Tag Archives: Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD)

In Nebraska, a unique carbon-capture concept has a lot of unknowns

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

In November, the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) announced a partnership with Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology and Wärtsilä, a Finnish manufacturer, to explore using that company’s technology to generate electricity from methanol, which would be synthesized by combining hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

While a news release touts the study as intending to help “accelerate the move towards a future where energy will be produced from 100 percent renewable carbon free sources,” NPPD does not yet know whether any carbon reduction benefits will result. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Wärtsilä

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

ASU engineers break solar cell record, ASU News
Arizona State University researchers continue to break solar cell efficiency records in an effort to harness the sun’s energy more economically as a renewable source for electricity. Last year, Assistant Professor Zachary Holman and Assistant
Research Professor Zhengshan “Jason” Yu in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering set a world record of 23.6 percent
efficiency for a tandem solar cell stacked with perovskite and silicon.

The number was a few percentage points shy of the
theoretical efficiency limit for silicon solar cells alone. Now, the team improves upon the record by nearly two percentage points, to 25.4 percent, in a joint project with researchers at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, predicting they’ll be nearing 30 percent tandem efficiency within two years.

Photo: The perovskite/silicon tandem solar cell created by researchers at Arizona State University and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has the potential to transform mainstream silicon technology and lower the cost of solar energy. Photo by Erika Gronek/ASU

ADDITIONAL UNIVERSITY NEWS

Stanford scientists locate nearly all U.S. solar panels by applying machine learning to a billion satellite images, Stanford University News. Stanford researchers have identified the GPS locations and sizes of almost all U.S. solar power installations from a billion images. Using the data, which are public, they identified factors that
promote the use of solar energy and those that
discourage it. Photo: Telesis Inc’s solar array in Lincoln 

Solar Tariffs Hold Back Q3 Installations, Scramble Project Timelines As Procurement Pipeline Booms

SEIA News Release

BOSTON, Mass. and WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Section 201 solar tariffs took a toll on utility-scale solar installations in the third quarter according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report for Q3 from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Wood Mackenzie Power & the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The residential market, meanwhile, continued to stabilize after a down 2017. Overall, the analysts expect 2018 growth to be flat.

For the first time since 2015, quarterly additions of utility-scale solar photovoltaics (PV) fell below 1 gigawatt (GW), highlighting the impact of the tariffs and the uncertainty surrounding them in late 2017 and early 2018. As a result, the U.S. solar market was down 15 percent year-over-year in the third quarter of the year, but the report notes that a strong project pipeline lies ahead. Continue reading here.

MORE U.S. RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS & AN OP-ED

GLOBAL NEWS

Expect 680 GW Of New Wind Energy In Next Decade, North American Wind Power

A new report from research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie predicts more than 680 GW of new wind power capacity to come online globally over the next decade.


ENERGY STORAGE

U.S. energy storage project pipeline hits 32.9 GW this year, Solar Power World. The pipeline for energy storage projects in the United States doubled this year, ballooning to 32.9 GW, according to the latest U.S. Energy Storage Monitor from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Energy Storage Association (ESA). While not all of the projects will come to fruition, this is a clear signpost that developers are bullish on energy storage. The report’s free executive summary is available here.

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS & A PODCAST

PROJECT AGGREGATION

NREL highlights DER aggregation project challenges, American Public Power Association. A new study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory identifies challenges and makes recommendations for utilities implementing distributed energy resource (DER) aggregation programs. For the study, Expanding PV Value: Lessons Learned from Utility-led Distributed Energy Resource Aggregation in the United States, NREL analyzed DER aggregation programs at five utilities.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

In Minneapolis-St. Paul, the days of diesel buses may be numbered, Midwest Energy News. Metro Transit officials have have committed to add as many as 125 electric buses over the next four years, after which they may stop buying diesel buses altogether. The multi-year strategy comes two months after clean energy advocates successfully pressured the agency to suspend the purchases of new diesel and hybrid buses so that it could study the potential for electrification.

MICROGRIDS

Homeland Security Calls for Microgrid-Driven Community Enclaves

A new Homeland Security report calls for creation of microgrid-driven community enclaves as part of a larger safety strategy should the United States experience a catastrophic power failure. Surviving a Catastrophic Power Outage finds the nation outmatched by an outage lasting weeks or months.


LOCAL NEWS

NPPD eyes hydrogen as conversion fuel at coal-fired unit, American Public Power Association. NPPD plans to change Sheldon Unit 2 near Hallam, Nebraska, from coal to hydrogen between 2021 and 2023, according to John Swanson, NPPD’s generation strategies manager. The hydrogen will flow through a pipeline from a facility Monolith Materials is building across the road from the generating unit. to manufacture carbon black, which is used in tires, cell phones, computers, wiring, etc. The process to make carbon black produces hydrogen as a by-product.

LES begins collecting data for study on EV driver habits

By Peter Maloney, American Public Power Association News

The Lincoln Electric System, along with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has begun collecting data for a study on the habits of drivers of electric vehicles in the Lincoln, Nebraska, area . . . Other Nebraska public power utilities are also taking action related to EVs. In June, the Omaha Public Power District began a pilot program to educate its customers about the benefits of electric vehicles. In January, Nebraska Public Power District unveiled details of a pilot program under which owners of electric vehicles will receive a $200 incentive if they install a charging station at their home. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

LES News Release: LES announces partnerships, grant funding for electric vehicle study
“Our service territory has about 300 plug-in vehicles, and nearly a third of those drivers are represented in this study,” said LES CEO Kevin Wailes. “We’re excited to have that level of interest from our customers, and it’s a true testament to their engagement with LES and our shared commitment to prepare for a plugged-in future.”  For more information about the study, contact LES at 402-475-4211. Follow LES on Facebook and Twitter for study updates.

OPPD’s Electric Vehicle (EV) Rebate Pilot Program

 

 


$500 Rebate on Chargepoint Home Charging Station
Dealership Discounts
$3,000 incentive towards a 2018 Nissan Leaf® purchased between June 4 & Jan. 2, 2019
$1,000 incentive towards a 2019 Audi e-tron
Available to all OPPD customers
(Up To) $7,500 Federal Tax Incentive
Federal tax incentives currently remain available. OPPD recommends you speak to your tax advisor for specific details.

NPPD’s EV Charging Station Incentive Pilot Program

A $200 EnergyWise incentive for the installation of a residential vehicle charging station is available for a limited time from Nebraska Public Power District and your local public power utility. This incentive is for customers living in the service area of NPPD or its wholesale customers who purchase an electric vehicle and choose to install a ChargePoint 32 amp WI-FI enabled station. Other charging stations may be incented but must pass pre-approval criteria. To qualify for the pilot incentive program, the installation location of the charging station must have internet wireless connectivity.

October is Public Power Month

Every year utilities across the country celebrate Public Power Month in October. According to the American Public Power Association, public power communities can be found in 49 states and all U.S. territories. Nebraska’s publicly-owned utilities are listed here. Many of them have websites, including our three largest electric utilities.

This month is an excellent opportunity to explore the many information resources posted on their websites and, perhaps, to create a checklist of ways you can save energy and money at home and your workplace throughout October and beyond–and to learn more about the new and innovative programs they have initiated or plan to launch in the near future. Following are just some of the available resources:

Additional Resources

Kearney Hub Opinion: Storage new frontier in race for clean energy

The city of Norfolk is fixing to one-up Kearney on the solar energy front, and we wish Norfolkans the best of luck. Earlier this week, the northeast Nebraska city entered an agreement with Nebraska Public Power District on a venture to build a sizable solar array and link it to an energy storage system. It doesn’t appear as if Norfolk’s array will rival Kearney’s in size, but the size of the system isn’t nearly as important as its ability to successfully plow new ground in the development of green energy. Continue reading here.

Photo: Kearney’s $11 million, 53-acre solar farm, currently the largest in the state.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST: NEBRASKA / MIDWEST NEWS

Fortenberry: Small Farm, Big Tech

By Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
Fremont Tribune 

[Kelsey and Bob Larson] are the next generation of young farmers. Their dairy farm is small, but it is powered by big
tech . . . Beyond new milking and monitoring models, the farm is pushing the envelope in other compelling ways. Solar energy provides about 20% of the farm’s electricity.

Read more here.

 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & VIEWING

Winnebago to double its solar power systems: Ho-Chunk announces the installation of new solar arrays in nine locations, Siouxland Proud

Links to more stories are posted here and here.
Ho-Chunk Inc’s Website

  • Tribal Energy Webinar: Facility- and Community-Scale Project Development, September 26, 2018, 12 to 2 pm. If you are unable to attend today’s webinar, click here to access recordings and slides of past webinars and announcements of future ones.
  • Moving renewables across the U.S. is a challenge, The Wire, OPPD Blog
    [According to Joe Lang, director of Compliance and RTO Policy at OPPD, an NREL analysis] determined the cost to construct high-voltage transmission facilities to make full use of renewables nationally could cost about $1 trillion, which is about twice that of the U.S. interstate highway system.” But Aaron Bloom, the NREL official, said the undertaking would pay for itself in 15 years and then keep paying dividends. That’s because the transmission capacity would allow for the development of the highest quality and lowest cost renewable resources, with few geographic limitations.
  • OPPD’S Electric Vehicle (EV) Rebate Pilot Program: The fifty $4,500 rebates are gone. $500 charging station rebates are still available. More information is posted here.
  • NPPD, Norfolk seeking grant for battery energy storage project, NPPD News Release
    Columbus, Neb. Funding for battery energy storage system (BESS) demonstration project is being sought by the Nebraska Public Power District and the City of Norfolk that would be tied to a proposed community solar project planned for that community in 2019. That project is contingent on approval of a grant application submitted by NPPD to receive $490,000 in funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) for the two-year project.
  • Lincoln Electric System Public Meeting On The 2019 Budget, October 4, 2018, 6 pm at the Walter A. Canney Service Center: We’re proposing no rate increase and continuing to restructure rates as part of next year’s budget, keeping LES among the nation’s leaders in delivering highly reliable, low-cost electricity.

Seven communities set for meter replacement by NPPD

NPPD News Release

Columbus, Neb. – Upgrading of electric meters in seven southeast Nebraska communities by Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is scheduled to take place this month. The meter replacements are part of a program in 2018 to replace 43,000 existing electric meters in 33 communities served at retail by NPPD.

The new meters are equipped with two-way communication known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a digital metering technology used around the world for more than a decade. The current meters in communities slated for replacement are electro-mechanical devices. The new meters display the reading, but in digital LED format. The meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed that will receive and securely transmit the data back to NPPD on the total amount of kilowatt hours used by a residence, business or industry.
Read more here.

See Also: Advanced Meter Infrastructure

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

Cape Cod Military Base Runs on 100% Renewable Energy

NEW INNOVATIVE PROGRAMS / TECHNOLOGY

SEIA, HBCU Coalition Join in National Effort to Increase Diversity of Solar Industry’s Workforce, SEIA News Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With a goal of making the solar workforce and solar communities more diverse, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Development Action Coalition (HBCU-CDAC) have begun a new effort to increase recruitment of African-American students into the industry.

EV NEWS

In Colorado, two rural co-ops are leading the charge on electric vehicles

RECYCLING NEWS

Sunsetting solar panels: U.S. photovoltaic cell recycling incentives are beginning, GreenBiz

According to a publication by International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), more than 90 percent of the materials in typical photovoltaic solar panels — silicon, aluminum and glass — can be recycled and used again in the production of new solar panels. 

LEADERSHIP AWARDS

Opinion: R-Project helps alleviate risk

Written by David Hamilton and Bree Denaeyer
Published by The North Platte Telegraph

We are landowner members of CCWEA and have been promoting the economic opportunities of wind energy development. There are three economic opportunities we will offer detail on:

  • Property tax relief for landowners
  • Landowner lease revenue
  • The third economic opportunity is long-term energy cost.

Learn more here.

David Hamilton of Thedford is vice president of the Cherry County Wind Energy Association, of which Bree Denaeyer is a board member. Both are fourth-generation landowners in Cherry County.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Website: R-Project: NPPD

  • SOUTHWEST POWER POOL’S ROLE
    NPPD is a member of the Southwest Power Pool, a regional transmission organization. The SPP conducted a study, also known as the Integrated Transmission Plan, to assess the needs of the entire transmission network with the SPP region over the next 10 years. The R-Project is one of numerous projects to come out of that study. If NPPD did not build the R-Project, the SPP would find another entity to do so.
  • STEWARDSHIP
    NPPD is committed to operating in an environmentally responsible manner. We are dedicated to protecting environmental quality while meeting the energy needs of Nebraska. We recognize that how we interact with the environment is of vital importance to you. It is to us, too. That’s why we continuously explore ways to minimize the environmental footprint in all aspects of NPPD’s activities. The landscape of the Sandhills is truly unique, which is why NPPD’s engineering team and environmental experts work together to determine low-impact methods to construct the transmission line. We will employ modern construction techniques when building the line and take precautions around river crossings, creeks, and wetlands.
  • PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT
    NPPD used a thorough and comprehensive public involvement process to site the R-Project transmission line. More than 1,750 individuals attended one of 20 public open houses and public meetings and eight public hearings, providing NPPD with approximately 2,500 comments. The comments were reviewed against more than 50 established line routing criteria that included proximity to occupied residences, towns, villages, and other amenities, plus land use, environmental, engineering, and construction criteria. Learn more here.

OPPD: New EV program will measure impact on system

By Jodi Baker, The Wire, OPPD Blog

OPPD and the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA) will co-fund and distribute $500 grants to customers who purchase Charge Point EV chargers for their home via OPPD. A website link for purchases will be available when the pilot gets underway. In addition, OPPD will work to educate customers on financial incentives available when they purchase a new EV. These are expected to include:

  • $3,000 rebate at participating Nissan dealerships towards the purchase of a new Nissan Leaf
  • $4,000 grant from NCEA after the purchase of a new EV (only available in Douglas County)
  • Up to $7,500 federal tax credit (depending on the manufacturer)

The initiative team is presenting its findings and plans to OPPD’s Board of Directors during their May committee meetings. Read more here.

Photo Credit: 123rf.com

NPPD’S EV Charging Station Incentive Pilot Program

  • ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
    EV Strategy: OPPD Board Committee Presentation, Aaron Smith, Director – Operations
  • News Release: EV Research Strategy Presented To OPPD Board
    During this week’s committee meetings for the OPPD Board of Directors, the Integrated Energy Marketplace team presented its latest EV research, including plans to announce a pilot next month. The pilot, as part of the district’s EV Strategy and Process Initiative, will include EV education for customers. It will also connect customers to financial incentives available for the purchase of certain EVs, as well as certain EV chargers, among other areas.

AMERICAN PUBLIC POWER ASSOCIATION

  • Electric vehicles are here: are utilities ready to charge forward?
    Navigant Research said in a report, prepared for the American Public Power Association, that by 2021 it conservatively projects new EV (battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) sales of more than 700,000 units in the U.S. annually. Markets saw a 37 percent increase in sales of plug-in electric vehicles in 2016 and Navigant Research expects 50 percent growth in market sales in 2017 and 2018, largely due to Tesla’s Model 3 and other longer-range, low cost battery electric vehicles coming to the market, as well as more vehicle options becoming available for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
  • Multi-faceted EV approaches getting closer look from states: report
    Among the top electric vehicle policy trends in the first quarter of 2018 were states considering multi-faceted approaches to EVs and related infrastructure, the North Carolina Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) said in a recently released report. 

Switch is on at Kearney’s solar farm: $11M facility is Nebraska’s largest

By Mike Konz, Kearney Hub Managing Editor

The 53-acre solar farm cost $11 million and, on a good day, will generate 5.8 megawatts of clean, renewable electricity. The project is a partnership between the city, Nebraska Public Power District and Chicago-based SoCore Energy, which has built hundreds of solar arrays, mostly on the roofs of large buildings. [Russell] Young, SoCore’s vice president of operations, said Kearney’s project is his company’s largest, but as the cost of building solar farms declines, he is confident SoCore will be building more like the one at Kearney’s Tech oNE Crossing.
Read more here.

Top Photo: Officials snip a green ribbon to dedicate the $11 million, 53-acre solar array in northeast Kearney. Credit: Mike Konz, Kearney Hub

Photo: “Interconnection Systems of Central City built Kearney’s solar array on the Tech oNE Crossing tract near 56th Street and Antelope Avenue.”

NPPD’s SunWise Program

  • Kearney residents may sign up online to purchase solar shares in the project by clicking this link and selecting the Kearney project, or by calling NPPD toll-free at
    1-877-275-6773.
  • Request Community Solar In Your Community: In addition to Kearney, participating communities in NPPD’s SunWise Program include Venango and Scottsbluff. If you are an NPPD customer who lives in another town or city and would like to request community solar in your community, click here to submit the SunWise Community Solar Interest Form.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING – COMMUNITY BATTERY SYSTEMS

SoCore and United Power, an 82,000 member Colorado co-op, are partnering on an innovative community-battery-storage pilot program.
Like community solar, members of the community will purchase a portion of the battery’s capacity to power their homes during peak hours. In exchange, the participants will lower the demand charges on their monthly electrical bills. Construction on the project will start in the first quarter of 2018.