LES Annouces Plans To Purchase Wind Energy Created By Prairie Breeze II

invenergy-elgin-review-20149050A buyer for wind energy to be produced by Prairie Breeeze II has been found.
Lincoln Electric System announced Friday morning it has finalized power purchase agreements to add 173 megawatts of wind energy and 5 megawatts of solar photovoltaic energy to its power supply resource portfolio by 2016. These projects will increase the utility’s equivalent renewable generation portfolio to 48 percent of LES’ retail energy.
Mayor Chris Beutler and Kevin Wailes, administrator & CEO of Lincoln Electric System, made the announcements.
In addition to being environmentally friendly, the projects will also save customers money. “When viewed as a package, our wind and solar contracts are expected to save LES customer-owners approximately $429 million over the next 25 years,” said Wailes.
The wind additions are spread across two wind contracts secured with the same developer, Invenergy, and involve the 73 megawatt Prairie Breeze II Wind Energy Center, located in northeastern Nebraska, and 100 megawatt Buckeye Wind Energy Center, located in north-central Kansas. In August, LES issued a Request for Proposal for up to 200 megawatts of wind energy. LES received 15 responses encompassing a total of 105 distinct proposals. The selected projects will bring LES’ total wind portfolio to 304 MW.
Earlier this year, on October 7, the Antelope County Board of Supervisors approved a conditional use permit necessary for the construction of the wind farm to be located east of Elgin.
Construction of the wind farm could begin sometime in summer 2015, once an application to construct the wind farm is approved by the Nebraska Power Review Board.
Sara Birkett, a NPRB para-legal, told The Elgin Review earlier this year that Invenergy will need to file for a Special Generation Application for the authority to construct Prairie Breeze II.
The new wind farm, when constructed, will be located in sections 1, 12-13, 24-25, 36 in Logan Township; sections 1-36 in Cedar Township; sections 1-36 in Grant Township; sections 24-25 & 36 in Elgin Township; sections 19-36 in Oakdale Township; & sections 19-23, 25-26 in Burnett Township, Antelope County, Nebraska.
When the application is approved and construction is completed, the wind farm will consist of up to 70 wind turbines which will generate 125 MW. During the construction phase, there will be an estimated 150 jobs created.
Prairie Breeze II is expected to add seven new full-time jobs at the operations/maintenance building located on the west edge of Elgin.
“This is a very opportune time for LES to invest in more wind energy due to future uncertainties of federal Production Tax Credits for wind developers, potential additional regulations on power plant emissions, and the volatility of fossil fuel prices.” said Wailes.