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Verdigre Landowners Association hopes to bring in wind farm

VERDIGRE, Neb. – The Verdigre Landowners Association is partnering with a global wind energy company to bring a wind farm to the Verdigre area.

The association joined forces with Wind Labs to create Verdigre Land and Wind Partners. The goal is to bring an 80-megawatt wind farm to the Verdigre area. The group intends a private stock offering for the project.

“Wind is not the (total) answer for energy needs but part of the solution,” said Steve Boyer of Wind Labs.

Boyer answered questions from Verdigre residents Tuesday at the American Legion Hall. He has been involved in the development of the wind farm recently constructed near Petersburg, Neb.

Monica Jensen, also with Wind Labs, updated the landowners on progress toward the proposed local wind farm.

She discussed a system impact study being conducted and also the success of investment offerings. The proposed wind farm would use General Electric turbines similar to those recently erected near Petersburg.

The timeline includes start of construction in 2014 and commercial operation to begin in 2015.

Board members of the Verdigre Landowners Association have been working on the project for two years.

The Nebraska Public Power District initially offered leases to several farm owners to study winds on their property. Eventually Wind Labs took over the leases and continued moving forward with the project.

Ten landowners currently are involved with Wind Lab west of Verdigre.

“Community support for this project will certainly push it forward and have a better chance of being built,” said Matt Frank, president of the landowners association board.

Wind Labs officials asked the community members to write NPPD officials and make phone calls encouraging those electrical representatives to support more wind development – specifically the Verdigre wind farm.

“I am so excited about bringing a wind farm to Verdigre,” said Chris Schrier, a local businessman. “Only good things can happen for the community. In a year like we just experienced with the drought, a wind farm could even the effects of a drought out and keep landowners and businesses moving forward.”

The Verdigre Land and Wind Partners’ stock offering plan is similar to the process ethanol plants went through in the investment phase.

There is a stumbling block yet for wind farms. The federal tax credit for wind farms is due to expire at the end of 2012 —in less than two weeks.