40 Turbines Near Humboldt ...
Omaha Public Power District to Tap Wind in Southeast Nebraska

Southeastern Nebraska is often overlooked for wind energy opportunities, but Omaha Public Power District has set its sights on areas near Humboldt in Richardson County for wind generated electricity.  The developers of this facility found an area where the terrain and wind patterns combine to create wind that should allow the wind turbines to produce about 40 percent of their total capacity. This is enough for cost-effective large-scale wind energy. 

In August, 2009 OPPD announced plans to increase the amount of wind generated electricity nearly 10 percent by 2020. Now, OPPD has contracted to buy 60 megawatts of capacity for the next 20 years from Flat Water Wind Farm, LLC as soon as the 40 planned wind turbines come online in 2010.  Currently, OPPD buys 25 megawatts of wind power from a wind farm near Bloomfield and 10 megawatts from another near Ainsworth.

The Flat Water Wind Farm near Humboldt will be the first U.S. wind generating site for the Juwi Group, a company from Germany that has installed more than 350 wind turbines across eastern and western Europe, and Costa Rica.

To help integrate wind power into the OPPD transmission system, the utility prefers to get wind power from its own service territory.  The utility's territory covers 13 counties from the Omaha area south.

A Solar Possibility?
If solar electric technology greatly improves in the next few years, the utility might also consider adding solar power.  Solar power would be useful during times of peak electric usage such as the hottest days of summer.  During the dog days of August, there are days the sun beats down on windless days.  Solar power would come in handy when the wind is not blowing much.  If solar cells become more cost efficient, they could reduce the use of coal fired, natural gas fired and fuel oil fired peaking plants thus providing savings during peak periods.

More information on OPPD’s renewable energy efforts may be found on their web site.

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