Wind farms

WIND TURBINES are shown at Grande Prairie Wind Project near O'Neill.

Wind power today is America’s top choice for new power installations and its top renewable energy provider, and Nebraska continues to be one of the fastest growing wind states in the country with some of the greatest potential for further growth. 

The Wind Powers America annual report for 2019, which was released Thursday, indicates the percentage of electricity share Nebraska receives from wind energy grew to nearly 20 percent, up from 14 percent in 2018.

The state also registered the highest average wind energy capacity factors in the nation at 43 percent, and Nebraska ranks as the second fastest growing state for wind energy generation, according to the report.

“Wind energy continues to be an economic growth engine in rural Nebraska,” said Josh Moenning, director of New Power Nebraska, a renewable energy development organization.

“We continue to utilize our world-class, consistently powerful wind resources to emerge as one of the fastest growing wind energy states in the nation. Our tremendous wind power potential means more room to grow in the way of new farm income from wind farm land leases, new tax revenues for local governments and schools, and new good-paying jobs for young people wanting to build careers in rural places,” Moenning said.

The annual market report shows that Nebraska ranks first in the nation in the efficiency and productivity of its wind facilities, registering an average 43 percent capacity factor (page 76). The state is the 2nd fastest growing state for wind generation (page 33), 7th in wind energy share of electricity generation at nearly 20 percent (page 33), 11th in new capacity additions in 2019 (page 31), and 14th in cumulative capacity in the country. Its share of electricity generation from wind jumped from a ranking of 13th in 2018 to 7th in 2019.

Nationally, wind energy was the largest source of new, utility scale electric generation capacity in 2019, capturing 39 percent of new power plant installations as wind energy became the top source of renewable energy in the country. U.S. wind energy contributes $1.6 billion in new tax revenues for states and local governments and land lease payments to landowners.

The costs of producing wind energy have fallen nearly 70 percent in 10 years, and new projects represent $62 billion in new investment in the near term.

In other news

The public is encouraged to attend an upcoming meeting of Northeast Community College board of governors during which tax dollars may be spent or decisions made that affect expenditures.