Lincoln Electric System in Nebraska said July 19 that it has finalized a power purchase agreement to include an additional 100 MW of wind energy in its power resource portfolio by January 2016.
“Taking advantage of a market strengthened by the extension of the federal Production Tax Credit for large-scale wind farms, LES was able to secure a 20-year contract with EDP Renewables that will deliver our customer/owners considerable savings in projected power costs,” said LES Administrator and CEO Kevin Wailes. “We expect to begin realizing these savings in the first year, with the benefits increasing throughout the life of the contract.”
LES will receive all 100 MW of wind energy from EDP Renewables’ Arbuckle Mountain Wind Farm, located in south-central Oklahoma. Wailes said the additional wind energy will boost the renewable resource component of LES’ power portfolio by 12%.
“By 2016, over 23 percent of LES’ annual retail sales will be supplied by renewable resources, which includes wind, solar, hydro and landfill gas,” Wailes said. “Aside from the environmental benefits, increasing the amount of renewable energy in our power resource portfolio will help mitigate the adverse impact that additional regulations on power plant emissions and fuel and electric market volatility can have on our low rates.”
EDP Renewables’ Arbuckle Mountain Wind Farm was selected for its highly competitive costs, strength of existing electric transmission connections, company experience, reputation and qualifications, and the project structure and timeline.
“LES is a company with the foresight to lock in competitive long-term prices for its rate payers, and we are pleased to partner with them as a supplier of affordable clean energy,” said Gabriel Alonso, CEO of EDP Renewables North America.
Lincoln Electric System serves approximately 200 square miles within Lancaster County, Neb., including Lincoln, Prairie Home, Waverly, Walton, Cheney and Emerald. It is the second largest retail electric utility in Nebraska and the 23rd largest public power electric utility in the U.S., by the number of retail customers.
A fact sheet on its website said that 2013 supply sources for Lincoln Electric are: Laramie River Station (179 MW); Gerald Gentleman Station (109 MW); Sheldon Station (68 MW); Western Area Power Administration (54 MW firm, 72 MW summer firm peaking, 22 MW winter firm peaking); Rokeby Generation Station (241 MW); Terry Bundy Generating Station (169 MW); Walter Scott, Jr. Energy Center Unit 4 (101 MW); 8th & J (27 MW); and wind turbines (30.3 MW). Approximate fuel diversity is: coal, 85.2%; renewable, 9%; wholesale purchases, 4.7%; and oil and gas, 1.1%.