Tag Archives: Omaha Public Power District (OPPD)

OPPD reaches customer-owned generation milestone

By Julie Wasson, OPPD Customer Service, The Wire

On June 28, 2021, OPPD received its 500th customer-owned generation (COG) interconnection application. This was the 165th application received so far this year, which is on track to be a 500% increase in interconnection applications over last year.

OPPD kicked off a multi-team project in 2019 to improve the COG application process using new, state-of-the-art online application software. The application software went live in April 2020 and, so far, more than 20 different solar installers have used the online application on behalf of mutual customers. Without the new online application process, the volume the utility has seen this year would not have been possible. Read more here.

Previously Posted

Battery project makes room for more rooftop solar in Decorah, Alliant Energy News Release
A free DOE webinar on the project will be offered on July 30 at 12:00 p.m. CDT. Anyone interested in learning more can join by 
registering here

OPPD Selects Wärtsilä To Provide Reciprocating Internal Combustion Technology For Standing Bear Lake Station

OPPD News Release

Omaha Public Power District has taken another important step in its Power with Purpose project to add 400 to 600 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale solar generation and up to 600 MW of backup, modern natural gas to the utility’s generation portfolio.

The utility has selected nine Wärtsilä 18V50DF internal combustion engines (RICE) to power OPPD’s new Standing Bear Lake Station in Douglas County, one of two gas plants that will serve as backup to the coming solar generation. Like OPPD’s Turtle Creek Station going up in Sarpy County, Standing Bear Lake Station will be used as a peaking station, which means that the plant will run only as needed, per market conditions (estimated at less than 15% of the time). Continue reading here.

Wärtsilä Corporation News Release: Wärtsilä to provide 156 MW of thermal balancing power for Omaha Public Power District, enabling fast increase in renewables in Nebraska
Wärtsilä engines can later be converted to carbon neutral fuels to further enhance decarbonization. Wärtsilä has researched hydrogen as a fuel for 20 years and can currently use 15%-25% hydrogen blended with natural gas. Going forward Wärtsilä is developing the combustion process in its gas engines to enable their use with up to 100% hydrogen.

Additional Wärtsilä Resources of Potential Interest

NON-WIRES SOLUTIONS

Growth spurs additions to OPPD’s system, by Jason Kuiper
While OPPD does bring on a few new circuits each year, OPPD planners are beginning to look at alternatives to adding new circuits. Non-traditional fixes such as batteries and solar power might be closer than people realize, [Mike Herzog, manager of Distribution Planning] said. “We are taking a closer look at what we call ‘non-wire’ solutions,” he said. “And those technologies could be fixes for adding more circuits. There are areas in our city that it would be very difficult and disruptive to put in a new circuit, like some of the main arteries in the city. So we are always looking ahead.”

Featured Resource: Non-Wires Alternatives: Case Studies From Leading U.S. Projects, Smart Electric Power Alliance

ALSO PUBLISHED BY THE WIRE

AMERICAN PUBLIC POWER ASSOCIATION SERIES

Celebrating public power in America series – Part 2: Celebrating the Modern Public Power Utility
The American Public Power Association is pleased to present the second in-depth, three-part Public Power Current newsletter series to celebrate public power’s past, present, and future. Yesterday we described how local leaders began what would become the nation’s oldest continuously operated public power utility, in Butler, Missouri. Today, the Butler Electric Department is a modern utility: it owns Missouri’s first utility-scale solar farm, has emergency-only generators, a fully remodeled and upgraded power plant, and is studying the addition of wind power to help meet the needs of a growing town. Today we share how three public power utilities have adapted to changing times and local needs.

Western U.S. grid plan could remake renewables

By Edward Klump, E&E News

Bruce Rew, senior vice president of operations at SPP, said the expanded RTO footprint could utilize several grid connections that run from the Western Interconnection to the Eastern Interconnection. The connections are in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. Additional connections could be considered later. SPP’s bid to tie the nation’s main Eastern and Western grid networks together would be a first among existing RTOs. “I think it’s a very significant change in terms of how the electric grid is [operated] and what the potential benefits that closer operation between the Western Interconnection and Eastern Interconnection can provide,” Rew said. Read more here.

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

GREEN HYDROGEN

Promoting energy innovation and U.S. jobs through a Green Hydrogen Production Tax Credit, Next Era Energy

To meet the U.S. national climate goal of cutting emissions 50% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, as well as the Biden administration’s 2050 net-zero emissions goal, the U.S. will need to scale a range of new clean energy technologies. While proven technologies such as renewable generation and energy efficiency can drive a significant share of the greenhouse gas emission reductions necessary to achieve the U.S. climate target, new technologies are needed to address the remaining hard-to-decarbonize sectors that are important drivers of economic growth in the U.S., such as industry and heavy-duty transportation. Promoting U.S. innovation and competitiveness will require incentives to scale these emerging technologies. One such emerging technology is green hydrogen, which is well-placed to help the U.S. address a range of hard-to-decarbonize sectors.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

TIPS FOR SAVING ENERGY & MONEY PROVIDED BY OUR LARGEST UTILITIES

OPPD, schools partner on electric vehicle education

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire

Students from seven area schools learned about the benefits of electric vehicles recently thanks to a partnership between OPPD and the National Energy Foundation (NEF). The program aimed to give teachers the resources for students to learn how electric vehicles (EVs) work and how they impact the environment. While EVs are becoming more common, many people still don’t understand how the vehicles work and what their benefits are compared to typical vehicles that consume gas. “This was a one-day event where the schools that participated were given supplemental curriculum to learn more about EVs,” said Tricia McKnight, a product specialist at OPPD. “These students will be buying vehicles of their own one day and hopefully talking to their parents about the benefits of EVs.” Continue reading here.

OPPD’s Electric Vehicle (EV) Rebate Program

About Jason Kuiper
Jason Kuiper joined OPPD as a communications specialist in 2015. He is a former staff writer and reporter at the Omaha World-Herald, where he covered a wide range of topics but spent the majority of his career covering crime. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has also appeared in several true crime documentary shows. In his free time he enjoys cooking, spending time with his wife and three children, and reading crime novels.

EV ACCESSIBILITY INDEX

United States Electric Vehicle Accessibility Index, by David Clement, Elizabeth Hicks, Joshua Ippolitov and Brandon Bouchard, Consumer Choice Center

The US Electric Vehicle Accessibility Index is a national ranking evaluating states on how accessible their electric vehicles are to consumers. The index evaluates each state’s regulations for direct-to-consumer sales and the licensing fees for electric vehicles.

Hay helps rural Nebraskans explore clean energy options

By Russell Shaffer | Rural Prosperity Nebraska, Nebraska Today

Making the switch to clean energy is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. John Hay, a Nebraska Extension educator who conducts workshops on solar energy, helps individuals make the decision that best suits their home, farm, ranch or business.

“Success isn’t always choosing to install solar,” he said. “Success is doing a good analysis of the resources to make the best decision.” Since 2007, Hay has conducted workshops through Nebraska Extension to educate farmers, homeowners and rural business owners on the process of installing clean energy technology. Continue reading here.

Links to Extension Resources
Utility Scale Wind 
Small Wind 
Wind Measuring Towers
Solar Electric Systems 
Solar Economic Analysis 
Utility Scale Solar
Solar Water Pumping
Solar Electric on the Farm

MORE NEBRASKA NEWS

  • DOE Announces $22 Million for Energy Research Projects in Underserved Regions WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $22 million in funding for nine projects covering a range of energy research topics from grid integration, solar energy, wind energy, and advanced manufacturing. These projects are located in communities traditionally underserved by federal research and development (R&D) funding so that all parts of the country are central to efforts to solve the climate crisis and meet President Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Projects Include University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE ($2,940,000): Developing and applying new experimental and computational tools to understand dynamics of chemical reactions in organic materials.
  • Lincoln to receive $2.7 million grant, StarTran plans to buy new electric buses, KOLN
    The U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding Lincoln with an almost $2.7 million federal transit grant, and all of that money is heading to the city’s bussing system. With this grant, Lincoln’s StarTran will get 3 brand new electric buses and two new charging stations. These new electric buses will replace three 2006 diesal buses. The company says this grant will ultimately help the environment and the thousands of people who use Lincoln’s bus system every day.
  • OPPD moving to diversify prairie program, The Wire
    Changes are underway for OPPD’s “Prairie in Progress” pollinator program. The plan largely involves replanting some areas that did not take off as well as OPPD officials had hopedThe program, which began in 2018, is a joint effort between Environmental Affairs and Building Services & Operations personnel, the Save Our Monarchs Foundation, and grants from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.
  • Aurora hosts ribbon cutting for new electric vehicle charging station, NPPD News Release
    Nebraska Public Power District will partner with the city of Aurora for a ribbon cutting event on Friday, June 25 at 3 p.m. The ribbon cutting kicks off the availability of Aurora’s first ChargePoint DC fast charger charging station, located downtown on the corner of 12th and N Street.
  • Unicameral Update – Session Review: Natural Resources, Senator Bruce Bostelman
    Included in the review:: LB507, introduced by Brainard Sen. Bruce Bostelman, prohibits the use of treated seed in the production of ethanol if its use results in the generation of a byproduct that is deemed unsafe for livestock consumption or land application. Under LB650,, introduced by Sen. Michael Flood of Norfolk and passed on a vote of 48-1, the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will regulate facilities that inject carbon dioxide through wells into underground geologic formations for permanent or short-term storage.
  • Nebraska Embarks on Major Carbon Capture Initiatives, Environment + Energy Leader
    Chief Industries, Inc. and Catahoula Resources have entered into an agreement to jointly develop carbon capture and permanent sequestration (CCS) within 
    Nebraska.
  • Most U.S. wind capacity built since 2011 is located in the center of the country, EIA
    Wind capacity in the United States has increased significantly over the past decade, from 40.1 gigawatts (GW) in January 2011 to 118.3 GW at the end of 2020. This wind capacity growth was mostly concentrated in the middle of the country.

The Infrastructure Bill & Pension Funds – A $3 Trillion Action Item

Contributed by Norman Anderson, Forbes

As the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure initiative moves forward, the talk is of spending rather than of long-term, strategic, 30-40 year investment. It’s a question of focus. The political discussion is also leaving an important tool on the sidelines — at least half of the spend under discussion lies in the traditional domain of private investment — renewable energy, high voltage electricity transmission, broadband, 5G and even social infrastructure are solid private investment opportunities. Pension funds link these two issues. By my conservative calculation, we could easily add $1 trillion – or more – of disciplined capital to long-term infrastructure investment by bringing institutional investors into high priority projects. Read more here.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

SEIA NEWS RELEASES

NEBRASKA NEWS

  • Nelnet Renewable Energy and Six Co-Investors Complete $11.9 Million Solar Tax Equity Investment in the Northeast, Nelnet Renewable Energy News Release, PR Newswire
    According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), “The solar investment tax credit is one of the most important federal policy mechanisms to support the growth of solar energy in the United States. Since the tax credit was enacted in 2006, the U.S. solar industry has grown by more than 10,000% – creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and investing billions of dollars in the U.S. economy in the process.” 
  • Aurora hosts ribbon cutting for new electric vehicle charging station, NPPD News Release
    Aurora, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District will partner with the city of Aurora for a ribbon cutting event on Friday, June 25 at 3 p.m. The ribbon cutting kicks off the availability of Aurora’s first ChargePoint DC fast charger charging station, located downtown on the corner of 12th and N Street.

ENERGY SAVING TIPS FROM OUR LARGEST UTILITIES

OPPD Board Honors Burke’s 24 Years Of Service To Utility

OPPD News Release, June 17, 2021

After 24 years of service to Omaha Public Power District, Timothy J. Burke attended his last monthly board meeting as president and CEO today. The OPPD Board of Directors approved a resolution to honor his service to the utility, the last six years as its leader. Burke will officially step down July 1, with Vice President and CFO Javier Fernandez taking the reins. The board unanimously approved Fernandez for the position last month. He will be OPPD’s 13th CEO.

The board credited Burke with setting OPPD on the right course for the future through his strategic initiative and directive work. They noted that OPPD is financially sound, thanks to process improvement planning and generation work, and the system is resilient, as evidenced by how the utility has handled flooding, a derecho wind storm, the polar vortex and other weather threats. Under Burke’s leadership, the utility has been recognized nationally as one of the country’s top economic development utilities. His focus on the customer has helped existing customers grow and thrive, while also drawing new companies to the area.

Pathways to Decarbonization Energy Portfolio workshops

OPPD hosted a series of public virtual workshops in April and May, providing a deep dive into the Energy Portfolio lane of its Pathways to Decarbonization Study and giving the public insight into the district’s work to meet its goal of being a net-zero carbon utility by 2050, while maintaining affordable, reliable, environmentally sensitive energy services for customers. 

On June 18, OPPD will release a detailed set of assumptions. The information will be posted on OPPDCommunityConnect.com. Feedback from customers via the community engagement platform is welcome until June 26.

OPPD will host another virtual information session on Aug. 4 from 4 to 6 p.m. In that session, utility experts will provide an interim modeling update. Customers may register for this session through OPPDCommunityConnect.com. Two additional workshops will be scheduled later this year to discuss the initial and then final results.

Read the entire news release here.

Prioritizing diversity, equity, inclusion to better serve customers

By Jodi Baker, The Wire

As conversations about racial and social justice continue across our country, Omaha Public Power District leaders are taking internal steps to address and improve diversity, equity and inclusion. “We are really proud of our culture,” said President & CEO Timothy J. Burke. “We believe in empowering employees so they can bring their whole selves to work every day in service of our customers.”

It’s just the right thing to do, he said, not only from a moral perspective, but from a business perspective. “When you have diversity you make better decisions,” he said. “You have a more rounded perspective. You develop ideas more fully, and better, and therefore your solutions are better.” Continue reading here.

OPPD Board Of Directors Selects VP & CFO Javier Fernandez To Lead The Utility

OPPD News Release, May 20, 2021

Today, the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors named Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Javier Fernandez as the utility’s next President and Chief Executive Officer. Timothy J. Burke announced in March that he will retire at the beginning of July. Fernandez will assume the role July 1.

“I’m humbled, and I am honored,” Fernandez said. “I care about this organization because I know the amazing things we’re already doing, the plans we have. It’s exciting,” he said. Fernandez said he felt a calling and a responsibility to apply for the position. Continue reading here.

THE WIRE

‘Fernandez ‘honored and humbled’ to lead OPPD family, by Jodi Baker

Saunders County approves solar farm

By John Chapman, WOW TV

SAUNDERS COUNTY, Neb. – There will be a solar farm constructed in Saunders County. Despite earlier this month when the county’s planning commission voted 5-1 against a conditional use permit for the project. The county board of supervisors trumped the planning commission’s decisions. It was a 6-0 vote. Community Energy and OPPD made their case saying the project meets the county’s zoning and legal requirements. Officials say the solar farm is safe, good for the environment, and will create jobs and produce millions of dollars in tax revenue for the county. Continue reading or watch the video here.

Photo Credit: Community Energy 

Community Energy Links

Featured FAQ: Doesn’t solar take good agricultural ground out of production?
Not in a meaningful way. Saunders County is 486,400 acres of ground. The proposed project would impact approximately 500 acres. Farm ground used for solar projects does not necessarily mean the end of agricultural use on the land. It will be different than traditional crops, but a robust pollinator program can benefit not only the project properties, but cropland, orchards, residential gardens, trees and other landscaping within 30 miles of the project site. Additionally, the traditional agricultural nature of the property is not permanently lost. The benefits of restorative vegetation on nitrogen and CO2 depleted land improves agricultural land for the future. Solar projects are a long term, but temporary, use of agricultural land that allows landowners to diversify their assets, creating financial stability and allowing agricultural land to remain in families for future generations.

ADDITIONAL OPPD NEWS

Battery storage pilot charging forward, by Jodi Baker, The Wire
OPPD is powering ahead with an energy storage project that will help inform the utility as it brings more renewables online. The Battery Research Innovation Guided by High-Potential Technologies (BRIGHT) project, located in Cass County, will provide innovative research that will benefit not only OPPD, but all Nebraska utilities. Researching utility-scale battery storage also supports OPPD’s Pathways to Decarbonization strategic initiative.

Customers can learn more about the project and share ideas on thOPPD BRIGHT pilot page on OPPDCommunityConnect.com, OPPD’s community engagement platform.