Edison Mission Group (Edison Mission), a subsidiary of Edison International, and the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) announced that Elkhorn Ridge wind project near Bloomfield, Nebraska, is now providing electricity to NPPD. The project is majority-owned by Edison Mission, with one-third owned by Nebraska employee-owners of Tenaska. The wind facility in the state, Elkhorn Ridge can generate up to 80 megawatts (MW) of power on an annual basis, enough energy to supply around 25,000 homes.

The project is powered by 27 wind turbines, each capable of generating nearly 3 MW of electricity at full capacity. All of the output is sold to NPPD under a long-term power purchase agreement.

With this project, Edison Mission’s nationwide wind generation portfolio has surpassed 1,000 MW of installed capacity at 23 projects in nine states. The company currently has two other wind projects under construction in Texas and New Mexico; has completed pre-construction work for its largest wind project to date, a 240MW facility in Illinois, and has around 5,000 MW of potential, additional projects in its development pipeline.

Gov. Dave Heineman attended groundbreaking ceremonies last spring for the facility, which is the first wind project developed under Nebraska’s Community-Based Energy Development (C-BED) legislation. C-BED provides benefits to rural communities through investment in development and construction, jobs, property taxes, annual lease payments, revenues paid to Nebraska owners of the project, and diversity of fuel sources for Nebraskans. C-BED requires that one-third of project revenues be returned to qualified Nebraska owners.

The $140 million project was permitted and developed for Edison Mission by Midwest Wind Energy of Chicago. In its first five years of operation the project is estimated to provide over $7 million in local taxes and lease payments to landowners.

“Elkhorn Ridge marks an important milestone both for our wind development efforts and for providing the residents and businesses of Nebraska with clean, renewable energy, said Ron Litzinger, chief executive officer of Edison Mission.

“This is another major step forward in NPPD’s strategic goal of having 10 % of our energy mix by 2020 coming from renewable energy sources,” said Ron Asche, president and chief executive officer of Nebraska Public Power District. NPPD will retain half of the electrical output, or 40 MWs, from Elkhorn Ridge and will resell the other 40 MWs to Omaha Public Power District, the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, Lincoln Electric System and Grand Island Utilities.

This C-Bed bill is all about economic development here in rural Nebraska, said state Sen. M.L. Cap Dierks, who introduced and worked to see the bill become a law and also attended the groundbreaking event. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, farmers, ranchers and residents. Dierks said Nebraska needs to live up to its ranking as the state with the sixth-highest potential for wind energy. Rural Nebraska is dealing with dwindling population and there is no better place than Knox county to bring the prospect of sound economic development.