BEATRICE – The City of Beatrice and Board of Public Works will purchase part of its electric supply from a wind farm planned in Webster County. The Beatrice City Council approved a purchase agreement to buy 16.1 megawatts of energy annually from the proposed Cottonwood Wind Project, LLC, when it begins operating. City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer says the 25-year agreement would lock in a price of $15.85 per megawatt hour. The service agreement adds to one the city has with AEP Energy Partners of Ohio, which extends from 2019 to 2030. [audio mp3="http://media3.floodradio.com/columbus/2017/07/Cottonwood1.mp3"][/audio] :31 “fully built out” The Cottonwood project is a $150 million, 90-megawatt wind farm planned by NextEra Energy Resources…the same firm that constructed the Steele Flats Wind Project operating in southwest Gage and Southeast Jefferson Counties. [audio mp3="http://media3.floodradio.com/columbus/2017/07/Cottonwood2.mp3"][/audio] :19 “the total market” The City of Beatrice is working toward acquiring about 40 megawatts of electric capacity, as the city transitions away from its’ current contract with Nebraska Public Power District. It has under consideration the proposed construction of a natural gas-fired generation station in the Gage County Industrial Park, that would provide up to 34 megawatts of capacity. That plan is yet to go before the Nebraska Power Review Board, for a formal decision. Tempelmeyer says there are times Beatrice will use the energy specified in the wind energy agreement, and other times it will be sold back into the market. He says the city is still negotiating the hiring of a market participant to manage the energy. The city has had discussions with both AEP and Cottonwood. Tempelmeyer projects expenses under the Cottonwood agreement will be about $1.5 million annually. [audio mp3="http://media3.floodradio.com/columbus/2017/07/Cottonwood3.mp3"][/audio] :10 “into the market” Councilman Bob Morgan asked about savings at the wholesale level that can be passed on to retail electric customers in Beatrice. [audio mp3="http://media3.floodradio.com/columbus/2017/07/Cottonwood4.mp3"][/audio] :18 “we are today” The city currently spends some $15 million annually to purchase wholesale electric power. The city council approved the power purchase agreement, on a 7-0 vote, with one member absent.