Ainsworth General Information
The Nebraska Public Power District’s Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility began operating September 15, 2005, and has become a welcome addition to NPPD’s diverse generation portfolio of fossil, nuclear, natural gas, and hydro-powered facilities.
Located six-and-a-half miles south of Ainsowrth, the facility has 36 turbines, each capable of generating up to 1.65 megawatts of energy, for a combined total of 59.4 megawatts. Considered “intermittent” generation, the turbines operate only when the wind blows. With average yearly wind speeds of 19.5 miles per hour, NPPD has experienced a capacity factor (or ability to generate) of around 40 percent, depending on the availability of equipment.
NPPD, its wholesale customers, and the participants involved in this facility are confident that this emission-free, environmentally friendly resource has been a wise investment for public power.
Contract participants for the Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility’s output include:
- Nebraska Public Power District- 32 MW
- Omaha Public Power District – 10 MW
- JEA of Jacksonville, Fla. – 10 MW
- Grand Island Utilities – 1 MW
- Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska – 7 MW
The facility’s 36 wind turbines are constructed across approximately 11,000 acres of land. Each wind turbine takes up less than a half-an-acre; no more than 50 acres of the site is taken out of production for roads, turbine foundations, and the substation.
The facility was constructed with an $81.3 million budget and approved for construction without government subsidies called renewable energy production incentives. The addition of this resource equated to less than a 1 percent increase in costs to NPPD customers.
The site was selected because it produces some of the strongest and most consistent wind in the state. Based upon an average year, a 60-megawatt wind facility can generate enough electricity to serve approximately 19,000 homes.
Six NPPD employees are currently assigned to the wind facility.
Wind generation produces no emissions and can offset energy purchases (or be sold on the energy market), providing a return on investment for customers.
The Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility adds diversity to NPPD’s generation portfolio and can cut down on the cost of imported fuel (i.e., natural gas, oil) and provides additional revenue to area landowners.
NPPD investigated the Ainsworth area as a potential wind site in 1996 and again in 2003. These assessments, along with a study conducted by Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc., concluded that the wind facility should not adversely impact state or federally-protected species, migratory birds, or general wildlife.
NPPD conducted post-development avian mortality studies that indicated one of the lowest avian mortality rates for a wind-powered generation facility in the United States. NPPD will continue its environmental stewardship to protect birds, bats, and migratory wildlife.
For more information on the Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility, contact:
Nebraska Public Power District
1414 15th Street
Columbus, NE 68601