On October 1,2002 turbine blades at the state's first wind energy farm near Kimball should begin generating electricity for residents in several Nebraska towns.
Construction of the turbines at the wind farm was completed in August. Mechanical completion, testing and inspections are scheduled to continue into the fall. The $14 million project is expected to initially generate 10.5 megawatts of power, enough to meet the yearly needs of 4,000 households.
A ground-breaking for the seven 22-ton wind turbines was held on Kay and Val Deane Snyder's farm two miles northwest of Kimball in early May. The Snyders provided land on their farm to Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska to construct the wind turbines under a long-term lease.
The wind turbines sit on 230-foot tall towers and are topped by 118-foot three-bladed rotors.
The wind farm will be owned and operated by MEAN. MEAN is the wholesale electricity supply organization for NMPP Energy which is based in Lincoln. MEAN provides electricity and other services to 54 member towns and one public power district in four states, including Nebraska. Tennessee Valley Infrastructure Group, a consortium of the Tennessee Valley Authority, assisted in the building of the wind energy farm.
Eleven Nebraska communities have signed agreements to purchase a portion of their future power needs with wind-generated energy from the MEAN Wind Project at Kimball. The towns of Alliance, Bayard, Burwell, Callaway, Gering, Kimball, Mitchell, Oxford, Red Cloud, West Point and Wood River have committed to supplementing their power supply needs with wind energy. In addition, a number of other towns in Nebraska and Colorado are considering including wind energy in their power resources with electricity generated by the MEAN Wind Project.
If sufficient demand for electricity produced from renewable resources is found, the wind farm can be expanded up to a total of 20 turbines with a capacity output of 30 megawatts enough for 10,000 homes.