Kudos for OPPD

Last month, the Omaha Public Power District announced that it had entered into an agreement with Prairie Breeze Wind Energy to purchase 200 megawatts of energy—enough energy to power 60,000 homes—starting January 2014. The additional 200 megawatts to be generated by 120 turbines in north central Nebraska will double OPPD’s wind energy portfolio, enabling the publicly owned utility to meet its 2020 goal of deriving ten percent of its electricity from renewable sources a full six years early.

This is outstanding news—and further evidence that OPPD is leading the way among our publicly owned electrical utilities to a lower-carbon future.

But, as the following news release documents, OPPD isn’t just seeking out green renewable sources of ‘supply.’ It’s working to cut energy ‘demand’ as well—to reduce our overall usage.

Public power is a partnership. And as partners in this publicly owned enterprise, we should be the first to acknowledge when our power districts like OPPD show leadership and initiative—and express our appreciation.

NFP looks forward to continuing to work closely with OPPD to provide (just as its mission statement says) “affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services.”

Southeast Nebraska Buildings Earn EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Certification

January 11, 2013

OPPD worked with owners of 21 buildings, including 12 Omaha Public School buildings, to help them earn the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR certification in 2012. They had to meet strict energy-efficiency levels set by the EPA to earn that designation, putting them in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide.

OPPD offers products and services that can help customers achieve ENERGY STAR status because the outcome benefits everyone—the customer saves on energy bills, the utility demand goes down, and the customer-owners defer having to pay for additional generating units. The EPA introduced ENERGY STAR in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency.

In addition to the 12 OPS buildings, Millard Horizon High School, Ford Motor Credit, Blue Cross Blue Shield Centre, Crescent Electric, Kiewit Plaza, Edward Zorinsky Federal Building, two Lincoln Financial Group buildings, the State of Nebraska’s Omaha State office building and Target (72nd and Dodge), achieved the ENERGY STAR certification.

Commercial buildings that earn ENERGY STAR certification use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical buildings and also release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These buildings improved their performance by managing energy strategically and making cost-effective improvements.

For example, Ford Motor Credit improved its energy performance by managing energy strategically across the entire organization and by making cost-effective improvements to its building. By utilizing OPPD’s ECO 24/7 program and retrofitting its eight rooftop units with new energy-efficient Digi-RTU Optimizer technology (which is now incented through OPPD’s RTU Incentive Pilot Program and through the City of Omaha’s reEnergize Program), the building reduced its electricity usage by nearly 30 percent for the last three years. It’s also estimated that carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by 744,800 pounds per year.

The EPA’s ENERGY STAR energy performance scale helps organizations assess how efficiently their buildings use energy relative to similar buildings nationwide. A building that scores a 75 or higher on the EPA’s 1-100 scale may be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification. Commercial buildings that can earn ENERGY STAR status include offices, bank branches, data centers, financial centers, retail stores, courthouses, hospitals, hotels, K-12 schools, medical offices, supermarkets, dormitories, houses of worship, and warehouses.

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