NEBRASKA POWER REVIEW BOARD
Minutes of the 822nd Meeting
August 9, 2021
The 822nd meeting of the Nebraska Power Review Board (“the Board” or “PRB”) was held in the First Floor Hearing Room, Nebraska State Office Building, 301 Centennial Mall, Lincoln, Nebraska. The roll was called and present were Chairman Reida, Vice Chairman Hutchison, Mr. Grennan, and Mr. Moen. Ms. Loutzenhiser’s work schedule created a conflict that would not allow her to travel to Lincoln. Executive Director Texel explained that although Ms. Loutzenhiser may watch the meeting on Webex, she will not participate in any discussion nor vote on any matter before the Board. Due to this, the meeting will not constitute a videoconference meeting. Executive Director Texel stated that public notice for the meeting had been published in the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper on July 30, 2021. The Board also made the meeting available to the public through Webex. The Webex log-in information was available on the Board’s website and was published in the Lincoln Journal Star notice. The agenda on the Board’s website also includes links to the agenda items with associated documents the Board will consider, as well as a link to the Nebraska Open Meetings Act. Executive Director Texel explained that if any member of the public wanted to speak, they could click on the “raise your hand” icon. At that time they would be unmuted, they could announce who was speaking, provide an address, and disclose if they represent an organization. Then they could offer their comment or question. All background materials for the agenda items to be acted on were provided to all Board members prior to the meeting and a copy of the materials was in each Board member’s notebook. The executive director announced that a copy of the Nebraska Open Meetings Act was on display on the south wall of the room for the public to review, and another copy was available in a black three-ring binder on the table at the back of the room. A copy of all materials that the Board would consider was available for public inspection on a table in the back of the room, as well as extra copies of the agenda.
The Board first considered the draft minutes from its July 12, 2021, public meeting. The minutes were sent electronically to the Board members. Executive Director Texel stated that he did not receive any suggested changes or comments. Mr. Moen moved to approve the draft minutes. Mr. Grennan seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Hutchison – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Ms. Loutzenhiser – absent, and Mr. Moen – yes. The motion carried 4-0 with one absent.
The next agenda item was acceptance of the expense report for the month of July. In July there was $24,458.94 in personal services, $21,660.18 in operating expenses, and $462.54 in travel expenses. The total July expenses was $51,603.41. Mr. Grennan moved to accept the July expense report. Vice Chairman Hutchison seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Hutchison – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Ms. Loutzenhiser – absent, and Mr. Moen – yes. The motion carried 4-0 with one absent.
The next item on the agenda was a presentation of the 2021 Annual Load and Capability Report. Jason Fortik, Vice President for Power Supply for the Lincoln Electric System, as Chair of the Nebraska Power Association’s (NPA) Joint Planning Subcommittee, gave the presentation on the report. The report covers the utility load forecast and generation resources available and needed to satisfy the forecasted loads in Nebraska over the next 20-year period on a statewide basis. The report includes information concerning generation units that are planned, committed, and studied in order to meet the State’s projected load growth. Executive Director Texel recommended one change. On page three, in the first paragraph under the “Introduction” heading, the sentence says “This report is the Nebraska power Association (NPA) annual load and capability report.” Executive Director Texel stated that the report is prepared by the designated representative organization, which is the NPA. His suggestion was to restate the sentence as “This report is the annual statewide load can capability report, prepared by the Nebraska Power Association for the Nebraska Power Review Board, in accordance with subsection (3) of the statute below.” The executive director stated that many years ago the Board designated the NPA as the representative organization to prepare this report, pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 70-1024. The NPA does a lot of hard work preparing this report and he did not want to detract from that work, but according to the statute the PRB is the entity that ultimately oversees the preparation of the report. Mr. Fortik agreed that the revised language was an accurate statement. Overall, Nebraska currently has excess generation capacity. The average peak demand growth rate for the State is projected to be .7 percent per year. The report projects the state has sufficient generation capacity to meet the state’s minimum obligation until 2039. Last year the deficit was projected to occur in 2026. At the PRB’s request, included in this year’s report is a section where each utility owning significant generation resources addressed if the utility had a carbon-neutral goal and, if so, what actions the utility plans to take in order to achieve that goal. The Board thanked Mr. Fortik for the presentation and the discussion. Mr. Moen moved to accept the 2021 Load and Capability Report with the amended language change suggested by Executive Director Texel on page three. Mr. Grennan seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Hutchison – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Ms. Hilyard – absent, and Mr. Moen –yes. The motion carried 4– 0 with one absent.
The next item on the agenda was to consider the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska’s (MEAN) Petition for Charter Amendment 37. This amendment would add the city of Carlisle, Iowa as a voting member of MEAN. Executive Director Texel explained that statute section 18-2433 sets out the approval criteria. The statute states that the Board must determine that the statements in the petition are true and conform to the public convenience and welfare, and that the plants, systems and works, the operation of the same, the exercise of powers, and the assumption of duties and responsibilities of, or on the part of, such agency, do not nullify, conflict with, or materially affect those of any other district or a corporation organized under the provisions of chapter 70, article 6 or 8, or the Electric Cooperative Corporation Act, or those of any part of such district or corporation. MEAN supplied a certified copy of its Board’s resolution voting to approve the city becoming a member and a copy of the ordinance passed where the city authorized the actions necessary to become a member of MEAN. Public notice was published in the Carlisle Citizen of Carlisle, Iowa on July 29, and statewide notice in Nebraska was published in the Omaha World Herald on July 28, 2021. Written Notice was sent to the Nebraska Public Power District, the Western Area Power Association (WAPA) and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. Written Notice was also sent to the mayor of Carlisle, Iowa. Chris Dibbern, legal counsel for MEAN, spoke on behalf of MEAN and told the Board that Carlisle has a population of 4,162 people. It’s electric load is approximately five megawatts. Carlisle is part of the Des Moines, Iowa metropolitan area. Executive Director Texel stated that because there were no protests or objections to the petition, the Board can choose to have a hearing or to waive the hearing. He recommended the Board waive a hearing, since no party requested a hearing. Vice Chairman Hutchison moved to waive the hearing and approve MEAN’s Petition for Charter Amendment 37. Mr. Moen seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Hutchison – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Ms. Loutzenhiser – absent, and Mr. Moen – yes. The motion carried 4-0 with one absent.
The next item was the executive director’s report. The first item was the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) update. Mr. Grennan said at the recent RSC meeting they spent a large amount of time going over the February winter storm event report. At his request, several additional points were added to the Board’s motion to accept the report. The Board will follow up on the progress at its October 2021 meeting. The generators that rely on natural gas need to understand the importance of the reliability of the fuel supply, unlike the coal generators that know the status of the coal pile. It is not possible to keep a multiple-day supply of natural gas on site at most, if not all, gas generation facilities. Even if the unit is capable of operating on duel fuel sources, it takes time to switch the nozzles from one fuel source to another, so the conversion is not always fast. For some units the change could take at least eight-hours. It is not as simple as flipping a switch. There is a meeting scheduled where Governor Ricketts will meet with SPP Chief Operating Officer Lanny Nickell, along with the Nebraska utility CEOs, two Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy officials, Mr. Grennan and Executive Director Texel to go over the SPP’s report on the February storm event. The Board members said one item the report is lacking is a graph showing what percentage of the energy used during the storm event were coming from what fuel source. The Board asked the executive director to contact Lanny Nickell and ask him if the SPP could create a graph showing what percentage of the energy used during the storm was coming from what the fuel source throughout the entire week of the storm event.
The next item on the agenda was to consider reimbursement of expenses for the 2021 Wind and Solar Conference. This will be held in Lincoln on November 8 and 9. The executive director placed information from the conference website in the Board members’ notebooks showing what topics will be covered at the conference. Mr. Grennan moved to approve reimbursement of expenses for any Board member, and the executive director, that wants to attend the 2021 Wind and Solar Conference. Vice Chairman Hutchison seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Hutchison –yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Ms. Loutzenhiser – absent, and Mr. Moen – yes. The motion carried 4-0 with one absent. The plan will be to start the PRB’s meeting at 8:00 a.m. on November 8 so the Board could attend the conference after the meeting ends.
The next item was the executive director’s annual performance evaluation. This is placed on the agenda in the month of August because that was the month Executive Director Texel was hired. Chairman Reida has an original form to complete and the meeting notebooks have a copy of last year’s form. For quite a few years now, the Board’s practice has been to delegate completion of the report to the Board chairman. If any Board members have any input they are asked to provide the input to the chairman. All Board members agreed that the chairman should complete the form and any board members wishing to provide input could do so over the next few weeks prior to the next Board meeting. Chairman Reida will then complete the evaluation and review it with the executive director.
The executive director announced that the Board’s next public meetings are scheduled for September 13, (Friday) October 15, and November 8, 2021. The October meeting had been moved from its normal second Monday of the month due to the Columbus Day holiday on October 11.
Vice Chairman Hutchison moved to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Grennan seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Hutchison –yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Ms. Loutzenhiser – absent, and Mr. Moen – yes. The motion carried 4-0 with one absent. The meeting was adjourned at 12:41 p.m.
Timothy J. Texel
Executive Director and General Counsel