OPPD has set a goal of having 10 percent of the electricity it sells to retail customers coming from renewable energy by 2020.
At the end of 2011, OPPD had 155 MW of renewables, which represents 4.3 percent of OPPD’s total retail sales. That includes wind power, landfill gas and solar.
Here Comes The Sun
Creighton University began harnessing Nebraska’s sunshine and wind this year as the University started operating a large array of solar panels and wind turbines at various locations across campus. The solar array will be the largest in the state.
The alternative energy project will be part of a new degree program for students studying technology and applied science in the College of Arts and Sciences. They will have research opportunities to assist with the building of the solar array, located in a university parking lot.
The $1.4 million project is a collaborative effort with Omaha Public Power District (OPPD); 1.14 million of that came from federal funds. An additional $1.2 million will fund the development of the curriculum for the degree program. Creighton will also serve as a resource for OPPD customers contemplating the use of alternative energy projects on commercial sites.
Flat Water: In late 2010, OPPD started taking delivery of electricity generated by the Flat Water Wind Farm in Richardson County, Neb. OPPD has a power purchase agreement for the total 60-MW capacity of this facility, which features 40 GE 1.5-MW wind turbines.
OPPD built a substation at the wind farm site to enable the utility to electrically isolate the wind farm for safety, if ever necessary. Building such substations and connections to transmission lines are key components of adding wind power generation.
Petersburg: In 2011 construction was completed to provide a 27-turbine wind farm near Petersburg, Neb., in Boone County. OPPD has an agreement with TPW Petersburg LLC to buy up to 40.5 MW of generation from the facility.
Ainsworth and Elkhorn Ridge: OPPD has an agreement with the Nebraska Public Power District to buy up to 25 MW of wind energy from NPPD’s Elkhorn Ridge wind farm in Bloomfield, Neb., in Knox County, and up to 10 MW from NPPD’s Ainsworth wind farm in Brown County, Neb.
Valley Station: Built in 2001, OPPD’s Valley Station wind turbine is located on the Valmont property near Valley, Neb., about 10 miles west of Omaha. The single 660-kW turbine on this site was OPPD’s first wind energy project.
Landfill Gas Plant
OPPD owns a facility at the Douglas County landfill that generates power from the gases that occur naturally through decomposition. The facility is operated by Waste Management Inc., which runs dozens of similar gas power plants across the United States.
After years of success as one of the state's largest sources of renewable energy, the facility was expanded to its current net output of 6.1 MW.