Greensburg Wind FarmHB

After being leveled by a tornado, a Kansas town rebuilds as “the greenest town in America” with a combination of energy efficiency measures and the installation of a 12.5 MW wind farm.

Carbon Model: Help Build™
Carbon Project Type: Wind Energy
Location: Greensburg, Kansas, U.S.A.
Volume: 488,200 metric tons
Standard: Consistent with Verified Carbon Standard
Capacity: 12.5 MW

On May 4, 2007, an EF-5 tornado leveled Greensburg, Kansas, destroying 95% of the town and leaving a path of devastation two miles wide. Eleven of the town’s 1,400 residents died in the disaster. In their communal search for meaning in the days that followed this catastrophe, the people of Greensburg individually and collectively agreed to rebuild their town.

They committed to make Greensburg the “greenest town in America.”

In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Obama said, “Greensburg … is being rebuilt by its residents as a global example of how clean energy can power an entire community–how it can bring jobs and businesses to a place where piles of bricks and rubble once lay. ‘The tragedy was terrible,’ said one of the men who helped them rebuild.  ‘But the folks here know that it also provided an incredible opportunity.’”

NativeEnergy is extremely proud to have played a necessary role in helping build the Greensburg Wind Farm. This wind energy project was developed with critical upfront financing from NativeEnergy, whose funding was made possible by the collective, community support of our clients, partners, and individual supporters.

Sustainable Development Benefits

The Greensburg Wind Farm creates significant economic and environmental benefits for the city as the community continues to rebuild.

The wind farm generates enough energy to power 4,000 homes–more than enough for every home, business, and municipal facility in Greensburg. The city retained the rights to the green benefits from about one third of the wind farm, making the town “wind powered.” NativeEnergy purchased the remaining REC output, converting the RECs to carbon offsets for its customers. The energy generated by the wind farm displaces fossil-based energy and reduces hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon pollution that otherwise would enter our atmosphere.

The wind farm is located on farmland just southwest of the city–several farm families receive direct economic benefits from hosting the turbines.

The city had seen its school enrollment cut in half in recent decades, but now residents see new and compelling reasons for young people to stay and raise their families in this community. New green businesses are already relocating or starting up there. Greensburg is already the first U.S. city to light all streets with LED lights, the first to have a LEED-certified town hall, and it has a new Business Incubator Building that hopes to achieve LEED Platinum status. Twelve new eco-homes are in development, and the rebuilding of the Greensburg community is an inspiring example of the new green economy.

Project Participants

This project is a collaborative effort between the City of Greensburg, Exelon Wind LLC (formerly John Deere Renewables), and NativeEnergy.

Validation and Verification

The project has been validated consistent with the Verified Carbon Standard, but with extension of the standard project term from 10 to 20 years enabling NativeEnergy to bring the greater up-front funding the project needed to secure the balance of financing.  Additional discounts to the expected CO2 reductions were made to be conservative, and the project continues to overperform relative to expectations.  The project’s electrical performance is being third-party verified annually, and the resulting CO2 reductions are third-party verified every five years.

Financial Additionality

This project demonstrates financial additionality according to UNFCCC definitions in that the project faced barriers to implementation that were overcome by the opportunity to receive carbon revenues. The principal barriers were capital costs of the equipment and lack of economy of scale. The upfront payment commitment from NativeEnergy was required to satisfy the developer’s investment requirements. Carbon funding from your purchase helped us enable the developer to finance and fund the successful development of this project.