Prairie Wind: Nebraska's Energy Harvest

Prairie Wind: Nebraska's Energy Harvest

You know the saying about Nebraska's weather, "If you don't like it, wait 15 minutes and it will change." But, there is something consistent about our weather here in the state and that is wind. Whether it's a blistering hot day in July, or a cold winter night, more often than not the wind is blowing.

The NET Television production "Prairie Wind: Nebraska's Energy Harvest" explores if wind from Nebraska's prairie could power our state.

Statistics show Nebraska ranks sixth in the nation for wind energy potential, but only 22nd based on how much is generated. Many other states are aggressively adding wind capacity, and many experts wonder if wind could help turn the wheels of Nebraska's economy, too. Others take a more cautious approach, citing the fate of Nebraska's ethanol industry. Many ethanol plants were built in a relatively short amount of time, and then several closed when demand and market conditions did not match.

There are only four or five states with cheaper electricity than Nebraska's public power system provides its customers. Experts agree that the success of public power has impacted the development of wind power in Nebraska. But arrangements between public power providers and private wind energy developers may help keep energy costs down for everyone. Nebraska's newest wind development, the Elkhorn Ridge Wind Facility near Bloomfield, Neb., includes 27 towers that generate more energy than any other wind site in the state. The site was developed and is operated by private companies, but the Nebraska Public Power District purchases the energy the site's turbines create.

In "Prairie Wind: Nebraska's Energy Harvest," NET Television producer Perry Stoner explores legislative, technical and cost issues, as well as how local communities could benefit from Nebraska harnessing the power of the wind. The program also examines how farmers and ranchers could use wind energy in their operations, and how landowners could reap economic benefits from a wind structure that takes less than an acre out of production.



Wind Perspective  Originally aired on NET a decade ago, look back at the state of the wind industry in Nebraska then and compare it to the issues of today. Brad Penner reports.

LES Wind Turbines  In place for a decade now, Reporter Brandi Kruse gives you a look at the two wind turbines located north of Lincoln.

Exploring Nebraska's Renewable Energy  NPPD holds open houses for public input. Perry Stoner reports.

Wind Power 2010 Conference in Kearney  The use of wind for power is expanding rapidly in Nebraska, but various factors mean the state is still far behind its neighbors in using this resource. Fred Knapp reports.

Getting the Most from Renewables  Segment from PBS Planet Forward, co-produced by NET.

Photo Gallery