The Cornhusker Harvest wind farm project, owned by Apex Clean Energy out of Charlottesville, Virginia, is making advances to complete land lease agreements with residents of Saline County by year’s end.
“Over 80% of agreements have been signed and that’s a very good milestone to be hitting,” Max Jabrixio, public engagement manager for Apex said.
The project is to be located near the Tobias/Milligan area. According to project developer Dylan Ikkala, 25,000 of an estimated 32,000 acres of land have been aquired. Apex has been working on the land leasing portion of the project since 2016.
The Cornhusker Harvest wind project is a 300-megawatt project and would provide electrical power to around 107,000 homes.
Ikkala said it is more than likely the power produced will stay in the state, ideally through a Nebraskan corporate buyer, but nothing is set in stone at this point because transmission lines are shared between all types of power plants.
Apex plans to submit its final conditional use permit to the county board of commissioners next summer.
“The next steps would be wrapping up our environmental studies and begin thinking about engineering work to get ideas about layout of land,” Ikkala said. “We’re also looking at a few potential corporate buyers (of electrical power).”
Apex has recently completed the Upland Prairie project in Iowa and is developing other Midwest regional projects including the Dakota Range III wind project in South Dakota and the Neosho Ridge wind project in Kansas.
Ikkala said even if Apex follows its desired timeline of issuing a final CUP this upcoming summer, construction will not take place until 2021.
“We would still have a few state and federal approvals that would need to take place,” Ikkala said.
Apex Clean Energy is also looking at offering power services to a proposed Google data center just outside of Lincoln once it’s developed, although nothing has been confirmed.
According to Ikkala, that opportunity is a big driver for the company because it not only increases use of renewable energy, but offers numerous jobs as well.
Upon completion of the Cornhusker Harvest wind project, over 200 jobs will be filled in the area. An operation date of 2022 is set for the project.