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Nebraska to get 30-50 MW wind farm

The Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) will build a 30-50 MW wind farm in north central Nebraska near Ainsworth as part of its plan to get 5% of its energy from renewables. A 50 MW project will provide 1.4%. The unnamed wind farm could be expanded to as much as 75 MW. NPPD, a publicly owned utility that serves both wholesale and retail customers in the state, will begin building once a detailed transmission study is completed, even before the federal Renewable Energy Production Incentive (REPI) is reinstated by Congress. Just as Congress failed to extend the federal Production Tax Credit while in session in 2003, it also failed to extend the REPI, which provides similar incentives to public entities. "Even without the incentive, it was a good business decision for us," says the utility's Jeanne Schieffer. NPPD will initially build a 30 MW facility at a cost of $44.9 million, but the Omaha Public Power District and the Jacksonville Electric Authority in Florida are both interested in buying an additional 10 MW each. The Jacksonville utility would buy the green attributes from its 10 MW capacity, rather than directly purchase the power, Schieffer says. NPPD currently buys the 1.5 MW output of two Enron Z46 turbines near Springview. Nebraska's largest operating wind plant, the 11.5 MW Kimball Wind Farm using seven NEG Micon turbines, was completed for the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska in 2002.

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