Wind Turbines Coming to Springview

Retired in 2007, the wind farm is back with new technology.

Published on: Dec 9, 2010

Wind turbines will once again be part of the Keya Paha County skyline at the Springview Wind Facility, Nebraska's first wind farm that initially became operational in 1998 as a demonstration project and was retired in 2007.

Following the signing of a 20-year power purchase agreement between Nebraska Public Power District and site operator, Bluestem LLC based in Omaha, two 1.5 megawatt direct-drive wind turbines, a new technology in the design of utility-scale wind turbines, are expected to be operational by mid-2011.

Direct-drive wind turbines are significantly different than the wind turbines used at NPPD's other wind farms because they do not use a gear box, which is a major component used to increase the slow rotation speed of the large rotor to several hundred revolutions per minute for the generator. Instead, electric inverters are used to synchronize the generator into the grid vs. using gearboxes.

"This is new technology in the wind industry we want to thoroughly look at, particularly in maintenance costs and turbine availability. It also returns NPPD to the starting point of the wind industry in Nebraska - the Springview Wind Farm," says Dave Rich, NPPD renewable energy manager. "This is a great opportunity for public power in Nebraska to learn first-hand about the benefits of direct-drive wind turbines."

Amber Hawley, spokesperson for Bluestem LLC, notes that the project will be the first utility wind project of its kind in the state with a Nebraska-led developer/contractor team. Bluestem LLC will also be using towers manufactured by Katana Summit of Columbus.

Partners for the Springview project with NPPD include Omaha Public Power District, Lincoln Electric System, Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, Grand Island Utilities, and KBR Public Power District, headquartered in Ainsworth, Neb. Energy generated will be interconnected into the KBR Rural Public Power District electric distribution system.

Source: Nebraska Public Power District