Campaign pushing wind energy in Nebraska

Clean Energy Nebraska — a working group of Nebraska farm, wildlife, environmental, faith and civic groups — has announced the launch of a statewide advertising campaign promoting wind energy development in the state.

The campaign, “Let’s Not Blow It,” specifically targets the Nebraska Public Power District board of directors, which has been considering whether to add more wind to an energy portfolio dominated by coal.

The radio ad features Ross Knott, president of Petersburg State Bank in Petersburg. Petersburg has experienced significant economic benefits from a nearby wind farm, including a new grocery store, business expansion and revitalized schools.

Kim Morrow, clean energy advocate for the Nebraska Wildlife Federation, points out that federal energy tax credits expire at the end of this year. While Congress continues in a dysfunctional state, there are no guarantees the tax credit will be renewed.

“Nebraskans have been consistently asking for more renewable energy from NPPD,” Morrow said. “Wind development means job opportunities, economic development and clean energy at a low price we may not see again in the near future.”

The campaign builds on several surveys showing Nebraskans overwhelmingly support the increased development of wind resources. Nebraska ranks third in the nation in wind energy potential, but lags far behind neighbors Colorado and Iowa in number of turbines installed.

For example, Iowa has more than 10 times the amount of wind generation as Nebraska and is reaping the benefits of economic development and lower rates from wind generation.

Clean Energy Nebraska says most of the state’s citizens are not aware of the reasons for Nebraska’s lag, nor what they can do about it in a state that is 100 percent publicly owned power.

“This is our chance to make an historic difference for Nebraska,” said Morrow. “By contacting their elected representatives on the NPPD board of directors, citizens and rate-payers can tell their elected leaders that they support a future for Nebraska built on clean energy, low prices, and economic development for our rural communities.”

Ironically, on Friday the Nebraska Public Power District’s board on Friday rejected a proposed resolution to purchase up to 200 additional megawatts of wind energy by the end of the year.