Gov. Pete Ricketts joined representatives of Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), Monolith Materials, and Norris Public Power District for a joint announcement Monday regarding the facilitation of a significant addition to the renewable energy landscape in the state. The addition will provide significant short- and long-term value to Nebraska.
In order to facilitate Monolith Materials’ proposed $1 billion expansion of its Olive Creek facility (OC2) near Hallam, Nebraska, NPPD and Monolith have signed a letter-of-intent outlining the companies’ intentions to procure enough renewable energy resources to generate two million megawatt-hours annually.
NPPD President and CEO Tom Kent said NPPD will solicit bids for the project through a request for proposals (RFP) for new wind or solar generation, including energy storage, through a Power Purchase Agreement.
“The approximately two million megawatt-hours of generation would create a sufficient number of renewable energy certificates (RECs) to meet 100 percent of Monolith’s average annual energy usage and meet their environmental and sustainability goals,” Kent added. “While we are adding additional generation resources, NPPD will continue to maintain our highly competitive rates, which was one of the reasons Monolith moved its operations to Nebraska.” Kent noted that to reach that generation figure, the renewable resource projects could be comprised of wind, solar, or a mix of the two.
NPPD will be securing the generation resources which will be a large addition to the District’s renewable energy resources in the state. Power to the facility will be delivered by Norris Public Power District in Beatrice, a wholesale customer of NPPD.
“The relationship between NPPD and Norris enables Norris customers, like Monolith, to realize the benefits of public power, including competitive rates, reliable and resilient service and excellent customer service,” Norris General Manager and CEO Bruce Vitosh said. “Norris is willing to accommodate our customers to help them fulfill their power supply needs as the electric industry evolves. Norris is pleased that Monolith will achieve their environmental and sustainability goals.”
“Renewable electricity is the primary input to our proprietary process” said Rob Hanson, co-founder and chief executive officer of Monolith. “While affordability and reliability are key business considerations, the sustainability of our power supply is also a critical factor for Monolith. We use this renewable electricity to sustainably make essential products for the automotive and agriculture sectors. This means hundreds of good paying advanced manufacturing jobs right here in Nebraska – jobs you can build a family around.”
A $100 million investment that has created 50 jobs, Olive Creek 1 (OC1), Monolith’s first production facility, is already putting into practice the company’s focus on sustainability, utilizing renewable energy credits to offset 100% of its electricity needs. With this agreement, Monolith plans a mix of solar and wind generation resources along with battery energy storage to provide sufficient renewable power to offset its OC1 and OC2 operations in the future.
NPPD is expecting to enter into power purchase agreements by Sept. 1, 2021, with commercial operations expected to begin no later than Dec. 31, 2025. NPPD plans to issue the RFP in March 2021. A shortlist will be developed for further negotiations.
“This agreement paves the way for significant investment in the state. It sends a clear message that Nebraska remains open for business for companies looking to expand in a state with affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy resources, including renewable opportunities,” noted Governor Ricketts.