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Collaborating on a greener community

April 22, 2022 | Julie Wasson | community, environment
Greener Together Program

At OPPD, our mission is to provide affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services to our customers. To that end, OPPD’s current fuel sources for generation are low-sulfur coal, wind, solar, landfill gas, natural gas and fuel oil, and hydroelectric.

OPPD also has programs in place to help customers achieve green goals of their own. The utility supports those goals not just through a diverse generation mix but also through education about electric vehicles, related incentives and rebates, and public charging stations, as well as through customer-owned generation, providing education about the options and rebates available to customers.

And now OPPD has introduced the Greener Together Program. This program is designed to help customers set their own personal green goals while also allowing them to collaborate with others to support community-wide environmental projects throughout the greater Omaha area.

How Greener Together works

The Greener Together Program gives all members of the OPPD community a voice. As part of the program, customers contribute monthly, and all funds collected go toward selecting and supporting green projects within the greater Omaha community. Based on the amount you contribute, you’ll have full access to all project details, as well as the opportunity to submit ideas and help identify which projects move forward.

The program implements grassroots improvements, such as bike paths, composting, tree planting and public park solar projects. Every project funded by the Greener Together Program will have a focus on making a positive, long-term impact on the community’s sustainability.

Membership levels

The program has three levels from which to choose. All levels include access to the Greener Together Community dashboard, where members can find project details, and suggest and vote on upcoming initiatives. The more you contribute monthly, the more involvement you’ll have in the project selection process.

Silver

  • Members at this level contribute $4.50 to $6.50 a month.
  • At this level, members have access to program updates and the program dashboard, and they can vote on potential projects.

 Gold 

  • Members at this level contribute $7 to $9.50 a month.
  • At this level, members have access to program updates and the program dashboard. They can vote on potential projects and help select winning projects.

 Emerald

  • Members at this level contribute $10 or more a month.
  • At this level, members have access to program updates and the program dashboard. They can vote on potential projects and help select winning projects. They also receive Greener Together merchandise.

As a public utility, OPPD strives to be transparent about what we do to serve our customers. Through the Greener Together Program, all participating members gain a full view of where and how the program puts funds to work.

When you sign up, you can instantly gain full access to information about all projects – past, current and future.

Applying for project funding

Do you have a project in mind? Eligible organizations can submit projects for funding consideration. Organizations eligible to submit projects are nonprofits, nonprofit educational institutions, cultural enrichment organizations, or  health and human services organizations. Proposed projects can be submitted online to be considered for funding through the Greener Together program.

Project applications will be accepted from April to August of 2022 for 2023 funding.

Application details

  • Projects must fall under at least one of the following categories: renewable energy, environmental sustainability, or community betterment/education.
  • For the 2022 application period, funding requests must fall within a $10,000 to $100,000 funding range. This may change for future application periods.
  • To submit a project, fill out the application and submit all necessary documentation to greenertogether@oppd.com. Please be sure to read the application requirements before submitting.
  • Applicants will receive a notification when their project application is received, along with a timeline for the project selection process.

Launch projects

The program is kicking off with two launch projects at the OPPD Arboretum, near 108th and Blondo streets.

The first project is a sustainable, edible orchard.

The purpose of the orchard is to demonstrate additional benefits of planting trees around your home, said OPPD Wildlife Natural Resources Specialist Chris Vrtiska. Properly planted trees can shade homes during the summer and act as wind breaks during the winter, reducing energy costs overall.

Many consumers have seen shortages of their favorite types of produce, among many other things, during the pandemic. Planting trees that produce some of your favorite fruits or nuts can provide you with your own supply of your favorites, Vrtiska said, along with the energy savings of having properly planted trees.

The orchard will be home to apple, peach, pear, hazelnut and pecan trees, among others.

OPPD is planting the orchard in partnership with Great Plains Nursery. Planting should begin in May, Vrtiska said.

The second arboretum project is a demonstration plot of grasses and wildflowers that are native to Nebraska. The grasses and wildflowers chosen and are species that grow well in this area.

Each type of grass and wildflower will be planted in its own individual spot, so visitors can see what each type looks like. Then visitors can decide what combination of grasses and flowers they want to plant, Vrtiska said.

Planting will begin at the end of May and into June, using plants rather than starting from scratch with seeds.

OPPD is partnering with Bellevue University on the demonstration plot.

For more information or to sign up for the Greener Together Program, please see the program’s page.

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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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