Northeast Nebraska wind farm project on hold

November 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News


A large wind farm project planned for northeast Nebraska has been shelved because the builder couldn’t get a power company to commit to buying the electricity it would generate, according to officials with TradeWind Energy, the company behind the project.

TradeWind, a Lenexa, Kan.-based company, had planned to begin building the Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project in Dixon County, near the towns of Allen, Emerson and Wakefield by the end of this year so it could qualify for federal tax breaks, the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1b47tEc ) reported on Saturday.

But the company has not been able to secure a commitment from a large power company to buy electricity generated by the project. The 200-megawatt wind farm would produce enough power for about 60,000 homes.

“We’re still very much interested in building that project, and yet the hoped-for export (contract) … just didn’t come together in time for us to be able to make the commitments we need to meet the start of construction that the IRS is requiring by the end of this year,” said Frank Costanza, executive vice president of TradeWind Energy.

To qualify for the tax credits, Tradewind would have to spend 5 percent of the project’s total cost of $400 million to $500 million by the end of December. But without a commitment to buy the electricity, Tradewind cannot take the risk.

“We’d have to spend $20 million to $25 million,” Costanza told the newspaper.

Tradewind is required under a bill passed by Nebraska lawmakers last session to offer 10 percent of the power it generates to Nebraska utilities while shipping 90 percent out of state.

“We are still trying to see if we can get something done with one of the local utilities in Nebraska, but we’re up against it,” Costanza said. “You can do the math on how many days we’ve got until the end of the year. It’s getting more and more problematic with every day that passes.”

More than 100 landowners and more than 20,000 acres would be involved in the project. It would provide lease payments to local landowners of $10,000 to $15,000 per turbine, create 200 construction jobs and 12 to 16 permanent jobs and pay $700,000 a year in local taxes.

Costanza said the year-end tax credit deadline could be extended by Congress, but he was not optimistic that will happen.

“I wish I had better news,” he said. “We’ve got our fingers crossed, but I can’t promise anything at this point.”

Comments are closed.