Tag Archives: Omaha Public Power District (OPPD)

OPPD’s CEO Selection Process Advances As Board Announces Finalist For The Position

OPPD News Release, April 28, 2021

During a special board meeting this morning, the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors announced they have named a finalist to potentially lead the utility when Timothy J. Burke retires July 2. While no action was taken today, directors announced  Javier Fernandez as the final candidate for the chief executive officer position. They plan to officially vote on the final CEO selection at their next monthly meeting May 20 at 5 p.m. The board’s selection comes after conducting interviews over the past several weeks with five, highly-skilled internal candidates. Continue reading here.

Virtual Meet & Greet

Prior to the board making a final decision, OPPD is giving the public an opportunity to meet Javier Fernandez, learn more about his background, experience and thoughts about the future.

OPPD will host a virtual meet-and-greet event on Monday, May 10, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. If interested in attending, Webex registration information is coming soon and can be found on this Community Connect page: CEO Transition.

Read more about Javier Fernandez here:

Family led Fernandez to his OPPD ‘family’

OPPD proposes recognizing ‘scientific consensus’ of humans’ role in climate change

By Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald

The Omaha Public Power District board is proposing to explicitly acknowledge climate change and the role of humans in contributing to it, a position that stands in contrast to the Nebraska Legislature. The board is considering the following proposed strategic directive: “The OPPD Board of Directors recognizes the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and that greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, from human activity contribute to climate change impacts.” To comment, go to oppdcommunityconnect.com and click on the “SD 7 Environmental Stewardship” discussion box. Continue reading here.

National News
What to expect ahead of Biden’s global climate change summit, by Emma Newburger, CNBC
President Joe Biden will host a closely watched global leaders climate summit on Thursday and Friday, during which the U.S. is expected to unveil an updated carbon emission reduction target and urge cooperation with other nations to combat the climate crisis. The president has invited 40 world leaders to the virtual summit and is hoping to reach deals with some of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters. John Kerry, Biden’s climate envoy, has been meeting with officials in China and elsewhere to garner support for the summit.

President Biden Invites 40 World Leaders to Leaders Summit on Climate, The White House Briefing Room

OPPD Board of Directors Seeking Public Input On Utility’s Environmental Stewardship Goals

OPPD News Release

The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors is seeking public input on a proposed amendment to its strategic directive (SD) on environmental stewardship, recognizing the threats posed by climate change. Environmental Stewardship (SD-7) is among 15 strategic directives the board has provided the utility to give it clear and transparent direction, on behalf of its customer-owners. These policies guide OPPD’s strategic and operational planning efforts to address current and future trends, mitigate risks, pursue strategic opportunities, and prioritize resources. OPPD is aligned, across the district, to be accountable to performance expectations related to the various directives.

A proposed amendment to SD-7 would add the following verbiage: The OPPD Board of Directors recognizes the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and that greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, from human activity contribute to climate change impacts. The last time the directive was revised was in November of 2019.

The full context to the proposed change to SD-7, as well as a comment form, are viewable on OPPDCommunityConnect.com. The public may offer comment on the proposed change until May 14, 2021. Read the entire news release here.

OPPD’S “PATHWAYS TO DECARBONIZATION” WORKSHOPS

OPPD’s first Pathways to Decarbonization Energy Portfolio workshop “Decarbonization Pathways Planning 101” was held virtually on Wednesday, April 7. The recording of the meeting, as well as registration for the next three workshops, are now available here: OPPDCommunityConnect.com.

  • Workshop #2: Multi-Sectoral Modeling, April 28, 4–6 p.m.
  • Workshop #3: Developing Key Assumptions and Scenarios, May 12, 4–6 p.m.
  • Workshop #4: Developing Modeling Approach, May 26, 4–6 p.m.

THE WIRE POSTS

Program making a difference one home at a time

Initial solar contract inked for OPPD’s Power with Purpose

OPPD offering Energy Star certification

8 Days, 2 Kids, 2700 Miles, 1 Tesla — Lessons Learned From A Cross Country EV Road Trip

By Joe Wachunas, CleanTechnica

In Nebraska, we stayed in a cabin at an RV park and had access
to a 240 volt charger typically used by RVs.”

Our EV surpassed any ICE [Internal Combustion Engine] car in fueling cost and pollution reduction and came close to matching the traditional auto in how easy it was to “fill’er up.” In total, it took 41 hours of driving and 5 hours of charging to go 2,747 miles. Here are 9 “road trip” lessons we learned along the way. Read more here.

Learn more about EVs in an Earth Day Webinar devoted to electric vehicles April 22.. 

Joe Wachunas ives in Portland, Oregon, and works for the nonprofit Forth, which promotes electric transportation. He is also involved with Electrify Now because he believes that electrifying everything, from transportation to homes, is the quickest path to an equitable, clean energy future. And of course, Joe and his family live in an all-electric home and drive an EV.


PRESIDENT BIDEN’S EV INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN

 

 

 

 

MORE EV NEWS

NEBRASKA’S LARGEST UTILITIES’ EV PROGRAMS

If you receive power from another utility, check the website for EV programs and incentives.

LINKS TO MORE EV NEWS & RESOURCES

OPPD inks agreement with developer for solar farm in Saunders County; it would be Nebraska’s largest

By Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald

Despite some local opposition, Nebraska’s first utility-scale solar farm is a step closer to being built south of Yutan. The Omaha Public Power District announced last week that it has signed a contract with Community Energy Inc. for an 81-megawatt solar farm to be built on 500 acres in Saunders County. Construction would begin in 2022. The project would be the largest solar farm in Nebraska and is the first step toward OPPD’s hoped-for 600 megawatts of solar power. Read more here.

Community Energy Inc

Photo: Kearney’s Solar Farm installed by Interconnection Systems Inc based in Central City .

Also written by Nancy Gaarder:

Initial solar contract inked for OPPD’s Power with Purpose

The Wire, OPPD Blog

The future is growing brighter as OPPD takes its first steps to acquire up to 600 megawatts of utility-scale solar generation. OPPD recently signed a contract with Community Energy, Inc. for an 81-megawatt solar array spread across approximately 500 leased acres south of Yutan, Neb., in eastern Saunders County. When complete, this facility will be capable of powering around 14,000 average homes. The facility’s name: Platteview Solar.

[Power with Purpose-Solar, available here], features background information, Frequently Asked Questions and a forum where anyone can ask a specific question not addressed in the FAQ. OPPD is striving to be a net-zero carbon utility by 2050, and the commitment to renewable energy heralded by this announcement is one important step on that pathway to decarbonization. Read more here.

ROOFTOP SOLAR

Inside Clean Energy: The Coast-to-Coast Battle Over Rooftop Solar, by Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News

Last year, all but four states—Alaska, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota—took some kind of action on rooftop solar policy, according to the most recent “50 States of Solar” report from the NC Clean Energy Technology Center. (Autumn Proudlove, senior policy program director at the center, was one of the people I spoke with about what’s happening in states right now). There are big differences in the states’ approaches, but what they share is an awareness that regulations need to change to be ready for a market in which rooftop solar is much more common.

Yet, regulators only control part of the financial equation. The costs of solar panels continue to decrease. And customers are increasingly buying solar along with battery storage, which means people are storing excess electricity for their own use rather than sending it back to the grid, reducing the importance of net metering policy.

Previously Posted

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN NEWS

A student-led competition held as part of the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues is helping expand sustainability planning at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Offered as part of the forum’s 2020-21 focus on environmental issues, the E.N. Thompson Forum Sustainability Idea Award challenged Recognized Student Organizations to plan, develop or execute a “green” project that aligns with the university’s new sustainability and resilience master plan. The contest featured four themes: transportation, energy, waste management, and sustainability and COVID-19. “It was incredible to see a broad spectrum of student groups — more than 12 — participating and outlining a variety of interesting topics,” said Prabhakar Shrestha, sustainability coordinator for the university and a judge for the competition.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln: “Big Red Sat-1” is an education mission with a primary goal of engaging and developing future aerospace engineers by contributing to the development of critical technologies to improve solar power generation. The technology demonstration secondary focus is to take proven perovskite panel technology at technical readiness level (TRL)-5 to TRL-6 by testing the panels in space using flight heritage information and systems to maximize potential success. Testing should provide answers on handling and the life of perovskites, as well as comparative day/night performance with silicon in a space environment.

OTHER MIDWEST STATES IN THE NEWS

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) has announced the 10 teams selected to advance to the final stage of the $3 million American-Made Solar Prize Round 4. The finalists were selected from 20 teams that presented their solar innovations to a panel of expert judges at a demonstration day hosted by Carnegie Mellon University’s Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.

Two Midwest teams are among the finalists:

Cool Tech Solar (North Oaks, MN): A nano-textured heatsink material for the back of a solar panel to increase the surface area, helping dissipate heat and lowering the panel’s peak operating temperature.

Rocking Solar (Monroe, OH): A solar panel tracker system that tracks the sun using a rocking motion, reducing the weight of a photovoltaic system and the number of roof penetrations required for installation.

Read the SETO newsletters for updates on the next demo day, and learn more about thAmerican-Made Solar Prize.

VOLKSWAGEN DIESEL EMISSION MITIGATION PROGRAM

Inside Clean Energy: What Happens When Solar Power Gets Much, Much Cheaper?

By Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News

The plummeting price of electricity from solar panels is one of the driving forces aiding the transition to clean energy. Government policies and scientific innovation around the world have helped to reduce the average cost of utility-scale solar power by more than 80 percent since 2010, making it the least expensive power source in many, if not most, places. Now the Department of Energy  has set a target of reducing the cost by more than half again by 2030, to an unsubsidized average of 2 cents per kilowatt-hour. That cost, which takes into account the price of construction and operation, would have seemed like a fantasy not long ago. Read more here.

Photo Credit: GenPro Energy Solutions

BROOKINGS INSTITUTION REPORT

How renewable energy jobs can uplift fossil fuel communities and remake climate politics, by Adie TomerJoseph W. Kaneand Caroline George

The U.S. transition to a low-carbon economy is already underway, and some of the most striking progress is within the energy-generation sector. As the cost of solar, wind, and other renewable sources continues to fall, market forces will continue to encourage renewable energy generation and lead to the closure of fossil fuel extraction and generation activities. 

MICHIGAN TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY STUDY

Study shows homeowners with PV are subsidizing their neighborsRenewable Energy World

For years some utility companies have worried that solar panels drive up electric costs for people without panels. Joshua Pearce, Richard Witte Endowed Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Technological University, has shown the opposite is true — grid-tied solar photovoltaic (PV) owners are actually subsidizing their non-PV neighbors.


OPPD WORKSHOP

Customers invited to workshops about decarbonization, by Jason Kuiper, The Wire

As OPPD moves forward with Pathways to Decarbonization, the utility will seek input from the community through a variety of channels, including workshops for the energy portfolio. The first of these online workshops will be Wednesday, April 7. 

Customers can engage with OPPD through OPPD Community Connectthe utility’s stakeholder engagement platform that hosts up-to-date information, details about the workshops, workshop recordings and ways to submit ideas or ask questions around the initiative. 

OPPD Resource: Guidance for adding solar panels and more

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Please join us tonight for a ZOOM meeting with Kirk Estee from OPPD.

Overview of OPPD Customer-Owned Generation Program

Nebraskans for Solar Event
March 18, 2021 – 7 to 8 pm

Kirk Estee is the Customer Alternative Energy Solutions Manager at OPPD. His discussion will include the following topics: the overall process; website resources; residential and business solar calculators; online solar interconnection platform.

Moderator: Leo Arens, Nebraskans for Solar President

Use this link to join the Zoom Meeting.
Meeting ID: 821 7986 9176
Passcode: 631014

Senior team leads the way in number of women

By Laura King-Homan, The Wire

The faces you see around the table at an Omaha Public Power District senior management meeting might look differently than you expect. The utility is leading the way when it comes to female representation on its senior management team. Five out of the nine members are women.

The team’s make-up is an outcome OPPD President and CEO Tim Burke did not intentionally pursue. “It’s clear that when you have diversity you make better decisions,” he said. “You have a more rounded perspective. When you have that, you develop things deeper, fuller, better, and therefore your solutions are better.”
Continue reading here.

Previously-posted SEIA article: The Wave of Change: Women, Solar, and an Evolving Industry

SEIA’s Diversity Best Practices Guide for the Solar Industry

OPPD’s President & CEO Tim Burke announces he’s retiring in July

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire

After 24 years at Omaha Public Power District, the past six years as president & chief executive officer, Timothy J. Burke has announced his retirement, effective July 2. Burke took over as the utility’s 12th CEO in 2015 after the retirement of Gary Gates. Burke said as part of the utility’s succession planning, he’d begun thinking about when the “right” time to retire would be.

The fact that he has a sixth grandchild on the way – hundreds of miles away on the east coast – also played a big part in his decision. He will continue with his community leadership work, he said. “Looking back at what we set out to accomplish five years ago, we have done what we have said we would do and have set up the organization extremely well,” said Burke.

The public will have an opportunity to provide input about the leadership qualities they wish to see in OPPD’s next CEO. A feedback form on OPPD’s community engagement website will be available for two weeks, from Tuesday, March 16, to Friday, April 2. Continue reading here.

Watch a brief video: