Navigator Award Finalist: Lance Hedquist, City Administrator, South Sioux City, Neb.


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This is the 21st in a series of profiles on the 50 finalists for Route Fifty’s Navigator Awards program. The first 10 finalists were from the Government Allies and Cross-Sector Partners category. Finalists 11-20 were from the Agency and Department Leadership category. Finalists 21-30 were from the Executive Leadership category. Finalists 31-40 were from the Next Generation category. Finalists 41-50 were from the Data and IT Innovators category. Explore our complete list of 50 finalists.​

Local officials in South Sioux City earlier this month decided to pursue a $200,000 Nebraska Environmental Trust grant to fund installment of six hydroelectric turbines along the Missouri River.

The city expects that the turbines will provide additional electricity to the northeast Nebraska city and the investment will pay for itself at a rate of $450 daily.

Brought about through a public-private partnership with Bowling Green, Kentucky-based manufacturer Green Star Gasifiers—a frequent South Sioux City collaborator—the new infrastructure is part of a diverse municipal strategy for clean, renewable, sustainable energy.

“Right now, [the Missouri River] has 32,000 cubic feet a second of water going downstream. Obviously, it runs year-round,” City Administrator Lance Hedquist, a Route Fifty Navigator Award finalist in the Executive Leadership category, told Nebraska Radio Network. “If we can harness some of that power to produce some electricity that’s good for the environment, reduces the cost for the citizens, we’re foolish not to proceed with it.”

The turbines are Hedquist’s idea, and it’s that kind of creativity that has Green Star relocating its headquarters to the city. South Sioux City already installed one of the company’s biomass gasification systems to burn and convert tree branches and other green waste into electricity powering its Scenic Park Campground.

In August, the city sold seven acres to Green Star for a larger, $3.75 million renewable fuels plant that will provide 8 percent of the electricity needed to run its water treatment plant for a combined $40,000 savings, reported the Sioux City Journal.

Hedquist and and his colleagues in the South Sioux City government remain hard at working securing other partners in reducing emissions while generating energy and money savings, including San Mateo, California-based SolarCity, which purchased 21 acres in the city to locate Nebraska’s largest solar farm, which is now producing 3 megawatts of clean energy.

South Sioux City is also working on buying electric cars for its employees.

“As we have said before, residents of South Sioux City should appreciate efforts by local government leaders to, through a diversified strategy, save money by reducing electricity costs and support production of green, renewable forms of energy,” Sioux City Journal’s editorial board recently wrote.

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington D.C.

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