Power with Purpose Reliability Update
North Omaha Station Update
OPPD is proud to power our communities. Our Power with Purpose (PwP) initiative, which will bring additional generation totaling approximately 1,200 megawatts (MW) of natural gas and solar generation capability online, will help us power our growing communities with reliability and resiliency top of mind - while also continuing our commitment to environmental stewardship.
Critical to ensuring continued system reliability and resiliency are the construction of two new natural gas peaking stations, Standing Bear Lake (SBLS) and Turtle Creek (TCS). Once those stations are online, OPPD will look to retire North Omaha Station units 1-3 and refuel units 4-5 from low-sulfur coal to natural gas. In 2016, OPPD retired North Omaha units 1-3 from coal operations. These units are still available to run on natural gas, serving as peaking units during times of high demand for electricity.
Standing Bear Lake and Turtle Creek Stations are in construction now, but the projects have experienced construction and grid interconnection study delays.* These are issues facing not only our utility, but utilities across the country. OPPD’s leadership team continues to work diligently on finding solutions. To ensure our growing communities continue to have reliable, resilient power, OPPD made a recommendation at its June 2022 Board of Directors meeting to delay the retirement of North Omaha Station units 1-3 and fuel conversion of units 4 and 5 from low-sulfur coal to natural gas until SBLS and TCS are ready and approved to connect to the grid at full capacity. Previously, OPPD's Board of Directors approved these changes to occur by the end of 2023.
At the August 2022 monthly board meeting, OPPD’s Board of Directors voted to approve this recommendation.
Extending North Omaha’s current operations supports OPPD's commitment to reliability and resiliency, something we know our customers and communities are especially mindful of following the 2021 polar vortex event. Despite these challenges, we remain committed to environmental stewardship and remain fully committed to our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
*OPPD belongs to the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) regional transmission organization (RTO). RTOs, including SPP, study how different generation sources from various utilities interact and connect with the grid. SPP is currently conducting a multi-year generation interconnection (GI) study for Standing Bear Lake and Turtle Creek Stations.
OPPD's Current Fuel Sources for Generation
- Low-sulfur coal
- Community solar
- Landfill gas
- Natural gas and fuel oil
- Note: OPPD ceased operations at Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station and began decommissioning the plant in 2016 because it was no longer economically feasible to operate. For the latest news at Fort Calhoun Station, visit The Wire.
OPPD Generating Plants
Nebraska City Station
Units 1 and 2 are fueled by low-sulfur coal, which results in cleaner emissions than high-sulfur coal. Nebraska City is a baseload generating plant.
OPPD retrofitted Nebraska City 1 with basic emissions controls in 2016. Operational in 2009, Nebraska City 2 was designed with more current emissions controls.
Peaking Plants and Landfill Gas
OPPD has three peaking plants fueled by natural gas and/or fuel oil: Cass County Station, Jones Street Station and Sarpy County Station.
Elk City Station is fueled by methane and other gases produced by decomposing trash buried in the Douglas County Landfill. These gases would otherwise need to be burned or "flared off" into the atmosphere. Elk City is a baseload plant.
OPPD has purchase power agreements with several Nebraska wind farms, scattered across the state from north-central to southeast. Because it is intermittent, wind energy supplements baseload generation.
In response to customer interest, OPPD launched a community solar program in 2019. This 5MWac solar facility, near the town of Fort Calhoun, was brought online in late-2019.
Integrated Resource Plan
In keeping with our mission of providing affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services to our customers, OPPD is committed to maintaining a diverse energy portfolio. With dynamic changes taking place in the utility industry, OPPD regularly reviews its generation resource options.
In February 2022, OPPD submitted an updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), with whom we have a long-term contract to receive hydroelectric power. (WAPA is one of four power marketing administrations within the federal Department of Energy.)
We use a comprehensive, decision-support tool to evaluate resource options for the IRP. We analyze such things as market conditions, costs, load requirements, regulation, new technologies and customer preferences. The resulting IRP serves as a road map for future generation and power purchases.
As the utility industry continues to rapidly evolve, OPPD will adjust its assumptions and resulting plans for serving the electrical demand of our customer-owners.
As a public power utility, OPPD seeks feedback from its customer-owners and other stakeholders on important issues that relate to our mission of providing affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services.
OPPD uses OPPDCommunityConnect.com as a tool engage with customer-owners. We want every member of our 13-county community to consider this a platform to connect. At OPPDCommunityConnect, you can learn more about what we're doing and share input, insights and ideas with us. Visit us here to learn about our goals, concerns and efforts - and share your own.