OPPD’s 20-year Generation Plan: Bold Step Forward
On Thursday, June 19, Omaha Public Power District’s Board of Directors approved their 20-year generation plan and took a serious and bold step forward with its energy generation portfolio.
There are three things that stick out as noteworthy:
- Three coal-fired units in North Omaha will retire by 2016, and the remaining two will transition to natural gas by 2023
- OPPD will maintain at least 33% of their portfolio in renewables once they hit that mark in 2018 (context: MidAmerican Energy is at 39%)
- OPPD plans to reduce demand of 300 MW through energy efficiency and demand-side management programs
The net result, according to figures from the Sierra Club:
- 49% reduction in CO2 emissions
- 85% reduction in mercury emissions
- 74% reduction in NOx emissions
- 68% reduction in SOx emissions
With such a bold, audacious, and dare I say pro-environment (gasp!) plan, one would expect that rate payers would have to pony up some cash to make it happen, right? Wrong! (said in Dana Carvey’s unbelievable John McGlaughlin impression.) Rate payers should expect an overall rate impact of 0–2%. Yup, you read that right; basically no net financial impact to rate payers.
So what does this mean for the average Joe? Less pollution, for starters. Levels of pollution, especially SOx, in and around North Omaha are above average. Cleaner air = healthier air = healthier people = happier people.
The reduction in CO2 is nothing to sneeze at either; by reducing these emissions so significantly, OPPD has really helped those organizations that set climate reduction goals.
Finally, the demand-side programs could reduce energy costs, especially for larger customers, if and only if they participate in them. I repeat, companies will need to take advantage of them. Lighting retrofit, anyone?
A round of applause is due to OPPD, its board of directors and management team. Their stakeholder engagement process resulted in a pretty exceptional outcome, which is not always the case with these types of efforts. And kudos to those individuals and organizations that advocated for clean and healthy energy policies; it’s a pretty exceptional feeling when all that hard work culminates in such a great outcome.
Now let’s get to work with implementation!
Onward and upward.