Powering Strong Communities

Omaha Public Power District Outlines Need for Additional Generation

The Omaha Public Power District recently detailed the need for additional generation as its service territory experiences unprecedented growth in demand for energy, the result of a strong regional economy. OPPD leaders are recommending adding an additional approximately 2,500 MW by 2030.

During committee meetings for the OPPD Board of Directors, utility leaders made a recommendation to meet near-future generation needs. The need for additional generation was identified in resource planning work, which was guided by the district’s mission of providing affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services.

OPPD leaders have also publicly discussed the need for additional generation during open sessions of the past several board meetings. In addition, a growth messaging campaign to keep customers informed began April 1 and is ongoing.

OPPD expects peak energy load to its system will increase at a rate of approximately 100 megawatts per year for the foreseeable future. To put the growth in context, OPPD was only adding 4 MW per year just a few years ago.

OPPD said remains committed to its Power with Purpose (PwP) generation expansion projects. To date, these include Turtle Creek Station (450 MW), Standing Bear Lake Station (150 MW), and Platteview Solar (81 MW), with more renewables coming.

However, the exponential growth in the region will require even more generation. OPPD leaders are recommending adding an additional approximately 2,500 MW by 2030.

OPPD has been analyzing several resource options for added generation. “Generation solutions must be feasible to engineer, procure, construct and interconnect to the regional electric system in the time frame needed to reliably serve our customers. The utility remains committed to its goal of net-zero carbon by 2050,” it said.

OPPD is recommending the addition of:

  • 1,000 to 1,500 MW of renewables (wind and solar), which includes PwP generation that has yet to be sourced
  • Up to 125 MW of battery storage (four-hour equivalent)
  • 600 to 950 MW of thermal power (such as natural gas)
  • 32 MW or more of demand response
  • Approximately 320 MW of added fuel capacity and fuel oil storage at existing generation facilities, essentially upgrading current facilities to allow for additional winter capacity and resiliency

OPPD said it remains committed to previously announced plans for North Omaha Station, including retiring its older units (1-3), which were converted from coal to natural gas in 2016, and converting units 4-5 to natural gas. The only change recommended at that site is to potentially add battery storage.

More than 90% of new load would be served by renewable sources with the recommended additions, according to OPPD’s current projections.

Board members will consider the recommendation at an upcoming meeting.