On December 12, the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) unanimously approved the construction of a 75MW wind farm on land south of Ainsworth, Neb. If the project goes forth as planned, as many as 50 windmills will stand 185 ft to 245 ft above the Sand Hills near Ainsworth. The windmill farm has the potential to generate electricity for 24,000 homes.

Pending approval from the Nebraska Power Review Board, the NPPD will build 30MW worth of wind turbines for its own use and an additional 45MW for outside companies. The Omaha Public Power District and the Jacksonville Electric Authority are negotiating with the NPPD to purchase 10MW each, and the NPPD would market the remaining 25MW to other public power districts.

Bill Fehrman, NPPD chief executive officer, says the wind farm would allow the NPPD to reduce its wintertime purchase of power. Its completion date is set for Spring 2005, with an estimated cost of $100 million.