Invenergy proposes 200 megawatt Nebraska wind farm

Invenergy submitted a proposal to the Nebraska Power Review Board on Thursday to spend $448 million installing 133 wind turbines on about 45,000 acres of Antelope and Boone counties in northeast Nebraska.

Invenergy, based in Chicago and said to be the nation’s largest private wind farm developer, filed an application Thursday to build a $448 million wind farm between Elgin and Petersburg in northeast Nebraska.

The wind farm would have 133 wind turbines and generate 200 megawatts of power, making it the state’s largest wind farm, and the first owned by a private company to export energy outside the state.

The State Legislature passed a law this spring, Legislative Bill 1048, in hopes of inspiring private development of wind farms. Such firms have experienced financial and regulatory barriers because of Nebraska’s unique status as a public power state.

State Sen. Chris Langemeier of Schuyler, who led passage of LB 1048, said the Invenergy project would generate $75 million in benefits through taxes, lease payments and economic development. He said Thursday’s application confirms that the new law will have a positive economic impact.

“It also sends a message that Nebraska is officially open for the business of wind energy development,” he said.

Construction on a second wind farm in the Petersburg area, the 80-megawatt Laredo Ridge project, has already begun. Coupled with the Invenergy project, it would make the Petersburg-Elgin area the wind-farm capital of Nebraska.

The Invenergy project would require approval by the Nebraska Power Review Board. That could take six to 12 months. Construction would require an additional 10 months.