Last fall, OPPD signed a contract related to construction for a key aspect of its Power with Purpose project, and now work is visible at both sites where generation facilities will be constructed.
Standing Bear Lake Station, a 150-megawatt (MW) natural gas facility, will be in Douglas County, while Turtle Creek Station, a 450-MW facility, will be in Sarpy County. Both facilities will be balancing stations, which provide extra power as needed, usually when peak load is highest. They’re expected to run less than 15% of the time.
The Power with Purpose project will add 400 to 600 MW of utility-scale solar and 600 MW of natural gas to OPPD’s generation portfolio.
That solar and gas generation capacity supports OPPD’s reliability and resiliency as communities grow. The project is a significant step in putting OPPD on track to meet its net-zero carbon goal by 2050.
OPPD signed its initial solar contract in April 2021. That contract calls for an 81-MW solar array spread across about 500 leased acres south of Yutan.
Preliminary grading work began last fall, and activities have picked up again this spring as the weather has become more favorable.
“They are making good progress at both sites,” said Megan Walker, manager of Construction Management at OPPD. “Zachry Group is working at both sites, preparing laydown and storage areas for equipment, materials and supplies in anticipation of approaching construction work.”
Last year, OPPD executed a contract with Zachry Group, an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, to design, procure and construct both of OPPD’s new natural gas generation facilities, as well as their associated substations.
While the grading work continues, both sites should see test and production augered piling activities in the coming weeks as the grading winds down.
This summer, transmission work is expected to begin in relation to the project, including the erection of some of the transmission structures, said Teddy Hutchinson, Utility Operations Project Manager at OPPD.
Gas line construction will also begin this summer. Hutchinson said people will start to see an uptick in activity at the facilities as the projects progress.
OPPD’s Power with Purpose, the name given to the utility’s utility-scale solar with natural gas backup plan, was approved in November 2019 by the utility’s board of directors. The facilities will be OPPD’s first generation addition since Nebraska City Station’s Unit 2 came online in 2009.
The natural gas generation plants will provide reliability and resiliency to the grid in support of renewables, to balance the energy load as appropriate, and during extreme weather conditions, to maintain a consistent quality of electricity for OPPD’s customers.
Here is more information on the facilities:
Turtle Creek Station
Standing Bear Station
For more information, please visit OPPDCommunityConnect.com.
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