On Tuesday, the county board conducted a public hearing and approved a set of solar regulations that were first considered and approved by the Madison County Joint Planning Commission in recent months . . . Heather McWhorter, the planning and zoning administrator for Madison and Pierce counties, provided the county board with an update on how Madison County researched its regulations. Read more here.
NextEra Energy Resources is seeking an interconnection agreement for a massive solar project in northeastern Nebraska that, if built, would be the largest in the Midwest and among the largest in the country. The 423 megawatt project is in the early stages of development and still hinges on how much it will cost to connect to the regional transmission grid. “We’re in a holding pattern until we get clarification from the Southwest Power Pool,” said Phil Clement, NextEra’s project director in Nebraska. “We need to know if it’s viable.” Sean Gallagher, vice president for state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, said the project could be a sign of things to come in the region, which is increasingly attractive for large solar projects. Continue reading here.
NextEra: solar and wind plus batteries will be “massively disruptive” to conventional generation, by Christian Roselund, PV Magazine. NextEra CEO Jim Robo’s exact math is that even after the federal tax credits expire, wind will be 2 – 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, large-scale solar will be 2.5 – 3 cents, and storage will add .5 – 1 cent. This would put these resources slightly below the current cost of natural gas-fired generation, without the uncertainty around fuel prices that is inherent to gas.
Last Thursday, the Madison County Joint Planning Commission listened to Ryan Zimmerman, the Pierce County Planning Commission chairman, discuss what he has learned about harnessing the sun’s energy. Pierce County approved its own solar regulations last year. Zimmerman has leased much of his land for use as a solar farm and has researched the topic extensively for a couple of years. Zimmerman said he and his brother, who farm in southwest Pierce County, have entered into a contract with NextEra Energy with plans to use their land to develop a 423-megawatt (MW) solar farm . . . Following the discussion, the commissioners approved a basic set of solar regulations for Madison County that are similar to those in Pierce County. Read more here.
Business Reports for Sunday, August 19, The Grand Island Independent
OSCEOLA — Bluestem Energy Solutions has been granted final zoning approval to install a 2.5-megawatt wind turbine one mile southwest of Osceola. Bluestem officials plan for construction to begin in September. Polk County Rural Public Power District, with headquarters in nearby Stromsburg, will purchase 100 percent of the General Electric turbine’s output through a long-term power purchase agreement that includes a guaranteed price for the life of the contract. Boyd Jones Construction of Omaha is engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for the project. Read more here.
ALSO HAPPENING IN NEBRASKA Madison County gets input on wind regulations, by Jerry Guenther, Norfolk Daily News On Thursday evening, the Madison County Joint Planning Commission continued discussions on the regulations, with hopes of hosting a public hearing on them next month. If there are no major changes based on the input from the hearing, the regulations could be forwarded to the board of commissioners for consideration in October.
Madison County officials — including members of the county board and the joint planning commission — have been prudent in taking their time before moving ahead with possible changes to the county’s regulations governing wind energy . . . Our desire is that Madison County be a place where reasonable restrictions are adopted that provide a level of reassurance and protection for those who aren’t big fans — pardon the pun — of the turbines in the countryside. Yet we want Madison County to be a place where its natural wind energy potential can be developed in order to provide additional property tax revenue, and jobs during the construction period and once operating. Read more here
Map: World Atlas
UPDATE: AUGUST 18 Madison County gets input on wind regulations, by Jerry Guenther, Norfolk Daily News On Thursday evening, the Madison County Joint Planning Commission continued discussions on the regulations, with hopes of hosting a public hearing on them next month. If there are no major changes based on the input from the hearing, the regulations could be forwarded to the board of commissioners for consideration in October.
Lincoln Electric System to study EV charging habits, by Peter Maloney, American Public Power Association Blog. Nebraska public power utility Lincoln Electric System has begun a campaign to recruit electric vehicle drivers in a study that the utility plans to use to better understand the impact electric vehicle charging will have on its system’s demand. “The study is going to be able to help us ascertain when and where and for how long drivers are charging their cars, as well as give us information about state of charge of the batteries and trip durations,” Marc Shkolnick, LES’ manager of energy services, said.