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Omaha Public Power District approves 2018 budget; wind, solar on tap in 2018

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Omaha Public Power District approves 2018 budget; wind, solar on tap in 2018

The board of directors for the Omaha Public Power District on Dec. 14 approved its 2018 budget, which contains no general rate increase for customers for the second straight year.

The $1.1 billion budget includes funding for the decommissioning of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station, which the utility closed in October 2016. Other factors in the budget include transmission facility construction, changing customer usage trends, compliance with changing regulations and low load growth as a result of improved energy efficiencies, Omaha Public Power District, or OPPD, said in a news release.

Due partly to agreements for increased fuel and wind energy purchases, OPPD said in 2018 there will be a minor increase in the fuel and purchased power adjustment to offset those increases.

In addition to budget approval, OPPD expects more information in early 2018 on a project to develop a community solar program. The utility said it is working to develop a community solar program that provides a solar option for all customer classes while keeping a commitment to no general rate increases through 2021.

The board also said OPPD can negotiate and enter into a purchase power agreement to source additional wind generation, subject to review and approval by the utility's general counsel.

OPPD and the Nebraska Public Power District last month issued a request for proposals for wind and, potentially, storage resources.

OPPD has asked for proposals for long-term power purchase agreements from wind energy resources for 100 MW to 350 MW. Nebraska Public Power District, or NPPD, wants proposals for long-term power purchase agreements from wind energy resources contingent upon new load served either by NPPD or by one of its wholesale customers. Projects would have to be in service by Dec. 31, 2020, according to the request for proposals.

As part of the request, OPPD and NPPD said they would also have interest in potential storage options of more than 1 MW that could be utilized at the wind facility site or an alternate location.

Bids are due Jan. 12, 2018.