Nebraska to nearly triple wind energy capacity by 2015 – Casper Star

November 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

LINCOLN, Neb. — A series of new projects will nearly triple Nebraska’s wind energy capacity by the end of 2015.

Nebraska currently has the capacity to generate 459 megawatts from wind power. John Hansen, the co-chair of the sixth annual Nebraska Wind Conference, told an audience on Wednesday that the state will add 750 megawatts over the next two years.

“This conference sets the stage for a lot of what goes on next year,” Hansen said, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

When the projects are done, Nebraska will join the ranks of neighboring Iowa, Kansas, Wyoming and Colorado, which have all surpassed the 1,000-megawatt mark.

Gov. Dave Heineman said more work needs to be done to develop Nebraska’s wind power. Heineman said wind farms produce local property tax revenue and encourage economic development in rural and urban areas. He said it also helps create jobs and diversifies the state’s energy portfolio.

“We need to be competitive on both fronts if we want to sustain our economic future,” Heineman said.

Milo Mumgaard, a policy aide for the city of Lincoln, pointed to such projects as the Pinnacle Bank Arena, which was built to “green” standards. Mumgaard touted Mayor Chris Beutler’s commitment to wind, solar and other forms of wind energy.

“Lincoln is one of the most sustainable cities in the Midwest,” Mumgaard said. “Our goal is to make it one of the most sustainable in the nation.”

Steve Gaw, a leading consultant on wind energy and transmission policies, said wind energy is replacing more traditional forms of energy. Nationally, he said, more wind power was added last year than any other form of energy generation.

“Wind is a hedge, an insurance policy that gives you certainty over time,” Gaw said, because utilities can lock in a price for energy over 20 years.

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