NPPD pumps out record power, plans to keep it flowing

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The power flicked off for a few seconds Monday evening, and we naturally wondered why.

It might have been more appropriate to wonder why it doesn't happen more often. That's especially true during the triple-digit temperatures we've been experiencing -- we had two days of 100 or over in June, seven in July including one four-day stretch, and August started off with 105 degrees.

But none of those hot days set a record, something the state's main power supplier keeps in mind when it forecasts demand for power for air conditioning and irrigation.

The Nebraska Public Power District said it provided a record 2,694 megawatts of electricity on July 20, breaking the previous record of 2,671 in 2006. A megawatt is enough electricity to power 250 homes for a year.

Ironically, the miserable weather will help NPPD meet its budget; it was expecting a $2.5 million shortfall for 2011, but revenues are now running ahead of expectations.

There's no secret to keeping electricity flowing through the nation's only completely publicly owned electrical utility. It takes careful planning, decisive action and equal parts clairvoyance and luck.

To improve their odds, NPPD recently approved a strategic plan to deal with expected problems such as:

-A continued tightening of regulations

-A 15 percent renewable energy standard by 2025

-Volatile and increasing commodity and fuel prices

-The continued evolution of organized energy markets and access to transmission.

-Gradual technological changes in generation, distributed generation, fuel cells, etc., with significant breakthroughs expected long team.

To meet those issues head-on, the utility plans to:

-Use a diverse energy mix.

-Own assets and not rely solely on the market

-Maintain access to energy markets

-See customers as its focus, not stockholders, and achieve strength through collaboration and open communication.

-Continue service as a low-cost power provider.

More information about how NPPD keeps the lights on is available at http://www.nppd.com/

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