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County's first wind turbines going up

Activity has picked up at the Perennial Wind Farm with construction well underway and turbines currently being erected. The Bluestem developed “distribution connected generation” project is made up of three, 2.3 MW General Electric wind turbines—one, the turbine located the furthest west of the three, between Fairmont and Grafton, south of U.S. Highway 6, is already up and turning.
The public private partnership between Bluestem Energy Solutions and the off-taker Perennial Public Power District has allowed Perennial to take advantage of local, clean energy generation connected directly to their distribution system. The multimillion dollar construction project requires no operational capital or additional debt from Perennial while providing numerous benefits including investing dollars back into their service territory. Construction activity is it at its peak, bringing in outside vendors and dollars from numerous different areas to the Fairmont area.
The wind energy industry has matured, allowing for distribution utilities, who serve retail customers to take advantage of the benefits of commercial scale wind turbines. These benefits include long term price certainty, low carbon attributes and certain technical benefits of having electric generation connected to the low voltage electric distribution system.
Long term rate certainty is becoming a requirement in today’s power supply mix as more financial certainty is demanded in a changing industry. In addition distribution connected generation, no matter the technology, brings certain technical and financial benefits often overlooked. Specifically, increasing revenues during load control situations when it comes to local irrigation customers. While it isn’t always guaranteed, the project will benefit from Perennial’s AMI metering system and will utilize every KWH generated during load control hours increasing revenue to Perennial and allowing for more irrigating hours for local agriculture  producers. Continued efforts of predictive modeling and technological enhancements are underway to maximize this benefit for Perennial and its irrigation customers.
In addition, economic development opportunities are becoming increasingly driven by low carbon generation options and the utilities who deliver the power to their retail customers, commercial and industrial customers are searching for these characteristics during their site selection processes. The construction activity and investment in the Fillmore County/York area the last few years is the outcome of proactive planning and smart economic development methodologies by Perennial Public Power and local officials. The project is scheduled to be fully commissioned by the third quarter of this year.