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Nebraska chemical, hydrogen company looks to power operations with 100% RECs


Seeking PPAs for 2 mil MWh of power annually

Nebraska Public Power District to supply the power

  • Author
  • Jared Anderson
  • Editor
  • Shashwat Pradhan
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power Energy Transition Petrochemicals
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  • Wind energy
  • Topic
  • Energy Transition Environment and Sustainability Hydrogen: Beyond the Hype

Chemical and hydrogen company Monolith Materials Jan. 4 said it is seeking 2 million MWh annually of renewable energy through an agreement with the Nebraska Public Power District to supply its Olive Creek facility with 100% renewable energy.

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Monolith said in a press release that to facilitate the proposed $1 billion expansion of its Olive Creek facility it signed a letter of intent with the NPPD to procure the annual 2 million MWh of power.

"NPPD will secure the generation resources and power to the facility will be delivered by Norris Public Power District, a wholesale customer of NPPD," according to the release.

The Norris Public Power District purchases 98% of its power from the NPPD and purchases 2% of its power from Lincoln Electric System, according to Norris' 2019 annual report.

The NPPD has a diverse power generation fuel mix and in 2019 it generated electricity from 0.1% solar, 3.3% natural gas and oil, 5.2% hydropower, 5.2% outside purchases, 5.4% wind, 34.2% nuclear and 46.6% coal, according to its 2019 financial report.

It also receives 0.1% from Qualifying Local Generation, which includes renewable energy facilities installed by its wholesale customers, the NPPD said. The power district is also a member of the Southwest Power Pool.

"Renewable electricity is the primary input to our proprietary process," Rob Hanson, co-founder and CEO of Monolith, said in the release.

"While affordability and reliability are key business considerations, the sustainability of our power supply is also a critical factor for Monolith. We use this renewable electricity to sustainably make essential products for the automotive, industrial and agriculture sectors," Hanson said.

The company uses a commercial-scale methane pyrolysis production process to produce hydrogen with 100% renewable energy, according to its website.

Deal details, RECs

Monolith's first production facility, Olive Creek 1, is already using renewable energy credits to offset 100% of its electricity needs and with the Jan. 4 agreement, the company plans a mix of solar and wind generation resources along with energy storage to "provide sufficient renewable power to offset the renewable power needs of its OC1 facility along with its OC2 expansion," Monolith said.

NPPD will solicit bids for the project through a request for proposals for incremental wind or solar generation, including energy storage, through a Power Purchase Agreement, NPPD president and CEO Tom Kent said in the release.

The approximately 2 million MWh of generation would create a "sufficient number" of RECs to meet 100% of Monolith's average annual energy usage and meet their environmental and sustainability goals, Kent said, noting that while NPPD will add generation resources it will maintain its "highly competitive rates," which was one of the reasons Monolith moved its operations to Nebraska.

In 2019, NPPD charged its industrial customers $5.50/kWh for the power it sold them, according to NPPD's 2019 financial report.

The average electricity price for industrial customers in Nebraska in October 2020 was $7.07/kWh and $7.38/kWh in October 2019, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

NPPD expects to reach its PPAs by Sept. 1, 2021, with commercial operations expected to begin no later than Dec. 31, 2025. The NPPD plans to issue the RFP in March 2021, the release said.