June 25, 2014 by lmorgan · Comments Off
Representatives from Antelope County, Invenergy LLC, OPPD and Governor Dave Heineman were in Elgin this morning (Wednesday, June 25). They, along with land owners and other invited guests, celebrated the official opening of the Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Farm Operations Center. Shown at the ribbon cutting ceremony are (l-r) Antelope County Supervisor LeRoy Kerkman, Elgin Mayor Mike Schmitt, Governor Heineman and three unidentified (at this time) Invenergy representatives. Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Farm, with 118 turbines, is the largest wind farm in the state of Nebraska. E-R photo
June 20, 2014 by lmorgan · Comments Off
Governor Dave Heineman is coming to Elgin!
Those believing he is the ’surprise’ celebrity for tonight’s opening ceremony of the Elgin Q125 celebration are in for a disappointment. Heineman is not expected to arrive in Elgin for the weekend celebration.
Instead, the governor will be one of the state dignitaries coming to Elgin on Wednesday, June 25, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the commencement of operations at the Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Center.
The event, by invitation only, will be held June 25, beginning at 10 a.m. It will be held at the Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Center operations building located along Highway 70 in Elgin.
The event is not open to the public.
May 8, 2014 by lmorgan · Comments Off
Invenergy, owner of the Prairie Breeze Wind Energy wind farm, issued a statement Wednesday, May 7, regarding the recent failure of blades on two separate wind turbine towers. The statement was made following an inquiry on the replacement of defective GE blades this past winter.
“The turbine manufacturer, General Electric (GE), had determined that a limited number of blades on turbines at the Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Center needed to be replaced due to a manufacturing defect, and completed doing so this past winter.”
Officials at GE and Invenergy have declined to state the number of wind turbine blades found to be defective and replaced during the winter months.
May 8, 2014 by lmorgan · Comments Off
“It sounded like sheet metal falling down.”
That’s how rural resident Jerry Kallhoff described the structural failure of a wind turbine blade which broke off a Prairie Breeze Wind Energy tower Sunday afternoon at a location southwest of Elgin.
The turbine, the project’s 11th unit, remains non-operational at this time as we work with the turbine manufacturer, GE, to determine the cause of this incident.
Turbine #11 is located about a quarter-mile south of the intersection of 835th Road and 515th Avenue in Antelope County, approximately 8 miles west of the city of Elgin.
Kallhoff said he was out in his yard working when he heard a loud noise come from the south. When he looked up, he saw pieces of a wind turbine blade falling to the ground from a wind tower located just over a mile from his house.
It marks the second time in less than two weeks that there has been a structural failure on a wind turbine blade.
On April 21, a similar failure took place on the wind farm’s 51st unit located northwest of Petersburg in Boone County.
In both cases, immediately after the structural failure, the wind turbines ceased operation.
During the construction phase of the wind farm, it was determined that a number of GE wind turbine blades would have to be replaced due to abnormalities discovered after the blades were installed on wind turbines.
At that time, December 2013, Invenergy announced that General Electric would be replacing a limited number of turbine blades. According to GE spokesperson Katelyn Buress, GE identified a number of blades that have been impacted by an anomaly in the manufacturing process.”
The Elgin Review has learned the Prairie Breeze wind turbines use the same model blade, a 48.7 meter blade, which have been found to have structural defects at other wind farms in the U.S.
In December, Joseph Bebon of North American Windpower (NAW) reported that the Invenergy-owned Orangeville Wind Farm in New York State used the same blades and had similar problems. Bebon reported that “following a thorough investigation, GE says a “spar cap manufacturing anomaly” was to blame for the recent blade breaks at the Orangeville Wind Farm in New York and Echo Wind Park in Michigan. Echo Wind Park is not owned by Invenergy.
Bebon reported that a spar cap is a “key structural element within the blade that carries the bending load of the blade.”
In November 2013, NAW reported four GE blade breaks had occurred this year, all of which involved 48.7-meter blades. Two of the affected wind farms were still undergoing construction or commissioning, and the other two were operational.
May 2, 2014 by lmorgan · Comments Off
Invenergy Wind LLC (“Invenergy”) today announced the completion of construction and start of commercial operation of its 200.6 MW Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Center (“Prairie Breeze”) in Nebraska.
The project is sited on private land in Antelope, Boone, and Madison Counties. Prairie Breeze consists of 118 GE 1.7 MW wind turbines, with output purchased by the Omaha Public Power District (“OPPD”) under long-term agreement.
“Prairie Breeze is Invenergy’s first wind farm in Nebraska, a state which offers one of the nation’s best wind resources,” said Jim Shield, Chief Development Officer at Invenergy. “We’re proud to invest in Nebraska and in the economic future of the project area. Invenergy appreciates the strong support for this project, and we are committed to sustaining a long and successful relationship with our host community.”
“The issue of renewable energy is an important one to the stakeholders of OPPD, especially as we look to the future. OPPD remains strongly committed to providing affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive services to our customers,” said OPPD Vice President of Corporate Service Sherrye Hutcherson. “We will continue to evaluate opportunities, like Prairie Breeze, where it makes good sense to expand our renewable energy portfolio.”
“OPPD voluntarily committed to produce 10 percent renewable energy for retail sales by 2020. With this project, we will already surpass that goal,” added Dean Mueller, Division Manager of Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship for OPPD. “In fact, by 2017, OPPD will have a renewable energy portfolio of 30 percent. You can only have that sort of progress when you have solid projects.”
Community economic benefits from Prairie Breeze include tax payments, lease payments to landowners, and staff salaries. More than 230 skilled workers constructed the wind farm, with Blattner Energy serving as general contractor. A full-time staff of thirteen now operates and maintains the facility.
Invenergy and its affiliated companies develop, own and operate large-scale renewable and other clean energy generation facilities in North America and Europe. Invenergy is committed to clean power alternatives and continued innovation in electricity generation. Invenergy’s home office is located in Chicago and it has regional development offices throughout the United States, and in Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Europe.
Invenergy has developed more than 8,000 MW of clean energy projects that are in operation, in construction, or under contract, including 65 wind, solar, and natural gas power facilities. For more information, visit www.invenergyllc.com.