NPPD vote not to add short-term wind power sparks criticism

The Nebraska Public Power District Board Friday voted not to purchase 200 additional megawatts of energy by the end of the year, touching off criticism from a number of wind advocates.

NPPD spokesman Mark Becker told KNEB News the vote was not a referendum on wind but a decision based on the fact the utility is already producing more energy that its customers require.

Becker says Friday's vote does not mean the utility will not vote for wind power in the future. But he did say at the end of 2014 NPPD will only be 45 megawatts short of reaching its strategic goal of getting 10% of its energy resources with renewable energy, primarily wind, by 2020.

The Center for Rural Affairs was one of those critical of the vote, maintaining rural and small town Nebraskans want NPPD to invest into wind and create jobs in Nebraska rather than sending money to out of state companies with their current generation of power.

NPPD CEO and President Pat Pope says they need to be able to rely on dispatchable generation to provide electricity when needed. Pope says "until technology provides a means of storing electricity, we cannot rely on wind energy to serve our customers."

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