NPA Report Details Nebraska’s Utilities’ Investment in Renewables, Energy Efficiency and Energy Education

Lincoln, Neb. — Nebraska’s electric utilities are helping improve the quality of life in the state with cost-effective energy-efficiency programs, renewable generation construction, energy education in the schools and research into new forms of energy, according to Bruce Pontow, current president of the Nebraska Power Association (NPA) board of directors.

“Nebraska has 169 electric utilities, and I can say that from Auburn to Crawford, Kimball to Creighton, those utilities are focused on providing affordable, reliable electricity in ways that protect the environment,” continued Pontow, who also is general manager of the Nebraska Electric Generation & Transmission Cooperative Incorporated, headquartered in Columbus.

“The strong efforts of Nebraska’s publicly owned utilities are evident in NPA’s new Research and Conservation Report,” Pontow continued. Among the highlights of this report, which summarizes programs and actions taken as of 2010, include:

  • Dozens of Nebraska utilities offer their customers refrigerator recycling programs
  • More than 293 megawatts of new renewable generation capacity were built resulting in more than 460,000 megawatt-hours of electricity
  • 79,000 megawatt-hours was saved as a result of energy-efficiency programs offered by the state’s locally owned utilities
  • More than 20,000 fifth-grade students received Energy Detective Education Program materials to help them become wise users of energy at home and in schools

“Energy savings resulting from energy-efficiency programs offered by Nebraska’s utilities in 2010 were enough to power more than 6,700 homes for an entire year,” explained Pontow. “Our state’s utilities continue to be vigilant in pursuing cost-effective energy efficiency programs. After all, in most cases, the cheapest electricity is electricity we don’t have to generate.”

Pontow also noted that NPA member utilities have signed Power Purchase Agreements with private developers which have resulted in construction of hundreds of megawatts of renewable generation capacity—nearly all of it wind—in recent years.

Right now, two additional facilities are being planned in Broken Bow totaling 155 megawatts along with development of a 40 megawatt wind farm near Crofton, Nebraska. In addition, Nebraskans used more than 1.3 million megawatt-hours of clean, renewable hydroelectricity in 2010. Also, smaller-scale renewable generation projects are being built in eight different counties across the state.

Commercial buildings in 95 Nebraska cities and counties now use less energy thanks to federal Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grants awarded in 2010, the NPA report noted. Most of the projects involved improving a building’s lighting.

“Nebraska’s locally owned utilities are working hard to meet rising customer expectations,” said Pontow. “Electric utilities in Nebraska are owned by their customers, which makes our utilities uniquely focused and committed to meeting and exceeding customer expectations.”

Looking forward, Pontow noted that several utilities in the state have begun deploying advanced meters and other equipment to reduce outages, lower costs and improve the workings of each utility’s distribution network. “Future editions of NPA’s annual Research & Conservation Report will further document the improvements these deployments make to electric service.”

About the NPA: Headquartered in Lincoln, the Nebraska Power Association is the non-profit organization representing the state’s 169 publicly owned utilities. The NPA was founded in 1980 to align, coordinate and further the work of the state’s locally owned utilities. Nebraska is the only state in the U.S. where all residents and businesses are served by locally owned utilities, municipal utilities and public power districts. Click here to learn more about NPA, its members and its mission.

 

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