site logo

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.
Volume: 488,200 metric tonnes
Standard: 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.

Recognized for its strong community benefits, the Greensburg Wind Farm was named 2011 “Wind Project of the Year” by Renewable Energy World.

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 Renewable Energy Credit (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 tonnes of carbon pollution that would otherwise 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.

Greensburg is the first U.S. city to light all streets with LED lights, has the highest number of LEED Platinum buildings per capita in the U.S., including a LEED Platinum certified city hall, and Business Incubator Building. Other public entities, such as the school, hospital, and county facilities as well as several non-profit organizations have built with sustainability in mind, utilizing water conservation, solar power, and recycled materials in the construction of their facilities. Kiowa County Schools (Pre-K-12th grade) has seen steady enrollment and some growth in lower grades due to younger families in Greensburg. Greensburg continues to be great small community with excellent quality of life.

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 carbon credit purchases helped us enable the developer to finance and fund the successful development of this project.