Distributed Energy Resources

Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska board OKs vision for carbon neutrality

The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) Board of Directors on Jan. 23 approved a resolution that lays out a vision to a carbon neutral power resource portfolio by 2050.

The resolution authorizes MEAN’s staff to collaboratively work with the MEAN Power Supply Committee to construct policies around resource planning, portfolio optimization and emissions reduction to support future actions to achieve the 2050 carbon neutral goal. 

MEAN provides wholesale electric supply and energy-related services to its 69 member and participating communities in Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming.

The formation of the plan will culminate in MEAN’s 2022 integrated resource plan, which details MEAN’s future resource needs and performs evaluations to determine the preferred resource plan. MEAN updates its integrated resource plan every five years.

MEAN noted that it has a successful history of working together to fulfill renewable energy needs for each member community by investing in carbon-free resources, including constructing and owning the first utility-scale wind project in Nebraska near Kimball, Neb.

Recent carbon-free efforts include:

  • Contracting to purchase the energy (30 megawatts) of the recently expanded Kimball Wind Project in Nebraska, which has three times more energy capacity than the original project;
  • Successfully working with the communities of Aspen and Glenwood Springs in Colorado to achieve their local 100 percent renewable energy goal;
  • Expanding the opportunity for larger renewable projects located in MEAN participant communities through its renewable distributed generation policy; and
  • Extending a current 20-year contract for additional wind energy from the Wessington Springs, S.D. Wind Center.

MEAN’s current resource capacity portfolio consists of 50 percent non-carbon resources from projects around the region, including member federal hydro allocations from the Western Area Power Administration.

MEAN said it will have opportunities in the coming years to transition toward carbon neutrality as power purchase agreement contracts expire and capital debt is paid on its shared ownership of power resources with other utilities.

“Achieving MEAN’s 2050 vision will require industry advancements and technological innovations, particularly those that add stability to the grid and offset the intermittent production of renewable energy such as from wind and solar resources,” it said. “Potential solutions are not yet viable on a utility scale or economically feasible, and emerging technologies must still be developed.”