Tag Archives: OPPD

As coal economics worsen, rural renewables development propels Midwest growth: NRDC

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Approximately 5 GW of new renewables were added across nonmetropolitan areas of 12 Midwest states between 2016 and 2017, compared to about 1.7 GW of capacity added in urban areas, according to the report. NRDC’s analysis focused on Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Development in the region is not slowing down either. Last week Capital Dynamics announced an agreement with power company Tenaska to develop 2,000 MW of solar across half the states listed in the report. And Illinois has 600 MW under construction with another 1.2 GW planned, which will more than double the state’s current rural renewables capacity of 1.6 GW.
Read the entire article here.

Download NRDC Report: Clean Energy Sweeps Across Rural America

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE
Data centers, EVs and cannabis poised to boost demand, American Public Power Association
An example of a public power utility attracting a data center can be found with the Omaha Public Power District. Facebook in 2017 said that it had selected a new Nebraska wind project that will supply power to the social media company’s new data center in Papillion, Neb. OPPD played a key role in bringing the data center to Nebraska through an innovative rate plan.

Midlands Voices: This is what democracy looks like

By John Crabtree, Omaha World-Herald

The writer, of Lyons, Nebraska, is the Nebraska campaign representative of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.

Democracy is at the heart of public power. By listening to their customer-owners, the Omaha Public Power District board members can honor that democratic principle and gain the collective wisdom and courage of their constituents. Today, those customer-owners are calling for less coal and more clean energy, and the environmental and economic opportunities which will follow a shift to 100 percent clean energy.

Three years ago, OPPD proposed and quickly approved one of the country’s most regressive rate hikes. The proposal significantly increased the fixed amount that every OPPD customer pays each month, burdening low-income residents and dampening a growing interest in local clean energy projects. OPPD’s board approved the rate hike despite overwhelming opposition, leaving many to wonder if the “public” aspect of public power had been lost. There is, however, a chance for redemption. OPPD is currently accepting comments on a policy, known as Strategic Directive 7, that sets goals for the utility’s environmental stewardship. Continue reading here.

Related News Stories – Previously Posted
Omaha World-Herald: Despite pleas to consider the poor, OPPD board OKs revised rate plan
Utility Dive: Nebraska municipal utilities move to increase fixed charges 

Current
PV Magazine: Utilities seek greater fees on customers who go solar

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Sierra Club’s Ready for 100%
Currently 88 cities have committed to 100% renewable energy in Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 initiative. The Sierra Club, founded in 1892, has 3.5 million members and supporters nationwide. Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 recently teamed up with Climate Parents and Seventh Generation for 100% clean energy.
Recently Released: 2018 Case Studies Reports featuring 10 new cities that are ready for 100% clean energy!

More initiatives are posted here: 

That $3 Trillion-a-Year Clean Energy Transformation? It’s Already Underway.

Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light: Utility Action Update

OPPD – The comment period for Strategic Directive 7 (SD7), which covers environmental stewardship, has been extended to November 4th! They received hundreds of comments, right up until the previous deadline, many calling for a 100% renewable energy goal. The new language of SD7 includes a goal of 50% renewable retail sales and keeps the carbon intensity metric of a 20% reduction of 2010 levels by 2030. This is a step in the right direction, but we would like to see a 20% reduction in TOTAL carbon emissions and a goal of 100% renewables. You can read SD7, submit your comments and watch video recaps here.

LES – In their 2019 proposed budget, LES intends to allocate $1.5 million of their Sustainable Energy Program (SEP) for low-income energy efficiency programs. Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light Policy & Outreach Director Ken Winston has been engaging LES on this issue. The following are suggestions for increasing the likelihood of success of the new low-income efficiency proposal, the SEP going forward, energy efficiency in general and customer engagement:

  1. Establish a diverse task force of low-income, neighborhood and other community representatives to make sure there is a low-income efficiency program that best serves the needs of the community.
  2. Establish a continuing funding source for the low-income program.
  3. Make energy efficiency a part of the energy portfolio of LES, including establishing goals for energy efficiency.
  4. Improve marketing and outreach to make sure both the SEP and the new low-income efficiency program are reaching the people who need to be reached. Suggestions: presentations at Mayor’s Environmental Task Force and neighborhood roundtables, outreach to groups with contact lists.
  5. Work with the City of Lincoln and other agencies to improve energy efficiency in public buildings.
  6. Work with businesses, community organizations and idea leaders to make Lincoln the most energy-efficient community in the region.
  7. Establish a customer engagement portal on the website for comments and suggestions. It could be called “LES Listens” or something like that.

You can submit comments to LES here.

Related – Local View: LES should preserve funding for sustainability program, Lincoln Journal Star

NPPD – They are in the process of drafting their own Strategic Directives, and these will include environmental stewardship goals. They also had a discussion at their last meeting of supporting carbon fee and dividend if such legislation would be introduced in the Legislature next session. Let your NPPD director know what they should do for environmental goals and a carbon tax here.

Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light: It is better that OPPD and NPPD hear from their respective customer-owners and for them to mention their board representative. In the case of LES, the entire board represents the whole LES service area.

Website: Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light

Video – OPPD Bracing For Future With Electric Cars: Power Provider Needs Data From EV Owners To Plan Ahead

By David Earl, KETV Omaha

Thousands of dollars in savings are on the table until the end of the month for Omaha Public Power District customers in Douglas County. The public power provider is trying to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles and the charging station you’d need in your home to power the car.

Funding for the OPPD incentives is made possible through the Nebraska Environmental Trust. The power provider had enough money for 50 $4,500 rebates that apply to the purchase of an electric vehicle and the specific charging station. As of Wednesday, they had just 11 rebates left to claim. Watch the video or read the transcript here.

KETV Photo

TWO MORE KETV VIDEOS OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

MORE EV NEWS
Report: EV adoption could eventually save Minnesotans billions, Energy News Network
A recent report says increasing the use of plug-in electric vehicles in Minnesota will reduce utility bills, improve air quality and create an infrastructure allowing utilities to manage increasing demand. The cost-benefit analysis shows net benefits statewide could range from $4.6 billion to more than $30 billion depending on the level of plug-in electric vehicle adoption.

Public power easily gets public records exception

By Joe Duggan, Omaha World-Herald

LINCOLN — Nebraska lawmakers have granted public power districts the ability to keep certain financial and proprietary information out of the hands of business competitors and the public. State senators voted 42-4 Friday to pass a public records exception that electrical utilities say they need to remain competitive in a 14-state regional energy market. Read more here.

Public domain photo of a hybrid renewable energy project.

ALSO PUBLISHED BY THE OMAHA WORLD-HERALD

Public Domain Photo of a Hybrid Project

5 Ways OPPD Is Making the Greater Omaha Community More Solar Friendly for Customer Owners

The first four steps that OPPD has stated it is undertaking to provide customer-owners with the information and tools they need to “go solar” are posted on our Home Page. These will make the solar installation process more streamlined and cost-effective for installers, code inspectors, and customers.  Additionally, OPPD is moving forward on community solar development. (See August 5th update, below).

OPPD is to be commended for taking each one of these steps for all customer owners who want to install a solar system on their homes and/or businesses or who wish to participate in a community solar program.

      • OPPD plans to offer solar installers and code inspectors training on the interconnection process and is currently reviewing three major items prior to that effort. They are:
      • OPPD Distributed Generation (DG) Manual: This document provides the guidance and specifications that inter-connected systems, such as solar arrays, are required to meet prior to going “on-line.”
      • The ConnectDER: Effective July 1, 2017, the ConnectDER has been accepted by OPPD for use on certain Distributive Energy Resources (DER), including solar installations. The device has the potential of creating a “fast track” for residential (net metering) solar applications.  The ConnectDER offers various advantages, including added protection of house circuit breakers and the Distributed Energy Resources installation, itself. Any questions should be directed to Wyndle Young 402-636-3552 or email at wlyoung@oppd.com
        ConnectDER Video
         
      • OPPD Website: Renovation of the Distributed Generation portion of OPPD’s website.
      • OPPD has met with representatives from 12 different groups, including Nebraskans for Solar, to discuss concepts for community solar projects, and has issued a Non-Sealed Bid Request for Community Solar Proposals (August 5th Update):

Photo: Solar farm on a former landfill. Credit: Energy Center

News Release: OPPD Adding More Wind To Its Portfolio

With the addition of a new wind facility, the Omaha Public Power District announced it is projected to provide approximately 40 percent of its generation from renewable energy sources when the facility comes online, currently scheduled for late 2019. OPPD President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Burke talked about the plans at the district’s Board of Directors meeting today.

A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources will build the 160-megawatt Sholes wind facility in Wayne County, Nebraska. Construction is slated to begin in March 2019, and it is expected to be operational by December 2019. OPPD will purchase 100 percent of the facility’s wind energy as part of a 20-year agreement.
Click here to read the full release.

From OPPD’s winds of change, The Wire:
The investment is a welcome one not just for OPPD’s customer-owners, but also for those in Wayne County, where the construction could bring in approximately 200 jobs during the construction period and six to 10 full-time operations jobs. The project is estimated to provide more than $30 million in tax revenue.

Reenergizing state’s oldest campus

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire, OPPD News

“We wanted to highlight our partnership with OPPD and show how we can work together.” – Kathy Carroll, vice president of Administration and Finance

The college has updated its electrical system over the last three years . . . Buildings on campus are making the switch to LED lighting, and geothermal cooling and heating was installed in the Jindra Fine Arts building in 2003 and the T.J. Majors building in 2016. Delzell Hall and the Theatre are under renovation and geothermal installations are part of that process. The college recently installed energy metering on their electricity, gas, steam and chilled water services to benchmark usage and determine how to maximize efficiency. So far, these efficiency efforts have resulted in more than $25,000 in rebates from OPPD. Read more here.

Green Bellevue: Embracing Renewable Energy

Written by Cheril Lee, The Reader

Don Preister, Green Bellevue President and Bellevue City Councilman, Ward 5, started Green Bellevue in 2009. Through the organization, approximately 600 volunteers work on a host of different activities including Earth Day and Arbor Day programs, recycling efforts, wildlife habitat cleanup, Green Schools and Clean Energy programs. Preister said they also focus on water quality and sustainable gardening. Continue reading here to learn about Green Bellevue’s renewable energy programs and projects.

Green Bellevue’s March Program
Solar Powering Your Home: Learn how to install solar panels step-by-step
Presenters: Don Preister and David Holtzclaw, owner of Transduction Technologies

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Today’s Technology, Tomorrow’s Leaders: Lighting the Way at Creighton
By Cheril Lee, The Reader

In 2010, Creighton University contracted out to have four individual solar arrays installed around campus. Dr. Andrew Baruth, assistant professor of physics at Creighton University, explained the arrays came about thanks to the direct efforts of Dr. Michael Cherney, now an emeritus professor at Creighton. “In conversation, he learned of money that was available through the U.S. Department of Energy as part of a stimulus package that could potentially go to fund something like this,” said Baruth. Read more here.

Q&A: New report challenges assumption that bigger solar is better

 Written by Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

image001In a time when hundreds of megawatts of large solar projects are underway in Minnesota, a new report suggests that smaller-scale solar projects could be just as good at delivering low-cost electricity. John Farrell, director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Energy Democracy Initiative, argues in a recent paper that smaller-scale solar — and to a lesser degree wind — can be just as effective as utility-scale projects. Why? Farrell’s research suggests that with transmission costs from remote wind and solar farms, having the source closer to users begins to make sense. Continue reading.

Download Report: Is Bigger Best in Renewable Energy?


ALSO IN THE NEWS
Omaha utility to buy 400MW capacity from Berkshire by June. Published by Recharge, which requires a subscription but offers a free trial.  Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) will begin purchasing 100% capacity of the recently completed 400MW Grand Prairie facility in northern Nebraska by 1 June 2017 from owner Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE) Renewables, the publicly-owned utility told Recharge.

Massachusetts town to build New England’s first utility-scale battery storage project, Utility Dive. Months after Massachusetts agency outlined steps to achieve 600 MW of energy storage, a small town in the state wants to build New England’s biggest energy storage project—which would also be the region’s first utility scale project. Sterling Municipal wants to build on its installed solar capacity by using battery storage to lower peak demand charges as well as keep the lights on.

Houston’s New Residential Construction Code Favors Solar Energy, Houston Public Media.
The Houston City Council recently approved a new construction code for single family homes, townhouses and condos that means the builder has to use roofs with a surface of at least 600 square feet that are oriented to the west or the south to make it easier to install solar
panels . . . The new code also requires builders to install all the connections needed to use solar panels.

Wal-Mart Leads the Nation in Corporate Solar Deployments. What Will It Do With Storage? Published by Greentech Media. Wal-Mart had 142 megawatts of installed photovoltaic capacity as of 2015 and is chasing a 100 percent renewable power goal. Now the company is starting to lay out a strategy for energy storage.

Visit the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles website to follow news about other corporations’ renewable energy deployments nationwide.