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OPPD awards contract for battery storage project

December 20, 2021 | Jodi Baker | generation, public power
battery storage grant

Omaha Public Power District is powering ahead with an energy storage project that will help inform the utility as it moves toward its goal of net-zero carbon by 2050.

The district has taken an important step toward bringing the project to life, selecting WEG Electric Corporation to engineer, procure and construct (EPC) the Battery Research Innovation Guided by High-Potential Technologies (BRIGHT) project. OPPD awarded the EPC contract to WEG in early December.

“We expect energy storage will play a vital part in OPPD’s decarbonization efforts as we add more solar, wind, or other forms of renewable energy in the future,” said Collin Sniff, alternative energy contract manager for OPPD.

Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) grants totaling $600,000, awarded in June 2020, helps make this project possible. The Nebraska Power Review Board approved the project in July 2021 as the first stand-alone battery in the state.

Energy storage

OPPD is planning to build a battery energy storage device with a one megawatt-hour capacity, with a two hour duration. That means the device will initially provide 1 MW of power for up to about 2 hours.

OPPD system planners say housing the device at a Cass County substation makes sense for their goals.

“It’s a good fit because of the substation’s loading profile, electrical configuration, and the opportunity to try out use cases of the battery that will have a positive impact on the surrounding area,” said Michael Herzog, manager of Distribution Planning.

The project will provide innovative research that will benefit not only OPPD, but all Nebraska utilities.

WEG received the EPC contract after a series of workshops with multiple vendors. The company will provide all engineering, equipment, construction, commissioning, maintenance and warranty services for the battery energy storage system. The system is designed to last about 20 years.

The BRIGHT team estimates commercial operation will begin in the fall of 2022.

“We’re really excited to explore this new technology,” said Christene Bywater, alternative energy project manager. “The utility industry is changing so rapidly. This project will help us determine how and where we may want to use energy storage systems throughout our system.”

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About Jodi Baker

Jodi Baker writes stories and shoots videos for The Wire. Jodi was a television news reporter before she came to work for OPPD as a media specialist in 2013. Jodi earned her degree in broadcasting from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She's worked for news stations from her hometown of Omaha to sunny San Diego. She’s married with two bright and energetic children (a boy and a girl) and an allergy-ridden little Cairn Terrier. She and her husband enjoy catching up on some grown-up DVR time once the kiddos are asleep.

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