Nebraska Public Power District holds open house meeting

By: Cole Miller

The Nebraska Public Power District held an open house this evening to speak with the public on where they stand, and just a few steps away, activists supporting alternative energy were making their voices heard.

It's from inside coal mines where most of Nebraska's power comes from. Some groups are hoping to see that change.

It was just outside of the Cornhusker Hotel where Ken Winston with the Sierra Club led a rally for alternative energy. “We'd like to see more investment in wind and solar investments in energy efficiency so people's energy bills would go down,” said Winston.

Inside, the Nebraska Public Power District held a public forum to hear what you had to say. Much of the recent controversy comes from a proposed $1 billion investment to fix-up coal-fired power plants.

Pat Pope says they're looking at other energy options, but coal continues to be cheap and reliable. “Our customers demand reliable energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When they flip on that switch, energy has to be there,” said Pope with NPPD.

Next door in Iowa, it seems windmills are nearly everywhere. Pope says that's because of federal tax credits. He explains why Nebraska doesn't qualify. “Nebraska is the only state in the Union that is all public power. We have a totally different structure. We're not owned by investors, we're owned by the people we serve and so we don't have the ability to take advantage of those kids of tax credits,” Pope said.

Back outside, Winston and clean energy supporters want you to tell the NPPD what's best. “We want the best decision for the people of the state of Nebraska and we think an important part of that is to make the best use of our resources here in the state of Nebraska,” said Winston.

Along with wind and solar power, NPPD is also looking at natural gas options. They say they'll invest in whatever keeps customer bills low.