1014NeFUWindPolicydbsr.cfm NPPD missed historic opportunity to lock wind energy prices, NeFU says
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NPPD missed historic opportunity to lock wind energy prices, NeFU says

Nebraska Farmers Union says when the Nebraska Public Power District Board of Directors voted 6 to 3 against taking advantage of the opportunity to lock in low cost wind energy for the next 20 years at historically all-time low prices, the board missed a historic opportunity.

“NeFU recommended adding an additional 200 MWs (megawatts) of wind energy from rural Nebraska to help NPPD diversify its portfolio. NPPD currently has a wide range of excellent projects from competent wind developers in different locations across the state to choose from,” according to state president John Hansen. “Many of these wind projects are able to take advantage of the federal Production Tax Credit for the first 10 years of the project which is scheduled to expire at year end. If Congress does not extend the PTC, many of these shovel ready projects may not survive. The PTC effectively cuts the price of wind energy in half. It appears that our dysfunctional Congress will not extend the PTC. The time to buy wind power is when it is at half price.

“According to estimates from National Renewable Energy Laboratory studies, 200 MWs of wind energy development considering the total direct, indirect, and induced impacts would provide between $173.6 million and $328 million for Nebraska depending on how much local content and ownership were involved. Nebraskans will miss this enormous economic development opportunity at a time when rural landowners and communities are hungry for these new revenue streams from new jobs and tax revenues. Harvesting Nebraska’s world class wind energy ranked the third best in the nation is a win-win for our economy and our environment.

“Since wind energy does not emit any carbon or other emissions and does not use water, it is also a hedge against the costs of future regulations, which reduces both price and risk,” Hansen said.

“At the root of the problem faced by the NPPD Board is the blind opposition to wind energy development at any price by the Nebraska Generation and Transmission and its General Manager Bruce Pontow, who represents 23 Rural Electric Associations and Rural Cooperatives in energy supply contracts with NPPD. It is not the NE G&T’s responsibility or job to tell NPPD how they should generate their electrical power. That is the responsibility of the publicly elected NPPD board of directors set in statute by the Legislature. It is wrong for the NE G&T to turn a business and generation issue into a political issue.

“We believe that Bruce Pontow is overreaching his proper role and responsibility. He is blocking NPPD from locking in low priced wind energy for the next 20 years and causing our power costs to go up, not down. Purchasing wind today is a sound business decision. Bruce Pontow and the NE G&T need to focus on doing their job of delivering electricity to rural customers as efficiently as possible. In short, they need to stick to their own knitting. Wind energy is good for our rural economy, our environment, and our state as a whole,” Hansen said. “We need to move forwards, not backwards.”

Date: 10/28/2013



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