After nearly a decade of operation, the two, towering, steel turbines just west of Springview will be retired and sold, the Nebraska Public Power District said.
The Columbus-based utility plans to use the site – located in north-central Nebraska – to continue research into new wind technologies and possibly erect two slightly larger, state-of-the-art wind turbines.
The twin 750-kilowatt turbines at Springview, which began operation in 1998, were a demonstration project to verify turbine technology available at that time and to prove the efficiency and reliability of wind energy at distribution voltages in Nebraska.
NPPD and its public power partners, Lincoln Electric System, Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, City of Grand Island, City of Auburn, and KBR Public Power District jointly decided that the facility had reached a point that the turbines should be retired.
Lack of available replacement parts, significant maintenance issues as the units aged, and the opportunity to demonstrate new technology, were the prime reasons for the decision to retire the units, NPPD said in a news release.
NPPD and several of its partners have discussed and are considering installation of two 900-kilowatt, direct-drive turbines at the Springview site. If approved by the participants, work is expected to begin in January 2008 with an estimated completion date of June 2009.
NPPD solicited proposals for the removal of the existing turbines. Its board of directors on Friday approved a $835,000 bid from FPL Energy, LLC of Juno Beach, Fla.
Mark Becker, a spokesman for the utility said work could begin in October. He said the Florida company, one of three bidders, plans to use the old turbines for parts to repair similar models. The proceeds could be used to fund a portion of the purchase and construction of the two new turbines.
Ron Asche, NPPD president and CEO, explained that by progressing forward with Springview as a research site, NPPD continues its role in wind-powered development for Nebraska and its exploration of renewable energy options for the future.
“Selling the existing units that have become obsolete is a good business decision for our customers and it is a great window of opportunity to move toward new wind turbine technology,” Asche added. “NPPD’s board and management remain committed to wind energy.”
NPPD owns and operates the Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility, the state’s largest wind-powered energy facility. The site located six miles south of Ainsworth, has 36 turbines which provide 60 megawatts of energy. NPPD is considering adding an additional 15 megawatts.
NPPD will also be releasing a request for proposal early next week to add up to an additional 100 megawatts of wind-powered energy from Community-Based Energy Development or other privately-owned projects.
Becker said about a dozen entities have expressed an interest in building wind turbine projects in Nebraska.
16 July 2007
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