- The Nebraska state senate has advanced a bill that could see it implement its own renewable energy tax credit, the Omaha World-Herald reports.
- A senate committee voted 25-3 to approve amendments and advance an updated version of Legislative Bill 423 that provides renewables projects with a 10-year, $0.01 per-kwh-produced tax credit. The credit would decline $0.001 per kwh every two years. The total cost is estimated at $3 million after two years and $14 million to $17 million after four years.
- This would be Nebraska’s first production tax credit (PTC) for renewables. The federal PTC provides $0.023 per kWh for 10 years but has struggled for renewal since 2013. Six other states offer PTCs.
Questions on the bill's amendments included concerns about whether PTC would drive wind development in the absence of stable federal policy incentives and whether the advanced wind capacities in Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Kansas would impede a Nebraska wind industry.
One Senator called for advanced nuclear development instead of wind, the World-Herald reports. Another complained that wind turbines mar the landscape. Several pointed to the wind industry’s economic benefits. Since 2008, Nebraska has seen $1.5 billion in private capital investment from wind.
Nebraska’s wind resource ranks among the best in the U.S. but, at 812 MW, its installed capacity was 18th nationally at the end of 2014. But Nebraska added 272 MW during the year, the fifth highest amount of new capacity in the U.S., and its 51.9% increase made it the fastest growing state.
Nebraska obtained 6.9% of its electricity from wind in 2014. South Dakota, immediately to its north, obtained 25.3%. Iowa, to its east, obtained 28.5%. Colorado, to the west, obtained 13.6%. Kansas, to the south, got 21.7%.
The Omaha Public Power District, with 343 MW, had the fourth most wind capacity on its system among U.S. public utilities at the end of 2014 and the Nebraska Public Power District, with 311 MW, was seventh.