Note: These minutes are in draft form pending approval by the Board at its next public meeting.
Minutes of the 778th Meeting
September 23, 2016
The 778th meeting of the Nebraska Power Review Board (“the Board” or “PRB”) was held in the Liquor Control Commission Hearing Room, 5th floor, Nebraska State Office Building, 301 Centennial Mall, Lincoln, Nebraska. The roll was called and present were Chairman Lichter, Vice Chairman Reida, Mr. Grennan, Mr. Haase, and Mr. Morehouse. Executive Director Texel stated that public notice for the meeting had been published in the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper on September 13, 2016. All background materials for the agenda items to be acted on had been provided to the Board members prior to the meeting via e-mail 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 north wall of the room for the public to review, and another copy of the Open Meetings Act was available in a three-ring binder on a table in the back of the room. A copy of all materials the Board would consider was available for public inspection on the table in the back of the room, as well as extra copies of the agenda.
The Board first considered the draft minutes from its August 26, 2016 meeting. The PRB staff had no changes to recommend to the draft minutes. Mr. Haase moved to approve the minutes. Mr. Grennan seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Lichter – yes, Vice Chairman Reida – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Haase – yes, and Mr. Morehouse – yes. The motion carried 5 – 0.
The next agenda item was acceptance of the expense report for the month of August. The expenses were $29,414.06 in personal services, $16,773.69 in operating expenses, and $1,959.65 in travel expenses. The total expenses were $48,147.15. Vice Chairman Reida moved to accept the expense report for August. Mr. Haase seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Lichter – yes, Vice Chairman Reida – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Haase – yes, and Mr. Morehouse – yes. The motion carried 5 – 0.
The next item on the agenda was a presentation by Nebraska Public Power District on community solar garden projects. Tim Arlt, retail division general manager for NPPD, and Dave Rich, manager of NPPD’s sustainable energy division, gave the presentation. The presentation described community solar gardens in a partnership with several of NPPD’s retail communities. Mr. Arlt discussed how NPPD is working with the communities who have asked about setting up community solar gardens. The facilities discussed will be located in Kearney, Venango and Scottsbluff. The solar gardens will not be required to receive formal approval from the PRB. Instead, the developers for each project will obtain approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission through its PURPA self-certification process, and then provide notice to the PRB. The Board thanked Mr. Arlt for the presentation and information.
The Board then considered SAA 418. This is a joint application to create a new retail service area for the boundary between Loup River Public Power District and the Elkhorn Rural Public Power District that would be designated SAA 418. The need for this service area agreement was discovered after the PRB completed its digital service area mapping project. The files for the Newman Grove service area contained a discrepancy between its legal description and the map on file. NPPD had transferred the service area for Newman Grove to Loup River PPD in 1977. Loup River PPD adopted the boundary shown on the maps on file. However, Newman Grove is surrounded by Elkhorn RPPD’s retail service area. Elkhorn RPPD and Loup River PPD did not have a retail service area agreement, but after the Newman Grove transfer a boundary existed between them.. That is the reason for the application to create a new retail service area agreement. Chairman Lichter moved to approve SAA 418. Mr. Grennan seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Lichter – yes, Vice Chairman Reida – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Haase – yes, and Mr. Morehouse – yes. The motion carried 5 – 0.
The next item on the agenda was to consider SAA 66-16-A. This is a joint application filed to amend retail service area agreement 66. On August 31, 2016, Bartley and Twin Valleys PPD filed the application. The Village of Bartley annexed territory. The annexed territory is currently part of Twin Valleys Public Power District’s service area. The annexed territory is referred to as the “Ag Valley-Smith Property.” Mr. Morehouse moved to approve SAA 66-16-A. Mr. Haase seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Lichter – yes, Vice Chairman Reida – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Haase – yes, and Mr. Morehouse – yes. The motion carried 5 – 0.
The Board then considered approval of reimbursement of expenses for the executive director/general counsel and the Board’s designated attorney member to attend a legal seminar. The Nebraska State Bar Association’s Government and Administrative Law Practice Section will be sponsoring a one-and-half hour legal seminar on October 27. The topic covered is titled “Public Records in the Electronic Era.” The costs for registration will be $65 for the executive director/general counsel and $90 for Vice Chairman Reida. The cost is less for Executive Director Texel because he is a member of the State Bar Association, while Vice Chairman Reida is not. The reimbursement would also include mileage to La Vista and back home. Chairman Lichter moved to approve reimbursement of the costs for Executive Director Texel and Vice-Chairman Reida to attend the legal seminar. Mr. Morehouse seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Lichter –yes, Vice Chairman Reida – abstain, Mr. Haase – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, and Mr. Morehouse – yes. The motion carried 4–0 with one abstaining.
The next item on the agenda was to consider PRB-3835-G. The Board received several filings for this application. The hearing officer had granted a continuance. The date for the hearing has not been determined. There are two contested hearings already scheduled for October 28, so the hearing officer wanted to discuss with the parties a different date for this hearing. The Board members agreed to table this agenda item.
The executive director then gave his report. The first item was the update on Southwest Power Pool (SPP) issues. The Board had copies of JK Energy Consulting’s monthly activities update. Mr. Grennan discussed the next quarterly meeting that will be held next month. There was also discussion of the meeting in Dallas that will be held next week.
Executive Director Texel wanted to let the Board know that it had received its first certification for a privately developed renewable energy generation facility under the new Nebraska Revised Statute section 70-1014.02, which was amended by LB 824 in the 2016 Legislative session. The certification was filed by Upstream Wind Energy, LLC, which is a subsidiary of Invenergy. The facility will be a wind farm with up to 350 megawatts capacity. The location of the facility is in north central Antelope County. The statute requires notice at least 30 days prior to construction, so construction cannot begin until after October 14. The required confirmation letter has already been sent to Upstream Wind Energy, LLC.
The Board’s next meetings are scheduled for October 28, November 18 (in Grand Island), and December 16, 2016. The November meeting is being scheduled to coincide with a tour of the Doniphan Control Center for the Board members. The location of the public meeting will be at the Grand Island City Council chambers. All other meetings will be held in the Liquor Control Commission Hearing room, 5th floor, State Office Building, 301 Centennial Mall South, Lincoln, Nebraska, unless otherwise specified on the agenda.
Chairman Lichter moved to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Morehouse seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Lichter – yes, Vice Chairman Reida – yes, Mr.
Grennan – yes, Mr. Haase – yes, and Mr. Morehouse – yes. The motion carried 5– 0. The meeting was adjourned at 10:40 a.m.
Timothy J. Texel
Executive Director and General Counsel