NextEra, OPPD Break Ground For Sholes Wind Energy Center


RANDOLPH – State and local leaders and executives of NextEra Energy Resources along with Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) came together Friday afternoon for a groundbreaking ceremony.

Located four miles north of Highway 98 on 561st Ave near Randolph, the Sholes Wind Energy Center will be a place where turbines and parts can be stored. Over 100 members from both Wayne and Stanton County were in attendance

Tim Burke has been the President and CEO of OPPD for just over three years. Burke said NextEra is an exceptional partner to work with.

“They truly live out our core values that we have; passion to service, honor our communities and caring for each other,” said Burke. “I think it will be a great project that will bring jobs, economic development to the state of Nebraska and certainly this region.”

The site will be a lay-down yard where equipment will be stored before construction companies will go out for work. Next will be prepping the roads, foundation holes dug and a concreate base poured, according to Project Manager with NextEra Energy Phil Clement.

“As everything starts curing then we’ll put the bases on,” Clement added. “So, it’s a constant cycle of putting the bases, then putting the towers and then putting the rotors. Once all that’s complete then we’ll start doing testing.”

The goal is to have all turbines up by the end of 2018 and connect to the system in early 2019.

71 wind turbines that will generate up to 160 megawatts of low-cost, renewable energy will be featured among the project.

Along with approximately 200 construction jobs and up to 10 full-time operation jobs being created, this project will give a significant economic boost to both Wayne and Stanton County. More than $30 million in property taxes will be provided over its first 30 years as well as approximately $40 million in payments to local landowners.

It was also stated that 40% of OPPD customer retails sales will come from renewable energy after the Sholes Wind Energy Center is up and running, which will be the largest in Nebraska.

Other speakers were Susanne Shore, First Lady of Nebraska; Armando Pimentel, President and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources; Luke Virgil; Wayne Area Economic Development Executive Director as Phil Clement; Project Coordinator welcomed everyone to the site.

“Just really excited about getting everything going, about working with Wayne, working with this community,” Clement added. “Just real excited and I think it’s going to be a great project for the community and just for everyone around here in general.”

Wayne County FFA receiving check from NextEra Energy Project Manager, Phil Clement. From Wayne Community Schools, Wendy Consoli (School Board President) and member Jaime Manz (right)

The Wayne County and Stanton County FFA Chapters were each awarded a $5,000 check from NextEra to use during their Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.