COLUMBUS, Neb. (Jan. 16, 2014)— Today, the Nebraska Public Power District announced that its Board of Directors approved a 25-year agreement with a Sempra U.S. Gas & Power affiliate to purchase the future renewable energy of a new wind farm to be built in Custer County, near Broken Bow.
The project has been in the works for a while, but a new developer is at the table. In the fall of 2013, the successor developer to the company that originally worked with NPPD on the project sold the Broken Bow II wind project to Sempra. On Jan. 10, during its monthly meeting, NPPD’s board acknowledged and agreed to the transfer of NPPD’s power purchase agreement to Sempra.
When the Broken Bow II facility is complete, it will generate approximately 75 MWs of electricity. NPPD will purchase all of the facility’s output and then sell 60 percent of the variable energy to the Omaha Public Power District. Customers from both utilities will benefit, and the project will bring NPPD within 23 megawatts of its goal to generate 10 percent of its generation with new, renewable resources.
“Nebraska’s largest public power utilities have been dedicated to adding more wind to their energy portfolios,” said NPPD President and CEO Pat Pope. “This Broken Bow II facility is particularly exciting because it will stand alongside another wind farm near Broken Bow that began commercial operation in 2012.”
NPPD identified the Broken Bow area as a good location for wind energy generation in a study conducted after 2005. NPPD also designed the transmission infrastructure needed to support the first facility to accommodate a second facility addition. Broken Bow II represents the eighth wind facility NPPD has brought to the state since it helped build the state’s first wind facility near Springview in 1998.
Construction of the meteorological towers for Broken Bow II is expected to begin by the end of January, and delivery of the turbines will begin in March, with final deliveries scheduled for July and August. Once constructed, the Broken Bow II facility will use 43, 1.7 MW, General Electric wind turbines to serve approximately 30,000 homes when generating electricity. The project is expected to employ about 300 workers during peak construction and begin commercial operation in late 2014.
“The acquisition and development of Broken Bow II is another exciting step forward, as we continue to invest in wind energy projects across the U.S.,” said Kevin Sagara, vice president of renewables for Sempra U.S. Gas & Power. “We look forward to becoming a long-term partner with the local community, as we partner with the Nebraska Public Power District to provide Nebraskans with a new, clean source of energy.”
“NPPD is proud of its track record in adding renewable energy to our generation mix, which is already more than 40 percent carbon free,” said Pope. “We work in partnership with wind developers and other public power entities, like OPPD, and Custer County Public Power District, the local public power utility, to meet the energy needs of Nebraskans, now and in the future.”