Tag Archives: net metering

OPPD’s Next “Pathways to Decarbonization” Session: Thursday, September 2

OPPD has committed to achieving net-zero carbon power by 2050 and has initiated a “Pathways to Decarbonization” study to identify and prioritize strategies and actions to reach that goal. The utility has sponsored a series of public forums over the past several months, beginning in April. Click here to view recordings of all past workshops. A summary video of the workshops is also available here.

Previously Posted

Board Approves Net Metering Change, The Wire
OPPD customers who want to generate their own energy have increased options for doing so starting Sept. 1. OPPD’s Board of Directors approved an increase to “the aggregate system size limit for net metering services” at its August board meeting. The limit increases from 25 kilowatts (kW) to 100kW. The change accommodates customers who are seeking options in generating their own energy. The board passed the resolution unanimously. 
For more information about how to go solar with OPPD, visit: OPPD.com/COG

Also of Potential Interest

Should Utility CEO Compensation Be Linked To Decarbonization Goals?, Environment+Energy Leader

As part of its recently launched Utility Transformation Challenge initiative, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) recommends utilities undergo a series of cultural and business model changes, such as linking executive compensation to carbon reduction goals, to support the transition to a carbon-free, clean energy future.
 

Board approves net metering change

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire

OPPD customers who want to generate their own energy have increased options for doing so starting Sept. 1. OPPD’s Board of Directors approved an increase to “the aggregate system size limit for net metering services” at its August board meeting. The limit increases from 25 kilowatts (kW) to 100kW. The change accommodates customers who are seeking options in generating their own energy. The board passed the resolution unanimously. Continue reading here.

For more information about how to go solar with OPPD, visit: www.OPPD.com/COG.

See additional actions and updates reported at OPPD’s August 19 Board of Directors Meeting here.

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.

Solar players enter field: More alternative energy options coming

By Molly Hunter, The Columbus Telegram

Sun Pro Solar Company has joined the mix of businesses trying to work with Loup Public Power District and sell alternative energy to the people in and around Columbus. Based out of Louisiana, Sun Pro Solar sells and installs solar panels for residential and commercial customers in a dozen and a half states, including Nebraska. Recently, they have started to make sales in the Columbus region. Read more here.

Links to More Information & Resources

Careers at Sunpro

Initial solar contract inked for OPPD’s Power with Purpose

The Wire, OPPD Blog

The future is growing brighter as OPPD takes its first steps to acquire up to 600 megawatts of utility-scale solar generation. OPPD recently signed a contract with Community Energy, Inc. for an 81-megawatt solar array spread across approximately 500 leased acres south of Yutan, Neb., in eastern Saunders County. When complete, this facility will be capable of powering around 14,000 average homes. The facility’s name: Platteview Solar.

[Power with Purpose-Solar, available here], features background information, Frequently Asked Questions and a forum where anyone can ask a specific question not addressed in the FAQ. OPPD is striving to be a net-zero carbon utility by 2050, and the commitment to renewable energy heralded by this announcement is one important step on that pathway to decarbonization. Read more here.

ROOFTOP SOLAR

Inside Clean Energy: The Coast-to-Coast Battle Over Rooftop Solar, by Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News

Last year, all but four states—Alaska, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota—took some kind of action on rooftop solar policy, according to the most recent “50 States of Solar” report from the NC Clean Energy Technology Center. (Autumn Proudlove, senior policy program director at the center, was one of the people I spoke with about what’s happening in states right now). There are big differences in the states’ approaches, but what they share is an awareness that regulations need to change to be ready for a market in which rooftop solar is much more common.

Yet, regulators only control part of the financial equation. The costs of solar panels continue to decrease. And customers are increasingly buying solar along with battery storage, which means people are storing excess electricity for their own use rather than sending it back to the grid, reducing the importance of net metering policy.

Previously Posted

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN NEWS

A student-led competition held as part of the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues is helping expand sustainability planning at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Offered as part of the forum’s 2020-21 focus on environmental issues, the E.N. Thompson Forum Sustainability Idea Award challenged Recognized Student Organizations to plan, develop or execute a “green” project that aligns with the university’s new sustainability and resilience master plan. The contest featured four themes: transportation, energy, waste management, and sustainability and COVID-19. “It was incredible to see a broad spectrum of student groups — more than 12 — participating and outlining a variety of interesting topics,” said Prabhakar Shrestha, sustainability coordinator for the university and a judge for the competition.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln: “Big Red Sat-1” is an education mission with a primary goal of engaging and developing future aerospace engineers by contributing to the development of critical technologies to improve solar power generation. The technology demonstration secondary focus is to take proven perovskite panel technology at technical readiness level (TRL)-5 to TRL-6 by testing the panels in space using flight heritage information and systems to maximize potential success. Testing should provide answers on handling and the life of perovskites, as well as comparative day/night performance with silicon in a space environment.

OTHER MIDWEST STATES IN THE NEWS

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) has announced the 10 teams selected to advance to the final stage of the $3 million American-Made Solar Prize Round 4. The finalists were selected from 20 teams that presented their solar innovations to a panel of expert judges at a demonstration day hosted by Carnegie Mellon University’s Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.

Two Midwest teams are among the finalists:

Cool Tech Solar (North Oaks, MN): A nano-textured heatsink material for the back of a solar panel to increase the surface area, helping dissipate heat and lowering the panel’s peak operating temperature.

Rocking Solar (Monroe, OH): A solar panel tracker system that tracks the sun using a rocking motion, reducing the weight of a photovoltaic system and the number of roof penetrations required for installation.

Read the SETO newsletters for updates on the next demo day, and learn more about thAmerican-Made Solar Prize.

VOLKSWAGEN DIESEL EMISSION MITIGATION PROGRAM

Report recap: Four highlights from AWEA’s Wind Powers America Third Quarter Market Report

By Greg Alvarez, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog

We’re three quarters of the way through an eventful 2020 (quite the understatement), but the good news is U.S. wind power just posted the best third quarter on record. That means more affordable, reliable, clean power for millions of American families and businesses. This finding and more are contained in AWEA’s Wind Powers America Third Quarter Market Report. Here’s a roundup of four notable highlights to keep an eye on: Continue reading here.

Photo by Mike Zakrzewski, Nebraska farmer in O’Neill: The Grande Prairie Wind Farm

AWEA FACT SHEETS

Wind Energy In Nebraska
Installed Wind Capacity: 2,364 MW
State Ranking for Installed Capacity: 12th

  • Iowa
    Installed Wind Capacity: 10,664 MW
    State Ranking for Installed Capacity: 2nd
  • Kansas
    Installed Wind Capacity: 6,524 MW
    State Ranking for Installed Capacity: 4th
  • Illinois
    Installed Wind Capacity: 5,659 MW
    State Ranking for Installed Capacity: 6th

MICROGRIDS & VIRTUAL POWER PLANTS

Tesla Expanding Into Solar Microgrids And Virtual Power Plants, CleanTechnica
The renewable energy revolution is in full swing. It will involve decentralized power generation as well as enhanced long distance transmission lines. Nothing is off the table. Tesla is creating an enormous virtual power plant in Australia that will incorporate rooftop solar and battery storage at 50,000 homes. Green Mountain Power is conducting a similar program in Vermont. Just as one day soon electric vehicle sales will surpass sales of conventional vehicles, our grandkids will likely grow up in homes that have residential storage batteries in the garage or in the basement next to the electrical panel.

GREEN HYDROGEN

It’s Time For Elon Musk To Admit The Significance Of Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Forbes
Contributed article by Alex Ivanenko, “co-founder and CEO of HyPoint, the company developing zero-carbon emission hydrogen fuel cell systems for aviation and urban air mobility.”

The technology for zero-emission hydrogen fuel cells for use in transportation and other industries isn’t a pipe dream — it already exists. Though you might not know it, hydrogen-powered trainstruckscarsairplanes and ships are already out in the wild. CNBC noted that “there are dozens of fuel cell buses in use or planned in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Massachusetts, as well as California” and that “more than 23,000 fuel cell-powered forklifts in operation at warehouses and distribution centers across the U.S. in more than 40 states, including at Amazon and Walmart facilities.” That’s just the beginning.

MORE CLEAN TECHNICA ARTICLES

COMMUNITY SOLAR 

FEATURED DOE INITIATIVE: EQUITY IN ENERGY 

News Release by DOE’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity

On August 20th 2020, the Department of Energy’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED) launched its trademark Equity in Energy Initiative at the 43rd Annual National Conference of the American Association of Blacks in Energy’s (AABE). Equity in Energy, under the direction of the Secretary of Energy, Dan Brouillette [leads] the charge in fostering an inclusive energy economy at the DOE and the energy sector. 

Equity In Energy Booklet

UCS RECYCLING SERIES

About the Writer
James Gignac, is lead Midwest energy analyst for the Climate & Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Prior to joining UCS, Mr. Gignac served as environmental and energy counsel and as assistant attorney general to the Illinois Attorney General. Mr. Gignac earned a JD from Harvard Law School, and a BA in history and political science from Albion College.

Included in the series:

FEATURED NEBRASKA SOLAR INSTALLATION

Lomneth Farm’s 12-kilowatt solar system in North Omaha. Installed by GC ReVOLT, which is owned by Graham Christensen. View more GC ReVOLT projects here.

See Solar Examples for more photos and descriptions of solar-powered farms in Nebraska.

 

SOLAR INCENTIVES

 

Links to Incentives, Depreciation & Net Metering Information

 

FERC Makes the Right Decision, Dismisses Misguided Net Metering Petition

SEIA News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today rejected a controversial petition to end state and local jurisdiction over net metering programs. The petition was brought by the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) and drew significant bipartisan pushback from around the country. Following is a statement by Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, on this decisionContinue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Plot Brewing To Blanket US In Solar Panels + Pollinator-Friendly Plants

By Tina Casey, CleanTechnica

It started as a trickle and now the floodgates are open. Solar arrays that once sat on barren ground are now festooned with plants that attract bees, birds, and butterflies. Even the US Energy Department is getting into the act. With that in mind, let’s take a look at four newly minted solar power plants that have built-in benefits for pollinators, too. Read more here.

Previously Posted

Power, plants: Seed mixes and ag innovation for PV solar, Solar Builder article by Rob DavisDirector of the Center for Pollinators in Energy at Fresh Energy

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) forecasts farmers and other landowners will lease 2-3 million acres of land for ground-mounted solar arrays by 2030, a 10-fold increase from 2020. This rapid bloom in leasing land to produce solar energy isn’t just a lifeline for farmers looking to stabilize on-farm income, it’s also a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create habitat at scale to help species critical to agriculture and ecosystem health. Climate change and loss of habitat pose significant threats to honey bees, bumblebees, monarch butterflies and a wide variety of pollinators. A recent global analysis found that 40 percent of pollinator species may be at risk of extinction in the coming years. 

MULTI-GIGAWATT PARTNERSHIP

Engie and Hannon Armstrong Form Multi-Gigawatt US Renewables Partnership, Greentech Media The portfolio will stretch across five states and encompass both wind and solar projects. Most of the power the Engie-Hannon portfolio produces will be sold to companies looking to increase their renewable electricity, such as T-Mobile and Amazon. 

TRI-STATE NEWS 

  • A power switch in Colorado, by Allen Best, Mountain Town News
    At the stroke of midnight, Colorado’s Delta-Montrose Electric Association officially became independent of Tri-State Generation and Transmission. The electrical cooperative in west-central Colorado is at least $26 million poorer. That was the cost of getting out of its all-requirements for wholesale supplies from Tri-State 20 years early. But Delta-Montrose expects to be richer in coming years as local resources, particularly photovoltaic solar, get developed with the assistance of the new wholesale provider Guzman Energy.
  • Tri-State: Moving a cooperative power provider from coal to clean energy, by Joe Smyth, Clean Cooperative. This article summarizes the key developments over the last few years that led Tri-State to begin a transition away from its reliance on coal, and was first published as a contribution to Energy-Democracy.net

BANK OF AMERICA  

Duke Energy, Bank of America partner on Triad solar farm, Winston Salem Journal
Monday’s joint announcement marks a step toward achieving Bank of America’s goal of “being carbon neutral and utilizing 100% renewable electricity,” bank executive Andrew Plepler said in a written statement. 

MORE ON WHO’S BEHIND ANTI-NET-METERING FERC PETITION

AUSTRALIA

Public Citizen Unmasks Suspect Ratepayer Group Aiming To Disrupt U.S. Solar Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) might be a phony consumer group that seeks to end over 40 states’ successful rooftop solar programs, Public Citizen found Monday. In a motion filed with the Federal Electricity Regulatory Commission (FERC), Public Citizen provided documentation that contradicts NERA’s claim that it represents low-income households.

The documents showed that 15 entities have donated between $5,000 and $20,000 annually to the organization, making up nearly its entire funding. Such funding is more representative of an industry trade association than a consumer group defending the interests of households. Public Citizen’s filing asks FERC to dismiss NERA’s petition to end the ability of more than 40 states to administer net metering programs, because of NERA’s lack of transparency and misrepresentation. Continue reading here. 

About Public Citizen
Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people – not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country. We don’t participate in partisan political activities or endorse any candidates for elected office. We take no government or corporate money, which enables us to remain fiercely independent and call out bad actors – no matter who they are or how much power and money they have.

NATIONWIDE SUPPORT FOR NET METERING

  • SEIA: Petition to End Net Metering Would be Unlawful Federal Power Grab, News Release
    Jurisdiction over net metering rests with the states and local regulatory bodies and granting a petition to have the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulate retail programs would represent an unlawful federal power grab, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said in response to the petition today. The petition runs counter to the nation’s interests regarding jobs, economic growth and social justice. The petition has drawn significant pushback from a wide variety of parties, including conservative groups, state regulatory agencies, a bipartisan group of state elected officials, and trade associations representing a cross-section of the electricity sector.
  • AG Kaul Joins 16 Attorneys General in Opposing End to Clean Energy Program, EIN Presswire MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul today joined a coalition of 16 attorneys general, the California Energy Commission, and the California Public Utilities Commission in calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reject a petition seeking to end state net metering programs. Approval of the petition could deprive states of a vital clean energy program, financially harm millions of customers, and place thousands of jobs at risk. The states’ protest, filed with FERC today, argues that a petition by the “New England Ratepayers Association” (NERA) is unlawful and would improperly overturn nearly 20 years of precedent recognizing state authority to implement net metering programs, including the authority to set rates, terms, and conditions. 
  • Curtailing solar net metering could damage low-income, ethnic minority communities, by José Rojo Martín, PV-Tech. Human rights activists have thrown their weight behind a campaign to preserve solar net metering, warning that recent attempts to curtail it would damage low-income and ethnic minority communities.
  • 450 organizations sign letter asking FERC to reject federal net-metering petition, Solar Power World. More than 450 environmental and energy-justice, faith and labor groups from more than 30 states urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject the New England Ratepayers Association’s petition seeking federal jurisdiction over state solar policies.
  • Utilities remain mute on FERC net metering petition, leave filing to face overwhelming opposition, by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive. A petition in front of federal regulators to effectively overturn net metering policies nationwide faced overwhelming bipartisan opposition on Monday from state regulators, members of Congress, public power groups and others. 

Alliant coal plant could cost Wisconsin customers $257M by 2030, report says

By Catherine Morehouse, Utilty Dive

Two Wisconsin coal plants cost Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin customers $16 million in 2019 alone, according to a report released Tuesday from the Sierra Club. Alliant on Friday announced it plans to retire one of those facilities — the 380 MW last remaining unit of its Edgewater plant — by 2022. However, the 1,023 MW Columbia coal plant has no set retirement date, and if it continues to operate the utility’s share of the plant could cost customers $257 million through 2030, according to Sierra Club. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Related: Alliant Energy looks to add 675 MW of PV and quadruple Wisconsin’s solar capacity, PV Magazine

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

The (energy) efficient road to small business recovery, Utility Dive
The following is a contributed article by Ralph Cavanagh, Energy Co-Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and John Di Stasio, President of the Large Public Power Council.

MORE ON SECRET GROUP’S FERC PETITION

24 Congressional Democrats urge FERC to reject net metering overhaul, Utility Dive
A group of Democratic senators and representatives on Tuesday wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, urging the regulatory body to shut down a net metering proposal that experts say would effectively overturn the policy nationally. In the letter, Congress Members questioned FERC’s authority to make such a rule and also asked the commission to ask the petitioner, New England Ratepayers Association (NERA), to disclose its members. 

Upcoming Advanced Energy Economy Webinar


Net Energy Metering and State Authority: What’s at Stake for Advanced Energy in FERC Petition, June 3 at 2 p.m.


This webinar will explain how FERC ruling the wrong way could impact existing and emerging state and municipal and cooperative utility approaches to supporting distributed energy resources in retail markets. 

Panelists

  • Ted Thomas, Chairman, Arkansas Public Service Commission
  • Hannah Muller, Director of Public Policy, Clearway Energy
  • John McCaffrey, Senior Regulatory Counsel, American Public Power Association
  • Jeff Dennis, Managing Director and General Counsel, Advanced Energy Economy

PEAK COALITION REPORT

Dirty Energy, Big Money, by the PEAK Coalition
Subtitle: 
How Private Companies Make Billions from Polluting Fossil Fuel Peaker Power Plants in New York City’s Environmental Justice Communities – and How to Create a Cleaner, More Just Alternative

The high costs of these peaker plants—both in public health impacts and on New Yorkers’ electric utility bills—are largely hidden to the public. It is not well known, but the owners of these plants receive exorbitant payments from utilities and other energy service providers just for the plants to exist. 

UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS STUDY

The Coal Bailout Everybody Is Talking About, by Joseph Daniel, senior energy analyst with the Climate & Energy program at UCS

 As we found in our new UCS report, Used but How Useful, How Electric Utilities Exploit Loopholes, Forcing Customers to Bail Out Uneconomic Coal-Fired Power Plants, utilities across 15 states right in the heart of the U.S. exploited power market loopholes, costing customers $350 million in 2018.

Previously Posted