- Associated Press - Friday, November 6, 2015

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Renewable energy advocates say they are encouraged by a recent push to expand wind energy in Nebraska.

The Omaha World-Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1SvGVzG ) that advocates gathered at the eighth annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference in Omaha on Thursday.

According to John Hansen of the Nebraska Farmers Union, the state is on track for more than 1,300 megawatts of wind energy capacity by 2017. Although that amounts to nearly triple what the state had two years ago, it isn’t enough, said Hansen, whose organization co-sponsored the conference.

Hansen said the recent progress is the biggest wind-energy development Nebraska has had, but that the state still lags far behind Iowa and other states. Sen. Ken Haar of Malcolm said hurdles remain in the way of renewable energy growth, including efforts to block a private wind development in Lancaster County.

Conference attendees also discussed other opportunities for renewable energy growth amid new federal regulations to reduce greenhouse gases.

Representatives of the state’s major public utilities were also at the conference to discuss their renewable energy portfolios in anticipation of greenhouse gas emission limits in President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. According to the representatives, Nebraska can reach federal targets, which call for the state to reduce carbon emissions by about 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Kevin Wailes, the chief executive of Lincoln Electric System, said they all believe the goals can be met. But, he said, “the question is ‘What’s it going to cost?’”

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com


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