Nebraska Wind Facts

Even though Nebraska has the sixth greatest wind energy potential in the United States, it lags behind many states that have far less potential. With only 73 MW of installed wind capacity and no wind energy projects in the works, Nebraska has a long way to go to catch up with neighboring states.

In theory, Nebraska could lead the nation in wind generated electricity with the proper financial incentives, adequate transmission, financing, legal ability, and a renewable portfolio standard (RPS). However, recent legislation hopes to help Nebraska create a niche for itself in the wind energy market, spurring the growth of further developments. An RPS bill is currently pending and new legislation includes financial incentives, such as wind energy tax credits, sales and use tax exemptions, and a community-based development (C-BED) statute.

Nebraska Wind Facts as of January 2008:

• Total installed wind energy capacity (MW): 73
• Current wind energy capacity under construction (MW): 0
• Total wind energy potential (Billions of kWh/year): 868 billion
• Ranks 6th in US for potential wind power output
• Ranks 19th in US for existing wind power output

C-BED Statute (Sales and Use Tax Exemption):

In May 2007, Nebraska established that community-based energy developments (C-BED) projects are exempt from the sales and use tax. The Rural Community Based Development Act encourages electric utilities to enter into power purchase agreements with C-BED developers.

A C-BED project is defined as a new wind energy project that meets the following ownership criteria:
• Projects with more than 2 turbines: No single qualified owner owns more than 15% of the project with 33% of the power purchase agreement to the qualified owners or to the local community.
• Projects with 1-2 turbines: The project is owned by one qualified owner or more with at least 33% of the power purchase agreement flowing to the owners or to the local community.

Terms defining a qualified C-BED project owner:

• A Nebraska resident
• A limited liability company made up of Nebraska residents
• A Nebraska non-profit organization
• An electric supplier or
• A tribal council.

Financial Incentives

Tax Credit:
Wind energy producers can qualify for production-based renewable energy tax credits.

• To be eligible, a wind system must be placed in service after July 14, 2006.
• Credits for a facility placed in operation after July 14, 2006 can be earned for a maximum of 10 years.
• Credits can be used against income tax liability or to receive a tax refund for state sales and use.
• A maximum of $750,000 of renewable energy credits can be used.
• Owners of community based projects who already receive a sales tax exemption are not eligible.

Production rates per kWh:
• The credit is equal to 0.1 cent/kWh ($0.001/kWh) for electricity generated on or after October 1, 2007, and before January 1, 2010.
• The credit is equal to 0.075 cents/kWh ($0.00075/kWh) for electricity generated on or after January 1, 2010, and before January 1, 2013.
• The credit is equal to 0.05 cents/kWh ($0.0005/kWh) for electricity generated on or after January 1, 2013, and before January 1, 2018.
• The credit may be earned for 10 years after the date that the facility is placed in operation on or after July 14, 2006.

Dollar and Energy Savings Loans:
Loans are available for residential and commercial renewable energy technologies that improve energy efficiency. Wind energy is included. A financial institution must first approve the project before the State Energy Office can be contacted. The State Energy Office buys the loan at 0% interest so the total interest on the loan will be half the rate offered by the financial institution. The total interest is 5% or less with a maximum pay-back period of ten years.

Minimum and Maximum loan amounts:
• Residential $35,000-$75,000
• Non-Residential $75,000-$175,000