A U.S. company and one from Germany are teaming up to build a wind farm near Winside in northeast Nebraska that would be among the state’s largest.
Way Wind LLC of Madison, Wis., and Nordex USA of Frankfurt, Germany, want to put 48 turbines on up to 8,000 acres of land south of the Wayne County town.
The combined output would be 120 megawatts, or enough power for 46,500 homes. Currently, the largest wind farms operating in the state produce 81 megawatts of power. Chicago-based Invenergy last year proposed a $448 million 200-megawatt wind farm in Boone and Antelope counties; however, no construction date has been set.
Wes Slaymaker, one of the partners in Way Wind, said the project is expected to cost around $250 million, and he hopes it will be up and running by the end of 2013.
Slaymaker, who has his own wind energy company, said he got the idea for the project a couple of years ago while visiting his father, William, a professor of world literature and philosophy at Wayne State College.
He said there are places in Nebraska with better wind generation potential, but the Wayne County site has a number of other positive factors that make it ideal.
The area is mostly tilled farmland, meaning the impact on wildlife would be minimal. There is low housing density and there are good transmission lines in the area.
Slaymaker has spent the past couple of years erecting measuring towers to test the wind potential and has been attaining leasing rights on about 4,000 acres.
He said he and his partners chose to team up with Nordex because of its expertise in building wind turbines and its ability to secure financing and power contracts.
“Nordex assists wind project developers from an early stage with both technical expertise and financing,” Joseph Fonio, vice president of project development for Nordex, said in a news release. “Our experience in strategic partnering and our resources improve the potential of promising projects like Way Wind.”
Nordex will build the turbines for the wind farm at its plant in Jonesboro, Ark.
Slaymaker said the companies still have to submit an application to the Nebraska Power Review Board, but he said he doesn’t think there will be any issues with getting approval to build.
The bigger issue, he said, is securing contracts to sell the power.
“I think the power sales is the only significant hurdle remaining,” Slaymaker said. “If we sell the power, the project gets built.”
Power likely will be marketed through the Southwest Power Pool, which includes utilities in nine states, including Nebraska. Lincoln Electric System, Omaha Public Power District and Nebraska Public Power District are all members.
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