Without the production tax credit, wind energy would not survive. Wind energy is not about harvesting wind, it’s about harvesting taxpayer dollars.
Another issue is transmission lines. The Nebraska Public Power District’s R-Project is slated for the heart of the Sand Hills. These are among the largest contiguous grasslands in the world, home to threatened and endangered species. They are a vital part of the Central Flyway, providing crucial habitat to eagles, ducks, geese, swans, sandhill cranes and whooping cranes. This fragile, pristine eco-region is entirely unsuitable for construction of such a massive project.
NPPD is a member of the Southwest Power Pool, a 14-state consortium of public and for-profit utilities focused on markets and transmission. According to the power pool, “the Gentleman-Cherry County-Holt County 345kV line in Nebraska has been proposed chiefly to provide access for wind development in Cherry County.”
According to NPPD, “Nebraska and the SWPP currently have surplus generation capacity.” Wind energy will only add to this surplus.
Easements for the R-Project will be obtained using eminent domain. Was the legislative intent of giving eminent domain authority to NPPD that excess generated power would be pooled and marketed to the benefit of for-profit utilities of other states?
Legislative Bill 504 would put a temporary moratorium on wind energy development in the Nebraska Sand Hills. Members of the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee should bring it out of committee and issue a position statement opposing the NPPD R-Project.
Brent L. Steffen, Kearney, Neb.
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