Tag Archives: renewable energy in Nebraska

NextEra’s wind energy capacity in Nebraska will more than triple with new projects

By Cole Epley, The Omaha World-Herald

The largest owner of wind energy projects in the U.S. has two projects in the pipeline in Nebraska that will more than triple the capacity of its installed wind here in the next 2½ years. Read the entire story here.

Photo Credit: NextEra Energy

SEE ALSO: NextEra lines up GE in Nebraska, ReNews

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NextEra Energy: Doing Well by Doing Good

Iberdrola Renewables Announces Wind Power Agreement with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

Photo: Business Wire

Photo: Business Wire

PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Iberdrola Renewables today announced a 25-year contract to supply Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. (Tri-State) – a wholesale electric power supplier owned by 44 electric cooperatives and public power districts across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming – with renewable energy from the planned Twin Buttes II Wind Project.

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The U.S. Department of Energy designated Tri-State as 2015 Wind Cooperative of the Year.

Iberdrola USA, headquartered in Portland, Oregon is an “energy pioneer with the largest renewable asset base of any company in the world.”

MORE RECOMMENDED READING
Portland’s largest renewable energy developer inks huge 76 MW wind dealby Wendy Culverwell, Portland Business Journal

LES Should Use Nebraska Wind

by Senator Ken Haar, Local View, Lincoln Journal Star 

First, the good news.  The Lincoln Electric System (LES) is to be congratulated on its announcement Friday that it will add 173 megawatts of wind and five megawatts of solar energy to its portfolio.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association’s number for “the current national average,” this is enough electricity to power 29,000 homes.  It is good news on three fronts:

To continue reading click here.

LES offers SunShares as way to buy into community solar energy project

by Algis J. Laukaitis, Lincoln Journal Star

Lincoln Electric System customers who want to support renewable energy growth will have an opportunity to invest in a community-funded solar energy project.

The LES Administrative Board on Friday unveiled a new customer participation program that allows customers to buy so-called SunShares for $3 a month through their bills.

The city-owned utility plans to launch a marketing program soon to encourage customers to sign up for the voluntary program set to begin Aug. 2.

To continue reading, click here:
http://journalstar.com/news/local/les-offers-sunshares-as-way-to-buy-into-community-solar/article_0a2202ba-46f6-5161-a6f8-986685cf1c80.html

OPPD plans to retire all North Omaha Station’s coal-fired units; other plants in Midlands adapt to clean-air rules differently

by Cody Winchester, World Herald staff writer

Coal-fired power plants in Nebraska and Iowa are adapting to tightened clean-air rules.

Some are shutting down. Others are installing pollution controls or refueling with natural gas. Still others are holding off on major decisions until a new rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions is made final.

The Omaha Public Power District, for its part, isn’t waiting.

Thursday, the OPPD board approved a 20-year generation plan that will retire three coal-burning units at the North Omaha Station in 2016, offsetting the loss of power generation with new and expanded efficiency programs.

To continue reading, click here: http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/oppd-plots-to-retire-all-north-omaha-station-s-coal/article_2218822c-f7d0-11e3-a070-0017a43b2370.html

Rural Electric Cooperatives – Leaders in the Growth of Renewable Energy

A report prepared by Helen Deffenbacher

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), with offices in Arlington, Virginia and Lincoln, Nebraska, lists over 900 cooperatives in its membership directory.

Private, not-for-profit, and member-owned, many have served rural communities for decades, some dating back to the 1930’s and the New Deal Era, or even before. They are the largest electric utility network in America, providing service to approximately 42 million people in 47 states.

Rural electric cooperatives are governed by their consumers (known as consumer-members), and their governing principles are: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; members’ economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community.

The following information, posted on NRECA’s website, further outlines what rural electric cooperatives are all about:

•    Electric cooperatives support appropriate federal funding for renewable energy research and development, including incentives to fully utilize domestic resources that are available to all segments of the industry on an equitable basis, including Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs).
•    Electric cooperatives oppose mandates on electric utilities if they undermine local board control of power supply decision-making, threaten system reliability, or unduly raise the cost of electricity for members.
•    Electric cooperatives believe that electric power from federally owned hydroelectric projects are especially important sources of affordable electricity for electric co-ops.

Just as rural electric cooperatives have changed the energy landscape over previous decades, they are continuing to play that role today in a major way, expanding options for their member-consumers to include renewable energy and contributing to its rapid deployment.

Over the last five years there has been tremendous growth among rural cooperatives in renewable energy development. Currently, over 90% offer their member-consumers one or more renewable energy options: wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, biomass, and manure methane.

There are 34 rural electric cooperatives in Nebraska listed in NRECA’s Membership Directory. According to the organization’s latest update, all but five of them now include renewable energy options in their portfolios, primarily hydropower and wind. Six provide solar energy as a choice for their member-consumers. (See Resources, below, to access this information).

One major contributing factor to the growth of renewable energy among rural electric cooperatives is the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREB) mentioned earlier. The IRS has approved $900 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREB) allocations for cooperatives’ renewable energy development.

A second contributing factor is simple and practical. With the costs of fossil fuels continuing to rise, renewable sources of energy provide cooperatives near and long-term price stability.

A third factor is that the majority of cooperatives, judging by NREA’s statistics, have apparently concluded that it’s the right thing to do for their communities. Rural electric cooperatives have a long history of investment in the common good of their communities. “Concern for community,” as mentioned earlier, is one of the seven principles informing and guiding rural electric cooperatives’ decisions and actions. Wind, solar, and other renewable sources of energy are bringing economic development to rural communities across America, creating jobs, and further empowering or revitalizing local economies.

A fourth factor that’s helping to transform the energy landscape in our rural communities has to do with another of the seven principles mentioned earlier, ”cooperation among cooperatives.” Information sharing creates excitement and interest in renewable energy, and collaboration among cooperatives contributes to a community’s success in planning and developing it.

The old and now trite saying, “It takes a village . . . “ doesn’t apply here. It takes many villages, rural and urban, and millions of people working together to transform the energy landscape in our nation. That transformation, of course, is occurring now in communities all across America, thanks in large measure to networks like the NRECA and many, many others.

Resources

NRECA’s website: http://www.nreca.coop

The search feature included with the interactive map posted at the web address, below, provides access to information and links to each of the rural electric cooperatives in our state that have renewables in their portfolios:
http://www.nreca.coop/wp-content/plugins/nreca-interactive-maps/RenewableEnergy/index.html 

NRECA’s Membership Directory is available at the link, below. Select “country” and then “state” to access a list of Nebraska Rural Electric Cooperatives:
http://www.nreca.coop/about-electric-cooperatives/member-directory/

Historic Hydros, by Charlie Powell, Network Magazine, a quarterly publication that tells the stories of the people and communities of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. Tri-State is a not-for profit wholesale energy supplier owned by 44 cooperatives that it serves in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. Renewable energy currently comprises 15% of Tri-State’s energy portfolio, including: solar, wind, federal hydro, small hydro, and biomass:
http://www.tristate.coop/NewsCenter/documents/Network-Fall-2013.pdf

Cooperatives in the news:

The Solar Electric Power Association recently recognized two cooperatives for achieving highest honors: www.nreca.coop/co-ops-win-top-solar-awards/
Frytown, Iowa, co-op strives to be leader in harnessing solar power, The Associated Press  http://www.omaha.com/article/20131111/NEWS/131119858

A Nebraska Farm’s Renewable Energy Enterprise Is Reaping Profits While Protecting Soil & Water

Danny and Josie Kluthe own the first on-farm electrical generator in Nebraska powered by manure methane. The methane is harvested from an anaerobic manure digester on their swine farm in Dodge, Nebraska to produce electricity and compressed natural gas (CNG).

Some of their homegrown, renewable energy is used for the farm. The excess, enough to power approximately 50 homes, is sold to the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) through the Kluthe’s alternative energy business, called OLean Energy. NPPD distributes the energy to neighboring Cuming County Public Power District.

It all started with the Kluthe’s desire to be good neighbors, to control the odor from their farm, particularly with a church nearby.  At a symposium  presented by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the Nebraska Public Power District, Danny discovered that the manure from an anaerobic digester essentially comes out odorless. “So it seemed like a perfect fit.”

The USDA and the Nebraska Environmental Trust provided grants to help fund the construction of the farm’s electrical generator. The manure methane produced by the digester is piped to the generator to power it.

“We are displacing $4-per-gallon diesel with the methane we produce here on the farm, so the payback is phenomenal. We now can make our own electricity, our own vehicle fuel and our own fuel to heat the barns. It’s nice to be energy-independent and not be at the mercy of energy costs.”

To read more about the Kluthe family and additional ways they are protecting the soil and water resources at Bacon Hill, share their story and connect with others, click on this link: http://globegazette.com/article_c46cafba-2e1a-50bc9716db629ab74df1.html#.Umktng5a4OQ.twitter

The Midwest Rural Energy Council’s website provides resources on Anaerobic Digesters and Biogas, including: Anaerobic Digester Basics, Financial Assistance & Economics of Using Anaerobic Digesters, Farmers’ Digester Experience, Organizations that Support Anaerobic Digestion Endeavors, and more: www.mrec.org/anaerobicdigestion.html

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s AgStar Program provides an online Anaerobic Digester (AD) 101 guide, answers to Frequent Questions, Fact Sheets, and additional resources at this link: www.epa.gov/agstar/anaerobic/index.html