Upper Great Plains taps South Sioux City for Administrator’s Award

WAPA Administrator Mark Gabriel will present WAPA’s prestigious Administrator’s Award to South Sioux City, Nebraska, You are leaving WAPA.gov. Oct. 18 at the Delta Hotels in South Sioux City.  The presentation is part of 2017 National Bioenergy Day, You are leaving WAPA.gov. an event that will be attended by local, state and federal officials and high-ranking industry representatives. Gabriel will also deliver the keynote address, “The Importance of Renewable Energy Diversification,” at Bioenergy Day. The event will also include a tour of the new Green Star Energy You are leaving WAPA.gov. gasifier power plant.

Despite its small size—a population just over 13,000—South Sioux City has consistently delivered innovation along with affordable, reliable power year after year, warranting the honor the award confers on a WAPA customer. But these accomplishments feel almost secondary to the vision that made them happen. South Sioux City is well known among its peers and many other WAPA customers for being exceptionally forward thinking and tenacious at finding and leveraging win-win partnerships.

Leading in renewables
South Sioux City is pursuing clean, low-carbon electricity with a unique mix of projects.

A 2.3-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic array is only the latest example of the town’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. The 21-acre solar park began operation in January and generates the equivalent of 5 percent of the city’s total electricity needs. South Sioux City also recently selected a firm to build 15 MW of new wind power and signed an agreement to begin receiving generation from it in 2018. Both the wind and the solar projects are public-private partnerships.

South Sioux City’s Solar Park: 2.3-megawatt array (1,200 panels) located on a 21-acre solar park south of the city, alongside C Avenue. The array generates enough energy to provide 5 percent of South Sioux City’s electrical needs.

South Sioux City’s Solar Park: 2.3-megawatt array (1,200 panels) located on a 21-acre solar park south of the city, alongside C Avenue. The array generates enough energy to provide 5 percent of South Sioux City’s electrical needs. (Photo by Nebraskans for Solar)

In a region where agriculture and related businesses are the leading industries, biomass represents an energy resource that South Sioux City has captured through different projects. Three major food processing plants divert animal, grain and other wastes to an anaerobic digester that extracts methane from the stream and feeds it into the natural gas pipeline. The nearby Siouxland Ethanol Plant You are leaving WAPA.gov. displaces up to 9 percent of its natural gas needs for ethanol production with landfill gas from the LP Gill landfill.

The Scenic Park campground was the site of a pilot program in 2015, using a gasifier woody biomass system to generate 50 kilowatts of electricity from wood waste from storm damage. The unit was so successful that South Sioux City entered into an agreement with Green Star Energy to build a 3-MW gasifier. The new power plant will take city and industrial waste wood and dead and dying trees destined for the landfill and convert it into electricity.

Another potential project with Green Star Energy shows that South Sioux City has not lost sight of the tried-and-true renewable resources. The partners are seeking funding to build an innovative hydropower generator along the Missouri River that flows through the south end of the city. The run-of-river turbine design resembles a boat dock, would be safe for fish and aquatic animals and could produce enough electricity to save South Sioux City about $450 each day.

Conserve, reduce, manage
Energy innovation in South Sioux City is not limited to developing new resources. Planning and wise use are just as important to creating a cleaner, sustainable energy supply.

When peak demand needs to be curtailed, the city takes a two-pronged approach. First, a major industrial load voluntarily ramps down its demand by 11 percent to save not only its own energy costs but the energy costs for the city as a whole. On the residential side, the municipal utility has placed demand meters into service to control peak demand from air conditioner use. Both strategies have helped the community to contain electric costs.

South Sioux City has performed energy audits on all city buildings and facilities, and made improvements to systems such as lighting and heating and cooling, to save energy.

South Sioux City has performed energy audits on all city buildings and facilities, and made improvements to systems such as lighting and heating and cooling, to save energy. (Photo by Ammodramus)

The municipal utility has performed energy audits on all city buildings and facilities to identify energy-saving opportunities. Improvements included adding variable speed drives, converting street and signal lighting to LED and installing LED office lighting. Energy-efficient heating and cooling measures and practices have also been implemented in city buildings.

To address the need for backup support and electric demand relief during peak times, the city is designing a 5-MW, state-of-the-art natural gas-powered generating station. Excess generation from the unit will be offered to the Southwest Power Pool You are leaving WAPA.gov. markets.

Practicing stewardship
South Sioux City was the first city in Nebraska to implement a paperless city council. In addition to reducing environmental impacts, the approach simplifies the archiving of council activities and makes it easier for the public to access more information. A voice-activated council chamber video recording system allows citizens to access live and archived meetings.

Tree health and sustainability are important to South Sioux City, which has qualified for the Arbor Day Foundation’s You are leaving WAPA.gov. Tree City USA designation for 25 years and earned the Growth Award for 10 years. For the past eight years, the city has planted one new tree for every 30 residents.

Residents enjoy the city’s two community gardens and the more than 200 fruit trees the city planted in 2014. The orchard is part of a facility designed in partnership with the University of Nebraska – Lincoln to provide storage and opportunities for youth outdoor learning activities. The new building is the first compressed laminated timber structure in Nebraska. Ash tree planks salvaged from emerald ash borer kill and milled by the Nebraska Forest Service side the building. The project received the 2017 Community Enhancement Award from the Arbor Day Foundation.

South Sioux City’s extensive trail network earned the first “Bicycle Friendly Community Award” in Nebraska in 2006, and hosts many rides, runs and other events throughout the year.

South Sioux City’s extensive trail network earned the first “Bicycle Friendly Community Award” in Nebraska in 2006, and hosts many rides, runs and other events throughout the year. (Photo by South Sioux City)

Quality of life is part of environmental health too, and South Sioux City actively promotes healthy lifestyles. The city’s extensive network of developed trails earned the first “Bicycle Friendly Community Award” in Nebraska in 2006. The trail system connects to 60 miles of trails in four cities and three states, and hosts many rides, runs and other events throughout the year.

Partners make it happen
Innovation doesn’t occur in a vacuum and partnership is as critical to South Sioux City’s efforts as vision is. City Administrator Lance Hedquist acknowledges that the city’s success with energy efficiency and renewable energy projects results from the support and trust of the mayor, council and staff who share his passion to make the city a great place to live and work.

South Sioux City’s collective approach to innovation, partnerships, governance and trust would be impressive in a city many times its size. In a small municipality, it deserves recognition: WAPA is proud to honor South Sioux City with the Administrator’s Award.

Efficient clothes dryer topic of free webinar

June 10, 2015
1 p.m. MDT

Join the Washington State University Energy Program on Wednesday, June 10, at 1:00 p.m. Mountain Time, for the Emerging Technologies Showcase webinar, Heat Pump Clothes Dryers – Will Life Ever Be the Same Again? Redirecting to a non-government site 

Schematics of a heat pump clothes dryer: 1. drum; 2. filter; 3. warm, humid air; 4. evaporator; 5. condensate; 6. compressor; 7. expansion device; 8. condensor; 9. blower; 10. hot dry air. (Artwork by Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

Schematics of a heat pump clothes dryer: 1. drum; 2. filter; 3. warm, humid air; 4. evaporator; 5. condensate; 6. compressor; 7. expansion device; 8. condensor; 9. blower; 10. hot dry air. (Artwork by Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

Residential clothes dryers are not known for their efficiency—in the U.S., these appliances consume 4 percent of our annual electricity use. Worse yet, 20 to 25 percent of their heat disappears up the dryer vent. No wonder clothes dryers are not included in the federal government’s Energy Star program. However, recent advances in dryer technology may be poised to change all that.

This webinar explores basic design types of energy-saving clothes dryers and the technologies that make them more efficient than current models. Lab and field testing results will be discussed in depth, with special focus on the importance of testing dryers on actual wet laundry and in different settings. Utilities can learn about the energy savings, cost and near-term availability of the appliances, as well as ideas for providing consumer guidance and financial support to interested customers.

A question-and-answer session follows the presentation. All webinars are recorded and available from Energy Efficiency Emerging Technologies Redirecting to a non-government site (E3T) and Conduit Redirecting to a non-government site energy efficiency forum.

Register today for this free event, or contact E3T for more information.

Bonneville Power Administration sponsors this monthly webinar series with support from Western. Get latest information about promising energy-efficiency technologies and practices that BPA is considering for future research.

Source: Bonneville Power Administration, 5/14/15

Nominations open for 3iAwards to recognize innovation, ingenuity, inspiration

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council Redirecting to a non-government site (IREC) is calling for nominees for the IREC 3iAwards. The prestigious annual award searches the nation for innovative people, projects and programs that promote and accelerate the sustainable growth of clean energy. The IREC 3iAwards honor innovation, ingenuity and inspiration from the nation’s best in both renewable energy and energy efficiency. 3iAwards

“Every year IREC recognizes those who have creatively developed new approaches to advancing clean energy, because changing the status quo requires determination, innovation and persistence,” said IREC Board Chair David Warner. “With these awards, we honor the people who inspire us with exemplary projects and programs that increase renewable energy use and promote energy efficiency. And we encourage others to build on their successes.”

For the second year, the selection of IREC’s award winners in several categories will be in the hands of the public, with open voting dates to be announced. The opportunity for a variety of stakeholders and the community at large to weigh in brings even greater awareness and acknowledgement of the applicants and awardees. All applications must be received online by June 26, 2015.

IREC recognizes that renewable energy and energy efficiency play equally crucial roles in achieving a sustainable future. Traditionally, government, energy industries and educational systems view them separately, with little collaboration between programs. However, IREC’s awards are inclusive, with a specific award category for “Closing the Divide.” This award highlights innovative examples of initiatives that help close the divide between energy efficiency and renewable energy. Other nomination categories are:

  • Community Renewables Project of the Year
  • State and Local Government Initiative of the Year
  • IREC Accredited Clean Energy Training Provider of the Year
  • IREC Certified Clean Energy Trainer of the Year

Applications from or on behalf of extraordinary people, projects and programs in the clean energy arena will be accepted online through June 26 in all five categories.

The 3iAwards are made possible by the generous support of IREC’s corporate sponsors. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Larry Sherwood at 518-621-7379.

Source: Interstate Renewable Energy Council, 5/7/15