When OPPD announced its Power with Purpose initiative in 2019, the planned utility-scale solar installations grabbed headlines, and rightly so. When completed, they will be the largest of their kind in the region, and a significant contributor to OPPD’s strategic goal of being a net-zero carbon generating utility by 2050.
During the night, or at times when the sun isn’t quite delivering the energy required, OPPD still needs to ensure customers have power. Dispersed installation and new solar technologies, such as voltage regulators, help to a degree. However, to efficiently and effectively fill the gap, OPPD is turning to the flexibility offered by natural gas.
OPPD is commissioning two modern, backup natural gas generating facilities to meet this demand. One will be a reciprocating engine (RICE) site in Douglas County and a second is a dual simple cycle turbine site in Sarpy County. Current projections have both up and operating by 2023.
As detailed last fall, the new plants will offer efficient, on-demand backup power to help balance the day/night solar cycle. Current projections show them running approximately 10-15% of the time.
In the past, OPPD generally named its facility sites after their geographic locations: Nebraska City Station, North Omaha Station, Fort Calhoun Station, and so forth.
These two new gas plants, besides boasting different technologies and capabilities, follow a modified naming convention. It’s one based on thoughtful employee feedback, leadership consideration and connection with host communities.
They are: Turtle Creek Station and Standing Bear Lake Station.
OPPD reached out to more than 600 employees in the Energy Production and Nuclear Decommissioning (EPND) business unit for name suggestions. Since these professionals will operate and maintain the new plants, it was fitting that they should help name them.
Employees offered dozens of thoughtful ideas, many rooted in regional history, military and memorial connections, community values, and more. Suggestions and the rationales behind them were presented to OPPD’s senior management team for consideration and final decision.
Waterways large and small carve their way through OPPD’s service territory, shaping the landscape and character of the region. The new power generation site in Sarpy County is situated just a few hundred meters west of Turtle Creek, a name also shared by a small dam and reservoir. OPPD employees and leadership opted for that name, noting that on top of the geographic connection, the name evokes a pleasant sense of rural community and environmental stewardship.
Located near Standing Bear Lake in Omaha, the new Douglas County site will take on that name. Honoring the 19th-century Ponca chief and Native American civil rights leader, the name Standing Bear is one rooted in pride, passion and respect.
OPPD core values are: we have a passion to serve, we care about each other, and we honor our community. Giving these facilities the appropriate names is one way to express OPPD’s commitment to its communities, its history and its legacy going forward.
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