Deirdre Hirner is AWEA’s Midwest Region Director.
The Nebraska state legislature is currently considering an amendment proposed by Sen. Ken Haar to a bill, LB 824, that would help wind power grow in the Cornhusker State.
Today, Nebraska currently has much stricter regulations for wind energy than the federal government and many other states and localities across the U.S. This has discouraged project development in the state, despite wind resources on par with neighboring Iowa, where 31 percent of electricity is generated by wind. So Nebraska certainly doesn’t lack in potential.
The Nebraska wind projects that have been developed so far have had a big impact.
Wind currently supports up to 2,000 jobs in the state, and its 16 wind farms have attracted $1.5 billion in capital investment. Every year, landowners in the state receive $2.4 million in lease payments for hosting turbines, and increased property tax revenue helps pay for new schools, better emergency services equipment and improved roads.
Long-time rancher and Nebraska state Sen. Al Davis recently explained what growing wind power could mean his constituents:
“My district is very rural, and we are constantly fighting depopulation. We have this tremendous natural resource out there that should be developed. If it is, it might help to repopulate rural Nebraska. …western Nebraska is depopulating so quickly, and services are very hard to bring together. [Some] students drive 50 miles one way to go to school. Wind energy could bring jobs and some stability to some of these areas of Nebraska.”
Learn how you can support LB 824 by visiting PowerOfWind.org.