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News Releases : OPPD continues efforts on generation expansion
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Omaha Public Power District is taking the next step to add more generation to keep our electric system reliable and resilient amid unprecedented growth. During committee meetings Tuesday for the OPPD Board of Directors, utility leaders shared plans to add more generation to one existing plant and one currently under construction.

The announcement is part of OPPD’s strategy to add nearly 2.5 gigawatts of generation over the next decade to meet the growing energy usage of its more than 400,000 customers in 13 counties. The utility is making the generation additions to address an anticipated annual load growth of 100 megawatts (MW) for the foreseeable future. That’s the equivalent of the energy used by 65 metro-area high schools or medium-size hospitals.

OPPD’s latest plans will add 900 MW of simple cycle natural gas generation with fuel oil backup. The district has selected Siemens Energy to provide the new assets, including four SGT6-5000F combustion turbines, capable of producing 225 MW each. Three would be built at OPPD’s existing Cass County Station and one at its new Turtle Creek Station, currently under construction in Sarpy County. These units feature fast start-up capability and operational flexibility due to being dual-fuel capable for enhanced reliability. They are expected to be online by 2030.

The district expects to have nearly 700 MW of additional power generation capacity available by the end of this year, with Platteview Solar (81 MW), Turtle Creek’s original turbines (450 MW), and Standing Bear Lake Station (150 MW) all on track for completion.

“That doesn’t include other projects and potential projects in the works.” said OPPD Vice President of Systems Transformation Brad Underwood. “The totality of all of it is truly amazing,”

OPPD must not only have enough generation capacity to meet its own customers’ peak energy usage, but also a 15% reserve margin that the Southwest Power Pool requires of its members. The reserve margin is designed to ensure grid reliability during equipment maintenance activities and amid the prospect of extreme weather, something utilities across the country are working to address.

“The new combustion turbines are part of that journey. A diverse energy mix is crucial to ensuring the critical services of energy supply are not compromised,” said Underwood.

“Eastern Nebraska is fortunate to have such capable engineers who diligently plan and operate our system to ensure our communities have affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy solutions at such an incredible pace.”

New vice president of Safety & Facilities appointed

At this evening’s meeting, directors also approved the selection of Gina Langel as OPPD’s new vice president of Safety and Facilities. Langel replaces Kevin McCormick, who retired last month after 36 years of service to the utility. 

Langel brings more than three decades of experience in public utilities, most recently serving as senior vice president and chief operations officer at Metropolitan Utilities District. Prior to that, Langel was with OPPD from 2005 to 2021, serving in a variety of leadership roles in areas including Energy Delivery and Operations to Continuous Improvement. She holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Other action

In other action, directors: 

  • Approved the January 2024 board meeting minutes and February 15, 2024 agenda.
  • Accepted the annual monitoring report for Strategic Directive (SD) 6: Safety, which noted that 2023 was the safest year on record for OPPD. Acceptance means the board finds the utility to be sufficiently in compliance with the directive.
  • Authorized OPPD management to reject all bids received for the purchase of 15-kilovolt metal clad switchgear cubicles and switchgear enclosure and, instead, allow OPPD management to enter into and award a negotiated contract, subject to review and approval by the district’s general counsel.
  • Received the monthly President’s Report, available to view at com/BoardMeeting.

In addition, directors proposed policy revisions to SD-12: Information Management and Security Policy. A red-line version of these potential changes is posted at OPPDCommunityConnect.com, where the public may review and provide comments through March 17, ahead of a vote during next month’s board meeting.

Next board meetings

The next all-committees meeting will be held in person Tuesday, March 19, at 10 a.m. at Blue Cross Blue Shield, 1919 Aksarben Dr., as well as virtually, via Webex. The meeting link and instructions will be available at OPPD.com/CommitteeAgenda, beginning about 9:45 a.m., depending on the duration of a preceding closed-session meeting, if needed.  

The next monthly board meeting is Thursday, March 21, at 5 p.m., both in-person at the Legislative Chamber of the Omaha Civic Center, 1819 Farnam St., as well as virtually via Webex. The public can attend virtually by accessing the meeting link and instructions at OPPD.com/BoardAgenda, beginning at 4:45 p.m.