LINCOLN – Nebraska Conservation Voters, a statewide organization that advocates for policies to protect the environment for future generations, has launched a campaign to urge the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) Board of Directors to adopt a zero carbon by 2050 goal.
OPPD introduced the goal at its committee meeting on October 15th. If adopted, this proposal for a goal of net zero carbon production by 2050 puts OPPD on the same path as dozens of utilities and states across the country that have committed to 100% clean energy.
“This goal represents the kind of leadership that is forward-thinking and greatly benefits not just Omaha but all Nebraskans. It’s exciting to see this board take action to make our electricity system cleaner and more affordable,” said Eliot Bostar, Executive Director of Nebraska Conservation Voters.
The resolution says in part: “OPPD shall: conduct all of its operations (including operations such as building services and transportation), in a manner that strives for the goal of net zero carbon production by 2050.”
Across the country, clean energy is getting cheaper while coal is getting more expensive. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that U.S. coal prices will generally increase through the year 2050.
“And Nebraska is ranked as one of the top states in clean energy potential and yet we are not taking advantage of this opportunity, despite the enormous benefits that it could bring to our state. In fact, right now Nebraska gets almost 70% of its electricity from fossil fuels like coal,” Bostar said.
NCV has launched an on-line petition – Tell OPPD: We Want Clean Energy Now (necv.org/2019/08/23/oppdpetition) “We can make a difference. Nebraska is 100% public power. What this means is that we, the public, own our electric utilities and we elect the people who are in charge of them. OPPD has substantial influence over Nebraska’s energy policy. OPPD is governed by an 8-member board, and these board directors are responsible for deciding whether we invest in clean renewable energy, or stay committed to fossil fuels like coal.”
According to Bostar, this policy would have been unimaginable in previous years.
“In the last two elections, voters elected five new OPPD board directors who campaigned on clean energy and the importance of staying abreast of the technological shifts happening in the electricity sector, and making sure that we can continue to provide affordable energy,” Bostar said.
“This proposal will help us plan ahead and make that transition in a way that is responsible and worker-focused. This is just a first step, and there’s going to be a lot more to do over the next 30 years to reach this goal. We are excited to work together with business, the utility, and community members to build this future,” Bostar said. The OPPD Board is expected to take up the resolution at its November 14 meeting.