Note: These minutes are in draft form pending approval by the Board at its next public meeting.
Minutes of the 759th Meeting
November 14, 2014
The 759th 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, and Mr. Haase. Mr. Morehouse had informed the Board at the previous meeting that he would not be able to attend the November meeting. Executive Director Texel stated that public notice for the meeting had been published in the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper on November 4, 2014. All background materials for the agenda items to be acted on had been provided to all Board members on the DocLanding electronic distribution system, 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 that 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 October 10, 2014, meeting. The staff did not have any recommended changes. Vice Chairman Reida moved to approve the minutes. 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 – absent. The motion carried 4 – 0 with one absent.
The next agenda item was acceptance of the expense report for the month of August. The expenses were $27.986.01 in personal services, $20,458.83 in operating expenses, and $1,736.36 in travel expenses. The total expenses were $50,181.20. Executive Director Texel explained that the personal services category was higher than normal because there were three pay periods in October. The operating expenses were also higher, due to the court reporting bills and new office furniture. Mr. Haase moved to accept the expense report. 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 – absent. The motion carried 4 – 0 with one absent.
The next item on the agenda was to consider Custer Public Power District’s Charter amendment 4. This application was submitted on September 29, 2014. The purpose of the amendment is to correct a mistake in the current charter where the names of two precincts in paragraph 10 were transposed. The PRB published noticed in three newspapers for three consecutive weeks. The notice is only required in two newspapers, but due to the geographic size of the District, the District had requested that the notice be published in three newspapers. The notice was published on October 9, 16, and 23, 2014, in the North Platte Telegraph, the Custer County Chief, and the Sargeant Leader. The notice stated that any interested party could file a protest or objection by the close of business on November 13. The Board did not receive any objections or protests. State law allows the Board to waive the need for a hearing if no protests or objections are filed. The executive director recommended the Board waive the hearing and approve the petition to amend the district’s charter. Chairman Lichter moved to waive the hearing and approve Custer Public Power District’s Petition for Charter Amendment 4. Vice Chairman Reida seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Lichter – yes, Vice Chairman Reida – yes, Mr. Grennan – abstain, Mr. Haase – yes, and Mr. Morehouse – absent. The motion carried 4 – 0 with one absent.
The next item on the agenda was to consider the Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project, designated as PRB-3779-G. This is for a proposed either 100 or 200 MW wind generation facility in Dixon County. The applicant filed PRB-3779-G on October 28, 2014. The facility would be located east and south of the Village of Allen. Nebraska Public Power District filed a Petition for Intervention on November 13. The executive director, in his capacity as hearing officer, granted the Intervention. No other interventions or protests were filed. The applicant filed a Motion for Continuance on November 13. The applicant would like some time to evaluate its options after the prospective buyer notified the applicant the project was no longer in consideration for the contract. The hearing officer had granted the continuance. All Board members agreed to table the agenda item until next month’s meeting.
The next item on the agenda was a presentation on proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. The Board asked if the Nebraska Power Association would give a presentation to the Board on the EPA’s proposed regulations being promulgated under § 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. John McClure, Nebraska Public Power District’s general counsel, agreed to give an update to the Board as the Nebraska Power Association’s representative regarding the contents of the proposed rules and how they might impact Nebraska’s utilities and ratepayers. Mr. McClure explained the different steps and deadlines that the EPA is proposing under 111(d) to reduce carbon emissions. The deadline for submitting comments on the proposed regulations is December 1, 2014. The EPA proposes that Nebraska utilities reduce their emissions by 26%. The percentage is different for each state. The formula used to arrive at the percentage does not give credit for any of Nebraska’s hydro facilities, and only a minimal percentage of the nuclear facilities. Mr. McClure stated that the Kansas Corporation Commission has submitted comments and recommended to the Board that they review the document. After discussion of the proposed rules and their impact on Nebraska, the Board members decided that the Power Review Board should submit comments on the proposed regulations to the EPA. The Board asked the executive director to prepare a letter on behalf of the Board to submit to the EPA on the proposed emissions regulations. The Chairman stated that the Southwest Power Pool’s Regional State Committee (RSC) was also submitting high-level comments. He said he would forward a copy of the letter to the Board members. Mr. Grennan thanked Mr. McClure for agreeing to attend the Board’s meeting and give the presentation. The other Board members also thanked Mr. McClure for his time and the information he provided them.
The next item on the agenda was to consider complaint C-50. This item is set for an evidentiary hearing, so the Board tabled the item until after the hearing could be held.
The Board went into recess at 10:17 a.m. During the recess the Board heard conducted the hearing on C-50, which is a complaint filed by Rob Robertson against NPPD.
The Board reconvened its public meeting at 1:00 p.m. All Board members that were present prior to the recess were again present. During the recess the Board conducted the hearing on formal complaint C-50. This is a formal complaint filed by Mr. Rob Robertson pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. section 70-604.05, alleging that the Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD) charter is not in compliance with Nebraska law. The executive director explained that on September 30, 2014, Mr. Robertson submitted a letter outlining his complaint. The Complaint alleges that NPPD’s charter violates state law and must be amended to bring it into compliance with the law. Under the PRB’s rules a party against whom a complaint is filed has 20 days in which to file an Answer, or it can file a petition for a charter amendment to correct the alleged noncompliance. NPPD filed a timely answer denying that its charter violates state law. The Board asked that the parties file simultaneous post-hearing briefs. The initial Briefs are due 14 days from the date of the hearing, and have a ten page limit. Each party may then file a Reply Brief within seven days after the initial briefs are due. The Reply Briefs are limited to five pages in length.
The next item on the agenda was the executive director’s report. The Board members had a copy of the current month’s update from JK Energy Consulting regarding its SPP activities. Chairman Lichter stated that the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed air emissions rule change is a major topic at SPP. Chairman Lichter talked about the seams issue concerning the cost allocation of regional projects. He also talked about the SPP’s reaction to the EPA’s proposed carbon emissions regulations under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. Chairman Lichter stated that he would disseminate the draft comments to be submitted by the RSC. He thought that the Board’s letter would be similar to the RSC’s letter.
Executive Director Texel then updated the Board on the Nebraska Renewable Energy Export Study required by Legislative Bill 1115 (2014). The Brattle Group (the contractor) is required by the RFP to provide a monthly written progress update to the Board. The most recent progress report is in the Board’s notebook. The Brattle Group
has also been holding bi-weekly calls with the executive director and Mr. Grennan to discuss issues and questions.
The Board scheduled its 2015 meeting dates for the fourth Friday of each month. The next meetings will be held in the Liquor Control Commission Hearing room, 5th floor, State Office Building, 301 Centennial Mall, Lincoln, Nebraska on December 12, 2014, January 23, 2015, and February 27, 2015. The Board needed to reschedule its April, November and December meetings, since the fourth Friday of the month falls on a State holiday during those three months. The Board decided to reschedule the meetings with conflicts to the third Friday of the month. The new dates would be April 17, November 20, and December 18, 2015.
Chairman Reida moved to adjourn the meeting. 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 –absent. The motion carried 4 – 0 with one absent. The meeting was adjourned at 1:15 p.m.
Timothy J. Texel
Executive Director and General Counsel