Making the Most of Indigenous Resources... Three Grants to Further Goals In September 2002, the Nebraska Energy Office received three grants from the U.S. Department of Energy totaling $67,000 for projects related to converting indigenous renewable resources to energy.

Woodchips are used to fuel biomass power plants

Two of the grants focused on biomass related activities: Support for the state's Biopower Steering Committee which was created by the Legislature in 1999 and beginning the process for creation of a Nebraska Biomass Energy Roadmap. The third grant was teamed with existing funds to design four wind energy development models taking into account the state's unique public power structure. Project specifics on each of the grants follow:
  • Nebraska Biopower Steering Committee Development and Biomass Information Dissemination and Outreach, $24,000
  • Under this proposal, the Nebraska Energy Office will expand the activities of the existing 12-member Nebraska Biopower Steering Committee that was established in 1999. Since its creation, State of Nebraska fiscal resources and contributions from the members or their organizations have supported the Nebraska Biopower Steering Committee's activities. In support of the activities of the Committee, the Energy Office will be upgrading the agency's web site to maximize access to biomass and biopower information as well as providing access to the Committee and its work.
  • Nebraska Biomass Roadmap: Phase One, $30,000
  • The Nebraska Energy Office will work with the Biopower Steering Committee and others including growers, biomass industry representatives, and university researchers and extension staff to begin the process to develop a Nebraska Biomass Roadmap. The roadmap concept, utilized by the Department of Energy's nine Industries of the Future,

    Switchgrass is often used as biomass fuel

    has been used to identify and target certain key elements needed for the realization of goals established by a particular industry group such as agriculture, glass or steel. Once the elements are identified, plans can be developed to reach key goals which thereby move the target industry — in this case biomass — further along the development and commercialization path. Once the membership of the Nebraska Biomass Roadmap team is determined, the Energy Office will begin the development process. Among the tasks the team will tackle:
  • Nebraska Wind Development Models, $13,000 Because of the unique publicly-owned electric utility structure in Nebraska, the Energy Office is seeking to develop several models to spur the development of the state's wind energy resources for electricity production, either for in-state consumption or for sale to others. The following four distinct models for the development of wind energy in Nebraska will be created:

    Farm with wind machines north of Lincoln

    As part of the development of each model, these items will be addressed:

    Variable speed wind machines

    1. Financing methods for wind resource development.

    2. Statutory issues that may need to be addressed to foster wind resource development.

    3. Any governance issues that might arise.

    4. The impact of the National Energy Bill provisions now under consideration by Congress.

    5. Any issues related to non-customer consumption of wind generated power such as power sales to other utilities in the state or for export.

    6. Cost analysis of each model which includes identification of any methods to "close the gap" between traditional generation sources and energy produced from wind.

    7. Develop a list of potential problems or barriers the may be encountered with each model.

    The final report, Nebraska Wind Energy Development Models, will be available to public by mid-2003, and will be posted on the agency's web site.
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