Natural Resources

Power plant closure requirements, other measures approved

A bill containing measures intended to ensure the reliability of the electric grid received final approval from lawmakers April 11.

Sen. Bruce Bostelman
Sen. Bruce Bostelman

LB1370, sponsored by Sen. Bruce Bostelman of Brainard, requires public power districts and other public power entities to provide written notice to the Nebraska Power Review Board prior to a final decision on whether a dispatchable electric generation facility with a capacity of more than 100 megawatts should be retired.

As amended on select file, the bill requires the notice to include recommendations on necessary transition activities, including education and job training, to avoid economic harm to workers at a retired facility or to an affected community.

After receiving notice of the proposed decommissioning, the board may hold a hearing, which will be closed to the public. Regardless of whether a hearing is held, the board must provide written recommendations as to whether the closure is in the best interests of the entity and its customers.

Recommendations are advisory only, but the entity is required to consider them before making a final decision.

The requirements do not apply to any decision to retire a facility made prior to the bill’s effective date.

As amended, LB1370 also includes provisions of four other measures heard by the Natural Resources Committee this session.

The amended provisions of LB120, introduced by Bostelman last session, 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. A similar requirement applies to the owner of a privately developed renewable energy generation facility.

The notice will 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 is 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.

As amended on select file, the bill also allows a private developer to certify that they are in compliance with the NERC requirements if the facility is connected to the grid under certain conditions.

The amended provisions of LB956, sponsored by Lincoln Sen. Eliot Bostar, require an owner of a wind energy conversion system to apply to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval to install and operate light-mitigating technology on the system before it begins operation, after it commences a substantial physical modification — or repower — or after extending, renewing or executing a power purchase agreement in certain circumstances.

The requirement goes into effect July 1, 2025.

The bill requires an owner to install the technology on wind turbines within two years of receiving FAA approval. The owner of a system existing prior to July 1, 2025, that does not commence a repower is required to install the technology on or before July 1, 2035.

The amended provisions of LB969, introduced by Sen. Barry DeKay of Niobrara, 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, 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.

Lawmakers voted 40-0 to pass LB1370, which takes effect immediately.

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