Tag Archives: Ariana Brocious

Nebraska Communities Embrace Solar

By Ariana Brocious, NET News

In the last year, solar power has taken off across Nebraska. Communities around the state have invested in small projects to help diversify their electricity sources and offer renewable energy alternatives to residents.

On the east side of the city of Fremont, a 10-acre parcel has sprouted thousands of metal posts, which will soon hold solar panels. Once fully built, Fremont’s new community solar farm will offer a sharp contrast to the nearby coal plant, which provides enough power to supply the whole city, according to Fremont City Administrator Brian Newton. But the coal plant is aging. So when Newton came to Fremont a couple years ago, city officials started looking at ways to diversify the power supply. They bought 40 megawatts of power from a wind farm south of Hastings. Then Newton used a federal grant to explore building a community solar project. “What we found out was, as a municipality, we could finance and do it cheaper than what we could buy it from a power purchase agreement or any other arrangement,” Newton said. The next step was a community survey to gauge interest from customers. Click here to continue reading. 

Photo by Ariana Brocious, NET News: Fremont’s new community solar farm will be adjacent to its existing coal-fired power plant. The posts are in but the solar panels haven’t yet been installed.

Your Invitation to a Public Forum on Community Solar

To learn more about different types of community solar development in Nebraska and the benefits to our cities and towns, join Nebraskans for Solar and co-sponsoring organizations on Thursday, December 14 at 7 pm at UNO’s Community Engagement Center.

Nebraskans for Solar Board Member Leo Arens will moderate a presentation and discussion on “Community Solar” by a panel of local Solar Champions:

  • Clifford Mesner, Mesner Development, Central City
  • Brian Newton, Utility General Manager, Fremont
  • Jeff Buhrman and Terry Wittler, Capitol Beach Neighborhood Solar LLC,  Lincoln
  • Jeff Berggren, GenPro Energy Solutions, Lexington
  • Michael Shonka, Solar Heat & Electric, Omaha
  • Nebraska Public Power District Spokesperson, Columbus

Co-sponsored by Green Bellevue and Sierra Club. All our events are open to the public. Please join us and contribute to the discussion! Refreshments provided. Click here for parking information.

Photo by Rob Davis, Fresh Energy

NPPD 2016 Board Elections Affect Many Nebraskans

By Ariana Brocious, NET News


Nebraska is the only state that relies entirely on public power, meaning we get our electricity from locally-owned, nonprofit utilities as opposed to investor-owned private companies. The state’s largest utility, the Nebraska Public Power District, is run by an eleven-member board of directors. This fall, candidates for four of those seats will be up for election. “The board really sets the direction on whether they’re going to keep upgrading and maintaining existing plants or if they’re going to go with new technology like wind and solar and other renewable sources,” said Janece Mollhoff, natural resources director with the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Nebraska. Continue reading.

Nebraska Eases Wind Power Regulations, Some Landowners Have Concerns

NET : wind turbineBy Ariana Brocious, Nebraska Public Radio (NPR) / PBS

The Nebraska Legislature recently passed a bill to ease regulations for wind power.  The change could affect wind energy in the state, but there are still other factors challenging renewable energy projects.

For years Nebraska wind energy proponents have lamented the fact that the state lags so far behind its neighbors in producing wind power. Kansas and Iowa have installed four to five times the amount of wind energy capacity as Nebraska—even though Nebraska is consistently ranked among the top states for wind power potential. A new law seeks to change that.

“It’s really a reduction of paperwork,” said Rich Lombardi, a lobbyist with the Wind Coalition, which represents wind developers and trade groups. Read or listen to the entire story here.

Top Photo Credit: Ariana Brocious, NET News