Lincoln Electric System said Dec. 19 that it has reached power purchase agreements to add 173 MW of wind energy and 5 MW of solar photovoltaic energy to its power supply resource portfolio by 2016.
These projects will increase the Nebraska utility’s equivalent renewable generation portfolio to 48% of LES’ retail energy.
The wind additions are spread across two wind contracts secured with the same developer, Invenergy, and involve the 73-MW Prairie Breeze II Wind Energy Center, located in northeastern Nebraska, and 100-MW Buckeye Wind Energy Center, located in north-central Kansas.
In August, LES issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for up to 200 MW of wind energy. LES received 15 responses encompassing a total of 105 distinct proposals. The selected projects will bring LES’ total wind portfolio to 304 MW.
The solar contract was in response to an LES survey which indicated customers were willing to support more local solar energy. LES implemented SunShares, a new program in partnership with customers to bring a community solar project to the Lincoln area.
The 5-mw solar array will be located about 75th and W. Holdrege Street, visible from Interstate 80. LES will leverage savings achieved through its wind agreements to help supplement customer participation in the LES SunShares program, which allowed LES to obtain optimal pricing for the solar project.
This project will provide LES with valuable solar operating experience and will be the largest solar installation in the state.
Mayor Chris Beutler and Kevin Wailes, administrator & CEO of Lincoln Electric System, announced the renewable package as one of the most aggressive renewable energy portfolios around.
“When viewed as a package, our wind and solar contracts are expected to save LES customer-owners approximately $429 million over the next 25 years,” Wailes said.