One of the largest public utilities in the United States has decided to get involved in renewable energy.OMAHA, Nebraska, US, 2001-05-25 [SolarAccess.com] The Omaha Public Power District will install its first wind turbine to generate electricity for customers in its 13 county service territory. The utility will negotiate a contract with Valmont Industries, which has developed a specialized tower for utility-sized wind turbines. The companies will mount a 660 kW turbine on top of a Valmont tower, which will be located at Valmont’s facility in Valley. The unit can generate power for 300 homes, but company officials note that wind turbines in Nebraska operate at one third of capacity. The turbine will be purchased from Vestas of Denmark. Completion date and final details of the project will depend on negotiations. Officials expect to have the turbine in operation next year. The partnership will give Valmont an opportunity to showcase its new tower for wind turbines that it wants to market around the world. The irrigation manufacturing firm has developed a tower that it claims is less expensive to transport and install, and the company will provide both the tower and the land for the installation. Utilities in the state have been urged by Govenor Mike Johanns to study the potential of wind power that can be exported to power-hungry states. OPPD is one of the largest publicly owned electric utilities in the U.S. with 290,000 customers in 13 southeast Nebraska counties. The wind turbine is OPPD’s second venture into renewable energy this year. Last March, the utility authorized a 3.2 MW landfill gas-to-energy station at a dump which will be the largest renewable energy project in Nebraska when it goes on line next April.