Omaha Public Power District is making great strides in its plan to add utility-scale solar with natural gas backup, including continuing conversations with customers.
Over the past several months, the team behind the project, known as Power with Purpose (PwP), has been laying the groundwork for the solar portion of the project. Sourcing work is underway to add between 400 and 600 megawatts (MW) of accredited solar capacity. This capacity is needed to maintain reliability and resiliency of the system as our communities grow.
The addition of natural gas into our portfolio to shore up the intermittence of solar and wind production coupled with the retirement of North Omaha Station (NOS) units 1, 2, and 3 and fuel switching NOS units 4 and 5 are instrumental in reducing our carbon footprint by 30% from 2010 levels by 2024. By the end of 2024, OPPD’s generation portfolio is projected to include at least 1,400 MW of renewable generation. Fast-ramping backup generation supplied by these new gas assets is critically important to the overall reliability and resiliency of the system for our customer-owners. The Power with Purpose project is a significant first step in reducing emissions and embarking on our journey to be a net zero carbon emitter by 2050.
“This is the first utility-scale solar for OPPD and within the state of Nebraska. So we are taking a slow, methodical and measured approach to get the projects and contracts right,” said Mary Fisher, vice president of Energy Production and Nuclear Decommissioning. “These are long-term decisions, so we want to ensure we continue to do what’s best for our customer-owners and the district.”
Last month, OPPD announced two proposed sites for modernized natural gas backup facilities – one near 120th Street & Military Road, adjacent to a Metropolitan Utilities District facility in Douglas County, and one near 168th Street & Fairview Road, adjacent to the Sarpy County Landfill. These facilities will run only as-needed for capacity.
In late September, the district held two site-specific virtual public meetings, which were well attended by customers living in those areas, as well as other stakeholders. Dialogue is ongoing as OPPD continues to meet with customers and neighborhood groups in potentially impacted areas, as well as community organizations and leaders.
OPPD’s goal is to share the final solar projects related to Power with Purpose by the end of 2020, which is dependent on the timing of negotiations with developers. In the meantime, the utility will continue to engage the public through its community engagement platform, OPPDCommunityConnect.com, its news website, OPPDTheWire.com, social media posts, direct mailings, educational workshops, and stakeholder meetings.
At this week’s committee meetings, the board received an update on the decommissioning of Fort Calhoun Station (FCS).
The final bundle of spent nuclear fuel was transferred to dry storage in May. In addition, the independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI) facility has been completed, becoming operational in June. This facility provides the operations and security base needed for long-term fuel storage.
Some other big accomplishments include the removal of older large components including diesel generators, which are able to be re-used by another facility. Transformers that were removed will be recycled. The decommissioning team also completed building isolation and material removal, with items either kept for re-use across the district, sold for re-use by other facilities, or recycled. The team also built temporary flood protection.
The team has conducted this work safely and on time. And end-of-year decommissioning costs are projected to be under budget for the fourth straight year. Deconstruction work is expected to be substantially complete by 2025, with license termination by 2026.
New public electric vehicle charging stations
During today’s monthly meeting, President and CEO Timothy J. Burke shared the latest on OPPD’s purchase and installation of six public Level 2 ChargePoint™ charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) in the metro area. The project was made possible by funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust and in partnership with the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA).
As of the beginning of October, all six charging stations have been installed. OPPD selected locations where EV drivers would likely park for two to four hours – the time it takes for a Level 2 charger to fully power a vehicle. The charging stations are available at the following locations.
- NP Dodge retail/office development, 8601 Dodge St.
- University of Nebraska Medical Center campus (2 charging stations)
- Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium (2 charging stations)
- Energy Plaza, northwest corner of 16th and Howard streets
The installations are part of a multi-year pilot to help OPPD understand the impact of EVs on the electric grid. The utility will have access to the data and will study drivers’ charging habits over the next three years. Information gathered will greatly enhance grid planning efforts, as EV ownership grows.
In other action, directors:
- Approved the August 2020 Comprehensive Financial and Operating Report, September 2020 meeting minutes and the October 14, 2020 agenda.
- Awarded a contract to Total-Western in the amount of $1,569,029.90 for labor to complete the removal and installation of Nebraska City Station Unit 1 deaerator.
- Awarded a contract to TEI Construction Services in the amount of $1,294,133 for labor to complete the removal and installation of reheater upper bank tubing assemblies and the removal of furnace rear waterwall screen tube insulation panels for the Nebraska City Station Unit 2 boiler.
- Authorized OPPD management to negotiate and enter into a contract to achieve the best value for the replacement and/or refurbishing of parts and specialized services for the repair of the Jones Street Station Unit 1 engine.
- Received the monitoring report for Strategic Directive 12: Information Management and Security. The board found OPPD is taking reasonable and appropriate measures to comply with the policy.
- Received the president’s monthly utility report. You can view the full president’s report by visiting oppd.com/BoardMeetings.
Next month’s public board committee meetings will be virtual, starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10. Visit OPPD.com/CommitteeAgenda to attend, starting at 9:45 a.m.
The next monthly board meeting will be Nov. 13, at 4 p.m. To accommodate physical distancing, the public board meeting will be held at the Omaha-Douglas Civic Center Legislative Chamber, 2nd floor, in downtown Omaha. The meeting will also be held virtually at OPPD.com/BoardAgenda.