Monday, January 21, 2019

Republicans in Nebraska are trying to restrict wind power development by labeling it as not ‘renewable’

One dangerous provision in the bill would redefine the term “renewable energy generation facility” by removing the word “wind” from the list of designated facilities.

Image Credit: NRDC

A proposal by Republican lawmakers in Nebraska seeks to change the state’s definition of a privately developed renewable energy generation facility so that it excludes wind energy developments.

One dangerous provision in the bill would redefine the term “renewable energy generation facility” by removing the word “wind” from the list of designated facilities.

Inline image 1Bill 1054, sponsored by Sen. Tom Brewer, was created to “give people affected by wind energy projects a voice.” Supporters of the bill claim that that developers are using bait-and-switch tactics that involves promised tax revenue that never materializes, while others claim they are concerned about the negative health effects on those living by wind turbines (seriously). Some supporters just simply don’t understand why Nebraska needs more wind energy when they have more than enough electric generation already.

Brewer and his supporters introduced the bill on February 2, calling for an end to the designation of wind power as renewable. Previously, Brewer called for an all-out ban on wind energy development in the Nebraska Sand Hills, but this didn’t pass. The Republican lawmaker claims that “Wind energy is a scam that hurts people and animals, wastes billions in tax dollars, and isn’t ‘green’ energy by any definition of the term.”

The provisions the bill is attempting to change have majorly helped drive economic development in Nebraska. Huge companies, such as Facebook, have flocked to the state on the promise of low-cost 100 percent renewable wind power. Facebook is already investing more than $400 million on a data center facility in in Omaha, stating that the Omaha Public Power District’s ability to power the data facility completely with wind energy was the prime factor in their decision to build there.

Wind power is one of the least polluting power sources, and has become so cheap that building new wind farms with battery storage is actually cheaper than running existing coal plants.

We are curious as to what harm to people supporters of the bill are referring to. As the Omaha World-Herald pointed out, “Iowa, which ranks third in the U.S. in terms of installed wind energy capacity, does not track complaints of this nature because scientists haven’t reported any diseases associated with living near a wind turbine.”

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