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NPPD Begins Process to Add New Generation for Future Growth

Nebraska Public Power District, which continues to see substantial load growth, has begun the process of adding new generation capacity to NPPD’s resource mix, following board approval of a capital budget item Feb. 8.

During a regularly scheduled meeting, NPPD’s Board of Directors approved the budget item.

This starts the process of adding generation to serve the rapidly increasing load coming to the state.

NPPD Economic Development Manager Nicole Sedlacek noted, “There has been a recent and sharp increase in new ag, ag industrial, and data center loads siting their facilities in Nebraska, due in part to the affordable and reliable electric service provided by the public power entities that serve Nebraska.”

The new generation resources are targeted to be installed by 2027 and would include the following:

  • 50 MW of battery storage located near NPPD’s Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility
  • 50 MW of battery storage capacity purchased from an existing privately-owned wind facility  
  • 216 MW of dual fuel reciprocating internal combustion engines that would use natural gas as a primary fuel source and have the option to utilize diesel
  • 420 MW of dual fuel combustion turbines that would use natural gas as a primary fuel source and have the option to utilize diesel

The new generation increases diversity in NPPD’s overall fleet and provides a balance of operating flexibility and cost, it said.

“Every generation resource has its benefits and limitations, and our team believes this mix of resources is the best suited to meet the growing needs of our customers,” added NPPD Executive Vice-President and Chief Operations Officer Mick Spencer.

“The RICE engines are very efficient and have the ability to ramp up and down quickly to meet rapid fluctuations in load and generation,” he said. “The CT turbines are also very flexible and can be installed at a lower capital cost. The battery storage system will take advantage of available capacity on the transmission system when load and energy prices are low while providing additional dispatchable generation when the need for energy is greater.”

Specific locations for the RICE and CT turbines have not been announced but will be located at existing NPPD generating facilities.

NPPD, like other utilities serving load in the Southwest Power Pool, must demonstrate that it has sufficient generating capacity to serve its customers.

These new generating resources will be available to serve expanding load, but NPPD will also serve them with energy from its existing resources and the SPP market. The planned generation expansion will require a variety of regulatory approvals.

The Board also approved NPPD to pursue the relicensing of Cooper Nuclear Station, located in Brownville.

The plant is Nebraska’s largest, single-unit source of carbon-free energy, generating approximately 835 megawatts of electricity.

The license renewal would allow the plant to generate for another 20 years, beginning in 2034 and operating through 2054.

“NPPD is very excited for the opportunity to work alongside our wholesale public power partners to serve the new loads that are coming to both their service territories and our service territory,” said NPPD President and CEO Tom Kent. “The process of adding new generation is one that is not taken lightly, and our team has been working diligently to find the best path forward with a continued focus on maintaining the affordable, reliable, sustainable, and resilient power service our customers have come to expect.”

For more information, visit nppd.com/generation.

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