Bluestem Energy Solutions and Baird Holm Report: Impact of Wind Energy on Property Taxes in Nebraska
Bluestem Energy Solutions and Baird Holm have teamed up to produce a report that provides a comprehensive demonstration that wind energy development provides significant property tax benefits in Nebraska. The Omaha World-Herald featured this report in an article on the front page of its Midlands section on November 12, 2013. An updated version of this report includes new figures and revised formatting for ease of reading. Click to download a pdf copy of the report.
The Bluestem/Baird Holm report confirms that wind energy development contributes substantially to property tax revenues by significantly increasing the property tax base, thereby allowing municipalities to maintain or lower current tax rates and alleviate the property tax burdens their residents face. Nebraska has great potential to utilize wind energy and is ranked third in the country for best possible resource. Despite this high ranking, Nebraska ranks only 23rd in utilization, with only 349 megawatts of installed capacity.
In a typical Nebraska county, a 200 megawatt wind farm would generate approximately $1,325,200 in property tax revenue annually, or over $26,000,000 over 20 years. This is equivalent to approximately $6,626 per megawatt per year to the county. In Nebraska's most rural counties, the new revenue would mean a nearly 40 percent increase in property tax revenue. Approximately three quarters of that revenue, or approximately $954,144 annually for a 200 megawatt project, would directly benefit the local public schools.
The property tax benefits are merely the beginning of the benefits from wind energy development. As the county property tax revenue increases, the county is less reliant on state resources such as the state's public school finance formula. Wind energy development would also spur an increase in construction and operations jobs, competitive advantage for the location of manufacturing facilities, and overall economic stability of rural Nebraska.
Through commercial wind energy development, Nebraska can increase its overall property tax revenue and address its mounting property tax problem, particularly in its rural areas.
Bluestem Energy Solutions is a Nebraska based wind energy developer of utility scale and municipal scale wind energy generation facilities. Since 1873, Baird Holm has been providing superior advocacy and counseling solutions, delivered by a highly reputable and diverse legal team. Based in Omaha, Nebraska, Baird Holm represents most of the wind energy developers active in the state.
Hannah K. Fischer, Summer Associate