Wind energy is a big deal in Nebraska these days. Recently, Governor Heineman outlined the importance of wind energy in a recent press release titled Update on Wind Development in Nebraska. In his piece, he detailed several large scale wind developments in existence and also mentioned the importance the 10% wind energy production benchmark set by both the Omaha Public Power District and Nebraska Public Power District is to future wind development. As the Governor said, “Wind energy has a bright future in Nebraska.”
One item I might add to the press release is the importance small-scale wind power generation is for rural resident energy needs. Local residents and landowners (farmers & ranchers) can access a plethora of grants, low-interest loans and tax credits to build or install their own small scale wind turbines for their needs on the farm or ranch. Below are several resources that can help locals access these resources for their own development of wind power generation. If you find this useful and purchase a wind turbine, send your photos our way and we’ll post them to the blog. Enjoy!
Rural Energy for America Program (REAP funded by USDA Rural Development): Authorized by the latest Farm Bill, REAP is funded by USDA Rural Development and provides “grants, guaranteed loans, and combination grant/guaranteed loans to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements in rural areas.” To see if your business or farm operation qualifies, you can download eligibility requirements, allowable uses and grant/loan application forms here (.pdf).
U.S. Department of Treasury – Renewable Energy Grants: Authorized by 1603 PROGRAM – PAYMENTS FOR SPECIFIED ENERGY PROPERTY IN LIEU OF TAX CREDITS, this program allows “the United States Department of the Treasury to make payments to eligible persons who place in service specified energy property and apply for such payments. The purpose of the payment is to reimburse eligible applicants for a portion of the expense of such property.” I would suggest talking with your accountant regarding this program, as it is more restrictive on uses that the other mentioned programs. You can read the details of the entire program here. Keep in mind the grants are eligible for developments in the 2009 and 2010 tax years. I would also suggest looking at the “List of Awards” for the project, located at the bottom of the webpage. Grants have been given out for projects that cost as little as $9000 and up to $3 million plus.
Dollars and Energy Savings Loans – Nebraska Energy Office: The Nebraska Energy Office provides low interest loans for just about anyone located in the state. Interest for loans range from 2.5% to 5% interest. You can read the details here.
Wind energy credit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (from Nebraska Wind and Solar): The bill improved upon the 2008 tax credit, by removing “cost caps.” This change allows consumers and small businesses to take a 30% tax credit off the installed cost of a wind turbine. To a consumer or business purchasing a single 2.4KW residential wind turbine, it will double their credit. Additionally, consumers and businesses will also have the option of receiving their credit in the form of a cash grant. This credit can be applied against taxes owed or, for at least 2009 and 2010, receive a grant for the same amount from the Government.