Tag Archives: Omaha Public Power District (OPPD)

2 retired teachers running for OPPD board want to reduce utility’s greenhouse gas emissions

By Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald

Mary Spurgeon, a retired Bellevue Public Schools vocal music teacher, and William Forsee, a retired Burke High and Abraham Lincoln High School biology teacher, are competing to represent Subdivision 3, which includes La Vista, Papillion and the Bellevue area.

Spurgeon and Forsee say they are committed to reducing the utility’s greenhouse gas emissions, with Forsee citing concerns about climate change as one of his key motivators for running. Spurgeon says that past OPPD boards failed to be good stewards of the ratepayers’ money but that the current board is moving in the right direction and she wants to encourage that progress. Read more here.

OPPD announces sites for two backup natural gas plants

By Jessica Wade, Omaha World-Herald

The Omaha Public Power District on Thursday announced the locations of two natural gas peaking plants that will be built in the Omaha area. No location has been announced for a solar farm planned as part of the Power with Purpose project. OPPD will hold two online meetings for the public to learn more about the natural gas units: the Papillion facility will be discussed Sept. 29 at 6 p.m.; the Omaha unit will be discussed on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. For information on the meetings, visiOPPDCommunityConnect.com. Read more here.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED 

The Climate Crisis Requires That We Move Away from Gas, by Sheryl Carter and Bobby McEnaney, Natural Resources Defense Council

We need to create a zero- or net-zero carbon future to deal with the worsening climate crisis—and that requires transitioning away from fossil gas. Getting there will require us to significantly reduce our reliance on gas and, for any gas we still use, address both the methane leaked throughout the supply chain and carbon emitted during combustion. Moving away from gas—in our buildings, in the power sector, and across our economy—could take a long time, and that is why we must start now. Here are some things we can do today to get there smartly and affordably:

WIND & SOLAR DECARBONIZING OUR ECONOMIES LOCALLY & NATIONALLY

Wind’s Environmental Record, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
Wind power is a low-carbon energy source—when a wind turbine generates electricity it produces zero carbon emissions. The development of clean wind energy avoids significant carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution.

  • In 2019, the electricity generated from wind turbines avoided an estimated 42 million cars’ worth of CO2 emissions.
  • A typical wind project repays its carbon footprint in six months or less, providing decades of zero-emission energy.

Climate Change: A Solar Energy Industries Association Initiative

  • Both concentrating solar power (CSP) and photovoltaic (PV) technologies produce clean, emissions-free electricity that can help reduce U.S. GHG emissions
  • Solar heating and cooling systems can provide about 80% of the energy used for space heating and water heating needs.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

EPA Infographic: Sources of GHG Emissions in the United States by Sector. While methane, the primary component of natural gas, makes up 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, it is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide during the first two decades of its release.

Carbon dioxide (CO2): Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil), solid waste, trees and other biological materials, and also as a result of certain chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement). Carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere (or “sequestered”) when it is absorbed by plants as part of the biological carbon cycle.

Methane (CH4): Methane is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. Methane emissions also result from livestock and other agricultural practices and by the decay of organic waste in municipal solid waste landfills.

Nitrous oxide (N2O): Nitrous oxide is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste, as well as during treatment of wastewater.

Fluorinated gases: Hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride are synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes. Fluorinated gases are sometimes used as substitutes for stratospheric ozone-depleting substances (e.g., chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and halons). These gases are typically emitted in smaller quantities, but because they are potent greenhouse gases, they are sometimes referred to as High Global Warming Potential gases (“High GWP gases”).

5 Major US Utilities That Haven’t Promised to Fully Decarbonize: Some of the holdouts will surprise you.

By Julian Specter, Greentech Media

Electric utilities all over the place are promising to eliminate or net out their carbon emissions — here’s GTM’s look at the top five. Such promises were unthinkable for utilities just a few years ago. But the trend took off when Xcel Energy figured out it could retire coal plants, build clean power plants, and make more profits while keeping electricity costs down. The combination of positive public perception, a bigger rate-base and greater appeal to sustainability-minded investors turned the carbon-free commitments into the rule, not the exception, for the utility sector.

“They’re really trying to appease a nascent but quite powerful movement of [environmental, social and governance focused] shareholders and institutional investors,” said David Pomerantz, executive director of utility watchdog group Energy and Policy Institute, which tracks carbon targets. “Once it started taking off…it became awkward if a company didn’t have a goal.” A few exceptions do remain, though — holdouts that have not promised to eliminate their greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading here.

Photo: NextEra Energy constructed Nebraska’s 35-acre, 5-megawatt solar array east of Fort Calhoun, which became operational in late December of 2019. NextEra contracted with OPPD to sell the power it produces to the utility for at least 20 years.

Previously Posted

  • NextEra is also pursuing a 423-megawatt solar project in Nebraska. It has acquired land rights and now is waiting to find a buyer and to hear what the Southwest Power Pool would charge for a connection to the grid. That figure is critical in developing renewable projects. [Phil Clement, who directs projects in Nebraska for NextEra] said that although it’s not now in the plan, storage could become a part of a Nebraska solar array as well. NextEra always builds solar projects “with storage in mind,” he said. Source: Solar-storage project would be ‘game-changer’ for Kansas City region, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network
  • NextEra, Nebraska farmers aim to build largest solar farm in the Midwest, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

NEBRASKA-BASED VALMONT INDUSTRIES IN THE NEWS

Convert launches new PV tracker control system, contributed by Convert, PV Magazine

Solar PV tracking manufacturer, Convert, is launching its TRJ-AI Tracker Control System. The company says its new TRJ-AI innovation provides the industry the opportunity to easily control, manage, and monitor tracking systems from digital devices reliably and remotely to optimize the energy production of solar plants.

“Technology is ever-evolving and our commitment is to guarantee a better solution and a higher performance than the current standards, every time. Today with the innovative TRJ-AI Tracker Control System, the customers are able to take control when and where they want,” says Yury Reznikov, vice president and general manager of global solar for Valmont Industries, Inc, the Nebraska-based company that acquired Convert in 2018. “This means having complete control of your solar photovoltaic plant while increasing yield, minimizing risks, and optimizing O&M costs at the same time.”

Valmont Industries Website
Valmont Careers

MORE ON NEW SOLAR SCHOOLS STUDY & SOLAR POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS

Virginia jumps to head of the class on school solar installations, report shows, by Elizabeth McGowan, Energy News Network

California is still the runaway valedictorian of solar-powered K-12 schools nationwide, but a recent renewable energy policy evolution in Virginia has propelled the state to head-of-the-class status. Since 2017, Virginia schools leapfrogged an impressive 12 spots — from 20th place to eighth place — in solar capacity installed, according to a report released Tuesday by a Charlottesville nonprofit.

Generation 180 collaborated with the Solar Foundation and the Solar Energy Industries Association to compile Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools. The organization was founded in 2016 to equip individuals and communities across the country to play a role in the transition to 100% clean energy. Report co-author Tish Tablan is the program director for Solar for All Schools, a Generation 180 initiative.

 About Power Purchase Agreements

Solar Power Purchase Agreements, Solar Energy Industries Association 
A solar power purchase agreement (PPA) is a financial agreement where a developer arranges for the design, permitting, financing and installation of a solar energy system on a customer’s property at little to no cost. Schools all across the country are using Solar Power Purchase Agreements to solar power their buildings for free or at minimal cost.

EV program recharging for another year

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire

OPPD’s popular electric vehicle rebate program is back for a third year. Historically, the program has had a measurable impact on adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the OPPD service territory. The rebates have sold out every year. This year, the rebates for residential electric vehicles and chargers are still available. A fleet vehicle replacement rebate for businesses is new this year. EV fleet rebates are rare in the national market, but OPPD is leading the way by making these rebates available to business customers. Learn more here.

LES & NPPD EV PROGRAMS & INCENTIVES

Midlands Voices: Renewable energy proves a sound investment for Nebraska

By Tim Gay, Omaha World-Herald

Wind energy is crucial to Nebraska’s economic growth. We are fortunate to live in a state that has demonstrated real leadership in the expansion of wind power through pro-growth tax policies and removing regulatory barriers to wind development. Nebraska is on the right path, and given our resources we have tremendous potential for continued growth. New business investment centered on affordable, clean energy generation is a model that is producing results and providing hope for the future. Read more here.

Tim Gay, a Papillion resident, is a member of the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors.

AWEA’s American Wind Week 2020: Businesses power up with wind

Do you know how much of your day is powered by wind? The answer is probably more than you think! To close out #AmericanWindWeek2020, we’re celebrating our corporate buyers of wind power. Fortune 500 Companies are building a new way to do business by powering their factories, data centers and stores with wind. Not only does this practice help their bottom line, it’s good stewardship as well. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading – American Wind Energy Association Post
#AmericanWindWeek 2020: Wind powers community investment

In Nebraska: Facebook & Other Corporations Are Purchasing Renewable Energy

Shown in the above photo by Enel Green Power: Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm, which became operational at the end of 2018, is Nebraska’s second-largest wind farm. Facebook’s Data Center in Papillion purchases power virtually from the wind farm.

“We’ve made a commitment to powering our data centers with renewable energy. This benefits us, Nebraska and to the environment in general. Our partnership with Enel Green Power supports this, bringing 320 MW of wind energy onto the State’s grid and boosting new investments and jobs in eastern Nebraska.” – Bobby Hollis, Director of Global Energy for Facebook

Additional Recommended Viewing & Reading 

  • You Tube Video

Nebraska Currently In The News Here

  • Masdar Buys Into 1.6GW EDF Renewables Pipeline in One of the Year’s Biggest Deals, Greentech Media. Last year, state-owned Masdar, part of the United Arab Emirates’ Mubadala Investment Corp., made its first foray into the U.S. renewables market, buying stakes in two smaller wind farms from the U.K.-based John Laing Group. Mubadala is one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. The latest eight-project deal with EDF is a big step up. Masdar will buy half-stakes in three wind farms in Nebraska and Texas totaling 815 megawatts, as well as five solar projects in California — two with batteries — totaling 689 megawatts of PV and 75 megawatts of storage.
  • 64 mayors sign letter urging Congress to extend solar tax credits, Solar Power World
    A bipartisan coalition of 64 mayors, representing 25 states across the country, joined with Environment America today to call on Congress to take action on clean energy. Specifically, the mayors have sent a letter to Congress urging members to extend solar and wind energy tax credits; expand incentives for electric vehicles and energy efficiency; and create new tax credits for energy storage projects. [
    Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning is among the signatories].
  • Public Hearing Set by Gage County Board, on Proposed Wind Energy Amendment, News Channel Nebraska. The Gage County Board will conduct a hearing on August 26th at 4:30 p.m. at the BHS Hevelone Center on the proposed amendment. NextEra Energy Resources is studying construction of a wind farm in northern Gage County but has not filed a permit application with the county’s planning commission.
  • Flood study grants, NCORPE debt payments in LRNRD budget, Kearney Hub
    In their written staff report to the board, [LRNRD Assistant General Manager Scott Dicke] and General Manager Todd Siel said the NCORPE board voted July 14 to approve a lease agreement with Chicago-based Invenergy for a study [of] solar and wind resources on NCORPE property in southern Lincoln County. Siel has said a renewable energy project could generate millions of energy-related tax dollars during a 25-year period for Lincoln County. 

New Resources Developed by Nebraska’s Largest Utilities – Plus an Upcoming Event

Announcing LES’ Electric Vehicle Webinar Series
By Marc J. Shkolnick, LES Manager/Energy Services

Electric vehicle enthusiasts are invited to participate in one or more noon-hour webinars presented by Lincoln Electric System. The virtual workshops will cover a wide array of topics ranging from home and public charging trends and technologies, results of LES’ residential charging study, considerations for buying or leasing a new or used electric vehicle and innovations in electric transportation. LES has booked experts from the Electric Power Research Institute (ERPI) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to present and engage in question and answers for each webinar. RSVP by visiting www.les.com/ev

LES News Release: Recent grant enables LES to offer first EV rebate
Lincoln Electric System has received a grant of $120,000 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for its “Electric Vehicle Public Engagement and Rebate Program.” The Trust Board announced funding for the project at its June 11 meeting, and LES made the official announcement during its own administrative board meeting July 17. Funds will be used to offer LES customers purchase or lease rebates for new, all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.


New Series of Solar Videos Created by NPPD & UNL 
By David Rich, NPPD Sustainable Energy Manager

The series’ co-creator and presenter F. John Hay, shown in the above photo, is an Extension Educator for Biological Systems Engineering at UNL. Small wind turbines and small solar systems for home, farm, or business are among his various areas of research and teaching interests. The videos include:

The resources are also posted here on NPPD’s website. Click “Videos”.


New platform gives customers a way to connect
By Laura King-Homan, The Wire


OPPD recently launched a new way to connect with customers – and hear what they have to say. The utility’s new outreach websiteOPPDCommunityConnect, replaces the previous website and provides a more interactive experience. It also supports the utility’s strategic directive around stakeholder engagement and transparency.

Current conversations featured on the site include:

  • Power with Purpose – OPPD’s utility-scale solar and backup natural gas generation project
  • Pathways to Decarbonization – The work OPPD is doing to reach net-zero carbon production by 2050
  • COVID-19 pandemic updates and community resources

OPPD has streamlined its customer-owned generation program
By Jodi Baker, The Wire

“We know more and more customers are looking into owning their own generation, and we want to guide them in the process,” said Kirk Estee, Customer Alternative Energy Solutions Manager for OPPD. “We are their energy partner, and we’re here to help.”With those goals in mind, OPPD recently revamped and streamlined its process of applying for Customer-Owned Generation (COG). And the utility created a new website, with educational resources, such as a quick-start guide, information on net metering for billing, and available tax credits. Customers will also find a calculator to determine their pay-off period for an investment in solar panels.


LES ANNOUNCEMENT

LES’ signature sustainability event is back this year in a whole new way — online!

We’re hosting our 10th annual Sustainable Living Festival digitally as a weeklong extravaganza July 20-24.

This year, we need your help in spreading the word about the event. Feel free to invite friends and family to this virtual festival through social media and your other channels! Each day, we will have a variety of content from local experts to help festivalgoers discover easy ways to take care of our environment and live more sustainably.

See the lineup of live events and mini sessions & register here.

New platform gives customers a way to connect

By Laura King-Homan, OPPD The Wire

The utility’s new outreach website, OPPDCommunityConnect, replaces the previous website and provides a more interactive experience. It also supports the utility’s strategic directive around stakeholder engagement and transparency.

The platform features new ways to engage with OPPD leaders and the community. Interactive features include polls, surveys and forums, mapping tools and a place to share ideas. The feedback collected on the site gives OPPD valuable insight into what customers are thinking and helps the utility make the best decisions for customers. Read more here.

Related: OPPD continues working on project to be 100% energy efficient by 2050, by Shirelle Moore, Fox 42 KPTM

New study: Highlights from the Wind Powers American Business report

By Celeste Wanner, American Wind Energy Association

Many of the businesses across the country that power our everyday lives are increasingly choosing wind energy to power their operations. Once a niche market, corporate customers now routinely represent 40 percent or more of announced wind power contracts in a given year and are some of the most sought-after customers by wind project developers. A new AWEA report released todayWind Powers American Business, focuses on this growing segment and highlights the top corporate buyers of wind energy in the U.S. The bottom line: Companies powering up with wind is no longer just a trend, it’s the new normal. Let’s dig into some of the top trends: Continue reading.

Image: Plum Creek Wind Farm

WIND ENERGY INVESTMENT IN NEBRASKA

Report says Nebraska in the top five states for wind energy investment, by Caitlyn Lorr, Siouxland Proud. Nebraska is among the top five states in the country for attracting direct business purchases of its wind energy resources, according to a report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

DOE’S BETTER BUILDINGS INITIATIVE

DOE Announces $11 Billion in Energy Cost-Savings from Better Buildings Initiative Partners, Department of Energy News Release 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced nearly $11 billion in energy-cost savings by more than 950 public and private sector organizations in DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative. To date, partners have saved nearly 1.8 quadrillion British thermal units of energy, which is equivalent to the electricity consumption of 27 million homes in America over one year. Learn more about DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative HERE.

ZERO ENERGY COMMUNITIES

Here’s how to design communities that give back as much energy as they take
GreenBiz contributor Charles F. Kutscher is a fellow and senior research associate of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, a joint institute between the University of Colorado-Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

My colleagues and I study the best ways to rapidly reduce carbon emissions from the building sector. In recent years, construction designs have advanced dramatically. Net zero energy buildings, which produce the energy they need on site from renewable sources, increasingly are the default choice. But to speed the transition to zero carbon emissions, I believe the United States must think bigger and focus on designing or redeveloping entire communities that are zero energy.

MORE ON THE 2035 REPORT

  • A Clean Electricity Future is Affordable and Attainable—It’s Time to Act, Rocky Mountain Institute. GridLab and UC-Berkeley show that a 90 percent carbon-free US electricity grid is both reliable and lower cost. The Berkeley/GridLab report represents a distinctive new chapter in the evolving discourse playing out around the country regarding the future of the US electricity system. The study will likely be an important benchmark against which individual utilities’ investments are evaluated for compatibility with least-cost and feasible decarbonization outcomes. Investors, utilities, regulators, and policymakers should take advantage of the wealth of insight and information contained within this body of work, and plan accordingly for their own role in accelerating the decarbonization of the US power grid. Website: www.2035report.com 
  • 90% clean power by 2035 is ‘challenging but feasible’, PV Magazine
    “90% by 2035 is the sweet spot” for a pathway that uses existing technology, allows “judicious use” of existing generation assets, and “achieves near-complete decarbonization in a realistic timeframe,” said study co-author Nikit Abhyankar of UC Berkeley. The resulting lower wholesale cost of electricity by 2035 “was a surprise for us.”
  • Falling renewable, storage costs make 90% carbon-free US grid feasible by 2035, UC Berkeley finds, Utility Dive

NEW GTM POLITICAL CLIMATE EPISODE

Racial Justice Protests Put a Spotlight on Pollution and Clean Energy Solutions, by Julia Pyper, Senior Editor, Greentech Media

On this episode of Political Climate, National Wildlife Federation’s Mustafa Santiago Ali connects the dots between the clean air, affordable energy and the racial justice movement. Ali has been on the front lines of the fight for environmental justice since he was a teenager and throughout his 24 years at the EPA. Now, as vice president of environmental justice, climate and community revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation, Ali says he’s hopeful this historic moment will accelerate equitable energy solutions.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

The time for electric trucks and buses is now, by Katie Fehrenbacher, GreenBiz
Despite the pandemic, sales of electric trucks and buses are expected to surge in the United States and Canada over the next couple of years. And perhaps, surprising to many, they’ll soar even within this year (the year that can best be described as WTF). That’s according to new data released recently by the clean-transportation-focused nonprofit CALSTART. The organization expects there to be 169 zero-emission commercial vehicles available for purchase, or soon to be available, in North America by the end of 2020; that’s a 78 percent increase from the number of zero-emission commercial vehicles available at the end of 2019. What’s more, between 2019 and 2023, the number of zero-emission commercial vehicle models is expected to double, to 195. 

SECOND-LIFE EV BATTERY STORAGE

Used EV Batteries Could Power Tomorrow’s Solar Farms, IEEE Spectrum
An MIT study finds promise in repurposing swapped-out EV battery packs for solar grid storage.

It’s Time to Incentivize Residential Heat Pumps

By Claire McKenna, Amar Shah, Mark Silberg
Rocky Mountain Institute

Heat pump technology is a particularly efficient way to heat a home, delivering two to four times more heating energy than the electricity it consumes. As of 2020, replacing a gas furnace with a heat pump will reduce carbon emissions in 46 of 48 states (99 percent of US households); all but Wyoming and Utah, which remain heavily reliant on coal-fired electricity.

Our analysis found two key reasons why a heat pump purchased today will have lower carbon emissions than a gas furnace over the 15-year appliance lifetime: (1) modern heat pumps are significantly more efficient than gas furnaces, even in cold climates; (2) the electricity sector has reached a tipping point in reducing carbon emissions. Read more here.

LOCAL INCENTIVES

Below are links to our three major utilities’ heat pump incentives. If you aren’t a customer, search your local utility company’s website for any available rebates.

Nebraska Public Power District

Omaha Public Power District 

Lincoln Electric System 

FEDERAL INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT

Geothermal heat pumps are eligible for the federal investment tax credit (ITC), which is 26% to the end of 2020: Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit (ITC)

Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)