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Nebraska's first wind farm nearly fully subscribed

Cities in Nebraska began receiving power from the state's first wind farm the same day its owner, the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN), received an environmental award for the project from the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Seven NEG Micon 1.5 MW turbines began commercial operations October 1 at Kimball in northwest Nebraska. The 10.5 MW project is nearly fully subscribed, with 11 cities signing on for the power and several more considering doing the same. Although the utility has a permit for 20 turbines on the site, MEAN's Bob Selzer says it will not add additional units unless customers show an interest. Over the past year, the project has overcome resistance from the state's public utilities, which get most of their power from low-cost coal fired power plants located within Nebraska (Windpower Monthly, June 2001). A directive from Governor Mike Johanns requiring the Nebraska Power Association, which represents all segments of the state's electric industry, to put together a business plan for wind development led the way to the Kimball development. The Tennessee Valley Infrastructure Group, a private construction company affiliated with FPL Energy, built the project. MEAN serves 54 member communities and one public power district in Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming.

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