Tag Archives: Omaha Public Power District (OPPD)

When it comes to the climate, if we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem

By David E. Corbin, Ph.D., Midlands Voices, Omaha World-Herald

Well, it’s official: OPPD will be burning coal at the North Omaha plant for three years longer than they promised. They got themselves into a real fix. Those who live in North Omaha will bear the brunt of the polluted air for three more years.

Omaha is already ranked in the top 10 cities in the U.S. for asthma rates and North Omaha has the highest rates within Omaha. So, what should be done? The resolution that the OPPD Board passed in August acknowledged the need to not only engage the North Omaha community, but to also diminish the impact on North Omaha of burning coal for three more years. Continue reading here.

David Corbin is the energy committee chair of the Nebraska Sierra Club and an advisory board member of the American Public Health Association’s Center for Climate, Health & Equity. He also is a former Nebraskans for Solar board member who currently serves as volunteer editor/writer of our organization’s Facebook site.

Additional Recommended Reading: Recently David posted an excerpt on Nebraskans for Solar’s Facebook from an article published by The Reader announcing the good news that  “the Douglas County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday to approve a joint grant application with Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) to install a solar power generation project at the closed State Street landfill.

Recommended resource for other Nebraska communities interested in a similar project:
Rocky Mountain Institute: The Future of Landfills is Bright: How State and Local Governments Can Leverage Landfill Solar to Bring Clean Energy and Jobs to Communities across America,

PUBLISHED BY OPPD THE WIRE

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST 

Links related to several of David Corbin’s references in his op-ed: 

Nebraskans for Solar Note
Nebraska has 166 publicly owned utilities governed by community-elected boards. These include public power districts, municipal utilities, and electric cooperatives. Visit the website of the Nebraska Power Association for a list of all of them.

STATES’ CLIMATE ADAPTATION PLANS

EPA Regional Climate Adaptation Contacts & State Websites

Great Plains
Nebraska and other Great Plains states: No State Level Climate Adaptation Website Currently Identified

Midwest

Illinois Illinois Climate Adaptation Toolkit
Indiana Environmental Resilience Institute Toolkit
Iowa Climate Change
Michigan Michigan Department of Health & Human Services – Resilience Efforts at the National and Local Levels
Minnesota Adapting to a Changing Climate
Missouri No State Level Climate Adaptation Website Currently Identified
Ohio No State Level Climate Adaptation Website Currently Identified
Wisconsin What are Wisconsin’s possible Adaptation Strategies?

Conservation Nebraska Event This Saturday: What Net Zero Means for Nebraska – Featuring LED, OPPD, and NPPD Board Members

August 13, 2022 at 1 PM, UNL Hardin Hall or Via Zoom
Hardin Hall, 3310 Holdrege Street, Lincoln, NE
Auditorium 107 

Join Conservation Nebraska, UNL Environmental Studies Program, and guest speakers from Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), Lincoln Electric System (LES), and Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) for an event on their net zero carbon goals and what their future plans are to reach these goals. Each speaker will discuss the progress that has been made, opportunities ahead, and the challenges of meeting their individual net zero goals.

Register in advance to join this event via Zoom.

CONSERVATION NEBRASKA NOW HIRING

Conservation Nebraska is accepting applications for their 2022-2023 AmeriCorps service year. The term of service will begin September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023. This position can be used to satisfy an internship requirement. Interested parties should complete the form available at the link, below, or send questions to Conservation Nebraska’s Program Director, Amanda Gangwish, at agangwish@neconserve.org

Click here for additional details about this opportunity.  

The Energy & Environmental Building Alliance Joins the American Solar Energy Society in Showcasing Innovations to Help Consumers Cut Rising Energy Costs and Assert Their Energy Independence via the ASES National Solar Tour

American Solar Energy Society News Release, PR Newswire

Registration Now Open for Contractors and Sustainable Living Advocates Seeking to
Host or Sponsor Free, Open House Tours Showcasing Money-Saving Innovations for
Homes, Businesses, Commercial Structures and Non-Profits via the
October 1-2 National Solar Tour, America’s Largest Grassroots Solar Living Event

BOULDER, Colo., July 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Hot on the heels of Independence Day, the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is partnering with the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) to inspire net zero, solar-powered and sustainable living improvements to help people assert their energy independence and combat runaway energy costs on properties of all scope and scale via the 27th ASES National Solar Tour, America’s largest concurrent collection of free, in-person and virtual open house tours. Read the entire news release here.

FROM SOLAR POWER WORLD

July solar policy snapshots: A guide to recent legislation and research throughout the country
Illinois rule changes will simplify solar + storage interconnection, Springfield, Illinois
The Illinois Commerce Commission recently revised the state’s rules regarding how solar and other DERs connect to the distribution grid. The changes will reduce the time and cost to interconnect and make it easier to use energy storage to balance intermittent resources.

IN NEBRASKA

NEW CENTER FOR RURAL AFFAIRS GUIDE

Decommissioning Solar Energy Systems Resource Guide

Falling equipment costs coupled with increased demand for clean energy have led to a rapid rise in solar development over the past decade, a trend expected to continue, especially in rural areas. But, local governments also need to think about what happens to the sites that reach the end of their life cycles. The Center’s new guide outlines management options and recommendations of what information should be included in decommissioning plans. 

Grid and supply issues to delay closing of OPPD’s North Omaha coal plant

By Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald

In a setback for air quality, OPPD would continue to burn coal at its North Omaha power plant for possibly another three years, until 2026, under a proposal before the board. The proposed delay in ceasing coal use is related to various problems besetting the nation’s electrical system — backlogs involving the grid, supply chain issues and controversies over siting renewable energy facilities. The Omaha Public Power District board is taking public comment on the proposed delay and expects to vote on it in August. Continue reading here.

OPPD RESOURCES


Nebraskans for Solar Note:
Nancy Gaarder states in the above article that OPPD’s Administration provides three reasons for their proposed long delay in closing the North Omaha coal-plant facility: “backlogs involving the grid, supply chain issues and controversies over siting renewable energy facilities.”

As OPPD administrators undoubtedly already know, numerous agencies, organizations and individuals are working on all three issues locally and nationally. These efforts appear to be accelerating, with news and reports issued frequently. Given OPPD’s inspiring 100% renewable energy goal, which has received considerable national attention, it would be sad to see one of our own utilities lag behind others in the energy transition rapidly taking place all across the country.

On our NewsBlog and Facebook Page, we have posted numerous news stories and releases, reports, and other resources related to the issues OPPD administrators highlight in their new proposal. Please take some time to read these and OPPD’s information. If you have an interest in doing so, consider sharing one or more links to additional information on these issues.

EPA RESOURCES

St. Paul school is latest to conclude geothermal is ‘the way to go’

By Frank Jossi, Energy News Network

A St. Paul, Minnesota, high school expects to reduce its natural gas use by more than half with the installation of a ground-source geothermal heat pump system. When completed this summer, the $18.8 million project at Johnson High School will join just a handful of similar systems at Minnesota K-12 schools.

COVID-19 and climate change are both adding pressure on schools to update aging heating, cooling and ventilation systems, and the availability of federal pandemic relief funds has helped more projects move forward in recent years. Continue reading here.

Photo: Facilities project manager Henry Jerome at Johnson High School, where a an $18.8 million geothermal project expects to cut natural gas consumption by more than half. Credit: Frank Jossi

IN NEBRASKA

An energy source that lies right under your feet, OPPD The Wire

Nebraska is in a “sweet spot” for using geothermal technology, said Tim Rauscher, a senior field engineer at OPPD. The state’s location lets geothermal be its most effective and efficient thanks to the underground temperature.

Schools are frequent customers of geothermal, Rauscher said. In the early years of the program, they were the primary users. Long-term building occupants like schools are great candidates for geothermal, he said, because they easily recoup the cost over the life of the building.

One example is the work OPPD has done with Omaha Public Schools since 1998. The utility has done more than 20 projects to bring geothermal systems to their facilities. Other school districts in the Omaha metro area have also taken advantage of geothermal systems. OPPD has completed geothermal projects with Bellevue and Papillion-LaVista Public Schools.

In 2006, two Millard elementary schools were the first schools in Nebraska to receive the Energy Star designation. The designation is national recognition for superior energy-efficiency performance. Those schools utilize geothermal systems.

Photo by the University of Nebraska Omaha: Mammel Hall 

 

 

 

Sustainability at LPS: Energy
For thirty years, Lincoln Public Schools has been taking great strides in moving towards energy conservation and efficiency. With the support of bond issue projects, energy efficient upgrades being implemented throughout the district include LED lighting, high efficiency windows, occupancy sensors, building envelope upgrades, and high efficiency geothermal heat pump systems for heating and cooling our buildings.

This site provides links to resources on geothermal and other forms of renewable energy as well as energy conservation.

More Resources

Initiatives Shaping Workforce To Better Serve Customers As We ‘Power The Future’

OPPD News Release, May 19, 2022

Omaha Public Power District is working to develop our strategic vision of Powering the Future to 2050, with a number of strategic initiatives helping to lay the path forward. During their monthly board meeting this evening, the OPPD Board of Directors received an update on two of them – Workplace Transformation and Technology Platform.

These and other initiatives underway take into account dynamic trends and issues that continue to shape the future of the electricity industry, including carbon emissions and climate change, emerging sources of competition, the future role of electricity markets, smart technology, evolving customer desires and more.

This week, OPPD management provided directors with an update on the utility’s Power with Purpose project to add up to 600 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale solar and natural gas generation. The increased generation capacity will help maintain long-term reliability and resiliency of the system.

Board members are considering making revisions to Strategic Directive 11: Economic Development. A redlined document is available for public viewing at OPPDCommunityConnect.com. We welcome feedback on the proposed changes. Comments will be accepted through June 12. The board will consider all input received prior to voting on any amendments, which they expect to do at their next regular monthly meeting on June 16.

Read the entire news release here.

ATTENTION: LES & NPPD CUSTOMERS

 

Lincoln Electric System Webinar, May 26, 12-1 pm:  Shedding the light on solar

 

 

NPPD surveying residential customers: The 2022 Residential Appliance Survey will be sent out May 24

 

OPPD’s Greener Together Program – An Innovative Way to Crowdfund Local Green Projects

About the Program

At OPPD, we are committed to providing more ways to go green. And now, with our Greener Together Program, there is no better outlet for achieving your personal green goals while also collaborating with others to support community-wide environmental projects throughout the greater Omaha area.

The Greener Together Program gives every member of the OPPD community a voice. As part of the program, you contribute monthly and all funds collected go toward selecting and supporting green projects within our community. Based on the amount you contribute, you’ll have full access to all project details, as well as the opportunity to submit ideas and help identify which projects move forward. It’s one program that sparks many diverse initiatives. And you can be an integral part of the effort.

The 3 Membership Levels: Silver, Gold, Emerald

  • Select a membership level and choose a price that works best for you.
  • All levels include access to our Community Connect dashboard where members can find project details and suggest and vote on upcoming initiatives.
  • The more you contribute monthly, the more involvement you’ll have on each new project. 

Sign up here.

A 100% Renewable Energy Future is Possible, and We Need It

By Paula Garcia, Senior Bilingual Energy Analyst,
Union of Concerned Scientists

Nebraskans for Solar Note: The writer provides a link to information about “a growing number of states that are already committing to 100 percent renewable or carbon-free energy.” As you undoubtedly already know, Nebraska is one of them.

A transition to renewable energy is not just one of the most consequential tools at our fingertips to act on climate, but also represents a great opportunity to increase control over our energy choices, improve the health of our communities and the planet, create jobs and wealth, and much more. But how feasible is this transition? And can this transition benefit us all? 

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)—together with environmental justice groups COPAL in Minnesota, GreenRoots in Massachusetts, and the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition—collaborated on an analysis to look into those questions. On the Road to 100 Percent Renewables examined how two dozen state members of the U.S. Climate Alliance (USCA) can meet all of their electricity needs with renewable energy—while decarbonizing other sectors of the economy and ensuring equitable benefits to all communities. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Dennis Schroeder/NREL/Flickr

Additional Recommended Reading

A Heat Pump Water Heater Is The Energy Saving Equivalent Of 7 Solar Panels & Costs ⅙ The Price

By Joe Wachunas, CleanTechnica

Water heating accounts for 25% of a home’s energy use, and thus offers an opportunity for big reductions in both pollution and cost. I’ve installed 3 heat pump water heaters (in my house, an accessory dwelling unit, and in a rental property), sung their praises for the last few years, and recently started a new job working on a national, non-profit led program called the Advanced Water Heating Initiative which seeks to make every new water heater use heat pump technology by 2030. Read more here.

Advanced Water Heating Initiative Resources

Links to Information About Available Rebates 

Other Nebraska utilities offer their customers rebates for installing heat pump water heaters. Check your local utility company’s website or contact them to inquire about incentives and any additional information.

‘I think we have a wake-up call right now’ — FERC’s Phillips touts transmission’s reliability benefit

By Larry Pearl, Senior Editor, Utility Dive


There is “a clear need for substantial transmission build-out to accommodate new generation,” [FERC Commissioner] Phillips said while highlighting the ambitious renewable energy goals around the country.

“In order to get these necessary transmission projects financed, we must address the continuing barriers to regional and interregional transmission investment,” he added. Read more here.


RELATED READING

Grid operators’ ‘seam’ study paves way for renewable expansion, E&E News

The study identified seven transmission projects along the MISO-SPP boundary that would cost $1.65 billion and enable 28 gigawatts of new generation capacity — and perhaps as much as 53 GW — across MISO and SPP combined. The latter estimate, based on modeling by SPP, would roughly double the combined wind and solar capacity that currently exists in the two regions.

NEW AMERICAN CLEAN POWER ASSOCIATION INITIATIVE

Clean Power Industry Commits to Initiative for Energy Transition that Benefits Workers, Communities, and Those Historically Left Behind

WASHINGTON DC, March 23, 2022 – The American Clean Power Association (ACP), on behalf of its over 700 member companies, today announced its Energy Transition for All initiative – an industry-wide framework to ensure that workers, communities, and those historically left behind stand to benefit from the rapid growth of the clean power sector in the United States. The initiative was launched today with the release of a report containing an outline of multi-year industry objectives to realize those goals.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

NEW AT OPPD & LES: TRADE ALLY PROGRAMS