Grande Prairie wind farm now ‘online’

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Grande Prairie

The Grande Prairie wind farm will soon be sending energy to OPPD customers.

The wind farm recently went “online” and began selling power into the Southwest Power Pool marketplace, of which OPPD is a member. During this test period, OPPD will market the energy to SPP for BHE Renewables, which owns and operates the wind farm.

In this arrangement, SPP will pay OPPD for the power from Grande Prairie and OPPD will, in turn, pass any bills or credits to BHE Renewables.

Power produced by the wind farm will come in three levels. The first level is currently being produced and is considered a test of the wind farm.

The second level of production will not be purchased by OPPD due to it coming in the fall and winter, when OPPD’s load demands are historically lower. By June 1, 2017, OPPD will start purchasing 100 percent of the 400 MW Grand Prairie will produce. This will bring the utility closer to its goal of having 30 percent of its generation come from renewables by 2018.

If Grande Prairie achieves “firm transmission” before that date, however, OPPD will begin purchasing power at that time, according to a long-term agreement. Firm transmission is when the highest priority for capacity on transmission lines is available. This assures that OPPD can receive all transmission from the wind farm.

BHE Renewables oversaw construction of Grande Prairie, which spreads across 45,000 acres in Holt County and has 200 wind turbines that each produce 2MW of electricity. Most are located in the corners of fields, taking up less than one-half acre of space.

Beyond the turbines, Grande Prairie’s operation includes two collection substations, 14 miles of overhead transmission line and underground collection systems.

Laura King-Homan

About Laura King-Homan

Laura King-Homan is editor of The Wire and a communications specialist at the Omaha Public Power District. She has nearly 20 years of print journalism and design experience, most of that time spent at the Omaha World-Herald. Her experience allows her to tell the stories of OPPD and its employees through both infographics and her writing.

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