October 26, 2014

Energy expert says strong winds in Nebraska could greatly benefit state

An energy expert says Nebraska might need to harness the wind to help meet its energy needs.

Former Colorado Public Utilities Chairman Ron Binz, in Lincoln for an energy seminar, says increasing regulations of the coal industry might force Nebraska’s hand.

“The coal plants are under such pressure right now they’re going to have to decide do we keep these plants and attempt to clean them up for this next level of regulation by the EPA or will that even be enough? Will there be another round after that?”

Nebraska relies on coal-fired plants to generate most of electricity, as do other Midwestern states. Binz says while coal might be abundant here, wind is as well.

“The other thing I would observe about Nebraska: it’s one of the windiest states in the country. You have tremendous wind resources,” according to Binz. “Now, I come from Colorado. We have pretty good resources, but we’re not match for what is available here in Nebraska.”

Binz says Colorado has reaped benefits from generating more energy from wind power.

“It’s turned out to be a very low cost resource and I think Nebraska would be well served to make much more use of the wind resources in this state,” Binz says.

The energy seminar was hosted by state Sen. Ken Haar of Lincoln.

Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this report.