Library from Nebraska

Cause of Bloomfield turbine fire still under investigation

Three investigative teams will be coordinated to learn the cause of this week's fire atop a 260-foot wind turbine north of Bloomfield, the state fire marshal's office said Thursday. The fire occurred at one of 27 turbines on the 80-megawatt Elkhorn Ridge wind farm under construction. Once completed, Elkhorn Ridge will become Nebraska's largest wind farm. ...Meanwhile, work has been suspended at the wind farm, Roberts said.
4 Dec 2008

3 workers injured in wind farm fire

An explosion and fire at a wind farm under construction in northeast Nebraska has injured three workers. One man, who was atop a tower when a turbine exploded, received first- and second-degree burns in the fire Tuesday morning. Two others, who were nearby, were treated for smoke inhalation and released.
2 Dec 2008

Attorney: Be cautious with wind farms

A guy in a suit knocks on your door and says he's a wind farm developer and wants to put a big wind turbine on your farm. He offers you thousands of dollars for a long-term lease and says you can still farm the land and make some good money, too, just by signing a piece of paper. Sounds tempting. What do you do?
26 Nov 2008

Public provides views on energy

Energy sources from the atom to industrial hemp were promoted in Nebraska City Friday at a Nebraska Energy Office hearing. Neil Moseman, who Gov. Dave Heineman appointed in May to head the energy office, said the hearing was the last of eight held across the state in advance of revisions to the state's 1992 policy.
11 Nov 2008

Meteorological towers get nod

Two conditional use permits regarding meteorological towers were unanimously approved by the Otoe County Planning Commission Thursday, Oct. 16, at Syracuse. Both will be forwarded to the Otoe County Commissioners for their approval. One tower will be near County Road L and County Road 10 as requested by the Kenneth Hartman trust. The other tower will be south of County Road P and near County Road 18 as requested by Russel and Keith Moss.
22 Oct 2008

Wind-farm contracts stir up lots of questions

[E]xperts say, read the fine print. Under some contracts with wind developers - contracts ranging from 30 to 180 years - rural lands could be affected for generations to come. ...Too often, landowners hear a sales pitch and sign a contract without reading it. "If the wind blew at your place yesterday and it blew there today, it's probably going to blow there tomorrow," said Hansen, who urges farmers not to let wind developers rush them.
16 Oct 2008

Fate of wind energy rests on policy

Utilities, private contractors and entrepreneurs know how to build wind farms. They can evaluate wind potential, negotiate easements with farmers and ranchers, construct 230-foot tall towers topped with 131-foot blades, and put electricity on the grid if there's access to transmission lines. What they can't do is chart a clear path to the future for wind energy because it will be greatly influenced by decisions made in Washington, D.C. For now, there is no comprehensive national energy policy.
11 Oct 2008

Cass, Otoe counties targeted for wind farms

Midwest Wind Energy obtained "exclusive options" from landowners covering more than 6,000 acres near Douglas and Burr in Otoe County and about 5,000 acres near Plattsmouth, said Mike Donahue, executive vice president of the company. Donahue said the company is looking at both counties, which are within OPPD's service territory, and sites elsewhere, including Iowa and Kansas, in an attempt to win a renewable energy contract with the utility. OPPD has asked developers to submit proposals to supply 80 megawatts of wind generation. The deadline for proposals is Oct. 10.
25 Sep 2008

Bloomfield prepares for wind energy

Plans to build one of Nebraska's largest wind farms have set the wheels in motion for the expansion of the substation located approximately 5 miles north of Bloomfield. "We're expanding the substation to, first of all, support the planned 80-megawatt wind farm with Midwest Energy, and secondly, a 40-megawatt facility that hasn't formally been announced yet," said Mark Becker, media relations specialist for the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD). ...But Becker said Nebraska residents won't see a reduction in electricity rates from the installation of wind farms. "Right now, wind is a fuel that is free - it's not like coal or nuclear which we have to pay for," he said. "But wind energy generation is very sporadic and we have maintenance issues, as well - turbines are mechanical and problems do arise, so there are expenses."
12 Apr 2008

New wind farm to be state's largest

The Nebraska Public Power District, along with Midwest Wind Energy LLC and its affiliate Elkhorn Ridge Wind LLC, announced today that after several months of negotiations the parties have executed a 20-year power purchase agreement that will pave the way for construction of Nebraska's largest wind farm near Bloomfield. The 80-megawatt Elkhorn Ridge wind energy project, to be constructed by the end of 2008, is expected to produce an amount of energy equivalent to the amount of electricity used by approximately 25,000 Nebraska residences in a year. The project is a direct result of NPPD's efforts to expand participation in wind development by issuing a Request For Proposal last July for wind projects up to 100 megawatts in size.
19 Mar 2008

Rare birds could be threatened by growth of wind farms

Whooping cranes, one of the world's rarest birds, have waged a valiant battle against extinction. But federal officials warn of a new potential threat to the endangered whoopers: wind farms. Down to as few as 16 in 1941, the gargantuan birds that migrate 2,400 miles each fall from Canada to Texas, thanks to conservation efforts, now number about 266. But because wind energy, one of the fastest growing sources of renewable energy, has gained such traction, whooping cranes could again be at risk - from either crashing into the towering wind turbines and transmission lines or because of habitat lost to the wind farms. "Basically you can overlay the strongest, best areas for wind turbine development with the whooping crane migration corridor," said Tom Stehn, whooping crane coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
27 Feb 2008

NPPD shifts focus to large private wind projects

At this time last year, Nebraska advocates for wind energy were bracing for another legislative session of mostly futile efforts to nudge public power out of its resistance to privately developed wind projects. Now, the Nebraska Public Power District, the state's largest public utility, is negotiating with three private developers on projects totaling 150 megawatts a figure that would dwarf the state's current production of 73 MW per year. ...But not everyone is excited about the push into wind. ...Southern [Power District] spokeswoman LeAnne Doose said the utility's board is concerned about installing a traditionally more costly form of power at a time when utilities are passing double-digit rate increases. Doose said she has seen a groundswell of support for wind energy, but she's concerned that utilities might bow to popular pressure rather than coming at wind with "a common-sense approach." "It's coming," Doose said. "We just hope that it's done in more of a sensible way."
23 Dec 2007

NPPD gets 7 proposals for wind generation projects

Seven proposals for wind-powered generation projects are in the initial stages of review by the Nebraska Public Power District. In mid-July, NPPD invited developers interested in building and operating more wind-powered generation in Nebraska to submit proposals by Aug. 20. NPPD said it will evaluate the projects and make a recommendation to its board of directors. The projects could add 100 megawatts of wind power to the utility's existing nuclear, coal, wind, water, diesel and natural gas facilities.
24 Aug 2007

Plans in works for possible power line running from Spearville to Hays to Nebraska

It will be November before a final decision is made, but at least two companies have indicated an interest in building a transmission line that would pass near Hays. One of those companies - ITC Great Plains - officially is on record that it would like to build the line, which would run from Spearville to the Knoll substation just northwest of Hays and then to Axtell, Neb., just south of Kearney. While it's significant that the line would come close to Hays, it's also the first line that a relatively new state agency - on its own accord - has proposed building if no private company steps forward.
22 Aug 2007

Obsolescence of wind turbines worries Springview

This pair of pioneer turbines put Springview on the map just nine years ago, as a U.S. Department of Energy demonstration site to test the feasibility of small wind farms. They were Nebraska's first commercial wind turbines. With a capacity of 750 kilowatts each, the duo generates enough electricity to power about 350 homes - less than half of what today's turbines can do. The turbines have been plagued with repair and maintenance issues, causing extensive downtime and expense.
31 May 2007

NPPD seeks wind power proposals

Over the past year - after building Nebraska's largest wind-powered electric generation facility near Ainsworth - the Nebraska Public Power District has received approximately a half dozen proposals from private wind developers interested in building one or more similar- or larger-sized facilities in the state.
30 May 2007
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