The consumer-owned utilities were selected for the honor among 13 others nominated from across the United States. Award nominees were evaluated by a panel of wind power, utility, government, national laboratory, and public power experts.
“Nebraska Public Power District is pleased to be recognized for its efforts in the development of wind farm powered energy for Nebraskans,” said Ron Asche, NPPD CEO and president. “Renewable energy resources, primarily wind power, will play a greater role in the future for NPPD and our customers. Our Board of Directors has established a goal of having 10 percent of our customers’ energy needs met by new renewable energy resources by 2020.
“The addition of more wind powered generation will further diversify our energy mix and help us continue to provide low-cost, reliable electricity to our customers throughout the state. As an emission free resource, the wind energy will also provide environmental benefits for the state."
Nebraska Public Power District has been involved in studying and generating with wind power since the late-1990s and owns and operates the state’s largest public power owned wind farm near Ainsworth, Neb. NPPD has been using power purchase agreements with private wind development companies to add additional wind to its energy mix, utilizing Federal production tax credits, which are not available to public power, to help lower the purchase price.
Using this method NPPD has added the 80-megawatt Elkhorn Ridge Wind Farm near Bloomfield, which began operation in March 2009. The Laredo Ridge Wind Farm, located near Petersburg, an 80-megawatt facility, is expected to be operating by the end of 2010, and the 40-megawatt Crofton Hills Wind Farm, near Crofton, is expected to be in operation by the end of 2011.
Negotiations are ongoing for an 80-megawatt wind turbines facility near Broken Bow, and NPPD has included wind projects less than 10 megawatts as part of its small-scale renewable energy request for proposal. The utility is currently reviewing more than 30 proposals for projects between 50 and 300 megawatts of additional wind power.
The award also recognizes NPPD’s encouragement of wind energy education throughout the state by supplying subject matter experts to state wind working groups, providing financial assistance for schools participating in DOE’s Wind for Schools project, and supporting legislation that promotes wind development while protecting ratepayers and public power in the state.