Cloud Co. Comm. College Receives Donation From NextEra Energy


NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, today announced the donation of a wind turbine nacelle to the Cloud Community College Renewable Energy program. The nacelle was delivered to the Concordia campus on Thursday.

Weighing approximately 180,000 pounds, the nacelle houses all the generating components of a wind turbine. The nacelle will be incorporated into the program’s curriculum and will provide students with hands-on training using the equipment.

“We are very excited to be receiving NextEra’s generous donation of a Zond 750 wind turbine nacelle with all of its major internal components,” said Michael “Kit” Thompson, CCCC Renewable Energy department chair. “Installing the nacelle on the ground for training and tours will provide an ease of access many steps above our current wind energy training facilities.”

Kansas ranks second in the nation for potential wind energy production, and Cloud County is the only college in Kansas approved to offer an Associate of Applied Science degree in Wind Energy Technology.

“We are proud to partner with Cloud Community College and contribute to their highly rated Wind Energy Technology program,” said Spencer Jenkins, NextEra Energy Resources Project Manager. “Today, American wind power supports more than 100,000 jobs. The direct experience these students can receive from working with the nacelle will help them as they continue their career paths to becoming wind technicians.”

The donated nacelle will be used to support experiential training including confined space, rescue, boar scoping, gear box alignment, and safety.

“This donation will increase hands-on training opportunities for our Renewable Energy students, which is a crucial educational experience for future technicians,” Thompson said. “We thank NextEra for another superb contribution to the future of our communities.”

Cloud County’s Wind Energy Technology program produces a qualified workforce to serve the emerging wind industry throughout Kansas and the nation.

NextEra Energy Resources has been investing in Kansas for nearly two decades. With seven other successful wind projects in the state, the company has a proven track record of creating good paying, full-time jobs and keeping Kansans employed in Kansas. An affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources is developing the Soldier Creek Wind project in Nemaha County.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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