State Approves and Contractor Selected...
Ainsworth Wind Generation Facility Nearing Construction
Future location of planned wind turbine facility
In August 2004, the Nebraska Public Power District received approval from the Nebraska Power Review Board to construct the state’s largest wind facility near Ainsworth. The Board’s approval gives the utility the authority to construct 32 megawatts of wind generation for itself, as well as conditional approval to build up to 60 megawatts, once the power district has reached agreements with the other participants that include Omaha Public Power District for 10 megawatts; the Jacksonville Electric Authority of Jacksonville, Florida for 10 megawatts; the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska for 7 megawatts; and the city of Grand Island for 1 megawatt.
“We are pleased that the Power Review Board approved our application,” said Clay Warren, NPPD vice president of strategic programs. “The facility is a good investment for public power in Nebraska and for the other public entities who are interested in contracting with NPPD to purchase energy from this type of technology.”
A 134,000 lb. transformer arrives at Ainsworth substation site
The renewable power plant will contribute to the power district’s diverse generating fuel mix, assist in meeting load, and take advantage of a cost-effective fuel — wind. The future facility will generate up to 60-megawatts of energy — enough to serve approximately 19,000 customers.
The proposed design for the facility includes 36 wind turbines producing 1.65 megawatts each. The turbine rotor blades will be 269 feet in diameter and will sit atop 230 feet tall tubular steel towers. The site near Ainsworth was selected because of wind speeds of approximately 19.5 miles per hour, which will enable the wind turbines to have a capacity factor of 40 percent. Capacity factor is a measurement that indicates how much of the time the facility will be generating power.
Thirty-six of these types of turbine will be installed at Ainsworth
“Wind is an economical, environmentally-sound source of electricity for Nebraska,” added Warren. “And the site near Ainsworth is a great location to optimize access to that wind with little disruption to existing land use.”
Earlier in August, the utility’s Board of Directors approved a contract for the engineering, procurement and construction of the facility to Renewable Energy Systems American Construction of Austin, Texas. Renewable Energy Systems bid of $72.4 million was the lowest and best of the three bids received. In total, the project is expected to cost $81.3 million.
With the Power Review Board’s approval, NPPD's last step before beginning construction is to complete agreements with participants. Commercial operation of the facility is anticipated by December 2005.
More information about the Ainsworth Wind Generation Facility is available on theutility’s web site.
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