Tag Archives: The Grand Island Independent

Nebraska needs more clean energy, NPPD board member Melissa Freelend says

By Mike Konz, The Grand Island Independent

Melissa Freelend wants Nebraskans to have more clean, renewable energy, and she’s working toward that goal as a member of the board of directors at Nebraska Public Power District. Elected in 2016, Freelend, 32, is the NPPD Board’s youngest member. She’s a Grand Island native and is employed in media and broadcasting. Her District 3 encompasses Buffalo and Hall counties. Continue reading here.

Nebraska gains as wind power grows

Article contributed by David Bracht, Director of the Nebraska
Energy Office from 2015 to 2018, The Grand Island Independent

Clean and affordable wind energy is powering homes and fueling economic growth. In 2018, no other state grew its wind energy capacity faster than Nebraska, and in 2019 no state is better positioned than Nebraska to reap the benefits associated with this important renewable energy resource. In past generations, states with significant fossil fuel resources – namely coal and oil –could count on jobs, tax revenue, and opportunity as those resources were developed. While not devoid of traditional energy resources, Nebraska has never topped the list of fossil fuel states. But we are at the top when it comes to wind – and that has major positive implications for our future. Continue reading here.

Lineworkers Rodeo set for Saturday at fair

News Release, The Grand Island Independent

Hosted by the Nebraska Power Association. The opening ceremony begins at 9:30 am.

Electric line technicians from across Nebraska will take center stage as they compete in the seventh annual Nebraska Lineworkers Rodeo Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Nebraska State Fair’s Motor Sports Track in Grand Island . . . The public can also visit the Nebraska Power Association’s public power station, just outside the Heartland Events Center. Hands-on activities and safety demonstrations will help fair attendees learn more about the electric industry. The all-electric Chevy Bolt will be on display, in addition to the Little Lineworkers Rodeo, Public Power 360 Virtual Reality demo, STEM Robotics Challenge and much more . . . Other activities taking place at the NPA booth include designing a light switch, a solar panel display, the pedal power energy activity, public power plinko trivia game, electrical safety displays and public power information. Read the entire release here.

About The Nebraska Power Association
Now in its fourth decade, NPA is comprised of the 166 utilities that produce and deliver electricity to Nebraskans. NPA is a voluntary organization representing all segments of Nebraska’s power industry: municipalities, public power districts, public power and irrigation districts and cooperatives engaged in generation, transmission, or distribution of electricity within our state. The 166 members of NPA are listed here.

As announced in our latest newsletter, the J-Tech Solar Sustainability Pavilion will also provide exhibits and hands-on activities for all ages at the fair. Click link for details:

J-Tech Solar Sustainability Pavilion – Nebraska State Fair

Property values near wind energy projects show no decline

The Grand Island Independent, Opinion written by Lu Nelson,
Policy Associate at the Center for Rural Affairs

In many public forums across Nebraska, local residents have expressed concerns related to proposed wind energy projects in their communities. A consistent worry is the effect wind farms would have on neighboring property values.

In response to these concerns, the Center for Rural Affairs prepared a fact sheet that reviews findings of studies conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory — as well as the Universities of Rhode Island and Connecticut — which analyze factors influencing property values prior to the announcement of a project, after the announcement, before construction and post-construction. Read more here.

The fact sheet may be found here.

Grand Island Pilot Project: City tests the power of solar energy

Video and Announcement Posted by Carissa Soukup
The Grand Island Independent Online

The City of Grand Island is installing solar panels in a 10-acre plot of land on the edge of town. This is a pilot project as solar energy is becoming a popular source of renewable energy. Utilities director, Tim Luchsinger gives some insight on the project. Click image to view the video.


G.I. Utilities department powering up with solar energy, by Julie Blum

American Solar Challenge hosted at Motorsport Park Hastings

By Connie Weight, NTV

The competition includes four days of inspection, three days of racing on the track, then off to Omaha to begin the road race to Oregon. The public is encouraged to watch the Formula Sun Grand Prix at Motorsports Park Hastings on July 10 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 11-12. The cars will be on display in Grand Island at the Stuhr Museum on July 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. More information including schedules, teams and event tracking can be found at americansolarchallenge.org.
Read more here.

Solar racers preparing for cross-country trip
By Julie Blum, The Grand Island Independent

HASTINGS — The vehicles parked at Motorsport Park Hastings aren’t your typical race cars. Some look more like small flying saucers on wheels with their sleek, aerodynamic designs. Actually, they are solar-powered cars that are featured in the 2018 American Solar Challenge. Collegiate teams from around the globe brought their vehicles to Hastings Friday in hopes that their creations will be good enough to take part in the cross-country race. Before teams can take off for a 1,700-mile journey that will start in Omaha and finish in Bend, Ore., the vehicles have to go through a process called scrutineering where each car is evaluated for safety and other functions.


Hosting both the scrutineering and Formula Sun Grand Prix portions of the event will be Motorsport Park Hastings in Hastings, Nebraska. The 2018 Formula Sun Grand Prix will be the first at the 2.15 mile track.

Following the track race, teams will move to the starting point of the American Solar Challenge in Omaha, Nebraska at Lewis & Clark Landing. This is where the display day and multi-occupant judging will take place.

Display: July 13, 3:00-7:00pm
Start Line: July 14 at 8:00am

Nebraskans for Solar will be among organizations hosting booths at the American Solar Challenge Display Day at Lewis & Clark Landing on July 13. Please join us for a solar activity for all ages as you visit representatives from local nonprofits.

For the road portion of the event, teams can expect a journey covering more than 1,700 miles. The route will cover portions of the Oregon Trail from Nebraska to Oregon. Stops include Grand Island on July 14 and Gering on July 15 – 16.

For additional details, see our calendar or visit: americansolarchallenge.org.

Nebraska Farmers Union State Convention: Property taxes, renewable energy top agenda

By Robert Pore, The Grand Island Independent

State tax reform and renewable energy are topics this weekend for the 104th Nebraska Farmers Union State Convention at the Hotel Grand in Grand Island. “Harnessing the Power of Cooperation Since 1913” is the convention’s theme . . . [Nebraska Farmers Union President John] Hansen said wind energy and ethanol are value-added, renewable energy-based opportunities. They use natural resources and agricultural commodities available or grown in Nebraska. The state has more than a $7 billion investment in ethanol and wind energy resources. “It is not the total answer, but it is a big deal,” Hansen said. “It is a tremendous opportunity that stares us in the face in a time of great financial need.” He said the continued economic crisis is driving families off farms and ranches. It is also causing rural communities to lose population. Read more here.

Click here for conference details.

Climate change would have icy impact on state’s economy, speaker says

By Robert Pore, The Grand Island Independent

Matthew Gregory of the Nebraska Wildlife Federation spoke to the
Grand Island Rotary Club Tuesday

At the end of 2016, Nebraska ranked 17th in the nation for wind energy facilities installed capacity, but it ranked fourth in the country in wind energy resources. Based on the sun index level, Nebraska is ranked 13th among the states with the greatest energy potential from solar power, according to a sun index developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), using data provided by NREL’s Renewable Resource Data Center. Gregory said the Nebraska Wildlife Federation is working on a comprehensive plan to create a greater clean energy solution for Nebraska using wind and solar resources called “The Husker Power Plan.”

Read more here.

Joining alliance should give Grand Island a jump start

By Jeff Bahr, The Grand Island Independent

The likelihood of a charging station coming to Grand Island increased in March, when the city joined the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance . . .  The alliance uses grant funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, which receives 44.5 percent of the profits of the Nebraska Lottery. The Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA) was founded in 2014 as an inter-local cooperative agency. The alliance’s mission is to “build and promote advanced technologies for housing and transportation that save energy,” reduce carbon dioxide pollution and cut costs. One way Grand Island might get a charging station is through Volkswagen’s settlement with the federal government over the car manufacturer’s misleading use of diesel engines. Read the complete story here.

Photo by Jeff Bahr: Eldon Gunderson shows what’s under the hood of his Tesla Model S during a stop Friday at the Tesla charging station near Bosselman Travel Center. He and his wife, Barbara, were traveling from South Dakota to their home  in Goodyear, Arizona.

Nebraska Community Energy Alliance’s Website


Indoor riding arena and solar energy array to be constructed at Fonner Park before Nebraska State Fair opens

By Robert Pore, The Grand Island Independent

A new 150-by-80-foot indoor riding arena and storage facility will be constructed this spring at Fonner Park behind the cattle barn and south of the existing cattle tie outs, according to Joseph McDermott, executive director of the Nebraska State Fair. McDermott made the announcement during the Nebraska State Fair Board of Directors meeting Friday at the Nebraska Building at Fonner Park . . . Also during the meeting Friday, the board approved a sponsorship agreement with J-Tech Solar of Lincoln and Grand Island to install 88 solar panels on the south end of the Nebraska Building. J-Tech owner Jason Olberding and Drew Coffey, J-Tech head of design and procurement, were at the meeting to discuss the sponsorship with the board. Read more here.