News Releases

10/14/2019
Matching grants available from NPPD for purchase, installation of EV charging stations

Columbus, Neb. – Interest in electric vehicles (EV) continues to grow and Nebraska Public Power District is aiming to assist in the addition of charging stations in its service territory.

At the same time, the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) is taking applications for its Electric Vehicle Charging Grant Program, called “Charge Up Nebraska,” from businesses, federal, state, local or tribal organizations, transportation planning organizations, and non-profits. The grant would pay 80 percent of the costs of purchasing and installing a Level 3 DC Fast Charging station and a Level 2 Charging Station at 50 percent. A DC Fast Charging Station would allow a vehicle to be charged up 80 percent in a 30-40 minute session. Level 2 charging stations typically take between four and eight hours to charge to full.

That’s where NPPD is offering its assistance – helping to make up the difference by several thousand dollars.

“With an 80 percent grant on a Fast Charger, there remains 20 percent of the costs that still must be covered,” said NPPD Marketing Manager Chad Podolak, “The program NPPD is offering would match the commitment by the organization that is applying. For example, it would be 10 percent commitment with NPPD matching that 10 percent.” The program would be available to those who are retail customers of NPPD or are served by most wholesale customers of NPPD.

The NDEE program also will provide grant money for a Level 2 Charging station capping at 50 percent. If the organization commits 25 percent, NPPD will match that amount.

“This is an opportunity for a business such as a hotel or local government to provide a charging unit without having to cover the full cost, only a small percentage,” Podolak added. “We believe that within the next four years, there will be multiple electric vehicle model options that Nebraskans desire, particularly various models of trucks and SUVs, that will need charging locations.

“One of the main focuses for electric utilities, such as NPPD and its wholesale customers, is to promote and invest where prudent to build this public charging infrastructure. As the majority of EV charging is done at home at night, new EV electrical load allows better utilization of existing generation, transmission, and distribution outages.”

Funds for the NDEE program come from the $12.25 million allocation from the Volkswagen Diesel Emission Environmental Mitigation Trust for State Beneficiaries. Up to $1.2 million in rebates are available to install charging equipment at qualified locations. Information and applications on the program can be found at http://dee.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/OnWeb/AirVW. The application deadline is Nov. 15, 2019.

Business, local government or other organizations interested in finding out about the matching funds should contact NPPD at 1-877-275-6773 or their local electricity supplier.

10/9/2019
Scottsbluff, local communities getting new meters

Columbus, Neb. - Upgrading electric meters at residences and businesses in Scottsbluff and nine communities  to begin on Monday, Oct. 14. Besides Scottsbluff, NPPD customers in Mitchell, Morrill, Gering, Terrytown, Melbeta, Minatare, McGrew, Bayard, Bridgeport and Northport will be exchanged and replaced with upgraded meters.

In 2019 approximately 24,500 meters in 33 communities will be replaced, as part of a three-year project by NPPD.

Prior to installation, the District’s customer service organization will contact retail customers (those who receive a bill from NPPD) in those communities via phone to alert them to the installation of the meters. A District employee will switch out the meter at the residence or business and will remove the old one from the premises. A resident or business owner does not need to be there when the switch out occurs and there will be a brief interruption of electric service.

The new meters are equipped with two-way communication known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a digital metering technology used around the world for more than a decade and will include the latest technology in this type of equipment. The new meters display the reading in a digital LCD format. The meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed that will receive and securely transmit the data back to NPPD on the total amount of kilowatt hours used by a residence, business or industry.

“In addition to what we will do this year, in 2018 we successfully replaced 43,000 meters and more will be replaced in 2020. The installation of the AMI systems helps maintain competitive electric rates for our customers by reducing operating expenses,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt, who noted that NPPD’s retail customers have not had a rate increase over the past six years. “With AMI equipment we can also pinpoint the exact location of outages quicker, meaning a faster response time in restoring power.”

The new AMI meters will continue to be key in providing reliable electric service for its customers and provide an additional level of safety for NPPD employees when troubleshooting or handling routine maintenance. The new AMI equipment cannot control any appliances or electronics within a residence or business.

In addition to the new meters, NPPD will also have numerous routers placed strategically in the community to relay the information to NPPD’s operations.

10/1/2019
Paige Wireless, NPPD team up to accelerate interconnectivity

Columbus, Neb. - Paige Wireless LLC., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Paige Electric L.P., announced Saturday a partnership with Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) to accelerate the deployment of interconnectivity across Nebraska for computing devices embedded in everyday objects via the Internet, enabling them to send and receive data. Otherwise known as the Internet of Things (IoT), this interconnectivity will be made possible by the Paige Wireless LoRaWAN® network that was recently installed throughout the state.

“The collaboration between Paige Wireless and NPPD will enable the use of breakthrough technology to deliver exciting new programs and services to our customers” stated Pat Pope, CEO of NPPD.

“We recognize the countless opportunities this technology brings to our great state and we are dedicated to maximizing its capabilities to best serve our customers” added Pope.

The Paige Wireless network aims to reignite rural America’s status as an epicenter for new, practical technologies that help industries, farmers, businesses, students and communities thrive. Nebraska’s new LoRaWAN® network allows users to deploy low-cost sensors, access real time data, and make on-demand decisions to improve efficiency, safety, security, actionability, and the bottom line.

On the farm, Paige Wireless is providing solutions to help maximize resources and yield, driven by real time data. Producers across the state now have greater insight into their daily operations. Paige Wireless’ LoRaWAN® network exists to enable producers to lower their costs with more efficient water, nutrient, feed and soil health management. The data collected can offer actionable insight and answers into questions about methodology, sustainability and stewardship. The benefits for rural and farmland applications once considered unimaginable are now within reach.

NPPD sees numerous applications including grid communications and security, advanced data collection for asset management, and efficient electrification of the economy as the technology also has the potential to facilitate broadband deployment in underserved rural areas, through innovative partnerships with local telecommunication companies, internet service providers, and wireless internet service providers.

“We are thrilled to partner with NPPD to further expand the capabilities of our network and services across Nebraska” says Julie Bushell, President of Paige Wireless. “This collaboration will deliver the true benefits of connectivity.”

Together, Paige Wireless and NPPD are powering the IoT across Nebraska.

10/1/2019
Department of Energy awards funding for Phase II of carbon capture study for Gentleman Station

Columbus, Neb. – The next step towards the potential for a carbon capture operation at Nebraska Public Power District’s Gerald Gentleman Station is moving forward with the announcement of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory’s funding for the study.

Under this new funding, ION Clean Energy, Inc. will be the award recipient on the project which will complete a Front End Engineering Design (FEED) study for the installation of its advanced carbon capture system retrofitted to NPPD’s Gentleman Station near Sutherland.  The FEED study will build on the results of Phase I, increasing the capture size from 300 megawatts CO2 capture island up to 600 megawatts. ION will utilize its leading solvent-based CO2 capture technology, ICE-21, as the basis for the CO2 capture design.

“NPPD continues to be interested in the project moving forward because our coal burning generation resources bring significant value to our customers,” said Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Kent. “We are seeking these types of technologies that can capture CO2 in a cost-effective manner.”

“We are pleased to continue our partnership with NPPD to further evaluate the integration of ION’s transformative CO2 capture technology at an existing coal-fired power station,” said Alfred “Buz” Brown, ION’s CEO. “These types of strategic collaborations are key milestones on the path to commercialization of ION’s large scale decarbonization technology.”

DOE selected nine projects to receive $55.4 million in federal funding for cost shared research and development. The award for Phase II for the GGS study is approximately $5.8 million.  

The project team for the Phase II study are ION, NPPD, Sargent & Lundy, Koch Modular Process Systems, and Siemens.  The project will provide critical data and insight into the integration of CO2 capture technologies onto existing coal fired power plants.

9/30/2019
Power line safety important as harvest gets underway

Columbus, Neb. – Spring flooding has caused Nebraska farmers to have an unusual growing season, but as operators head out to harvest crops, Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) wants to remind farmers to look up and look out for power lines.

Hitting power lines becomes a significant hazard during the harvest season, as farmers take large pieces of equipment back out to the field. “It’s important for operators to be cautious when working in areas that have power lines,” says NPPD Director of Delivery Art Weise. “It’s easy for an operator to accidentally get a piece of equipment stuck in a power line if they are not completely aware of their surroundings.”

In July, NPPD saw an example of this when a well drilling rig being driven through a field became tangled in an overhead power line, causing a localized power outage. Luckily no one was injured.

“Avoiding contact with power lines is the best way to stay safe, but if a piece of your equipment hits a power line, calling for help is an important step in avoiding potentially fatal injuries,” says Wiese. “When a powerline is touching a piece of equipment, that piece of equipment and the area surrounding it could be energized.” If you are forced to exit the vehicle, the appropriate action is to jump – not step – with both feet landing on the ground at the same time without falling. Do not touch the vehicle and ground at the same time and begin shuffling your feet on the ground to safety. Never simply step out of the vehicle – the person must jump clear of the equipment.

NPPD recommends that farmers review the following safety precautions before entering the fields to begin harvest operations, or for more details and video footage follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hfikot58Fkk.

  • Each day review all farm activities and work practices that will take place around power lines and remind all workers to take precautions.
  • Know the location of power lines, and when setting up the farm equipment, be at least 20 feet away from them. Contact your local public power provider if you feel this distance cannot be achieved.
  • Use caution when raising augers or the bed of a grain truck or wagon. It can be difficult to estimate distance, and sometimes a power line is closer than it looks. When moving large equipment or high loads near a power line, always use a spotter to make certain the equipment stays a safe distance from the line.
  • Always adjust portable augers or elevators to their lowest possible level – under 14 feet – before moving or transporting them. Variables like wind, uneven ground, shifting weight, or other conditions can combine to create an unexpected result.
  • Be aware of increased height when loading and transporting larger modern tractors with higher antennas.
  • Never attempt to raise or move a power line to clear a path. If power lines near your property have sagged over time, call your public power utility to repair them.
  • As in any outdoor work, be careful not to raise any equipment such as ladders, poles, or rods near or into power lines. Non-metallic materials such as lumber, tree limbs, tires, ropes, and hay will conduct electricity depending on dampness and dust and dirt contamination.

9/12/2019
NPPD establishing a PCA for wholesale power bills; Additional 2018 surplus will go into reducing debt

Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District will be providing a Production Cost Adjustment (PCA) credit to wholesale customers’ power bills, and at the same time reducing some of its bond debt with 2018 surplus funds following action taken by the Board of Directors Thursday at its monthly meeting.

Each year, NPPD uses cost projections and industry data to set rates at a level that aims to match revenues and expenses.  Many variables, most notably weather, impact actual revenues and expenses.  For 2018, NPPD was able to realize a surplus by implementing sound business practices and earning margins in the Southwest Power Pool regional market. Those margins bring dollars back into Nebraska, for the benefit of NPPD’s customers.

The Board of Directors reviewed six separate options before settling on this plan, balancing both the long-term stability of NPPD and the immediate needs of its wholesale customers.  “This decision by the board is a win-win situation for both NPPD and its wholesale customers,” said NPPD CEO and President Pat Pope. “Our wholesale customers will get some relief from the lingering effects of wet conditions this summer, and diminished irrigation load while NPPD will reduce some of our debt.”

A total of $46.1 million from the 2018 surplus will be used to give wholesale customers (public power districts, electric co-ops and municipalities that purchase electricity at wholesale including NPPD retail) a PCA credit. Wholesale utilities are expected to see a one year average bill reduction of 6.2%.  NPPD will utilize $16.9 million to retire certain bonds.

NPPD has had no wholesale base rate increases for the past three years and this marks the second year of refund to the wholesale customers.

9/6/2019
Nebraska Open raises record funds in 28th year

Columbus, Neb. – The 28th Annual Wells Fargo Nebraska Open will be teeing off in Columbus Sept. 12-15, to help improve the quality of life for college students around the state. The tournament, coordinated by Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), is held at Elks Country Club as a part of a fundraising effort to put students through college.

Over the previous 27 years, more than $1.5 million dollars in scholarship money was raised as a result of the Nebraska Open and its Pro-Am event. In the 28th year alone, a record total of $185,000 has been raised through tournament sponsorships.

The scholarship funds will be distributed to the five community college systems within NPPD’s service territory. Those campuses include Central Community College in Columbus, Grand Island and Hastings, Mid-Plains Community College in North Platte and McCook, Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Beatrice and Milford, Northeast Community College in Norfolk, and Western Community College in Scottsbluff and Sidney.

“In the 28th year of the tournament, support has continued to grow from sponsors across the United States. The scholarship funds raised will help community college students get started on their path towards earning a degree or will help already enrolled students get closer to completing their education,” said NPPD President and Chief Executive Officer Pat Pope. “The Nebraska Open is one of the state’s largest golfing events and has provided NPPD a great opportunity to work with the Nebraska Section of the PGA, the Nebraska Golf Association, and the Central Community College Foundation, towards a great cause.”

The Nebraska Section of the PGA and Nebraska Golf Association endorse and sponsor the tournament that has been in Columbus since its creation in 1991. The Nebraska Open will kick-off with a Pro-Am event on Thursday, where members of over 52 sponsoring businesses, will compete alongside a tournament professional in an 18-hole scramble. Friday will mark the start of the 54-hole Nebraska Open, concluding with an award ceremony Sunday afternoon. The public is invited to come watch the professionals during the final round of play on Sunday.

Wells Fargo remains the title sponsor of the tournament for the 16th straight year. Columbus area sponsors for the tournament include Behlen Mfg. Co., Eakes Office Solutions, Mike’s Auto Sales, Nebraska Energy Federal Credit Union, U.S. Bank, Kelly Supply Co. and Hughes Brothers from Seward.

9/3/2019
NPPD crews demobilized from Hurricane Dorian support

Columbus, Neb. - The 18-man contingent from NPPD that journeyed to Florida to pre-stage for Hurricane Dorian restoration efforts were demobilized Tuesday morning when they were released by the Orlando Utilities Commission.  

This followed a slowdown in speed and a shift in the direction of the storm as it appears that it will now skirt  Florida’s east coast and not make landfall, possibly striking the Carolinas later this week. NPPD crews arrived Sunday in Orlando after three days on the road and awaited the storm that was projected initially to hit the coast of Florida and make landfall Monday.

The crew left Orlando this morning and expect to be in Macon, Ga., this evening, although NPPD alerted other utilities of the availability of the crew if needed. The entire contingent is expected back in Nebraska late Thursday if not called upon.

8/29/2019
NPPD dispatching crews to Florida ahead of hurricane

Columbus, Neb. - An 18-man contingent of line technicians and supervisory staff from Nebraska Public Power District will be hitting the road Friday morning, journeying to Florida in anticipation of restoring expected power outages from Hurricane Dorian, that is anticipated to make landfall Monday.

At the request of the American Public Power Association, NPPD crews will assist in restoration work for the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC), a public power entity. The NPPD crews were asked to arrive prior to the hurricane making landfall so that once the storm has passed the power restoration process can begin. OUC serves approximately 225,000 customers and is the 14th largest municipal utility in the country.

The contingent from NPPD will also be utilizing 18 vehicles, including a digger truck, two small bucket trucks and two large bucket trucks, five pickups, plus trailers and all terrain utility vehicles. Including six days of travel to and from Orlando, the crews are expected to be out of state for approximately two weeks.

Line technicians from Plattsmouth, Geneva, York, O’Neill, Norfolk, Ogallala, Atkinson, Creighton, Hartington, Scottsbluff, Chadron, and Lexington will make the journey. Crews are expected to leave prior to 8 a.m. Friday morning from NPPD’s York Operations Center (907 W. 25th Street, York) and expect to arrive Sunday in Orlando.

8/23/2019
National Hydropower Day recognizes America’s first renewable energy source

Columbus, Neb.  -- For over 135 years, hydropower has powered the nation with clean, renewable energy. In recognition of America’s first renewable energy, Nebraska Public Power District is observing National Hydropower Day this Friday, Aug. 23.

National Hydropower Day recognizes hydropower’s contributions to America’s clean energy infrastructure, electrical grid resiliency and reliability benefits, and environmental protections. As the renewable resource that integrates the other renewables, like wind and solar, onto the grid, hydropower plays a critical role in America’s future.

Hydropower has played a role in electrical generation, recreation and irrigation for Nebraskans. NPPD has operated the 24 megawatt North Platte Hydroelectric Plant since 1935, which is fed by a series of canals and reservoirs known as the Sutherland Project. NPPD also operates the Kearney Hydro, a one megawatt unit, that began operation in 1921. NPPD also purchases hydroelectric output from the Kingsley Hydro, operated by Central Nebraska Power and Irrigation District, and two facilities operated by the Loup Public Power District – the Columbus Hydro and the Monroe Hydro – amounting to a total of 110 megawatts of power for Nebraskan’s.

Water used in generating electricity at the North Platte Hydro serves three distinct areas- electric generation, water for recreational purposes, and for irrigation customers.  In 2018, the North Platte Hydro generated over 86,000  megawatt hours of electricity that was nearly 6% of the District’s energy supply.

“Given that our hydropower units have been powering Nebraska for so long, the value they provide can sometimes go unnoticed,” said NPPD’s Chief Operating Officer Tom Kent. “As a hydropower generator, we are proud to power our communities’ homes, schools and businesses with clean, renewable energy.”

Nationwide, in 2018, hydropower was the largest generator of clean, renewable electricity, representing 7% of total U.S. electricity generation and 39.5% of renewable electricity generation. The U.S. hydropower fleet is comprised of approximately 2,200 power plants with a total capacity of roughly 102 GW, which includes 95% of U.S. storage capacity (23 GW) of pumped storage. Hydropower is also a major job creator, employing 66,500 workers.

8/16/2019
Nebraska public power utilities to provide activities, lineworker rodeo at State Fair

Grand Island, Neb. – The Nebraska Power Association (NPA), consisting of Nebraska public power utilities from across the state, will provide hands-on activities at its Public Power booth at the 2019 Nebraska State Fair as well as host the annual Nebraska Lineworkers’ Rodeo to showcase the skill and expertise of the state’s electric lineworkers.

The public power booth will include several hands-on activities for kids and information regarding the state’s 100 percent public power system throughout the fair, which runs from Aug. 23-Sept. 2. The booth will include an all-electric Chevy Bolt on display as well as several activities with giveaways and a raffle drawing.

“Nebraska’s 100 percent public power system is unique and a tremendous benefit for our state,” said Tim Luchsinger, Utilities Director at City of Grand Island and NPA Board President. “The State Fair is a great opportunity for the state’s electric utilities to engage Nebraskans on the benefits of public power and the great things we are doing as a state in a casual, fun environment.”

Lineworkers Rodeo set for Saturday, Aug. 24 at 9 a.m.

The Nebraska Lineworkers Rodeo will take place just east of the Motor Sports Track near the State Fair grounds. The competition is expected to take 3-4 hours. No ticket or entry fee is required to watch the competition; however, a State Fair ticket is required for those wanting to enter the fair. Competitors will perform various tasks from 40 feet in the air on utility poles, including hurtman rescue, skill climbs and various equipment installations and replacements. Participants are judged on safety procedures, work practices, neatness, ability, equipment handling and timely completion of each task. The rodeo includes events for individual apprentices and journeymen teams of two. For more information, go to nelinerodeo.com.

For more information on NPA and public power within Nebraska, go to nepower.org.

8/12/2019
Crawford, Whitney, and Fort Robinson NPPD customers to have new electric meters installed

Columbus, Neb. - Upgrading of electric meters for residences and businesses in Crawford, Whitney and Fort Robinson by Nebraska Public Power District will begin August 19 and is expected to be completed in approximately one week. In 2019 approximately 24,500 meters in 33 communities will be replaced, as part of a three-year project by NPPD.

Prior to installation, the District’s customer service organization will be contacting retail customers (those who receive a bill from NPPD) in those communities via telephone to alert them to the installation of the meters. A District employee will switch out the meter at the residence or business and will remove the old one from the premises. A resident or business owner does not need to be there when the switch out occurs and there will be a short interruption of electric service.

The new meters are equipped with two-way communication known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a digital metering technology used around the world for more than a decade and will include the latest technology in this type of equipment. The new meters display the reading in a digital LCD format. The meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed that will receive and securely transmit the data back to NPPD on the total amount of kilowatt hours used by a residence, business or industry.

“In addition to what we will do this year, in 2018 we successfully replaced 43,000 meters and more will be replaced in 2020. The installation of the AMI systems helps maintain competitive electric rates for our customers by reducing operating expenses,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt, who noted that NPPD’s retail customers have not had a rate increase over the past six years. “With AMI equipment we can also pinpoint the exact location of outages quicker, meaning a faster response time in restoring power.”

The new AMI meters installed will continue to be a key in providing reliable electric service for its customers and will provide an additional level of safety for NPPD employees when troubleshooting or handling routine maintenance. The new AMI equipment cannot control any appliances or electronics within a residence or business.

In addition to the new meters, NPPD will also have numerous routers placed strategically in the community to relay the information to NPPD’s operations.

The remaining schedule for retail communities runs through the majority of 2019 although weather conditions could create some delays.

7/26/2019
Boyd County communities will have electric meters replaced

Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District will be upgrading electric meters for residences and businesses in Bristow, Lynch, Butte and Anoka beginning on Monday, August 5. It is expected that work will be completed by late August. The meter replacement in those four Boyd County communities is part of a program that will replace 24,500 meters in 40 communities as part of a three-year project by NPPD.

Prior to installation, the District’s customer service organization will be contacting retail customers (those who receive a bill from NPPD) in those communities via telephone to alert them to the installation of the meters. A District employee will switch out the meter at the residence or business and will remove the old one from the premises. A resident or business owner does not need to be there when the switch out occurs and there will be a short interruption of electric service.

The new meters are equipped with two-way communication known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a digital metering technology used around the world for more than a decade and will include the latest technology in this type of equipment. The new meters display the reading in a digital LCD format. The meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed that will receive and securely transmit the data back to NPPD on the total amount of kilowatt hours used by a residence, business or industry.

“In addition to what we will do this year, in 2018 we successfully replaced 43,000 meters and more will be replaced in 2020. The installation of the AMI systems helps maintain competitive electric rates for our customers by reducing operating expenses,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt, who noted that NPPD’s retail customers have not had a rate increase over the past six years. “With AMI equipment we can also pinpoint the exact location of outages quicker, meaning a faster response time in restoring power.”

The new AMI meters installed will continue to be a key in providing reliable electric service for its customers and will provide an additional level of safety for NPPD employees when troubleshooting or handling routine maintenance. The new AMI equipment cannot control any appliances or electronics within a residence or business.

In addition to the new meters, NPPD will also have numerous routers placed strategically in the community to relay the information to NPPD’s operations.

The remaining schedule for retail communities runs through the end of 2019 although weather conditions could create some delays.

7/22/2019
NPPD to begin Chadron meter replacements July 29

Columbus, Neb. - Upgrading of electric meters for residences and businesses in Chadron by Nebraska Public Power District will begin July 29 and is expected to be completed by the middle of August. Nearly 3,000 meters in Chadron will be replaced as part of a program that will replace 24,500 meters in 33 communities as part of a three-year project by NPPD.

Prior to installation, the District’s customer service organization will be contacting retail customers (those who receive a bill from NPPD) in those communities via telephone to alert them to the installation of the meters. A District employee will switch out the meter at the residence or business and will remove the old one from the premises. A resident or business owner does not need to be there when the switch out occurs and there will be a short interruption of electric service.

The new meters are equipped with two-way communication known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a digital metering technology used around the world for more than a decade and will include the latest technology in this type of equipment. The new meters display the reading in a digital LCD format. The meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed that will receive and securely transmit the data back to NPPD on the total amount of kilowatt hours used by a residence, business or industry.

“In addition to what we will do this year, in 2018 we successfully replaced 43,000 meters and more will be replaced in 2020. The installation of the AMI systems helps maintain competitive electric rates for our customers by reducing operating expenses,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt, who noted that NPPD’s retail customers have not had a rate increase over the past six years. “With AMI equipment we can also pinpoint the exact location of outages quicker, meaning a faster response time in restoring power.”

The new AMI meters installed will continue to be a key in providing reliable electric service for its customers and will provide an additional level of safety for NPPD employees when troubleshooting or handling routine maintenance. The new AMI equipment cannot control any appliances or electronics within a residence or business.

In addition to the new meters, NPPD will also have numerous routers placed strategically in the community to relay the information to NPPD’s operations.

The remaining schedule for retail communities runs through the end of 2019 although weather conditions could create some delays.

7/12/2019
New electric meters to be installed by NPPD

Columbus, Neb. - Upgrading of electric meters for residences and businesses in Rushville, Clinton and Merriman by Nebraska Public Power District will begin July 22 and is expected to be completed by the end of the month. In 2019 approximately 24,500 meters in 33 communities will be replaced, as part of a three-year project by NPPD.

Prior to installation, the District’s customer service organization will be contacting retail customers (those who receive a bill from NPPD) in those communities via telephone to alert them to the installation of the meters. A District employee will switch out the meter at the residence or business and will remove the old one from the premises. A resident or business owner does not need to be there when the switch out occurs and there will be a short interruption of electric service.

The new meters are equipped with two-way communication known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a digital metering technology used around the world for more than a decade and will include the latest technology in this type of equipment. The new meters display the reading in a digital LCD format. The meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed that will receive and securely transmit the data back to NPPD on the total amount of kilowatt hours used by a residence, business or industry.

“In addition to what we will do this year, in 2018 we successfully replaced 43,000 meters and more will be replaced in 2020. The installation of the AMI systems helps maintain competitive electric rates for our customers by reducing operating expenses,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt, who noted that NPPD’s retail customers have not had a rate increase over the past six years. “With AMI equipment we can also pinpoint the exact location of outages quicker, meaning a faster response time in restoring power.”

The new AMI meters installed will continue to be a key in providing reliable electric service for its customers and will provide an additional level of safety for NPPD employees when troubleshooting or handling routine maintenance. The new AMI equipment cannot control any appliances or electronics within a residence or business.

In addition to the new meters, NPPD will also have numerous routers placed strategically in the community to relay the information to NPPD’s operations.

The remaining schedule for retail communities runs through the end of 2019 although weather conditions could create some delays .

7/1/2019
Keep safety in mind when using NPPD water systems

Columbus, Neb. – Finally, hot weather has made its arrival in Nebraska and with Independence Day holiday this week comes more use by the public of various lakes, reservoirs and canals owned by Nebraska Public Power District.

Water plays an integral part in Nebraska Public Power District’s electric generation system, whether it is for producing electricity by using water to turn turbines in a hydroelectric facility or for producing steam for operations in coal and nuclear power plants.

NPPD’s water system, located in the western part of the state, includes Sutherland Reservoir, Lake Maloney, portions of Lake Ogallala, and the 60 mile long Sutherland Canal, are all open for public use and have become popular locations for recreational activities – primarily boating and fishing along with swimming at designated locations.

While intended for the generation of electricity and irrigation purposes, the District encourages the use of its water facilities for recreation, but also urges users to be cautious around water.

One of the favorite areas for fishing is along the Sutherland Canal. NPPD Director of Safety Chris Overman commented, “We have had a few incidents where individuals have gone into the water along the canal system, for one reason or another, and have been unable to get out on their own, due to the steep banks of the canal.” The end result has been rescue efforts by local emergency responders.

Because of those steep banks and swift water, no wading, boating or watercraft are permitted in the canal. Those anglers fishing from the banks are advised to wear life jackets and should be there with a partner or let others know where they are fishing. Emergency buoys with ropes are also located at regular intervals along the canal to help in any rescue effort.

Another location that does not allow for boating or swimming is the tail race below the North Platte Hydroelectric Plant, due to the fast current. Swimmers and boaters are also prohibited from accessing areas near canals, flow-control devices and any posted areas. On Sutherland Reservoir, Lake Ogallala and Lake Maloney, NPPD urges boaters to operate their equipment in a safe manner and to check boating regulations required by the Nebraska Game and Parks.

“We have buoys that mark areas restricted to boating.  “We ask boaters to observe caution signs and speed limits on the water and wear life jackets while on or near the water at all times,” Overman added  “NPPD values safety, and never wants to see a member of the public injured or worse while enjoying the recreational benefits of NPPD’s facilities.”  Designated swimming locations for the public are available at both Sutherland Reservoir and Lake Maloney.

6/28/2019
Auburn to be site of July NPPD Board of Directors meeting

Columbus, Neb. – The July meeting of the Nebraska Public Power District’s Board of Directors will be held in Auburn, rather than its normal location at NPPD’s General Office in Columbus.  The Thursday, July 11 Board meeting will be held at the District’s Sheridan Training Facility located at 1110 M Street, Auburn.

NPPD’s Board of Directors conducts one of its meetings each year at other locations across the state in order to provide more opportunities for the public to attend. The Board has previously met in Sutherland, Scottsbluff, Norfolk, Doniphan, York, and Kearney in 2018.

Due to the technologies used and installed at NPPD’s headquarters in Columbus, live streaming of the Board meeting will not be available for this meeting.

Thursday’s session is tentatively scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. (Central) with concurrent meetings for Energy Supply, and Customer and Support Services committees. The full Board meeting will start at approximately 10 a.m. with an official welcome from NPPD Board Chair Gary Thompson, who represents Subdivision 8 that includes Auburn and Cooper Nuclear Station, followed by the Board’s strategic business session.

The Board will continue in session until 12 noon, break for lunch and will resume the meeting at approximately 1 p.m. The public comment period is scheduled to take place at 10:30 a.m.

A full Board agenda with confirmed meeting times will be posted at https://nppd.com/about-us/board-of-directors/meetings on or before July 5.

6/24/2019
Gordon, Hay Springs, Pine Ridge, and Whiteclay NPPD customers to have new electric meters installed

Columbus, Neb. - Upgrading of electric meters for residences and businesses in Gordon, Hay Spring, Pine Ridge and Whiteclay by Nebraska Public Power District will begin July 1 and is expected to be completed in approximately three weeks. In 2019 approximately 24,500 meters in 33 communities will be replaced, as part of a three-year project by NPPD.

Prior to installation, the District’s customer service organization will be contacting retail customers (those who receive a bill from NPPD) in those communities via telephone to alert them to the installation of the meters. A District employee will switch out the meter at the residence or business and will remove the old one from the premises. A resident or business owner does not need to be there when the switch out occurs and there will be a short interruption of electric service.

The new meters are equipped with two-way communication known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a digital metering technology used around the world for more than a decade and will include the latest technology in this type of equipment. The new meters display the reading in a digital LCD format. The meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed that will receive and securely transmit the data back to NPPD on the total amount of kilowatt hours used by a residence, business or industry.

“In addition to what we will do this year, in 2018 we successfully replaced 43,000 meters and more will be replaced in 2020. The installation of the AMI systems helps maintain competitive electric rates for our customers by reducing operating expenses,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt, who noted that NPPD’s retail customers have not had a rate increase over the past six years. “With AMI equipment we can also pinpoint the exact location of outages quicker, meaning a faster response time in restoring power.”

The new AMI meters installed will continue to be a key in providing reliable electric service for its customers and will provide an additional level of safety for NPPD employees when troubleshooting or handling routine maintenance. The new AMI equipment cannot control any appliances or electronics within a residence or business.

In addition to the new meters, NPPD will also have numerous routers placed strategically in the community to relay the information to NPPD’s operations.

The remaining schedule for retail communities runs through the majority of 2019 although weather conditions could create some delays.

6/17/2019
Incentives for electric vehicles, charging stations now available

Columbus, Neb. – Interest continues to grow among consumers when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle - specifically an electric vehicle (EV).

One of the obstacles facing consumers about EVs is the upfront cost for the vehicle and installing charging stations. As part of an incentive program, Nebraska Public Power District, in partnership with its wholesale utility customers and the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) and the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA), has introduced three programs which help to reduce the purchase price of an EV.

“We have been fortunate to receiving grant money from NET through a partnership with the NCEA which is very much appreciated,” said NPPD President and CEO Pat Pope. “The grant money will be an incentive to those wanting an electric vehicle and are faced with upfront costs and installing charging stations at their residence. NPPD will also be working with auto dealers and home builders to promote these incentives.”

"The Nebraska Environmental Trust is excited to increase the number of electric vehicles in use across Nebraska," said Executive Director of the Nebraska Environmental Trust Mark Brohman. "Nebraska Public Power District can use the charging information shared from these smart home charging stations to find ways the utility can benefit from electrified transportation."

The largest available incentive is for EV and a ChargePoint home charging station in the amount of $4,500, with $4,000 going towards the purchase of a vehicle.  Another $500 would be available for the charging station installation at a single or multi-family residential location with internet wireless connectivity.

Two other incentives are also available. One is for a ChargePoint home charging station installation of $500 and  a $100 incentive is available for the pre-wiring for the installation of a residential EV charging station in the future.

“The Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA) must prove for the Nebraska Environmental Trust, which grants public funds, the economic and environmental benefits of electrified transportation," said NCEA Director Anne McCollister. "As Nebraska Public Power District offers Trust-funded rebates this year for electric vehicles and home charging stations to help populate its utility study, we expect to see the same cost savings and emissions reductions in the second year we found in the first year of studying residential home charging.”

Details of all three incentive programs can be found at https://www.nppd.com/save-money/incentives-programs#electric-vehicle. The incentives are available to NPPD retail customers and customers of its wholesale utilities.

The Nebraska Environmental Trust was established in 1992 to conserve, enhance and restore the natural environments of Nebraska. The Trust is to lead the development of a vision of Nebraska’s future environment. The Trust is to collaborate with public and private efforts to achieve that vision.

The mission of the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance is to build and promote advanced technologies for housing and transportation that save energy, reduce CO2 pollution and to cut costs.

6/12/2019
APPA’s National Energy Innovator Award presented to NPPD

 Columbus, Neb. - Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) was recognized with the Energy Innovator Award from the American Public Power Association at the Association’s national conference held in Austin, Texas. NPPD was one of nine public power utilities recognized for service to APPA and the public power industry during the conference.

This award recognizes utility programs that have demonstrated advances in the development or application of creative, energy-efficient techniques or technologies, provide better service to electric customers or projects that increase the efficiency of utility operations or resource efficiency. Judging criteria also includes transferability and takes into account project scope in relation to utility size.

“NPPD is extremely honored to be recognized by the American Public Power Association as an Energy Innovator,” said NPPD Senior Energy Educator Chad Johnson, who accepted the award on behalf of the company.  “This award is not an education focused award so being selected makes it even more exciting.

“NPPD’s energy education team works hard to serve the students and teachers of Nebraska and to be innovative in the ways we do that. This award validates all of that hard work,” continued Johnson.  “Nebraska, and NPPD especially, are starting to gain national attention for our innovative reputation. Our goal for Pathways to a Technical Future program is to help keep that supply of local, technical, and innovative workers flowing from Nebraska communities.”

NPPD implemented the “Pathways to a Technical Future” program to connect the STEM curriculum for students in kindergarten through college allowing them to develop skills required for energy and public power careers. NPPD helped teachers and administrators work with local utilities, businesses, and other community members to integrate Pathways concepts into their systems. Pathways helps to increase understanding of how electricity works, how to use it safely, and how to develop 21st century skills.

The Pathways project is funded by the American Public Power Association’s DEED program and by NPPD’s Domestic Energy Research and Application Initiative.

6/7/2019
Keep your home cool with energy saving tips

Columbus, Neb. - Energy usage often sees a sharp increase during the hot summer months, and Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) wants to share a few tips to help you cool down your home before cranking up the air conditioner.

NPPD Energy Efficiency Program Manager Cory Fuehrer says the average Nebraska home uses 10 percent of its annual energy to keep cool. “Turning on your air conditioner can be inevitable during the hottest summer days, but if you follow a few tips, you may be able to limit its use,” added Fuehrer. “It’s all about keeping it cool and comfortable inside, while keeping the heat outside.”

Using shades or blinds during the day and keeping windows closed is a quick way to keep your home from heating up. The east and west windows receive the most impact from the suns infrared rays, and are important to keep covered, added Fuehrer.

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends switching thermostats to cooling and setting them to 78 degrees Fahrenheit while you are home during the day, and 85 degrees when your house is unoccupied. Fuehrer says If it’s still too hot, using a ceiling or floor fan can help provide up to four degrees of cooling comfort.

Cooking outside on the grill, will also help keep temperatures down. Anytime you cook inside, your home must use more electricity to remove the newly generated heat.

“Ensuring your air conditioning equipment is running efficiently could also help you cut energy use,” added Fuehrer. “Make sure the filter in your indoor air handler is changed regularly, and that your outdoor compressor unit is clear of debris with at least two-foot of cleared area surrounding it.”

Check out our Incentives & Programs or with your local power provider to see if there are any incentives that can help you improve your daily energy use.

6/4/2019
False alarm on Cooper sirens Tuesday morning

Brownville, Neb. - A problem with the Alert and Notification System in the vicinity of Cooper Nuclear Station caused several of the system sirens to sound at approximately 8:16 a.m. Tuesday morning.

According to Nebraska Public Power District officials, this was a false system activation that set off several sirens near the plant. There was no problem at the plant that would have required activation of the sirens, and at no time was there a threat to residents of the area around Cooper.

The cause of the false activation is under investigation.

5/21/2019
Clean! Drain! Dry! Boaters asked to help stop spread of invasive species

Columbus, Neb. – Cool temperatures in recent days may cause some boaters to wait a little longer to venture into local lakes to kick off the summer boating season this Memorial Day weekend. Nebraska Public Power District wants to alert boaters of the issue of invasive species and remind them of three simple words: Clean. Drain. Dry.

By doing so it will help stop a continuing problem of zebra mussels spreading into lakes and rivers across the Midwest and into Nebraska… and the public can help stop it. Zebra mussels, which look like snails or clams, are small but destructive. They damage boats, clog water intakes and impact the environment of lakes and rivers where they live.

Zebra mussels multiply quickly and, while only the size of a fingernail individually; they attach in groups to solid objects in the water and cause big problems. They have caused millions of dollars in damage to water systems and fisheries across the country, and have been found in recent years in lakes and rivers in and around Nebraska.

Why is this important to Nebraska Public Power District?  NPPD uses water in the generation of electricity at three key locations including Gerald Gentleman Station by the Sutherland Reservoir, at the North Platte Hydroelectric Plant, and at Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville along the Missouri River. Keeping these aquatic invasive species at bay and preventing clogging of intake lines helps provide low cost, reliable electricity rather than spending ratepayers’ money to control the species.

“Zebra mussels spread by attaching to a boat and hitching a ride to the next body of water. Their microscopic larvae can survive in water left in a boat, live well, or bait bucket,” NPPD Environmental Manager Joe Citta commented.

The Nebraska Invasive Species Program recommends all boaters clean, drain and dry.

  • Clean your boat to remove all visible plants, animals, fish and mud from the boat, trailer or other equipment and dispose of the debris in a suitable trash container or on dry land. Power washing the boat and trailer is another option.
  • Drain water from the boat, motor, live wells, ballast tanks and any other equipment holding water. If draining water is not an option, using a cup of diluted bleach will kill zebra mussels.
  • Dry your boat, trailer, and all equipment completely before arriving at the next launch ramp to go boating or fishing.

“We have been fortunate over the past few years that we have not been adversely impacted at our power plants, but we need boaters to be aware of the potential of unknowingly transporting invasive aquatic hitchhikers,” Citta explained.

Tips for preventing zebra mussels being introduced into Nebraska bodies of water are available through the Nebraska Invasive Species Program at neinvasives.com.

5/17/2019
Norfolk Centralized Customer Care Center takes 4 millionth call

Norfolk, Neb. – Nineteen years after opening its doors, the Centralized Customer Care Center (CCCC) in Norfolk has proven to be a vital resource to Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) and public power customers by taking its landmark four-millionth call.

The CCCC has approximately 38 full time employees, operates 24 hours a day, and assists 23 other public power entities with calls from around the state.

“This is an exciting milestone for our retail operation,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “Having a central place where our team can work together to handle customer calls is an important part of our business, and we’re very thankful to all of our colleagues who have helped make the Norfolk location a success.”  

NPPD received it’s millionth call in April of 2006, followed by the two-millionth call in May of 2010 and the three-millionth call in June of 2014. The most recent landmark call came in Monday, May 6, and NPPD Board members took time later that week to visit the team and recognize them for the achievement.

“In addition to handling calls, the Centralized Customer Care Center supports online tools and processes, for our customers, so there is a full circle of support provided by the team,” added Arlt. “Even with those online tools in place, many of our customers want to speak directly with our staff, and it’s important to us, that we are available whenever our customers need us. The Norfolk CCCC allows us to do that.”

The CCCC provides customer outage support 24/7 by calling 1-877-ASK-NPPD. Billing related calls and service requests are taken between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

5/14/2019
NPPD customers across state targeted in latest scam

Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District wants to make the public aware of a rapid uptick in scam calls taking place across the state on Tuesday.  

Customers have reported receiving calls from scammers posing as representatives of NPPD, demanding payment.

“Unfortunately, this is the type of scam that impacts many communities every year.” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “Anyone who receives such a call should not let their guard down and should contact our team and law enforcement immediately. Protecting our customers is a top priority.”

The recent scam has targeted customers in multiple communities including Aurora, McCook, York, Geneva, Pawnee City and Scottsbluff, but residents across Nebraska should be aware of the scam.

These predatory individuals state the bill must be paid immediately or the power will be shut off and will recommend several methods of payment. Sometimes the scammer’s caller-identification is falsified so it appears to originate from the utility company, a practice known as ‘spoofing’.

To help customers be wary of such scams, NPPD offers the following tips and suggestions:

  • NPPD, as a business practice, does not call to ask customers for a credit card number.
  • NPPD does not demand payment with a pre-paid card.
  • Any customer receiving such a call should not attempt to make payment over the phone using a credit or debit card.
  • Write down the call back number or consider asking where the caller is located.
  • Contact law enforcement.
  • Let NPPD’s Centralized Customer Care Center at 1-877-ASK-NPPD (877-275-6773) know about the call.
  • If served electrically by a rural public power district or municipality, customers should contact that organization before providing any type of payment.

5/10/2019
NPPD recognized as Safest Company with Distinction

Columbus, Neb. – The National Safety Council, Nebraska Chapter (NSC, NE) is once again recognizing several Nebraska companies for outstanding safety initiatives and performance; among those being honored for many consecutive years of outstanding safety performance is Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD).

“Keeping NPPD colleagues safe at work and at home has been, and will always be, a core NPPD value. This and other similar industry awards, along with all of the great safety practices we see in the NPPD workplace, reinforce that our efforts to help each other work and live safely are paying great dividends each and every day,” says NPPD Director of Human and Safety Performance Chris Overman.  

The NSC, NE has collected incident, lost time and days away restricted or transferred (DART) rate data from the past three years and established an average. Companies whose average was 50 percent better than their industry average, are being recognized as a Nebraska Safest Company with Distinction.

“It is vital and extremely valuable for all industries and employers to establish and maintain a continuous, positive emphasis on safety,” added Overman. “We know that the organizations with the very best safety performance are the organizations with high levels of trust, communication, mutual respect and shared accountability. That means actively watching out for each other, listening to each other, helping each other, holding each other accountable to the highest standards, having organizational pride, and turning your workplace safety practices into daily habits that you can then share with your families, friends and communities.”

NPPD will be recognized along with Nebraska’s other safest companies May 15 during the 36th Annual Celebration of Safety Luncheon at the Embassy Suites, LaVista Convention Center. More details on the event and NSC can be found at https://www.safenebraska.org/conferences-events/celebration-of-safety.

5/3/2019
Spring planting brings reminder to look up and around for power lines

Columbus, Neb. – Wet conditions and flooding during the early weeks of spring have caused delays for farmers wanting to get out to their fields, and Nebraska Public Power District reminds equipment operators to be wary of power lines as they begin planting.

If an equipment operator hits a power line it can result in a dangerous, potentially fatal, situation. “It’s important that all farm workers look up and around and determine where power lines are before moving large pieces of equipment under them,” said NPPD Director of Delivery Art Wiese. “We want to keep the lights on, but most importantly we want farmers and their crews to go home safe every day.”

Wiese explained that if a piece of farm equipment gets tangled in a power line, the first thing to do is contact 911 and remain inside the vehicle as the line may still be energized. Law enforcement can contact NPPD or one of the many rural public power districts to respond.

If you’re forced to leave the vehicle, jump as far away as possible from the equipment, making sure no body part touches the tractor and the ground at the same time. It is important to land standing up with both feet together. The individual should then shuffle their feet, making sure to never break contact with the ground or cause separation between the feet. Do not attempt to return to the equipment and always wait for emergency responders and the power utility to respond.

  • Each day, review all farm activities and work practices that will take place around power lines and remind all workers to take precautions. Start each morning by planning the day’s work during a tailgate safety meeting. Know what jobs will happen near power lines and have a plan to keep the assigned workers safe.
  • Know the location of power lines, and when setting up the farm equipment, be at least 20 feet away from them. Contact your local public power provider if you feel this distance cannot be achieved.
  • Be aware of increased height when loading and transporting larger modern tractors with higher antennas.
  • Never attempt to raise or move a power line to clear a path. If power lines near your property have sagged over time, call your public power utility to repair them.

4/26/2019
Reinforcement work on NPPD’s wood poles starts Monday

Columbus, Neb. - Work will begin Monday, April 29 and run into June to reinforce wood poles on Nebraska Public Power District’s distribution, sub-transmission and transmission facilities.

NPPD has contracted with INTEC Services, Inc. to conduct the work. The reinforcement  process involves the installation of steel channels and banding on NPPD’s wood pole structures. Crews conducting the work will be dressed in high visibility vests and will be traveling from pole to pole in a company truck.

Communities where this work will be done includes Big Springs, Brule, Bloomfield, Craig, Loup City, Meadow Grove, Oakdale, Oakland, Tekamah, and Tilden as well as transmission structures in rural Scottsbluff, and Ogallala areas.

If any local residents have questions about this work, call 1-877-ASK-NPPD (275-6773). A customer service representative will then contact the necessary NPPD personnel to address any concerns.

4/19/2019
Trees being donated to Norfolk for Arbor Day

Norfolk, Neb. – Norfolk Middle School students will celebrate Arbor Day early this year by planting several new trees at Embrace Park.

Arbor Day will be celebrated on Friday, April 26, but the Norfolk students will get a head start on the celebration by planting eight new trees April 23, donated by Nebraska Public Power District.

A short program will be held at the YMCA at 10:30 a.m. to talk about the importance of trees and how to be safe around them. Students will then make their way over to Embrace Park at 11 a.m. to plant the trees with the help of NPPD and City of Norfolk staff.

“The Arbor Day celebration is a great chance for NPPD to show support for the community of Norfolk,” says NPPD Account Manager Cathy Kathol. “In addition to donating the trees, it gives us the opportunity to educate customers and students about electrical safety and the hazards of planting trees near overhead power lines.”

Students are also getting a chance to show off their creativity and knowledge of tree safety, with student projects that will be presented during the program.

“We’re excited to host the roughly 75 students for the event, and we’re thankful that Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning will be attending and speaking at the event,” added Kathol. “NPPD maintains vegetation on more than 5,200 miles of transmission and sub-transmission lines across the state, and this is a great way to continue educating our customers about that effort.”

NPPD is a member in good standing of the Tree Line USA program which works with electric utilities to promote the proper planting, protection and enhancement of America’s urban and rural trees. NPPD's membership, sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation, provides an avenue to help promote the safety and reliability of power lines through public education programs about the proper planting of trees and vegetation.

NPPD was recently recognized by Tree Line USA for the 14th consecutive year for meeting the organization's standards, including training employees in quality tree care and educating the public on tree planting for energy conservation and appropriate planting near power lines.

NPPD follows proper tree-trimming guidelines by the National Arbor Day Foundation, Utility Arborists Association, International Society of Arboriculture and the Tree Care Industry Association.

4/16/2019
City of Norfolk, NPPD team up for solar project, battery storage

Norfolk, Neb. – Approval was given Monday evening on an agreement by the Norfolk City Council for the state’s largest community solar project with Nebraska Public Power District, that 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 (NET) in the amount of $490,000 over two years for the BESS project, which will be the first of its kind in the state.

Action Monday by Norfolk leaders will bring a community solar project to the community similar to what has been done by NPPD in three other Nebraska communities. As the project comes closer to completion, NPPD in partnership with the city will host an open house for Norfolk customers to explain its Sunwise Community Solar program, answer questions, work with customers interested in purchasing solar energy and  explaining the details of the program and assisting with registration.

“As technologies have advanced and costs have decreased, rural Nebraska is now in position to produce energy as efficiently as it does food,“ said Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning.. “We are excited to initiate Nebraska’s largest solar project, tied to the state’s first battery energy storage system, while helping lower energy bills and provide renewable options to interested citizens and businesses.”  

The planned Norfolk solar project is 8.5 megawatts in generating capacity, eventually making it the largest in Nebraska. The project will be built on land owned by Norfolk at the city’s well fields.

“NPPD is pleased to be working with the city of Norfolk  for being the host community in this first of a kind project,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “We look forward to working with Norfolk customers who want to participate in a renewable energy project as we move forward with the construction process.”

As part of the Sunwise Community Solar Program, NPPD has a facility in Kearney that has been in operation for nearly a year generating 5.7 megawatts of energy through photovoltaic panels. Smaller solar arrays in the program are located in Scottsbluff (128 kilowatts) and Venango (98 kilowatts). Community solar is a way for community members to purchase solar energy without having to install rooftop panels on their home.Solar subscribers can buy different amounts of solar energy based on their annual electricity usage.

This past fall, NPPD with the support of the city of Norfolk, submitted a grant request to the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) that was approved earlier this month.  Norfolk committed to participate in the funding request as a grant partner and would be providing in-kind support by providing the real estate for the project site, weekly inspections,and guiding public tours.

The BESS would be charged through generation provided by the solar unit and discharged daily to accomplish several goals.  The BESS unit would store approximately the amount of electricity that a small home would use over the course of two months.

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