Nebraska clean energy activists seek path around legislature


WRITTEN BY Karen Uhlenhuth

April 17, 2018

The people’s power plan

Nebraskans are concerned about climate change and want the state to do its part to reduce carbon emissions, said Matt Gregory, clean energy advocate for the Nebraska Wildlife Federation and a leader of the Husker Power Plan effort. Some hoped state officials would craft an energy plan, but it didn’t happen.

“So,” Gregory said, “we moved forward with our own plan.”

The plan calls on utilities to double the state’s use of wind power over the next five years, add at least 129 megawatts of community and utility-scale solar projects and reduce electricity use by 2 percent annually through 2023.

After releasing the plan in January, the coalition behind it began lobbying Lincoln Electric Service, which members thought would be the most receptive of the state’s three major public power companies. Marilyn McNabb of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a former board member for the utility and helped the Husker Power Plan coalition make contact with the board.

“They allocated something like 15 minutes” at their February board meeting, Gregory said. He and a few others described the plan to utility board members. “We talked about … the urgency of climate change. There may be board members who appreciate the urgency.”