Tag Archives: Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD)

Straightening out Gov. Pete Ricketts’ comments

By Charlie Kennedy, NPPD Board Member, Star Herald

I am responding to Governor Pete Ricketts’ “Strengthening Energy Reliability and Independence” opinion article in the Aug. 24 edition of the Star Herald. In 2018 I was elected board director for Nebraska Public Power District’s subdivision 5 which encompasses most of western Nebraska and I ran as a non-partisan independent. Governor Ricketts’ comments and accounts in the article are correct at face level, however some are misleading in support of political views and platform. While I laud our governor for many of his initiatives and successes, I believe that safe, affordable and reliable energy should not be a political issue but rather based on common sense and the best use of emerging technologies.

Continue reading here.

PETE RICKETTS: Strengthening Energy Reliability and Independence, Star Herald

Nebraska Recognizes Clean Energy Week 2021

By Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, Norfolk Daily News

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has issued a proclamation recognizing September 20-24, 2021 as Clean Energy Week in the state in conjunction with the fifth annual National Clean Energy Week (NCEW).

“Nebraska believes in reliable, affordable, and clean forms of energy,” wrote Governor Ricketts in his proclamation. “Wind is responsible for a significant portion of the state’s renewable electricity generation, with more than 1,000 wind turbines and more than 2,100 MW of installed utility-scale capacity.” Read more here.

RESOURCES FOR CLEAN ENERGY WEEK – OR ANYTIME – FROM OPPD, NPPD & LES

If you are a customer of another utility company, check the website for available resources.

 

 

 

 

Business Resources

Residential Resources

 

 

 

 


NPPD’s EnergyWise Incentives & Rebates For:

 

 

 

 

 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED RESOURCE

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency-Nebraska

N Solar and Cozad Cut the Ribbon at City’s New Solar Energy Facility

Sol Systems News Release

COZAD, NE – August 17, 2021 –Today, the City of Cozad and N Solar cut the ribbon on a 2.4 MWdc solar energy system that will provide power directly to the city’s electric utility. The system is located at 2nd and Monroe Streets will provide enough electricity to power 400 homes annually.

Although the City contracts its power through Nebraska Public Power District, it can generate up to 2.4 MWdc of its power on its own, opening the possibility for the City to add solar energy to its portfolio. The City’s utility will purchase energy from the array at a fixed-price over a 30-year period providing energy savings and protection from price volatility present in a typical retail electricity contract.

“We are excited to partner with N Solar on our solar energy system and bring even more affordable and clean energy to our customers,” said Nikki Schwanz, Cozad City Administrator. “By working together, we are able to provide clean power to our community in a cost-effective way.”

Incorporating low cost, renewable power into a City’s energy portfolio represents a financially efficient and attractive strategy for Cozad to attract businesses. Cozad’s Development Corporation helped to drive this project forward for the City. According to Jen McKeone with CDC, “We are already seeing industries look at us because we have added a green energy component to our utility mix. This will be a great tool for economic development.”

The project was developed by N Solar, a three-company coalition consisting of Mesner Development, GenPro Energy Solutions, and Sol Systems, that provides energy solutions to municipal utilities and power districts throughout Nebraska.

Sol Systems, a Washington-DC based solar energy developer, financed the system through its joint venture with investment firm Capital Dynamics, who will serve as the long-term owner and operator of the system.

“Cozad will greatly benefit from 30 years of low-cost, clean energy at a price protected against inflation,” said Anna Noucas, Director of Originations at Sol Systems. “The City was a fantastic partner and are part of the growing number of forward-thinking municipalities that and leaders who value solar as a key part of their present and future energy strategy.”

GenPro Energy Solutions, a renewable energy construction firm based in South Dakota, provided construction for the array, which began in November 2020 and reached commercial operation last month. GenPro will also provide maintenance on the system throughout its life.

Molly Brown, Executive Vice President of Energy Development at GenPro Energy Solutions said “After several years of project development and finding the right solution for the City of Cozad, we’re excited to add Cozad to the growing number of municipal utilities who understand both the environmental and economic development benefits of distributed solar generation. Having a solar farm sited within the community it serves can be a source of pride for the Cozad community for years to come.” 

ABOUT N SOLAR

N Solar is a three-company partnership designed to provide every Nebraska community with the opportunity for clean energy integrated with local public power districts and municipal utilities. N Solar comprises Nebraska’s Mesner Development in partnership with GenPro Energy Solutions in site development and construction, and Sol Systems in financing, ownership, and power purchase agreements. To date, this team has developed, constructed and financed over 19 megawatts of solar in Nebraska.

ABOUT SOL SYSTEMS

Sol Systems is a leading national solar energy firm with an established reputation for integrity and reliability across its development, infrastructure, and environmental commodity businesses. To date, Sol has developed and/or financed over 1 GW of solar projects valued at more than $1 billion for Fortune 100 companies, municipalities, counties, utilities, universities, and schools and provides services to nearly 17,000 customers across the US. The company was founded in 2008, is based in Washington, D.C., and is led by its founder. Sol Systems works with its team, partners, and clients to create a more sustainable future we can all believe in. For more information, visit https://www.solsystems.com. 

ABOUT GENPRO ENERGY SOLUTIONS

GenPro Energy Solutions is an energy service organization, with a global depth of experience in solar and energy efficient technologies. GenPro partners with businesses, municipalities, utilities, state and national governments on projects that range from energy efficient lighting systems to development of utility-grade solar energy farms. Fully certified solar design team including: NABCEP, SEI and ASES. GenPro currently serves 200+ energy-related dealers in North America. They are listed among Solar Power World Magazine’s “Top 500 Solar Contractors” for the past five consecutive years.

ABOUT MESNER DEVELOPMENT CO.

Mesner Development Co. is a real estate development firm specializing in affordable and workforce housing. Its owners, Cliff and Kathy Mesner, are both attorneys practicing in Central City, Nebraska. In addition to housing, the Mesners have helped several communities develop community solar.

Media Contacts:

Sol Systems: Will Patterson, William.patterson@solsystems.com, 240-778-3530

GenPro Energy Solutions: Phelan Scherer, phelan.scherer@genproenergy.com, 605-341-9920

Mesner Development: Cliff Mesner, cliff@mesnerlaw.com

New bill could make solar roof installations more affordable for homes, businesses

By Zach Hester, WHNT

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new bill introduced last week is aiming to make it cheaper for homeowners and businesses to install solar power roofs. The Raise the Roof Act, introduced by Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), would expand solar tax credits to cover a “cutting-edge integrated solar roofing system” as well as roof replacements and repairs. Read more here, including the full text of the Raise the Roof Act.

Related Reading – With Resources

Replacing Your Roof? It’s a Great Time to Add Solar, by Becca Jones-Albertus, Director of the Solar Energy Technologies Office within the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office.

A report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that solar panels are viewed as upgrades and home buyers across the country have been willing to pay a premium of about $15,000 for a home with an average-sized solar array. Additionally, there is evidence homes with solar panels sell faster than those without.

Previously Posted

RECOMMENDED WEBINAR

Recording of the Clean Energy Group / Clean Energy States Alliance Webinar: Expanding Grid Capacity with Energy Storage in Decorah, Iowa

At present, one circuit on Decorah’s grid does not have sufficient capacity to allow for the addition of many new solar projects in development. Upgrading the grid through traditional poles-and-wires and substation expansions would be twice as expensive as this battery project, according to Alliant Energy. Thus, the battery project is expected not only to allow for increased solar integration, but also to produce distribution system investment savings. Additional potential benefits, such as peak demand shaving and other storage applications, will be tested as additional means to reduce customer cost.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

WIND ENERGY GUIDE

Land-Based Wind Energy Economic Development Guide, Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, WINDExchange

A comprehensive resource for community decision makers to better understand the economic development potential during the development, construction, and operation of wind energy projects.

Energy outreach expands as Norfolk solar project set to begin

By Mitchell Lierman, Norfolk Daily News

A new outreach initiative on wind and solar energy called Renew Nebraska was launched at the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday. Co-chaired by Mayor Josh Moenning, the effort promotes investments in Nebraska to develop the state’s energy potential.

The announcement comes in the wake of a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to the United Nations earlier this week that highlighted that it is “unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land” and warned of climate destabilization if no action is taken. Continue reading here.

NPPD begins to take public input on electrical generation mix at Norfolk forum, by Jerry Guenther, Norfolk Daily News

Climate change widespread, rapid, and intensifying – IPCC

GENEVA, Aug 9 – Scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, released today. Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion—such as continued sea level rise—are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years.

However, strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change. While benefits for air quality would come quickly, it could take 20-30 years to see global temperatures stabilize, according to the IPCC Working Group I report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, approved on Friday by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that was held over two weeks starting on July 26. Continue reading here.

About the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC)

Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the objective of the IPCC is to provide governments at all levels with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC reports are also a key input into international climate change negotiations. The IPCC is an organization of governments that are members of the United Nations or WMO.

The IPCC currently has 195 members. Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. For the assessment reports, IPCC scientists volunteer their time to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks.

An open and transparent review by experts and governments around the world is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete assessment and to reflect a diverse range of views and expertise. Through its assessments, the IPCC identifies the strength of scientific agreement in different areas and indicates where further research is needed. The IPCC does not conduct its own research.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

IN NEBRASKA

  • Information forums on decarbonization scheduled by NPPD, NPPD News Release
  • NPPD seeks public input on decarbonization, by Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald
    Another of Nebraska’s major utilities is taking a look at decarbonization and will be asking its customers to weigh in. The Nebraska Public Power District will hold five public meetings over the next two weeks on whether it should pursue decarbonization, CEO Tom Kent said Friday. The meetings are part of a larger effort to gauge customer sentiment, he said . . . The Lincoln Electric System has a decarbonization goal of net zero by 2040. LES held a yearlong educational series with its customers. The Omaha Public Power District held public workshops on the issue earlier this year. It has a goal of net zero carbon production by 2050.

City gives nod to solar

By Suzi Nelson, Wahoo Newspaper

On July 27, the Wahoo City Council authorized the mayor to sign a letter of intent for a 2-megawatt solar plant on 10 acres on the east side of Wahoo. The project was approved unanimously by the Wahoo Board of Public Works on July 21, according to Ryan Hurst, general manager for Wahoo Utilities, the city-owned utility department. Hurst said Nebraska Public Power District, the entity from which Wahoo Utilities purchases electricity that is not generated by the local power plant, allows communities to use up to 10% or 2 megawatts of renewable power. Continue reading here.

To read more about NPPD’s limit on renewable energy, click here and scroll down to “South Sioux City” and “NPPD’s Wholesale Power Contracts”.

See Also: Council hears rate study for proposed electric rate changes, Beatrice Daily Sun, posted yesterday.

NPPD NEWS RELEASES

  • Information forums on decarbonization scheduled by NPPD
    NPPD’s Board of Directors is seeking to better understand their constituents’ opinions in three areas: 1) the risks associated with being a carbon emitting utility; 2) what NPPD’s carbon reduction goal should be; and 3) what principles (cost, environmental, reliability, resilience) are most important to customers  as NPPD works to reduce its carbon emissions.
  • NPPD hosting SunWise community solar open house Aug. 10
    GRNE Solar, based out of Lincoln, Neb., is the solar developer for the 500-kilowatt project. GRNE will sell electricity generated by the solar facility to NPPD, and NPPD will resell this energy to Ainsworth solar subscribers at cost. NPPD already has existing solar facilities operating in Kearney, Scottsbluff and Venango amounting to approximately 10.5 megawatts in size.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

In her article, Suzi Nelson references OPPD’s 81 MW solar project in Saunders County, named Platteview Solar.

The Saunders County Board of Supervisors voted 6-0 to approve the Conditional Use Permit for the 81 MW Platteview Solar Project. See: Saunders County approves solar farm construction near Yutan, Associated Press

More About Platteview Solar – Community Energy

In April 2021, Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) and Community Energy (CE) announced a Power Purchase Agreement for Platteview Solar, an 81 megawatt (MW) utility-scale solar photovoltaic installation with a proposed location just south of Hwy 92 near Yutan in eastern Saunders County.

The project site consists of approximately 500 total leased acres, spanning several clusters of land with a flat, gently rolling topography. This announcement supports OPPD’s Power with Purpose initiative. The official project announcement is on OPPD’s The Wire. OPPD is the lone customer for Platteview Solar’s energy, providing long-term stability and support.

Platteview Solar Project FAQS – Community Energy

Among the questions, the following is one that often comes up in discussions about utility-scale solar projects: 

Doesn’t solar take good agricultural ground out of production?

Not in a meaningful way. Saunders County is 486,400 acres of ground.  The proposed project would impact approximately 500 acres. 

Farm ground used for solar projects does not necessarily mean the end of agricultural use on the land.  It will be different than traditional crops, but a robust pollinator program can benefit not only the project properties, but cropland, orchards, residential gardens, trees and other landscaping within 30 miles of the project site. Additionally, the traditional agricultural nature of the property is not permanently lost. The benefits of restorative vegetation on nitrogen and CO2 depleted land improves agricultural land for the future. Solar projects are a long term, but temporary, use of agricultural land that allows landowners to diversify their assets, creating financial stability and allowing agricultural land to remain in families for future generations.

Previously Posted Research

Beneath Solar Panels, the Seeds of Opportunity SproutNational Renewable Energy Laboratory 

“It doesn’t have to be an either-or choice. For all our agriculturally productive land, let’s help PV developers and farmers plan out these solar projects so that farmers can get under the arrays and continue to work the land for the next 20 or 30 years.” —Gerry Palano, energy program coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Agriculture

Council hears rate study for proposed electric rate changes

By Monica BrichBeatrice Daily Sun

Replenishing cash reserves impacted by the freezing temperatures and rolling blackouts in February was one of the topics the Beatrice City Council heard during its regular meeting Monday evening. The city hired J.K. Energy consultant John Krajewski to perform a rate study. He said the last time Beatrice had a full rate study was in 2009, with an abbreviated study done in 2014. Krajewski said the city has transitioned to a better portfolio of energy sources, as they’re planning to transition away from the Nebraska Public Power District after the next fiscal year. Continue reading here.

ØRSTED 

Ørsted completes largest onshore wind project to date, Globe Newswire


Ørsted has completed the 367 MW Western Trail Wind Farm located in Wilbarger and Baylor counties, Texas – its largest onshore wind project to date that brings Ørsted’s total onshore capacity to over 2.8 GW of wind, solar, and battery storage in operation.

In Nebraska: The 298MW Haystack Wind Farm, adjacent to Ørsted’s 230MW Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County, is due to become operational by the end of 2021. Haystack will utilize existing interconnection infrastructure in Southwest Power Pool North.

All about the Southwest Power Pool, The Wire

IOWA PUBLIC RADIO INTERVIEW WITH ENERGY SECRETARY GRANHOLM

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm Talks Infrastructure, The Ames Lab, Biofuels And More, by Ben KiefferRick BrewerCaitlin Troutman

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was appointed by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in February 2021. She served as Michigan’s first female governor from 2003 to 2011. Recently, Granholm virtually toured the Ames Laboratory and met with the lab’s researchers to discuss sustainable energy and technology. She joined River to River on July 29 to discuss the visit as well as share her thoughts on the future of infrastructure, combating climate change and sustainable energy.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

DOD Official Says U.S. Faces Climate Change Crisis, by David Vergun

Climate change absolutely affects national security, said the senior climate advisor to the secretary of defense. Speaking yesterday to the Department of Energy’s Energy Exchange forum, Joe Bryan said:

Image: Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska amidst severe flooding in 2019, resulting in $400 million in infrastructure damage to the base. Credit: U.S. Air Force

SOLAR ENERGY INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION

New Environment America Report – Blocking Rooftop Solar: The Companies, Lobbyists And Front Groups Undermining Local Clean Energy

Released by the Environment Florida Research & Policy Center

Recent corruption scandals in Ohio and Illinois, in which utilities and other special interests allegedly used their clout to twist public policy in their favor, highlight how far anti-solar efforts have gone. Policymakers must resist pressure from utilities and the fossil fuel industry and implement pro-solar policies that will continue America’s momentum toward clean energy

In 2021, a national network of utility interest groups and fossil fuel-linked think tanks continues to offer funding, advice and support to utilities across the country seeking to undermine rooftop solar power. These include . . .  Continue reading here.

Download Report (PDF)

IN NEBRASKA

Our State’s Overall Solar Development & Potential

Net Metering Legislative Bills

Net metering changes considered – Legislative Update, Senator John Cavanaugh
The Natural Resources Committee heard testimony Feb. 10, 2021 on two bills that would modify Nebraska’s net metering laws.

Approved Legislation: In 2016 the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 824, which removed some regulatory barriers connected to renewable energy development in our state.

NEBRASKA LACKS UPDATED ENERGY PLAN / CLIMATE ACTION PLAN 

State energy plans show how process can match final product in impact, Energy News Network, February 10, 2021

More Previous Efforts

    • Nebraska needs overall plan for energy policies, Lincoln Journal Star, November 4, 2015 Nebraska’s Energy Office director says the state needs a comprehensive approach to its energy policies as it faces what could be a “seismic” change in federal regulations governing emissions. David Bracht, Gov. Pete Ricketts’ chief adviser on energy issues, talked about state energy policies Wednesday at the eighth annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference in Omaha. . . . [The] Nebraska Legislature has instructed the state Energy Office to create a comprehensive energy plan and budgeted more than $630,000 to see it done.
    • LB469: Provide procedures and reporting requirements relating to a state plan on carbon dioxide emissions, require a strategic state energy plan, and provide requirements for meteorological evaluation towers.
    • 2011 Nebraska Energy Plan, National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO)

SOUTH SIOUX CITY

Nebraska solar farm highlights tension between cities, electricity wholesaler, Energy News Network, August 19, 2020

South Sioux City’s City Council decided four years ago not to renew its contract with NPPD. It has gradually reduced its purchases from the utility down to 10% of its load this year, and will stop buying power from the wholesaler altogether on Jan. 1, 2022. “We’ve been very happy with the decision the [city] council made to get more into renewables,” said Lance Hedquist, the city administrator of the community of about 13,000 also located in northeast Nebraska. The city has added solar and wind energy to its portfolio, and now obtains about half of its power from renewables, he said.

  • 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

MODEL AGGREGATED SOLAR PROJECT – A WAY FOR COMMUNITIES TO REDUCE COSTS

MEAN Issues RFP For Participant Community Solar PV Installation Project, July 15, 2021
The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) is issuing a Request for Proposals on behalf of 11 MEAN participant communities interested in obtaining energy from solar PV installations to be built in their respective communities. The project is an effort by MEAN to bring economically priced solar energy to interested MEAN participant communities. Participating communities hope to obtain lower solar costs through economies of scale through this joint effort. RFP proposals are due Aug. 31, 2021 with a bid award date set for Oct. 27, 2021.

Click here to download the RFP.
Additional MEAN News

Previously Posted

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 

RECOMMENDED RESOURCE ON LEASING LAND FOR UTILITY-SCALE SOLAR

Considerations for Leasing Land for Solar Development, by F. John Hay – Extension Educator for Bioenergy

Utility scale solar development is here — in the eight months since the solar leasing article was published in August 2020, Nebraskans have seen continued land lease activity, county zoning rule adoption, an extension of the federal tax credit, and projects approved by county commissioners/supervisors. Additionally, one project (Saunders County [OPPD electrical purchase]) has reached the important step of electricity sales, which is the most common tipping point between a proposed project and a project that will get built. Many smaller solar projects have been built in the years prior to 2021, with the largest at about 8 MW, or about 50 acres. The utility scale projects being proposed and approved are many times larger, with 500 or more acres.

OPPD reaches customer-owned generation milestone

By Julie Wasson, OPPD Customer Service, The Wire

On June 28, 2021, OPPD received its 500th customer-owned generation (COG) interconnection application. This was the 165th application received so far this year, which is on track to be a 500% increase in interconnection applications over last year.

OPPD kicked off a multi-team project in 2019 to improve the COG application process using new, state-of-the-art online application software. The application software went live in April 2020 and, so far, more than 20 different solar installers have used the online application on behalf of mutual customers. Without the new online application process, the volume the utility has seen this year would not have been possible. Read more here.

Previously Posted

Battery project makes room for more rooftop solar in Decorah, Alliant Energy News Release
A free DOE webinar on the project will be offered on July 30 at 12:00 p.m. CDT. Anyone interested in learning more can join by 
registering here