Tag Archives: Southwest Power Pool (SPP)

Straightening out Gov. Pete Ricketts’ comments

By Charlie Kennedy, NPPD Board Member, Star Herald

I am responding to Governor Pete Ricketts’ “Strengthening Energy Reliability and Independence” opinion article in the Aug. 24 edition of the Star Herald. In 2018 I was elected board director for Nebraska Public Power District’s subdivision 5 which encompasses most of western Nebraska and I ran as a non-partisan independent. Governor Ricketts’ comments and accounts in the article are correct at face level, however some are misleading in support of political views and platform. While I laud our governor for many of his initiatives and successes, I believe that safe, affordable and reliable energy should not be a political issue but rather based on common sense and the best use of emerging technologies.

Continue reading here.

PETE RICKETTS: Strengthening Energy Reliability and Independence, Star Herald

OPPD Board Promotes Vice President To Chief Operating Officer

OPPD News Release, September 16, 2021

Today, the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors promoted Troy Via to the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer and Vice President — Utility Operations, effective Oct. 31. Via is presently Vice President – Energy Delivery, having served in that role for the past three years. He joined the utility in September 2013 as the Director of Energy Marketing and Trading.

In his new position, Via will provide overall leadership, strategic planning and long-term objectives for OPPD’s energy production and energy delivery groups. He will also oversee the ongoing decommissioning of Fort Calhoun Station. The role will oversee the main energy operational capabilities to ensure OPPD’s continued commitment to affordable, reliable, and environmentally sensitive energy services. Prior to joining OPPD, Via held progressively responsible positions with Dominion Resources and Aquila Energy. He holds a bachelor of Business Administration degree with a focus in Finance from the University of Central Missouri.

The release also includes:
Final review of polar vortex event
Power With Purpose Update

Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading
OPPD nets national economic development award, by Jason Kuiper, The Wire

Western U.S. grid plan could remake renewables

By Edward Klump, E&E News

Bruce Rew, senior vice president of operations at SPP, said the expanded RTO footprint could utilize several grid connections that run from the Western Interconnection to the Eastern Interconnection. The connections are in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. Additional connections could be considered later. SPP’s bid to tie the nation’s main Eastern and Western grid networks together would be a first among existing RTOs. “I think it’s a very significant change in terms of how the electric grid is [operated] and what the potential benefits that closer operation between the Western Interconnection and Eastern Interconnection can provide,” Rew said. Read more here.

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

GREEN HYDROGEN

Promoting energy innovation and U.S. jobs through a Green Hydrogen Production Tax Credit, Next Era Energy

To meet the U.S. national climate goal of cutting emissions 50% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, as well as the Biden administration’s 2050 net-zero emissions goal, the U.S. will need to scale a range of new clean energy technologies. While proven technologies such as renewable generation and energy efficiency can drive a significant share of the greenhouse gas emission reductions necessary to achieve the U.S. climate target, new technologies are needed to address the remaining hard-to-decarbonize sectors that are important drivers of economic growth in the U.S., such as industry and heavy-duty transportation. Promoting U.S. innovation and competitiveness will require incentives to scale these emerging technologies. One such emerging technology is green hydrogen, which is well-placed to help the U.S. address a range of hard-to-decarbonize sectors.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

TIPS FOR SAVING ENERGY & MONEY PROVIDED BY OUR LARGEST UTILITIES

U.S. disasters show gaps in $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan

By David R. Baker & Keith Laing, Bloomberg
Reprinted by Kennebec Journal

Three times this year, major pieces of U.S. infrastructure have failed: first the Texas power grid, then the East Coast’s main gasoline pipeline, then a freeway bridge over the Mississippi River. The crises disrupted businesses and lives, cost billions and left more than 150 Texans dead.

The recent failures illustrate just how many ways the patchwork systems can break. Experts say they also illustrate a long-running flaw in the way the U.S. thinks about and pays for infrastructure: The country focuses more on building new things rather than maintaining what it has. Read more here.

Pixabay Photo

TENASKA

GRID: FERC complaint highlights ‘structural problem’ for renewables, by Miranda Willson, E&E News

The case highlights flaws in outdated interconnection systems across the U.S. that have hampered the growth of renewable energy, according to analysts. Companies seeking to build large energy projects typically must obtain approval from a regional transmission organization or grid operator to connect to the bulk power grid, a process that can take years and carry a steep price tag. 

DARTMOUTH STUDY

Dartmouth Study Finds Renewable Energy Upgrades Make Grid More Resilient, New Hampshire NPR

A Dartmouth study has modeled for the first time that renewable energy upgrades will make the nation’s power grid more resilient. Researchers modeled a grid with an influx of three innovations: distributed generation like rooftop solar, a kind of localized power system shortcut known as a meshed grid, and energy storage. The study is the first to find that these emissions-cutting technologies will also make the power system more able to keep operating through disruptions.

GREENBELT ALLIANCE

Opinion: How infrastructure plan can accelerate resilience, contributed by Amanda Brown-Stevens, The Mercury News

Passing President Biden’s infrastructure bill would be the most significant step we’ve taken as a nation to start to address climate change head on. Greenbelt Alliance believes this infrastructure bill is a great start. Yet, so far there is no path to guide how we can equitably shift away from rebuilding in the most climate-vulnerable areas and instead build for a more resilient future. That’s why we’re recommending this infrastructure bill and related actions adopt these three principles as a simple yet transformational way forward:

Amanda Brown-Stevens heads up the San Francisco-based Greenbelt Alliance, the 60-year-old non-profit dedicated to preserving open spaces and helping the Bay Area prioritize climate action.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED

GridWise Alliance Establishes Advisory Council To Aid Drive For Investments In Power System, GridWise Alliance News Release

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — GridWise Alliance Board Chair Gil C. Quiniones today announced the formation of a 29-member Grid Infrastructure Advisory Council (GIAC) to support the Alliance’s call for at least $50 billion in federal spending to modernize the nation’s electric power transmission and distribution systems.

“A strong and secure electric grid is essential to creating jobs and driving economic growth, meeting clean energy goals and fighting climate change,” said Mr. Quiniones, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Power Authority, the largest state-owned electric utility in the United States. 

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan, The White House Briefing Room

FACT SHEET: President Signs Executive Order Charting New Course to Improve the Nation’s Cybersecurity and Protect Federal Government Networks

Solar and wind’s competitiveness over coal is accelerating, analysis shows

By Kathiann M. Kowalski, Energy News Network

“The Energy Innovation analysis does not factor in the
social costs of coal-fired power plants.”

The May 5 analysis comes from Energy Innovation: Policy & Technology, based in San Francisco. The work highlights the accelerating pace of the clean energy transition, even aside from the social costs of coal plant pollution.

“Out of the 235 plants in the U.S. coal fleet, 182 plants, or 80 percent, are uneconomic or already retiring,” according to the report, which counted plants in service in 2018. Put another way, the share of total U.S. coal plant capacity from that year that won’t be competitive beyond the next few years has climbed from roughly five-eighths to three-fourths in just two years. Read more here.

NPPD Photo: Gerald Gentleman 1,365MW coal-fired power plant in Sutherland

Kathiann M. Kowalski

Kathiann M. Kowalski is the author of 25 books and more than 600 articles, and writes often on science and policy issues. In addition to her journalism career, Kathi is an alumna of Harvard Law School and has spent 15 years practicing law. She is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Science Writers. Kathi covers the state of Ohio. More by Kathiann M. Kowalski

Previously Posted Articles by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

  • Solar firm buying land rights near coal plants with eye toward transmission
    Josh Case, Photosol’s chief executive officer, intends to develop two arrays — one with 400 megawatts and one with 250 megawatts — on 5,000 acres he has under lease option near Nebraska’s Gerald Gentleman station. He pays an annual fee to maintain the option to lease the acreage. The projects would include 325 MW of battery storage.
  • Nebraska utility could slash emissions at little or no added cost, studies show
    The Nebraska Public Power District, which serves most of the state’s population outside the cities of Omaha and Lincoln, last year hired two firms to forecast the potential impact of federal carbon regulations. The results, by Ascend Analytics and Siemens, both conclude that the utility could significantly reduce its exposure to such policies without burdening customers with severe rate hikes. 

HIGH-CAPACITY EV CHARGERS 

Report finds increase in high-capacity EV chargers could benefit utilities, by Peter Maloney, American Public Power Association

The premise of the report, Charging Smart, is that an increase in the maximum power level of residential electric vehicle (EV) chargers is imminent and will likely reach the highest charger levels within a decade, leading to increased costs for utilities by shifting charging load to times of day when electricity is more expensive. 

The authors recommended that utilities should explore time variant rate options, as well as hybrid pricing options that offer higher fixed rates from 6am to midnight and discounted fixed rates from midnight to 6am. Utilities should also consider incentives for the deployment of smart charging technologies, such as owner-operated programmable charging systems and direct charge control functions in conjunction with pricing signals. And, finally, the authors say utilities should establish outreach campaigns to influence customer behaviors to shift charging patterns. 

“What’s so promising about this analysis is the clear opportunity to push innovation that will use vehicle electrification to create a more reliable electric grid and maximize greenhouse gas reductions,” Suzanne Russo, Pecan Street CEO, said in a statement.

Q1 2021: Amazon goes big, Ørsted is a fan of corporate procurement

By Sarah Golden, GreenBiz

Corporate renewable deals got off to a sleepy but respectable start in 2021, with the largest contracts from U.S. companies reaching just shy of 2 gigawatts of capacity. This represents a cooling from the fourth quarter’s blockbuster 7.3 GW but a steady climb from the first quarter of previous years — Q1 2019 saw 757 megawatts (MW) of deals; Q1 2020 included 1.6 GW. 

Ørsted, the Danish multinational energy company best known for offshore wind, made a strong showing as a developer for U.S. corporate procurements this quarter, participating in deals with Pepsi, steelmaker Nucor, Target and Hormel Foods. The contracts include portions of two massive onshore wind projects: the 298 MW Haystack project in Nebraska and the 367 MW Western Trail project in Texas. Target, Hormel and Pepsi have procured portions of the Nebraska project; Pepsi and Nucor are offtakers of the Texas project. Read more here.

Photo: Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County, Nebraska. The Haystack project is under construction nearby.

Previously Posted

FACEBOOK’S RENEWABLES & ENERGY STORAGE

Facebook meets 100% renewable energy goal with over 6 GW of wind, solar, Utility Dive
Facebook said Thursday it had procured enough new renewable projects to meet 100% of energy needs for its global operations through clean resources, as of last year. The company has contracts in place for more than 6.1 GW of wind and solar across 18 states and five countries, within the same electric grids that power its data centers and operations. Of the energy contracted, Facebook said it currently has 2 GW of solar and 1.3 GW of wind online, along with 720 MW of energy storage.
Image Credit: Facebook

RE100 REACHES NEW MILESTONE 

  • RE100 reaches 300-member milestone, RE100 News Release
    As companies’ awareness of the impacts of climate change has grown, and with the opportunity to save money from wind and solar increasingly evident, buying renewables has moved from the fringe of corporate social responsibility practice to become a core element for business in securing their energy needs whilst driving down emissions and building positive relationships with employees, customers, investors and governments.
  • RE100 initiative hits 300 member milestone, Business Green
    The new cohort of members means nearly 320TW/h of corporate electricity around the world is set to switch to renewable sources in the coming years – equivalent to the electricity consumption of Australia and Italy, a spokesperson confirmed to BusinessGreen.

FROM THE AMERICAN PUBLIC POWER ASSOCIATION 

About APPA
The American Public Power Association is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. We represent public power before the federal government to protect the interests of the more than 49 million people that public power utilities serve, and the 93,000 people they employ. We advocate and advise on electricity policy, technology, trends, training, and operations.

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Solar Industry Unveils Environmental Justice Priorities, April 15, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is announcing its environmental justice priorities through a new policy platform that will support the organization’s advocacy efforts. The platform outlines principles for engagement, as well as environmental justice outcomes and policies that the organization will support to expand equitable access to solar energy and its benefits. The document lays out policies that expand access to clean energy and create industry jobs and workforce development training. It includes possible tax, climate, energy access and labor policies that build on SEIA’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice throughout the solar value chain.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 

FREE APP FOR TESLA OWNERS

Tesla owners can now see how much solar or coal is powering their EVs, by Kirsten Korosec, TechCrunch

TezLab, a free app that’s like a Fitbit for a Tesla vehicle, pushed out a new feature this week that shows the energy mix — breaking down the exact types and percentages of fossil fuels and renewable energy — coming from charging locations, including Superchargers and third-party networks throughout the United States.

Photo Credit: Tesla

Nebraska utility could slash emissions at little or no added cost, studies show

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

Nebraska’s largest electric utility could dramatically reduce carbon emissions over the next three decades at little or no cost to ratepayers, according to a pair of recent reports prepared for the utility’s board of directors. The path — and cost — of completely eliminating emissions by midcentury, though, becomes far less certain.

The Nebraska Public Power District, which serves most of the state’s population outside the cities of Omaha and Lincoln, last year hired two firms to forecast the potential impact of federal carbon regulations. The results, by Ascend Analytics and Siemens, both conclude that the utility could significantly reduce its exposure to such policies without burdening customers with severe rate hikes. Continue reading here.

NPPD Photo: Gerald Gentleman 1,365MW coal-fired power plant in Sutherland

Also Written by Karen Uhlenhuth

Nebraska Legislation: LB483: Provide for a climate change study and action plan

Target, Hormel Foods to source wind power from Ørsted in Nebraska

Renewables Now 

The two US firms have signed long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the Danish energy company that will see them receive supplies from its 298-MW Haystack wind project in Nebraska. The power plant is currently under construction and is planned to become operational later this year, Ørsted said on Thursday. Read more here.

Photo: Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County, Nebraska. The Haystack Wind project is being built adjacent to Plum Creek Energy and will utilize interconnection infrastructure in Southwest Power Pool North.

Additional Recommended Reading

About Ørsted

Ørsted develops, constructs, and operates offshore and onshore wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities, and bioenergy plants, and provides energy products to its customers. Ørsted ranks as the world’s most sustainable energy company in Corporate Knights’ 2021 index of the Global 100 most sustainable corporations in the world and is recognized on the CDP Climate Change A List as a global leader on climate action. Headquartered in Denmark, Ørsted employs 6,179 people. For more information on Ørsted, visit orsted.com

Jason Kuiper Article

All about the Southwest Power Pool, The Wire

Rolling blackouts show need for climate action plan

Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board

Specifically, the Legislature should pass Omaha Sen. John Cavanaugh’s LB483, which would direct the University of Nebraska to develop “an evidence-based, data-driven strategic plan to provide methods for adapting to and mitigating the impacts of extreme weather events or climate” that could be considered by the Legislature. Nebraska must develop a plan to seriously address climate change. And it needs to do so as quickly as possible, after several efforts similar to Cavanaugh’s failed to advance in recent years. Read more here.

LB483 – Provide for a climate change study and action plan

Wikimedia Commons Photo: George W. Norris Legislative Chamber, Nebraska State Legislature

POWER A CLEAN FUTURE OHIO COALITION

Ohio refinery city joins coalition to support local clean energy transitions, by Kathiann M. Kowalski, Energy News Network

Ohio’s clean energy policy has moved backward at the state level over the past decade. Various lawmakers have fought against the state’s clean energy standards and have been hostile toward renewable energyespecially wind energy. Allegations of corruption also surfaced last summer around House Bill 6, which gutted the clean energy standards and codified subsidies for certain nuclear and coal plants.

Against that backdrop, various cities and communities in Ohio have taken steps to increase their use of clean energy and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Power a Clean Future Ohio formed last year to expand that progress. Power A Clean Future Ohio 

SECURITIZATION

XCEL ENERGY INITIATIVE

Xcel plans to double its renewable energy generation by 2030. It’ll cost consumers $8 billion to do it, The Colorado Sun

Xcel Energy will spend $8 billion to double its renewable energy generation and storage and add new transmission lines, while closing all of its coal-fired power plants in Colorado by 2040. The initiative, unveiled Wednesday, would reduce Xcel’s carbon emissions in Colorado 85% from 2005 levels by 2030.

NEVADA & OTHER STATES LEADING ON ENERGY STORAGE

Grid-scale batteries, a key player in the future of renewable energy in Nevada, Sierra Nevada Ally
Nevada is one of seven states to adopt an energy storage mandate.

NEW BRATTLE GROUP REPORT

Grid-Enhancing Technologies’ Could Save $5B per Year by Boosting US Renewables Capacity, by Jeff St. John, Greentech Media

The U.S. could double its capacity for new wind and solar power, save billions of dollars and cut millions of tons of carbon-dioxide emissions from its generation fleets if federal incentives can be aligned to deploy a suite of technologies to unlock the full capacity of transmission grids.  So says a new report from The Brattle Group, modeling the benefits of a set ofgrid-enhancing technologies” across the wind-power-rich grids of Kansas and Oklahoma.

According to its analysis, spending about $90 million to implement these technologies could yield a payback in less than a year, with annual power cost savings of about $175 million delivering ongoing benefits for years to come. That’s because the technologies in question can drastically increase the renewable energy capacity of the grid operated by Southwest Power Pool.

BIDEN’S SUPPLY CHAIN EXECUTIVE ORDER 

American Clean Power Association Statement on Supply Chain Executive Order

SUSTAINABLE AVIATION FUELS

Exclusive: U.S. airline CEOs to meet with White House on cutting carbon footprint, Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The chief executives of major U.S. airlines are set to meet virtually with two key White House advisers on Friday about efforts to reduce carbon emissions and use renewable fuels, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.

ENHANCED GEOTHERMAL SYSTEMS

DOE Awards $46 Million for Geothermal Initiative Projects with Potential to Power Millions of U.S. Homes, Department of Energy News Release

“There is enormous untapped potential for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) to provide clean and reliable electricity to power tens of millions of homes across the country,” said Kathleen Hogan, Acting Under Secretary for Science and Energy. “These investments in EGS research support President Biden’s mission to take on the climate crisis by pushing the frontiers of science and engineering and creating jobs in cutting-edge clean energy fields.”

Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) are different from conventional geothermal resources that occur naturally in the U.S. and are geographically limited due to the need for underground heat and fluids. EGS are manmade geothermal reservoirs and can be engineered in most parts of the country, potentially expanding geothermal energy production and transforming the domestic energy portfolio.
Utah FORGE website.

WELLS FARGO NEWS RELEASE

Wells Fargo Surpasses $10 Billion in Renewable Energy Tax-Equity Investments
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Wells Fargo Renewable Energy & Environmental Finance (REEF) today announced it recently surpassed $10 billion in tax-equity investments in the wind, solar, and fuel cell industries. Wells Fargo has invested in more than 500 projects [in 32 states], helping to finance 12% of all wind and solar energy capacity in the U.S. over the past 10 years.

Ending Carbon Pollution: The Energy Efficiency Imperative

By Ralph Cavanagh, Energy Co-Director, Climate & Clean Energy Program,
Natural Resources Defense Council

A recommendation for America to “invest in energy efficiency and productivity” leads a new blueprint for “Accelerating Decarbonization of the U.S. Energy System” by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. This is the latest confirmation of a resounding consensus that energy efficiency improvements are at the heart of any plausible plan for halting the carbon pollution fueling the climate crisis.

Recent reports also by the International Energy Agency, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and Evolved Energy all agree: Affordable, equitable, and reliable electricity service in an economy reducing carbon emissions depends vitally on harnessing the full capacity of cost-effective energy efficiency. In fact, ACEEE concluded that “energy efficiency can slash U.S. energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by about 50% by 2050, getting us halfway to our national climate goals . . . ” Continue reading here.

Interactive Online Map: ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. Nebraska’s ACEEE Scorecard Rank: 41. As the map shows, several states in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) have ACEEE scorecard rankings in the 40’s, with Wyoming at 51. States also scoring in the 40’s: North Dakota 48, South Dakota 45, Kansas 47, Louisiana 45.

Nebraska’s low ranking highlights our state’s need for a comprehensive energy plan that includes energy efficiency.

Minnesota’s Outstanding Leadership

Minnesota, with a Scorecard of 9 (tying with Oregon), ranks the highest among Southwest Power Pool member states and provides an excellent national model for states, municipalities, utilities and other entities with zero-emission goals.

Driven by strong energy savings goals established under the state’s 2007 Next Generation Energy Act, Minnesota continues to rank among the top energy-efficient states in the nation. The state has also invested in policies and programs to drive efficiency in other sectors, including activities to ensure energy code compliance and through lead by example policies that set energy conservation requirements for state owned resources. Minnesota continues to explore opportunities to advance efficiency in other ways to promote building electrification and encourage adoption of electric vehicles. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is also pursuing a rulemaking to adopt California’s low- and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standards. – ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

SPP Resources