Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors has approved a power purchase agreement expected to substantially increase the district’s renewable energy portfolio. Under the agreement the utility plans to purchase up to 40.5 megawatts (MW) of wind energy for twenty years from a wind farm to be built in Boone County near Petersburg, Nebraska. The facility is expected to be in service by the third quarter of 2011.
The developer of the wind farm is Third Planet Windpower, LLC, headquartered in Incline Village, Nev., and also with an office in Petersburg. The project is a Community-Based Energy Development (C-BED) project, the first one for OPPD under a law passed by the Nebraska Legislature in 2007 to promote the development of wind energy projects in the state. The power purchase agreement approved by the board is with TPW Petersburg, LLC.
As a C-BED project, 33 percent of the revenue payments from the wind farm will go to qualified Nebraska residents or organizations that have invested in the project. The farm will consist of 27 General Electric turbines that will each generate 1.5 MW when the wind is blowing at optimum. Once completed, the project is expected to produce enough electricity to provide the annual needs of about 12,000 residential customers.
The addition of the 40.5 MW project will bring OPPD’s renewable energy generation capacity to a total of 141.5 MW. The district has announced a goal of 400 MW or 10 percent of its total generation being derived from renewable energy sources by 2020.
The new purchase agreement follows a request for proposals that OPPD issued in August of 2008. The district received 12 different proposals as a result. Each was carefully evaluated.
In addition to the Petersburg wind farm, OPPD has already been purchasing 10 MW of energy from Nebraska Public Power District’s Ainsworth Wind Farm since 2005 and 25 MW from NPPD’s Elkhorn Ridge Wind Farm since last year. OPPD also has a current contract to take delivery of 60 MW of wind energy from the Flat Water Wind Farm in Richardson County, Nebraska, before the end of this year and owns a wind turbine in Valley that produces .66 MW of wind energy.