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News Releases : OPPD’s LED streetlight conversion plan presented to board
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There are nearly 100,000 streetlights throughout the Omaha Public Power District’s 13-county service territory. During this week’s committee meetings for the OPPD Board of Directors, the utility laid out plans to convert them to more energy-efficient LED technology over five years.

OPPD owns and services streetlights through contracted agreements with cities and towns, the Nebraska Department of Transportation, counties and sanitary improvement districts.

Most of the current streetlights use high-pressure sodium technology, evident by their amber glow. LED technology burns a little brighter and whiter, providing better visibility and using less than half the energy. The lights also have longer life spans, up to 20 years compared to about five years for the high-pressure sodium lights. This means increased reliability and fewer streetlight outages. Reduced streetlight maintenance also allows OPPD to reallocate resources for other work.

The next step will be developing new and amended rate riders for streetlight customers. Throughout this process, OPPD also will be working on community outreach and education. Installations are expected to begin by early 2019. Read more on OPPD’s The Wire.

Community solar rate rider approved

At today’s monthly meeting, directors approved a new rate rider for community solar, following a month-long public comment period.

OPPD’s community solar project team developed the rate. The team formed last year to research what the district’s customers would like to see in a community solar program. In 2017, they held three stakeholder meetings with organizations interested in and advocating for community solar, and they engaged the district’s Power Panel, an online community representing a cross-section of customers.

The rate uses a market-based approach, which ensures the program remains scalable and can grow to meet future needs. Calculations are based, in part, on the value of solar energy if it were to be sold into the Southwest Power Pool market. In addition, only customers who choose to participate in community solar would pay for the costs or receive benefits of the program.

The community solar team has more work ahead before more specific plans proceed. Visit OPPDListens.com to learn more about their efforts to this point. The site will be updated as more information is available.

Dry Cask Storage Contract

OPPD reported to the board this week that they had selected Orano TN (formerly TN Americas) as a dry cask storage system supplier for Fort Calhoun Station. The district entered into a contract with the company in February. Directors had previously authorized OPPD management to negotiate and enter into a contract for this work, needed to expand storage for cooled spent nuclear fuel as the plant works through the decommissioning process.

Of the vendors considered for this highly specialized work, Orano TN’s bid was the best overall, providing the lowest total cost of ownership. The firm also has a proven track record, having built the dry cask storage system currently in place at FCS. The selection of Orano TN provides the greatest overall value and lowest long-term cost to the district and reduces regulatory, safety, security and financial risks.

Engineering and fabrication for the addition is underway now, with the movement of the spent fuel to the pad planned for completion within 2020. You can read more about dry cask storage on The Wire.

In other actions, directors:

  • Approved the Feb. 15, 2018, board meeting minutes, and the March 15, 2018, agenda.
  • Authorized the use of eminent domain as needed to acquire permanent easements for utility crossings that traverse across railroad property on OPPD projects during 2018. The district acquires utility rights for approximately 12 locations annually. Eminent domain would only be used after all reasonable efforts have been made to acquire rights voluntarily.
  • Authorized OPPD management to negotiate and award material and labor contracts for the upgrade of the district’s Energy Control Center (ECC) Transmission and Distribution Operations facility. These contacts would cover the incorporation of additional equipment and material at the facility, as specified by the North American Reliability Corporation (NERC) Real-Time Tools Best Practices Task Force. This will increase system reliability. The upgrade will also enable better communication between system operators and support personnel, as well as provide necessary capacity during storms and other emergency events. Upgrades are estimated to cost approximately $2.1 million.
  • Accepted the monitoring report for Board Policy: Strategic Directive-14, related to retirement plan funding. The board evaluates all board policies on an annual basis. Acceptance means they find the district to be sufficiently in compliance with the goals previously set forth for the utility.
  • Received the president’s monthly utility report. You can view that report after it is posted by visiting oppd.com/boardmeeting.

Next meetings

Next month’s board committee meetings will start at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 10. The monthly board meeting will be Thursday, April 12, 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.