Editorial: OPPD’s clean energy goals worthy

Source: By Editorial Board, Omaha World Herald • Posted: Thursday, November 16, 2017

Consumer demand for cleaner sources of electricity and improved economics for wind and solar power are leading the Omaha Public Power District to boost its generation from renewable sources. By 2020, the utility says, renewables should provide half of the electricity it sells to retail customers.

This pledge from OPPD President and Chief Executive Tim Burke is more impressive than it seems, because OPPD is decommissioning the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station, and Nebraska lagged other states in encouraging private and public investment in wind power.

 OPPD today generates about 20 percent of the electricity it sells to ratepayers from renewable sources, mainly wind and solar. Much of that comes from large wind power projects in Holt and Wayne Counties.

OPPD plans to submit a request for proposals to buy up to 300 more megawatts of wind energy that could drive additional investment in Nebraska wind power projects and give several communities an economic boost.

Consumers, particularly those who care about minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, are driving the conversation. Businesses are getting into the act, too, as seen by the deal Facebook struck with OPPD to generate clean power for its data center in Sarpy County.

It instills confidence in the future of OPPD and the region to hear Burke tell the 10th annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference that he’s listening to consumers and to where the marketplace is going. And that future includes more renewable power sources.