With the raising of a 400-megawatt wind farm in the state, Nebraska has sailed past 1,000 megawatts — or 1 gigawatt — of wind-generated capacity.
Nebraska’s turbines provide over 1,300 megawatts of capacity with more on the way, looking to take advantage of the state’s largely untapped wind potential, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
The American Wind Energy Association said Nebraska is the 18th state to join the group of gigawatt-level wind energy states.
The association reported last month that wind accounted for over 10 percent of electricity generated in the state for the first time last year. The figure was less than 3 percent just five years ago, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.
The state’s turbines cranked out electricity an average of 45 percent of the time last year, the highest rate in the nation, according to the association.
The most recent wind farm built, the 200-turbine Grande Prairie, is both the largest wind project in Nebraska and the biggest built in the United States last year.
Nebraska Energy Office director David Bracht said three things need to be present for the state to attract more wind farms: wind, a market for selling the power and transmission lines to get the electricity to the buyer.
“We’re a big state area-wise but we’re a small state in terms of population,” he said. “That translates to more limited transmission. That is one of the advantages that Iowa had in developing its wind, larger population and transmission all over the state.”