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Nebraska's first wind turbine on-line

In Nebraska, Lincoln Electric's first 660 kW wind turbine is now on-line -- and nearly enough customers have signed up for green power to enable the utility to begin planning construction of a second renewable energy unit. Under the utility's program, Lincoln Electric builds new plants as demand arises. Residential customers may buy one or two 100 kW units of power, and commercial and industrial customers may purchase up to five units. The customers sign three year contracts for renewable energy that costs $4.30 a unit. That price takes into account a $1.70-per-unit credit from the federal government, says Russ Reno of the company. The $4.30 fee is added to monthly bills. In less than two months, customers subscribed to 1400 units, enough to begin work on the first plant, which is a Vestas turbine. "When we hit 2400 units we will begin work on a second renewable generating project. We are nine-tenths of the way there," says Reno. That project may or may not be a wind turbine, he notes. "We're going with the customer flow; whatever their interest is, we are letting them set the direction and involvement," says Reno.

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