Neb. court upholds wind farm tax credit

Source: E&E • Posted: Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that a wind company can claim a $1.6 million tax credit to avoid paying higher taxes over the next several years, striking down a lower court’s ruling that the credit was unconstitutional.

Last week’s decision allows Elkhorn Ridge Wind to pay a lower property tax. The ruling upheld a 2010 state law that enables wind farms to pay a 20-year nameplate capacity tax on their properties instead of a higher personal property tax that must be paid out over five years.

The Knox County Board of Supervisors supported the change but sued to force Elkhorn Ridge Wind to pay both taxes under an agreement that was reached before the state law was passed three years ago.

But the court ruled that the energy company could apply its wind credit to its new 20-year tax without also having to pay the higher short-term property tax.

“The nameplate capacity tax was clearly intended to be instead of, and not in addition to, the personal property tax on wind energy generation equipment,” the court said in its ruling. “But without the credit, Elkhorn Ridge would be required to pay both personal property tax and the nameplate capacity tax on the same equipment” (Grant Schulte, AP/Houston Chronicle, Aug. 2).