International, National and Regional Orgaizations

Since the Energy Office was created in 1973, the agency has been active in numerous regional and national organizations.

However, beginning in 1991, the historic role the agency played in organizations began to change:

The activities of each organization during the reporting period are profiled in this section.

Governors' Ethanol Coalition

By 1999, 23 states and one territory were members of the ethanol policy and promotion group as well as representatives from Brazil, Canada, Mexico and Sweden. The goals of the organization are to increase the use of ethanol, to decrease the nation's dependence on imported energy resources, improve the environment and stimulate the national economy.

An Energy Office staff member is one of the Nebraska governor's representatives on the Coalition and the agency is the administrative headquarters of the group.

For the 1998-1999 fiscal year, the Coalition expended $139,145 for services and activities and received a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. During the reporting period, the Coalition undertook activities in several areas:

Western Regional Biomass Energy Program

In late 1997, the agency was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to operate the 13-state Western Regional Biomass Energy program, one of five regional projects across the nation. The Energy Office manages the program with the Denver Regional Support Office under a cooperative agreement.

Biomass is renewable organic matter such as forest residues, agricultural crops and wastes, wood and wood wastes, animal wastes, livestock operations residues, aquatic plants and municipal wastes.

The five-year operational contract is for $3.075 million which pays for program operations and funds the biomass grant projects. Examples of the work performed include publication and distribution of a quarterly newsletter, publication and distribution of an annual solicitation for projects, monitoring of projects funded by Western, distribution of Western-produced materials and creation and maintenance of a web site: www.westbioenergy.org

During the reporting period, the Energy Office continued day-to-day operational oversight for the 13-state region. A $103,500 grant was received by the Energy Office for the day-to-day operation of the Western regional program. The agency spent only $67,521 from the grant by the end of the reporting period. The agency also received $805,000 in funds to award for grants on projects in the 13-state region.

Over the years, Western has been responsible for providing funding for numerous projects in Nebraska including Lincoln's 95 percent ethanol buses, soydiesel fuel tests in Department of Roads' trucks and other ethanol and alternate fuel activities.

In March, representatives from the 13-state region that provide oversight selected six projects in five states totaling $259,309 for funding. An estimated $433,605 will be provided in matching funds. Thirty-five proposals totaling $1.5 million had been submitted for funding. In Nebraska, two projects were funded:

  • Bryan and Bryan received a $75,000 grant to assess and install a gas purification system for the methane gas produced as a waste by-product from ethanol production at the High Plains facility in York.
  • The Nebraska Ethanol Board received a $5,000 grant to update and reprint an ethanol publication.
  • Governors' Public Power Alliance

    The Governors' Public Power Alliance - a bipartisan, short-term coalition of six of the nation's governors - was formed to make certain that electric industry restructuring by the federal government does not disadvantage the 68 million Americans who are served by locally- and consumer-owned electric utilities. More than 2,000 publicly-owned electrics and 900-plus rural electric cooperative utilities provide services to almost one-quarter of Americans. In Nebraska, the entire state is served only by publicly-owned power systems.

    The Alliance advocates positions on issues that are beneficial to all consumers, whether served by customer-owned or investor-owned electric utilities. The governors are concerned that consumers served by local and regional electrics may be overlooked in federal legislative and regulatory proposals, and seek to counter-balance the political influence of the investor-owned utilities and large corporations which are driving restructuring activities.

    During the group's first year, 1998, Nebraska's governor served as chairman and Tennessee's governor served as vice chairman. In 1999, Nebraska Governor Johanns and Tennessee Governor Sundquist shared the Chairmanship. Alaska Governor Knowles was Vice Chair of the group.

    During the reporting period, the Alliance submitted testimony at three Congressional hearings:

    The Energy Office provides administrative support to the Alliance and maintains the group's web site: www.publicpoweralliance.org

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