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Norris PPD
606 Irving Street
Beatrice, NE 68310

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Nebraska Public Power District to implement innovative solution, curbs carbon emissions while growing economy.

  LINCOLN, Neb., April 17, 2015Nebraska Public Power District  (NPPD), Nebraska’s largest electric utility, plans to replace an existing coal-fired boiler at its Sheldon Station plant in Hallam, Neb. with one that uses clean-burning hydrogen fuel. The hydrogen will be produced by Monolith Materials as a co-product from its production of carbon black using natural gas as a feedstock. The collaborative undertaking is expected to create good paying jobs at the site and enable NPPD to continue to generate and deliver affordable, reliable and sustainable energy to Nebraskans.

  To obtain this new hydrogen fuel source in Nebraska, NPPD is working with Monolith Materials – a manufacturing company that produces hydrogen as a byproduct in its production of cleanly made carbon black.  When burned, the hydrogen fuel produces zero greenhouse gas emissions. Through this agreement, NPPD is expected to reduce CO2 emissions at Sheldon Station by 1.1 million tons per year.  The Sheldon Station boiler using hydrogen as a fuel will continue to be capable of generating 125 megawatts of electricity for NPPD’s customers. The boiler conversion is also expected to result in a dramatic reduction in other types of air emissions, as well as aide in NPPD’s maintaining service as a low-cost energy producer for Nebraskans.

  “We are embarking on a new chapter in the history of Sheldon Station and electric generation in Nebraska with the decision by Monolith Materials to locate in Nebraska,” said NPPD President and CEO Pat Pope. “Sheldon Station has always been a place of firsts – the first nuclear plant in Nebraska and now the first utility scale hydrogen powered generator. We are very proud of this facility and the people who work here.”

 The addition of hydrogen as a fuel source will further NPPD’s diverse generation portfolio and will bring its carbon-free energy sources closer to 50 percent, while reducing air emissions from Unit 2 at Sheldon to close to zero.

 “This is an example of the next-generation of American innovation and energy production that will also have a positive economic impact in Nebraska, and deliver clean and affordable energy to the state. This private business-led solution has the potential to support 600 new jobs and hundreds of millions of new capital investment in the state of Nebraska,” said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.

Monolith Materials will use a safe, patented and environmentally friendly process to manufacture carbon black, a common material found in thousands of products Americans use every day including tires, rubber and plastics, printing inks, and batteries. Monolith uses natural gas as feedstock in its process instead of oil or coal-tar as in the conventional process. A co-product of its manufacturing process is plentiful hydrogen, which NPPD intends to use to generate electric energy. 

 Monolith will build its new manufacturing facility adjacent to Sheldon Station so NPPD can easily access the hydrogen. Monolith will power its new manufacturing facility with electricity from Norris Public Power District, headquartered in Beatrice, Neb.

   “Americans care about the quality of their air and water, and the sustainability of their everyday household products and energy use,” said Robert Hanson, Monolith’s co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer. “Together, Monolith and NPPD are helping reduce pollution, while still adding jobs and maintaining energy production. Additionally, Monolith plans to bring a cleaner process to a carbon black plant for the first time in the United States, which will help our country grow this important industry and expand America’s manufacturing economy.”

 This initiative is not dependent on federal government grants or loan guarantees. Instead, innovative technology, affordable electricity and the country’s vast supply of low cost natural gas allows for the production of products at market competitive prices.

 “This is the first large-scale utility operation to generate electricity through the use of hydrogen and something in which NPPD takes pride in having the opportunity to lead the way,” added Pope.

 The companies expect to break-ground on their respective operations in 2016, with an expected completion date of 2019.


Rural Electric Systems are…Working for Nebraska



Planning for a Workforce Transition

Bruce Vitosh--General Manager and CEO

Miscelaneous > Bruce-  Vitosh.jpg

The 2014 Financial Report is included in the March-April issue of the Norris Electric News.  The Statement of Net Position lists the financial assets that are held by the District.  However, the District’s most valuable assets are not listed on this Statement, which are the people that are dedicated to providing power to our customers.

Over the last six months, 115 years of experience left the District with the retirements of three very dedicated linemen. Kenny Parks, Steve Fielder and Jack Barry provided excellent customer service over the years and were extremely familiar with District customers and electric facilities in the areas that they served.

The retirement of long term employees is bittersweet. There is a void left with all of their critical knowledge leaving the organization. However, I am extremely happy for these gentlemen as they retired in good health, are enjoying time with their families and friends and spending time doing their favorite hobbies.

Many rural public power districts and cooperatives across the country struggle to find qualified and talented replacements for retiring employees. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is a national service organization dedicated to representing the national interests of public power districts and electric utility cooperatives. The NRECA has 900 member organizations across 47 states. These organizations provide electric service to 42 million customers, primarily in rural areas. It takes 70,000 employees to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity to these customers. The NRECA is projecting that 14,000 jobs, or 20% of this workforce, will need to be filled over the next five years due to retirements.

The experienced and dedicated employees of the District mirror the national numbers. The District has 17 employees, or 23% of our workforce, who are eligible for retirement over the next five years. The average age of a District employee is 45 years old, and the average years of service for a District employee is 17 years. This provides excellent internal opportunities for employees to assume new roles within the organization. The District has individual employee development plans that provide employees with the opportunity to share their career goals and aspirations. Educational and cross-training plans are identified to assist employees in reaching their ambitions as openings occur throughout their career at the District.

We have been very fortunate at the District to be able to select from a talented pool of applicants when we have job openings. When applicants are asked, why are you interested in a position at the District? Overwhelmingly, they tell us that they have heard many positive things about the District and that we provide excellent career opportunities. In addition, we are fortunate to be located in southeastern Nebraska since some applicants are interested in living in or near Lincoln.

I am confident in saying that Kenny, Steve and Jack look at weather forecasts and the prediction of approaching storms much differently today.  It is comforting to them knowing that others whom they have mentored over the years and the next generation of linemen will be responsible for providing power to our customers 24 hours per day, seven days per week no matter the weather conditions.

Thank you Kenny, Steve and Jack for a job well done.  You deserve a healthy, long-lasting and enjoyable retirement.

Recruiting Our Future Workforce

Electrical Energy and Safety Education Program:

Complimentary educational opportunity utilizing “hands-on” activities to all schools located in the District’s service territory for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Youth Energy Leadership Camp:

Available to students in the 9th, 10th or 11th grade

Rural Electric Youth Tour in Washington, D.C.:

Participants are chosen at Youth Energy Leadership Camp

Utility Lineman Scholarship:

Norris Public Power District awards one $1,500 Utility Line – Electric Lineman Training Scholarship each year


The District offers a limited number of internships each summer.

Norris Public Power District ©2015