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News Releases : OPPD updates board on distributed energy resources initiative
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Distributed Energy Resources (DER) is a big topic in the power industry. And this week, the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors received an update on the utility’s efforts in this area. The board heard a presentation during its committee meeting Tuesday as a continuation of OPPD’s Integrated Energy Marketplace initiative, which previously included the launch of an electric vehicle pilot.

This latest update outlined OPPD’s research into how to best serve customers who desire localized DER technologies, such as battery storage, generation solutions for commercial customers, and solar (not including community solar, which is a separate OPPD project).

While more information about DER is available, the current adoption rate remains very low when compared with traditional utility scale generation across the country, but especially in Nebraska. 

OPPD recently conducted market research among residential and small to medium commercial customers.  

Among the key findings:

  • While industry enthusiasm for DER is high, the economics of DER (the main decision factor for most) are challenging in our area largely due to our low rates. 
  • Wide-scale adoption is unlikely in the next few years
  • Some customers will adopt earlier for their own unique reasons
  • OPPD has an opportunity to fill a void in DER market leadership in our area

The district will continue to study DER technologies and our customer’s interest in them and explore potential ways to serve the needs of those customers as adoption grows.

Resource Planning

During Thursday’s board meeting, directors accepted the monitoring report for Board Policy: Strategic Directive-9, related to resource planning. The board evaluates all board policies on an annual basis. They received a monitoring report for SD-9 during their committee meetings Tuesday. Acceptance means the board finds the district to be sufficiently in compliance with the policy.

Board action

In other action, directors:

  • Approved the May 2018 Comprehensive Financial and Operating Reports, the June 7, 2018 board meeting minutes, and the July 12, 2018 board agenda.
  • Authorized OPPD senior management to initiate and conclude a negotiated sale of up to $200 million of authorized bonds to issue new debt upon acceptable market conditions. This would enable the district to replenish liquidity reserves, if needed, capitalizing on market interest rates.
  • Approved the selection of BKD, LLP to provide financial auditing services for fiscal years 2018, 2019 and 2020. The district is required by state statute to have an annual audit of its financial records by an independent public accountant.
  • Authorized OPPD management to negotiate and enter into a contract to design, procure and construct a new physical security system for the protection of the Independent Spent-Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) at Fort Calhoun Station (FCS). The new ISFSI operations facility was approved to support cost-reduction efforts at FCS. This facility will reduce the footprint of the area requiring security to be consistent with the decommissioning. This reduction will result in significant cost savings, while continuing to meet the regulatory requirement for security of the spent fuel.
  • Awarded a contract to JCI Industries Inc., in the amount of $572,601 for the purchase of a spare circulating water pump for Nebraska City Station Unit 2.
  • Reviewed and approved the district’s 2017 annual report on OPPD’s self-funded health plan.
  • Received the president’s monthly utility report. You can view that report after it is posted by visiting oppd.com/board meeting.

Next meetings

Next month’s board committee meetings will start at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14. The monthly board meeting will be Thursday, Aug. 16, at 4 p.m. Both meetings will take place at OPPD’s Energy Plaza, 444 S. 16th St., Omaha. The meetings also are livestreamed at oppd.com.