- The board of the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) has proposed a pair of goals aiming to satisfy two competing ideas of how to manage the utility's carbon footprint: a "long-term" 50% renewable standard and a more specific 20% reduction in carbon intensity from 2010 levels by 2030.
- While many customers want to see a specific renewables target in place, the utility says the carbon intensity metric is "reflective of OPPD's entire fleet of operations and not just the renewable load." The utility defined carbon intensity as a ratio of carbon dioxide emissions to electricity generation.
- OPPD says its net generation includes coal, wind, hydropower, gas, landfill gas and other sources. Before proposing the change to carbon intensity, the utility was aiming for 30% retail energy sales from renewable resources, primarily wind.
Utility officials say using the carbon intensity metric would give them more flexibility in meeting goals, but customers turned up at a board meeting this month to say they still wanted to see the specific targets, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
That sent the utility back to the drawing board to consider the 50% standard in an updated environmental stewardship strategic direction proposal that OPPD approved last week. Comments are open through Nov. 4, OPPD said.
OPPD has been developing several renewable energy and modernization efforts. This summer, the utility launched a new electric vehicle (EV) research pilot that provides incentives for home charging stations and EVs. It is also moving ahead with a community solar project; earlier this year the district awarded a 20-year power purchase agreement to a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources to build a 5-MW facility near the city of Fort Calhoun.
OPPD has also researched distributed energy resources but concluded the economics "are challenging in our area largely due to our low rates. ... Wide-scale adoption is unlikely in the next few years."
OPPD serves more than 800,000 customers and last year about 33.5% of their energy was generated by renewables.