Wind energy incentive considered

Wind energy producers would be eligible for tax credits under a bill discussed in a Revenue Committee hearing Feb. 1.

Under LB1033, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Abbie Cornett, companies building wind energy farms would be eligible for sales and use tax refunds if 25 percent of their expenditures are spent in Nebraska. Cornett said the refunds are necessary to keep Nebraska competitive.

“The amount of wind electricity has tripled in Nebraska,” Cornett said. “This bill puts Nebraska in a competitive position with other states and creates an economic development climate that’s attractive for new businesses.”

Wind energy projects totalling $75 million or more would be eligible for:
• a 75 percent refund of sales and use taxes on property; and
• a 25 percent refund of sales and use taxes on expenditures related to the project.

Wind energy projects less than $75 million would be eligible for:
• a 50 percent refund of sales and use taxes on property;
• a 25 percent refund of sales and use taxes on expenditures related to the project; and
• a 25 percent refund of sales and use taxes on expenditures if the taxpayer is a Nebraska resident or a business owned by at least 25 percent Nebraska residents.

Ross Knott, Petersburg State Bank president, testified in support of the bill, saying that wind energy has had a positive impact on his community.

“I’ve seen the tremendous economic impacts on my community,” Knott said. “We’ve gone from barely surviving to thriving.”

Chris Dibbern, representing the Nebraska Power Association, also supported the bill, saying it was necessary to bring new business to the state.

“It sends a message that the state supports renewable energy,” Dibbern said. “This bill creates a greater incentive to invest and operate renewable technologies.”

No one testified in opposition to the bill and the committee took no immediate action.

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