Tag Archives: OPPD’s decarbonization commitment

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.


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.


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.

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:

Midlands Voices: Clean-energy plan can help Nebraska

Written by Janece Mollhoff, Omaha World-Herald

In January of 2018 I, along with a group of Nebraska organizations, announced the Husker Energy Plan. “Husker Power Plan” aims to cut greenhouse emissions while keeping electric costs low, creating jobs. The aim was to: 1) reduce air pollution from power plants that sickens and kills Nebraskans, 2) ensure a sustainable, affordable system for generating our electricity for future generations, 3) reduce Nebraska’s use of out-of-state coal, keeping money and jobs in Nebraska and 4) reduce pollution produced by Nebraska’s utility sector that has been linked to climate change. These goals were seen as aspirational with a five-year timeline, and were backed by polling that showed a majority of Nebraskans favor cleaner energy. As we approach the third anniversary of this work, here is how Nebraska is doing: Continue reading here. Requires digital subscription.

Download the Husker Energy Plan here. 

OWH Editor: Janece Molhoff, of Ashland, is a member of the board of directors of the Omaha Public Power District, though this essay expresses only her personal opinion.

Additional Resources Of Potential Interest 

Solar Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy 
In addition to OPPD’s planned 400 to 600 megawatts of solar, the following 1,152 megawatts of utility-scale projects are “committed” or “under development” in Nebraska, altogether totaling approximately 1.5 to 1.7 gigawatts.

Committed Projects

  • Bellwood: A 174.5–megawatt solar facility is planned.

Projects Under Development

  • Clay County: APEX Clean Energy is seeking permission to construct a 305–megawatt solar project in Clay County.
  • Lincoln: The 230–megawatt Salt Creek Solar project would be located on the east side of Lancaster County. This project could create enough energy to power 30,000 homes.
  • Pierce County: A 443–megawatt solar array, named the Goldenrod Solar Energy Center, has been proposed to be operational by 2023. It is estimated that the solar project will power about 80,000 households.

Related Reading

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