Catching the Wind

A new poll released on Tuesday, April 20th, found that a strong majority of Nebraska voters (79%) favors requiring electric utilities to use renewable energy sources for at least 20% of the electricity they generate. The poll also showed that Nebraska voters have overwhelmingly favorable impressions of wind power (94% favorable, 69% strongly favorable).
Strong support for wind energy knows no geographic, political or demographic bounds. From Falls City to Scottsbluff, from Hartington to Imperial, rural and urban, Republican and Democrat, there is overwhelming support for wind energy and more than 3 to 1 support for requiring utilities to obtain 20% of their electricity from renewable sources (renewable electricity standard).  The support for such a standard is driven by concern over rising energy prices (important to 75% of respondents) and our nation's dependence on foreign oil (important to 73%) to a much greater degree than concern for the environment (important to 58%).

Clearly, a vast majority of Nebraskans recognize the economic importance of wind energy development for the entire state.  In rural Nebraska, in particular, there are tremendous economic opportunities for farmers, ranchers and rural communities playing a pivotal role in America's energy future.  Nebraska ranks in the top five among the states in wind development potential.  The Nebraska Legislature has helped clear the way for exporting electricity generated from wind power outside Nebraska.  What remains is to create a national market for that wind energy, namely through Congressional passage of a 20% federal renewable energy standard.

The Nebraska Renewable Energy poll was conducted by Global Strategy Group on behalf of the Center for Rural Affairs, American Wind Energy Association, Wind Coalition and Energy Foundation - all proponents of a strong, federal renewable electricity standard.  The Global Strategy group memo on the poll results as well as polling data toplines and tables are available at --- http://files.cfra.org/pdf/NE-Wind-Poll-Memo.pdf, and http://files.cfra.org/pdf/NE-Wind-Poll-Topline-Tables.pdf --- and are embargoed, along with this guest opinion, until 6:00 a.m. CDT, April 20, 2010.

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