Edison Mission Group, Nebraska Public Power Announce Operation of Nebraska’s Largest Wind Project
IRVINE, Calif. – Edison Mission Group (EMG), a subsidiary of Edison International (NYSE:EIX), and Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) announced that EMG’s Elkhorn Ridge wind project near Bloomfield, Neb., is now providing electricity to NPPD. The project is majority-owned by EMG, with one-third owned by Nebraska employee-owners of Tenaska, a privately held energy company headquartered in Omaha.
The largest wind energy facility in the state, Elkhorn Ridge can generate up to 80 megawatts (MW) of power, enough energy on an annual basis to meet the needs of approximately 25,000 homes. The project is powered by 27 wind turbines, each capable of generating nearly 3 megawatts of electricity at full capacity. All of the output is sold to NPPD under a long-term power purchase agreement.
With this project, EMG’s nationwide wind generation portfolio has surpassed 1,000 megawatts of installed capacity at 23 projects in nine states. The company currently has two other wind projects under construction in Texas and New Mexico; has completed pre-construction work for its largest wind project to date, a 240MW facility in Illinois, and has approximately 5,000 MW of potential, additional projects in its development pipeline.
“Elkhorn Ridge marks an important milestone both for our wind development efforts and for providing the residents and businesses of Nebraska with clean, renewable energy" said Ron Litzinger, chief executive officer of EMG.
“This is another major step forward in NPPD’s strategic goal of having 10 percent of our energy mix by 2020 coming from renewable energy sources,” said Ron Asche, President and CEO of Nebraska Public Power District. NPPD will retain half of the electrical output, or 40 MWs, from Elkhorn Ridge and will resell the other 40 MWs to Omaha Public Power District, the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, Lincoln Electric System and Grand Island Utilities.
Gov. Dave Heineman attended groundbreaking ceremonies last spring for the facility, which is the first wind project developed under Nebraska’s Community-Based Energy Development (C-BED) legislation. C-BED provides benefits to rural communities through investment in development and construction, jobs, property taxes, annual lease payments, revenues paid to Nebraska owners of the project, and diversity of fuel sources for Nebraskans. C-BED requires that one-third of project revenues be returned to qualified Nebraska owners.
“This C-Bed bill is all about economic development here in rural Nebraska,” said state Sen. M.L. “Cap” Dierks, who introduced and worked to see the bill become a law and also attended the groundbreaking event. “It’s a win-win situation for everyone, farmers, ranchers and residents.” Dierks said Nebraska needs to live up to its ranking as the state with the sixth-highest potential for wind energy. Rural Nebraska is dealing with dwindling population and there is no better place than Knox County to bring the prospect of sound economic development.
The $140 million project was permitted and developed for EMG by Midwest Wind Energy of Chicago. In its first five years of operation the project is estimated to provide over $7 million in local taxes and lease payments to landowners.
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