Tag Archives: Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN)

New study: Highlights from the Wind Powers American Business report

By Celeste Wanner, American Wind Energy Association

Many of the businesses across the country that power our everyday lives are increasingly choosing wind energy to power their operations. Once a niche market, corporate customers now routinely represent 40 percent or more of announced wind power contracts in a given year and are some of the most sought-after customers by wind project developers. A new AWEA report released todayWind Powers American Business, focuses on this growing segment and highlights the top corporate buyers of wind energy in the U.S. The bottom line: Companies powering up with wind is no longer just a trend, it’s the new normal. Let’s dig into some of the top trends: Continue reading.

Image: Plum Creek Wind Farm

WIND ENERGY INVESTMENT IN NEBRASKA

Report says Nebraska in the top five states for wind energy investment, by Caitlyn Lorr, Siouxland Proud. Nebraska is among the top five states in the country for attracting direct business purchases of its wind energy resources, according to a report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

DOE’S BETTER BUILDINGS INITIATIVE

DOE Announces $11 Billion in Energy Cost-Savings from Better Buildings Initiative Partners, Department of Energy News Release 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced nearly $11 billion in energy-cost savings by more than 950 public and private sector organizations in DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative. To date, partners have saved nearly 1.8 quadrillion British thermal units of energy, which is equivalent to the electricity consumption of 27 million homes in America over one year. Learn more about DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative HERE.

ZERO ENERGY COMMUNITIES

Here’s how to design communities that give back as much energy as they take
GreenBiz contributor Charles F. Kutscher is a fellow and senior research associate of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, a joint institute between the University of Colorado-Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

My colleagues and I study the best ways to rapidly reduce carbon emissions from the building sector. In recent years, construction designs have advanced dramatically. Net zero energy buildings, which produce the energy they need on site from renewable sources, increasingly are the default choice. But to speed the transition to zero carbon emissions, I believe the United States must think bigger and focus on designing or redeveloping entire communities that are zero energy.

MORE ON THE 2035 REPORT

  • A Clean Electricity Future is Affordable and Attainable—It’s Time to Act, Rocky Mountain Institute. GridLab and UC-Berkeley show that a 90 percent carbon-free US electricity grid is both reliable and lower cost. The Berkeley/GridLab report represents a distinctive new chapter in the evolving discourse playing out around the country regarding the future of the US electricity system. The study will likely be an important benchmark against which individual utilities’ investments are evaluated for compatibility with least-cost and feasible decarbonization outcomes. Investors, utilities, regulators, and policymakers should take advantage of the wealth of insight and information contained within this body of work, and plan accordingly for their own role in accelerating the decarbonization of the US power grid. Website: www.2035report.com 
  • 90% clean power by 2035 is ‘challenging but feasible’, PV Magazine
    “90% by 2035 is the sweet spot” for a pathway that uses existing technology, allows “judicious use” of existing generation assets, and “achieves near-complete decarbonization in a realistic timeframe,” said study co-author Nikit Abhyankar of UC Berkeley. The resulting lower wholesale cost of electricity by 2035 “was a surprise for us.”
  • Falling renewable, storage costs make 90% carbon-free US grid feasible by 2035, UC Berkeley finds, Utility Dive

NEW GTM POLITICAL CLIMATE EPISODE

Racial Justice Protests Put a Spotlight on Pollution and Clean Energy Solutions, by Julia Pyper, Senior Editor, Greentech Media

On this episode of Political Climate, National Wildlife Federation’s Mustafa Santiago Ali connects the dots between the clean air, affordable energy and the racial justice movement. Ali has been on the front lines of the fight for environmental justice since he was a teenager and throughout his 24 years at the EPA. Now, as vice president of environmental justice, climate and community revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation, Ali says he’s hopeful this historic moment will accelerate equitable energy solutions.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

The time for electric trucks and buses is now, by Katie Fehrenbacher, GreenBiz
Despite the pandemic, sales of electric trucks and buses are expected to surge in the United States and Canada over the next couple of years. And perhaps, surprising to many, they’ll soar even within this year (the year that can best be described as WTF). That’s according to new data released recently by the clean-transportation-focused nonprofit CALSTART. The organization expects there to be 169 zero-emission commercial vehicles available for purchase, or soon to be available, in North America by the end of 2020; that’s a 78 percent increase from the number of zero-emission commercial vehicles available at the end of 2019. What’s more, between 2019 and 2023, the number of zero-emission commercial vehicle models is expected to double, to 195. 

SECOND-LIFE EV BATTERY STORAGE

Used EV Batteries Could Power Tomorrow’s Solar Farms, IEEE Spectrum
An MIT study finds promise in repurposing swapped-out EV battery packs for solar grid storage.

7 Transmission Projects That Could Unlock a Renewable Energy Bounty

By Jeff St. John, Greentech Media

The case for new multi-state transmission lines has never been clearer. A growing number of states and utilities have set 100 percent clean-energy goals, with no obvious path to generating all that power close to home. The gap is growing between the transmission network’s capacity and the need to link wind farms in the Great Plains and Intermountain West, solar farms in the Southwest, and hydropower resources in eastern Canada, to other regions hungry for carbon-free energy.

Transmission developers have long said that if only a few big renewable-linked projects could get built, the path would open to others once the benefits were manifest. That theory was largely left untested in the 2010s. Here are seven still very-much-alive projects that could prove it out in the decade ahead. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Nebraska Public Power District

NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY LAB PROJECT

A big grid solution to harness small solar arrays, PV Magazine
With electric utilities often having little information about how much solar power they are receiving from distributed PV systems, it is hoped the NREL project will help them gain more visibility of, and control over the volumes injected into networks.

DOE FUNDING ANNOUNCEMENTS

ASES SOLAR 2020

SOLAR 20/20: Renewable Energy Vision Goes Virtual, ASES News Release, PR Newswire
The American Solar Energy Society’s 49th Annual National Solar Conference, SOLAR 20/20: Renewable Energy Vision, will now take place 100% online in their first ever virtual conference. Learn more at ases.org/conference.

SOLAR INDUSTRY 

What can solar learn from the 2008 financial crisis in the age of Covid-19?, by Tim Sylvia, PV Magazine. Even as global PV forecasts fall, tax equity dries up and unemployment rises, Jim Spano, co-founder of RadiantREIT, believes that the right type of government stimulus could not only help the solar industry recover — but drive it to new heights. Regardless of the financial tool used to make the upfront cost of developing a project manageable, Spano thinks that the solar industry is in a unique position to rebound more quickly and with less long-lasting effect than other industries.

AWEA NEWS RELEASE

Voters Strongly Favor Offshore Wind Energy
New Polling shows near identical support among Republicans and Democrats for adding more offshore wind to the American energy portfolio. Majority of voters say wind energy will be more important in 10 years than oil and natural gas.

MORE ON RECENT KANSAS SUPREME COURT RULING

Inside Clean Energy: Rooftop Solar Wins Big in Kansas Court Ruling, by Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News. The Kansas Supreme Court has provided a rare and sweet victory for renewable energy advocates in the state, with national implications. The court issued a unanimous ruling on Friday agreeing with advocates that a 2018 utility rate plan was discriminatory in the way it created a new charge that inflated the bills of rooftop solar customers. This has the potential to alter the national debate over how utilities deal with rooftop solar, considering that utilities in other states have pointed to Kansas as a model.

MINNESOTA

New suburban solar projects part of a wave of new projects in Minnesota, StarTribune
There are now an estimated 7,500 solar arrays in the state, with 1,000 going in just last year. 

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

Japanese investor provides tax backing for 43MW US wind, reNEWS
Financing is for a pair of operational facilities in Nebraska and Minnesota. The 30-megawatt Kimball wind farm has been operational since May 2018. It has a 20-year offtake agreement with the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska.

RE100 BUSINESS

IKEA owner acquires US solar parks to boost renewables transition, Smart Energy International

 EUROPE

‘Europe’s largest’ solar power facility comes online as the industry faces coronavirus challenges, CNBC. A 500 megawatt solar photovoltaic plant, described by Spanish utility Iberdrola as “Europe’s largest,” sent its first megawatt hour of energy to the grid earlier this week, a welcome bright spot for an industry that in the months ahead could experience difficulties brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. The Núñez de Balboa facility is located in Extremadura, a region in the west of Spain. According to Iberdrola, it has over 1.4 million solar panels and will be able to supply energy to 250,000 people per year.

NPPD cutting ribbon on new community solar facility

Nebraska Public Power District News Release


Columbus, Neb. – 
The time has come to celebrate the launch of a new community solar farm with the official ribbon cutting for the Scottsbluff II project. The new addition to the Scottsbluff community’s renewable energy portfolio is set to go live on March 1, with the ceremony scheduled for 2 p.m. March 2. “We are very excited to cut the ribbon and celebrate the official launch of Scottsbluff II,” says Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) Vice-President and Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “The Scottsbluff II project is a great partnership between the city of Scottsbluff – NPPD and N-Solar and these combined efforts are what made this project a reality.” The ceremony is set to take place in the Landers Memorial Soccer Complex parking lot at 4205 5th Avenue just outside the new solar facility. Continue reading here.

OPPD News

Structure rebuild completed in time for potential flooding, The Wire

Additional Recommended Reading   

MEAN Board Approves Resolution On Vision For Carbon Neutrality By 2050

The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) Board of Directors at its board meeting on Jan. 23 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.

Resolution: MEAN 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 

NCORPE may advance Lincoln County wind project

By Lori Potter, Kearney Hub

The next step toward a possible wind energy project in southern Lincoln County may be made next week. It will be the focus Tuesday at the Nebraska Cooperative Republican Platte Enhancement project’s 5:30 p.m. board meeting at Mid-Plains Community College in North Platte. NCORPE is owned and operated by four NRDs — Upper, Middle and Lower Republican and Twin Platte — that have repurposed groundwater use on the property from crop irrigation to streamflow enhancements in both basins. Continue reading here. 

Nebraska Also In The News Here

Wyoming, Neb. public power entities join SPP Western market, American Public Power Association
The Wyoming Municipal Energy Agency (WMPA) and Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) will be participants of Southwest Power Pool’s Western Energy Imbalance Service (WEIS) Market when it launches in February 2021, SPP said on Dec. 12. WMPA is the wholesale electricity provider for 8 public power communities in Wyoming. 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.

Road to 100: How Western water rights and local billionaires complicated Aspen’s renewables path

By Catherine Morehouse, Associate Editor, Utility Dive

This is the last of a four part series based on Utility Dive visits to cities that produce more renewable power than they consume. All four installments can be found here.

There’s an argument to be made that Aspen is the original 100% renewable city. The town of just over 7,000 permanent residents is now famous for its ski slopes flocked every winter by celebrities and millionaires. But it started as a mining town that in 1885 became the first city west of the Mississippi to electrify its homes, businesses and streets, and two years later its underground silver mines, with hydroelectric power. “Aspen led the way in the use of electricity … For years, it was the best-lighted town in the United States,” read a 1907 article in the Electrical Review, an electrical engineering periodical. Continue reading here.

About the Author

 

Before joining Industry Dive, Catherine Morehouse was at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska where she worked as News Editor and then Editor-in-Chief of The Creightonian. She has a B.A. in Journalism and Political Science from Creighton.

 

Gunnison navigates net-zero scenario

Gunnison Country Times

The City of Gunnison is narrowing in on its goal of becoming “net-zero” in its electric power supply next year. MEAN [Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska] representative Sarah Jones said the agency is currently working with city leaders to craft a new resource portfolio to meet Gunnison’s net-zero goal. “We are actively working with them to achieve their goals right now,” said Jones. Jones pointed to two other communities in Colorado, Aspen and Glenwood Springs, that have followed a similar path of pursuing renewable energy in lieu of reliance on fossil fuels. Both those municipalities served by MEAN are now sourcing energy from non-carbon emitting sources to be 100 percent renewable. However, according to City Manager Russ Forrest, while the goal is to be net-zero, there are still contractual details to be worked out. Read more here.

Photo: MEAN’s 30-MW Kimball, Nebraska Wind Facility. See: GE-Powered Kimball Wind Project Begins Operations In Nebraska, North American Windpower

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.

Previously Posted 

A Renewable Energy Future for Colorado Communities Served by the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, report completed in February of 2019 by Sustainable Development Strategies Group (SDSG), a nonprofit research group based in Gunnison, Colorado.

Will Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska remain reliant on coal?, by Joe Smyth, Clean Cooperative
One striking finding in the SDSG 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.

Most electric cooperatives in Colorado face limits on local renewable energy development, because of their contracts with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. The SDSG report details how the towns and cities that buy power from MEAN also face limits on local energy projects, following a 2005 decision by MEAN to place a moratorium on new generation. But MEAN has also made exceptions to that policy – most notably, the city of Aspen is a member of MEAN, but was able to reach its 100% renewable energy goal in part by negotiating with MEAN.

Hearing held Tuesday at Fairbury City Council on possible solar panel field

By Tommy Rezac, KWBE

Rich Andrysik, an engineer with the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN for short) presented information to the council on solar energy, and what it would cost for Fairbury if it were implemented. “I’m not here to sell you on the solar proposal,” he said. “I’m here to answer questions.” Andryski says he’s given the same presentation to Alliance, Sergeant Bluff IA, Pender, Stuart and West Point. “By putting these towns together, we have a big enough project that we expect to get the price down,” Andrysik said. Read more here.

Photo: Rich Andrysik of the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska speaks to the Fairbury City Council Tuesday on the possibility of bringing a solar field to Fairbury.

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.

River of No Return: How austerity and climate change put northeastern Nebraska underwater

By Ted Genoways, Contributing Editor, The New Republic

Willard Ruzicka saw it all in a dream. The Niobrara River, which runs a few hundred feet from his family’s farmhouse in the unincorporated village of Pishelville, Nebraska, had topped its banks. But instead of water edging toward his house from the north, the dream river—somewhere upstream, in the direction of Spencer Dam—had jumped the channel and cut a new course from the south. Water came rushing down the road, stranding the house as the river closed in from all sides. “I woke up and was just shaking,” Ruzicka remembers now. It was after 2 a.m., midwinter, the braided river through the trees still thickly iced and unmoving. Outside the second-story window of his bedroom, the moon was bright above the snow. “I don’t know why you sense some of these things,” he said, “what it is in your mind that brings these things up.”
 Continue reading here.

Ted Genoways is the author of This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Farm and The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food

Additional Recommended Reading

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

  • A small company sees opportunity in revolutionizing Colorado’s energy supply, Energy News Network. Guzman Energy has offered to buy and shut down three coal units in Colorado and replace the 800 megawatts of generation with renewables. “We would finance the early shutdown of these coal plants, giving Tri-State a substantial cash infusion, in the vicinity of a half-billion dollars, and we would replace the portfolio (that would be lost) with in excess of 70% renewables,” said Chris Riley, president of Guzman Energy, in an interview last week at the firm’s office in downtown Denver. Of Tri-State’s 43 member co-ops, 29 are in Colorado and New Mexico, with the others in Wyoming and Nebraska. More significantly, most of the largest members — constituting roughly half of Tri-State’s electrical demand — have told Tri-State they want to see a more rapid decarbonization. Tri-State has lately begun taking steps to accommodate those requests.
  • Tri-State rebuffs offer from Guzman Energy to buy and close 3 coal plants, Utility Dive
    According to Guzman, Tri-State officials indicated they are not currently interested in the proposal, but could revisit the idea after a legislative rulemaking process in Colorado has been finalized. Lawmakers in that state recently passed legislation subjecting Tri-State to oversight by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.
  • Glenwood to go 100 percent renewable June 1; power contract signing Wednesday at Glenwood Caverns, Post Independent. The vast majority of Glenwood’s renewable energy will come from wind power supplied by the [Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska] at generating stations on the eastern plains. However, the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) will supply 6.8 percent from hydroelectric renewable power, too.

One third of the world’s power now comes from renewable energy

By Perry Miller, Inhabitat

After years of hard work and dedication, a third of the power generated around the world is now linked to renewable energy. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) just released new data that shows impressive growth in both wind and solar energy, which has contributed to the changes in energy sources around the globe. Read more here.

Photo posted by Inhabitat via IRENA.

ALSO IN THE NEWS – PLUS A FEATURED VIDEO

OP-ED 

You can’t kill the solar industry — and all attempts just make us stronger, by Tony Clifford, Chief Development Officer of Standard Solar, PV Magazine 

Illinois is beginning to build a robust solar industry in the wake of passing its Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016, and they’re in the process of following it up with a Clean Energy Jobs Act this year. And they’re not the only Midwestern state to join the Solar Revolution. Minnesota is the birthplace of the best community solar program in the nation, and Michigan is (albeit slowly) bringing its solar policies into the 21st century.