Omaha Public Power District is using a $3.46 million grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust to build a solar power plant at a former landfill site.
The proposed OPPD-Douglas County SOLUS – for Solar on Landfills Utility Scale – project is a joint effort between OPPD and Douglas County and is sited on the Douglas County State Street landfill, a 160-acre parcel of land in Omaha. The landfill is capped and covered to isolate the waste, which limits the uses for the property.
“There are limited development opportunities directly on landfills, and utilizing the property for renewable energy is a win-win,” Kent Holm, director of Douglas County environmental services, said in a statement. “We already are using a third-party contractor to clean the landfill gas and pump it into [Metropolitan Utilities District’s] pipeline. Adding solar can be another positive step in utilizing the former landfill property and providing renewable energy.”
The first step in the development process is a feasibility study, which is slated to begin late this summer. The feasibility study will help determine the ideal size of the solar array and allow engineers to address any possible challenges, such as how to build around existing landfill features and the best way to fit it onto the contours of the land.
The NET grant will help support the cost difference between a typical ground-mounted utility-scale solar project and landfill solar project, which requires differences in design and construction.
OPPD said it plans to share what it learns from the project with other utilities that are interested in similar initiatives that provide benefits that extend well beyond the district’s 13-county footprint.