Tag Archives: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Will Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska remain reliant on coal?

By Joe Smyth, Clean Cooperative

A wholesale power provider for 13 Colorado cities and towns generates most of its power
from coal – but will that still be true in 2030? That’s one of the key questions raised in a
report published last month by Sustainable Development Strategies Group, ​”A Renewable
Energy Future for Colorado Communities Served by the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska.”

The report examines the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN), which sells wholesale power to dozens of towns and cities in Nebraska, Wyoming, Iowa, and Colorado. Sustainable Development Strategies Group (SDSG), a non-profit research group based in Gunnison,
Colorado, focused on the 13 municipalities in Colorado that buy power from MEAN. The report examines MEAN’s power supply mix, policies, and contracts in the context of a transition to
renewable energy. Read more here.

Image from Moody’s Investors Service March 2017 report: Utilities increasingly adding low cost wind power to rate base, leaving inefficient coal plants at risk. Nebraska is among the 15 states with the
best wind energy resources, which the report found could generate electricity from new wind power projects at prices well below the average costs of operating coal fired power plants.

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

Additional Recommended Reading

NRECA Resources
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s innovative SUNDA Project helps rural electric cooperatives to develop utility-scale solar projects. SUNDA stands for “Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration.”
Resources are available here: SUNDA Project
NRECA Report: A Solar Revolution in Rural America

Push for renewables vexes Western power supplier

By Keriann Conroy, Perspective, High Country News

Colorado’s largest member-owned generation and transmission provider may be in trouble.
Tri-State Generation and Transmission, which provides wholesale electricity to rural
cooperatives in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nebraska, is facing increasing pressure to let go of some of its contracts and to improve its renewable portfolio. But it appears unable to change fast enough to keep up with the times.

Most of Tri-State’s power is generated from coal- and gas-fired plants or large hydroelectric dams, but it is now facing regulatory hassles and the potential exodus of customers. Rural
“distribution” cooperatives are currently waiting to see how much it would cost them to exit their contracts, while Colorado moves toward regulations requiring more renewables.
Read more here.

Photo Credit: Missy Kennedy/Flickr

Keriann Conroy is a graduate student at Western Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado, studying democratic practices and sustainability.

Previously Posted News Stories & RMI Report

Also of Potential Interest

Clean energy provides Nebraska jobs

The Grand Island Independent

LINCOLN — More than 18,400 Nebraska residents now work in clean energy industries in 92 out of 93 counties in the state, according to a new analysis of energy jobs data from Clean Energy Trust and the national, nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs). Nebraska’s clean energy workforce now employs more than 5 times as many people than all the computer programmers and web developers in the state, according to Department of Labor Employment Statistics. Read more here.

Photo Credit: iStock

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • Inside Business: Kutak Rock, Omaha World-Herald
    During Mr. Bracht’s tenure as Director of the Nebraska Energy Office, the state’s solar developments expanded by 20-fold from just over one megawatt to more than 25 megawatts. In addition, Nebraska now exceeds 1.4 gigawatt of operating wind farms, and at the completion of projects under development will have more than 2.4 gigawatts.
  • LED streetlight program moving forward, The Wire, OPPD Blog
    Beginning in September, OPPD representatives will meet with municipalities, counties and other streetlight customers about the transition from high-pressure sodium fixtures to LED fixtures. The utility is finalizing which LED fixture design it will go with, looking at several options to determine which will be the best for customers both in terms of cost and function.
  • Rural electric cooperatives look at cutting the cord, Colorado Springs Gazette
    At least four cooperatives — United Power, the Delta-Montrose Electric Association, the La Plata Electric Association and San Miguel — have hit the 5 percent cap, and four more are near the limit, according to a survey by Clean Cooperative. Tri-State Members’ Service Territories include Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.
    In Nebraska:
    CR Chimney Rock Public Power District, Bayard
    MW The Midwest Electric Cooperative Corporation, Grant
    NW Northwest Rural Public Power District, Hay Springs
    PH Panhandle Rural Electric Membership Association, Alliance
    RS Roosevelt Public Power District, Scottsbluff
    WB Wheat Belt Public Power District, Sidney

  • America’s Electric Cooperatives, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Fact Sheets (PDF)
  • Study: Wind farms do not hurt property values, Nebraska Radio Network Contributor, Lu Nelsen, Policy Associate, Center for Rural Affairs

Inspiring community service story: Lee’s Summit animal shelter goes green with help from teen

By Anne Marie Hunger, Kansas City Star

The community dedicated to the animals at Lee’s Summit Animal Control extends beyond the staff and volunteers who meet their needs. Advocates and activists focused on the long-term future of the shelter help ensure it can continue to care for more than 4,000 animals a year. 18-year-old Zach Burton is one of those activists.

In 2016, Burton approached city officials with a plan to promote green energy in Lee’s Summit through a solar power project. Burton has worked with the city, architects and energy professionals over the past two years to bring his project to fruition at Lee’s Summit Animal Control. Read more here.

Photo: The 96 solar panels at the shelter will reduce energy expenses by over $135,000 over the course of 25 years.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED WEEKEND READING

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

EXCELLENT ARTICLE BY KAREN UHLENHUTH
Nebraska tribe becomes a solar power leader on the Plains, Energy News Network

FEATURED NATIONAL NEWS

CORPORATE NEWS
Global Tech Giant Fujitsu Commits To 100% Renewable Electricity And Invests In Clean Energy Technologies, The Climate Group. IT giant Fujitsu has joined RE100 with a commitment to source 100% renewable electricity by 2050, with an interim target of 40% by 2030. Alongside investments in renewable energy technology, Fujitsu is also investing in its people. The company has been actively conducting seminars and events with an environmental focus for employees around the world. By educating staff on clean energy, Fujitsu aims to raise global awareness of renewable power.

RENEWABLE ENERGY LOAN PROGRAM
DOE rolls out $2B loan guarantee program for renewable energy on tribal lands, Utility Dive
Under the Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee Program, the DOE can guarantee up to 90% of the unpaid principal and interest of a loan made to a federally recognized Indian tribe for energy development.

INTERCONNECTION NEWS

RESEARCH

NET-ZERO ENERGY / COMMUNITY SOLAR NEWS

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

  • Tesla Powerwalls and PowerPacks save Vermont $500,000 during heatwaves, PV Magazine
    Green Mountain Power suggests 500 distributed Tesla Powerwalls plus two larger energy storage facilities have saved its customers $500,000 this summer during peak demand hours.
  • CPS Energy sees storage as key element of energy transition, American Public Power Association. San Antonio, Texas-based public power utility CPS Energy is pursuing a so-called “Flexible Path” approach to energy, one that incorporates new energy storage technology to guide its ongoing transition from fossil fuels to renewables. “We want to look into new technology, innovation,” says CPS spokesman John Moreno. “We want to reduce our dependence on coal.”

SMART INVERTERS

Smart residential solar inverters prepping to run the grid

Center for Rural Affairs explores renewable energy issues

By Joseph Hopper, Spencer Daily Reporter

The Nebraska and Iowa-based nonprofit, the Center for Rural Affairs, recently published a number of publications focusing on renewable energy in Iowa. Its most recent research publication, entitled “Powering Iowa: Rural Perspectives on Iowa’s Renewable Energy Transformation,” highlighted current opinions on various renewable energy issues, such as wind turbines and transmission line development. In addition to the center’s study on opinions of renewable energy, the center authored a white paper on wind energy ordinances in the state and a second publication examining incentives for tax revenue from transmission lines. Read the entire article here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Highline is 80 Years Strong: Electric cooperative celebrates with members at annual meeting
By Darci Tomky, The Holyoke Enterprise

Of the energy sold to members from Tri-State, about 30 percent was generated from renewable sources last year. That’s a considerable increase from the 17 percent reported in 2007. “That is the largest percentage of renewables in generation and transmission companies across the country and one of the highest of any utility in the U.S.” said Farnsworth. Included in Highline’s renewable projects is the Trailblazer Waste Heat Generation Site. Emphasizing its value to Highline, Farnsworth said it has brought $2.3 million to Highline’s bottom line since 2009. Highline is currently looking at options for a utility scale solar project that could provide savings to members over the next 20 to 25 years.

Nebraska Cooperatives Currently Using Solar & Wind

  • NRECA’s Interactive Map: Cooperative Solar Across the Country, shows that 443 cooperatives in 43 states utilize solar as a source of power. Eight Nebraska co-ops currently use solar, following: Georgia (42), Minnesota (37), North Carolina (26), Tennessee (24), Colorado (23), Indiana (23), Iowa (22), Oklahoma (21), South Carolina (21), Wisconsin (19), Arkansas (18), New Mexico (16), Mississippi (14), Illinois (13) Texas (11), Virginia (11), Alabama (10), Florida (9), and Wyoming (9). Click here and scroll down to individual states’ information.
  • NRECA’s Interactive Map: Cooperative Wind Across the Country, shows that.564 cooperatives in 37 states use wind as a source of power. Thirty Nebraska co-ops utilize wind energy, following Minnesota (44), Missouri (41), Indiana (38), and Iowa (31). Click here and scroll down to individual states’ information, including a list of all 30 Nebraska cooperatives using wind.

Nebraska Native Ken Johnson – Electric Co-op Leader Takes Helm of USDA’s Rural Utilities Service

Written by Cathy Cash, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Co-Mo Electric Cooperative CEO Ken Johnson is taking the helm of the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service with a proven record in electric co-op leadership when it comes to efficiency, infrastructure and broadband . . . Johnson, who grew up on a farm near Edgar, Nebraska, is a director and past president for Central Electric Power Cooperative in Jefferson City and a director for the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. He began his career with the Nebraska Public Power District. Barry Hart, executive vice president and CEO of the Missouri statewide, said that Johnson’s leadership, ingenuity and deep appreciation of electric co-ops portends great things to come.  Read more here.

Press Release: NRECA Applauds Selection of Electric Co-op CEO as RUS Administrator

Photo:  Ken Johnson, general manager/CEO of Co-Mo Electric, is taking the helm of USDA’s RUS program among accolades from the administration, NRECA and other co-ops. Credit: Co-Mo Electric

USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) administers programs that provide infrastructure or infrastructure improvements to rural communities. These include electric power, water and waste treatment, and telecommunications services.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.