Tidbits from Nebraska and the Nation...
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Laredo Ridge Wind Farm
Photograph: Nebraska Journal
OPPD Moves to Buy Additional Wind Power; Expects Costs to Rise in 2013
(June 2011)  The Omaha Public Power District in Nebraska said it passed the halfway mark to meeting its renewable energy goal on May 18, when its board of directors authorized the utility to complete an agreement to purchase 45 megawatts of wind-generated electricity from a facility to be built near Broken Bow, Nebraska.

Midwest Wind Energy, is planning to build the farm by 2013. OPPD already has agreed to purchase 18 megawatts from another Broken Bow project, which is due to go online in 2012.

The utility has a goal of generating 10 percent of the electricity it sells to its retail customers from renewable sources by 2020. The latest purchase will bring it to 57 percent of that goal, the utility said.

OPPD noted that under Nebraska law, wind farms are taxed locally at $3,518 per megawatt of capacity. OPPD ratepayers' payments to the 45-megawatt project will allow the operator of the farm to make annual payments to Custer County coffers of tens of thousands of dollars. When the expansion project comes on line, the cost of the wind will show up on OPPD bills as part of the "fuel and purchased power" line item. The cost of the wind will mean an increase of as much as 2 percent in the cost of electricity in 2013, depending on the cost of transmission.


University of Nebraska Lincoln Selected for Home Energy Efficiency Research Partnership
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineers and architects, partnering with University of Florida researchers, Nebraska home builders, remodelers and other businesses are doing research to develop and improve technologies for making homes more energy efficient.

Beginning in September 2010, the University became eligible to receive up to $2.5 million per year in U.S. Department of Energy funding over the next 4.5 years for work to identify, test and validate energy efficiency measures in new and existing homes. The funding comes from a $30 million grant to improve energy efficiency in American homes.


University of Nebraska-Lincoln Net Zero Energy Home
Photograph: University of Nebraska

Specific studies will explore how to improve an existing home's insulation, install renewable energy systems at a lower cost, create a sustainable retrofit market and improve space heating and cooling efficiency. Researchers also will identify the most cost-effective strategies to improve a given home's energy efficiency.

Jonathan Shi, professor in UNL's College of Engineering, heads the team.  Private sector partners include Nebraska-based builders HearthStone Homes, Rezac Construction and Excite Builders, the Home Builders Association of Lincoln, Lincoln Remodelers Council, Omaha's Holy Name Housing Corp., Lincoln's Kinder Porter Scott Family Foundation, the cities of Lincoln and Omaha and utilities including Omaha Public Power District and Black Hills Energy.

Shi said the federal goal is to retrofit about 6 million homes each year and achieve energy savings of 20 percent over the next five years, and 50 percent by 2025, which would reduce energy consumption and save homeowners money.

BioTrucker.com Helps Drivers Find Biodiesel
Over-the-road truck drivers have used biodiesel for years to help them fight pollution and improve engine performance in the process.

Biodiesel fuel is sold at truck stops and fueling stations across Nebraska. Now a new website makes it easier for truckers to find fueling stations that sell biodiesel. At BioTrucker.com drivers can find a wealth of information on biodiesel fueling locations and biodiesel news, as well as helpful information on receiving discounts on biodiesel fuel purchases. Truckers can also call 1-866-246-3437 for more information.

U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Release 2012 Annual Fuel Economy Guide
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy released the 2012 Fuel Economy Guide, providing consumers with information about estimated mileage and fuel costs for model year 2012 vehicles. Choosing the most fuel efficient vehicle in a class will save consumers money and reduce carbon pollution.

Fuel-efficient models come in all types, classes, and sizes. The 2012 Fuel Economy Guide can help consumers easily identify the most fuel efficient vehicles that meet their needs. Overall, the best fuel economy performers are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles which are hybrids with high capacity batteries, but the 2012 fuel economy leader list also includes fuel efficient clean diesels as well as gasoline models.

Each vehicle listing in the guide provides an estimated annual fuel cost. The estimate is calculated based on the vehicle's miles per gallon rating and national estimates for annual mileage and fuel prices. The online version of the guide allows consumers to input their local gasoline prices and typical driving habits to receive a personalized fuel cost estimate.

The 2012 Fuel Economy Guide also features a section which allows consumers to compare vehicles side-by-side. By entering two or more vehicles' year, make, model and engine size, the Fuel Economy Guide shows consumers each vehicle's miles per gallon, cost to fill the tank, and tank size along with other information that can help make purchasing decisions.

The federal agencies will provide additional fuel economy information online as more 2012 vehicles, including electric and plug-in hybrid cars, become available.

In addition to being available on the website and in automobile dealer showrooms, the Fuel Economy Guide is also readily accessible from many mobile devices (fueleconomy.gov/m).

More information, including a complete version of the guide is available at www.fueleconomy.gov.

View the most and least efficient 2012 vehicle models at www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/best-worst.shtml.

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