Lincoln Electric System's energy purchase from Oklahoma criticized - Omaha.com
Published Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 9:44 am
Lincoln Electric System's energy purchase from Oklahoma criticized

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — A decision by the Lincoln Electric System to purchase wind energy from Oklahoma is being criticized by the Nebraska Farmers Union.

Earlier this month, Lincoln Electric System agreed to purchase 100 megawatts of wind energy. LES officials touted cost savings for its customers. But Farmers Union President John Hansen said the public utility also has a responsibility to boost economic development in Nebraska.

Hansen said the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has done a study of the economic development benefits of wind energy development systems in Nebraska. Data from that study, he said, estimated the economic development benefits from 100 megawatts of wind energy development would range from $86.8 million to $164 million.

“Those millions of dollars in economic development benefits will go to rural Oklahoma, not Nebraska,” Hansen said. “It is disappointing that LES decided to help rural Oklahoma rather than rural Nebraska, especially since we have world-class wind resources in our state.”

Hansen said his organization would discuss this issue with state senators, especially the need to clarify utilities' responsibilities relative to two economic development statutes that apply to public power.

According to the Tulsa (Okla.) World, two new wind farms planned in south-central Oklahoma will provide electricity to utilities in Arkansas and Nebraska.

Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. earlier this month announced a long-term agreement to sell 150 megawatts of wind energy to Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp.

EDP Renewables North America will build a 100-megawatt wind farm to provide power to Lincoln Electric Systems for 20 years. It wind farm is expected to be built in 2015.

Lincoln Electric Systems CEO Kevin Wailes said the wind farm will bring lower-cost power to the company's customers. “We expect to begin realizing these savings in the first year, with the benefits increasing throughout the life of the contract,” he said.

Ken Winston from the Nebraska Sierra Club said, “Investing in clean energy and moving away from dependence on fossil fuels is the best path we can take to secure our energy future and protect our air and water here in Nebraska for future generations.”

“We must also invest in clean, renewable energy developments here at home,” he said. “We have the fourth best wind potential in the nation, yet we send millions of dollars out of state buying coal from Wyoming. Our neighbors in Iowa and Colorado are investing in wind at record rates because it is becoming the lowest cost option for utilities.”

Oklahoma has 3,134 megawatts of installed wind capacity, which is sixth highest in the nation, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The state's wind potential of 516,822 megawatts is the ninth best in the country, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

USDA offers aid for disasters that have driven up beef prices
Union Pacific's profits withstand challenging weather
Program gets students with disabilities on the job, ready for future
Nebrasks health officials to advertise jobs via drive-thru
Informational meeting Saturday on Airbnb matching during Berkshire weekend
New tenant moves in at old Omar Baking
Applications for U.S. jobless aid edge up to 304,000
Nebraska Crossing Outlets stores, layout
Garbo’s Salon at Midtown Crossing to expand, add loft
New First Data Corp. board member is latest JPMorgan alum
$600 million job-training effort to focus on skill sets
Original Recipe or Extra Crispy? Don't be chicken! Wear your dinner to prom with a KFC corsage
In brief: Bitcoin exchange faces liquidation
Summer concerts to start May 30 at Shadow Lake Towne Center in Papillion
Fed survey sees growth across U.S.
Janet Yellen signals that interest rates will remain low
Special Mustang to honor pony car at 50
Spring planting off to slow start
Indoor play center Go Kids’ Gym opens at 120th and I
Community woodworking space Bench will move to warehouse at 12th and Nicholas
Stationery store set to open in Lincoln's Haymarket district
Jon Barker replaces Hayneedle co-founder Doug Nielsen as chief executive
Technology – including Google Glass – gets a try-on at Omaha Infotec conference
GROW Nebraska plans entrepreneurship conference
Google applies for patent for camera in contact lens
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Dr. Welbes Natural Health Clinic
$129 for 2 LipoLaser Sessions with Additional Complimentary Services ($605 value)
Buy Now
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Inside Business
To submit an announcement for "Inside Business", click here. For questions call (402) 444-1371 or e-mail announcements@owh.com.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »