National Wind Project Gets US $2.5M from DOE, Company Signs New Land Leases

NECO Wind, a National Wind project company announced that Phillips County, Colorado was recently awarded a US $2.5 million Community Renewable Energy Grant by the U.S. Department of Energy to help finance its community-based wind energy development.

The grant, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will help jumpstart development on the first 30 megawatt (MW) phase of the project located in Phillips County. The remainder of the project will be completed in separate phases totaling up to 650 MW across Colorado’s Phillips, Logan, and Sedgwick counties.

The funding awarded to Phillips County is part of a broader DOE initiative that will distribute $20.5 million to community-based, renewable energy projects across the United States. Community-based energy projects, like NECO Wind, foster rural economic development through localized job creation, tax revenues, and lease payments.

NECO Wind has made swift progress through the beginning stages of development. Currently, over 90,000 acres have been leased to the project’s two footprints leaving site control effectively complete. The next stage will be to design preliminary turbine layouts beginning with the Phillips County portion of the southern footprint.

Another National Wind project, Lake Country Wind Energy LLC announced last week that nearly 25,000 acres of land have been secured for the project. The acres leased in Meeker and Kandiyohi Counties represent over three-quarters of the land needed to develop the 340 megawatt (MW) community-owned wind farm. The project’s goal is to sign 30,000 acres.

With nearly 25,000 acres signed, Lake Country has made substantial progress since its formation in the summer of 2008. Currently Lake Country Wind Energy has just over 150 participating landowners.

Construction on the wind farm will take place over the course of 3-4 separate phases. The first of these phases is tentatively scheduled to go online in 2011. It is expected to deliver 40 MW of electricity to the grid and include 20, 2.05 megawatt REpower wind turbines.

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