Tag Archives: Omaha Public Power District (OPPD)

New platform gives customers a way to connect

By Laura King-Homan, OPPD The Wire

The utility’s new outreach website, OPPDCommunityConnect, replaces the previous website and provides a more interactive experience. It also supports the utility’s strategic directive around stakeholder engagement and transparency.

The platform features new ways to engage with OPPD leaders and the community. Interactive features include polls, surveys and forums, mapping tools and a place to share ideas. The feedback collected on the site gives OPPD valuable insight into what customers are thinking and helps the utility make the best decisions for customers. Read more here.

Related: OPPD continues working on project to be 100% energy efficient by 2050, by Shirelle Moore, Fox 42 KPTM

New study: Highlights from the Wind Powers American Business report

By Celeste Wanner, American Wind Energy Association

Many of the businesses across the country that power our everyday lives are increasingly choosing wind energy to power their operations. Once a niche market, corporate customers now routinely represent 40 percent or more of announced wind power contracts in a given year and are some of the most sought-after customers by wind project developers. A new AWEA report released todayWind Powers American Business, focuses on this growing segment and highlights the top corporate buyers of wind energy in the U.S. The bottom line: Companies powering up with wind is no longer just a trend, it’s the new normal. Let’s dig into some of the top trends: Continue reading.

Image: Plum Creek Wind Farm

WIND ENERGY INVESTMENT IN NEBRASKA

Report says Nebraska in the top five states for wind energy investment, by Caitlyn Lorr, Siouxland Proud. Nebraska is among the top five states in the country for attracting direct business purchases of its wind energy resources, according to a report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

DOE’S BETTER BUILDINGS INITIATIVE

DOE Announces $11 Billion in Energy Cost-Savings from Better Buildings Initiative Partners, Department of Energy News Release 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced nearly $11 billion in energy-cost savings by more than 950 public and private sector organizations in DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative. To date, partners have saved nearly 1.8 quadrillion British thermal units of energy, which is equivalent to the electricity consumption of 27 million homes in America over one year. Learn more about DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative HERE.

ZERO ENERGY COMMUNITIES

Here’s how to design communities that give back as much energy as they take
GreenBiz contributor Charles F. Kutscher is a fellow and senior research associate of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, a joint institute between the University of Colorado-Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

My colleagues and I study the best ways to rapidly reduce carbon emissions from the building sector. In recent years, construction designs have advanced dramatically. Net zero energy buildings, which produce the energy they need on site from renewable sources, increasingly are the default choice. But to speed the transition to zero carbon emissions, I believe the United States must think bigger and focus on designing or redeveloping entire communities that are zero energy.

MORE ON THE 2035 REPORT

  • A Clean Electricity Future is Affordable and Attainable—It’s Time to Act, Rocky Mountain Institute. GridLab and UC-Berkeley show that a 90 percent carbon-free US electricity grid is both reliable and lower cost. The Berkeley/GridLab report represents a distinctive new chapter in the evolving discourse playing out around the country regarding the future of the US electricity system. The study will likely be an important benchmark against which individual utilities’ investments are evaluated for compatibility with least-cost and feasible decarbonization outcomes. Investors, utilities, regulators, and policymakers should take advantage of the wealth of insight and information contained within this body of work, and plan accordingly for their own role in accelerating the decarbonization of the US power grid. Website: www.2035report.com 
  • 90% clean power by 2035 is ‘challenging but feasible’, PV Magazine
    “90% by 2035 is the sweet spot” for a pathway that uses existing technology, allows “judicious use” of existing generation assets, and “achieves near-complete decarbonization in a realistic timeframe,” said study co-author Nikit Abhyankar of UC Berkeley. The resulting lower wholesale cost of electricity by 2035 “was a surprise for us.”
  • Falling renewable, storage costs make 90% carbon-free US grid feasible by 2035, UC Berkeley finds, Utility Dive

NEW GTM POLITICAL CLIMATE EPISODE

Racial Justice Protests Put a Spotlight on Pollution and Clean Energy Solutions, by Julia Pyper, Senior Editor, Greentech Media

On this episode of Political Climate, National Wildlife Federation’s Mustafa Santiago Ali connects the dots between the clean air, affordable energy and the racial justice movement. Ali has been on the front lines of the fight for environmental justice since he was a teenager and throughout his 24 years at the EPA. Now, as vice president of environmental justice, climate and community revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation, Ali says he’s hopeful this historic moment will accelerate equitable energy solutions.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

The time for electric trucks and buses is now, by Katie Fehrenbacher, GreenBiz
Despite the pandemic, sales of electric trucks and buses are expected to surge in the United States and Canada over the next couple of years. And perhaps, surprising to many, they’ll soar even within this year (the year that can best be described as WTF). That’s according to new data released recently by the clean-transportation-focused nonprofit CALSTART. The organization expects there to be 169 zero-emission commercial vehicles available for purchase, or soon to be available, in North America by the end of 2020; that’s a 78 percent increase from the number of zero-emission commercial vehicles available at the end of 2019. What’s more, between 2019 and 2023, the number of zero-emission commercial vehicle models is expected to double, to 195. 

SECOND-LIFE EV BATTERY STORAGE

Used EV Batteries Could Power Tomorrow’s Solar Farms, IEEE Spectrum
An MIT study finds promise in repurposing swapped-out EV battery packs for solar grid storage.

It’s Time to Incentivize Residential Heat Pumps

By Claire McKenna, Amar Shah, Mark Silberg
Rocky Mountain Institute

Heat pump technology is a particularly efficient way to heat a home, delivering two to four times more heating energy than the electricity it consumes. As of 2020, replacing a gas furnace with a heat pump will reduce carbon emissions in 46 of 48 states (99 percent of US households); all but Wyoming and Utah, which remain heavily reliant on coal-fired electricity.

Our analysis found two key reasons why a heat pump purchased today will have lower carbon emissions than a gas furnace over the 15-year appliance lifetime: (1) modern heat pumps are significantly more efficient than gas furnaces, even in cold climates; (2) the electricity sector has reached a tipping point in reducing carbon emissions. Read more here.

LOCAL INCENTIVES

Below are links to our three major utilities’ heat pump incentives. If you aren’t a customer, search your local utility company’s website for any available rebates.

Nebraska Public Power District

Omaha Public Power District 

Lincoln Electric System 

FEDERAL INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT

Geothermal heat pumps are eligible for the federal investment tax credit (ITC), which is 26% to the end of 2020: Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit (ITC)

Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

OPPD has streamlined its customer-owned generation program

By Jodi Baker, The Wire

“We know more and more customers are looking into owning their own generation, and we want to guide them in the process,” said Kirk Estee, Customer Alternative Energy Solutions Manager for OPPD. “We are their energy partner, and we’re here to help.”  With those goals in mind, OPPD recently revamped and streamlined its process of applying for Customer-Owned Generation (COG). And the utility created a new website, with educational resources, such as a quick-start guide, information on net metering for billing, and available tax credits. Customers will also find a calculator to determine their pay-off period for an investment in solar panels. Read more here.

Photo Credit: University of Nebraska Medical Center / LiveGreen

Also Posted on The Wire 

Video: Simple steps to save energy this summer

Omaha utility’s solar plan collides with suburban development aspirations

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

The Sarpy County board of commissioners on Tuesday adopted new zoning language that would complicate, and possibly undo, plans by the Omaha Public Power District to develop a solar farm and gas-fired power plant in the fast-growing suburban county. Along with the restraints on solar arrays, the commissioners approved a moratorium on construction of fossil-fueled power plants through Oct. 31. Although the new regulations likely would prohibit the utility from proceeding with its current plan, there probably is a viable alternative, according to Stephen Bruckner, general counsel for the Omaha Public Power District. Read more here.

About Karen Uhlenhuth


Karen spent most of her career reporting for the Kansas City Star, focusing at various times on local and regional news, and features. More recently, she was employed as a researcher and writer for a bioethics center at a children’s hospital in Kansas City. Karen covers Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

More Articles by Karen Uhlenhuth

Photo Credit: Lincoln Electric System

Environment America releases 2020’s top solar cities

By Kelsey Misbrener, Solar Power World

Fifty top American cities have each more than doubled their total installed solar PV capacity since 2013, a new study released by Environment America Research & Policy Center found. The report, “Shining Cities 2020: The Top U.S. Cities for Solar Energy,” is the seventh annual edition of the most comprehensive survey of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in major U.S. cities.

This year’s survey, which analyzed data through December 2019, found that cities are increasingly turning to solar to meet their energy needs. In 2013, the first year of the study, eight of the cities surveyed had enough solar PV per capita to qualify as “Solar Stars” — (cities with 50 or more watts of solar PV capacity installed per capita). In 2019, that number jumped to 26 cities. Read more here.

Environment America News Release: Environment America Research & Policy Center releases new comprehensive study on solar capacity in major U.S. cities

See Appendix A of the report for each of the 70 cities’ total solar PV rankings. Omaha, ranked 66th, is the only Nebraska city included in the survey.

Appendix B includes data sources:
Omaha Public Power District provided Environment America with the total capacity of solar PV systems tied to their grid within Omaha city limits as of December 31, 2019.

Additional Recommended Reading

OPPD Offers New And Improved Process And Resources For Customer-Owned Generation, OPPD News Release

More and more people are showing interest in generating their own electricity through solar panels, wind turbines, or other sources. Omaha Public Power District now has a new and improved process to help them get started. We’ve implemented a streamlined online application system, as well as resources for those considering Customer-Owned Generation, at www.oppd.com/COG. OPPD currently has 192 customers who generate their own solar energy and 22 customers who generate their own wind energy.

OPPD Offers New And Improved Process And Resources For Customer-Owned Generation

OPPD News Release

More and more people are showing interest in generating their own electricity through solar panels, wind turbines, or other sources. Omaha Public Power District now has a new and improved process to help them get started.

We’ve implemented a streamlined online application system, as well as resources for those considering Customer-Owned Generation, at www.oppd.com/COG.

Read more here.

NPPD NEWS RELEASE

Spencer, Wiese named to vice president positions at NPPD
Michael (Mick) Spencer was named Vice President of Energy Production and Art Wiese was named Vice President of Energy Delivery.

OPPD Maintains Strong Credit Rating, Helping Utility Keep Rates Low For Customer-Owners In Challenging Economy

OPPD News Release 

Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s latest ratings give OPPD an Aa2 and AA, respectively. These ratings are among the highest ratings a public power utility can receive. OPPD’s solid financial position has allowed it to access credit markets during the current market downturn, while lower rated entities have had limited access . . . The board received an update on OPPD’s Pathways to Decarbonization strategic initiative. A long-term study is underway to identify pathways to improve our environmental impact while maintaining reliability, resiliency and affordability. During its committee meetings this week, the board received an update on OPPD’s Power with Purpose (PwP) plan, approved in November 2019. The plan includes the addition of between 400 and 600 megawatts of accredited utility-scale solar generation, as well as the addition of modernized natural gas backup generation assets. Read the entire news release here.

For more information, click here.
OPPD invites customer-owners to submit feedback at OPPD Listens.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING 

THE HEROES ACT

House Democrats unveil $3 trillion COVID-19 response proposal, American Public Power Association. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law in late March by President Trump included $900 million for LIHEAP to help low-income households pay their utility bills during the crisis. But the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) on April 6 said that due to the depth of the crisis, “this funding only scratches the surface of what families will need to stay afloat.” 

CLEAN ENERGY FORWARD INITIATIVE

Republicans Are Leading On Clean Energy, Newsweek
Opinion contributed by Heather Reams, the executive director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, a non-profit organization that recently launched Clean Energy Forward to engage Republican policymakers and the public about responsible, conservative solutions to address our nation’s energy, economic and environmental security while increasing America’s competitive edge.

TRANSITION PATHWAY INITIATIVE

Investor group: No European oil and gas major has a credible net zero plan, GreenBiz
That is the conclusion of a new analysis from the influential Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), backed by investors representing $19 trillion of assets worldwide.

TRI-STATE

SOLAR PLUS STORAGE

GAF SOLAR ROOF

GAF Energy Launches New Flex Option for Roof-Integrated Solar System, Solar Industry Magazine

GAF Energy, a provider of roof-integrated solar solutions in North America, has launched their “Flex” option for use with the company’s redesigned Decotech 2.0 roof-integrated solar product. Flex maintains the efficiency of standard system sizing, while also introducing new configuration choices for homeowners.

  • Homeowners interested in learning more about the GAF solar roof, click here.
  • Roofing contractors interested in installing GAF Energy products, click here.

THIN-FILM SOLAR MODULES

A new player appears in American thin-film cadmium telluride solar module manufacturing, PV Magazine. Toledo Solar is trying to distinguish itself from First Solar’s cadmium telluride dominance by operating in the residential and commercial markets, markets which have been historically unkind to the technology.

GREENTECH MEDIA’S INTERCHANGE

Mapping the Post-COVID Future for Electric Cars, Behavior Change and Energy Demand, Greentech Media. This week on The Interchange, we talk with futurist Ramez Naam about a wide range of scenarios for energy.

MORE ON MICHAEL MOORE’S CONTROVERSIAL DOCUMENTARY

What Michael Moore’s New Climate Documentary Gets Wrong About Renewables, Forbes

Wind energy increasing in Illinois and Indiana, despite challenges

By Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

Illinois and Indiana both saw significant increases in wind power in 2019, according to the recently released annual report of the American Wind Energy Association. The gains in both states show the potential for increasing wind power, whether a state has robust renewables incentives, like Illinois, or not, like Indiana.

In both states the progress came despite pockets of vocal opposition to wind energy. And in both states rural landowners, elected officials and other residents say they are increasingly seeing the benefits of wind, with payments to cash-strapped farmers, infrastructure improvements and tax revenue for schools. Continue reading here.

Photo by Bradhoc / Flickr / Creative Commons

FEATURED JOB PORTALS 

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES/REGIONS

ENERGY STORAGE

  • Long Duration Breakthrough? Form Energy’s First Project Tries Pushing Storage to 150 Hours, Greentech Media. Minnesota utility Great River Energy will use new storage technology from the Bill Gates-backed startup to replace coal power with dispatchable wind.
  • Commentary: Energy storage is a game-changer for Texas, Energy News Network
    Contributors: Matt Welch is the state director of Conservative Texans for Energy Innovation, a statewide organization that promotes free enterprise, increased competition and less government regulation in our energy economy. Suzanne Bertin is managing director of Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance, an organization of local and national advanced energy companies making Texas’s energy system more secure, clean, reliable, and affordable.

TAX CREDIT DEADLINES

US Treasury to Tweak Tax Credit Deadlines for Renewables Projects, Greentech Media
A letter issued by the Treasury Department suggests relief may be on the way for an anxious renewables market, particularly wind developers.

SOLAR CANOPIES

Solar canopies can put PV panels in some new and interesting places, PV Magazine
With the cost of solar panels falling through the floor (2020 solar module pricing is now below $0.25/watt) and projected to continue falling steadily, where are we going to put all those beautiful panels? 

GREEN HYDROGEN

Shell’s Latest Offshore Wind Bid Would Power a Huge Green Hydrogen Cluster, Greentech Media
Shell and Eneco join forces to compete with Ørsted in a Dutch offshore wind tender; both bids are linked to green hydrogen production.

OPPD RESOURCE

5 tips for electrical safety in your home, by Laura King-Homan, The Wire
May is National Electrical Safety Month. These five tips will ensure your family stays safe around electricity in the home.

Clean energy a common concern for Nebraska utility board candidates

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

Four of 11 seats on the Nebraska Public Power District board will be decided by voters in the November general election.

Several candidates running to fill seats on the board of Nebraska’s largest utility have indicated they want to speed the company’s transition from coal to renewable power. If they’re elected in November, the Nebraska Public Power District would be the second large public utility in the state run by a board trending strongly toward more support for renewable energy. The Omaha Public Power District has already adopted a more aggressive stance toward clean energy subsequent to the election of clean energy advocates in the last couple elections, especially last November. Continue reading here.

Photo by Rich / Flickr / Creative Commons: Wind turbines near Elgin, Nebraska

MORE NPPD NEWS

Judge orders injunction preventing NPPD from ending power contracts with 3 wind farms, Hastings Tribune. This article originally ran on journalstar.com.