This is an interesting development and provides some interesting lessons:
Facebook will buy renewable energy from northeast Nebraska wind development, breathing new life into dormant project
Facebook’s sprawling Papillion data center project has breathed new life into a dormant wind development project in northeast Nebraska.
The social media company on Thursday said it would procure renewable energy from the Rattlesnake Creek wind project in Dixon County, just west of South Sioux City and situated between the towns of Allen, Emerson and Wakefield.
The proposed wind development generated a buzz in 2013 when Kansas-based Tradewind Energy made its plans for the development public. But the company mothballed the project when it couldn’t find a buyer in time to take advantage of federal tax credits.
Beginning construction on the then-$300 million project without a buyer would have been too big a risk, Tradewind officials said at the time.
So, one lesson is that one major corporation, at this point, can breath life into a project that will make a big difference in the energy transition.
Another lesson is that the original investors were overcautious and wrong. People who remain overcautious about similar clean energy projects are even wronger.
The re-energized Rattlesnake Creek project at 320 megawatts is significantly larger than the original iteration of 200 megawatts.
When built, it will be the second-largest wind farm in Nebraska behind the 400-megawatt Grande Prairie project in Holt County, which was the largest wind development built anywhere in the U.S. in 2016.
Construction is expected to start by the end of this year and the project will be generating electricity in fourth-quarter 2018, said Brice Barton, vice president of development for Tradewind. That will cap a decadelong endeavor to bring Rattlesnake Creek to fruition.
Holy crap, man. If this was a one-reactor nuke plant (which would be just a bit larger in capacity than this one) they would be talking about coming on line in ten years. Not one or two years. That’s another lesson. Clean energy solutions are often very quickly deployable.
Along with declining costs to build wind energy projects — wind is now closely competitive with cheap conventional generators like coal and natural gas, even without subsidies, according to investment banking firm Lazard — Bracht said more productive developments in Nebraska are clearly capturing the attention of companies keen on powering their operations with more renewable energy.
Facebook will purchase 200 megawatts of the Rattlesnake Creek’s output and the remaining 120 megawatts will be sold to other buyers.