NPPD introduces online “wind watch” feature

December 18, 2013

Columbus, Neb. – Can you watch the wind? With a new feature on Nebraska Public Power District’s website, you can. Simply visit www.nppd.com/wind.

The feature shows the prior five days’ performance of the wind facilities NPPD relies upon to generate electricity for Nebraskans. One chart shows the collective contribution of NPPD’s current wind resources; a second graph allows visitors to select one or more individual farm(s) to view its performance.

“Because wind generation is a variable resource, we add it to our mix when it is available,” said President and CEO Pat Pope. “Visitors to the site will see how much electricity the farms have generated at various hours throughout the previous five days. They will see hours when the farms have generated to their capacity, as well as other times when we have to rely upon our other power plants to meet customers’ electrical load.”

Location can make a difference. For instance, visitors may find the wind was blowing strong at Ainsworth, while at the same time generating very little electricity at the Steele Flats facility in the southeast corner of the state.

“Wind farms can play a valuable role in generating electricity,” said Pope, “yet we promise our customers reliability – ensuring electricity is available around the clock. Every hospital, industry, and homeowner deserves that, which means we must use other fuels like nuclear, coal, and natural gas, too.”

NPPD owns and operates a wind farm outside of Ainsworth and purchases the output from six other wind farms located in Nebraska, owned and operated by private developers. Since 1998, NPPD has been investing in wind generation, and by the end of 2014, an eighth wind farm will be added to NPPD’s portfolio, bringing the utility within 45 megawatts of its goal to generate 10 percent of its electricity with renewable generation by 2020.

“We have steadily pursued our goal while respecting the investments our customers have made in our entire fleet of power plants, including Cooper Nuclear Station, three hydropower plants, the combined-cycle facility near Beatrice, and our two fossil units, which generate more than half of the electricity our customers use every day,” said Pope.