Invenergy applies to build 200-megawatt wind farm in Nebraska, under new law’s provisions

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Firm proposes 200 megawatt Nebraska wind farm

LINCOLN, Neb. — A Chicago company submitted plans Thursday to build a 200-megawatt wind farm in northeast Nebraska on the same day a new state law encouraging wind power development took effect.

Invenergy submitted a proposal to the Nebraska Power Review Board to spend $448 million installing 133 wind turbines on about 45,000 acres of Antelope and Boone counties. One megawatt is roughly enough to power 200 to 300 American homes for a day.

The American Wind Energy Association says Nebraska ranks sixth in the country for wind-energy potential, but 24th for actual production at the end of last year. One reason is it’s the only state where all electric customers are served by publicly owned utilities.

State Sen. Chris Langemeier of Schuyler said Invenergy’s application suggests the new wind power law will have a positive impact.

“It also sends a message that Nebraska is officially open for the business of renewable energy development,” Langemeier said.

Passed by the Legislature this spring, the law is designed to make it easier for private companies to develop Nebraska wind power. There were concerns about how some of laws governing Nebraska’s publicly owned utilities would affect private power developments.

Being the only state where all electric customers are served by publicly owned utilities has helped limit energy costs in Nebraska, but also has limited wind-power development because public utilities couldn’t collect federal tax incentives. Wind power costs more than other options, and public utilities are required to deliver the cheapest power possible.

The state power review board will review Invenergy’s proposal over the next six months to a year. The board must approve the project before construction can begin.

Invenergy estimates it will take about 10 months to build the wind farm once it is approved.


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