No public subsidy for wind power in Nebraska for now

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The nation's only completely public power state has decided the public should not subsidize wind power.

Proponents likened the bill, which would have provided $75 million in production tax credits for renewable energy, to subsidies received by the ethanol industry, subsidies that have helped boost the Southwest Nebraska economy.

But opposing senators successfully filibustered against the bill, calling it "unnecessary, feel-good legislation" on one hand that didn't go far enough, and suggested the state should consider more forward-looking options such as experimental forms of nuclear energy.

It is a shame that Nebraska's public power status has hindered wind development in a state that is one of the windiest in the nation, lagging behind all of our neighboring states.

But it is also unfortunate that Nebraska rate payers would be forced to pay higher utility bills to take advantage of that wind.

And, we do wonder whether more of us will consider wind turbines to be an eyesore once the novelty wears off. Plus, adequate transmission facilities still need to be in place to carry wind-generated power to customers.

If and when wind power becomes an important part in Nebraska's energy formula, it will have to stand on its own economic merits.

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