Small Scale Hydro-electric Power

2009 Annual Report for FNC07-647

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2007: $6,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Coordinator:

Small Scale Hydro-electric Power


Small Scale Hydro-electric Power

Our small scale hydro-electric power project had limited manual labor and much more mental stress this year. Our negotiations with Burt County Public Power District were postponed until after September 1, 2009 when net metering became Nebraska law. This was a great advantage to us and future producers. Before this date the public power district would meter everything we produced and give us wholesale price. The energy we would use would be metered and charged at retail price.

The second big obstacle was the power company requiring all small producers to carry a million dollar insurance policy. Our legal help got the phrase added: unless equipped with proper safety equipment.

All these fine print details were important because our unit will set a precedent in the state of Nebraska for others.

We did get our reservoir lake filled with water. We seeded grass on the dam and fenced the area.

Last year, I learned to rely on experienced construction workers to build the dam. I gathered information on piping water from experienced irrigation workers.

This year, I learned to request help from professional lobbyists and negotiators. I learned to get legal help before hooking up.

I believe the project is being completed as I had planned. I learned paper work is much slower than manual work.

Next year we need two agreements signed with Burt County Public Power District. The first agreement allows us to hook our power generator to their grid line. The second agreement will set the price they pay us and the price we pay them.

After all the paper work we will know the required safety equipment they desire. We will order the equipment, bolt it on, hook up the wires and flip the switch.

The water for the power source is ready. The pipe is buried, the year-around weather pit is ready, the drain tube is installed, and the mount is there to bolt the generator on.

This year sharing information was more one on one – conversing with the power company's CEO or presenting ideas to their board. We expressed our ideas to state senators and perhaps influenced Nebraska state laws. This political contact will continue for a few more weeks. Next, we can spread the word to excited people.

We still plan a workshop sponsored and advertised by the Loess Hills Resource, Conservation and Development. We plan to furnish water from our previous SARE grant project: Spring Water Development, and Deb Ward from Loess Hills Resource, Conservation, and Development will furnish appetizers to draw a crowd. Jon Dixon from Dixon Power will be there to answer technical questions.