Need More Talk About Nebraska’s Energy Future

Right now the Nebraska Energy Office, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, and our Public Power Districts are hard at work planning for Nebraska's energy future. These agencies have been tasked with putting together a comprehensive State Energy Plan that looks at the cost of fuel, future customer growth, where we currently get our power from, future generation options, and environmental regulations. The final Nebraska Department of Energy plan will likely include recommendations for future energy investments and other decisions regarding our public power system.

However, the State Energy Plan is not the only game in town. Similar planning for our state’s energy future is also going on within the Public Power system and within the Department of Environmental Quality as well. Nebraskans’ input now can impact all of these plans, processes and agencies. Energy related agencies are listening right now, which makes the value of standing up and speaking out in these ongoing conversations that much more important.

And every Nebraskan, including you, has a crucial role to play by sharing your thoughts, ideas, hopes, questions and concerns about Nebraska’s energy future with all of these agencies, local policy-makers, and other members of your community. The decisions that go into drafting the State Energy Plan will impact all Nebraskans, which means we should all have a say in writing it and in the decisions involved in keeping our lights on.

Moreover, Nebraska’s unique Public Power system - the only publicly owned electric utility system in the nation - gives the customer-owners of our public power districts the right and the responsibility to be part of the process of developing a state energy plan for Nebraska. It also gives customer-owners the opportunity to weigh in on the priorities of our Public Power Districts as they work to power our farms, ranches, homes and businesses.

That’s why a group of partnering organizations will be hosting a Community Conversation about Nebraska’s energy future on June 22 at the University of Nebraska-Kearney in Copeland Hall, Room 140, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

If you want to see greater investment in energy efficiency, this is the time to share that interest. If you believe more needs to be done to develop Nebraska’s wind energy potential, this is the time to share that belief... If you have concerns about what you see on the horizon for Nebraska’s energy future, this is the time to share that concern.

Nebraskans share many interests, hopes, questions and concerns about our state's changing utility rates, federal environmental regulations, future changes in our energy infrastructure, and the shifting costs of renewable energy and efficiency options. Our state faces stern challenges in planning our energy future, and striking up a conversation, right there in your community, to share your thoughts and hear what others think is the best way to start addressing those challenges.

That is, of course, our purpose in hosting this Community Conversation; to allow public power customer-owners to talk to each other, to share ideas, and to ask questions of local elected officials - including public power officials - and clean energy advocates. We hope we’ll see you there.