- A Nebraska bill that would have set up the state's first-ever production tax credits for wind energy died Tuesday at the hands of a filibuster in the state legislature, the Omaha World-Herald reports.
- Supporters of LB 423 got 30 votes to close discussion on the bill and move to a vote, but they needed 33 to beat the filibuster. The legislation would have established a 10-year, $0.01 per-kwh-produced tax credit, which would have decreased by $0.001 per kWh every two years.
- The total cost of the tax credits was estimated at $3 million after two years and $14 million to $17 million after four years. Amendments attached to the bill the day before the filibuster would have capped the available credits at $75 million.
Despite having some of the best wind energy resources in the nation, Nebraska ranks 18th in terms of installed wind capacity, with 812 MW at the end of 2014. Just to the east, Iowa has more than 5,100 MW installed, thanks in part to its state production tax credit of $0.015 per kWh.
However, Nebraska did add 272 MW of wind last year, the fifth highest in the U.S. That 51.9% increase made it the fastest growing wind energy state of 2014. Backers of the state tax credit, led by bill sponsor Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, hoped to build on that success and catapult Nebraska into a leadership role on wind energy. Nordquist said he was disappointed they couldn't break the deadlock.
“This was a decision today that’s going to have negative consequences long-term for the state,” he said, according to the World-Herald. “It’s a decision that my daughter’s generation is going to be paying the cost for.”
Nebraska obtained 6.9% of its electricity from wind in 2014, leaving far behind its wind-friendly neighbors. South Dakota obtained 25.3% from wind last year; Iowa got 28.5%; Colorado sourced 13.6% from wind, and Kansas got 21.7%.