It’s on track to be the biggest wind power purchase to date for the Omaha Public Power District. The District’s Board of Directors has approved an agreement to buy 400 Megawatts (MW) from the Grande Prairie Wind Farm, northeast of O’Neill.
Board members approved the deal at their meeting October 17. The matter now goes to the Nebraska Power Review board for consideration.
The wind farm is expected to be operational by the second half of 2015, and it would produce enough electricity for OPPD to supply power to 118,000 customers. The contract term is 20 years.
Once online, the new wind farm will move OPPD to among the leaders in renewable energy usage as a percentage of its retail sales.
OPPD considered a number of wind energy proposals from Nebraska projects that were far enough along to take advantage of the 2013 federal production tax credit. Grande Prairie was selected since it offered the best value for our customers. Simply put – it was the right deal at the right time and was all about affordability.
OPPD already has existing contracts with other wind farms, all within the state of Nebraska. They include farms in or near Ainsworth, Bloomfield, Broken Bow, Crofton, Humboldt, Elgin and Petersburg. The latest agreement brings OPPD’s renewable energy portfolio to 817 MW, nearly doubling the current capacity.
With the latest deal, the District anticipates 30 percent of its retail sales to customers will come from renewable energy sources by the end of 2015. That would substantially surpass our corporate goal of 10 percent by 2020.