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Net Zero Carbon; #MaskUp 😷; Systemic Racism; Climate Crisis & More – A note from OPPD Director Craig Moody

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Hello!

When I sat down to write this newsletter, I was shocked to learn that the last one I sent was in October 2019! First, I apologize for the lull. Second, things sure have changed since then. Never in a million years would I have imagined we would be in the grips of a pandemic such as this. Safe to say life has changed.

Speaking of change, much is happening at OPPD. Here’s the quick list:

Net Zero Carbon by 2050. In November, the board set a goal to be Net Zero Carbon by 2050. This includes all of our operations, not just the emissions generated when we produce electricity. This is a big deal!  (Policy language in SD7: Environmental Stewardship)

Pathways to Decarbonization Strategic Initiative. The district officially launched a massive study to examine the different pathways to achieve decarbonization and the implications of those pathways. Opportunities for engagement and input are forthcoming. More here.

OPPD Community Connect. The district launched a new, interactive website called Community Connect. It’s a great way to learn more about some of the major initiatives underway AND provide your input and perspective. It’s a great resource; I suggest you bookmark it.

State of the Utility. COVID-19 forced the district to take its State of the Utility plans entirely online. The good news is that it’s easily accessible and digestible, and it is still available for you to learn more about all the work happening at OPPD (EV charging stations, battery storage pilot, etc.) More here.

Power with Purpose. Also in November, the board voted to give management the authority to directly negotiate contracts to add up to 600 MW of solar and up to 600 MW of natural gas peaking generation to its fleet. This will allow us to meet growing demand and retire the district’s oldest coal units located in North Omaha. More here.

COVID-19 Impacts. Amid all of the aforementioned activity, the district is successfully managing through a pandemic. Generating and providing electricity is an essential service, and the district hasn’t missed a beat in navigating through it all. I’m so impressed by the dedication and steadfast approach of the organization. (COVID-19 Update.)

Help for Customers Struggling to Pay Bills. There is no question people are struggling. Customers who need help may reach out by calling 402-536-4131 in the Omaha area or 877-536-4131 outside Omaha. OPPD wants to work with customers to set up workable payment plans and help connect them to community resources for assistance.

OPPD’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Efforts. I truly hope our society has reached a tipping point in our efforts to dismantle systemic racism. OPPD has been a community leader in DEI efforts and recently received Inclusive Communities’ Otto Swanson Partner of the Year Award. The board passed a resolution in June condemning systemic racism and reaffirming the district’s commitment to take a leadership role in the pursuit of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. Meanwhile in June, Pride Month, the district displayed the rainbow flag at its facilities. As noted in this Omaha World Herald story, we received an overwhelmingly positive response for doing so.

I’m the Chair of the Board. I was honored and humbled to be elected by my board colleagues to be the chair of the board in 2020. It’s been quite the year thus far navigating the pandemic and everything else that’s going on. Chairing an 8-hour virtual committee meeting is something else! 

Other Tidbits

  • Wear masks, socially distance, and wash your hands. Tell a friend. Hold one another accountable. I am in favor of a mask mandate and hopeful it will come very soon.
  • The pandemic has disrupted nearly every system and is shining a bright light on the inequities in our society. I am advocating we take advantage of this disruption, completely re-examine everything, and work to create a new normal that is just, sustainable and resilient. Our team at Verdis Group is spending a lot of time exploring this concept (more here and here).
  • The November elections are in 98 days. This will be one of the most important elections in our nation’s history. Please, get engaged. Support (donate, volunteer, etc.) candidates who are committed to social justice, addressing the climate crisis and systemic racism, working to fix our broken health care system, and orienting our societal systems in ways that provide equitable access for everyone. Special shout out to Women Who Run Nebraska for their exceptional work to recruit, support and promote progressive women running for office.
  • I am honored and excited to be a member of the 2nd class of leadDIVERSITY, a year-long program of Inclusive Communities designed to build a network of leaders dedicated to creating localized solutions to diversity and inclusion opportunities in Nebraska.
  • I’m reading: The Responsive City, White Fragility and Understanding Evictions in Omaha.
  • I’m listening to: Omagah! (Guster & Omaha Symphony collaboration) and The Daily from New York Times
  • I’m watching: my little girls…every weekday afternoon! 😉❤️
  • My favorite hashtags now: #JusticeforJames #OPSProud #JohnLewis #MaskUp
  • I’ve failed at: learning to play the ukulele and sending one handwritten thank you note everyday for 365 days (made good progress but hit a wall)

Social Media. If you’re out and about in the social media world, keep up with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Onward and upward!
Craig

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