Grand Island plans to purchase Antelope County wind farm’s power

Source: By Norfolk Daily News • Posted: Friday, June 26, 2015

The City of Grand Island has signed a long-term agreement to purchase about 36 megawatts of power from Invenergy’s Prairie Breeze III Wind Energy Center, which is to begin to be built in Antelope County yet this year.

This is the Grand Island’s first direct renewable energy purchase.

A portion of the output from Prairie Breeze III may be purchased from Grand Island by two other Nebraska municipalities that have interest in project participation — Neligh and Nebraska City.

Prairie Breeze III will be the third phase of Invenergy’s original Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Center, a 201-megawatt facility in Antelope and Boone counties that began operation in 2014.

The project’s second phase, the 73-megawatt Prairie Breeze II, currently is in construction in Antelope and Boone counties, and is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

In all, once Prairie Breeze III becomes operational, the three phases will employ a combined total of 20 staff members at Invenergy’s operations building in the town of Elgin.

Prairie Breeze III will consist of 20 General Electric wind turbines, with facility construction scheduled to begin this summer and conclude in 2016.

The project will bring numerous economic benefits to the community, including:

— Generating more than $350,000 annually in local taxes, landowner payments and staff salaries.

— About 90 jobs during construction.

— Two full-time technician positions.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Grand Island’s customers to participate in the benefits of renewable energy at prices competitive with other energy sources,” said Tim Luchsinger, Grand Island utilities director.

Jim Shield, chief development officer at Invenergy, said, “Homegrown wind power is a win-win for Nebraska by generating jobs and tax revenue while also creating a cleaner, healthier environment. Invenergy is pleased to continue to invest in Nebraska through our newest wind power generation project in the state.”