- Nebraska State Senators Jeremy Nordquist, Al Davis, Ken Schilz and Ken Haar are proposing the state provide a $0.015/kwh production tax credit (PTC) to grow the state’s installed wind capacity.
- They are also advocating for (1) the extension of tax incentives to solar, landfill gas, and biomass energy projects, (2) improving planning and marketing of Nebraska wind, and (3) streamlining approval of wind projects being developed for out-of-state export of their generation.
- The senators see a new opportunity to grow jobs and revenues in Nebraska wind from the combination of Environmental Protection Agency strictures on emissions and pollution and the expiration of the federal PTC. They expect increased demand for electricity in the region and slowed wind growth in adjacent competitor states like Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma.
Like the federal $0.023/kwh PTC, which expired at the end of 2014, Nebraska’s $0.015/kwh tax credit would apply for a wind project’s first 10 years of output. It matches Iowa’s tax credit and is significantly bigger than Oklahoma’s $0.005/kwh credit.
Nebraska’s 2010 law aimed at growing wind for export helped drive some wind project growth but has not yet produced any out-of-state export. Western Nebraska’s rich wind resource and sparse population make it comparable to Wyoming, where a planned $4.5 billion wind project will generate electricity for Los Angeles via the TransWest Express transmission project.
NREL research showed Nebraska’s wind potential is far greater than its installed capacity of 812 MW but there are no projects now in construction. Despite the state’s rich wind resource it ranks 18th in the U.S. in installed wind energy.
The wind energy proposals face strong opposition in the utility-friendly state legislature, though recent remarks by Gov. Ricketts suggest he may back them. The Nebraska legislature is unicameral and non-partisan.