laying out a vision to a carbon neutral power resource portfolio by 2050. The resolution authorizes MEAN’s staff to collaboratively work with the MEAN Power Supply Committee to construct policies around resource planning, portfolio optimization and emissions reduction to support future actions to achieve the 2050 carbon neutral goal. Read more here.

ResolutionMEAN 2050 Vision of Carbon Neutrality

About MEAN
The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) is the not-for-profit wholesale electricity supply organization of NMPP Energy. Created in 1981, MEAN provides cost-based power supply, transmission and related services to 69 participating communities in four states: Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming.

MEAN Members/Participants

About NMPP Energy
NMPP Energy is a member-driven coalition of four organizations based in Lincoln, Neb., serving nearly 200 member communities in six Midwest and Rocky Mountain states. NMPP Energy’s organizations fulfill separate needs to their respective member communities. Collectively, they subscribe to the core philosophies of local control and working together to provide reliable, cost-based energy and energy-related services.

NMPP Energy Members 

American Public Power Association ResourcePublic Power in Nebraska

Smaller clean energy partnerships may pave way to LES decarbonization

By Riley Johnson, Lincoln Journal Star

Following a decade of expanded investment in wind energy and other renewable energy and the termination of a partnership with a local coal plant, Lincoln Electric System has committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions within the next 20 years. LES Board members on Nov. 20 elected the goal following a yearlong study of the issue and surveys of local stakeholders, including the business community. The goal sets the benchmark of offsetting the 2011 utility’s emission levels as part of an effort to reduce its impact on the climate. Continue reading here.

LES Generation Resources

Featured Resource: SEPA Utility Carbon Reduction Tracker

 

 

New commitments from Lincoln Electric System and Portland General Electric.
Keep track of all publicly announced utility commitments to carbon or emission reduction.

  • 61 Utilities across the United States have publicly stated carbon or emission reduction goals.
  • 36 Utilities have goals of carbon-free or net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • 78% Of utilities with goals of carbon-free or net-zero emissions by 2050 are SEPA members.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

  • Inside Clean Energy: The Energy Transition Comes to Nebraska, by Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News. Lincoln Electric System is the second large utility in Nebraska to approve a net-zero emissions goal, as the state reaps the benefits of wind power. Scott Benson, manager of resource and transmission planning for Lincoln Electric, told me that his utility’s new goal is a big deal because it is a more aggressive timetable than that of many other utilities across the country. But the net-zero goal is also not a big deal, he said, because Lincoln Electric was moving in this direction regardless.
  • Tri Global Energy Dominates U.S. Wind Production in Q3, Helps Texas Retain Top Ranking Nationally, Tri Global News Release, PR Newswire. Tri Global Energy, a leading privately held renewable energy developer, dominated U.S. wind production in development for the third quarter of 2020, with a total of 1,657 MW, which exceeds total wind power in development in 47 individual U.S. states. 
  • Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy
    Scroll down to wind energy projects in development: Tri Global Energy is planning to develop a 100–megawatt wind farm, which will be named the Sugar Loaf Wind Farm in Garden County.
  • Vail Resorts makes progress toward EpicPromise goals with renewable energy and waste diversion, Summit Daily. Vail Resorts’ 2019-20 EpicPromise Progress Report was released Tuesday, Dec. 1, and shows movement toward the company’s goal of reaching a zero net operating footprint by 2030. Two renewable energy projects the company is participating in — the Plum Creek Wind project and the Elektron Solar project — mean 93% of Vail Resorts’ electric usage will be renewable by 2023. Nebraska’s Plum Creek Wind Farm
  • Another wind project in Wayne County: Ørsted starts construction of 298 MW Nebraska wind project, Ørsted News Release, October 28, 2020. Ørsted continues to expand its footprint in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) via the acquisition and final investment decision of the 298 MW Haystack Wind project in Wayne County, Nebraska. Situated adjacent to Ørsted’s 230 MW Plum Creek wind farm, Haystack will utilize existing interconnection infrastructure in SPP North. Haystack is expected to come online in fourth quarter 2021, adding further diversity to Ørsted’s portfolio of onshore wind, solar PV, and energy storage across Texas, the Midwest, and Southeast US.

AMERICAN PUBLIC POWER ASSOCIATION ARTICLES

Solar-storage project would be ‘game-changer’ for Kansas City region

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

The world’s largest renewable energy developer is acquiring property in Kansas for a mega-project that would combine hundreds of megawatts of solar and storage capacity. A spokesperson for NextEra Energy confirmed the company is seeking land near Kansas City for a project that could include up to 500 MW each of solar and storage capacity, making it among the largest such projects in the country . . . NextEra is also pursuing a 423-megawatt solar project in Nebraska. It has acquired land rights and now is waiting to find a buyer and to hear what the Southwest Power Pool would charge for a connection to the grid. That figure is critical in developing renewable projects. Read more here.

Previously Posted  
NextEra, Nebraska farmers aim to build largest solar farm in the Midwest

Photo by Stuart Seeger / Flickr / Creative Commons

GAGE COUNTY WIND ENERGY RULE

County board approves wind turbine setback, by Monica Brich, Beatrice Daily Sun
The amendment increases setback requirements from nonparticipating residences from 3/8 to one mile. Nonparticipating residents are those who do not have contracts in place with a wind company. The Gage County Planning and Zoning committee previously approved the resolution in a 6-1 vote in August, after a six hour meeting.

U.S. RENEWABLE ENERGY MANUFACTURING

100 Gigawatts of Domestic Manufacturing Capacity by 2030, Solar Energy Industries Association
Today, SEIA is setting a target of 100 GW of domestic renewable energy manufacturing capacity by 2030, with a particular focus on solar, wind, and energy storage technologies. Right now, we are about a quarter of the way there. This goal is consistent with our aspirations of having solar energy account for 20% of all electricity generation by 2030. And it fits with a collective goal by the renewable energy industries—wind, solar and hydropower with storage, to hit 50% of all electricity by the end of the decade. The 100 GW target is designed to increase the United States’ ability to supply not only domestic renewable energy projects but also export markets. 

Download SEIA White Paper: The Solar+ Decade & American Renewable Energy Manufacturing

ENERGY EFFICIENCY 

Efficiency is smart for public power, American Public Power Association
To explore how central efficiency is for public power, we spoke with a few of the utilities that received the American Public Power Association’s Smart Energy Provider designation in 2019, the first year it was awarded, about what energy efficiency means to them. Utilities with this designation show a dedication to best practices and programs in energy efficiency, among other areas.

DECARBONIZING INDUSTRY

There Is No Business as Usual: Decarbonizing Industry Must Start Now, Rocky Mountain Institute
We know that a higher-than-1.5°C pathway will result in severe natural disasters, including flooding, rising sea levels, hurricanes, drought, and lethal temperature exposures. The increasing regularity of these extreme climate events will create drastic stresses on food and water supply, with ripple effects including hunger, market disruption, increased migration, and social unrest. In addition to threatening our environment and physical well-being, these events threaten our economy. In the United States alone the estimated total cost of weather and climate-based disasters between 1980 and 2019 is estimated at $1.75 trillion.

Utilities stay silent on proposal to federalize net metering as states call it a ‘threat’ to solar policy

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

States have been particularly vocal in their opposition to the NERA [New England Ratepayers Association] petition, joined by Democratic federal lawmakers, clean energy advocates and others. Power trade associations, including Edison Electric Institute, Electric Power Supply Association and American Public Power Association have stayed largely quiet thus far on how they’ll weigh in. “APPA is still developing its response to the petition and receiving input from members,” John McCaffrey, senior regulatory counsel for APPA said Wednesday. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Previously Posted

FERC Might Rewrite Solar Net Metering. Here’s What That Could Mean, Greentech Media
FERC is currently accepting comments and intervenors from individuals and organizations. The period to comment or intervene ends June 15, 2020.

COMMUNITY SOLAR

Arcadia embarks on Colorado community solar push, PV Magazine
Arcadia has partnered with Pivot Energy to develop community solar projects for homeowners and renters across Colorado, including in Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins and Grand Junction In December, Arcadia raised $30 million in Series C funding and announced plans to double its community solar reach to eight states this year.

VIRGINIA SOLAR SCHOOLS

Orange County Schools to Install Solar Power System at 8 Locations with Secure Futures, Inside NOVA. Orange County Public Schools will receive solar energy equipment and complete roof restoration work at no upfront capital cost through a 25-year Solar Self Generation Agreement with Secure Futures.

BIFACIAL SOLAR PANELS WITH TRACKING

Two-sided solar panels that track the sun produce a third more energy, New Scientist

ENERGY STORAGE

ELECTRIC VEHICLES – CLEAN TECHNICA POSTS

OPPD Expands Customer Support Measures

OPPD News Release, April 16, 2020

Senior management recently approved a series of short-term Customer First Solutions, shared with the OPPD Board of Directors during their virtual committee meetings Tuesday. OPPD leadership recommended waiving late payment charges for all customers until 30 days after the expiration of the last COVID-19 directed health measures of any of the 13 counties within OPPD’s service territory. In today’s monthly meeting, held via video conference, the board voted to approve waiving late charges for that time frame.

OPPD is also extending the time frame for our disconnection moratorium until 30 days after the expiration of the last directed health measures of any of the 13 counties within OPPD’s service territory. We had previously announced suspension of disconnections for non-payment through April 30. The extension will help our customers struggling with lost wages and other impacts related to COVID-19.

We urge customers to reach out to us to make payment arrangements if they need assistance. Our customer care team can be reached by calling 402-536-4131 in the Omaha metropolitan area or toll-free at 1-877-536-4131 outside of Omaha. We will also work to connect our customers with community resources, as warranted. And OPPD’s Energy Assistance Program eligibility requirements have temporarily been adjusted to be available without being income qualified.

Click here to read the entire news release, which includes information on OPPD’s plan to add between 400 and 600 megawatts of utility-scale solar to its generation mix.

More information is available here on OPPD’s April board and committee meetings.

Nebraska LIHEAP Program

Previously Published
OPPD Laying The Groundwork For A Bright Energy Future, OPPD News Release
Initiatives will include a long-term study to address the long-term balance of load generation, along with decarbonization options for the district’s generation mix. Vice President Mary Fisher spoke to the topic, noting that the energy generation landscape is changing rapidly. Fisher said the drivers are primarily improving renewable technology, and environmental considerations around carbon emissions and climate change, “something our customers clearly care about.”

NPPD NEWS RELEASE 

Dia named general manager at Cooper Nuclear Station
Columbus, Neb. – Khalil Dia, a 24-year employee at Nebraska Public Power District’s Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville, has been named General Manager of Plant Operations (GMPO) effective May 1, replacing Joe Sullivan who has been named General Manager at Entergy’s Arkansas One Nuclear Power Station.

NEW APPA E-BOOK

Report: A diverse generating mix offers more paths to decarbonization, American Public Power Association

Smart Decarbonization: Public Power’s Case for Generating Diversity and Affordability, a new eBook from the American Public Power Association, compiles research from a variety of industry sources that show potential infrastructure needs, costs, and timelines to reach different levels of emissions reductions or percentages of zero-emitting generation. The eBook was produced as part of APPA’s Moving Public Power Forward strategic initiative to help public power utilities prepare for major changes to the electric utility industry.

Lincoln Journal Star Letter: Commit to clean energy

Written by Alison Krohn

The City of Lincoln and Lincoln Electric System have taken steps towards a sustainable future through multiple efforts. The Lincoln Environmental Action Plan (2017-2018) calls for a 25% reduction in carbon emissions by 2025 while increasing the use of renewable energy 50%.

LES offers several incentives for renewable energy generation and energy efficiency improvements. The utility obtains approximately 40% of its distributed power from renewable sources. But are these goals and incentives enough? Continue reading here.

Photo: Telesis Inc’s solar array on top of the former Meadow Gold Dairy House at Seventh and M Streets in Lincoln’s historic Haymarket.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FEATURED RESOURCE: LOW-INCOME SOLAR POLICY GUIDE

Best Practices for Utility Ownership
In considering the roles utilities can and should play in making solar available for low-income households and underserved communities, Principles and Recommendations for Utility Participation in Solar Programs for Low-Income Customers from the Environmental Law & Policy Center, GRID Alternatives, and Vote Solar outlines three interrelated sets of guidelines and considerations for policy makers and regulators to review.

NEBRASKA GRID INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS

USDA Invests $8.2 Million For KBR Rural Public Power District, USDA News Release
The power district serves 4,847 customers over 2,604 miles of line in five counties in north central Nebraska.

APPA ANNUAL REPORT

Wind, solar, natural gas dominate capacity in development, American Public Power Association
Wind, solar, and natural gas are the three dominant sources in the development pipeline for electricity generation in the US, according to a report from the American Public Power Association. America’s Electricity Generating Capacity, 2020 Update is the Association’s 14th annual look at the country’s current and future capacity. Wind, natural gas, and solar projects account for 94% of all capacity under construction, which is consistent with additions over the past five years, of which 97% came from these three resources.

ENERGY STORAGE

US Storage Industry Achieved Biggest-Ever Quarter and Year in 2019, Greentech Media
“Storage is being deployed all across the country now, at megawatt-scale, in more than half of U.S. states,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of the Energy Storage Association. Eight states now contain utility-scale storage facilities adding up to more than 50 megawatts. Another 11 states operate more than 10 megawatts each. Only 15 states have yet to adopt any advanced storage in front of the meter, according to WoodMac’s data. Overall, U.S. storage installations are expected to nearly triple in 2020 and more than double in 2021. Residential numbers, in particular, will triple this year compared to last year.

NEW 500-WATT SOLAR PANELS

How the new generation of 500 watt panels will shape the solar industry, PV Magazine
There are two solar module manufacturers, Risen Energy and Trina Solar, that have unveiled first-of-their kind 500W, 50-cell, PV modules. “For applications where you have a lot of area, particularly commercial and especially utility-scale, it’s really significant,” CEO of Cinnamon Energy Systems Barry Cinnamon told pv magazine. “You could just use fewer modules, it reduces handling costs and overall balance-of-system costs go down.” If there are less modules needed to reach the capacity specifications of a project, that means overall project costs will go down as these modules become economically viable. A significant area that will see cost reduction will come from the racking and trackers.

NREL’S FREE DATABASE

WattBuy to automate and expand NREL’s utility rate database, PV Magazine
With this new, free database, WattBuy can help residential homeowners more accurately calculate the return on investment (ROI) on a solar and/or solar-plus-storage system and make a more informed decision, Hood said. For solar financiers and energy efficiency companies, the new data will be useful for targeting new markets and for tracking projects’ ROI, he added.

EV NEWS

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Project developers can secure cash from new IRENA funding pot, PV Magazine
The Climate Investment Platform launched by three multilateral bodies in September is now open for business and renewables companies in developing nations could qualify for help with clean energy facilities, renewables-related grid improvements and energy efficiency schemes.

SMUD unveils unique Energy StorageShares program

By Ethan Howland, American Public Power Association

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District, a California public power utility, has developed a unique program that allows the public power utility to partner with customers to install battery systems where they are most needed on the grid. The program, unveiled in January, aims to align the benefit commercial customers would see by installing on-site storage with the locational needs of the grid, according to James Frasher, a member of SMUD’s distributed energy storage group.

Instead of installing behind-the-meter storage that would lower a customer’s demand charge, but not particularly benefit SMUD’s distribution system, the customer can buy a “share” of a battery system installed in a location with a distribution feeder system that is maxed out and is in line to be upgraded, Frasher said. Continue reading here.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District Website

Additional Recommended Reading

LES funds $1.75 mil in incentives for efficiency upgrades

By Peter Maloney, American Public Power Association

Lincoln Electric System (LES) in Nebraska is continuing its Sustainable Energy Program with $1.75 million in incentive funds for customers that want to switch to more energy efficient equipment. LES says that since it began its Sustainable Energy Program (SEP) in 2009, customers have accessed $22.5 million in incentives and spent $126.6 million on energy-efficient equipment and/or services. The incentive level for the SEP program in 2019 was $1.5 million. “It is the eleventh year of the program,” and the utility’s board is “solidly behind it,” and there is no sign of that waning, Marc Shkolnick, LES’ manager of energy services, said. “They see it as a fitting role for a public power provider.” Continue reading here.

Nebraska Also In The News Here