IN NEBRASKA — Wind Financing, Permitting and Other Resources
The only known financing opportunities for small scale wind projects are the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development efficiency and renewable energy grants. These grants provide 25 percent of funding for an eligible project. Either wind or solar would most likely need to be funded under the renewable energy section of these grants. You need to be aware that because of the state’s low electric rates, some renewable technologies are currently not very cost effective, due to the high cost of installation compared to the payback. There are also zero-interest loans available from USDA Rural Development. For more information, contacts in Nebraska for USDA grants are:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Federal Building, Room 308
100 Centennial Mall North
Lincoln, NE 68508
Web site: www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne
USDA Business Programs Director
Direct Phone: 402-437-5568
USDA Business & Cooperative Specialist
Direct Phone: 402-437-5554
Lincoln-Jan Knobel 402-423-9683
Columbus-Dan Laska 402-564-0506
Ainsworth-Mary Gambill 402-387-2242
Scottsbluff-Tim Brooks 308-632-2195
North Platte-Roberta Mues 308-534-2360
Kearney-Karissa Berks 308-237-3118
If you can find an economical wind system, you might consider using a Dollar and Energy Saving Loan, to finance the purchase. The loans are offered by participating Nebraska lenders. More information about Dollar and Energy Saving Loans is at http://www.neo.ne.gov/loan/index.html . The loan application for renewable energy systems including wind turbines is at http://www.neo.ne.gov/loan/pdf/form20.pdf .
There are some environmental regulations that apply to wind farms. Any construction activity that disturbs more than 1 acre of total land including staging areas and offsite disturbance must obtain a stormwater construction permit. The application and forms for this can be found on NDEQ’s website at www.deq.state.ne.us. Follow this path: Publications & Forms –> Water Quality –> NPDES Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Construction Sites (under Applications and Forms header).
If your project requires a concrete plant to be temporarily or permanently placed at the site, an air permit may be required depending on the potential emissions of the plant. An air permit may also be required if there are any concrete, asphalt, or similar type of crushing activities. To find out if you need any type of air permit, please call the Air Permit Assistance Hotline at 1-877-834-0474.
The above permits are the most common that may apply to a wind farm project. Depending on the specific aspects of your project, there may be other environmental regulations that apply.
Other governmental agencies that may be involved in your wind farm project would be the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission with regard to threatened and endangered species and the US Army Corps of Engineers with regard to the disturbance of a wetland. To find out if your project complies with the Nebraska Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act, contact the Commission at 402-471-5438. If your project will disturb a wetland, contact the Corps at 402-995-2417.
Permits for wind towers are handled by the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics and require a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
“Notice of Proposed Construction or Alteration.” A permit, Form HP1, is required from the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics before erecting/building any structure exceeding a height of 150 feet above the surface of the ground at the point of installation, unless erected under the authority of a license or permit issued by a federal agency. A determination of "no hazard" from the FAA in response to the filing of a 7460-1 is not a "license or permit."
USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Contact: Kenneth E. Noonan 402-437-4106
Nebraska Public Power District Wind Expert Contact: Dave Rich 402-563-5477