Nebraska joined the Gigawatt Club last year by generating 1,000 Megawatts of electricity from wind — enough to power about 175,000 homes. "Nebraska had significant growth in both wind and solar during 2016," said David Bracht, director of the Nebraska Energy Office.
"I think the reason for strong growth in the wind and solar sectors is because of the dramatic decline in production costs for both wind and solar. That comes from a combination of equipment getting cheaper and technology getting better so more energy is captured."
The U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report for 2016 shows Nebraska achieved a one-year annual growth rate above 25%, significantly growing its installed wind capacity base. Specifically, Nebraska added 438 Megawatts of generating capacity in 2016, yielding a one-year growth of 49 percent.
"Nebraska is among the Midwest states with more than 10% of electricity from wind.," Bracht said. "There are states that are higher, for instance, lowa has higher wind production, but they've been developing their wind energy much longer.
Nearly 37 percent of that state’s power came from wind last year, a larger share than in any other state, according to the U.S. Wind Industry 2016 Annual Report.
Bracht said, “By definition, the undeveloped wind project sites in Nebraska are all very, good, especially compared to what's been developed in Iowa, Kansas and South Dakota.”