Power Plants & Facilities
Nebraska’s electricity is generated from a variety of in-state and out-of-state resources, including coal, nuclear, hydropower, natural gas, wind, diesel oil, solar and methane. This diversity offers NPA members the flexibility to draw upon a variety of resources at the most economical times to meet customers’ need for electricity.
In meeting the electric needs of Nebraskans, NPA members draw on a combination of baseload, intermediate, and peaking generators:
- Baseload generators are the largest and least expensive power plants in a utility’s portfolio. They are designed to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Typical baseload generators include nuclear and coal-fired power plants.
- Intermediate generators are the next lowest-cost generators to operate. Also known as “shoulder” generators, these power plants supplement the output of baseload generators when electric use rises during the day.
- Peaking resources are a utility’s highest-cost generators. They are only operated when consumers use a lot of electricity, such as hot summer afternoons. These periods of usage are called “peak periods.”
Nebraska is located close to the low-sulfur coal mines of Wyoming and for that reason baseload coal-fired power plants supply the greatest percentage of the state’s electricity. Nebraska’s coal-fired power plants are among the cleanest, lowest-cost and most efficient facilities in the country. The low-sulfur coal they use typically has less impact on the environment compared to other, higher-sulfur grades of coal.
Additionally, state-of-the-art equipment at the newer coal plants in Nebraska reduce emissions from the plants even more. And, In the coming years, NPA members expect to install additional pollution control equipment on some of their coal-fired power plants to comply with evolving federal regulations.
Nebraska also has a diverse mix of carbon-neutral electric generation. Two nuclear power facilities supply more than 25% of the state’s electricity without emitting any carbon dioxide. Wind generation facilities across the state take advantage of a renewable resource that is clean and abundant, though these facilities don’t generate electricity when the wind isn’t blowing. Nine hydroelectric generators operate along Nebraska’s waterways, producing clean, low-cost electricity. The state’s utilities also purchase hydroelectric energy from the Western Area Power Administration, a federal agency. Electricity also is being produced from solar and methane facilities located around the state. In addition, homeowners are siting small renewable generators on their property and selling excess electricity back to their local utilities pursuant to the state’s “net metering” law.
A small portion of Nebraska’s electricity is generated by natural gas and diesel oil.
Having a diverse portfolio of electric generating resources helps NPA member utilities manage risks and hold down costs. We are committed to providing customers with affordable, reliable electricity that is produced in an environmentally responsible manner.