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News Releases : OPPD, Papillion rose to top of Google’s search

Omaha Public Power District officially welcomes Google to its service territory. Today, the tech giant announced plans to build a $600 million data center in Papillion, Neb.

“OPPD and its partners are experienced with large-scale, innovative and strategic solutions for major corporations,” said Tim Burke, OPPD President and Chief Executive Officer. “The pro-business climate here has made our service territory a choice destination.”

Community partnerships have been crucial to efforts to attract new business and industry.

“This is an example of how economic development works in our region with close coordination with the Greater Omaha Chamber, Sarpy County Economic Development Corporation, City of Papillion, Sarpy County, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, and others, all worked to ensure Google could grow in our region,” said Tim O’Brien, OPPD Director of Economic Development and External Relations.

“It was a pleasure to once again team up with OPPD to attract another household name to Sarpy County,” said Andrew Rainbolt, executive director, Sarpy County Economic Development Corporation. “Google’s announcement today solidifies the Nebraska Highway 50 corridor in Sarpy County as a local hub of construction and technology jobs, a regional economic development asset, and a national player in the data center market place.”

OPPD Board of Directors Chair Anne McGuire said, “Our team is highly knowledgeable and flexible, which is why we’ve been able to collaborate with our customers and come up with new, innovative ways to meet businesses’ unique needs.”

The OPPD board of directors approved Rate 261M in 2017 to help meet the needs of large-power, high voltage transmission-level customers, particularly those seeking more renewable energy and needing the ability to access the market for the energy component of their bill. In addition, the rate was designed with the goal of bringing broader economic benefit to all of its 380,000 OPPD customer owners.

“We’re thrilled to call Papillion and the Greater Omaha area one of our hometowns,” said Dan Harbeke, Google’s Regional Head of External Affairs. “At Google, our investment isn’t limited to our facilities. We are committed to being good neighbors and creating opportunities for the communities that we call home.”

Google is the second company to take advantage of Rate 261M. The first was Facebook, whose Papillion Data Center went live this past June. Google’s data center will be just down the road from Facebook – along the Nebraska Highway 50 corridor, near Interstate 80.

“Nearly all of OPPD’s 1,800 employees have touched this project in one way or another, including finance, land management, transmission planning, substation engineering, and more,” Burke said. “I’m really proud of the role they played in this project’s success.”

Google’s investment brings significant economic benefits to the communities OPPD serves. And data centers, in general, provide steady, reliable electricity demand, which helps keep rates low for all utility customers. Growth in this area, in addition to other factors, have helped OPPD maintain its commitment to no general rate increase through 2021.

Over the past decade, OPPD has worked to proactively identify potential development sites, including the Highway 50 corridor, to ensure the site selections have the electric infrastructure in place to handle growth. The infrastructure investments, including the Sarpy Transmission Project, benefit all OPPD customers by maintaining reliable service.

“OPPD’s leadership in site readiness and marketing played a key role in helping Sarpy County Economic Development Corporation to not only prepare Google’s site, but also to focus public and private investments that will continue to open economic development opportunities well into the future,“ Rainbolt said.

Construction of Google’s data center is currently underway.

OPPD’s economic development team continues to receive inquiries from others interested in expanding within OPPD’s service territory.