NMPP Energy awards Projects of the Year

March 28, 2019

NMPP Energy presented its Project of the Year Awards at its 44th Annual Conference in Lincoln, Neb., March 27.

The awards are presented annually to NMPP Energy communities to recognize projects or programs that create a more cohesive communFort Morgan Project of the Yearity, whether it was a project created for the entire community or one that makes it easier for city staff and employees to serve their customers. The award winners received $200 to be used for a community project of their choice. Communities presented awards were:

The City of Fort Morgan, Colo. – Fiber Optic Installation Project

The City completed installation of the backbone phase of its fiber optic network within city limits in 2017 which included underground installation of fiber optic cable that connected the city’s electric substations and formed loops throughout the city. In 2018, the City continued the fiber network buildout with the goal to make available gigabit internet service to every home and business in the community. City of Fort Morgan Light and Power staff worked with Bauer Underground Inc. to install the fiber optic infrastructure. Light and Power staff prepared 615 poles and set 22 new poles ahead of the fiber construction crews. Approximately 57 miles of new fiber optic network was installed (approx. 27 miles aerial and 30 miles underground).

The City funded and managed the construction of the all-fiber network and then negotiated an agreement with ALLO Communications for their lease of the network. The public-private partnership is a first in Colorado for Nebraska-based ALLO and serves as a model for other small cities on achieving gigabit service.

The City of Gering, Neb. – Oregon Trail Ballpark ProjectGering Project of the Year

The City completed its Oregon Trail Ballpark in 2018 in time to host the inaugural season of the Western Nebraska Pioneers, a college baseball team competing during the Summer in the Expedition Wood Bat League. The ballpark helped the Pioneers lead the league in attendance with more than 30,800 people attending games during the season. The overall goal of the project was to improve the youth athletic facilities for local residents and families and to increase opportunities for attracting tournaments and events with economic impact spread throughout Gering and the region. The project serves as an asset to enhance Gering’s quality of life and demonstrates the collaboration of the municipality, the community and the Expedition League.

The City of Superior, Neb. – Community Solar Array Project

The City worked with its wholesale electric supplier to pursue a one-megawatt solar facility, which was completed in 2018. The City purchases the output of the solar facility at a locked-in price for 25 years. After five years, the City will have the option to purchase the property and own the facility. The City, through the Community Energy Alliance, received a $185,000 gSuperior Project of the Yearrant through the Environmental Trust to cover the cost to install a transmission line to accommodate the project. The facility is built over a closed landfill, saving the City money from mowing and maintaining the area, while generating local renewable electricity for its residents. Since the City-owned landfill property has limited development opportunity, the City coordinated with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality to gain approval to protect the landfill cap and build over the landfill.

Over its 25-year lifespan, the array is expected to offset carbon dioxide emissions by 53,948,000 pounds and provide enough annual electricity to power electric vehicles 4.5 million miles.