Power with Purpose: Natural Gas Backup

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What is Power with Purpose?

Power with Purpose is OPPD’s solar + natural gas project that moves us toward our goal of net-zero carbon production by 2050 and supports OPPD's unwavering mission to provide affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services to customers. OPPD is siting and developing up to 600 megawatts of utility-scale solar generation, and up to 600 megawatts of backup natural gas. The project will be one of the largest renewable energy investments of its kind in the Midwest.

Why Backup Natural Gas?

New natural gas facilities provide greater operating flexibility and enable OPPD to further integrate renewable energy into our portfolio, while maintaining affordability, reliability and resiliency. Energy system modeling, proximity to a gas pipeline and transmission and distribution infrastructure helped determine the best natural gas locations for complementing new solar generation and enhance energy system reliability.

OPPD Announces Natural Gas Sites

At OPPD's September 2020 board committee meeting, OPPD unveiled two locations sited for backup natural gas generation. Read more at OPPD's news website, The Wire, or view the board presentation.

Click buttons below for site specific information.


Adding this generation will help OPPD meet the growing energy needs of our service territory and will enable OPPD’s system to remain resilient. That means OPPD can continue providing energy to our customers even when operations are impacted by a major outage event.

We are planning for a combination of new natural gas backup facilities, as well as refueling some of OPPD’s coal assets with natural gas when the oldest units at North Omaha Station retire. Each facility will have technology that can quickly adjust output and balance our portfolio of renewables.

There are many types of gas generation facilities. OPPD is building peaking stations to support power reliability if local or regional issues occur. For example, there are five combustion turbine units in Sarpy County and two in Cass County. We are also proposing reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE). These facilities are smaller than combustion turbines. OPPD currently uses small scale RICE at our Elk City Station.

Cass County Peaking Station Combustion Turbines
Sarpy County Peaking Station Combustion Turbines
Small Scale RICE at Elk City Station


This graphic shows the relative height of those facilities as compared to other well-known structures.

We are not building a combined-cycle gas facility, which runs a significant amount of time, has other large equipment or produces steam for additional power generation.

Our new, modern backup natural gas facilities are estimated to only operate 5 - 15% of the time, as needed per market conditions. Modern technology has greatly evolved regarding look and sound of these facilities, and these newer natural gas plants ramp up faster than in the past. This quicker startup adjusts for and stabilizes the variable outputs of wind, solar and other market conditions. It also generates lower emissions than older gas facilities.

OPPD is committed to solutions that are fiscally responsible, and aligned with our mission, providing reliable, affordable and environmentally sensitive energy services to our customers.

Have a question for us about our Power with Purpose project? Click the image below. You may also visit our project pages for Standing Bear Lake Station and Turtle Creek Station to learn more and ask questions about these specific projects.



What is Power with Purpose?

Power with Purpose is OPPD’s solar + natural gas project that moves us toward our goal of net-zero carbon production by 2050 and supports OPPD's unwavering mission to provide affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services to customers. OPPD is siting and developing up to 600 megawatts of utility-scale solar generation, and up to 600 megawatts of backup natural gas. The project will be one of the largest renewable energy investments of its kind in the Midwest.

Why Backup Natural Gas?

New natural gas facilities provide greater operating flexibility and enable OPPD to further integrate renewable energy into our portfolio, while maintaining affordability, reliability and resiliency. Energy system modeling, proximity to a gas pipeline and transmission and distribution infrastructure helped determine the best natural gas locations for complementing new solar generation and enhance energy system reliability.

OPPD Announces Natural Gas Sites

At OPPD's September 2020 board committee meeting, OPPD unveiled two locations sited for backup natural gas generation. Read more at OPPD's news website, The Wire, or view the board presentation.

Click buttons below for site specific information.


Adding this generation will help OPPD meet the growing energy needs of our service territory and will enable OPPD’s system to remain resilient. That means OPPD can continue providing energy to our customers even when operations are impacted by a major outage event.

We are planning for a combination of new natural gas backup facilities, as well as refueling some of OPPD’s coal assets with natural gas when the oldest units at North Omaha Station retire. Each facility will have technology that can quickly adjust output and balance our portfolio of renewables.

There are many types of gas generation facilities. OPPD is building peaking stations to support power reliability if local or regional issues occur. For example, there are five combustion turbine units in Sarpy County and two in Cass County. We are also proposing reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE). These facilities are smaller than combustion turbines. OPPD currently uses small scale RICE at our Elk City Station.

Cass County Peaking Station Combustion Turbines
Sarpy County Peaking Station Combustion Turbines
Small Scale RICE at Elk City Station


This graphic shows the relative height of those facilities as compared to other well-known structures.

We are not building a combined-cycle gas facility, which runs a significant amount of time, has other large equipment or produces steam for additional power generation.

Our new, modern backup natural gas facilities are estimated to only operate 5 - 15% of the time, as needed per market conditions. Modern technology has greatly evolved regarding look and sound of these facilities, and these newer natural gas plants ramp up faster than in the past. This quicker startup adjusts for and stabilizes the variable outputs of wind, solar and other market conditions. It also generates lower emissions than older gas facilities.

OPPD is committed to solutions that are fiscally responsible, and aligned with our mission, providing reliable, affordable and environmentally sensitive energy services to our customers.

Have a question for us about our Power with Purpose project? Click the image below. You may also visit our project pages for Standing Bear Lake Station and Turtle Creek Station to learn more and ask questions about these specific projects.



Page last updated: 22 September 2021, 14:55