OPPD reports progress in conservation management – RIVER COUNTRY

Omaha Public Power District continues to fulfill its mission of affordable, reliable and environmentally responsible energy services. At this week’s committee meetings and tonight’s monthly meeting of the OPPD Board of Directors, the utilities leadership provided an update on the environmental portion of our mission.

Renewable energy

The annual monitoring report of Strategic Direction (SD) 7: Environmental Stewardship reviewed a wide range of ongoing efforts and initiatives across the district, including work to add more renewable energy generation capacity. Currently, OPPD has over 1,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy generation capacity, which accounted for 35.4% of our retail energy sales in 2021. This included 31.6% wind energy , 3.3% hydro, 0.4% landfill gas and 0.01% solar.

Having a diversified energy portfolio helps maintain the reliability and resilience of our electrical system for our customer-owners. The district continues to work to further diversify the generation fleet with the planned capacity of 400-600 MW solar and 600 MW natural gas under our Power with Purpose project.

Pathways to decarbonization

We continue to move forward with our Pathways to Decarbonization initiative, with a goal of net zero carbon production by 2050. In May, the OPPD completed the initial phase of this effort, which provides the foundation to inform our decarbonization strategies. These include areas such as reducing the demand side through residential and commercial rebates and incentives to reduce the amount of energy used by customers. A summary of these findings is available at OPPDCommunityConnect.com.

Electric and hybrid vehicles and equipment

Nearly half of the OPPD’s vehicle fleet, or 295 vehicles, are electric, hybrid or flex-fuel. In addition, our fleet of equipment now includes 41 fully electric forklifts, site trucks and man lifts. We continue to look for ways to further electrify our fleet.

Beyond environmental standards

OPPD meets and exceeds all environmental regulatory standards, while operating and maintaining our power plants to ensure the reliable delivery of energy to our customers. We have taken steps beyond what is required for compliance, achieving low particle emitter status, conducting rigorous internal audits, and working to restore native grassland habitat through our Meadow in progress program.

Since 2018, the utility has established over 331 acres of grassland at 13 sites, where we have planted pollinator habitat to augment dwindling monarch butterfly and bee populations. Work continues to diversify plantings throughout the district to advance these efforts. This is a win-win, benefiting the utility through reduced grounds maintenance costs.

In 2020, the OPPD worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to install a 65-foot osprey tower at Fort Calhoun Station to replace a pre-existing osprey nest. It had to be dismantled during the winter, when the birds had migrated south, due to the factory dismantling work. Osprey returned in the spring of 2021. And this past spring we had a live cam set up to capture the hatching and rearing of their new offspring.

The OPPD also installed a new box for the peregrine falcon in 2019, as well as a live cam. It is located on top of a coal pile at North Omaha Station. The new generation of peregrine falcons hatched last spring. The utility invited customers to enter an online naming contest, selecting Thunder and Lightning for the two chicks.

Greener together

This year, the OPPD launched the Greener together program, where participating customers have the opportunity to select and support specific green projects within our communities. Through this program, participating customers can help select projects that support environmental sustainability or community improvement. Local organizations can apply for project funding, the first project application window open until October 31, 2022.


The OPPD continues to focus on recycling as many materials as possible. In 2021, the district recycled 2,162 pounds of batteries, 3,365,606 pounds of metal, 89,960 gallons of petroleum, and over 500 utility poles. In addition to benefiting the environment, these efforts have also benefited the utility financially, with a return on investment of $1.3 million.

Other action

At today’s monthly public meeting, the directors:

Approved the full financial and operational reports for August 2022, September 2022 meeting minutes and agenda for October 20, 2022.

Review and accept follow-up reports for SD-12: Information Management and Security and SD-13: Outreach and Stakeholder Engagement Monitoring reports. Acceptance means that the board deems the utility to be sufficiently compliant with the guidelines.

Approved one request by executive management to exceed 2022 spending levels originally approved in the 2022 budget. The increase is partly due to increases in purchased power costs caused by higher market prices and outages operating costs, as well as rising fuel prices. This increase in spending was partially offset by the delay of OPPD’s Power with Purpose project, outside of the utility’s control, which resulted in lower capital expenditures due to schedule changes and refined financial estimates. It should be noted that the overall financial health of the district remains largely unchanged, as the utility is also experiencing an increase in off-system sales revenue, which offsets the increase in expenses.

· Awarded a leveling contract to Valley Corporation in the amount of $2,777,388 for construction work on a greenfield site in Bennington, Neb., in preparation for a new 161 kilovolt substation to support the growth in customer load in the region. The scope of work includes grading, seeding, soil stabilization, driveway installation, storm water control and rock placement.

· Awarded a labor contract to Total-Western Inc., in the amount of $1,562,054, for the replacement of the economizer upper bank tube assemblies for the unit 2 boiler from the Nebraska City station.

Approved Engineer’s certification and authorization by OPPD management to negotiate and enter into a contract with Siemens Energy, Inc., for the supply of materials and services to repair or replace the cowl assemblies of steam turbine interceptor valve at Nebraska City Station Unit 1.

· Approval of engineer certification and authorization by OPPD management to negotiate and enter into a contract with Mitsubishi Power Aero LLC for the repair of the power turbine of unit 4A of the station of the Sarpy County.

· Received the president’s monthly report, available on OPPD.com/BoardMeeting.

Upcoming Board Meetings

The next meeting of all committees is scheduled to be held virtually on Tuesday, November 15 around 10 a.m. The meeting link and instructions will be available at OPPD.com/CommitteeAgendabeginning at approximately 9:45 a.m., depending on the length of a previous in camera session, if any.

The next monthly board meeting will be held Thursday, Nov. 17, at 5 p.m., in person at the Omaha Civic Center Legislative Chamber, 1819 Farnam St., as well as virtually via Webex. The public can attend virtually by accessing the meeting link and instructions at OPPD.com/BoardAgendafrom 4:45 p.m.