Edison builds 42-MW Crofton Bluffs wind unit in Nebraska

Edison International (NYSE: EIX) subsidiary Edison Mission Group (EMG) said April 19 that construction has started on the Crofton Bluffs wind power project in Knox County, Neb.

Crofton Bluffs will be powered by 22 wind turbines capable of generating up to 42 MW. All the output will be sold to the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) under a 20-year contract, the parties said in a news release.

The Crofton Bluffs project is located near the towns of Crofton and Bloomfield in northeast Nebraska, about 15 miles south of the South Dakota border. The site is adjacent to another Edison Mission facility near Bloomfield, the Elkhorn Ridge wind project, which was commissioned in 2009.

Construction is scheduled to be completed by year end. Crofton Bluffs is EMG’s fourth wind energy project in Nebraska, all of which have contracts with NPPD.

“Nebraska has emerged as one of the most important states in EMG’s wind energy portfolio, and Nebraska Public Power District has become one of our biggest wind energy customers,” said EMG President Pedro Pizarro.

“The addition of Crofton Bluffs moves NPPD another step closer to our board of directors goal of having 10% of our energy resources come from renewable energy,” said NPPD President and CEO Pat Pope. “The energy produced will be shared with other Nebraska utilities as we have done at the Ainsworth and other EMG wind farms.” NPPD is currently working with Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) and other Nebraska utilities as partners in the project.

An NPPD spokesperson said the utility expects to be at 6% renewables by the end of 2012. There is no state renewable portfolio standard for Nebraska.

The wind farm will be managed primarily by existing staff currently operating the adjacent Elkhorn Ridge project, with potential to add four new positions to support operations at Crofton Bluffs. In addition to Crofton Bluffs and Elkhorn Ridge, EMG also operates the Laredo Ridge wind farm near Petersburg in Boone County and is building the Broken Bow wind project in Custer County. Various websites listed Elkhorn Ridge at 79 MW, Laredo Ridge at 81 MW and Broken Bow at 80 MW.

There are also plans for a 75-MW Broken Bow 2, said the NPPD spokesperson.

EMG manages the competitive power generation business of Edison International. EMG is the sixth largest owner of wind energy projects in the U.S. with a current portfolio of 31 projects in operation or under construction in 11 states with a total generating capacity of nearly 2,000 MW.

NPPD is Nebraska’s largest electric utility, with a chartered territory including all or parts of 91 of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.