Natural Resources

Power plant closure requirement amended, advanced

A bill intended to ensure reliability of the electric grid received first-round approval from lawmakers March 21 after they amended it to include several other proposals heard by the Natural Resources Committee this session.

Sen. Bruce Bostelman
Sen. Bruce Bostelman

Sen. Bruce Bostelman of Brainard, sponsor of LB1370, said the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and others have identified the retirement of dispatchable electric generation facilities — which the bill defines as those that use coal, hydrogen, hydropower, natural gas or nuclear power — as a “serious issue” that could lead to an electric generation shortfall in the future.

The bill as introduced would require public power districts and other electric suppliers to replace a dispatchable electric generation facility before retiring it.

A committee amendment, adopted 29-0, instead would require those entities to provide written notice to the Nebraska Power Review Board when they decide that a dispatchable electric generation facility with a capacity of more than 100 megawatts should be retired.

The board then could hold a hearing, which would be closed to the public, on the proposed closure. Whether or not a hearing is held, the board would provide written recommendations to the entity as to whether the decommissioning is in the best interests of the entity and its customers.

The recommendations would be advisory only, but the entity would be required to consider them before making a final decision on the closure.

The proposed requirement would not apply to any decision to retire a dispatchable electric generation facility made prior to the bill’s effective date.

Additionally, the amendment would define a dispatchable electric generation facility as one that, under normal operating conditions, can increase or decrease its power output on demand to provide electricity onto the grid on an ongoing basis.

The amendment also includes provisions of four other bills related to natural resources.

The amended provisions of LB120, introduced by Bostelman last session, would require electric suppliers to provide written notice to the Power Review Board before commencing construction on or acquiring certain electric generation facilities or transmission lines located within a 10-mile radius of a military installation.

The notice would certify that the facilities contain no materials, electronics or other components manufactured by any foreign government or foreign nongovernment person determined to be a foreign adversary under federal regulations.

An electric supplier would be exempt from the requirement if it certifies to the board that it complies with the critical infrastructure protection requirements issued by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

The amended provisions of LB956, sponsored by Lincoln Sen. Eliot Bostar, would require an owner of a wind energy conversion system to apply to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval to install and operate a light-mitigating technology system on wind turbines in certain circumstances beginning July 1, 2025.

The amendment would require an owner to install the system on wind turbines within two years of receiving FAA approval.

The amended provisions of LB969, introduced by Sen. Barry DeKay of Niobrara, would increase the minimum dollar amount thresholds of certain projects for which a public power district is required to advertise for sealed bids.

The provisions of LB1260, sponsored by North Platte Sen. Mike Jacobson, would allow a director of a public power and irrigation district to have an interest in a residential lease or water service agreement with the district and to discuss or vote on those agreements.

Senators voted 29-0 to advance LB1370 to select file.

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