A group of senators hopes to push through legislation this session that will spur development of renewable energy in Nebraska, especially wind energy.
Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha is sponsoring a bill that would create a state production tax credit for wind energy.
“It’s important to make investments like this, because an investment in wind power means an investment in jobs, in operations, maintenance, construction, manufacturing, and other potential support sectors,” Nordquist tells reporters at a Capitol news conference.
Nordquist says wind energy production supports between 500 and 1,000 direct and indirect jobs in Nebraska, with a capital investment of $1 billion. The industry made $1.3 million in land-lease payments as well.
The senators say Nebraska lags behind other states, such as Kansas and Oklahoma, in the development of wind energy even though Nebraska has some of the greatest potential to turn its high winds into useable energy. They also contend Nebraska law has erected hurdles to clear that just aren’t there in other states.
Other bills will include solar and biomass energy in the mix.
Sen. Ken Schilz of Ogallala says he will work on legislation to allow the state’s public power districts to sell excess energy to other states.
“Public power in the state of Nebraska was not built to market power like we’re talking about someplace else around the nation,” according to Schilz.
Schilz says other states, such as Wyoming, have been able to find markets for the energy produced by wind turbines that exceed their needs.