Plans to build as many as three wind turbines in Gage County to power the city of Beatrice have ended after the company slated to build and operate them withdrew its application.
Beatrice has been working with Bluestem Energy Solutions, the company that would have built and maintained up to three turbines, with discussions that all energy would be purchased by the city.
Last Wednesday, the Board of Public Works announced it was no longer intending to move forward with the wind energy plan, and passed this recommendation on to the City Council for final consideration.
At the council meeting Monday, Mayor Stan Wirth said no action would be taken on the issue, because Bluestem’s application was withdrawn after the company learned about the BPW’s recommendation.
“Following the recommendation of the Board of Public Works to not proceed with this program, Bluestem now has decided to withdraw their application,” Wirth said. “At this point, there is no action that will be taken now or in the foreseeable future.”
The decision to pass on bringing wind turbines to Gage County is largely due to the fact that Beatrice is switching energy providers.
The city will end its relationship with Nebraska Public Power District for AEP Energy Partners Inc., based out of Columbus, Ohio.
With the change, City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer previously said the economics of the project are no longer beneficial.
The BPW ultimately voted unanimously to recommend not entering into an agreement with Bluestem.
Under the proposal, Bluestem would have initially built one 2-megawatt turbine with all energy produced sold to Beatrice at a fixed price for 25 years.
Initial plans only called for one turbine because the city’s contract with NPPD caps the amount of renewable energy available at 2 megawatts. When that contract ends, adding two more turbines was planned.
Beatrice will gradually reduce the amount of energy purchased from NPPD as it purchases more from AEP, completing the transition when its NPPD contract expires in 2021.
The project would have been a smaller one for Bluestem, which led to infrastructure costs that were cost prohibitive.
The first turbine was planned to be built around five miles northeast of Beatrice.
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