Landmark Legislation Deregulates Development of Private Renewable Energy Facilities
On April 19, 2016, Governor Ricketts signed into law LB 824, landmark legislation that deregulates the development of renewable energy facilities in Nebraska. Senator McCollister of Omaha, Ken Schilz of Ogallala, and Ken Haar of Lincoln introduced LB 824, and its passage was a multiyear lobbying effort in which Baird Holm played a central role. The bill eliminates burdensome and unnecessary regulatory requirements on the development of private renewable energy facilities in Nebraska. This step opens the door to significant development of new wind energy in Nebraska for export out of state, which will result in substantial economic development and property tax benefits within the state.
Beginning July 2016, a private developer may commence construction on a renewable energy generation facility if, no less than 30 days prior to commencement, the owner notifies the Nebraska Power Review Board (the “Board”) of the proposed construction and certifies to the Board that: (i) the facility will comply with any decommissioning requirements of local government entities having power over the facility; (ii) the private electric supplier will enter into a joint transmission development agreement with the electric supplier with which the facility will interconnect; and (iii) the private electric supplier consulted with the Game and Parks Commission to identify measures to avoid and mitigate any effects the facility may have on endangered species. The Board must acknowledge receipt of the certification within 10 days.
LB 824 also eliminates the requirement a renewable energy generation facility have a power purchase agreement in place before commencing construction. LB 824 maintains the protections in existing law against condemnation of a private renewable energy generation facility by a public utility. These steps will place Nebraska developers on a level-playing field with developers in other states and allow Nebraska landowners and tax payers to benefit from our outstanding natural resources.
You can find a copy of LB 824 on the Nebraska Legislature’s website at http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/bills/. For additional information concerning LB 824, click here. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions about this bill or any others. Thank you.