A $5.8 million-a-year commission to speed research on renewables should be created, a legislative committee in Nebraska has been told at a day-long hearing. "We can create new markets for our farmers and new jobs for our industry by developing the state's energy resources -- wind and energy crops such as switch-grass," said Walt Bleich of Nebraska Citizen Action. "There's a great potential for wind energy in the Great Plains," said John Dunlop of the American Wind Energy Association. But Bill Neal of Omaha Public Power District said, "In our service area the wind doesn't blow hard enough and when we need it." He added, "If it ever makes business sense, we'll pursue it." And Denny Valentine of Nebraska Public Power District said his utility will not consider wind until 2002 or 2004 when it first needs more power. The hearing, before the state legislature's Natural Resources Committee, was on wind and other alternative energy.
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