The Wire

Energy news from Omaha Public Power District


Nebraska’s largest generating unit planned by OPPD

February 5, 2018 | Terry Zank | flashback, generation, history, North Omaha
flashback north omaha station

In 1954, a German inventor patented the first drip-brew coffeemaker, an American invented the web offset printing press, Boeing released its 707 jet aircraft, the U.S. Navy commissioned the first atomic-powered submarine, and the Soviet Union commissioned the first civilian nuclear power station.

FLBK_NOS Unit 2 Const
OPPD archive photo | This photo, looking east, shows progress on the steel construction of the North Omaha boiler room. The stack at right is about one-third complete.

With that context, in August 1954, OPPD’s Board of Directors approved the hiring of an engineering firm to plan the addition of a second generating unit at North Omaha Station, OPPD’s coal-fired generating plant.

The board’s action was driven by news that firm power – energy guaranteed to be available – from federal hydroelectric plants on the Missouri River would not be available to OPPD.

The expanding North Omaha Station shadowed the growth of Omaha and the surrounding communities the plant serves.

To be rated at 100,000 kilowatts of net generating capacity, Unit 2 would be the largest generating unit ever installed in Nebraska. It went online in 1957.

North Omaha Unit 1 had started operating in July 1954 with 75,600 kilowatts of net generating capacity. The North Omaha plant grew to five units in 1968.

As part of its future generation plan, OPPD retired North Omaha Station Units 1-3 from coal operations in 2016. These units are still available to run on natural gas, serving as peaking units during times of peak demand for electricity.

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About Terry Zank

Terry Zank is a contributor to The Wire and senior digital channel specialist at OPPD, where he has worked for 30 years. He and his wife have three sons. Terry enjoys bike riding, playing racquetball, hiking, watching college football, watching great movies from years’ past, and citing quotes from those movies, much to his family’s chagrin.

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