Tag Archives: Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality

Supportive energy policy shines spotlight on rural Nebraska

Written by Lu Nelson, Policy Associate at the Center for Rural Affairs,
Contributing Opinion, The Grand Island Independent

Through net metering, homeowners are able to save on energy rates while utilities gain access to local, renewable energy that they can use to meet the needs of other customers. Meanwhile, the installation of generating systems like solar panels brings jobs to communities where consumers are looking to invest in projects. In Nebraska, the solar industry already supports more than 1,300 jobs, and there is plenty of room for the industry to grow as panels continue to get cheaper and more efficient.

Legislative Bill 509 in the Nebraska Legislature would raise the existing cap on the size of projects that qualify for net metering. Allowing consumers to send more of their excess renewable energy to the grid helps lower costs, creates new economic opportunities, and promotes energy independence. Read more here.

LB 509: Redefine the terms net metering and qualified facility and change powers and duties of a local distribution utility

Upcoming Legislative Hearing
Nebraska Legislative Bill 678: Create the Volkswagen Settlement Cash Fund and provide duties for the Department of Environmental Quality
Introduced by Senator Tony Vargas
LB 678 Appropriations Committee Hearing: March 20. 2019 at 1:30 pm in Room 1003
Appropriations Committee
Senator John Stinner, Chairperson jstinner@leg.ne.gov
Senator Kate Bolz kbolz@leg.ne.gov

Senator Robert Clements rclements@leg.ne.gov
Senator Myron Dorn mdorn@leg.ne.gov
Senator Steve Erdman serdman@leg.ne.gov
Senator Robert Hilkemann rhilkemann@leg.ne.gov
Senator Mike McDonnell mmcdonnell@leg.ne.gov
Senator Tony Vargas tvargas@leg.ne.gov
Senator Anna Wishart awishart@leg.ne.gov

Testifier Guide (PDF)
Written Position Letter
If you are not testifying in person and would like to submit a written position letter to be included in the official hearing record as an exhibit, the letter must be delivered to the office of the committee chair (or emailed to the committee chair) of the committee conducting the hearing on the bill by 5:00 p.m. on the last work day prior to the public hearing.

Additionally, the letter must include your name and address, state a position of for, against, or neutral on the bill in question and include a request for the letter to be included as part of the public hearing record.

Upcoming Event: Nebraska Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Conference

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is partnering with the Nebraska Power Association to host the conference on March 25, 2019 at 10 am at the Holthus Convention Center, 3130 Holen Avenue in York. On-site registration and exhibits start at 9 am.

The free conference is intended for those interested in installing public electric vehicle chargers and also for members of the public interested in the development of public electric vehicle charging in Nebraska. If you would like to participate in lunch, snacks and refreshments throughout the day, the fee will be $20 per person.

View Agenda.
To register, visit: www.evnebraska.com.

Nebraska steers VW money to ‘clean diesel’ school bus subsidies

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

Critics say Nebraska is spending too much of its Volkswagen settlement money on subsidies for diesel buses when it should be investing in electric vehicles. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has distributed about a quarter of its $12.2 million share from the automaker’s emissions cheating settlement. The money has helped cities and districts purchase 45 buses, with all but two of them running on diesel, propane or compressed natural gas. The agency also plans to put about $3 million into an existing clean diesel program, which pays toward the replacement or retrofitting of trash trucks, school buses, long-haul trucks and irrigation systems. Continue reading here.

Photo: Charging station for low-maintenance, zero-emissions electric school buses.

Nebraska Legislative Bill 678: Create the Volkswagen Settlement Cash Fund and provide duties for the Department of Environmental Quality
Introduced by Senator Tony Vargas
LB 678 Appropriations Committee Hearing: March 20. 2019 at 1:30 pm in Room 1003 

Nebraska Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Conference

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is partnering with the Nebraska Power Association to host the conference on March 25, 2019 at 10 am at the Holthus Convention Center, 3130 Holen Avenue in York. On-site registration and exhibits start at 9 am.

The free conference is intended for those interested in installing public electric vehicle chargers and also for members of the public interested in the development of public electric vehicle charging in Nebraska. If you would like to participate in lunch, snacks and refreshments throughout the day, the fee will be $20 per person. To register, visit: www.evnebraska.com.

Last Day to Submit Your Comments on Nebraska VW Settlement Draft Plan December 31, 2017

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) has been designated by Governor Ricketts to administer funds allocated to the state from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. The initial allocation to Nebraska is approximately $12.25 million. 

  • NDEQ has released Nebraska’s draft mitigation plan, which is available for download HERE.
  • NDEQ is soliciting public input on the draft plan. Comments will be accepted through December 31, 2017. Instructions for submitting comments are available by clicking the link, above.

NDEQ Soliciting Public Comments on Nebraska’s Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Draft Plan

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) has been designated by Governor Ricketts to administer funds allocated to the state from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. The initial allocation to Nebraska is approximately $12.25 million. 

  • NDEQ has completed the draft mitigation plan, which is available for download HERE.
  • NDEQ is soliciting input from the public on the draft plan. Comments will be accepted through December 31, 2017. Instructions for submitting comments are available by clicking the link, above.

Two Meetings Scheduled to Discuss Nebraska VW Settlement Funds

Lincoln: October 16 – 1:00 p.m. at the Lancaster Event Center, 4100 N. 84th Street
North Platte: October 18 – 1:00 p.m. at Best Western Plus, 3201 S. Jeffers Street

Nebraska is expected to receive approximately $12.25 million in a settlement approved by the U.S. District Court against Volkswagen and Audi. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) has been designated by Governor Pete Ricketts as the lead agency to administer the funds allocated to Nebraska.

NDEQ is seeking public involvement as it develops a draft mitigation plan, which is to be submitted to the court-appointed Trustee of the settlement for approval.

“We intend to develop a plan that will effectively direct our share of the settlement funds to improve Nebraska’s air quality and support local projects,” NDEQ Director Jim Macy said. “These meetings are an important part of our effort to discuss how the funds can best be used in our state.”

The meetings will begin with a presentation giving an overview of the settlement and the diesel emission mitigation actions that are available for funding under the Trust. Attendees will then have the opportunity to ask questions and provide comments on Nebraska’s development of a Mitigation Plan under the Trust.

Written public comments can also be submitted to NDEQ. Comments received by November 3, 2017 will be reviewed and considered by NDEQ as it develops the draft plan. The preferred method of submitting comments is through NDEQ’s online Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Plan comment portal: https://ecmp.nebraska.gov/DEQ-VW/.

Comments can also be sent by email to: NDEQ.VWSettlement@nebraska.gov, or by mail to: NDEQ Air Quality Division, P.O. Box 98922, Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-8922.

More information about the VW settlement, eligible project options, and public involvement opportunities is located at NDEQ’s VW webpage: http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/OnWeb/AirVW

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS

A Nebraska Farm’s Renewable Energy Enterprise Is Reaping Profits While Protecting Soil & Water

Danny and Josie Kluthe own the first on-farm electrical generator in Nebraska powered by manure methane. The methane is harvested from an anaerobic manure digester on their swine farm in Dodge, Nebraska to produce electricity and compressed natural gas (CNG).

Some of their homegrown, renewable energy is used for the farm. The excess, enough to power approximately 50 homes, is sold to the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) through the Kluthe’s alternative energy business, called OLean Energy. NPPD distributes the energy to neighboring Cuming County Public Power District.

It all started with the Kluthe’s desire to be good neighbors, to control the odor from their farm, particularly with a church nearby.  At a symposium  presented by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the Nebraska Public Power District, Danny discovered that the manure from an anaerobic digester essentially comes out odorless. “So it seemed like a perfect fit.”

The USDA and the Nebraska Environmental Trust provided grants to help fund the construction of the farm’s electrical generator. The manure methane produced by the digester is piped to the generator to power it.

“We are displacing $4-per-gallon diesel with the methane we produce here on the farm, so the payback is phenomenal. We now can make our own electricity, our own vehicle fuel and our own fuel to heat the barns. It’s nice to be energy-independent and not be at the mercy of energy costs.”

To read more about the Kluthe family and additional ways they are protecting the soil and water resources at Bacon Hill, share their story and connect with others, click on this link: http://globegazette.com/article_c46cafba-2e1a-50bc9716db629ab74df1.html#.Umktng5a4OQ.twitter

The Midwest Rural Energy Council’s website provides resources on Anaerobic Digesters and Biogas, including: Anaerobic Digester Basics, Financial Assistance & Economics of Using Anaerobic Digesters, Farmers’ Digester Experience, Organizations that Support Anaerobic Digestion Endeavors, and more: www.mrec.org/anaerobicdigestion.html

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s AgStar Program provides an online Anaerobic Digester (AD) 101 guide, answers to Frequent Questions, Fact Sheets, and additional resources at this link: www.epa.gov/agstar/anaerobic/index.html