Tag Archives: wind energy development in Nebraska

Wind energy becomes a driving force in local economies

By Josh Moenning, Norfolk Now Magazine, Fall/Winter 2020-2021

As wind energy has become cheaper to produce, the costs of producing electricity from wind have fallen nearly 70 percent in the last 10 years. And as more businesses are making commitments to use only clean renewable energy, several companies have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to develop and build wind farms in northeast Nebraska. These wind projects are creating jobs, generating new income opportunities for farmers, and adding new tax revenues for use by counties and school districts. In fact, nearly $15 million is now paid every year to Nebraska farmers leasing part of their land for wind energy use. Read the entire article here. 

More Wind Energy Resources, New Power Nebraska 

Ørsted completes Willow Creek Wind Farm and takes final investment decision on Western Trail Wind Energy

Ørsted News Release

Willow Creek Wind is a 103MW project located in Butte County, South Dakota. As the second Ørsted project in SPP (Southwest Power Pool) territory, it further diversifies the operational portfolio into a market which will play an important part of Ørsted’s growth in North America. BHE Renewables, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company, provided tax equity for Willow Creek as part of a portfolio with the 230MW Plum Creek project in Nebraska, which was commissioned in June this year. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Ørsted

Orsted on the road at 367MW Western Trail, reNEWS.Biz
With the completion of Willow Creek and addition of Western Trail Wind, Orsted’s onshore business now has 2.7GW in operation and under construction.

Previously Posted

NEW ENERGY BLUE

2 million tons of CO2 saved every year by converting ag waste to auto fuel, New Energy Blue News Release, PR Newswire

The company’s first five Midwestern sites are surrounded by abundant harvest residues to feed the refineries. Farmers’ corn stalks and grain straws will be converted into nearly 180,000,000 gallons of 2G ethanol annually; operating energy and process water come from the biomass itself. All sites have rail access to North America’s low-carbon fuel markets. New Energy Blue was forged by a decade of work and $250 million, invested by Ørsted, now the Danish world leader in wind energy, to prove Inbicon biomass conversion technology at commercial scale. “Our team transformed Inbicon technology into a profitable, sustainable business model ready to build-out today,” says [Thomas Corle, CEO of New Energy Blue].

“LIGHT UP NAVAJO” PROJECT PARTNERSHIP

APPA wins national award for electrifying homes in the Navajo Nation, American Public Power Association

The American Public Power Association has earned an American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) “Power of A Summit Award” for the Light Up Navajo project, a partnership with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA), which connected hundreds of Navajo households to the electric grid for the first time.

INDIANA’S POWER UP SOLAR & JOBS PROGRAM

Q&A: NAACP climate justice organizer on ‘black to green’ employment pipeline, Energy News Network
In an interview with the Energy News Network, Denise Abdul-Rahman, a climate justice organizer for the NAACP, explained how smart grid technology and clean energy jobs training fit within the mission of the Evansville NAACP by providing opportunities for local residents.

PUBLISHED BY FORBES

LINCOLN ELECTRIC SYSTEM NEWS RELEASE

LES gives EV update for Drive Electric Week
Drive Electric Week, Sept. 26 – Oct. 4, is an annual event to highlight the climate, clean air and cost savings benefits provided by electric vehicles. Beginning in 2011, this year marks the national event’s 10th Anniversary. It has grown from celebrations in 29 cities across the country in 2011 to over 300 individual events in 2019.

EV MAINTENANCE & REPAIR COSTS

It’s Official — Consumer Reports Confirms EV Owners Spend Half As Much On Maintenance, CleanTechnica

Data is king, and when it comes to information on the frequency of repairs on automobiles, Consumer Reports has more data than anyone. For its latest report, it did a deep dive into the data from its 2019 and 2020 reliability surveys of electric and gasoline powered vehicles. After crunching all the numbers, Consumer Reports says “drivers of electric vehicles are saving an average of 50% on maintenance and repair over the life of a vehicle compared to owners of gas-powered vehicles.”

EIA’S ELECTRIC POWER MONTHLY REPORT

Solar and wind generation continue to expand rapidly while coal is in a tailspin, PV Magazine
The Energy Information Administration’s most recent Electric Power Monthly report shows that solar has accounted for nearly 3.4% of the country’s generation so far in 2020, with wind being responsible for another 8.5%. Meanwhile, coal has plummeted to just 17.8% of the nation’s total, down nearly 30% from just last year.

GRAIN BELT EXPRESS TRANSMISSION LINE

Gov. Laura Kelly announces nearly 1,000 permanent jobs, $8 billion of total investment to Kansas, High Plains Journal

Gov. Laura Kelly joined Kansas Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary for Business Development Bill Murphy and Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for Invenergy Kris Zadlo on Sept. 30 to announce Invenergy’s new Grain Belt Express transmission line. Grain Belt Express is an approximately 800-mile high voltage direct current transmission line being developed by Invenergy Transmission. It will deliver up to 4,000 megawatts of low-cost, homegrown clean energy from western Kansas to millions of Americans in the Midwest and other regions. Learn more at: www.grainbeltexpress.com

Local View: Don’t hamper wind growth

By Gary Thompson, Lincoln Journal Star

Last month, the Gage County Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend to the County Board of Supervisors that amendments be made to existing regulations governing development of wind farms in the county.

Among these was the requirement that each turbine be set back at least one mile away from any non-participating residence. If approved, this would be one of the most restrictive regulations in the nation — and its practical effect would be to ban any further development of wind energy within the county borders. Continue reading here.

Gary Thompson has served as an NPPD Board of Directors member for 27 years. He lives in Clatonia.

Also In Nebraska

Tri Global Energy Strikes a Blow for Wind Leadership in Illinois, Indiana

Tri Global Energy News Release, Business Wire

Tri Global Energy (TGE), a leading U.S. originator and developer of utility-scale wind energy projects, has achieved the status of the number one developer of wind projects in Texas for the second quarter of this year, based on the newly released Wind Powers America Second Quarter 2020 Report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), which analyzes wind power capacity by state, including projects under construction and in advanced development. The report shows Texas remains the country’s leader in development of wind energy, with nearly 20% of the U.S. total. The AWEA report credits Texas with 6,587 megawatts (MW) of wind projects in construction or advanced development, with TGE contributing nearly 1,500 MW toward that total.

John Billingsley, TGE’s Chairman and CEO, also anticipates the company will become a major developer in two additional wind states – Illinois and Indiana – during the upcoming quarters. “Both Illinois and Indiana have realized significant increases in wind power during the last year and a half,” he said. “TGE is on track to develop several renewable projects in both states.” Billingsley adds that TGE also is developing renewable projects in Virginia. Read more here.

TRI GLOBAL ENERGY PROJECT IN NEBRASKA

Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy
Scroll down to see all our state’s wind energy projects in development, including:
Tri Global Energy is planning to develop a 100–megawatt wind farm which will be named the Sugar Loaf Wind Farm in Garden County.

AWEA State Wind Energy Fact Sheets

Nebraska
Nebraska is one of the top states in the country for potential wind energy generation, with a technical potential of approximately 465,000 megawatts (MW) according to NREL.

  • Installed wind capacity: 2,132 MW
  • State rank for installed wind capacity: 14th
  • Direct wind industry jobs in 2019: 2,001 to 3,000
  • Capital investment in wind projects through 2019: $3.8 billion
  • Annual state and local tax payments by wind projects: $12 million
  • Annual land lease payments: $14.7 million

Illinois

  • Installed wind capacity: 5,659 MW
  • State rank for installed wind capacity: 6th
  • Direct wind industry jobs in 2019: 8,001 to 9,000
  • Capital investment in wind projects through 2019: $10.9 billion
  • Annual state and local tax payments by wind projects: $49 million
  • Annual land lease payments: $37 million

Indiana

  • Installed wind capacity: 2,317 MW
  • State rank for installed wind capacity: 13th
  • Direct wind industry jobs in 2019: 6,001 to 7,000
  • Capital investment in wind projects through 2019: $5.0 billion
  • Annual state and local tax payments by wind projects: $12 million
  • Annual land lease payments: $20 million

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Gage County Planning Commission Recommends Increase in Wind Turbine Setback Distance, News Channel Nebraska

“I can tell you a one-mile setback would be among the most stringent…and so that would set Gage County and this part of the state apart from what we’re seeing all across the Midwest….which would inhibit us from a very significant natural resource. As you’re considering this amendment, I hope that you think about not only the facts you hear, recognizing that you’re going to hear a lot of contradictory facts…..but look what real people have experienced who are around us…and how that’s impacted them and benefitted them and how it could also benefit our community and our state”. – David Bracht, an Omaha attorney and former Nebraska Energy Director

The issue now goes to the Gage County Board of Supervisors, which will also conduct a public hearing and make a final decision. 

Dakota County tables action on wind farm moratorium

By Nick Hytrek, Sioux City Journal

Dakota County leaders have decided more study and public input is needed before voting on a moratorium on wind farm developments. The board’s decision was applauded by Josh Moenning, director of New Power Nebraska, a renewable energy development organization that promotes and develops wind energy projects. The Norfolk, Nebraska, mayor, Moenning participated in the meeting via teleconference. “I think it’s the right call,” he said in a statement emailed to the Journal. “This decision requires a fair, full hearing in order for public officials to have the benefit of all perspectives.” Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

MORE CORPORATE NEWS

INVESTOR-OWNED UTILITIES’ EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

Investor-owned utilities pay top executives millions — are they worth it?, PV Magazine
Energy and Policy Institute has tracked the past three years of CEO compensation at 41 investor-owned utilities across the country. And, while the numbers are eye-popping, a well-paid CEO does not necessarily reflect company success. Some of the highest-paid CEOs on the EPI  list head utilities — such as Southern Company and NextEra — that have slowed the growth of residential solar in their regions.  

Utility CEOs received over $1 billion in executive compensation from 2017 – 2019, Energy And Policy Institute

IREC HIRING

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council is seeking a Communications Coordinator to join their (all remote) team. The Coordinator will support day-to-day communications operations, including social media, email and website management. Advance your communications career while helping IREC build the foundation for a 100% clean energy future. The application deadline is this Friday, May 8th. Apply today or share the opportunity with qualified candidates in your network. To apply, submit a resume, cover letter and professional writing sample to info@irecusa.org. Learn more here.

Publicly owned utilities ‘not a panacea’ but can produce customer benefits

By Tom Perkins, Energy News Network

As California officials consider a public takeover of PG&E, the concept has already shown results in other places.

OPPD’s [Eric] Williams said he agrees that the public model is “not a panacea,” and said OPPD is contending with legacy costs and long-term investments. But the public model is better suited to respond to the public’s growing demand for clean energy, he added, in part because there aren’t layers between the policymakers and customers, as there are with investor-owned utilities, state governments, and utility commissions.

“At OPPD, board members are directed by customer-owners to meet the needs as we’re setting policy,” he said. “Quite frankly, if the customer-owners don’t feel the board is doing what’s best, then there’s a direct mechanism for them to respond — the next election.” Read the entire article here.

Also Published by Energy News Network

Nebraska Also In The News Here

Hormel Wraps up Solar Project at California Meat Production Facility, Twin Cities Business Magazine
In April, Hormel announced a purchase power agreement with Kinect Energy Group for an upcoming wind farm in Nebraska. Once that project is completed, Hormel’s nationwide operations will be powered by 50 percent renewable energy, according to the company.

Previously Posted

Photo Credit: Oran Viriyincy / Flickr / Creative Commons

Ørsted to Build Wind Farm in Nebraska

Ørsted News Release, Business Wire

Ørsted’s U.S. onshore company, Lincoln Clean Energy (LCE), a leading developer of U.S. renewables, issued the Final Notice to Proceed on its Plum Creek wind facility in Wayne County, Nebraska. This follows the final investment decision from Ørsted’s Board of Directors. The 230MW wind farm is expected to be operational in 2020 and will generate enough energy to power up to 100,000 homes annually. Upon issuance, LCE now has 670MW of wind facilities under construction across three states: Texas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. LCE has entered into long-term power purchase agreements for the facility’s power with The J.M. Smucker Company, Vail Resorts, and Avery Dennison Corporation. Read more here.

iStock Photo

Previously Posted

More Nebraska News

  • WEC Energy Group to acquire 80% ownership in Thunderhead Wind Energy Center, WEC Energy Group News Release, PR Newswire. WEC Energy Group today announced that the company has agreed to acquire an 80% ownership interest in Thunderhead Wind Energy Center. The project is being developed in Antelope and Wheeler counties, Nebraska by Invenergy — a leading developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions.  Commercial operation is expected to begin by the end of 2020. The wind farm has a long-term offtake agreement with a Fortune 100 company for 100% of the energy produced. 
  • SPP Continues Adding Wind, The Wire
    The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) has seen 754 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity enter commercial operation so far in 2019. The information was part of a generation interconnection status report released in late August, according to S&P Global. Another 1.5 gigawatts (GW), nearly all wind, is scheduled to come online in 2019, including OPPD’s 160-MW Sholes Wind Energy Center near Wayne, Neb. All generation yet to come online in 2019 is concentrated in five states: Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas. The report stated as of the end of 2018, SPP had about 20.6 GW of wind, in terms of nameplate capacity, which made up almost 23% of SPP’s 89,999 MW of resource capacity. That placed wind third behind natural gas with 40.3% and coal with 28.65% for the year.
  • 12th annual Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference schedule announced, North Platte Telegraph

IEA, EDF unit to build 300 MW wind farm in Nebraska

By Jeff Postelwait, Electric Light & Power

Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives and EDF Renewables North America will build the 300 MW Milligan 1 Wind Farm in Saline County in southeast Nebraska. The project award is valued at about $98 million, according to IEA, and will be able to power up to 115,000 average homes. The power generated by the project’s planned 99 turbines will be delivered into the Southwest Power Pool electrical grid. Continue reading here.

Photo: The 320-MW Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm located in Dixon County, Nebraska.
Credit: Enel Green Power North America

Additional Recommended Reading

Previously Posted

Additional Resources
AWEA’s State Fact Sheets
Wind Energy in Nebraska, WINDExchange, U.S. Department of Energy 

2019 American Wind Week 
You can learn more about wind power, and potentially visit a wind farm or factory, during the third annual American Wind Week, August 11-17. American Wind Week is a national celebration of U.S. leadership in wind power and the many ways wind powers opportunity for jobseekers, communities, and a cleaner future. A map of events and proclamations is available at AmericanWindWeek.org.

Nebraska surprise: State poised to become Midwest building efficiency leader

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Nebraska lawmakers on Thursday passed LB 405 to update the state’s energy codes for residential and commercial buildings, potentially the first substantial changes to the regulations in a decade. The state is currently utilizing the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for its building energy codes, but if Gov. Pete Ricketts, R, signs the bill, Nebraska will switch to the 2018 version, yielding the strongest efficiency codes in the Midwest, advocates  say . . . The bill was presented to Ricketts on May 2, and state law gives the Nebraska governor five days to act, not including Sundays. Absent a veto, the new codes will be adopted at the end of Wednesday. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Wind farm sites guided by data, science, relationships, The Wire, OPPD Blog
OPPD does not build its own wind energy facilities. Instead, they contract with developers such as NextEra Energy Resources on projects and enter into purchase agreements for the energy produced. OPPD and other public power utilities use PPAs for renewable projects to be eligible for federal production tax credits. They then pass these savings on to their customers. These partnerships occur after OPPD issues a request for proposal (RFP) and evaluates bids from companies competing for OPPD’s business. Wind facilities are often sited before OPPD enters into a purchase agreement. To date, all of the wind farms contracted with OPPD are located in Nebraska. And that is not a coincidence.

Enel Green Power acquires US renewable developer Tradewind Energy

News Release, Enel Green Power

Enel Green Power has closed an agreement today to purchase Kansas-based renewable developer Tradewind Energy, Inc. Under the agreement, EGP purchased all of Tradewind’s development platform comprising of 13 GW of wind, solar and storage projects located throughout the US. Read more here.

Tradewind Energy Photo: Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm in Dixon County, Nebraska

Additional Recommended Reading

Enel acquires US developer Tradewind, by David Weston, Wind Power Monthly
The Kansas-based developer Tradewind has worked with Enel in the US since 2006, on a number of major wind projects across the US. Roughly 3.9GW of Enel’s North American operating wind portfolio was developed by Tradewind. This included the 400MW Cimarron Bend project in Kansas, and the 200MW Rattlesnake Creek site in Nebraska, which is providing power to social media giant Facebook

More About the Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm
The 101–turbine Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm was constructed by Enel Green Power and is located between the towns of Allen, Emerson, and Wakefield in Dixon County. The wind farm became operational December 18, 2018. Maximum capacity is 318,150 kilowatts (or 318.15 megawatts), enough power for approximately 90,000 homes. Facebook is planning to purchase 200 megawatts.
Source: Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Energy Office