Nebraska’s wind energy increases

Nebraska generated 1,000 megawatts of electricity from wind last year, joining what is known as the “Gigawatt Club,” Director David Bracht of the Nebraska Energy Office said Friday.

Nebraska achieved a one-year growth rate of 49%, adding 438 megawatts of generating capacity in 2016, according to the U.S. Wind Industry Annual Report.

One thousand megawatts of electricity is enough to power about 175,000 homes, Bracht said in a report about the state’s energy.

In 2016, Nebraska had significant growth in both wind and solar during, Bracht said, due to the dramatic decline in production costs for both wind and solar.

“That comes from a combination of equipment getting cheaper and technology getting better so more energy is captured,” he said.

“Nebraska is among the Midwest states with more than 10% of electricity from wind.,” Bracht said. “There are states that are higher, for instance, lowa has higher wind production, but they’ve been developing their wind energy much longer.”

Nearly 37 percent of Iowa’s power came from wind last year — a larger share than in any other state — according to the Wind Industry Annual Report.

Bracht said Nebraska is well positioned for growth in wind energy.

“By definition, the undeveloped wind project sites in Nebraska are all very, good, especially compared to what’s been developed in Iowa, Kansas and South Dakota,” he said.