Two new regulations handed down by the Environmental Protection Agency will have a significant impact on the energy industry in 2012 – and beyond.
The Clean Air Act is already one of the most successful public health programs in American history, with a return of more than $30 in benefits for every dollar invested in pollution reductions. In 2010 alone the program prevented an esti¬mated 160,000 cases of premature mortality, 130,000 heart attacks, 86,000 hospital visits, 13 million lost work days, and approximately 1.7 million asthma attacks.
The Rock Island transmission line will enable a new generation of wind farms across the upper Midwest and Great Plains by collaborating with landowners and local businesses in a quest to tap some of the best wind resources in the nation. And along with it come rural economic development opportunities and jobs.
Developed by Clean Line Energy, this project will deliver 3,500 megawatts of wind energy from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota to large cities in Illinois and eastward. Once completed, Rock Island will power 1.4 million homes in the Midwest with clean, safe and renewable energy.
Legislation is being developed in Nebraska that could become a national model for incentivizing wind development in ways that benefit rural communities.
The US Department of Energy study 20 Percent Wind by 2020 concluded that ramping up wind generation to 20 percent of the nation’s electricity would create 3,000 or more permanent jobs in many Great Plains and central US states. But the degree of benefit will always be greatest when local people share in the ownership of wind projects and the wealth they create. The benefits are further multiplied when local businesses become the builders and suppliers of wind farms.
President Obama offered several laudable energy goals during his recent State of the Union address. However, he did not mention upgrading and expanding clean energy transmission as an investment in attaining his goals.
Although the energy goals mentioned during his recent State of the Union address were laudable, President Obama must now turn attention to the improvement of our nation’s electric transmission system. Upgrading and expanding clean energy transmission will create jobs, spur new industries, and lead to a more-sustainable future for rural America.