Energy Barn Update
In April 2015, the Build Our Energy Barn built in the path of the Keystone Export pipeline generated 281 kilowatt-hours of electricity back onto Nebraska’s public power grid, which is enough energy to power a light bulb for 30 months. To date, the Energy Barn has produced 5.15 megawatt-hours of clean energy for Nebraska, which could power a light bulb for 45 years.
New Energy News
Renewable Energy Incentive Bill Fails in Nebraska Unicameral: After a 2-hour anti-renewable-energy filibuster that once again reaffirmed that wind is one of Nebraska’s best resources, the Nebraska legislature allowed LB 423 to die on the floor. The bill would have provided tax incentives for renewable energy projects in the state. With several senators not voting, the bill failed to secure the 33 votes needed to obtain cloture. Among those who voted against the bill or did not vote were nine rural senators, whose districts have the most to gain from the economic development opportunities of renewable energy development. At least those senators won’t have many people who will be disappointed in them for long, since small towns are getting smaller and rural youth are moving away due to little economic opportunity.
Michigan Settles for $75 from Enbridge over Kalamazoo Spill: Oil pipeline giant Enbridge received received a $75 Million slap on the hand from the state of Michigan for the largest inland oil spill in American history. The settlement, much of which was money already spent by Enbridge, is a drop in the bucket compared to the $1.21 Billion in cleanup costs due to the damage of the spilled tarsands oil in the Kalamazoo watershed in 2010. While there is still oil left behind in the area, not much will be done to clean it up, according to state officials, and the river has been re-opened for public use. Read more at this link: http://michiganradio.org/post/state-michigan-announces-75-million-settlement-enbridge-over-kalamazoo-river-oil-spill
Fewer Oil Trains Passing Through Nebraska: According to an article in the Omaha World-Herald, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), owned by Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway, told the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) that about half as many oil trains are crossing the state in May as were in April. This is due to lower oil prices, lower production, and increased rail access in other areas. While pro-Keystone XL politicians love to point the finger at oil-by-rail as a dangerous alternative to new pipelines, it seems that the oil industry itself is, for the time being, reducing rail traffic without building more risky pipelines through America’s drinking water sources. Read more at this link: http://www.omaha.com/money/railroads/bnsf-tells-nebraska-that-fewer-oil-trains-are-passing-through/article_ea705bb9-1ce4-58a2-9f6f-6733adc5c7b9.ht
May 15 — Politics and Pints: Join Bold Nebraska for a discussion of important issues such as the TransPacific Partnership, Renewable Energy, and where Bold is headed in the future. For more information and to RSVP, go to: http://boldnebraska.org/pints/
Where: Farnam House Brewery, 3558 Farnam Street, Omaha, Nebraska
When: 5:00-7:00 PM
May 16 — Solar Energy Tour: Spend a day in beautiful Nance County, Nebraska and see a working 15 KW solar panel system. This will be a one on one informational day about solar panels, net metering, estimated costs, incentive grants and tax credits.
Martin Kleinschmit, who has helped design several solar units and understands the incentives and hookups to the grid will be on hand to answer
When: At your convenience Saturday, May 16th, 2015
Time: Anytime between 9am and 5pm.
Where: Jim Knopik farm, 9 miles west of Fullerton on Highway 22, then
north 1/2 mile.
For more information, contact: Jim Knopik (308-550-0288), Nick Cook (308-550-0845), or Martin Kleinschmit ( 402-254-7310)
May 27 — Fracking Wastewater Bill Hearing: Senator Ernie Chambers’ LB 664, which would require disclosure of all chemicals in fracking waste, has been set for hearing by the Natural Resources Committee on May 27th between noon and 1:30 p.m. in room 1525 of the State Capitol. Since the Legislature is in session that day, the hearing will be conducted during the noon recess for the Legislature and will end by 1:30 p.m. At present there are no plans to have a long distance video connection with Western Nebraska. Testimony will likely be limited to 3 minutes per individual, and it is likely there will also be limits on the overall amount of time granted proponents and opponents, so if you plan to testify, be prepared to cover as many issues as efficiently as possible.