Retrofits to Help Cut Diesel Emissions

By admin On June 26th, 2009 in Uncategorized /

Besides retrofitting some diesel-fueled vehicles, OPPD is testing hybrid service vehicles like this to help cut emissions

The Omaha Public Power District is working on controlling its carbon footprint and a new grant from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality’s Clean Diesel Grant program will help that effort. The NDEQ is awarding the District a $19,000 grant that will be used to retrofit the diesel exhaust systems in at least ten of its service vehicles. The grant is part of a state and national effort to reduce diesel exhaust and the amount of air pollution created by vehicles fueled by diesel.

OPPD says the vehicles to be retrofitted include at least five aerial basket trucks and five digger/derrick trucks, all model year 2003. In addition to the $19,000 state grant, the District will provide $5,000 in matching funds bringing the total amount of the project to $24,000. The work will be done by Cummins Central Power of Omaha which was low bidder for the retrofit project. Under the guidelines of the grant, OPPD will pay to have the trucks retrofitted and then be reimbursed by the State.

The retrofit fits in with OPPD’s goals of reducing its carbon footprint to help protect the environment, to promote energy efficiency and to increase the emphasis on renewable sources of energy.  Earlier this year, as part of its mission to “Aim Green,” OPPD became the first utility in Nebraska to purchase a hybrid basket truck. It is also the only utility with two plug-in hybrid vehicles. OPPD now has twenty-five hybrid vehicles in its fleet.

The retrofit project is a first for the utility. OPPD also plans to achieve reductions by eliminating unnecessary idling of its vehicles, fueling vehicles where possible with cleaner fuels and replacing the company’s oldest vehicles with new, less polluting vehicles. In 1993, OPPD began using biodiesel in many of its vehicles and is now one of the area’s major users of the fuel. Biodiesel is a blend of specially-prepared vegetable oils such as soy oil and diesel fuel. Besides being manufactured from a renewable energy source, it runs cleaner than with regular diesel fuel.

OPPD hopes to complete the retrofit project by the end of August. The utility’s matching funds for the project will come from OPPD’s Sustainable Energy and Environmental Stewardship Division.


Another Link to Energy Savings?

By admin On June 25th, 2009 in Uncategorized /

Here’s a link to a story about a new (and free) online home-energy monitoring tool being launched by Microsoft.  We haven’t tried it out, but we’ll be looking at it.  So can you.  Click here to go to a story with more information. 

If you give this tool a try, we’d be interested in hearing what you think.  You can comment on this post or send your thoughts via e-mail to  Thanks! 


Get Credit(s) for Being Green

By admin On June 11th, 2009 in Uncategorized /

There’s a ton of information available about various tax credits and incentives for people who want to pursue renewable energy and efficiency at home or work.  The task of finding that information can be a little unnerving, but here are a couple of links that may help as you start sorting through the maze of material available in the cyber-world.

Nebraska Department of Energy

US Department of Energy


Being Smart About Being Green

By admin On June 9th, 2009 in Uncategorized /

The main purpose behind is to provide factual information about energy and being green.  We like to have some fun with that, when possible.  Sometimes, ”fun” doesn’t work with a topic, and this is a case where we have to treat a serious topic in a serious way. 

The following message from OPPD President and Chief Executive Officer W. Gary Gates and OPPD Chairman of the Board Fred J. Ulrich was printed in the Omaha World-Herald on June 9, 2009.  The message is this:  OPPD fully supports development of sustainable energy and continued environmental responsibility, and we’ve launched the programs to back that up.  But we believe all of this has to occur in a way that prevents electricity from becoming a luxury without doing much to green up the environment. 

OPPD Position on Cap and Trade

OPPD’s customer-owners are today faced with the prospect that federal legislation will undo much of the public power advantages they’ve enjoyed for more than six decades.  In a nutshell, the legislation in question — cap and trade legislation – will produce dramatic increases in the cost of electricity for OPPD customers, with little benefit to our environment.

OPPD is and has always been committed to environmental responsibility. Since our establishment in 1946, OPPD has worked to provide affordable, reliable electricity to its customers.  We will continue to do these things, using renewable resources, a growing focus on energy efficiency, sound environmental and business practices, and new technology as it becomes available.

Cap and trade legislation is intended to decrease carbon dioxide emissions produced by fossil-fueled power generating plants.  OPPD supports the general concept of decreasing carbon. But the bill being considered in the U.S. House of Representatives — H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, also known as the Waxman-Markey bill — is the wrong tool.  Basically, this bill would set up a “cap and trade” system that amounts to a secondary tax to support non-energy-related needs.

Cap and trade will create a market, like the stock market, for the right to emit CO2, and allow regulated industries, such as the electric power sector, to buy and sell the allowances. By setting a “cap” on the amount of allowances and lowering that cap each year, the bill forces power producers to either cut their creation of these gasses or buy the necessary allowances from others. Other players in this market will include hedge funds and international banks.  

You should know that no commercially-available carbon-reduction or carbon-control equipment currently exists, nor is it likely for the foreseeable future.  However, when and if it becomes available, OPPD customers will also have to pay the cost of buying and operating this equipment, which will amount to hundreds of millions of dollars more.

And it doesn’t end there.  Electric rates will escalate even further because the Waxman-Markey bill also requires utilities like OPPD to build or buy a minimum percentage of its electricity from higher-cost renewable generation sources such as wind and solar, even though we may not need the supply. This is known as the Renewable Energy Standard. There are other unfunded mandates in the bill that will raise rates, including building public recharging stations for electric vehicles.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has provided a range of realistic assumptions as to the impact of the bill. The bottom line is; our estimates, based on those assumptions, show cap and trade will add 25 percent to electric bills for OPPD customers by 2012.  That impact skyrockets to 97 percent by 2030. This translates into an annual increase in an average residential consumer’s bill of around $250 in 2012 up to about $1,000 by 2030.  That’s for cap and trade alone and not adjusted for inflation. This legislation will eliminate jobs by increasing electricity bills and, if recent history teaches anything, when energy prices increase, so do the prices of most other necessities, such as food and clothing.

Why do many believe Waxman-Markey will fail to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions? Cap and trade is a scheme that has failed in Europe. Since Europeans adopted the Kyoto Protocols to reduce CO2 in 2000, Europe’s CO2 emissions per unit of Gross Domestic Product have grown faster than those of the U.S. Many Europeans are now paying 20 percent more for their electricity, with no CO2 reduction to show for it.

Higher energy prices in this country will force energy-intensive industries to either move their operations to countries with lower energy costs, such as China and India, or be forced out of business entirely. China and India are the fastest growing CO2 emitters in the world and repeatedly state they have no intention to mandate reductions in CO2. Their increased output of CO2 will more than offset any sacrifices made in the United States.

Again, OPPD is not opposed to reducing carbon in the atmosphere. But cap and trade, as designed in the Waxman-Markey Bill, is not a solution to anything. It is simply a hidden tax that will hurt the most vulnerable of our citizens, drive people out of work and out of their homes, and drag down an already weak economy with no discernable effect on the environment.

Nebraska’s political leaders in Washington, D.C., understand this and oppose the Waxman-Markey approach. They need all of our support.


W. Gary Gates                                                    Fred Ulrich

President, Chief Executive Officer                          Chairman of the Board

Omaha Public Power District                                Omaha Public Power District


First GreenFlicks, Now Green Pix

By admin On June 9th, 2009 in Uncategorized /

These pictures don’t move like the Project GreenFlick videos did, but they send a similar message about being green, and they’re worth a look.  They were produced by fifth-grade students from across Nebraska as part of the Arbor Day Foundation’s 2009 Poster Contest, co-sponsored by the Nebraska Power Association and Nebraska Forest Service.

The theme for this year’s competition was “Trees are Terrific…in Cities and Towns.”  These posters are particularly impressive to those of us who can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.

To see larger images of these posters, just click on them. 

Trees are terrific, especially when they’re planted in the right place, one of which is far away from power lines.  Click here for more information about tree planting and other important tree-related details.