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OPPD Uses Grants and Scholarships to Encourage Energy Efficiency
In March 2009, the Omaha Public Power District received a $15,000 grant from the American Public Power Association through its Demonstrate Energy-Efficient Developments program to become an ENERGY STAR Partner. OPPD will develop a best practices guideline to help other utilities maximize their efforts to become ENERGY STAR Partners. An ENERGY STAR Partner can help customers participate in energy saving efforts that will reduce their energy consumption and lower their utility bills.

Grant for Student Interns to Help Customers
The Omaha Public Power District received a $16,000 grant from the American Public Power Association to hire student interns to work on a variety of projects that will help customers save money. The interns will:
  • Build an online tool for customers to access information that will help them compare their energy use with the energy use of others living in similar sized homes.
  • Develop computer programs to help other utilities determine if biogas can be used for power generation.
  • Build and test small-scale wind turbines.

    For more information visit the American Public Power Association program to — Demonstrate Energy-Efficient Developments.

  • Omaha Natural Gas Utility Features Fleet of Clean Fuel Vehicles
    The Metropolitan Utilities District in Omaha is promoting its new natural gas Honda Civic as the cleanest internal-combustion vehicle on earth. In the last ten years, the Metropolitan Utilities District's CNG fleet has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 2.6 million pounds and displaced 27,987 barrels of foreign oil. The MUD web site features fuel price comparisons between natural gas and other fuels and a tool to help people calculate their carbon footprint.

    Gas Station Sells a Choice of Ethanol Blends
    Starting in January, 2009, Grand Island drivers with flex-fuel vehicles have had a wider choice of ethanol blends in mid-Nebraska.

    The Pump & Pantry opened the first gas pump in Nebraska to offer a variety of ethanol blends. The new gas pump will offer drivers a choice of five different blends: regular unleaded, E10, E20, E30 and E85. Only cars that are designated flex-fuel vehicles can fill up with the higher ethanol blends of E20, E30, and E85. Most Nebraska E85 gas stations offer drivers a choice of E10 -- 10 percent ethanol blended gasoline — or E85, which has an 85 percent ethanol blend.

    There are 24 operating ethanol plants in the state, with an annual production capacity of more than 2 billion gallons, using as much as 700 million bushels of corn. Nebraska is third nationally in ethanol production.

    Fighting States’ Addiction to Oil
    The National Resources Defense Council has created a web site to help with America's addiction to oil. Nationally, Nebraska ranks 37th in oil vulnerability. On average, each Nebraskan spent $1,770 or 4.69 percent of their income for gasoline in 2008.

    The Council analyzed how much drivers in each state are affected by oil price increases and ranked them on the efforts they are taking to lessen their vulnerability. Rising gas prices in combination with the economic downturn are making people more vulnerable to changes in oil prices.

    Promoting clean vehicle and fuel technologies as well as transportation alternatives such as E10 and E85 can help states reduce their oil dependence. This can help the economy create clean energy jobs, reduce vulnerability to fuel price hikes, and lessen air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

    Central City Manager Receives National Public Power Award
    Chris Anderson, City Administrator for Central City, Nebraska received the American Public Power Association’s Larry Hobart Seven Hats Award in June 2009 at its national convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. The award recognizes city managers across the country that perform a number of duties in the communities they serve. Mr. Anderson manages 12 departments and works with electric and natural gas utilities, housing development and projects to expand recreational activities in Central City.

    USDA Webinar Discusses Bioenergy Crop Assistance
    In June, 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture presented a webinar introducing their Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) created under the 2008 Farm Bill. The webinar, which can be viewed online, discussed the cultivation and production of energy efficient bioenergy crops that preserve natural resources and are not primarily grown for food or animal feed.

    Google and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Launch Alternative Fuels Map
    The fall 2009 issue of the Ethanol Retailer featured a new computer mapping tool, TransAtlas, from the National Renewable Energy Labs and Google that could help flex fuel vehicle owners and alternative fuel retailers find all existing and planned alternative fuel stations across the county.

    The map displays stations that sell E85, biodiesel, hydrogen, propane, electric, liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas. The map also shows users vehicle density layers for flex fuel vehicles thus revealing where a flex fuel station might be needed.

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