Powering Strong Communities

Beatrice, Neb., Signs Contract For OPPD To Manage Wind Farm Output

The City of Beatrice, Nebraska, has signed a contract with Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) to manage the level of wholesale power the city gets from a southern Nebraska wind farm.

The contract, signed on Jan. 17, replaces a contract with Tenaska for 16 megawatts (MW) from the Cottonwood wind farm near Blue Hill in Webster County. Beatrice’s peak load is about 40 MW.

The contract with OPPD runs for two years. The contract with Tenaska was for three years with a one-year roll over.

Under the contract, Tenaska forecast the electrical output of the wind farm and bid into the day-ahead and real-time wholesale power market for the city.

“Tenaska did a great job,” Tobias Tempelmeyer, Beatrice city administrator, said, but the contract came up for renewal and the city talked with OPPD and others, and OPPD came up with an attractive offer. The two-year contract with OPPD will save the city between $80,000 and $90,000 per year, Tempelmeyer said.

Rick Yanovich, with the Energy Marketing and Trading area of OPPD, said that the public power utility “strives to enhance the value of public power in Nebraska. Partnerships with Nebraska entities for energy management services are key in this area.”

The 90-MW Cottonwood wind farm was built and is operated by NextEra Energy Resources. It entered service in late 2017. The wind farm also provides power to the cities of Fremont and South Sioux City and to the Northeast Public Power District in Wayne, Neb.

OPPD provides energy services to “a number of other entities,” Yanovich said, however, for competitive reasons, he declined to provide specifics.

“Partnerships such as this [Beatrice contract] strengthen the relationship between Nebraska entities,” Yanovich said. “From this, there will be cost savings, sharing of best practices and continued benefit from public power in Nebraska.”