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OPPD board approves wind purchase of up to 400 MW

From the October 18, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published October 18, 2013

By Jeannine Anderson

The Omaha Public Power District board of directors voted yesterday to approve a long-term purchase agreement to buy up to 400 megawatts of wind-generated electricity from the Grande Prairie Wind Farm northeast of O’Neill, Neb. The agreement, which has a term of 20 years, will be the largest wind power purchase to date for OPPD, the utility said.

Prices for wind energy are the lowest the utility has seen and represent a good deal for OPPD customers, the utility said. The board also knew that acting now would allow the developer to take advantage of federal production tax credits, OPPD said. The agreement is contingent on the extension of those federal tax credits and on the project winning approval from the Nebraska Power Review Board.

If it wins final approval, the proposal will increase OPPD’s renewable energy generation capacity to 817 MW, nearly doubling the current amount, and will increase to 30 percent the amount of retail generation the utility derives from renewable energy sources. That percentage "surpasses all of the District’s previous announced corporate goals," OPPD said. "It will also help position OPPD as one of the top utilities in the region for percentage of retail sales."

The additional wind energy would supply enough electricity to serve more than 118,000 OPPD residential customers, the utility said. The new wind farm is expected to be operational in the second half of 2015. 
OPPD already has contracts with several other wind farms, all located in Nebraska. This includes wind farms near Ainsworth, Bloomfield, Broken Bow, Crofton, Humboldt , Elgin and Petersburg. 



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Senior Vice President, Publishing 
Jeanne Wickline LaBella

Editorial Director
Robert Varela

Editor, Public Power Daily
Jeannine Anderson

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Fallon W. Forbush

Manager, Integrated Media 
David L. Blaylock

Integrated Media Editor 
Laura D’Alessandro