$38 Million Dollar Electric Plant For Beatrice, Dropped

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A southeast Nebraska city plans to buy electricity from a natural gas-fired power plant that won’t be built in the state.

Bluestem Energy Solutions was supposed to plan, build and operate the 38-megawatt plant and then sell its electricity to Beatrice. But the Omaha energy developer withdrew its permit application from the Nebraska Power Review Board.  The permit application was scheduled to be before board, in a hearing last Friday.

Two Nebraska utility companies argued last year to the board that state law prohibits private entities from building power plants in Nebraska that would serve residents. Nebraska is a 100 percent public power state.

The $38.5 million plant will now be built elsewhere in the Southwest Power Pool’s 14-state territory. The power pool operates the regional electric grid and wholesale market in which electricity producers buy and sell power.   That means Nebraska loses out, on an economic development project.

Beatrice officials previously voted to end the city’s wholesale power customer status with Nebraska Public Power District, instead contracting with AEP Energy Partners, of Ohio.   City and public works officials say by doing that and getting power on the open market, the city can save thousands of dollars in wholesale electric power purchases, passing those on to retail customers.

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