Over the past several months, Broken Bow has had several “ah-ha” moments.
The ground has been broken and work begun on a new housing complex, new judicial offices, and a new car wash among other economic growth projects.
July 16 saw another cause to celebrate.
The second wind farm, owned by Sempra U.S Gas & Power will be up and producing electricity by October.
Broken Bow 2 will have 43 turbines, generating 75 megawatts, which would provide electricity to power 30,000 homes.
It is adjacent to Broken Bow 1, which is owned by Edison Mission Energy and has 50 turbines generating 80MW of power.
The wind farms are east of Broken Bow.
To thank the community and the area residents, Sempra worked with Melissa Garcia, Custer economic development corporation director and the Custer County Ag Society to make the event happen.
The Custer County Fairgrounds was the location, where invited guests came to hear about the project and to put their “John Hancock” on a blade that will be installed on one of the turbines at the wind farm.
Kevin Gillespie, director of operations for Sempra, served as emcee.
Patti Wagner, CEO of Sempra, gave her personal thank you to the community. From Minnesota as a youth, she had traveled through Nebraska.
“I liked Nebraska, and now have a reason to keep returning,” she said.
Both Kevin and Patti emphasized the importance of community involvement they wish to have with Custer County and her residents.
Kevin stated this is the first ever blade signing they have done.
“To show the pride in this project and to invite the community to share it with us is why we did this,” he said.
On hand were several Sempra employees, Nebraska Public Power District employees and directors, as well as staff representatives, Julie Brooker with U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer office, and Sallie Atkins, from U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns office.
Tom Hoff, Broken Bow resident and NPPD director stated, “We are in full support of this project. NPPD will be purchasing the electricity and have a 25-year contract. NPPD has as its goal to have 10 percent of the electricity we generate come from renewable resources by 2020. When this wind farm goes into production, NPPD will have 93 percent of that goal reached.”
Eighteen turbines, with 3 topped off, are at the site presently, so the time frame of having them up and going by October will be quite the accomplishment.
Sempra will have another ceremony at the completion of the wind farm.
Also on hand were several land owners and their families, as well as Custer County Ag Society members Dave Haumont and Steve Horn, who were the beneficiaries of a check from Wagner and Gillespie for $5,000 to go towards the Custer County Fair.
Haumont and his family have turbines from Broken Bow 1 on their farm and will have turbines from Broken Bow 2 as well. He stated for KNOP-TV news that he has already received a check from Sempra for the leasing of his land.
Melissa Garcia emphasized the importance to the area’s economy this project will have.
“Over 8 million dollars will be continually turned over in our area through the construction phase and beyond.” Some 300 construction jobs will be needed to complete the project, which means added dollars to the lodging tax funds, as well as area grocery stores, banks and other businesses. ❖