|Wind farm potential in Perkins County focus of informational meeting|
By Jan Rahn
Plenty of potential, but lack of generation, is how wind development is viewed in Nebraska.
Developing a market for the hefty breezes blowing across the state is a giant hurdle, according to information recently explained at a wind farm meeting in Grant on Feb. 1.
Explanation of the steps that could and should be taken to develop wind farms in Nebraska and market the energy was attended by several landowners in and around Perkins County, along with zoning administrators from Perkins and adjoining counties who learned some of the aspects involved with pursuing wind energy development.
The first step, said Graham Christensen, public affairs director of the Nebraska Farmers Union, who presented the wind power information, is to adopt a steering committee and establish a board.
He said there is great wind potential out west that needs to be explored. “If it creates rural economic developoment statewide, it needs to be looked at.”
Many factors play into wind development across Nebraska, and informational meetings are being held in multiple areas to educate landowners and organizers on the issues involved.
According to one lobbyist for wind energy, current state statutes are one of the big barriers to wind energy development in Nebraska.
Private investors in wind energy must fight laws protecting public power in the state.
Wind energy developers choose to establish the commodity in surrounding states rather than face the challenges in Nebraska.
“There is a lot of wind development left to be done,” said Christensen, “but it’s a very complicated process and takes a long time.”
“Nebraska is in a prime place if this thing is done right,” he said.
Nebraska is ranked third by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for wind development potential. Perkins County landowners and zoning personnel are inching forward by investing time and effort in researching the possibilities of manufacturing energy from the abundant natural resource of ever-present wind.
Other collaborators in the presentation included local residents and the Nebraska Wind Working Group which is a group funded by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy.