Nebraska Celebrates Groundbreaking for Wind Farm Laredo Ridge Project Commences Construction Near Petersburg
State and local officials and community leaders attended a ceremonial groundbreaking held Wednesday, July 21, for the Laredo Ridge Wind project near Petersburg.
The project was developed by Midwest Wind Energy, LLC of Chicago and is owned and operated by Laredo Ridge Wind, LLC, an affiliate of Edison Mission Group (EMG) of Irvine, Calif., a subsidiary of Edison International (NYSE:EIX). All of the electricity produced at the site will be sold under a 20-year contract to the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD).
Gov. Dave Heineman spoke at the event. He was joined by Petersburg-area State Senator Kate Sullivan, Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood and Chairman of the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee Chris Langemeier. Representatives of U.S. Senators Mike Johanns and Ben Nelson and Congressman Adrian Smith were also among participants in the program with Ron Litzinger, CEO of EMG, Ron Asche, president and CEO of NPPD, and Mike Donahue, executive vice president of Midwest Wind. More than 100 people attended the event held at Werner Hall in Petersburg.
Litzinger and Donahue presented golden shovels to commemorate the occasion to the governor and Asche.
Gov. Heineman said, “Nebraska is on the move in wind energy development. I fully expect Nebraska to be a top 10 wind energy producing state within the next 10 years. The Laredo Ridge Wind Facility is a significant expansion of Nebraska’s wind power capacity. I want to thank Edison Mission Group, Midwest Wind Energy and NPPD for helping expand our stake in renewable energy.”
“We’re thrilled by this warm welcome from the community and honored by the support of Governor Heineman,” said Litzinger. “Nebraska has a good wind regime, and, more importantly, provides a welcoming environment through legislation designed to attract investment in renewable energy projects and local officials who work with developers to bring jobs and clean energy to their community.”
“Nebraska Public Power District is pleased to continue our working relationship with Midwest Wind Energy and Edison Mission through the addition of the Laredo Ridge Wind Farm,” said Asche. “Our Board of Directors has established a goal of having 10 percent of our customers’ energy needs met by new renewable energy resources by 2020. The addition of the Laredo Ridge Wind Farm will be another small step towards achieving that goal. Having a well diversified energy resource mix, which includes renewable energy resources, is also a key element in helping us continue to provide low-cost, reliable electricity to our customers throughout the state for years to come. As an emission free resource, the wind energy will also provide environmental benefits for the state.”
“Laredo Ridge would not have been possible without the leadership of NPPD and the support of our participating landowners,” Donahue said. “This is an example of how public power, private developers and the local community can work together to create a win-win situation for renewable energy and economic development.”
Laredo Ridge is located in Boone County, about three miles northeast of Petersburg, on a ridgeline that is on the leading edge of one of the premier wind resources in the state. It will be powered by 54 GE turbines, which can produce 81 megawatts of electricity, enough to meet the needs of about 26,000 homes. Construction is scheduled for completion by year-end.
The project will support about 170 construction jobs and represents a total investment of $200 million. It also will pay nearly $6 million in taxes and fees to the local and state economies over the next 20 years.
This marks the second collaboration between EMG, NPPD and Midwest Wind Energy. Gov. Heineman also joined with the companies in 2008 to break ground for the Elkhorn Ridge project near Bloomfield, which has been generating power for over a year. EMG and NPPD also are currently working to finalize a contract on a third project, Broken Bow in Custer County.
“We’re pleased to contribute to the local economy and provide a new clean energy source for this region,” said Litzinger. “Wherever we operate, we are committed to responsible corporate citizenship and environmental stewardship, and we are excited to come to Petersburg in that spirit.”
Edison Mission Group (EMG) is the seventh largest developer of wind energy projects in the U.S. with a current portfolio of 28 projects in operation or under construction in 10 states with a total generating capacity of about 1,800 megawatts.
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Edison Mission Group is a subsidiary of Edison International. Through its operating company, Edison Mission Energy, EMG manages the competitive power generation business of Edison International, an electric power generator and distributor, and an investor in infrastructure and renewable energy projects.
Midwest Wind Energy, LLC (“MWE”) is a leading developer of wind power projects in the central United States with seven projects totaling 649 megawatts and a current project development portfolio of more than 5000 megawatts.