At its Wednesday night meeting, the City Council will consider whether to enter into an agreement which could result in an 80-meter tall wind generator being built not too far from town, with renewable energy tapped into the city’s system.
Bluestem Energy Solutions, based in Omaha, is asking for an exclusive contingent development agreement to study the feasibility of generating a consistently usable amount of energy for the city, said Adam Herink, the company’s vice president.
Bluestem presented its proposal to the Council at the April 26 Committee of the Whole.
Area wind studies show that the David City sits in a place that is favorable for wind energy generation. Studies show that Nebraska is third in terms of wind energy potential.
Herink explained that the company’s offer is allowed under Nebraska Public Power District’s operational rules. NPPD allows its customers to use up to 2 megawats of renewable energy, which is the range of generation that a wind generator would produce.
Analysis of the city’s power load show that the grid could use 2 megawatts of power at all times of the year.
“They definitely are large enough that we never will be giving them too much power,” Herink said.
The city would pay for the energy from the wind generator but the fee would be locked in for 25 years.
At end of the day we want them to save money by taking part in this program,” Herink said. “The city doesn’t pay anything. They enter into an agreement with the project. When the wind blows hey purchase electricity from turbine.”
Costs for electricity produced by burning coal and hydroelectric sources have continued to rise, prompting most NPPD customers to raise their rates.
Herink said the wind energy industry is becoming more mature. Companies have learned from the development reducing some of the risk that is expensive in new technologies, Herink said.
In March, Bluestem’s contract for a study was approved by the Loup Public Power District. The company is building wind turbines near Valentine and Springview in northern Nebraska.
The company isn’t releasing the names of all of its potential customers, but Herink said that David City’s consistent usage of power makes it a good prospect.
“We came to David City next based on the wind resource and the size of the community,” Herink said.
“So far everybody in David City has been great to work with.”
Herink said a turbine project would also bring other beneifts, such as property valuation, jobs and construction activity which generates local business.
Herink said that wind energy is not the “end-all” for reducing pollution and cost. “We can’t power everything with wind, it’s intermittent.”
Here are descriptions of other Bluestem projects, from the company’s website:
Bluestem, LLC owns and operates the Springview wind farm in Keya Paha County, Nebraska. Bluestem developed the project which includes 1.5 megawatt direct drive turbines. Maximum capacity is 3,000 kilowatts, and the average annual output could power 1200 homes. The six partners involved in the project are: Nebraska Public Power District, Omaha Public Power District, Lincoln Electric System, the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, Grand Island Utilities, and KBR Rural Public Power District.
The Winnebago Tribal Council has entered into an agreement with Bluestem of Omaha to install, own and operate a ten to twenty megawatt wind farm tribal land that will provide enough power to supply 8000 homes and employ several people on the reservation during construction and operation.
Cherry County Wind, LLC has entered into a development agreement with Bluestem Sandhills, LLC, a project company of Bluestem, LLC. In March of 2010 the Cherry County Commissioners set in motion a proactive approach towards wind development in their county, with a purpose of maximizing wind development opportunities while preserving traditional ranching practices. As a result the Cherry County Wind Energy Association, a non-profit organization, was formed and serves as the manager to Cherry County Wind, LLC, the landowner company.
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