Bow wind farm agreement finalized

There’s more wind power on its way to being built in Nebraska. And it means that Nebraska Public Power District will be at the halfway point of its strategic goal for new renewable energy resources. NPPD, along with Midwest Wind Energy, LLC, Edison Mission Group (EME), and EME affiliate Broken Bow Wind, LLC, announced this week that a 20-year power purchase agreement has been finalized, paving the way for construction of an 80-megawatt wind farm near Broken Bow. Construction on the Broken Bow facility will begin in October 2011, and is expected to be in operation by the end of 2012. The project is a direct result of NPPD’s efforts to expand wind-powered generation by issuing a request for proposal in 2009 for wind farms to be constructed near Petersburg and/or Broken Bow, which resulted in 22 proposals. In February 2010, a power purchase agreement was reached between NPPD, Midwest Wind, and EME on the Laredo Ridge Wind Farm, also 80-megawatts in size, which is currently under construction near Petersburg. It will be operational by the end of the year. Broken Bow Wind is the third project by Midwest Wind Energy and Edison Mission Energy to have a power purchase agreement with NPPD. Selection was based on achieving the lowest cost of energy, when combining the power purchase agreement and associated transmission costs. Under terms of the agreement, Broken Bow Wind, LLC, will own and operate the facility, and NPPD will purchase the electric output. Midwest Wind Energy/ Edison Mission currently has a 20-year power purchase agreement with NPPD for its 80-megawatt Elkhorn Ridge Wind Farm near Bloomfield, that became operational in 2009. “With the addition of the Broken Bow facility, NPPD will be halfway to the Board of Directors strategic goal of having 10 percent of its energy resources come from new renewable energy resources by the end of 2020,” explained Dave Rich, NPPD renewable energy development manager. Rich also noted that NPPD will be discussing with Omaha Public Power District, Lincoln Electric System, Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, and Grand Island Utilities on their interest in purchasing a portion of the generation from the wind farm. "With three projects in operation, under construction, or under contract, Nebraska Public Power District is one of Edison Mission Energy’s very valued customers for renewable energy, and the state of Nebraska has provided a good business environment for developing wind projects," said Ron Litzinger, chief executive officer of EME’s parent company, Edison Mission Group. Not including Laredo Ridge, EMG companies have a wind energy portfolio of 28 projects in operation (24) or under construction (4) in 10 states with a total generating capacity of nearly 1,800 megawatts. “This project is another demonstration of how the public and private sectors can work together to provide reliable, renewable energy to Nebraska’s customers,” said Mike Donahue, executive vice president of Chicago-based Midwest Wind Energy. "First, with our Elkhorn Ridge project and now, with Laredo Ridge, we have developed a model for successful public-private partnerships."