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NE Nebraska targeted for wind farm

Nebraska’s first privately owned wind farm could be built somewhere in northeast Nebraska.

Project sponsors declined to disclose the specific location of the wind farm until the Nebraska Public Power District board decides whether it wants to buy the 40 megawatts of renewable energy.

NPPD directors are scheduled to vote on a 20-year power purchase agreement at their meeting today in Columbus.

“This is a good option for Nebraska. There is a lot more interest in renewable energy. NPPD believes in having a diversity of energy resources,” said utility spokeswoman Beth Boesch.

The proposed wind farm would be made up of 20 turbines, each capable of generating 2 megawatts of electricity, Boesch said. She also declined to name the location, saying only it would have to be near a high-voltage power line so electricity could be transmitted easily to NPPD’s grid system.

The project’s total cost was not disclosed. The Lincoln Electric System spent about $2 million to build two wind turbines north of Interstate 80. Each generates 1 megawatt of electricity.

The new wind farm would be built under an economic strategy called Community-Based Energy Development. Under such a plan, a limited liability corporation made up of farmers and other investors would build the wind... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Project sponsors declined to disclose the specific location of the wind farm until the Nebraska Public Power District board decides whether it wants to buy the 40 megawatts of renewable energy.

NPPD directors are scheduled to vote on a 20-year power purchase agreement at their meeting today in Columbus.

“This is a good option for Nebraska. There is a lot more interest in renewable energy. NPPD believes in having a diversity of energy resources,” said utility spokeswoman  Beth Boesch.

The proposed wind farm would be made up of 20 turbines, each capable of generating 2 megawatts of electricity, Boesch said. She also declined to name the location, saying only it would have to be near a high-voltage power line so electricity could be transmitted easily to NPPD’s grid system.

The project’s total cost was not disclosed. The Lincoln Electric System spent about $2 million to build two wind turbines north of Interstate 80. Each generates 1 megawatt of electricity.

The new wind farm would be built under an economic strategy called Community-Based Energy Development. Under such a plan, a limited liability corporation made up of farmers and other investors would build the wind turbines.

In Nebraska, the nation’s only all public power state, electric utilities have been key players in wind energy development. And although a private corporation would build this project, those involved say it would still fall within the spirit of public ownership because all of the investors would be from Nebraska.

NPPD owns and operates a 60-megawatt wind farm south of Ainsworth and two turbines near Springview.

The 36-turbine Ainsworth complex, which opened last year, is the state’s largest wind farm. It produces enough electricity annually to provide power to 19,000 homes.

Nebraska is ranked sixth in the nation with the greatest energy potential from wind power, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

The proposed wind farm in northeast Nebraska would be owned by a coalition of investors, including several ag groups and individuals, Boesch said. Those investors would be entitled to federal production tax credits and other incentives.

The Lincoln-based Nebraska Farmers Union is one of the investors, said its president, John Hansen. He said there is a total of four Nebraska-based nonprofit groups in the corporation along with farmers, landowners and community residents.

Regarding the project, Hansen said it was important to “let the (NPPD) board gather the facts and make the decisions that we elect them to do.”

The Nebraska Farmers Union initiated talks with NPPD about a community-owned wind farm more than two years ago. The American Corn Growers Association and Center for Rural Affairs also support the project.

Chuck Hassebrook, executive director of the Lyons-based center, said his group is not an investor but supports the project. It will help build the rural economy, create more job and investment opportunities and generate tax dollars, he said.

“It’s an approach to energy development that benefits all Nebraskans because we’re keeping our dollars right here in Nebraska instead of sending them out of Nebraska to import coal,” Hassebrook said.

Dan Juhl, a wind energy pioneer  in Minnesota, is a technical consultant to the project. Juhl’s company, DanMar & Associates, teamed with 250 farmers, other investors, banks and businesses to build a $13 million wind farm near Woodstock, Minn.

Boesch said NPPD has been approached by several groups in Nebraska that want to build wind projects and “we are evaluating them as they come in.”

Reach Algis J. Laukaitis at 473-7243 or alaukaitis@journalstar.com
 


Source: http://www.journalstar.com/...

JUL 7 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/3369-ne-nebraska-targeted-for-wind-farm
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