USDA loans US$17.4m for Greensburg, Kansas, to run on wind power

Greensburg, Kansas, got a boost from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), when the agency announced a $17.4 million loan for a 12.5-megawatt wind power project that will provide renewable power for the city.

Greensburg is in the process of rebuilding as a green community following a devastating tornado in May 2007, and the $23.3 million Greensburg Wind Farm is expected to help the city to meet its energy goal of drawing on 100% renewable energy.

The USDA loan will go to a subsidiary of John Deere Renewables, with the remaining $5.8 million from an equity investment by Deere & Company. Kansas Power Pool, the municipal energy agency to which the city belongs, will buy the electricity generated by the Greensburg Wind Farm, supplying its wind power to Greensburg and surrounding communities.

In addition, NativeEnergy, Inc. will sell Renewable Energy Credits for about two-thirds of the wind farm’s energy output over the next 20 years. The 10-turbine Greensburg Wind Farm is expected to start producing power next year. See the USDA press release, the April 2009 announcement of the project by John Deere, and NativeEnergy’s Greensburg Wind Farm Web page. 

The new wind farm is the latest phase in the community’s efforts to rebuild in a green, sustainable way. Only two weeks after the tornado destroyed 95% of the city’s houses, city officials called DOE for assistance.

After meeting with officials, DOE opened a Greensburg office to advise residents and commercial users on sustainable rebuilding. DOE also committed a team of experts from its National Renewable Energy Laboratory to conduct detailed studies, develop renewable energy and efficiency business strategies, and assemble various financing and ownership options to produce or procure renewable energy technologies.