Omaha Public Radio News
1:31 pm
Wed February 24, 2010

Nebraska looks to encourage conservation, energy efficiency projects

Omaha, NE – The Nebraska Energy Office's new statewide energy plan includes incentives for conservation projects and support for domestic sources of energy.

Nebraska Energy Office Director Neil Moseman and Robert Byrnes of the Nebraska Renewable Energy Association spoke last week at the Omaha Press Club. Moseman says Nebraska received $93 million in economic stimulus money for conservation and energy efficiency initiatives. About half of that funding went toward the home weatherization program. $9 million went to the state's ten largest cities and counties for building retrofits and renewable energy projects. Another $1.7 million is going toward an appliance rebate program. Anyone who replaces an old appliance in their house with a new, energy efficient one can apply for a rebate. Moseman anticipates the energy office will issue 11,000 rebates.

Moseman also discussed the state's new energy plan. It recommends incentives for building improvements, encourages energy conservation in the agricultural sector, and supports balanced resources so the state has sustainable energy sources that are also affordable and reliable. But Byrnes believes that doesn't go far enough. He says the policy should include benchmarks for the implementation of conservation and renewable energy projects. He says Nebraska already has the four major sources of alternative energy: wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal.

An interim copy of the state's energy plan is available at www.neo.ne.gov.