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Nebraska's renewable energy progress threatened by new bill

Nebraska's renewable energy progress threatened by new bill

By Scout Nelson

Nebraska has become a leader in renewable energy production, significantly benefiting from its abundant natural resources. Currently, over a third of the state's electricity is generated from renewable sources, supporting the economy through job creation, increased landowner income, and tax relief.

The introduction of Legislative Bill 399 threatens to reverse these achievements by increasing government oversight and adding restrictive measures to the development of renewable energy projects.

In 2016, Nebraska embraced a bill facilitating private investment in clean energy, which led to substantial growth in the sector, including 3,564 MW of operating clean energy and creating a workforce of 2,300 in the clean power industry.

This growth has made renewable energy the most cost-effective option for electricity in Nebraska, offering financial advantages to both ratepayers and landowners.

LB 399 proposes a shift that could raise the cost of energy production and limit the autonomy of landowners in utilizing their property for renewable energy projects. This move contradicts the state's policy of empowering farmers to manage their production and sales, potentially restricting them to state-imposed conditions.

The proposed bill also risks the additional income that renewable energy projects bring to Nebraska's farmers, which amounts to $17 million annually in land lease payments and $14 million in local taxes. This income is vital for the financial stability of farmers and the broader community, contributing to lower property tax burdens.

The expansion of Nebraska's ethanol plants into producing sustainable aviation fuel and other innovative energy solutions like methane capture for livestock feeders could be hindered by the constraints of LB 399.

Despite differing opinions on renewable energy, its role in stimulating economic activity across both rural and urban areas in Nebraska is undeniable. Renewable energy has brought new jobs, farm income, and tax revenue, signaling potential for further growth.

Legislative Bill 399 represents an unnecessary regulatory step back for Nebraska's thriving renewable energy sector and agriculture, potentially impacting business investment and the state's economic landscape negatively. Now is not the time for regulatory overreach that could dampen Nebraska's renewable energy momentum and economic opportunities for its farmers and communities.

Photo Credit -shutterstock-dickgage

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Categories: Nebraska, Business, Energy, Government & Policy

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