Tag Archives: OPPD Board of Directors

Community shares opinions on possible coal-burning extension at OPPD plant in North Omaha

By Marlo Lundak, WOWT 

OMAHA, Neb. – Sunday afternoon, community members were invited to share their questions, concerns and ideas with an Omaha Public Power District Board member, following last month’s announcement that the company may vote to extend coal-burning operations at its North Omaha plant for three more years.

Eric Williams, the vice chair of the OPPD Board of Directors, hosted the meeting at Miller Park. “I hosted this meeting today to hear comments, questions and concerns about this proposal so I can be as informed as possible when we consider this for board action,” he says. Continue reading or watch the video here.

FEATURED OP-ED ARTICLE

Let the sun shine in — Dr. David Corbin, Norfolk Daily News

OMAHA — I debated whether to respond to the letter writer’s (July 7) excoriation of solar energy, but I decided that I couldn’t let his skewed view of solar energy go unanswered. It is obvious that the writer does not understand the value of solar energy. As we endure this super hot summer, the value of solar becomes evident. When air conditioners are working overtime, solar energy reduces demand on the grid, which can help decrease events like brownouts and rolling blackouts when temperatures rise.

David Corbin is Nebraska Sierra Club’s Energy Committee chair. He also is a former Nebraskans for Solar board member and longtime writer/editor of our Facebook Page, which he continues to administer as a much-appreciated volunteer.

PROPOSED CO2-CONVERTED PIPELINE

Plan to convert natural gas pipeline to CO2 in Lincoln County raising concerns, by Chris Dunker, Lincoln Journal Star

The National Petroleum Council said converting natural gas pipelines to carriers of CO2 was “not a practical option,” particularly over long distances, in a December 2019 report, adding it didn’t believe converted pipelines “would significantly help develop an expanded CO2 pipeline network” in the U.S. Natural gas pipelines have a maximum pressure rating of 1,480-pounds-per-square-inch gauge, which is defined as a Class 600 pipeline by the American National Standards Institute, a nonprofit organization that helps develop consensus standards for products, services and systems. The institute classifies carbon dioxide pipelines as Class 900 designed for 2,200 psi gauge — roughly 700 psi gauge more than those for natural gas.

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

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

 

Nebraska Unicameral examines changing how OPPD, NPPD utility CEOs selected

By Brian Mastre, WOWT

George W. Norris Legislative Chamber

LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) – As it stands now, the public elects the board members for both OPPD and NPPD. Those elected boards hire the CEOs for each organization. LB 1046 would grant the governor the power to appoint the CEO at both operations. In OPPD’s case the governor would also get to appoint five board members, while only four would be elected. . . Based on the hearing, the bill doesn’t seem to have much support right now. But that could always change at the Nebraska Unicameral. Read more here.

Also Of Potential Interest

Historical Perspective: History of Public Power in Nebraska, Chapter 2, Nebraska Power Review Board Orientation Manual. Click link at this site and scroll down to page 10.

Additional Recommended Reading

Omaha utility and environmentalists agree on the path to net-zero — but not the timeline

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

The Omaha Public Power District and the Sierra Club, often at odds over energy issues, have found some important common ground: The utility can achieve its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 at minimal additional cost — or even slightly reduced cost — to customers. 

The utility and environmental group both recently made public the results of computer modeling by consultants to determine how the utility could meet its net-zero goal while minimizing impacts on reliability, resiliency, and affordability. Continue reading here.

Photo: Omaha Public Power District’s Nebraska City Station. Credit: Ammodramus / Creative Commons

Additional Recommended Reading

American Public Power Association: The Need for Direct Payment Of Refundable Tax Credits for Public Power 

Tax-exempt entities, including public power utilities, cannot directly benefit from either the ITC or PTC for a facility that they own. Some entities with little to no tax liability do jointly own qualifying facilities with a “tax equity” partner whose sole role is to monetize an ITC or PTC. However, a public power utility cannot feasibly enter this sort of “partnership flip” transaction.  Public power utilities can indirectly benefit from such credits by entering long-term power-purchase agreements with taxable entities that can claim these credits. However, the transactional costs of such agreements can be high. Additionally, only a portion of the value of the tax credit is generally considered to be passed on to the purchaser, thus muting the incentive effect.

These costs and limitations are problematic in that tax-exempt entities serve a substantial percentage of the nation’s retail electric customers (14.4 percent by public power and 13.0 percent by rural electric cooperatives). Additionally, omitting tax-exempt entities from energy-related tax incentives makes it more costly for public power utilities to make investments in renewable and other non-emitting resources and clean energy technologies that will be needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change. This is a significant shortcoming if Congress is seeking market-wide changes in energy-related investment and production decisions.

Midlands Voices: Getting off of coal quickly can save the Missouri River

This summer the writer kayaked the 2,341 miles of the Missouri River, documenting the impacts to surrounding communities of the coal plants he encountered along the way, raising awareness about climate change and the need for bolder, swifter action.

By Graham Jordison, Omaha World-Herald

Paddling the Missouri River was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I knew the challenges that lay ahead and I learned to embrace them. At times I was uncertain whether I would finish my journey, but I knew in the end it would make me a better person. I know that OPPD ‘s path to decarbonization will the the hardest thing the utility will overcome. OPPD too will face challenges that it will have to embrace, but in the end it will be a much better company for Omaha and all of Nebraska. 

I hope you will join me in urging the OPPD board and senior leadership to choose an accelerated decarbonization pathway to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2035 and stop burning coal in the next decade. Read more here.

Graham Jordison of Lincoln is a Sierra Club organizing representative.

You can write to OPPD Board Members and Senior Managers HERE.

Related Reading

OPPD YouTube Video: Pathways to Decarbonization: Energy Portfolio Final Results

NEBRASKA PUBLIC POWER DISTRICT 

NPPD Board approves net-zero carbon goal by 2050, NPPD News Release

NPPD President and CEO Tom Kent says, “We believe it will take a variety of actions to reach this goal, from alternative fuels, energy efficiency projects, lower or zero carbon emission generation resources, carbon capture, carbon-offsets, beneficial electrification, energy storage, and other new emerging technologies that may not yet be commercially available or have yet to be developed.”

NPPD Leadership

ACP Statement on Nebraska Public Power District net-zero carbon emissions goal, American Clean Power Association

FEATURED NEBRASKA WIND & SOLAR CONFERENCE VIDEO


Nebraska Public Power Utilities CEO Panel

  • Tom Kent, CEO, Nebraska Public Power District
  • Kevin Wailes, CEO, Lincoln Electric System
  • Javier Fernandez, CEO, Omaha Public Power District
  • Moderator: Stephen Bruckner, Partner, Fraser Stryker

OPPD Board Promotes Vice President To Chief Operating Officer

OPPD News Release, September 16, 2021

Today, the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors promoted Troy Via to the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer and Vice President — Utility Operations, effective Oct. 31. Via is presently Vice President – Energy Delivery, having served in that role for the past three years. He joined the utility in September 2013 as the Director of Energy Marketing and Trading.

In his new position, Via will provide overall leadership, strategic planning and long-term objectives for OPPD’s energy production and energy delivery groups. He will also oversee the ongoing decommissioning of Fort Calhoun Station. The role will oversee the main energy operational capabilities to ensure OPPD’s continued commitment to affordable, reliable, and environmentally sensitive energy services. Prior to joining OPPD, Via held progressively responsible positions with Dominion Resources and Aquila Energy. He holds a bachelor of Business Administration degree with a focus in Finance from the University of Central Missouri.

The release also includes:
Final review of polar vortex event
Power With Purpose Update

Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading
OPPD nets national economic development award, by Jason Kuiper, The Wire

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.

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

Midlands Voices: New OPPD chief must continue important decarbonization work

By John Crabtree and Graham Jordison, Omaha World-Herald

Last month Omaha Public Power District announced the retirement of Tim Burke, chief executive officer after 24 years of service to the district, six years as CEO. Burke, especially during his tenure as CEO, has demonstrated courageous leadership. The OPPD board of directors faces a daunting challenge in finding a replacement who will shoulder the mantle of OPPD leadership with the passion and courage to match that shown by Burke.

On April 28 the OPPD board of directors announced a finalist from their internal search for a new CEO – Javier Fernandez, chief financial officer at OPPD. Hiring a new CEO with the capacity and vision to fulfill Burke’s commitment to decarbonization, and moving OPPD away from coal and gas-fired generation to clean energy, has been and will continue to be a crucial test of the leadership and vision of the members of the OPPD board of directors, as well. Continue reading here. Requires digital subscription.

John Crabtree is campaign representative for the Beyond Coal campaign for the Sierra Club in Nebraska. Graham Jordison is the organizing representative for the campaign.

OPPD’s Pathways to Decarbonization Workshops

OPPD’s first two Pathways to Decarbonization public workshops were held virtually via WebEx on April 7 and 28. Workshops are technical in nature and designed to build from one another. Recordings and presentations from the first two events, as well as pre-registration for the next two workshops are available at OPPDCommunityConnect.com

  • Workshop #3: Developing Key Assumptions and Scenarios: May 12, from 4–6 p.m.
  • Workshop #4: Developing Modeling Approach: May 26, from 4–6 p.m.

To watch past workshop recordings and provide feedback, click here.