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NPPD shelves privately owned wind farm project

A privately owned wind farm project for northeast Nebraska was placed on hold by the Nebraska Public Power District.

NPPD shelved the project because it ran out of time to finalize details with a private corporation made up of nonprofit groups, farmers and other investors, said Beth Boesch, spokeswoman for the Columbus-based utility.

“We just needed more time,” she said.

Board action on the wind farm was tabled indefinitely and it will be up to the private corporation to bring the project back for review, she said.

NPPD was looking at signing a 20-year contract to buy all electricity generated by the 40-megawatt wind farm proposed by the group. One megawatt is enough to power 250 homes for a year.

The wind farm would have been built under an economic strategy called Community-Based Energy Development. Under such a plan, a limited liability corporation of farmers and other investors would build the turbines and sell power to an electric utility, in this case, NPPD.

Neither project supporters nor Boesch would disclose the identity of the investors or the location of the proposed wind farm.

Earlier, Boesch said it must be built near a high-voltage power line so electricity could be transmitted easily to NPPD’s grid system.

The proposed wind farm would have had 20 turbines, each... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

NPPD shelved the project because it ran out of time to finalize details with a private corporation made up of nonprofit groups, farmers and other investors, said Beth Boesch, spokeswoman for the Columbus-based utility.

“We just needed more time,” she said.

Board action on the wind farm was tabled indefinitely and it will be up to the private corporation to bring the project back for review, she said.

NPPD was looking at signing a 20-year contract to buy all electricity generated by the 40-megawatt wind farm proposed by the group. One megawatt is enough to power 250 homes for a year.

The wind farm would have been built under an economic strategy called Community-Based Energy Development. Under such a plan, a limited liability corporation of farmers and other investors would build the turbines and sell power to an electric utility, in this case, NPPD.

Neither project supporters nor Boesch would disclose the identity of the investors or the location of the proposed wind farm.

Earlier, Boesch said it must be built near a high-voltage power line so electricity could be transmitted easily to NPPD’s grid system.

The proposed wind farm would have had 20 turbines, each generating 2 megawatts of electricity. The project is supported by the Nebraska Farmers Union, American Corn Growers Association and the Center for Rural Affairs.

“It’s extremely disappointing and frustrating that we didn’t get the terms agreed to because we think it is an enormous environmentally and economically beneficial project,” said John Hansen, president  of the Nebraska Farmers Union, an investor in the project.

Hansen agreed that time ran out on the project. The private corporation needed to get a contract signed with NPPD by August for the project to proceed and meet the deadline for federal production tax credits and other incentives, he said.

Those credits would have amounted to more than $45 million — money that would have been used to pay for construction costs, he said.

“We had a lot of regulatory hoops to jump through, a lot of financial details to pull together,” Hansen said. “We’re not in a position to go forward with the project at this time.”

The group plans to continue talks with NPPD in case Congress extends the production tax credits beyond Dec. 31, 2007, he said.

The project would have boosted the renewable energy portfolios of NPPD and the state, he said. Nebraska is not keeping up with its neighbors, he added.

“We have one-tenth as much wind energy (projects) as they do in Minnesota and one-eleventh as much wind energy (projects) in Iowa and we have more wind than they do,” Hansen said. “We have a tremendous resource that is undeveloped.”

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

NPPD already owns the state’s largest wind turbine complex, a 60-megawatt farm south of Ainsworth.

Wind turbines owned by other utilities are in Kimball County and outside Lincoln and Omaha.

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


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

AUG 15 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/3975-nppd-shelves-privately-owned-wind-farm-project
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