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Hubbard speakers

Renewable energy highlighted in Hubbard Series talk

A packed room gathered at MCC at Do Space to listen and learn about the current and future state of renewable energy in Nebraska.

Metropolitan Community College’s latest installment of the Claire M. Hubbard Sustainability Series on July 11 focused on solar and wind power.

“it is an important time to have this conversation,” said Sally Hopely, coordinator of sustainable practices at MCC. “Only together can we tackle local environmental challenges.”

Courtney Kennedy, Alternative Energy Program manager at OPPD, discussed Nebraska’s evolving landscape and the local efforts of different types of energies.

“All of our energy is here in the state,” Kennedy explained.

Some of the efforts being made by OPPD include creating more wind energy with turbines throughout the state, changing all streetlights to LED bulbs within the next five years and turning areas of OPPD-owned land back to prairie. 

“We can turn that land back to monarch [butterflies] and other pollinators,” she said. “It has also helped reduce emissions when we aren’t mowing that land.”

Darren Daggeforde,executive director of Utilities and Energy Optimization for the University of Nebraska Medical Center, shared how the hospital has added nearly 1,500 solar panels to the roofs of its buildings. The panels have helped reduce costs energy consumption.

“Solar power is good in this area, so it’s a good option for us,” he said. 

UNMC wants to reduce greenhouse gases by 30 percent by 2023, Daggeforde explained. It is part of the medical center’s mission to change lives with healthy practices, and incorporating solar energy and reducing emissions is part of that.

“This is correctible,” he said. “We will correct this. We can’t lead the way for the world, but we can certainly be an example.”

After Kennedy and Daggeforde spoke, a community sustainability showcase was set up for guests to walk through and learn more about healthy practices they can try out at home and around the Omaha community.