Tag Archives: Norfolk Daily News

NextEra, Nebraska farmers aim to build largest solar farm in the Midwest

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

NextEra Energy Resources is seeking an interconnection agreement for a massive solar project in northeastern Nebraska that, if built, would be the largest in the Midwest and among the largest in the country. The 423 megawatt project is in the early stages of development and still hinges on how much it will cost to connect to the regional transmission grid. “We’re in a holding pattern until we get clarification from the Southwest Power Pool,” said Phil Clement, NextEra’s project director in Nebraska. “We need to know if it’s viable.” Sean Gallagher, vice president for state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, said the project could be a sign of things to come in the region, which is increasingly attractive for large solar projects.
Continue reading here.

Photo by Rob Davis, Fresh Energy

Previously Posted

Madison County puts out regulations for solar panels

By Jerry Guenther, Norfolk Daily News

Last Thursday, the Madison County Joint Planning Commission listened to Ryan Zimmerman, the Pierce County Planning Commission chairman, discuss what he has learned about
harnessing the sun’s energy. Pierce County approved its own solar regulations last year.
Zimmerman has leased much of his land for use as a solar farm and has researched the topic
extensively for a couple of years. Zimmerman said he and his brother, who farm in southwest Pierce County, have entered into a contract with NextEra Energy with plans to use their land to
develop a 423-megawatt (MW) solar farm . . . Following the discussion, the commissioners
approved a basic set of solar regulations for Madison County that are similar to those in Pierce County. Read more here.

Photo: Kearney Solar Farm. Credit: SoCore Energy

Solar energy to power Atkinson waste water plant

By Jerry Guenther, Norfolk Daily News

On Thursday, Jan. 10, the City of Atkinson will celebrate the conversion of its waste water plant to operate entirely on solar energy. Erika Young, marketing and external affairs manager for GenPro Energy Solutions, said the City of Atkinson wanted a tracked system that could provide enough energy to offset the energy consumption of its water treatment plant. GenPro Energy Solutions of Piedmont, S.D., was the project developer. Through NPPD’s Buy-Sell Solar Rider, Atkinson will be able to create long-term cash flow for the city through the production of solar energy, Young said. Read more here.

Event Details
What: Atkinson Waste Treatment Plant Solar Array ribbon cutting.
Where: City of Atkinson Waste Water Treatment Plant, 700 S. Main St., Atkinson.
When: Thursday, January 10, 10 a.m.
Cider and cookies will follow the ceremony at the Atkinson Community Center,
206 W. Fifth Street.

Pixabay Photo

OPPD fee hikes hurt low-income, low energy users and conservationists, OWH analysis confirms

By Aaron Sanderford, Omaha World-Herald
OPPD Infographic 

Conservationist Craig Moody, who joined the OPPD board after the vote on fee and rate changes, says he is concerned that OPPD is encouraging people to use more power instead of less, which he says is wrong. He said he would like OPPD to explore a tiered fee structure, one similar to what the Lincoln Electric System uses. Lincoln charges different fixed fees for customers based on how much power they use.

[Commenting on OPPD’s monthly fixed fee, which starting this month amounts to $360 per year, newly-elected board member Eric Williams stated]: “I think that all five of the new board members were pretty open during our campaigns that the high fixed fee structure is something that’s hurting a lot of people. We would like to take another look at it.” One option, he said, may be revisiting OPPD’s Strategic Directive 2 on rates this spring, to see whether the goal of being affordable is being met. Read the entire article here.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED INFORMATION

OPPD’S  justification for the fixed fee increase is included in the following article by Aaron Sanderford: OPPD board approves $1.18 billion budget
 [Monthly fixed fees] will increase to $30 a month in 2019, up from $10.25 in 2015. Utility officials have said the shift is needed as appliances and devices become more efficient and as more people start generating power at home, including by using solar panels.

In his latest article, Aaron Sanderford states that the fixed fee harms the poor and elders as well as conservationists, including “those who generate their own power.” The annual fixed fee, now $360, does create a barrier for rooftop solar development, as the amount itself, on top of the cost of a solar system, will put the option out of range for many household budgets. As OPPD also states, it increases the payback period for a solar system:

OPPD’s Rate Restructuring FAQs posted on the utility’s website:
FAQ #9:  I am considering installing solar panels and/or wind generation at my home. How would this affect me?
Answer: Because the fixed portion of the bill is increasing, customers who wish to install solar or wind to meet part of their energy needs would see an increase in the payback period associated with recovering their investment.

Those who have installed solar know that the PV systems on their rooftops benefit not only their own households and their neighbors’, but also OPPD in a number of widely-recognized ways. Six benefits of rooftop solar are excerpted HERE from the following source: Let’s Be Clear: Solar Energy Benefits Everyone, Solar Energy Industries Association

Many utilities across the nation have no fixed monthly fees, or they have rolled them back or are in the process of doing so:

Are regulators starting to rethink fixed charges?, Utility Dive
[In 2017], regulators only approved 6 out of 84 proposals for higher customer charges, suggesting regulators might be looking for “something better,” Proudlove told Utility Dive. Autumn Proudlove is senior manager of policy research at the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC).

Omaha-based Tenaska developing 2,000 MW of solar in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) Market

Capital Dynamics, an independent global private asset management firm, today announced that its Clean Energy Infrastructure (CEI) business has signed an agreement with respected energy developer Tenaska to develop a portfolio of greenfield solar projects in the Midwestern United States. The deal closed on November 26, 2018.

The transaction includes 14 solar projects with approximately 2,000 megawatts (MW) in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) market. The portfolio represents a large share of all solar projects currently in the MISO North interconnection queue, with projects in Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota. Read more here.

 

Electric Power Markets: National Overview
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

 

 

NORFOLK NEWS STORY


To make an impact, focus on public policy on local level, mayor says

By Olivia Book, Special to the Norfolk Daily News. 

Included among Mayor Josh Moenning’s many endeavors, “He also is spending more time helping to develop Nebraska’s wind energy industry.”

County gives approval to test towers to collect wind speeds

By Jerry Guenther, Norfolk Daily News

MADISON — Two areas in the western part of Madison County will be the first to be studied for their suitability for possible wind farms. Following a pair of public hearings Wednesday, the Madison County board of commissioners approved two conditional-use permit applications sought by Invenergy Wind Development of Denver . . . Invenergy built and operates both Prairie Breeze projects west of Madison County and recently finished construction of the Upstream Wind Farm, north of Neligh. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Invenergy

Previously Posted

Wind turbine approved for Polk County

Business Reports for Sunday, August 19, The Grand Island Independent

OSCEOLA — Bluestem Energy Solutions has been granted final zoning approval to install a 2.5-megawatt wind turbine one mile southwest of Osceola. Bluestem officials plan for construction to begin in September. Polk County Rural Public Power District, with headquarters in nearby Stromsburg, will purchase 100 percent of the General Electric turbine’s output through a long-term power purchase agreement that includes a guaranteed price for the life of the contract. Boyd Jones Construction of Omaha is engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for the project. Read more here.

ALSO HAPPENING IN NEBRASKA
Madison County gets input on wind regulations, by Jerry Guenther, Norfolk Daily News
On Thursday evening, the Madison County Joint Planning Commission continued discussions on the regulations, with hopes of hosting a public hearing on them next month. If there are no major changes based on the input from the hearing, the regulations could be forwarded to the board of commissioners for consideration in October.

Norfolk Daily News: Reasonable wind regulations should be goal

Madison County officials — including members of the county board and the joint planning commission — have been prudent in taking their time before moving ahead with possible changes to the county’s regulations governing wind energy . . . Our desire is that Madison County be a place where reasonable restrictions are adopted that provide a level of reassurance and protection for those who aren’t big fans — pardon the pun — of the turbines in the countryside. Yet we want Madison County to be a place where its natural wind energy potential can be developed in order to provide additional property tax revenue, and jobs during the construction period and once operating. Read more here

Map: World Atlas

UPDATE: AUGUST 18
Madison County gets input on wind regulations, by Jerry Guenther, Norfolk Daily News
On Thursday evening, the Madison County Joint Planning Commission continued discussions on the regulations, with hopes of hosting a public hearing on them next month. If there are no major changes based on the input from the hearing, the regulations could be forwarded to the board of commissioners for consideration in October.

RESOURCES: CENTER FOR RURAL AFFAIRS 

ALSO HAPPENING IN NEBRASKA

Should Norfolk do more with solar?

Norfolk Daily News Editorial

Our perception of Norfolk — which is probably shared by many others — is that this is a community that is both progressive and yet conservative. It’s more than willing to try something new but it is cautious about going too far or investing too much simply to be on the cutting edge. It desires to be environmentally friendly but practicality has to be considered, too. That kind of a description provides the context for this question: Should Norfolk be doing more to explore solar energy within the community?
Continue here.

Also published by The Norfolk Daily News

Photo Courtesy of Troy Schaben, Assistant Fremont City Administrator of Utilities:  Fremont’s First Community Solar Farm

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Commission opts to delay solar projects, by Tony Herman, Hastings Tribune

After the city of Hastings enacted a moratorium last month on solar energy generation facilities until applicable regulations can be crafted, Adams County has taken similar
action . . .  “The only purpose of the moratorium is so that you can do some planning and some thinking about what you want to do.”  – Dave Bergin, deputy Adams County attorney

Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning: Three priorities need to work together

By Nick Gebhart, Norfolk Daily News

City officials are considering investing in solar, among other potential projects, [Mayor Moenning said at a meeting held yesterday at the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce]. That’s partly because the state of Nebraska is one of the top states in the country in terms of wind and solar energy potential. “If we can develop some cheaper, renewable, home-grown power, that would be beneficial,” Moenning said.

Click here to read about each of the topics Mayor Moenning discussed at the meeting, hosted by the Nebraska Conservation Educational Fund.

Nebraska Conservation Educational Fund Website

Also published by Norfolk Daily News