Bill Would Allow Nebraska Public Power District to Develop Biofuels

Lincoln – Public power districts could develop and manufacture biofuels under a bill heard Jan. 23 by the Natural Resources Committee.

LB 899, introduced by Venango Sen. Dan Hughes, would authorize a public power district to “develop, manufacture, use, purchase or sell biofuels and biofuel byproducts and other fuels which help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Hughes said he brought the bill on behalf of the Nebraska Public Power District. The public power industry has been authorized to sell ethanol, he said, so it would be appropriate to allow them to explore new technology and biofuels that could be financially beneficial.

Hughes brought an amendment to the hearing he said would limit public power districts’ new authority to “advanced biofuels” and their byproducts so long as the development, manufacturing, purchase or sale of those fuels is done to help offset greenhouse gas emissions.

The Nebraska Public Power District partnered with Monolith Materials, a company that will produce carbon black at a site near Hallam beginning this year. NPPD will buy hydrogen-rich gas produced as a byproduct at that facility and burn it in one of its boilers at Sheldon Station instead of coal.

Jill Becker testified in opposition to the bill on behalf of Black Hills Energy, saying that the natural gas industry also is involved in developing advanced biofuels. She said the bill’s language is overly broad and provides the public power industry “a path into what is essentially our core business.”

– Unicameral Information Office


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