The Haystack wind project is being built in Wayne County of Nebraska, US. Credit: Ørsted.
The Haystack wind farm will utilise 51 wind turbines supplied by Siemens Gamesa. Credit: Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.
PepsiCo signed a power purchase agreement for the Haystack wind project in January 2021. Credit: ice_blue / Shutterstock.

The Haystack wind project is a 298MW onshore wind farm under construction in Nebraska, the US. It is being developed by Danish power company Ørsted.

Ørsted acquired the project and took a final investment decision in October 2020, continuing the expansion of its operations into the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), a regional transmission organisation. The acquisition increased the company’s overall onshore capacity to 3GW.

Construction on the project is currently underway with turbine deliveries expected to begin in the summer of 2021. The Haystack wind farm will supply electricity to approximately 85,000 homes across the US, upon its commissioning in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The project is expected to create approximately 300 construction jobs during the peak construction period, along with long-term operations and maintenance positions.

The wind farm will also contribute approximately $4m annually in local taxes and landowner payments, and is also eligible for 100% production tax credit (PTC).

Haystack wind project location and make-up

The Haystack wind power project is being developed adjacent to Ørsted’s Plum Creek wind farm in Wayne County, Nebraska.

The project will be composed of a total of 69 wind turbines, including 51 Siemens Gamesa SG 5.0-145 wind turbines and 18 safe harbour turbines.

The SG 5.0-145 wind turbine has been chosen for its aerodynamic blade design and the state-of-the-art control theory, which provide increased power generation. The turbine’s OptimaFlex technology provides a flexible power rating between 4MW and 5MW as per the requirement.

Its modular design offers an increased mechanical capacity and better adaptation to logistics and construction needs, thus delivering higher efficiency and lower levelised cost of energy (LCoE).

Grid connection infrastructure

The Haystack wind project will utilise the existing interconnection infrastructure in SPP North to interconnect to the SPP-operated transmission system at Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD) existing 345kV Hoskins substation.

The interconnection of the Haystack generating facility requires three transmission owner’s interconnection facilities, two of which are being shared between Haystack and two other interconnection customers, namely Sholes Wind Energy and Plum Creek Wind.

“The Plum Creek and Haystack generating facilities will be interconnected to a new satellite substation, which will be built on the 23.3km-long Sholes Wind generator tie line.”

The Plum Creek and Haystack generating facilities will be interconnected to a new satellite substation, which will be built on the 23.3km-long Sholes Wind generator tie line.

The 13.6km section of the line will be laid from the Satellite substation to the Sholes Wind collector substation while the remaining 9.6km portion of line, called the Gen Tie Linkt, will run from the Satellite substation to the point of interconnection with the Hoskins substation.

The Haystack and Plum Creek generating facilities will connect the Satellite substation to the point of interconnection at the Hoskins substation through the Gen Tie Linkt.

Power purchase agreement

In January 2021, PepsiCo signed a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with Ørsted to purchase electricity generated from the Haystack and Western Trail wind projects.

Contractors involved

In December 2020, Ørsted awarded the turbine supply contract to Siemens Gamesa for the Haystack wind farm, which is the first onshore wind power project for both companies in the US.

Siemens Gamesa also agreed to provide full-scope long-term service and maintenance for the project for a 30-year period. The agreement covers primary activities related to the service and maintenance of the units.

Ørsted’s US operations

Ørsted has a global installed capacity of 8GW, of which the company currently operates 1.7GW of onshore wind assets in the US.

Ørsted has several wind and solar projects under development in Alabama, Nebraska, Texas, and South Dakota, including a 687MWAC solar PV and battery storage project.

The company’s operational wind assets in the US include the Amazon, Lockett, Plum Creek, Sage Draw, Tahoka, Willow Creek, and Willow Springs wind farms. In addition to Haystack, the company is constructing the 367MW Western Trail wind project in Texas.

Ørsted aims to achieve a total installed capacity of 5GW across solar photovoltaic, onshore wind, and energy storage capacity across the country by 2025.