Ainsworth Facts and Figures

The Site

  • The site near Ainsworth was determined to be at least a Class 5 wind site, meaning the average wind speed is approximately 19.5 miles-per-hour at an 80-meter height.
  • The selected site had an expected capacity factor of 40-44 percent from an intermittent resource. (During its operations beginning in 2005, the average capacity factor has been approximately 40 percent.)
  • In March 2005, NPPD completed a microwave path study and verified there were no FCC-licensed paths that cross the proposed site.
  • NPPD has lease options with property owners on approximately 11,000 acres, six miles south of Ainsworth.
  • Upon construction completion, the actual amount of land taken out of production was approximately 50 acres for roads, substations, and turbines.

 

Turbine Design

The Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility has 36 wind towers with a 1.65 megawatt turbine size for an actual nameplate capacity of 59.4 megawatt.

Assuming a 40 percent capacity factor when the wind is blowing, the 60-megawatt wind facility will be able to generate enough electricity to serve the equivalent of 19,000 households.

NPPD expects the facility to operate beyond the 20 years and with proper maintenance, it is expected that the wind turbines will have an operating life of 30 years or more.

 

Turbine Dimensions

Hub Height 230 feet
Rotor Diameter 269 feet
Blades 131 feet
Foundation Foundations are going to be a spread-footing type
Setback 1,320 feet from residence; 400 feet from roadways and substation
Space between 150 feet between turbines is expected. Each wind turbine takes up to ½ an acre.

Construction

Renewable Energy Systems, an international wind development company with more than 6,000 megawatts of wind projects in various stages of development, was hired by NPPD to construct the Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility. At that time, RES had completed more than 816 wind energy projects including the 278 megawatt, King Mountain Project in Texas, the world’s largest wind farm at the time of construction, and the Nine Canyon Project in Washington, a 63.6 megawatt facility owned by Energy Northwest, a public power utility like NPPD.

The engineering, procurement and construction contract with RES included work related to the wind turbines, the collection system (wiring to the substation) and site roads. It did not include construction of the substation.

 

Costs

NPPD financed the capital cost of the Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility with the issuance of 20-year fixed rate bonds, and plans to also depreciate the facilities over a period of 20 years. The project cost was $81.3 million. Studies conducted by NPPD determined the capital cost projections and estimated total rate impact would be $1,335 per megawatt hour with an increase of 0.28% at the time.

Project costs included: escalation; taxes; permit fees; interest during construction; administrative costs; plant and substation; external substation and transmission modifications; spare parts; initial operations and maintenance staffing; training and equipment; land; NPPD labor to commercial operation; planning costs; startup services; project management, contingency and management reserve.

The Wind Turbine operations and maintenance staffing is approximately four full time employees and other part-time resources from the areas of energy supply, transmission services, logistics, environmental, land management, and work management.

NPPD owns the facility. The public power entities involved in the project have long-term contracts covering costs of their participation in the project through 20-year contracts.

 

Participating Public Power Entities

Omaha Public Power District, Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, and the City of Grand Island are participants. The participants pay for a proportionate share of the actual costs of constructing and operating the facility and also receive the proportionate share of the benefits from Renewable Energy Production Incentives or Renewable Energy Credits, if available.

JEA, a public power utility in Jacksonville, Florida, has a 20-year agreement with NPPD, which began in 2005, to purchase 10 megawatts of capacity and associated energy from the Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility. NPPD has also agreed to repurchase JEA’s share of energy from the wind energy facility so that physical delivery of the energy to JEA is not expected. JEA retains the benefits from Renewable Energy Production Incentives or Renewable Energy Credits for the 10 megawatts purchased, if available.