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
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.
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 Sprout, National 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