- Recent power purchase agreements adding two wind projects totaling 173 megawatts and a 5 megawatt community solar project put the Lincoln Electric System (LES), the publicly owned utility of Lincoln, Nebraska, on track to obtain 48% of its electricity from renewables by 2016.
- Because the projects are expected to save customers $429 million over the life of the 25 year PPAs, they will delay rate increases, according to LES CEO Kevin Wailes.
- The community solar project, expected to cost $5 million, will be one of the biggest in the Midwest. It will, according to Wailes, allow the utility to better understand the operations of large scale solar arrays. Separately, LES just added a 50 kilowatt solar array on the roof of a Lincoln big box business.
In 2013, LES obtained 12% of its electricity from renewables, including 8% from hydroelectric power and 4% from wind. The hydro's nameplate capacity of 12% brings LES renewables' nameplate capacity to 15%. The balance of LES nameplate generation capacity in 2013 was 43% coal and 43% natural gas.
In 2016, LES will get 39% of its retail electricity sales from wind, 8% from hydro, and 1% from landfill gas and solar. Nameplate capacities will be 34% coal, 33% natural gas, 23% wind, 9% hydro, and 1% solar and landfill gas.
The new wind, which brings LES total wind capacity to 305 megawatts, will come from the 73 megawatt Prairie Breeze II Wind Energy Center, expected to save ratepayers $106 million, and the 100 megawatt Buckeye Wind Energy Center, expected to save $168 million. Invenergy will develop both.