According to Thursdays’ report, Nebraska is missing a great opportunity for job creation to the state economy. This followed equally with cleaner form of energy, and is thereby trailing its neighbours in wind-energy development, like Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Kansas.
Nebraska is in a good position to use wind as a renewable-energy resource, claimed a group of lawmakers and environmental advocates as they revealed the report.
According to the report which was commissioned on behalf of the Nebraska Sierra Club, ranking as the fourth-best wind-producing state in the nation, yet Nebraska is 25th in the amount it could produce with the equipment currently installed.
Lawmakers and environmental advocates said they planned to pitch wind-energy to local public power districts that regulate energy usage throughout the state. Ken Winston, the group’s policy advocate says that during University of Nebraska football games, the Nebraska Sierra Club is preparing to air a series of clean-energy radio ads.
State Sen. Ken Haar, of Malcolm says that in spite of having enormous potential, they were not using that potential and that by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency will ultimately lower costs for Nebraskans.
Due to Nebraska’s reliance on coal, money is being pumped into Wyoming through an excise tax that helps offset the cost of property taxes in that state.
Two days after the dedication of a new wind farm near Broken Bow, the report was released. Over its 25-year lifespan, the $145 million project is anticipated to produce $540,000 a year in lease royalties for landowners.
Next week in Lincoln, renewable-energy advocates are scheduled to gather for the state’s fifth annual wind-energy conference.
Over the next two decades, expanding wind energy could save Nebraska consumers a combined $3.8 billion, says an Arizona-based energy economist, Skip Laitner, who authored the report. Nearly 14,000 new jobs in Nebraska could be created with wind energy expansion over the next two decades, he adds.
Consumption of energy will pour 44,000 tons of nitrogen dioxide and 71,000 tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, and Nebraskans will spend as estimated $2.7 billion this year to meet energy needs. Laitner also says that about $700 million is added to the nation’s annual health care costs caused by these emissions which create “profound health problems.”
Laitner says that when we stack up that kind of perspective and then step back and ask a question which is, could we do it better. The numbers clearly indicate that they can.
Just like ethanol, wind power has the same economic-growth potential for the state, says Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen. Having the nation’s second-largest ethanol production capacity, Nebraska falls behind Iowa.