What should we do next?

In 2011, NPPD’s Board of Directors approved a new Strategic Plan developed by eight teams of board members, management and utility customer representatives.

An outcome of the Plan was a Generation Options Analysis project to identify options for NPPD’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The GOA project, as it was called, involved holding 10, “Behind the Outlet” public open houses throughout the first half of 2012 and across the state.  Approximately 500 attendees learned about NPPD’s various generating and transmission technologies and the challenges associated with each resource. NPPD staff also discussed new technologies and the energy research underway by the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research and the Electric Power Research Institute. The public could provide feedback to NPPD on their views of the various generation options which was collected as part of the NPPD’s IRP process.

NPPD’s IRP takes a look at the utility 20 years into the future. While budgets are assessed each year and forecasted on a six-year basis, the complexity of developing an IRP has increased. Rather than only identifying the timing and type of the next generating resource, contemporary resource planning efforts must consider the possible effects of climate change, new regulations and pending legislation at the State and Federal levels.

The inclusion of renewables and demand and supply side management are also now central to this planning effort, as is energy efficiency by end-use customers. Given the magnitude and complexity in front of today’s resource planners, new technologies will need to be developed to resolve immediate and future challenges. The Domestic Energy Research and Application Initiative is useful in providing a feedstock of new ideas and applications to answer some of the challenges ahead. In addition to the projects researched as part of our collaboration with UNL and EPRI, NPPD will continue to improve its business by considering the following:

  • Research CO2 capture technologies for fossil fueled generation resources.
  • Research CO2 sequestration potential of geological formations and/or saline aquifers located below Nebraska for potential use for power plant CO2 emission sequestration.
  • Research and then demonstrate “smart grid” technologies as they become available.
  • Investigate the development of Compressed Air Energy Storage technologies in order to store intermittent, off peak energy from wind and other generation resources.
  • Explore new nuclear technologies including “modular” plant designs.
  • Evaluate an extended power uprate of up to 146 MWe (megawatts of electrical output) at Cooper Nuclear Station.
  • Integrate “state of the art” energy efficiency attributes into the design of new, District facilities.

While research cannot guarantee success, new and better technologies are needed to better serve our customers. The integration of research and development in the District’s operations can lead to the technologies that will play an important role in NPPD’s future.