OPPD’s environmental stewardship highlighted in first report to board from utility’s vice president of Sustainability & Environmental Affairs
October 19, 2023
Omaha Public Power District is committed to providing affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services. The environmental aspect of our mission is the focus of a report provided to the OPPD Board of Directors during its committee meetings this week.
Vice President Cliff Fleener presented the annual monitoring report for Strategic Directive 7: Environmental Stewardship, his first such report to the board since joining OPPD to head up the utility’s newly created Sustainability & Environmental Affairs business unit in April. Previously, these functions were part of the Public Affairs business unit.
The report highlighted OPPD’s sustainability efforts, while working to meet ever-evolving legislative and regulatory requirements as we move toward net zero-carbon production by 2050. Fleener also gave a summary of upcoming plans to embed a sustainability culture even further into the organization.
“I’m excited about the progress we continue to make, but we have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Fleener. “We’re exploring ways that we can work with our employees, our customers and our communities to achieve our sustainability goals, including the reliable service our customers expect and deserve.”
Within the company, all electric, hybrid or flex fuel vehicles now make up approximately 45% of OPPD’s 281-vehicle fleet. This includes our passenger car fleet, which is 100% hybrid or electric, as well as 20 hybrid SUVs, a hybrid pickup, and nine plug-in hybrid bucket trucks, with one more on order. In addition, we have 41 all-electric forklifts, yard carts and man-lifts. Recycling is also a big part of the utility’s sustainability efforts. We recycled 2,259,014 pounds of metal, 30,384 pounds of batteries, 41,724 gallons of oil, and more than 350 utility poles in the last year alone. Recycling materials returned $1.3 million back to OPPD.
In 2022, 36.4% of OPPD’s retail energy sales came from renewable sources, and from 2013 through the close of the latest SD-7 monitoring report period, scope 1 carbon emissions are down 30%. The near-term generation plan approved by the board in August will add 2.5 gigawatts of capacity to our portfolio within the next decade, and 90% of the resulting energy will come from renewables. Through OPPD’s demand-side management programs, including the Smart Thermostat and Cool Smart programs, as well as businesses on curtailable plans, our customers now have the ability to shave 191 megawatts of peak load. The utility consistently meets a variety of environmental regulatory requirements on a federal, state and local level, and we work to go beyond these standards when possible.
Our external environmental efforts go well beyond our internal operations and power generation practices, into our communities. Our Prairie in Progress pollinator program, for example, began in 2018 as a joint effort with the Save Our Monarchs Foundation, with grants from the Nebraska Environmental Trust. We also instituted our Greener Together program in 2022, which provides a way for OPPD customers to make monthly contributions for green initiatives in our service territory.
At this evening’s board meeting, directors accepted the SD-7 monitoring report, meaning they found the utility to be sufficiently in compliance with the directive.
The board also accepted a monitoring report for SD 13: Stakeholder Outreach & Engagement. The report, presented by OPPD leadership this week, outlined how OPPD shares information about our work with customers and other stakeholders. OPPD leverages a number of platforms to raise awareness of key issues and long-term goals, and to provide ways for our customers to learn more, ask questions and provide feedback. One such platform is our stakeholder engagement website, OPPDCommunityConnect.com. We also offer a variety of in-person events, such as open houses, to engage with our customers.
In other action, directors:
- Approved the August 2023 Financial Report, August 2023 Board Governance Workshop meeting minutes, September 2023 meeting minutes, and the October 19, 2023, agenda.
- Approved the engineer’s certificate and authorization for OPPD management to negotiate and enter into a contract or contracts with Mitsubishi Power Aero to provide the parts and specialized services for the repair of the Sarpy County Station Unit 5 “A” and “B” power turbines.
- Awarded a contract to TEi Construction Services in the amount of $1,069,700 for labor services to re-tube the Nebraska City Station Unit 1 main condenser waterbox B and auxiliary heat exchanger 2B.
- Approved the engineer’s certificate and authorization for OPPD management to negotiate and enter into a contract or contracts with one or more qualified contractors for the construction of the utility’s Integrated Operations Center without the sealed bidding process.
- Approved the sale of a 3,593-square-foot parcel of land near Saddle Creek Road and Jones Street to the City of Omaha to accommodate roadway improvements.
- Approved the acquisition of property located near Julian in southeastern Otoe County, using eminent domain, if necessary, for an existing communications tower. OPPD has leased the land since 1969 and may need to acquire fee ownership and/or permanent easements for the parcel. Eminent domain would only be used in the event a voluntary and fair agreement cannot be reached with the current landowner. The authorization approved by the board today extends through December 31, 2024.
- Received the monthly President’s Report, available at OPPD.com/BoardMeeting.
Next board meetings
The next all-committees meeting will be held in-person Tuesday, November 14 at Blue Cross Blue Shield, 1919 Aksarben Dr., as well as virtually, via Webex. The meeting will begin at approximately 10 a.m. The link will be available at OPPD.com/CommitteeAgenda beginning about 9:45 a.m. The next board meeting is Thursday, November 16, at 5 p.m., both in-person at the Legislative Chamber of the Omaha-Douglas Civic Center, 1819 Farnam St., as well as virtually via Webex. The public can attend virtually by accessing the meeting link and instructions at OPPD.com/BoardAgenda beginning at approximately 4:45 p.m.