Distributed Energy Resources

OPPD board approves plan to add up to 600 MW of utility-scale solar

The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors on Nov. 14 voted to add between 400 and 600 megawatts of utility-scale solar capacity to OPPD’s energy portfolio.

It will be the largest solar presence in the state of Nebraska and one of the largest in the region, OPPD said.

The project, which was proposed by senior management at last month’s board meeting, also includes natural gas backup for the solar generation, to support accreditation and resiliency requirements, as well as the modernization of some of OPPD’s other natural gas assets.

As the grid continues to evolve, OPPD may also look at adding voltage-support devices.

The new natural gas assets are expected to run only when needed in order to serve OPPD's peaking and grid support needs.

The board authorized OPPD management to negotiate and enter into procurement contracts, which will help determine the exact size, scale and location of the generation assets.

When coupled with a 2014 board resolution to retire North Omaha units 1-3 and refuel North Omaha units 4 and 5 with natural gas the carbon dioxide emissions at North Omaha Station are estimated to be reduced by 80 to 90%.

OPPD’s overall generation fleet emissions of CO2 are expected to be reduced by 30% from 2010 to 2024.