Clean Energy

Clean energy offers a significant opportunity to diversify the rural economy, create new opportunity and address the root cause of climate change.

Wind energy and other renewable energy will revitalize rural communities rich in energy resources. When the Nebraska legislature held a hearing on wind development, one group of citizens drove 400 miles to testify that for the first time in memory, there was renewed hope for the future of their community. The economics are clear.

To maximize the impact, there is a critical need for new and upgraded transmission capacity to unlock the renewable energy potential found in rural America. Both our economy and our future depend on moving power from the remote regions of the Great Plains and Upper Midwest to the demand centers that need it most.

Our goal is to better assist landowners and other rural stakeholders to ensure that clean energy transmission is built in an equitable, sustainable way - a way that works best for rural citizens and their communities. Those affected by new transmission will benefit from forming real partnerships with developers and those in the regulatory sphere, relationships that result in greater engagement in planning, new responsiveness to concerns and more equitable compensation models.

See our clean energy transmission database here. Learn about our work to replace coal fired energy with renewables (infographs to share!)

Clean Energy Notes

 

Sunshine without net metering

South Dakota once carried the official moniker of “the Sunshine State,” and is one of only three states without net metering policies. 

For the Midwest state, where 73 percent of net electricity generation comes from hydropower and wind, solar energy remains a renewables omission. But this exclusion of solar remains not because of a lack of sunshine, just a lack of policy. Without net metering, the sunshine for which South Dakota has emblazoned upon its flag exists only as a reminder of the underutilization of its solar resource.

File attachments: 

Finding common ground on rural solar

As an active and idealistic college student, I traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in a national lobby day for young people who wanted to talk with senators and representatives about supporting renewable energy.

Thinking back, in 2009, we were well into an economic recession and the job market was weak. That time period marked the beginning of a renewable energy revolution, and we did not know how quickly this industry would grow.

New transmission connects renewable energy

Midwestern states have great potential to generate energy from renewable sources. Renewable energy provides these states with clean power as well as several other benefits in the form of new sources of income for landowners that host projects or job opportunities stemming from construction, operation, and manufacturing. But, these new power generators require connections to the larger electric grid, which allow the renewable energy to be shipped across the region where it can be used by homes and businesses.

Rural Iowa school sets a shining example for how to reduce electricity costs

Tim Graber had just finished applying for a utility rebate for the new solar panels on his turkey building when he was struck by an idea: “Why couldn’t the school do this?” As a member of the WACO Community School district board, Tim was in the position to make his idea a reality. With the rebate for Washington County solar projects set to expire on Dec. 31, 2013, Tim, the superintendent, and a handful of other school leaders worked through winter break to complete the rebate application for what became the first school solar project in Iowa.