PPA agreement paves way for 80 MW Nebraska wind farm

The Nebraska Public Power District, along with Midwest Wind Energy, LLC, Edison Mission Group (EMG), and EMG affiliate Laredo Ridge Wind, LLC, announced agreement on a 20-year wind power purchase agreement that will pave the way for construction of an 80-megawatt wind farm near Petersburg, Neb.

The Laredo Ridge Wind Energy Project is planned for completion by the end of 2010. The project is a direct result of NPPD’s efforts to expand participation in wind energy development by issuing a request for proposal in November 2008 for wind farms to be constructed near Petersburg and/or Broken Bow.

In April 2009, NPPD received 22 proposals from various wind power developers that NPPD eventually pared down to five projects for further negotiations, resulting in the selection of projects offered by Midwest Wind Energy/Edison Mission Group near Petersburg and Broken Bow. Laredo Ridge Wind is the third project to reach a successful agreement with NPPD, based on achieving the lowest cost of energy, when combining the power purchase agreement and associated transmission costs. Under terms of the agreement, Laredo Ridge Wind, LLC will own and operate the facility, and NPPD will purchase the electric output.

In addition, the parties have entered into negotiations on a similar power purchase agreement for Midwest Wind/Edison Mission’s proposed Broken Bow wind farm, which is expected to be operational in 2012. Midwest Wind Energy/Edison Mission currently has a 20-year power purchase agreement with NPPD for its 80-megawatt Elkhorn Ridge Wind Farm near Bloomfield, Neb., that became operational in 2009.

“This latest PPA continues NPPD’s strategic goal of attaining 10 percent of its energy resources from renewable energy by 2020,” explained Dave Rich, NPPD renewable energy development manager. “By utilizing this method, we are able to purchase electricity generated in Nebraska without undertaking the risks of construction and maintenance of a facility.” Rich also noted that Lincoln Electric System, the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, and the City of Grand Island Utilities have indicated interest in purchasing power from the facility.

“Nebraska Public Power District is one of Edison Mission Group’s very valued customers for renewable energy, and the state of Nebraska has provided a good business environment for developing wind projects," said Ron Litzinger, chief executive officer of EMG. Not including Laredo Ridge, EMG’s wind energy portfolio currently consists of 27 projects in operation (25) or under construction (2) in 10 states with a total generating capacity of nearly 1,600 megawatts.

“This project is another demonstration of how the public and private sectors can work together to provide reliable, renewable energy to Nebraska’s customers,” said Mike Donahue, executive vice president of Chicago-based Midwest Wind Energy. “First, with our Elkhorn Ridge project and now, with Laredo Ridge, we have developed a model for successful public-private partnerships.”

Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Edison Mission Group is a subsidiary of Edison International (NYSE: EIX). Through its operating company, Edison Mission Energy, EMG manages the competitive power generation business of Edison International, an electric power generator and distributor, and an investor in infrastructure and renewable energy projects.

Always there when you need us, NPPD’s mission is to safely generate and deliver low-cost reliable energy and provide outstanding customer service. Working in partnership with the state’s rural public power districts, cooperatives and municipalities, NPPD helps serve an estimated 1 million Nebraskans with retail or wholesale electric power and energy-related products and services.