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Energy news from Omaha Public Power District

The Wire

Energy news from Omaha Public Power District

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Thinking about making the switch? Here’s your EV guide

September 28, 2021 | Julie Wasson | electric vehicles, energy efficiency, products & services, tips
S&P_EV week photo 1 orig cropped off left 2

Electric vehicles are the future for the auto industry, and demand is soaring.

EVs are a greener alternative to gas or diesel vehicles. Driving an EV lets owners reduce their carbon emissions, one way you can make a personal impact on sustainability.

And OPPD customers can power their vehicles using electricity that increasingly comes from renewable sources. In 2020, OPPD served 38.4% of its retail sales from renewable energy:

  • Wind 34.42%
  • Hydro 3.43%
  • Landfill gas 0.44%
  • Solar 0.08%

However, although demand for EVs continues to grow, many people still have a lot of questions about them. In conjunction with National Drive Electric Week, here’s a look at the many ways OPPD is a driving force behind the growing adoption of EVs in Nebraska.

Electric vehicle guide

With its new EV guide, OPPD has made it easier than ever to learn about making the switch to electric vehicles. EV 101 explains the basics of owning and operating an EV. The EV calculator provides a personalized estimate that lets you compare vehicle models side-by-side. That can help you understand the near- and long-term costs of switching to an EV, based on your driving habits, electricity use and savings potential.

You can also check out a map of the public charging stations available in the Omaha area and across the state. And you can learn about incentives and rebates available to EV buyers, including OPPD’s rebate program.

Rebate program

For the fourth year in a row, OPPD has rebates available toward the purchase of both a residential EV and charger, as well as for fleet vehicle replacement. The popular rebate program has sold out each year it’s been offered.

As in previous years, rebates are available for residential customers who purchase a new, all-electric vehicle. The $2,500 rebate is good toward the purchase of both a new EV and a ChargePoint Home charging station.

Rebates are available for business customers who replace a current fleet vehicle with a new, all-electric vehicle. Customers who purchase both a new EV and a ChargePoint Home charging station are eligible for a $2,500 rebate. The conversion requires that a similar sized vehicle be retired from the fleet.

A $4,500 rebate toward the purchase of both a new medium/heavy truck and ChargePoint charger is also available.

Grants make a difference

OPPD’s EV rebates are made possible through a grant partnership with the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) and the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA).

OPPD also uses grant funding from the NCEA for EV educational efforts, including a pilot program called rEV at eight Nebraska schools. The program is a partnership between OPPD and the National Energy Foundation (NEF). It aims to give teachers the resources for students to learn how EVs work and how they impact the environment.

P&S_EV week 2021 photo 2
This is one of the high-speed Level 3 chargers being installed in new public charging stations.

And last year, OPPD received an award of nearly $600,000 to expand the number of public charging stations in the state.

That grant comes from the Volkswagen settlement fund. The money will pay for charging stations in North Bend, Blair, Syracuse, Omaha and La Vista. Each site will be equipped with one Level 3 charger – the newest high-speed charger – as well as a Level 2 charger. Level 3 chargers can charge a vehicle in about 30 minutes; these will be the first public Level 3 chargers across OPPD’s territory.

Nebraska received $12.25 million in the settlement, administered by the Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy. Recipients must use the funds to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.

Volkswagen agreed to a plea deal in 2017 in connection with a scheme to cheat on diesel emissions tests. The settlement included criminal penalties and civil claims.

OPPD works with partners across Nebraska to find and secure grant opportunities to bring these benefits to OPPD customers.

Data drives the future

As more and more people and companies make the switch to electric vehicles, OPPD and other utilities are working to accommodate the impact. Charging infrastructure and electric-grid capacity will have to grow to manage the increase in EVs on the road.

OPPD is collecting data from customers who are part of its EV rebate program to help prepare to increase electric-grid capacity. The utility acquires that data via the ChargePoint charging stations that customers buy as part of the program.

OPPD also plans a managed pilot workshop in the coming years that will help prepare for future smart-charging technology, which will enable the grid to more efficiently accommodate high future EV adoption rates.

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About Julie Wasson

Julie Wasson is the managing editor of The Wire and a brand journalism strategist at Omaha Public Power District. She has more than 25 years of print journalism and social media experience, including two stints at the Omaha World-Herald.

View all posts by Julie Wasson >

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