A Nebraska agricultural group is working with state legislators on a proposed tax credit for wind and solar energy projects. The effort fell short of passing last session but backers of the incentives say they’ll try again in 2016.
Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen says there’s plenty of support for the measure.
Hansen says, “We look at poll after poll after poll and the preliminary data from the Nebraska Rural Poll, it’s going to continue to show that the overwhelming, very high percentage majority of Nebraskans, including rural Nebraskans, support more rural energy development.”
The legislation would help Nebraska keep up with its neighbors in renewable energy projects, according the Hansen. Iowa, for example, led the nation last year by generating more than 28% of its electricity from the wind.
“It would help us compete with other states,” he says, “and it would be particularly helpful for a lot of the communities that are seriously looking forward and trying to take advantage of the still-current federal incentives for community-owned wind projects or community-owned solar projects.”
“Up and down the Platte River corridor where you have, first of all, you’re down in the valley, second, you’ve got a large section of the middle of the state that’s in a flyway area, so that doesn’t work,” he says. “We’ve got a lot of communities in those kinds of areas that are looking to do some things with solar. Solar is kind of coming of age.”
Hansen says the farmers union worked with Senator Jeremy Nordquist, of Omaha, on the bill last year but now are partnering with Senator Ken Schilz, of Ogallala.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton