The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors has approved a measure that will dramatically reshape OPPD’s future generation portfolio by retiring three of the oldest generating units at North Omaha Station.
The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors has approved a measure that will dramatically reshape OPPD’s future generation portfolio by retiring three of the oldest generating units at North Omaha Station. The measure will allow the utility to comply with government regulations to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions at its existing power plants while preserving the district’s ability to service customer demand for electricity in the future.
Just last month, the board asked senior management to develop a “best case” recommendation on future resource options after hearing results from OPPD’s recent Stakeholder Process. The process, conducted over several months, solicited input from customers across OPPD’s service territory on what they wanted OPPD’s future generation portfolio to look like. Five options eventually rose to the top by OPPD customers. Management took into consideration the feedback they received from the customers and prepared a final recommendation as requested by the board.
The option approved by the board calls for retiring the three units at North Omaha by 2016. The two remaining generating units would remain on coal but be retrofitted with additional emission controls. They would eventually be refueled to run on natural gas by 2023. Nebraska City Station Unit 1 would also be retrofitted in 2016.
“We listened to what the customers said and overlaid that with our comprehensive strategic plan and the extensive research and analysis the team did. We are confident it positions OPPD in the strongest and most flexible position for that future,” said OPPD President Gary Gates. “It maintains our commitment to affordability, reliability and environmental sensitivity, which is what our customers told us they wanted. It also continues to provide a diverse generation portfolio which customers also said was important to them.”
The approved measure will allow OPPD to significantly reduce emissions and be compliant with the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards adopted by the EPA which will require changes to OPPD’s coal facilities. The plan also calls for the district to reduce its load by 300 megawatts (MW) through customer participation in Demand Side Management. OPPD has been a leader in its commitment to renewable energy and is on track for 33 percent of its retail generation load to come from renewable sources, 31 percent coal, 33 percent nuclear and 3 percent natural gas and oil by 2018. (See attachment.)
During the Stakeholder Process, customers said they realized changes to comply with new environmental regulations could lead to higher energy costs but they were willing to pay a slight increase. They also said they were relying on OPPD’s expertise to make the right decision on resource issues. The measure approved by the board will have a minimal impact on customer rates, ranging somewhere between 0-2% over a 20-year period.
Gates concluded, “We are proud of the thorough work the District has done and we appreciate the valuable input the customers brought to us during the Stakeholder Process. It confirmed that OPPD is on the right track by providing our customers with affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services.”