Tag Archives: solar energy development in Nebraska

City gives nod to solar

By Suzi Nelson, Wahoo Newspaper

On July 27, the Wahoo City Council authorized the mayor to sign a letter of intent for a 2-megawatt solar plant on 10 acres on the east side of Wahoo. The project was approved unanimously by the Wahoo Board of Public Works on July 21, according to Ryan Hurst, general manager for Wahoo Utilities, the city-owned utility department. Hurst said Nebraska Public Power District, the entity from which Wahoo Utilities purchases electricity that is not generated by the local power plant, allows communities to use up to 10% or 2 megawatts of renewable power. Continue reading here.

To read more about NPPD’s limit on renewable energy, click here and scroll down to “South Sioux City” and “NPPD’s Wholesale Power Contracts”.

See Also: Council hears rate study for proposed electric rate changes, Beatrice Daily Sun, posted yesterday.

NPPD NEWS RELEASES

  • Information forums on decarbonization scheduled by NPPD
    NPPD’s Board of Directors is seeking to better understand their constituents’ opinions in three areas: 1) the risks associated with being a carbon emitting utility; 2) what NPPD’s carbon reduction goal should be; and 3) what principles (cost, environmental, reliability, resilience) are most important to customers  as NPPD works to reduce its carbon emissions.
  • NPPD hosting SunWise community solar open house Aug. 10
    GRNE Solar, based out of Lincoln, Neb., is the solar developer for the 500-kilowatt project. GRNE will sell electricity generated by the solar facility to NPPD, and NPPD will resell this energy to Ainsworth solar subscribers at cost. NPPD already has existing solar facilities operating in Kearney, Scottsbluff and Venango amounting to approximately 10.5 megawatts in size.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

In her article, Suzi Nelson references OPPD’s 81 MW solar project in Saunders County, named Platteview Solar.

The Saunders County Board of Supervisors voted 6-0 to approve the Conditional Use Permit for the 81 MW Platteview Solar Project. See: Saunders County approves solar farm construction near Yutan, Associated Press

More About Platteview Solar – Community Energy

In April 2021, Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) and Community Energy (CE) announced a Power Purchase Agreement for Platteview Solar, an 81 megawatt (MW) utility-scale solar photovoltaic installation with a proposed location just south of Hwy 92 near Yutan in eastern Saunders County.

The project site consists of approximately 500 total leased acres, spanning several clusters of land with a flat, gently rolling topography. This announcement supports OPPD’s Power with Purpose initiative. The official project announcement is on OPPD’s The Wire. OPPD is the lone customer for Platteview Solar’s energy, providing long-term stability and support.

Platteview Solar Project FAQS – Community Energy

Among the questions, the following is one that often comes up in discussions about utility-scale solar projects: 

Doesn’t solar take good agricultural ground out of production?

Not in a meaningful way. Saunders County is 486,400 acres of ground.  The proposed project would impact approximately 500 acres. 

Farm ground used for solar projects does not necessarily mean the end of agricultural use on the land.  It will be different than traditional crops, but a robust pollinator program can benefit not only the project properties, but cropland, orchards, residential gardens, trees and other landscaping within 30 miles of the project site. Additionally, the traditional agricultural nature of the property is not permanently lost. The benefits of restorative vegetation on nitrogen and CO2 depleted land improves agricultural land for the future. Solar projects are a long term, but temporary, use of agricultural land that allows landowners to diversify their assets, creating financial stability and allowing agricultural land to remain in families for future generations.

Previously Posted Research

Beneath Solar Panels, the Seeds of Opportunity SproutNational Renewable Energy Laboratory 

“It doesn’t have to be an either-or choice. For all our agriculturally productive land, let’s help PV developers and farmers plan out these solar projects so that farmers can get under the arrays and continue to work the land for the next 20 or 30 years.” —Gerry Palano, energy program coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Agriculture

OPPD reaches customer-owned generation milestone

By Julie Wasson, OPPD Customer Service, The Wire

On June 28, 2021, OPPD received its 500th customer-owned generation (COG) interconnection application. This was the 165th application received so far this year, which is on track to be a 500% increase in interconnection applications over last year.

OPPD kicked off a multi-team project in 2019 to improve the COG application process using new, state-of-the-art online application software. The application software went live in April 2020 and, so far, more than 20 different solar installers have used the online application on behalf of mutual customers. Without the new online application process, the volume the utility has seen this year would not have been possible. Read more here.

Previously Posted

Battery project makes room for more rooftop solar in Decorah, Alliant Energy News Release
A free DOE webinar on the project will be offered on July 30 at 12:00 p.m. CDT. Anyone interested in learning more can join by 
registering here

Conditional Use Permit Approved For Pierce County Solar Farm

By Alex Loroff, News Channel Nebraska

The Pierce County Board of Commissioners is giving the green light to the construction of a large-scale solar farm in the near future. The board approved a conditional use permit on Monday for Boulevard Associates to construct the Goldenrod Solar Farm in Pierce County on the property of Aaron and Ryan Zimmerman. The approval of the permit was a major step in the process of creating the farm, but representatives of NextEra Energy don’t expect the solar farm to be up-and-running until 2021 at the earliest. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading
Two Pierce County Farmers Are Going Solar

Nebraska Public Power District’s R-Project
NPPD’s R-Project is a 345,000-volt transmission line from NPPD’s Gerald Gentleman Station near Sutherland to NPPD’s existing substation east of Thedford. The new line will then proceed east and connect to a second substation to be sited in Holt County. The R-Project will increase the reliability of the transmission system, relieve congestion on the existing system, and provide additional opportunities for development of renewable projects if desired at the local level.

Southwest Power Pool’s Role
NPPD is a member of the Southwest Power Pool, a regional transmission organization. The SPP conducted a study, also known as the Integrated Transmission Plan, to assess the needs of the entire transmission network with the SPP region over the next 10 years. The R-Project is one of numerous projects to come out of that study.

Follow R-Project’s Progress Here.

Interested in solar energy? Nebraska Public Power District can help make that interest a reality

NPPD News Release

Residents of Scottsbluff who are interested in having solar energy as part of their electricity options, now have the opportunity! The City of Scottsbluff, in cooperation and partnership with Nebraska Public Power District, will again offer community solar shares to their customers in Scottsbluff. A second community solar project is under construction in Scottsbluff, located near Landers Soccer Complex. The 4.375-megawatt solar farm, scheduled to go live this spring, will begin taking registration for shares from Scottsbluff residents and businesses on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020. The initial solar farm, located at NPPD’s Scottsbluff office, was well received and sold out immediately. Continue reading here.

More Nebraska News

Wayne State partners with UNL to offer dual-degree program, Kearney Hub
The goals of the partnership are to provide education platforms in resilient food, energy, water and societal systems in alignment with career opportunities, as well as prepare teachers and curriculum to respond to the increased need for agricultural science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educators.

Council OKs solar project that would be state’s largest

By Matt Olberding, Lincoln Journal Star

The Lincoln City Council on Monday paved the way for a solar farm east of Lincoln that would be the largest in the state. Council members voted 6-0 to grant a special permit to Ranger Power, a New York-based company that wants to build a 230-megawatt solar farm on roughly 1,100 acres in an area bounded by 128th Street, 148th Street and O Street and Havelock Avenue. Ranger Power officials said they chose the area east of Lincoln because it is close to the state’s two largest cities and also because it has existing infrastructure — in the form of a nearby transformer owned by Lincoln Electric System. Read more here.

Image: A rendering shows a series of solar panels planned as part of a project east of Lincoln.

Solar power farms gain momentum in Fremont

By Roger Hamer, WOWT

More than 300 households and counting have made the switch to the solar power system in Fremont, Nebraska. Two years ago, Tom Christensen of Christensen Lumber was among the first to sign up for the city’s solar panel system. “It stirred my interest so it seemed like a real progressive thing for the city to do,” said Christensen. Since the summer of 2017, hundreds have joined the movement and Lottie Mitchell, the City of Fremont Executive Assistant of Communications and Grants was not expecting such a large turnout.

Read more or watch the video here.

More News Stories & Photos: Community-Scale / Utility-Scale Solar

Rates approved for solar panels in Hastings

By Valerie Juarez, NTV

Hastings, NEB. — As the city of Hastings is hoping to lower their amount of fossil fuels with clean, renewable energy Hastings Utilities provided an update at Monday’s city council meeting on their community solar project. Read more here.

Previously Posted
Hastings City Council moves forward with plans for community solar farm, NTV

Photo: Fremont’s first of two solar farms. Credit: Troy Schaben, Fremont Department of Utilities

LES Solar Farm in Lincoln

By Taylor Ttrujillo, KLKN-TV

Excerpted program features: This farm has 15,000 panels. So far, 400 customers have purchased about 500 panels. Customers have the option to purchase 1 panel for $640 in 2019, or half panels for $320. On average it saves customers $32 a year on LES bills. The solar farm is under lease on the current property for 17 more years. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Lincoln Electric System

This news story update raises several questions:

Quick Facts

  • In 2018, Nebraska obtained 63% of its net electricity generation from coal, 15% from nuclear power, and 14% from wind.  Almost all of the rest was generated  from hydropower (4%) and natural gas (3%).
  • Nebraska is among the top 10 states in per capita total energy consumption in part because of its energy-intensive industrial sector, led by agriculture and food processing, and because of the state’s hot summers and harsh winters.
  • Nebraska has the third-highest number of industrial electricity customers of any state, and a significant share of Nebraska’s industrial consumption is seasonal demand from farms where electricity is used to run irrigation systems.
    Last Updated: March 21, 2019

HU rolls out solar pricing options

By Tony Herman, Hastings Tribune

Pricing options for participation in Hastings’ planned solar power project were made public Thursday with registration to begin mid-July. Derek Zeisler, Hastings Utilities director of marketing and energy supply, shared those options during a report at the Hastings Utility Board’s regular meeting. Options include the purchase of installed panels, participating in a solar share program or a combination of the installation and share options. The options carry a one-time $50 enrollment fee due at the time of application that is refundable as a credit to the account after one year of participation. Continue reading here.

Photo: Fremont’s first of two solar farms, similar in size to Hastings’ project, under construction. Credit: Troy Schaben, Assistant City Administrator, Fremont Department of Utilities

City of Norfolk, NPPD teaming up for solar project

Special to the Norfolk Daily News 

Approval was given Monday at the Norfolk City Council meeting regarding the state’s largest community solar project with NPPD. The project will be tied to a battery energy storage system (BESS) demonstration project expected to be in operation by mid-2020. NPPD, with support from the City of Norfolk, received a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust in the amount of $490,000 over two years for the battery energy project, which will be the first of its kind in the state . . . “As technologies have advanced and costs have decreased, rural Nebraska is now in position to produce energy as efficiently as it does food,” said Mayor Josh Moenning.

Read more here.

SoCore Energy Photo: Kearney’s 5.7-megawatt solar farm on 53 acres of the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, The panels are mounted on a tracker-designed racking system. The solar farm generates about 5% of Kearney’s peak demand.

NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar Program