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Omaha Public Power District Honored as Energy Partner of the Year
Omaha Public Power District has been honored as Energy Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and was recognized at a national conference in Washington.

Elk City Station

The award recognizes the utility's efforts to provide renewable energy through the construction and operation of Nebraska's largest single renewable energy generating unit, Elk City Station. The Elk City Station is part of OPPD's Green Power Program and uses methane gas and other landfill gasses, created by decomposing garbage, to generate electricity. It is located at the Douglas County landfill near Elk City, and is owned by OPPD and operated by Waste Management, Inc.

Promoting the use of landfill gas as a renewable energy source and a means of protecting the environment is the purpose of the EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program. EPA evaluated projects from across the country before naming OPPD as one of four national winners. The winners were selected based on innovation and creativity, promotion of their projects, and the environmental and economic benefits achieved.

Since Elk City Station became operational in April 2002, it has generated almost 15 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. Annually, the plant will produce enough electricity to meet the energy needs of approximately 2,000 homes.

Census Reveals Energy Trends

Nebraska Census

The recently completed 2000 census revealed a number of housing trends with energy consumption implications: houses are getting bigger according to the Census Bureau.

The average size of a new single-family home built in 2000 was 2,200 square feet, up from 1,500 square feet in 1970. More than half the homes built today also have at least two and a half bathrooms. Only 15 percent of the homes had that many baths in 1970.

Even though Americans are having fewer children, more than one-third of the newly-built homes have four or more bedrooms, up from 24 percent in 1970.

In Nebraska, according to the 2000 census, more than 68 percent of the homes use natural gas for heating, 18 percent use electricity and ten percent use propane.

Energy efficiency gains made in furnaces and air conditioners are likely being offset by the increase in size of newly-built homes.

The Changing Dynamics of Energy Consumption
Over the past decade, many energy experts had suggested America needed to focus on the Western Hemisphere - the Americas - to meet its burgeoning need for oil and natural gas.


That was ten years ago. Has the hope of a Western Hemisphere energy pipeline materialized?
  • In 2002, according to the U.S. Department of Energy more than one-quarter of the nation's crude oil and refined products came from Canada, Mexico and Venezuela, the first, third and fourth ranked suppliers, respectively. Taking into account all resources in the Western Hemisphere, nearly half the imported oil came from this region which stretches from Canada to Argentina.
  • In February, The New York Times reported the even though Mexico is sitting on world-class fossil fuel reserves, the nation must import one-quarter of its gasoline and one-fifth of its natural gas from the United States because it does not have enough refineries or drilling rigs to meet its own needs. Mexico's natural gas shortage could grow according to a February Wall Street Journal news report. The growth in electricity use will create shortages of at least 100 million cubic feet a day this year
  • In 2002, more than half of America's oil came from foreign sources. The Energy Information Administration predicts that by 2020, that percentage will rise to 62 percent.

Gas Blended with Ethanol Purchases Soar

Ethanol Pump

According to preliminary figures from the state's Department of Roads, ten percent ethanol blended gas, also called E10, garnered 38 percent of the market in 2002, the highest level of market penetration since 1992.
Data on ethanol blended gasoline sales in the state can be found at
www.nol.org/home/NEO/statshtml/65b.html at the Energy Office web site.

Lincoln Electric System Rates Rank Lowest

Electric Power

A survey of 105 American cities found that electric rates in Nebraska's capital city are among the lowest ten percent in the nation. This is the 15th consecutive year LES has earned the ranking.

The survey, conducted by accounting firm KPMG for Lincoln Electric System, compared electric bills of a variety of users based on January 2002 rates.

From a regional perspective, Lincoln's electric system ranked lowest overall when compared to seven Midwestern cities including Omaha, Kansas City, KS and MO, Colorado Springs, Wichita, Minneapolis and Des Moines.

Ceiling Fans a Hit

Ceiling Fan

Americans love their ceiling fans.
Nearly two-thirds of the nation's households had at least one ceiling fan. That's the news in the latest Residential Energy Consumption Survey. In 2001, there were 107 million residential households in America, and nearly 70 million — 65 percent — had ceiling fans. Between 1997 and 2001, the number of fans increased by 14 percent. According to the survey, there were 192.8 million ceiling fans in all U.S. households in 2001, an average of 2.8 ceiling fans per household in those homes having fans. More information about the findings of the survey are located at http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/recs/ceilingfans/ceiling_fan.html
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