Generation

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Moving Forward

At their monthly board meeting on August 17, 2023, the OPPD Board of Directors voted to approve the utility’s recommended near-term generation resource plan to address unprecedented growth in energy demand. More details about the plan that includes adding up to 2.5 gigawatts of generation capacity to meet this unprecedented demand for electricity in this OPPD news release here.

At the February 2024 board committee meeting, leadership presented the first step toward that new capacity with the announcement of additional thermal generation units to its existing Cass County Station and Sarpy County’s Turtle Creek Station balancing facilities. The utility plans to add three additional natural gas units to the Cass County location and one additional unit to the new Turtle Creek Station, where the original two turbines are scheduled to come online in 2024. Each of the four new units will be capable of generating up to 225 megawatts (MW). For more information, please see this story on OPPD The Wire.

At the May 2024 board committee meeting, OPPD announced a new clean capacity collaboration with Google and NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. The collaboration will allow OPPD to access 600 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity from NextEra Energy Resource’s High Banks Wind Energy Center. The High Banks Wind Energy Center, which is owned and operated by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, has been online since December of 2023 as a part of Google’s long term clean energy portfolio. Google is now supplying this capacity resource to OPPD and will retain the energy and environmental attributes from the project to support its 24/7 carbon-free energy goals. For more information, please see this press release.

New Generation Complements Our Commitment to Power with Purpose

OPPD remains committed to its Power with Purpose (PwP) generation expansion projects. To date, these include Turtle Creek Station (450 megawatts or MW), Standing Bear Lake Station (150 MW), and Platteview Solar (81 MW), with more renewables coming. In addition, over the next decade, the utility will add:

1,000 to 1,500 MW of renewables (wind and solar), which includes PwP generation that has yet to be sourced

Approximately 125 MW of battery storage (four-hour equivalent)

600 to 950 MW of generation from dual-fueled combustion turbines

32 MW or more of demand response (shifting or shedding electricity)

Approximately 320 MW of added fuel capacity and fuel oil storage at existing generation facilities to provide additional accredited winter capacity and system resiliency)

The utility remains committed to previously announced plans for North Omaha Station, including retiring its older units (1-3) which were commissioned in the 1950s and previously converted from coal to natural gas in 2016, as well as converting units 4-5 to natural gas-only fuel. The only change recommended at that site is to potentially add battery storage resources.



First thing: Power with Purpose Construction



Up next: Power with Purpose Becomes Operational



Immediate future: New Resources



Giving Growth Full Power

Here at OPPD, we spend a lot of time talking a lot about growth. Because we want our kids, grandkids and our community, to be as successful as they deserve to be. And growing a thriving tech adopting community takes planning and a LOT of electric power.

If you're familiar with the 13 counties OPPD has the privilege to serve, you may have noticed some exciting changes over the past few years--specifically, significant business and residential growth. In fact, business and residential growth is expanding at a rate we've never seen before, and OPPD is actively planning for our communities' bright futures.

Every day, we work to ensure that our power capabilities are growing with our communities. Some people call what we’re doing future proofing. But we prefer future providing, because the future isn’t something to guard against, it’s something to be excited about.

OPPD expects to add energy load to its system at a rate of 100 megawatts (MW) per year for the next 5-6 years. For context, 100 MW the equivalent of adding about 65 metro-area high schools or mid-size hospitals in one year. To contrast the significance of this growth, just a few years ago OPPD was adding approximately 4 MW per year.

We're proud to take on the challenge of serving our rapidly growing communities with the energy services that help them thrive. Community growth brings economic prosperity, an important piece to cultivating thriving communities, increased tax revenue and job growth and affordable electricity.

The time to plan for this growth is now

The length of planning from a regulatory perspective is getting longer and longer. Knowing that, we must work on our next round of resources for the intermediate term of approximately 2027 - 2032.

OPPD is not alone in our need to keep up with growth, which means there are longer wait times to execute our plans. We see this on the national scale with interconnection wait times, transmission or other pipeline permitting. These challenges are forcing utilities across the country to plan even further ahead to meet their growing resource needs.

Preparing for growth

The need for additional generation is not a surprise. Not only was it identified in our Pathways to Decarbonization study, but resource planning is an integral part of OPPD's operations regardless of the situation. As part of OPPD's on-going capacity planning, we are looking at the capacity needs beyond the Power with Purpose assets into the future through the 2027-2032 approximate timeframe.

The direction we have proposed has been guided after years of customers, employee and public feedback. We have continually gathered this feedback through workshops, surveys and other outreach tools throughout our Power with Purpose, Pathways to Decarbonization and other initiatives.

We updated our analysis with the most recent load and technology data to identify needed resources. Energy + Environmental Economics (E3), who helped us complete Pathways to Decarbonization, is assisting in this planning. All options evaluated are consistent with reliability, near-term timing feasibility and decarbonization goals.

More information around the recommendation was presented to the OPPD Board of Directors at the May Board Committee meeting on May 16, 2023 and the June Board Committee meeting on June 13, 2023. OPPD leadership recommended this solution to serve our growing generation needs beyond Power with Purpose for the approximate timeframe of 2027-2032. Comments regarding the recommendation were accepted through August 8, 2023. This recommendation was approved by a board vote in August 2023.

Moving Forward

At their monthly board meeting on August 17, 2023, the OPPD Board of Directors voted to approve the utility’s recommended near-term generation resource plan to address unprecedented growth in energy demand. More details about the plan that includes adding up to 2.5 gigawatts of generation capacity to meet this unprecedented demand for electricity in this OPPD news release here.

At the February 2024 board committee meeting, leadership presented the first step toward that new capacity with the announcement of additional thermal generation units to its existing Cass County Station and Sarpy County’s Turtle Creek Station balancing facilities. The utility plans to add three additional natural gas units to the Cass County location and one additional unit to the new Turtle Creek Station, where the original two turbines are scheduled to come online in 2024. Each of the four new units will be capable of generating up to 225 megawatts (MW). For more information, please see this story on OPPD The Wire.

At the May 2024 board committee meeting, OPPD announced a new clean capacity collaboration with Google and NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. The collaboration will allow OPPD to access 600 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity from NextEra Energy Resource’s High Banks Wind Energy Center. The High Banks Wind Energy Center, which is owned and operated by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, has been online since December of 2023 as a part of Google’s long term clean energy portfolio. Google is now supplying this capacity resource to OPPD and will retain the energy and environmental attributes from the project to support its 24/7 carbon-free energy goals. For more information, please see this press release.

New Generation Complements Our Commitment to Power with Purpose

OPPD remains committed to its Power with Purpose (PwP) generation expansion projects. To date, these include Turtle Creek Station (450 megawatts or MW), Standing Bear Lake Station (150 MW), and Platteview Solar (81 MW), with more renewables coming. In addition, over the next decade, the utility will add:

1,000 to 1,500 MW of renewables (wind and solar), which includes PwP generation that has yet to be sourced

Approximately 125 MW of battery storage (four-hour equivalent)

600 to 950 MW of generation from dual-fueled combustion turbines

32 MW or more of demand response (shifting or shedding electricity)

Approximately 320 MW of added fuel capacity and fuel oil storage at existing generation facilities to provide additional accredited winter capacity and system resiliency)

The utility remains committed to previously announced plans for North Omaha Station, including retiring its older units (1-3) which were commissioned in the 1950s and previously converted from coal to natural gas in 2016, as well as converting units 4-5 to natural gas-only fuel. The only change recommended at that site is to potentially add battery storage resources.



First thing: Power with Purpose Construction



Up next: Power with Purpose Becomes Operational



Immediate future: New Resources



Giving Growth Full Power

Here at OPPD, we spend a lot of time talking a lot about growth. Because we want our kids, grandkids and our community, to be as successful as they deserve to be. And growing a thriving tech adopting community takes planning and a LOT of electric power.

If you're familiar with the 13 counties OPPD has the privilege to serve, you may have noticed some exciting changes over the past few years--specifically, significant business and residential growth. In fact, business and residential growth is expanding at a rate we've never seen before, and OPPD is actively planning for our communities' bright futures.

Every day, we work to ensure that our power capabilities are growing with our communities. Some people call what we’re doing future proofing. But we prefer future providing, because the future isn’t something to guard against, it’s something to be excited about.

OPPD expects to add energy load to its system at a rate of 100 megawatts (MW) per year for the next 5-6 years. For context, 100 MW the equivalent of adding about 65 metro-area high schools or mid-size hospitals in one year. To contrast the significance of this growth, just a few years ago OPPD was adding approximately 4 MW per year.

We're proud to take on the challenge of serving our rapidly growing communities with the energy services that help them thrive. Community growth brings economic prosperity, an important piece to cultivating thriving communities, increased tax revenue and job growth and affordable electricity.

The time to plan for this growth is now

The length of planning from a regulatory perspective is getting longer and longer. Knowing that, we must work on our next round of resources for the intermediate term of approximately 2027 - 2032.

OPPD is not alone in our need to keep up with growth, which means there are longer wait times to execute our plans. We see this on the national scale with interconnection wait times, transmission or other pipeline permitting. These challenges are forcing utilities across the country to plan even further ahead to meet their growing resource needs.

Preparing for growth

The need for additional generation is not a surprise. Not only was it identified in our Pathways to Decarbonization study, but resource planning is an integral part of OPPD's operations regardless of the situation. As part of OPPD's on-going capacity planning, we are looking at the capacity needs beyond the Power with Purpose assets into the future through the 2027-2032 approximate timeframe.

The direction we have proposed has been guided after years of customers, employee and public feedback. We have continually gathered this feedback through workshops, surveys and other outreach tools throughout our Power with Purpose, Pathways to Decarbonization and other initiatives.

We updated our analysis with the most recent load and technology data to identify needed resources. Energy + Environmental Economics (E3), who helped us complete Pathways to Decarbonization, is assisting in this planning. All options evaluated are consistent with reliability, near-term timing feasibility and decarbonization goals.

More information around the recommendation was presented to the OPPD Board of Directors at the May Board Committee meeting on May 16, 2023 and the June Board Committee meeting on June 13, 2023. OPPD leadership recommended this solution to serve our growing generation needs beyond Power with Purpose for the approximate timeframe of 2027-2032. Comments regarding the recommendation were accepted through August 8, 2023. This recommendation was approved by a board vote in August 2023.

Comments on Near Term Generation Recommendation

OPPD is accepting comments on the Near Term Generation recommendation through August 8. Please know, OPPD cannot respond to comments or questions left on this guestbook comments tool. Your opinion matters and all comments provided here in this tool are shared with OPPD leadership.

Your questions are important to us. If you have a question that requires an OPPD response, please use the Questions tab on this page and you may expect a response within 3 business days using that tool.

CLOSED: Comments on the Near Term Generation recommendation closed August 8.

I just watched VP Brad Underwood's presentation to the York County Board about its acquisition of the proposed solar project in that county. Mr. Underwood wouldn't commit to OPPD not using the eminent domain to acquire parcels in the 3,000 acre footprint. He said that landowners were "excited." Of course they are excited. They are going to be paid 3x to 5x the normal rental rate. Who wouldn't be excited about such a windfall.

OPPD's Board, however, should pass a resolution ruling out the use of eminent domain for any of these wasteful wind and solar projects. Farmers shouldn't be compelled by force of law to give up their noble profession of raising food. We can't eat solar panels. Solar is wildly inefficient.

David D. Begley
Customer-owner

David D. Begley 10 months ago

I did read some good news the other day. It is projected that the slave labor which produces these solar panels is down to 35% of the total produced.

If OPPD had any ethics, it would absolutely require that NO slave labor be used to produce the minerals and solar panels. But as Director Craig Moody said during one of his listening sessions, "We don't want to talk about slave labor." I guess, according to Craig Moody, slave labor is okay as long as it is Chinese slave labor. What a disgrace!

David D. Begley
Customer-owner

David D. Begley 10 months ago

Today I learned that OPPD wants to take 3,000 acres of farmland out of production in York County. I will remind OPPD that you will get zero power out of this project (if it is built) at night and zero during the winter months. That's not reasonable. We need power 24/7/365.

Solar is high cost power. Nebraska law states that OPPD must supply low cost power. OPPD is lawless.

OPPD's Facebook post on this news is that the York County project will be reliable and affordable. That's completely inaccurate. Stop gaslighting us.

David D. Begley
Customer-owner

David D. Begley 10 months ago

Has OPPD calculated how much Nebraska farmland would have to be converted to solar and wind use in order to achieve net zero carbon by 2050? I know for a fact that to meet the country's current energy needs with wind power alone would require a land mass twice that of the entire state of California.

Has anyone done this math?

David D. Begley
Customer-owner

David D. Begley 10 months ago

The consulting firm Woods Mackenzie just released a report regarding production of solar panels. It predicts that China will continue to dominate the solar panel market through 2032.

Why in the world is OPPD turning its electric grid over to the ChiComs? Doing so is willful blindness to the fact that China is our enemy, and we are in a Cold War with China. That's not me saying that it; it's Henry Kissinger.

We have an ocean of natural gas in America and the pipelines run through Nebraska.

David D. Begley
Customer-owner

David D. Begley 11 months ago

NERC has warned that large parts of North America are already at risk of energy shortfalls. Fossil-fueled generators are dispatchable and can load-follow. Wind/solar are not dispatchable and cannot load-follow. Phasing out fossil-fueled generators in favor of more wind/solar could increase the risk of power shortages, yet that is the direction that OPPD is heading, supposedly because “that’s what the public wants.” Most ratepayers/voters are probably not aware of the shortcomings of wind/solar, or the potential downside of increased reliance on renewables for electricity. Basing energy policy on perceived public sentiment can carry substantial risk. Decisions about future power resources should be based on common sense, not misguided priorities.

Vita Brevis 11 months ago

If OPPD is going to purchase power from a private generator why eliminate nuclear fuel? Although the probability is low that a SMR could be available within the time frame a SMR does qualify for tax credits so a private investor might conceivably be interested. It seems OPPD's options should be kept open and not a priori eliminate nuclear fuel.

Joseph Gasper 11 months ago

Reading through previous comments on this page, there are many concerned about the increase in energy from fossil fuel sources, and some concerned about the increase in wind and solar energy. One thing that everyone seems to feel is unease about how much the NTG is being driven by the growth in data center development. It feels like meeting the data centers’ needs would be a higher priority than serving residents and non-data businesses. The board could take a number of steps to mitigate this fear. For one, the NTG resolution could be broken up into smaller pieces over time. That would also give OPPD time to complete developing interim carbon emissions targets, to ensure keeping on track for net zero by 2050.

kmfitzgerald 11 months ago

OPPD's SD-1 states that OPPD shall, "Act transparently and with accountability for the best interest of our customer-owners."

It has been clear for a long time that there should be a separate rate class for data centers since it is the data centers which are consuming so much electricity now and will need even more in the future.

The failure to create a separate rate class for data centers is a *complete failure * in transparency by the Board and management. A fair question here is: What does the Board have to hide? Why isn't OPPD providing this information?

David D. Begley
Customer-owner

David D. Begley 11 months ago

1. OPPD is proposing to spend and borrow over $2 billion. The Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb cost $2 billion. With OPPD's spending, customer-owners will be getting expensive and unreliable power. The sun doesn't shine at night. The wind doesn't blow every day. Batteries are wildly expensive.

2. With the current bond debt and the proposed future debt, OPPD will be at its limit of a debt to income ratio of 2. And, BTW, interest rates are headed up.

3. Henry Cordes of the OWH got it right. At least 66% of the demand is coming from the data centers. And OPPD is contractually obligated to deliver solar and wind power to the data centers. Make Facebook and Google pay for expensive and unreliable wind and solar. The residential and commercial customer-owners want low cost and reliable power. We don't care about saving the Planet in the year 2100.

4. Cordes was also correct that the region's "entire economic trajectory" is dependent on OPPD's ability to supply energy. But Cordes left out the fact that if OPPD does achieve net zero carbon by 2050, our rates will triple. The Center for the American Experiment has established that with studies for MN and WI. Tripling our rates would destroy our economy.

5. I have repeatedly told the Board that it is legally bound to produce only low cost power; not high cost wind and solar. Neb. Rev. Stat. section 70-1301 states that it is "the public policy of this state to provide adequate electrical service at as low as cost as possible...."

OPPD's Board is lawless. The Board can't ignore this law. The Board can't pick and choose what laws it wants to obey.

6. What would it cost to just add natural gas power plants to meet the coming demand for electricity? I'm confident that the number would be well under $1 billion. This proposal is a giant Keyensian ditch digging project.

7. And, BTW, what will OPPD do for power if the Yutan solar development gets destroyed by hail like what happened in Scottsbluff?

8. The August resolution is a giant mistake and unforced error of the highest order.

David D. Begley
Customer-owner

David D. Begley 11 months ago

Since we are experiencing historic load growth, upwards of 100MW per year with an expected increase of 1050MW of peak demand growth by 2032 there is no other carbon free reliable option that can consistently provide power to the grid other than nuclear.

With the advent SMRs and the flexibility they provide, (being dropped in retiring coal plants) why would we consider any other option? Most likely they'll have a 60-80 year service life.

Why Are Nuclear Power Plants More Reliable?
Nuclear power plants are typically used more often because they require less maintenance and are designed to operate for longer stretches before refueling (typically every 1.5 or 2 years).

Natural gas and coal capacity factors are generally lower due to routine maintenance and/or refueling at these facilities.

Renewable plants are considered intermittent or variable sources and are mostly limited by a lack of fuel (i.e. wind, sun, or water). As a result, these plants need a backup power source such as large-scale storage (not currently available at grid-scale)—or they can be paired with a reliable baseload power like nuclear energy.

Why Does This Matter?
A typical nuclear reactor produces 1 gigawatt (GW) of electricity. That doesn’t mean you can simply replace it with a 1 gigawatt coal or renewable plant.

Based on the capacity factors above, you would need almost two coal or three to four renewable plants (each of 1 GW size) to generate the same amount of electricity onto the grid.

Nuclear Has The Highest Capacity Factor
2020 U.S. Capacity Factor by Source
Nuclear energy has by far the highest capacity factor of any other energy source. Nuclear power plants are producing maximum power more than 92% of the time during the year.

That’s about nearly 2 times more as natural gas and coal units, and almost 3 times or more reliable than wind and solar plants.

Just how reliable has nuclear energy been?

It has roughly supplied a fifth of America’s power each year since 1990.
https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/nuclear/us-nuclear-industry.php

Educate yourself on generation capacity from the Dept. of Energy.
https://www.energy.gov/ne/articles/what-generation-capacity

In our immediate backyard, we have the author and chief engineer of the N690 committee from AISC, who is a integral component of the local structural steel fabricator that has live experience in commercial/NQA-1 space. You'd be foolish, at a minimum to not talk with him, especially on the lessons learned with the commercial nuclear AP1000's that were also fabricated locally. I know he'd be willing to meet with your team, at risk.

Joe Wishard 11 months ago

Please read the following article ,
https://www.utilitydive.com/news/minnesota-puc-xcel-form-energy-battery-sherco-solar/685460/
and visit the following associated website,
https://formenergy.com/
before making any decisions.
Your decision(s) are of great importance with regards
to serious issues of this century.

Regards,

Erik Voien

solariscool 11 months ago

I am concerned that OPPD seems to be ignoring the reality of Climate Change or giving it lip service. The fact is that humans have gone forward as if there were no limitations to what we can do. We are learning daily that there are limitations. You statement makes references to what "we deserve" and a" bright future." That seems to me to be a Pollyanna statement. I would like the plan to include actions to educate users about their responsibility to conserve energy. This plan needs to be more realistic and include ways OPPD will address the challenges of Climate Change. I would like you, in this plan, to address the reality that we can both meet future needs for electricity while consciously and responsibly addressing our need for cleaner air and a better environment. Generating electricity can be costly to the environment. We can't afford some of those costs in terms of the quality of life of future generations.

Catherine Kuper 11 months ago

Natural gas is an obsolete, soon-to-be-fined nonrenewable resource that will hold us back from reaching our carbon goals on time. Please show more transparency and concrete commitment to full carbon neutral energy production by stepping away from natural gas and moving towards renewable sources, and clearly stating how we will be doing this.

PMueggenberg 11 months ago

I am concerned that the Near Term Generation Recommendation for new energy generation that spans over the next 10 years seems to lack oversight over that time. I am very much in favor of clean energy solutions like wind and sun and a departure from fossil fuels that are significantly lending to many of our current climate disasters. I do not mind paying for an increase if OPPD steers away from this source. However, it is my understanding that this proposal is based on the increased need for power generation to supply the new data centers being constructed in Omaha. It seems to me that these data centers should bear the brunt of these increases (as I'm sure they can well afford to) not the residential customers especially those in Omaha's low-income areas. I also feel that OPPD should lead in devising methods that each of us can implement to use less power not more. We must all make sacrifices if we want this planet to be livable for future generations. Thank you.

MargeryD 11 months ago

Any solution to expand our generation capacity that does NOT include nuclear generation is irresponsible and should not be considered.

Our current administration is already proposing new restrictions and penalties for natural gas electrical generation which this plan relies on by almost 50%. If those penalties become policy we as the utility subscribers will have to pay for the increase in cost.

Exchanging the current proposed portfolio of natural gas generation with nuclear solutions of SMRs or large scale modern plants will greatly increase our community's future power generation capabilities and keep costs where they belong and reduce the need to "offset" carbon emitting sources in our portfolio with unreliable and INCREDIBLY expensive renewable sources.

Please do not approve this recommendation as it is currently written. This is not the future we want to commit to.

Coopaloop 11 months ago

So what's the status of the Near Term Generation resolution?

davidholtzclaw 12 months ago

I have seen several new data centers constructed in the Omaha area and wondered where all the infrastructure to support their power requirements is coming from. I now see that OPPD needs to spend $2B to increase power generation. I am concerned that these data centers will not be paying their fair share to support this increase. I am concerned that we just keep using more and more power while we should be reducing need for power to reverse climate change.

gsluedke 12 months ago

The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors moved a vote on the proposed near-term generation resource plan to its August meeting. (The July board meetings previously were canceled.) Comments will continue to be accepted through August 8.

OPPD Engagement Team almost 1 year ago

Will the comment portal reopen?

Sadaugherty about 1 year ago
Page last updated: 15 May 2024, 12:28 PM