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.

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Energy efficiency can help rural families save money

Families below the poverty line spend 8 percent of their income on electricity, a much larger proportion than higher income families, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

And in rural areas, 17.7 percent of families live below the poverty line, as noted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Energy efficiency provides an affordable way to decrease power consumption and electric bills. Developing local renewable energy generation also keeps hard-earned dollars in the state and brings new economic development to rural communities.

Energy infrastructure needs community input

Renewable wind energy has seen fantastic growth, generating cheap and clean energy across Midwestern states. The power of the wind is no secret to Iowans, as they’ve already worked to become leaders in the wind industry. Iowa currently generates 36 percent of its energy from wind, making it first in the nation for making use of wind energy. Investing in wind energy hasn’t just provided renewable energy to the state – it has also brought new economic opportunities to communities.