Today, our partners at Nebraska Public Power District will helping us understand the factors that play into wind power development in Valley County, along with our friends from the surrounding counties. This effort is the product of two months of conversation and research that was kicked off with the Governor Heineman’s signing of LB 1048.
LB 1048 is designed to encourage the development, ownership and operation of renewable energy facilities for the export of wind energy from Nebraska. If NPPD’s research finds that Valley County is ripe for development, it very likely a wind-readiness effort and working wind task force will be established.
A couple more items helped to launch this effort in partnership with NPPD and Loup Valleys Rural Public Power. First, the US Department of Energy released a report titled Wind Powering America: Nebraska that found Valley County super-conducive to wind power generation. The research suggests that the Loup River Valley hosts some of the best locations in the state to capture wind. Second, the legislative momentum created by LB 1048, along with the feasibility of wind capture, creates a positive environment for wind energy development much like the process Valley County followed with ethanol readiness in 2005. That readiness effort led to a new $80 million ethanol plant project.
Our big hang-up is the transmission of power from the production site. We’ll learn today about the opportunities as well as challenges involving transmission, and if we can overcome those transmission issues, we may run with an effort to develop wind capture potential in Valley County. Keep your fingers crossed.