Promoting Public Power & Energy Awareness through Partnerships

Graphic created by NPPD
Graphic created by NPPD

What began as a partnership between The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) in April of 2006 has led to the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research (NCESR) that has blossomed over the last decade.

The partnership continues to be instrumental for innovative studies on renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and energy conservation. The NCESR and NPPD provide valuable opportunities for faculty, undergraduates, and graduate students to identify and implement solutions to energy challenges, working together to improve the quality of life of fellow Nebraskans.

NCESR provides major funding for two-year research projects to UNL faculty through the collaboration with NPPD. The NCESR funds enable UNL faculty to conduct innovative research to develop or enhance energy, science, and technologies, and educate undergraduate and graduate students on various aspects related to energy. Faculty are expected to use NCESR’s funding as seed to pursue major external funding. NPPD provides several letters of support for UNL faculty each year as they bid on federal grants (e.g., Department of Energy, Department of Defense, etc.). NCESR also awards annual summer internships for UNL undergraduates.

In the most recent round of grants (Cycle #17) NCESR supports research to develop carbon management, additive manufacturing for advanced magnets, photocatalytic electrodes, cybersecurity of smart grids, biohydrogen, and ethanol production. More information on the grant program can be found here: Research Grant Awards.

NCESR and NPPD are partnering again to educate a wider community about Public Power. October is a month dedicated for this special recognition, observed as Public Power Month and Energy Awareness Month. Power utilities and partners take extra initiative to share knowledge and expertise about how public power is reliable, affordable and sustainable.

Every October, NPPD promotes Public Power Month, a time set aside to educate others on what public power is and share its many benefits. This year, NPPD teams up with the Nebraska Power Association by marketing at Memorial Stadium during the Nebraska vs. Purdue game day on October 28. The audience at these games (in-person and televised) encompasses thousands of Nebraskans – public power customers. With this in-stadium marketing effort, public power will also have a month-long social media campaign sharing the benefits of public power, tied in with an opportunity to win three sets of tickets for "Public Power Game Day" and public power t-shirts. Nebraskans are encouraged to participate and spread the unified public power message!

Along with marketing at Memorial Stadium, NPPD takes the opportunity to share more messages on social media as well as a large variety of activities, including the following:

  • UNL LEAD Program Collaboration: The group from UNL tours NPPD’s Gerald Gentleman Station and North Platte Hydro facilities. During these tours, participants hear about key public power topics such as Energy Efficiency, Economic Development and more.
  • Harvest Tailgaters: NPPD teammates reach out to farm families across the state, sharing the importance of safety around power lines, giving special attention to the dangers of coming in contact with overhead lines while working in their fields.
  • Nuclear Science Week: An excellent opportunity for students to learn about NPPD's Cooper Nuclear Station, how it operates, and the many available career choices.
  • Utility Career Day: This event allows high school students to learn and ask questions about career possibilities with NPPD and the electric utility. Attendees observe drones, thermal vision technology, virtual reality goggles, and safety demonstrations to give them a first-hand look at which skills and requirements are required in this field.
We invite you to follow Nebraska Public Power District on social media or visit public power for more information on the many benefits it provides to the citizens of Nebraska!

The partnership between NCESR and NPPD has become a beneficial avenue for continued collaboration with others and an avenue to work together at energy-related functions. As NCESR expands collaboration efforts, the center is beginning to discuss collaborations with the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE).

NCESR and NDEE have met and decided to share their important work. NDEE is celebrating Energy Awareness Month in October. The last main event will be Weatherization Day on October 30.

During October, NDEE aims to share information about energy efficiency and energy conservation. They also celebrate the economic and environmental benefits driven by energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is using technology that requires less energy to perform the same function, while energy conservation is any behavior that results in the use of less energy.

NDEE plays a critical role to protect and improve human health, the environment and energy resources. NDEE’s Dollar and Energy Saving Loans Program (DESL) helps thousands of Nebraska residents, local businesses, school districts and municipalities make their homes and buildings more energy efficient. Since March 1990, the DESL program has financed more than 30,000 energy saving projects totaling more than $385 million.

The department’s Weatherization Assistance Program enables low-income families to make their homes more energy efficient, resulting in savings on their energy bills. Since 1977, the Weatherization Program has spent more than $225 million to make energy efficiency improvements in more than 70,000 homes.

The goals of Energy Awareness Month and Weatherization Day are to share tips, tools and stories that promote the multiple benefits of energy efficiency, from lower costs to healthier homes. It’s important to implement actions to improve energy efficiency daily, weekly, monthly, and annually. Energy impacts every citizen.

Throughout October, NDEE will post energy tips on its Facebook page. Be sure to like and follow the agency’s page so you don’t miss this important information.

NCESR and NPPD will be attending the Power Summit on October 5 to explore other collaborations. The Power Summit is sponsored through the NDEE and NPPD Environmental Partnership Agreement. The Summit provides those in the power generating industry and those responsible for the implementation of the associated environmental regulations with an opportunity to exchange information related to power production, environmental policies, programs and issues in Nebraska. A primary objective of the Summit is to enhance the dialogue that has been established between the power industry and the associated regulatory agencies.

NCESR and NPPD will attend the Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference October 24-25. The annual conference aims to present accurate and objective information pertaining to all aspects of wind and solar development. During the past 15 years, the conference has presented attendees with Nebraska-specific information on a variety of renewable energy topics from expert speakers across the country. It is organized by volunteers from state agencies, farmer and rancher organizations, public power utilities, the renewable energy industry, and academia.