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Nebraska Energy Quarterly

September 2019

OPPD Plans to Review How Its Electricity Is Generated

Omaha Public Power District is taking on five new strategic initiatives over the next decade, President and CEO Timothy J. Burke announced recently.

Burke told the OPPD Board of Directors on June 20 that these strategic initiatives will create the road map for what the utility should be in the future while maintaining a strong focus on OPPD's mission of providing affordable, reliable, environmentally sensitive energy services.

"Customers expect the lights to come on when they flip the switch," Burke said in a news release. "OPPD is committed to keeping the power flowing reliably and affordably, while being good stewards to our environment. We must do all of this, while staying at the forefront of this rapidly changing industry."

Initiatives will include a long-term study to address the balance of load generation, along with decarbonization options for the district's generation mix.

Vice President Mary Fisher spoke to the topic, noting that the energy generation landscape is changing rapidly. Fisher said the drivers are primarily improving renewable technology, and environmental considerations around carbon emissions and climate change, "something our customers clearly care about."

The district has made significant investments in renewable energy over the past decade, Fisher said. In 2009, approximately 10% of the retail sales in OPPD's energy portfolio came from renewable sources. By the end of this year, when the Sholes wind energy facility is fully online, the utility expects to reach nearly 40%. In addition, the district is working toward a strategic directive of 50% of its retail sales coming from renewable energy.

Fisher noted that Units 4 and 5 at OPPD's North Omaha Station will switch from coal to natural gas in 2023, as planned. The older units – 1, 2, and 3 – were retired from coal in March 2016.

"We will study different pathways to establish the next steps for our generation fleet, while balancing reliability, resiliency and affordability, with our environmental goals," Fisher said.

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