Largest Wind Farm for Nebraska Moves Ahead

The Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) Board of Director’s gave its management the authority to construct a 30-MW wind farm near Ainsworth, Nebraska with the ability to expand up to 75 MW.

Ainsworth, Nebraska – December 16, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Management will work to complete negotiations with Omaha Public Power District and Jacksonville Electric Authority, Jacksonville, Florida, for 10 MW each, and will market an additional 25 MW to other public entities. The vote follows months of study and deliberation about the most economical option for investing in renewable energy and takes NPPD one step closer to achieving its strategic plan objectives. “Two key goals of NPPD’s Strategic Plan are to increase the amount of renewable energy in our generation portfolio and augment economic development in the state,” said NPPD Board Chairman Wayne Boyd. “It is our fiscal responsibility to make sure it is an economical investment for our customers. The business case indicates it is.” Construction costs for the 30-MW wind farm are estimated at US$45 million, with only a slight impact to NPPD’s rates. NPPD has options to lease land for the site, which has been determined to have excellent wind capacity and can accommodate the development of 75 MW of generation with minimal upgrades to transmission facilities. However, the Board did require management to complete detailed studies of the transmission system to verify the capacity of the site with the present transmission system. “A primary benefit of the facility will be the reduction in NPPD’s power purchases through the winter months.” President and CEO Bill Fehrman said. “In addition, wind has the potential for financial incentives such as renewable energy production credits and green tags sold to other utilities who want to include renewable energy in their generation portfolios.” “The Board considered four different production levels for the facility-15-, 30-, 50- and 75-megawatts,” said Boyd. “The 30-megawatt investment, with the potential to develop more for other utilities, made the most sense for NPPD and our customers. NPPD’s current base load generation allows wind energy to be added without the need for additional back-up generation for use when the wind does not blow.” “Constructing and operating wind turbines is within NPPD’s core business,” said Fehrman. “We mitigate the risks of this investment by taking advantage of a natural energy source, partnering with other public utilities to make it happen, solidifying NPPD’s position in the renewable energy market and responding to customer feedback. These factors all contribute to making the construction of a wind turbine facility a good business decision.” The project will require approval of the Nebraska Power Review Board.
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