FAIRMONT, Neb. – Perennial Public Power District and Bluestem Energy Solutions, on Friday held an official groundbreaking ceremony for the Fillmore County Wind Farm just west of Fairmont at the project site.
“Perennial is excited that Bluestem Energy Solutions will soon begin operation of the wind farm facility west of Fairmont, and that in the very near future we will be purchasing all of the energy from the
facility” Jamey Pankoke, General Manager – Perennial Public Power
A timely, rural economic development story in Perennial’s service territory is creating new opportunities for projects such as the Fillmore County Wind Farm, a 6.9 MW distribution connected
generation project being constructed in the industrial park at Fairmont, NE. Development, permitting and construction activities started over a year ago and the proposed commercial operational date is slated for the 1st quarter of 2018.
As agricultural based, Midwestern counties continue to struggle with new forms of economic development and outside investment – the Village of Fairmont and Fillmore County both voted unanimous for the Fillmore County wind farm.
Perennial’s economic growth within their commercial/ag production customer base is what has created further opportunities for local, electric generation. A $50,000,000 dollar expansion by Flint Hills
Resources and a $75,000,000 investment by Fortigen are just two examples of industrial agriculture production growth in the area.
In addition, Perennial will be able to offer their customers rates and products with low carbon characteristics. Perennial’s customers can value these products right at the point of consumption, through Bluestem’s distribution connected generation project. Perennial has created an innovative pathway to meet their customer’s carbon goals, increasing the strength of their whole system and taking
on some of their own power supply, adding certainty to their future and their rate payers.
Low carbon options have been a major driver for commercial and industrial load growth the last few years. Historically, the only economic option was from a remote renewable energy project delivered through the transmission system. That was until Perennial changed the playbook for distribution utilities through a model such as this one. This project is a product of local, conservative leadership and thinking. Known price, known regulations, known term, known risk, known off taker, all under Perennial’s control.
“This project will benefit Perennial in several ways. First of all, the price that we will pay for the energy under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement with Bluestem is set. As compared to the
uncertainty of the price of the firm wholesale power that we purchase from Nebraska Public Power District over the next 15-20 years, particular as NPPD and other power generation companies deal with the potential of environmental regulations, we know exactly the price that we will pay every year for energy from Bluestem through the life of the contract. Price certainty will help us in setting financial forecasts and rates.” Jamey Pankoke
“We realize that some of our customers would like to see us become more involved in environmentally friendly energy generation, and this project will allow us to do that. In addition, it will give Page 3 Industrial Ag Processing Drives Investment in Difficult Ag Marketplace us an opportunity to gain experience in having an intermittent generation resource connected to our electric system, and this experience will help us determine whether or not to become involved in further renewable projects in the future, like wind or solar. “Jamey Pankoke
21st century, rural economic development looks much different than in years past. With most rural areas experiencing declining population it is important to think about outside investment in resources unique to your area which is not dependent on a large labor force or population growth. The Fillmore County Wind farm is a good example of this.
This multimillion dollar project creates a 21st century image for Perennial and strengthens its ability to attract new load, while properly serving their existing load. It partners with existing landowners and businesses, creates new opportunities for existing residents while not dependent on an influx of outside labor for operations. It requires no water, has no emissions and does not create any odor. It’s a very resourceful way of capturing local resources, unique to Fillmore County and extracting the economic
value through American manufactured technologies.