Tag Archives: City of Norfolk

The Energy & Environmental Building Alliance Joins the American Solar Energy Society in Showcasing Innovations to Help Consumers Cut Rising Energy Costs and Assert Their Energy Independence via the ASES National Solar Tour

American Solar Energy Society News Release, PR Newswire

Registration Now Open for Contractors and Sustainable Living Advocates Seeking to
Host or Sponsor Free, Open House Tours Showcasing Money-Saving Innovations for
Homes, Businesses, Commercial Structures and Non-Profits via the
October 1-2 National Solar Tour, America’s Largest Grassroots Solar Living Event

BOULDER, Colo., July 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Hot on the heels of Independence Day, the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is partnering with the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) to inspire net zero, solar-powered and sustainable living improvements to help people assert their energy independence and combat runaway energy costs on properties of all scope and scale via the 27th ASES National Solar Tour, America’s largest concurrent collection of free, in-person and virtual open house tours. Read the entire news release here.

FROM SOLAR POWER WORLD

July solar policy snapshots: A guide to recent legislation and research throughout the country
Illinois rule changes will simplify solar + storage interconnection, Springfield, Illinois
The Illinois Commerce Commission recently revised the state’s rules regarding how solar and other DERs connect to the distribution grid. The changes will reduce the time and cost to interconnect and make it easier to use energy storage to balance intermittent resources.

IN NEBRASKA

NEW CENTER FOR RURAL AFFAIRS GUIDE

Decommissioning Solar Energy Systems Resource Guide

Falling equipment costs coupled with increased demand for clean energy have led to a rapid rise in solar development over the past decade, a trend expected to continue, especially in rural areas. But, local governments also need to think about what happens to the sites that reach the end of their life cycles. The Center’s new guide outlines management options and recommendations of what information should be included in decommissioning plans. 

A conversation with a woman who promotes renewable energy in rural communities

By Erika Street Hopman and Bridgett Ennis, Yale Climate Connections

The wide-open spaces found in rural America provide some of the best locations for solar and wind farms. But community opposition can stop new projects before they break ground. Mariah Lynne, owner and president of Good Steward Consulting, helps renewable energy companies gain acceptance for new projects in rural communities. In this work, Lynne draws on her experience living in rural Minnesota next door to a utility-scale wind farm. Yale Climate Connections talked to Lynne about what motivates farmers and other rural landowners to embrace renewable energy projects and the misconceptions outsiders might have about small-town communities. Continue Reading Here.

Referenced in the Article: Minnesota’s Stearns County Provides a Unique National Example of a ‘Solar-Ready’ Community, Great Plains Institute
The Great Plains Institute (GPI) worked with Stearns County to engage stakeholders and create transparent and predictable development regulations for solar farm development, including ensuring capture of pollinator habitat and storm water benefits. GPI recently completed a case study (available here) of Stearns County to share their process of engagement, and planning and regulatory review, to get the community ‘solar ready’.

SOLAR READY COMMUNITIES

SolSmart is a national organization that provides free assistance to communities that want to become solar ready. The organization is led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). SolSmart’s mission unites organizations to assist local governments across the U.S. to cut red tape and reduce the barriers to solar within their communities. SolSmart is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.

Local SolSmart Communities

SITING SOLAR ON LANDFILLS & OTHER BROWNFIELDS

Featured Report: The Future of Landfills is Bright: How State and Local Governments Can Leverage Landfill Solar to Bring Clean Energy and Jobs to Communities across America, Rocky Mountain Institute

There are more than 10,000 closed and inactive landfills around the country. These sites offer an incredible opportunity for solar development. By installing solar on closed landfills, states and municipalities advance local solar energy while repurposing relatively large, vacant sites within communities that have limited reuse potential.

Links to More Resources

  • RE-Powering America’s Land
    RE-Powering America’s Land is an EPA initiative that encourages renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated lands, landfills, and mine sites when such development is aligned with the community’s vision for the site.
  • EPA’s Brownfields Program provides grants and technical assistance to communities, states, tribes and others to assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse contaminated properties. To learn about EPA’s broader efforts to put previously contaminated properties back into productive use, read about the Land Revitalization Program.
  • Brownfields and Land Revitalization in Region 7
    EPA Region 7 manages  Brownfields and Land Revitalization Programs in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. On this page you will find information specific to Region 7’s Brownfields and Land Revitalization activities. Visit the national Brownfields Program and Land Revitalization Program websites for more information about these programs’ competitive grants.
  • Brownfields FAQs, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy 

CO-LOCATION RESOURCES

The AgriSolar Clearinghouse is an information-sharing, relationship-building, public communications hub for all things agrisolar. The AgriSolar community will:
Connect farmers, developers, researchers, and the public
Provide practical technical assistance
Develop best practices and innovative solutions to barriers
Evaluate innovative financing options
Promote sustainable agrisolar opportunitie

Resources Include: Information Library Media Hub / Events Calendar

More Links

DISTRIBUTED & COMMUNITY WIND

The Future of Distributed Wind in the United States: Considerations for Unlocking Terawatt-Level Potential,
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
NREL’s Distributed Wind Energy Futures Study Finds the Most Promising Locations, Sectors for Distributed Wind To Play a Meaningful Role in the U.S. Energy Future. The Midwest and Heartland regions overall have the highest potential for distributed wind. (A link to NREL’s webinar about the study is provided).

ALSO IN THE NEWS

MORE ABOUT NORFOLK’S COMMUNITY SOLAR PROJECT

Norfolk solar project largest in state, relies on community input, Nancy Gaarder / Omaha World-Herald, Norfolk Daily News

Randy Gates, finance director for Norfolk, said the city will save about $170,000 a year on its electric bills. The city’s residents and businesses will see a total savings of $132,000 a year, he said. NPPD’s next community solar project will be in York.

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 0.22% 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

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

Norfolk’s 8.5-megawatt solar farm nearing completion

By Dillon Adams, Siouxland Proud

The program is made possible through a 30-year partnership between Norfolk’s energy supplier, Nebraska Public Power District, and Sol Customer Solutions. [Mayor Josh] Moenning said there’s much more demand for solar energy these days, specifically from corporations.

“We think this is very forward-looking. A lot of businesses now are looking only for renewable sources, clean sources of energy and we’ll be able to accommodate them to a certain extent with this project and we’re hopeful we can develop more in the future,” said Moenning. Read more here.

The site will be planted with a pollinator crop. These are environmentally friendly and require minimal maintenance. Source: City of Norfolk.Gov

NEW REPORT ON ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES

New Report Details Benefits of Electric School Buses, American Public Power Association

With advances in electric bus technology, a growing understanding of the benefits of electrification, and an influx of federal money through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), electric school buses are becoming an increasingly viable option for school districts, according to a new report from the United States Public Interest Research Group, Environment America, and Frontier Group: Electric School Buses and the Grid

Read the Executive Summary and download the report here.

NDED RECOGNIZES FT. CALHOUN’S LEADERSHIP

Ft. Calhoun Honored for Leading Partnerships Geared Toward Energy, Recreational Growth, Nebraska Department of Economic Development News Release

The city of Ft. Calhoun (Pop. 908), home to a groundbreaking solar partnership with Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), has earned ongoing recognition from the State of Nebraska for recent economic growth. The Department of Economic Development (DED) this week announced the City’s recertification in Nebraska’s Leadership Certified Community (LCC) program. 

Click here for more information about the LCC Program.

PJM NEWS

Coal plant owners seek to shut 3.2 GW in PJM in face of economic, regulatory and market pressures, Utility Dive

PJM is a regional transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of
wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia.

Graphic: PJM Interconnection queue as of December 31, 2021.

Coal-fired power plants in PJM are retiring, as they are in other parts of the U.S., in the face of less expensive renewable energy, tougher environmental rules and higher operating costs, according to ESAI Power and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a nonprofit that supports moving away from fossil fuels.

FEATURED NATIONAL LIBRARY

USDA’s National Agricultural Library (NAL)
The National Agricultural Library is one of five national libraries of the United States and houses one of the world’s largest collections devoted to agriculture and its related sciences.

Recent NAL resources on renewable energy include:

Solar farm west of Norfolk could be in commercial use by April

By Austin Svehla, Norfolk Daily News

NPPD entered into an agreement with Sol Customer Solutions, a joint venture between Sol Systems and Arevon Energy Inc. Arevon will manage the asset, and Sol Systems will operate and maintain the array. Sol Systems, along with partners GenPro Energy Solutions and Mesner Development, executed a lease agreement with the City of Norfolk for the land where the solar panels are being installed along Highway 275 near Norfolk’s sewer maintenance facility. Continue reading here.

Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) Resources

SPP, MISO COMPLETE CROSS-SEAM TRANSMISSION STUDY

Grid operators’ ‘seam’ study paves way for renewable expansion, E&E News

The study identified seven transmission projects along the MISO-SPP boundary that would cost $1.65 billion and enable 28 gigawatts of new generation capacity — and perhaps as much as 53 GW — across MISO and SPP combined. The latter estimate, based on modeling by SPP, would roughly double the combined wind and solar capacity that currently exists in the two regions.

MISO and SPP complete Joint Targeted Interconnection Queue, Southwest Power Pool

LES’ SUSTAINABLE ENERGY PROGRAM

LES Offers $1.5 Million Of Incentives Through Sustainable Energy Program, American Public Power Association

Since the program’s inception, LES customers have accessed nearly $28 million in program incentives and spent $220 million on energy-efficient equipment and/or services. “In total, energy efficiency projects that received SEP incentives have cumulatively saved more than 800,000 net megawatt-hours, or the equivalent annual electric use of 80,000 single-family homes,” said Marc Shkolnick, LES manager of Energy Services. Additional information about the program is available here.

NEW RESIDENTIAL SOLAR REPORT & WEBINAR FROM BERKELEY LAB

Solar Demographic Trends and Analysis
Berkeley Lab tracks and analyzes solar-adopter demographic characteristics. A central element of this work is a tracking report describing income and other socio-economic trends of residential solar adopters over time and across geographies. The report is based on household-level income and other demographic data for residential solar adopters across the United States, and is intended to serve as a foundational reference document for policy-makers, industry stakeholders, and other researchers interested in demographic trends among residential solar adopters.

The report is published with an accompanying interactive data visualization tool that allows users to further explore the underlying data. Nebraskans for Solar Note: Nebraska is not yet on the map, but data from other states may be of potential interest. 

The authors will host a webinar highlighting key findings from this study on March 17th at 2 pm Central Time. Register here.

Norfolk residents will soon be able to sign up for solar shares

NPPD News Release

“Shares from this solar farm are exclusive to NPPD Retail residents and businesses in Norfolk and we are looking forward to getting the selection process underway,” adds NPPD General Manager of Retail Services Pat Hanrahan. “The Norfolk Community Solar and battery storage project is a first of its kind among NPPD retail communities and with a maximum generating capacity of 8.5 megawatts, it will be the largest Community Solar installation to date.” Read more here.

Ohio regulators approve Union County solar farm with construction to start this year

By Mark Williams, The Columbus Dispatch

State regulators have approved a 325-megawatt solar farm to be built in Union County, the second to be approved for Union County in recent months. AEUG Union Solar is slotted to begin construction this year on a project that will take up 2,013 acres within a 3,355-acre project area in Washington and York townships, according to the Ohio Power Siting Board, which approved the project Thursday. Regulators approved Cadence Solar Energy project last fall to be built in York, Liberty and Taylor townships. The two are among nearly 50 solar projects in some stage of development in Ohio amid a surge in interest in renewable energy. Read more here.

MORE MIDWEST / NEBRASKA NEWS

LOUISIANA’S CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

Louisiana Task Force Approves State’s First-Ever Climate Acton Plan, American Public Power Association 

A Louisiana task force has approved and presented to the state’s governor a Climate Action Plan that would set a goal of achieving zero net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.

The Climate Action Plan recently unanimously approved by Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Climate Initiatives Task Force has three priority policy pillars: renewable electricity generation, industrial electrification, and industrial fuel switching to low- and no-carbon hydrogen.

BUILD BACK BETTER

NEW FERC POLICY 

FERC expands criteria for reviewing gas infrastructure proposals, outlines GHG framework, by Ethan Howland, Utility Dive

In past practice, FERC judged whether a pipeline was needed solely by whether it had contracts for its supply. The agency will now consider other factors such as demand projections, estimated capacity utilization rates, potential cost savings to customers, and statements from state regulatory commissions or local distribution companies, according to agency staff. FERC will also consider how gas infrastructure could affect the applicant’s existing customers; the interests of existing pipelines and their customers; environmental interests; and, the interests of landowners and surrounding communities, including environmental justice communities, staff said during the meeting.

NEW ENVIRONMENT AMERICA REPORT

Rooftop solar and the 2021 Texas power crisis: Exploring small-scale solar’s potential to improve grid resilience during a deep freeze event. Released by Environment America Research & Policy Center, Environment Texas Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group

Taking advantage of the nation’s vast rooftop solar potential would not only help build a more reliable grid, but also reduce other environmental and public health impacts of our current energy system. Download Report (PDF)
More Environment America Reports 

ACP REPORT

Clean Energy in America Reaches Milestone in 2021, But Installation Pace Must Accelerate to Reach Emissions Goals, American Clean Power Association News Release

While clean energy capacity passed the major milestone of 200 gigawatts (GW) – enough to support the energy needs of almost 2 out of every 5 American homes – the pace of clean energy installation risks hitting a plateau, with significant project delays due to supply chain bottlenecks and policy headwinds.

Clean Power Nebraska (PDF), ACP Resource

Work continues on Norfolk solar project

GenPro Energy Solutions News Release
News Channel Nebraska

Commercial operation is anticipated to be achieved in the spring of 2022.

NORFOLK, Neb. — Construction work is continuing on Norfolk’s first solar farm, an 8.5 megawatt solar unit, located on land at the city’s well field on Highway West 275. Last year, it was announced Norfolk will be part of Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD) SunWise Community Solar program.

“We’re excited to offer this power option to citizens,” said Mayor Josh Moenning. “Solar costs have declined significantly in the last 10 years, making this energy accessible at a very competitive rate. This project, paired with a battery storage system that will help us efficiently manage distribution, will be the largest of its kind in the state.” Read more here. 

NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar Program
GenPro’s Current Employment Opportunities

SoCore Energy Photo: Kearney’s 5.7-megawatt solar farm on 53 acres of the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing. 

Previously Posted 

Also of Potential Interest

Previously posted Energy News Network article discusses NPPD’s decarbonization limits for Nebraska communities that source wholesale power from the utility and South Sioux City’s independent path to 100% renewable energy:

  • Nebraska solar farm highlights tension between cities, electricity wholesaler
    The city of Norfolk, Nebraska, soon will celebrate its first solar farm — and the last one allowed under a contract with its electricity wholesaler. The 8.5-megawatt community solar project is being developed in partnership with the Nebraska Public Power District, which supplies power to most of the state outside of Omaha and Lincoln. The hitch for Norfolk is that the public utility’s contracts prevent municipal customers from generating more than 10% of their peak load from alternative sources, a threshold the city expects to reach with this project. “Northeast Nebraska is the renewable energy hotbed of the state,” said Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning. “I’d much rather use clean energy that’s made in our backyard than haul it in on a coal train from Wyoming, which is the status quo in Nebraska.”
  • NPPD’s Wholesale Power Contracts
    Wholesale energy sales are made to 60 entities under wholesale power contracts that terminate on Jan. 1, 2036 and to 10 other entities with wholesale power contracts that terminate on Dec. 31, 2021. The 10 wholesale customers that did not sign the 2016 contract provided the notice required under their existing 2002 contracts, and began in 2017 to reduce their purchases to 0% over a five-year period.  Source: Fitch Rates Nebraska Public Power District’s General Revs ‘A+’; Outlook Stable

Additional Resources

Renewable energy project developer selects Norfolk for office

Norfolk Daily News 

Bluestem Energy Solutions — a developer, owner and operator of renewable energy generation projects — has announced plans to open a new office in Norfolk. The location will be the third Bluestem office in the state of Nebraska, joining the headquarters in Omaha and a service center in Columbus.

The Omaha-based company chose Norfolk for its new office to better serve customers in the area. “Over the last nine years, we have built strong partnerships throughout the entire state,” said Mitch Hyde, Bluestem’s director of operations. “As we continue to expand and have operating projects in rural parts of the state, we felt it was important to have offices and staff in communities closer to our facilities.” Read more here.